FuJET Midyear Conference Beer Hall Dinner

FuJET Midyear Conference Beer Hall Dinner

midyear_bannerBEER AND MEAT!!!

Now that I have your attention, I would like to invite you all to eat beer and meat after day one of the mid year conference!

——————-The bare-bones details:—————————–

When: Tuesday, November the 5th
What: A TWO hour all you can drink and eat at the ASAHI Beer Garden!
How much: 3,500 ~ 4,000 YEN
Who: ANYONE is welcome!
How: Email us at fujetcouncil@gmail.com to sign up!
By when: Sign ups will end October 27th, 7pm! Don’t miss out!

———————In depth details:————————————

When? Tuesday, November the 5th, (the first night of the conference). We have two buses and they will be leaving Hotel Sun Route Plaza at 5.50 PM. Please meet outside the hotel before then!

What? The mid-year conference in November is the only time in the year when all of the Fukushima JETs come together; old and new! So, every year FuJET books the Asahi Beer Garden for drinking, eating and mixing!

It is a TWO hour all you can drink and all you can eat! The food is essentially lamb yakiniku and veggies, and there are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to cater to everyone! Drinks (alcohol and soft drinks), meat, good company….what more could one want?

For the vegetarians, we can order the veggie option for you…. but it is a bit lacking. They essentially give you bean sprouts, pumpkins, onions and mushrooms. Sometimes they do oiled pasta, so we will see if they can do it again this year. BUT you can bring along you own extras to grill – noodles, eggplants, carrots and so on. So come either way, and enjoy the fun times.

How much? 3,500 to 4,000 yen. We will let you know the final price once a few things get finalised! This fee covers all food, drinks and transport. Payment will be taken at the conference – in the morning and at the FuJET meeting in the afternoon. If you put your name on the list and pull out without finding a replacement, we will unfortunately have to ask you to pay anyway.

Who? Like we said, anyone! You, your JTE, your hug-pillow, JET, non-JET, your JTE’s 102 year-old obaa-chan, anyone! Just make sure that they are all included in your RSVP email. Speaking of which…

How? If you want to come, please send an email to fujetcouncil@gmail.com

Please include your name and if you require the vege option or not! It would help us if you put the subject as ‘Mid Year‘ as well!

Please note – this is NOT the Motomiya Beer Hall. If you want to drive yourself, or make your own way there, PLEASE let us know!

There is a limit of 90 people for this trip and it always fills up so sign up ASAP! Sign ups will end October 27th at 7pm, so don’t leave it to the last minute!

After party? NEO, a club in Fukushima city, has offered us a nomihoudai deal – two hours for 2, 000 YEN! They also do drink by drink deals. It’s up to you whether or not you head out clubbing or go and crash!

Oh, and NEO said we can provide our own DJs, so if you are interested in playing some tunes, please send us a mail.

We look forward to seeing everyone there – it is a really fun night and a great chance to talk to everyone!

Read more

Sumo in Furudono

Sumo in Furudono
Maxwell_Sumo
Let the tickle fight begin!

by Maxwell Lamb

In my long history of pinning large men to the ground, I’ve come to fancy myself something of an expert on the subject. Sumo wrestling seemed like it would come naturally to a lad such as myself, seeing as how I’m quite tall, a little girthy, and unnaturally talented at hugging. Nudity is also a speciality of mine, particularly in a public setting, so the opportunity to wear a tightly wrapped long strip of fabric leaving very little to the imagination was simply too irresistible to pass up. With that, I joined a merry band of Fukushima fellows for a day of amateur sumo in the mountains, and proceeded to have my butt, covered by absolutely nothing at the time, completely handed to me. I don’t know where it went wrong, exactly. I’m dangerously ticklish, so my first fight had me erupting in gigglish fits of laughter, which was actually quite effective in psyching out my opponent. My height seemed to be particularly disadvantageous, as the others were able to duck under my reach and go for the full lift, promptly before tossing me outside of the ring like a beanbag. I couldn’t even frighten my opponents with my patented girlish scream. It would seem that the men in business suits who populated the judges area expected as much, and were entertained enough to hand us 1000 yen bills for amusing them. It would now appear as though I’m an expert in squeezing money out of businessmen by frolicking around without any clothes on. No change there…

In all seriousness, sumo wrestling was far more taxing and aggressive than I had originally envisioned. I haven’t been an athlete for some time, and it was nice to refresh the feeling of sport and combat in such a setting where the jovial spirit meets the athletic. By the end of the weekend, large, hand-marked bruises had formed on my chest like battle scars, my body had been tenderized like a chicken breast under the hammer and I could barely walk.

Completely worth it. Expect to see me next year. Rematches abound, and to he who bested me better than any other: I can’t wait to hug you again.

Teaching: Mission Impossible

Teaching: Mission Impossible

Kim_MISSION_IMPOSSIBLEby Kim ‘Possible’ Morris

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” With Thomas Jefferson’s words in mind I set out on a mission. My mission was to not sit around for summer vacation doing nothing. I believe I had an Einstein moment and the idea of a summer camp was conceived. It was early March so I had sufficient time to nurture my idea. Step one was to inform a few teachers about my “brilliant plan”.  They stressed that they would be busy and would have no time to help me with such a concept.  I was also told that this has never been done and that “Japanese people” are not accustomed to camps, and of course that the students would be exceptionally busy during the summer. I must say those words did hit hard. In fact, my “brilliant plan” appeared to be not so brilliant. As a result, I returned my focus to my other duties.

However, after a few months I realized this plan would not escape my thoughts. So by May I was back to planning. This time I kept my ideas to myself. I created a rationale to prove how my plan would be beneficial for all involved. I started planning several activities that I knew English Club students and other students of my high school would enjoy. I also thought it was ideal to invite other ALTs to be a part of this mission. I was overwhelmed by the support and feedback that I received from ALTs. This was just the motivation I needed. With motivation level at its peak I was ready to sell my “brilliant idea.” I went back to some teachers who told me it’s best I do my camp during winter vacation, one also told me that it was “impossible” to invite other ALTs without them taking paid leave. I was saddened by this and as a result many ALTs started to refuse my invitation. I sought guidance from a more authoritative source…I told him of my plan and that I knew it would be great. A few weeks later I had the green light. Now all the real challenge began. I had to prepare numerous paperwork about who, what, where, why and when. After a few days I realized this was indeed mission impossible…impossible for one person. However, I did not let this hinder me. I took my vitamins and used my time wisely.

July 22-26 was the date of English Camp affectionately called, “Mission Impossible.” With a total of 27 students registered we started off at1pm as was planned. On day one we had 17 participants- most of which were all members of English Club. They did various activities ranging from a very interactive self-introduction from one Scottish lad name Michael Cowan. The students and I were engrossed in his presentation. He held the attention of the students from the start and he maintained their attention throughout. Of course I could not just assume that they were listening, so afterwards I asked students various questions about Michael’s self-introduction. The students were successful in answering all the questions asked. I must say at that moment I felt like a proud mother. After activity one, we had two more activities before we could conclude the day’s events. We did an activity called “The Hunt” and a challenging board game, which tested the students’ grammar, speaking and listening abilities. We ended at approximately 4pm. To summarize/evaluate day one I will use the words of Michael, “Just had a day teaching at a senior high school for the first time, it was great fun. To be able to converse using my natural speech was just so great. It was one of my most fun teaching days so far.”

Day two started with a little glitch, so we were a little behind on time. However, students would not be dismayed, they were armed with popcorn and other movie treats because Tuesday was Movie Day. The students watched keenly not to miss an important or non-important scene of Ice Age. After all, their keen sense of attention would be crucial in gaining maximum points for their team’s written movie review challenge. The day ended with Lisa Chenier giving some words of wisdom to the students.

Day three started very early, 10:30am to be exact. Lisa started off by giving a well-organized self-introduction. After she finished I allowed the students to ask questions,  and although the questions were many and varied, one student had to ask that one question that all ALTs dread… “Do you have a boyfriend?” With that unanswered question we moved on to the other activities of the day – the Great Interview. Later, the students had to create their own aliens. The day ended a little before 2pm. Lisa said her goodbyes and wished the students well.

Day 4 started with a short self-introduction by Erica Grainger and her typhoon game…which had no typhoon or tornadoes. The students did enjoy not experiencing those natural disasters by the way. The points were neck and neck between most teams since the disasters were still to be revealed. The students enjoyed this activity and Erica’s chirpiness. The students shared their Aliens, which might have scared Erica a bit. The TSC or some form of brain alien from Jupiter proved how creative these students were. We ended by writing a short summary of the life of William Shakespeare. This activity really tested the students reading, writing, speaking and their ability to reword and summarize given content. We ended early in preparation for upcoming day.

Day 5: the day that the students’ culinary awareness would be tested. The menu was prepared and students in their groups were ready to cook beef/chicken soup, curried chicken, white rice and coleslaw. The task was to make enough servings for about 32 persons. Erica was put to the test, she assisted in soups. I was an all-rounder making sure that all stations were carefully managed. The students were schooled in making perfect Jamaican dumplings. Some were ready and demonstrated great knife skills and also showed that they had a passion for cooking. Others were as lost as fish out of water. However, we all helped each other and successfully cooked all dishes. Then we all sat and had a great meal together. Erica had only kind words of encouragement for me and also my students. She really appreciated that I invited her and she enjoyed herself and the interaction with students. In the words of Erica a program such as this must have taken tremendous management skills and also time, effort and dedication.

With that said the week was over…mission impossible: not so impossible!!

Fuku Book Club’s 3rd Meeting

Fuku Book Club’s 3rd Meeting

The Fuku Book Club had its 3rd meeting on Sunday, September 8th at Don Jalepenos in Koriyama.  For two hours members ate Mexican food and discussed Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, not to be confused with 50 Shades of Grey, an entirely different book! The book club is open to anyone who wishes to attend and generally hovers around 12-15 members in attendance, with many people who rotate in and out month-to-month.

fforde

This past months selection, Shades of Grey, seemed to be the most popular selection yet, receiving unanimous enjoyment among the members.  A lively discussion of the novel then took place.  Though it was less controversial as a selection, the book had many interesting ideas and themes that the members discussed.

Members take turns choosing five potential book candidates and then putting it to the club for discussion and voting before a novel is finally decided upon.  This past month’s novel was selected by Danielle Markewicz.

If you are interested in joining future meetings, feel free to reach out to its hosts, Mark Noizumi or Danielle Markewicz, for further information.

<Facebook event page>

 

Aizu Samurai Festival 2013– A Retrospective

by Ceallach Stevens

Being a first year JET, I am still not exactly sure what sort of high jinks I get myself into when I sign up for things.  Will it be fun?  Will it suck like an empty matter space?  However, Samurai are awesome, festivals are awesome, so both together should just double the awesome, right?

Yeah, it was pretty awesome.

The parade at the Aizu Festival shows off the different warriors who fought for the Aizu clan from the sixteenth century up until the Boshin Civil War, which pitted the collapsing Shogunate against the Reformers who had rallied around Emperor Meiji.  The festival itself dates back to 1953 in order to honour those who had died during the Boshin War.

The parade focused primarily on Boshin War participants.  Among the more famous of the bunch, there was the Shinsengumi, who famously fought for the Shogunate and were nicknamed the Wolves of Mibu, and were clearly visible in their vibrant blue jackets.  The female troops, Joshitai and Naginatatai were also represented, having also fought during the Boshin war.  Many of the Samurai were more than happy to show off their swords and even allow tourists to hold them.  I may or may not have geeked out over being offered a chance to play with a wakizashi.

Not all participants were samurai though.  Some were dressed as the warrior’s attendants.  Others were lords and ladies, as well as a few notable figures.  Teruhime, a princess of the Aizu clan, rode on a cart decked out in a full kimono.  She too had assisted in the defence of Tsuruga castle.  A couple non-combatants marched in the parade as well.  Henry Schnell, a Prussian arms dealer to the Shogun, and the family nanny Okei.  Due to the popularity of the NHK drama, Yae Nijima brought up the rear of the parade, riding in a cart with her family.

After the parade and some fried chicken, we went to Tsuruga castle for a tour.  English tours were offered on the day of the festival, and our guides did their best to explain how the castle was defended and the significance of various artifacts and buildings.  The interior of the castle had been turned into a museum, and displayed portraits of the various lords who lived in the castle, as well as notable figures that defended it.  At the top of the castle was one of the best views of Aizu and the surrounding mountains.

Exiting onto the castle grounds, there was a large stage set up for various shows and demonstrations as part of the festival.  Some of the shows included dances, historic plays put on by local acting troupes, Naginata demonstrations, concerts and poetry recitations.

The festival was full of fun experiences, great street food and was an interesting way to learn about the local history of Aizu, and that of Japan as a whole.  I would definitely recommend this festival, and I would love to experience it again in years to come.