JET Returnees Speak about Experiences in Japan
Consul General of Ireland Says JET Experience is Similar to Diplomacy
• JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program) is hosted by Japan’s government and local governments and recruits people from countries where English is the native language. JET participants are deployed to local schools in Japan and teach English to school students or help promote international exchange activities at local institutions.
• The welcome reception was held not only for sharing
returnees’ experiences, but also for promoting their participation to
the JET Alumni Association, which has kept their relationship with Japan
and offered many programs and events.
• Consul General Ito said, “Three strong JETAA chapters in the Midwest are in Chicago, Minnesota, and Kansas City. There are over a thousand alumni in the region who have continued to promote Japan by sharing knowledge of Japan with friends, families, co-workers, and neighbors. So it’s my sincere hope that those returnees will be a real asset to our Japan-US, Japan-Midwest partnership.”
• Each returnee spoke about an unforgettable memory and
favorite Japanese food.
• Ruby Regina Benigno taught about 600 students at two high schools in Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture. Her finest memory was that of talking with school teachers, listening and talking about students’ hopes and dreams, and teaching in classes where the students wanted to become a teacher. Her favorite food was curry and rice which she didn’t like until she went to Japan.
• Catherine Hea Mei Huang taught at high schools in Machida
City, Tokyo Prefecture. At a self-introducing occasion, she told that
she was half Taiwanese and half Japanese. A student came up to her and
said that she was the same, but she had never talked about it to other
students. The two could communicate with each other in the Taiwanese language,
and the student’s story was a little secret between the two during Huang’s
stay in the school. Her favorite food was takoyaki.
• Samantha Lynn Johnson taught at Shoyo high school,
a special needs school, and a school on a remote island that took nine
hours each way by a ferry.
• Lindsay Pomazal taught at Hyuga high school in Miyazaki
Prefecture for three years. She had been teaching at ordinary classes
and a special class that focused on types of communicative English. On
the last day of the special class, her mother, who had visited her before
she left, joined the class. Pomazal said that generally American people
didn’t know what JET program looked like, so her mother could see exactly
what JET was and what JET teachers were doing. Her favorite food was yaki-imo,
roasted sweet potatoes.
• Andrew Principe taught at high schools in Kanazawa
City, Ishikawa Prefecture for four years.
• Jakub Sierzputowski taught at Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture
for two years. His most impressive memory was attending various festivals.
After a new year’s day, Donto Festival was held, and naked young men including
him marched in the city for two hours in the frozen temperature of minus
three degrees in Celsius.
Consul General Naoki Ito welcomes JET returnees at his official residence with community members.
• Special guest,
Consul General Brian O’Brien of Ireland taught at schools in Izu peninsula,
Shizuoka Prefecture for two years from 2001 to 2003. One of his numerous
memories was that he taught dance every weekend because he used to teach
it in his home country. His dance class became very popular in the school,
and one of the school teachers said, “I would never forget wonderful Scottish
dance.” His favorite food was sushi and sashimi. He used chopsticks for
the first time in Japan.
• CG O’Brien answered Shimpo’s interview
and spoke about JET life and impacts.
• He loved onsen, hot springs, and could
see the Mount Fuji in the clear morning. Actually he climbed the mountain
• JETAA Chicago’s alumni Lauren Worth
was a JET teacher from 2006 to 2008 in Fukushima Prefecture. She returned
to the U.S. and worked in University of Wisconsin, Madison, but after
Fukushima was hit by the great disaster, she returned there and spent
two years from 2013 to 2015.
Former JET Teacher Launches Japanese Food Package Business
• Lilian Hanako Rowlatt, who was a JET teacher and taught
at high schools in Kashiwazaki City, Niigata Prefecture, recently launched
a health-conscious Japanese food business “Kokoro Care Packages” with
Aki Sugiyama in Tokyo. Rowlatt currently resides in Los Angeles.