JET Study Tour: Aizu and Kitakata

JET Study Tour: Aizu and Kitakata

by Natalie Donohue

On the weekend of the 19th and 20th of October,Screening rice a number of JETs took part in a ‘study tour’ to Aizu and Kitakata. The purpose of the tour was to have the chance to see some of Fukushima’s famous sights, but more importantly to see how the prefecture has been recovering since the March 11th 2011 disaster. The participants had the opportunity to experience a wide-range of Fukushima-related activities, such as painting ‘okiagarikoboshi’ dolls, visiting Aizu Tsuruga Castle, a sake brewery, and some of Kitakata’s famous traditional storehouses, as well as staying overnight at a local farm and helping with farm work. We were also able to visit the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre and a local JA centre dedicated to screening Fukushima rice for harmful radiation.

TsurugajouOne of the most interesting and informative parts of the trip for me was the visit to the Agricultural Technology Centre. After picking all the participants up in either Fukushima or Koriyama, we headed to the Centre which tests Fukushima produce (vegetables, meat and dairy products) for radiation levels. We watched a presentation about how the produce is screened and tested before being given a tour of the facility and seeing the rooms where the testing is carried out. Before leaving the centre, we enjoyed a delicious meal of yakiniku and fresh vegetables. I found this part of the trip to be the most informative, as although I was already aware that Fukushima produce is closely scrutinised and monitored for harmful radiation, it was interesting to hear about and see the process for myself.

A major highlight of the trip was the ‘farm stay’. We were separated into small groups of 3 or 4 before meeting our host mother/father. On Saturday night, each group relaxed and enjoyed eating and drinking with their host family and on the Sunday we prepared to try our hands at some farm work. Unfortunately, heavy rain prevented us from working outside, so instead we tried removing seeds from raw cotton using a special wooden press. Despite the poor weather we had fun, and it afforded us another chance to interact and chat with the host family.

This trip was a fantastic experience and is something that I would recommend to all Fukushima JET participants regardless of the amount of time already spent here! Not only was it very informative and interesting, but it was also a heartening experience seeing how the prefecture is recovering from the effects of the March 11th disaster. Despite the hardships faced, the people of Fukushima are resilient and have never given up, and from the looks of things, Fukushima will become even stronger! I’m looking forward to the next study tour to Iwaki!

ザ・日本 The Japan

by Mary Torricke-Barton

Wherever you go, there are kind people; but I think that people who don’t think about themselves and help others are rare.  However, I have met many of those people in Japan.

I first came to Japan on a family trip when I was 11 years old.  At that time, none of my family could speak much Japanese.  On our first day here, we were trying to catch a train from the airport, but we couldn’t read the kanji on our train tickets.  A man saw that we were confused, so he came over to help us.  He didn’t just tell us how to read the ticket, but actually picked up some of our luggage and got onto the train with us to show where our seats were.

I recently met another kind person in Japan.  Two weeks ago, I went to the post office to send some money to a company.  I didn’t know how to send the money, but the post office staff were very helpful and telephoned the company for me to check the details.

There are many foreigners living or travelling in Japan, and there may be times when they are lost or in trouble.  Even if you don’t speak another language, I think you can make a deep impression on them.  You can also meet many interesting people, and have many good experiences.

Let’s make this world a better place by having the courage to selflessly help the people around us!

Lock your doors and hide the kids…the JLPT is coming!

Newbies and oldies alike — JLPT season is once again upon us!

Key Dates
Note: These are a bit more accurate than what was said at Fukushima Orientation.

August 17 – Applications become available at major bookstores around Fukushima. However, according to this site, they will only be available in one bookstore in Fukushima City and one in Iwaki. If you can’t find a bookstore near you that sells applications, you should either contact your local international center or call BONJINSHA Publishing Company at 03-3263-3959 and order the application directly from them.

Mid-September – Applications will be due. Don’t zone out and miss this date!

December 6 – Exam date

July 5, 2010 – Next exam date (only for levels 1 and 2) Read more