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Showing posts with the label Alumni Interviews

Tereka Brown—Language and Cross-cultural Specialist/Enthusiast

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  1) When, how long and where were you in Japan? From August 2011- July 2018 (7 years). I was in Matsuyama City in Ehime Prefecture. 2) How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish you had done differently? It was a time of personal growth for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Japan. I made lifelong friends who have become more like family. It is so difficult to pick just one highlight because I was involved in so many things in my city. I was very honored to have been asked by the city’s youth centre to organize their yearly English Summer Camp and eventually to become a full-time staff member of the youth centre. I was the first non-Japanese to have ever worked there. I was also asked by the Matsuyama International Centre to plan and deliver the sessions each year for the students who were selected to do their Language and Culture Exchange Programme to their sister cities in Sacramento, South Korea and Germany. Also, I started studying Ikebana whi

Symerna Blake – Artist/Owner of ANTILLEAN CHARM

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  1) When, how long and where were you in Japan? I lived in Japan for two years; 2007-2009. I was an Assistant Language Teacher in Tamamura-machi, Gunma prefecture; the belly button of Japan. 2) How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish had done differently? Not just visiting, but living in Japan, was a childhood dream of mine. I had been fascinated with Japanese culture and customs; ever since I watched the TV series “Shogun”. I went to Japan with an idea of what to expect and it did not disappoint. The biggest impression on me was the Japanese sense of aesthetic and design. Japan taught me how to wait well and to enjoy silence. I think it also made me more emotionally intelligent, more sensitive to subtle expressions, more gentle and more considerate. I would have loved to learn the language. That did not happen. 3) Tell us about the business you started. Antillean Charm is an art business that serves the diplomatic, corporate and premium gift market

Larisa McBean - Tourism Professional and Communitarian

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  1) When, how long and where were you in Japan? I went to Japan on the JET Programme in 2012 and spent the full 5 years allowable on JET. I was placed in Okayama Prefecture in West Japan and lived in Takahashi City. I taught at 5 high schools in Takahashi City and Niimi City. 2) How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish had done differently? My time in Japan was great! There were ups and downs, as with anything in life. Some of the highlights of my time in Japan: the people in the communities where I lived and worked (Takahashi and Niimi) all helped to make my experience memorable. I learned to plant rice, taught a cooking class, danced in the Obon festival and travelled to several prefectures to experience their food and culture. My contribution to the JET community as a Prefectural Advisor for 2 years, and Block Leader for 4 years was also memorable as it afforded me the opportunity to share my knowledge and teaching skills with

Shawn Aarons- Principal/ Educator

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When, how long and where were you in Japan? I was in Japan from July 2000-July 2002. How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish had done differently? The two years spent can be described with one word – subarashikatta!! From the pre-departure orientation to the closing ceremony marking the end of my two years, it was a package of new experiences with people from all strata and age groups in Japan. My great memories of riding along the Shimanto Gawa to work, meeting with other JETs and private teachers at Hirome Ichiba or just having ramen with a group of obaasans are priceless. Striking relations with my barber who meticulously created a formula to cut my hair as I was the first black person's hair he was cutting in 20 years – we created a great bond. The cooking classes and fun times at kadai kenkyuu are cherished times that I wish I could take back to Jamaica. I must say that being in Japan taught me a lot about me and Jamaica.

Juleus Ghunta – Writer and ACEs Awareness Advocate

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  1) When, how long and where were you in Japan? I lived in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, from July 2014 to August 2017. 2) How was your time in Japan? What were some highlights/things you wish you had done differently? My first year was very challenging, particularly because I was quite ill. By the end of year two my health had improved significantly. I partied nonstop after that. OK, I didn’t party much, but I had regular rendezvous with some remarkable people, including Watanabe Kane – an eighty+ year old poet – and his irreverent wife. They had a cottage in Mount Daisen, where I spent many holidays discussing Japan-China relations, reciting poetry, and flirting with their female guests. It was the best of times. I am grateful to them, to the teachers and doctors who helped me to get better. A few months ago I sent Mr Watanabe a copy of my picture book, Tata and the Big Bad Bull . The first draft of Tata was written in his home in Yonago City. I hope to visit them soon. 3) Wha

Kay Dunkley – Rising Author

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Q: When (how long) and where were you in Japan? A: I was in Japan from July 2000 to July 2003. That was before JETs could stay longer than 3 years. Q: How was your time in Japan? A: My time in Japan in the beginning was difficult. I had days that I felt like a human tape recorder and days that were just “blah”. But as I adjusted and accepted Japan and my community I changed my perspective and really did my best to immerse myself in Japan. My community was awesome and I really got to experience Japan intimately. I really enjoyed all of the experiences and the friendships made. Some of my friendships last till now. Q: Give us a synopsis of your book. A: My book, “Island Stories”, talks about episodes about my stay in Japan. The book is autobiographical in nature. The book represents “the good, the bad and the ugly” of being a black female JET. I was the first JET at my school and in my community. With that came certain experiences, some of which I can look back on

Gregory Gordon - The Multi-Talented Creative

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  Q: When (how long) and where were you in Japan?  A: I went to Japan in July 2002 and came back home in March of 2010. I was in Hyogo prefecture in a place called Toyooka City (Hidaka-cho) for my first three years, after which I moved to Wadayama-cho, also in Hyogo prefecture, then I moved to Itami another city in Hyogo prefecture. Q: How was your time in Japan? A: Very productive, very fruitful. The first three years I worked at a high school, it was actually a nursing high school. So of the 300 or 400 students all were young ladies and about 2 or 3 young men were studying to be nurses. I was already a musician and some of my first interactions with my students were in the music room. I couldn’t speak as fluently as I wanted to; we spoke on instruments. I played the piano a lot, they taught me SMAP (Japanese Boy Band) songs. I would teach them songs I had written or Jamaican songs, our anthem, and in less than 2 months I was playing live at the bunkasai (cultural festival) and h