To the new FuJETs (Fukushima JETs)

So. You’re a new JET and you just got your offer. But it’s Fukushima…

Never fear! Once you have read this article (read the whole thing, now, no skimming) you will feel a lot better and will start counting the days until your plane leaves. Seriously.

Fukushima is an awesome place to work and live. I came here in July 2012 and I have loved every minute of it. Whether your post is in one of the cities (yes, there are cities in Fukushima) or in the inaka (country) I can pretty much guarantee you’ll love it here.

Reasons why you will love it here:

  • The people are super friendly. They are naturally friendly people and after the earthquake (I’ll get to that) they are even more appreciative that you didn’t run away because you heard the name “Fukushima”.
  • The other JETs are really friendly. My experience coming to Japan last year was made all the greater by my caring sempai JETs who helped me through the dos and don’ts and made me feel like I was lucky to be placed in Fukushima despite everything else I had heard.
  • Community! At Tokyo Orientation you won’t be in the largest group, but you will probably be in the loudest. And the awesomest. FuJET is one of the more active branches of AJET as far as getting together and doing stuff goes. We’re also really active on a national level, with FuJETs representing on the national AJET council.
  • You ever wanted to go to Hokkaido? Climb Mt. Fuji? Go bungy jumping? See sumo? We’ll hook you up! FuJET organises numerous outings and trips throughout the year so if you’re the type who likes to get out and DO stuff, Fukushima is the place to be.
  • Volunteering. If you want to get out there and help, unsurprisingly Tohoku is the place to be. There is still a lot to be done in the area and if you want to lend a hand there will be no shortage of opportunities. As well as that, FuJET has a section dedicated to volunteer activities and fundraising. Eyes 4 Fukushima is a charity made and run by FuJETs!

Of course, I should probably address the reasons why you’re worried.

  • Radiation. Big one, right? I’m not going to encourage complacency in this, and it is up to you to decide how you feel about this complex and controversial issue. But please, do your research. The news in many countries is very one-sided in the information it gives out so it pays to check all the theories. I can reassure you though we live very normal lives. Huge precautions are taken with radiation monitors positioned at every school and in many other public places. The food is constantly being tested and is safe to eat – none of us have turned green or grown any extra limbs! Also, if you look at the actual radiation counts, there is actually less background radiation in Fukushima than in many of the world’s major cities.
  • Earthquakes and tsunami. The most recent BIG one hit Tohoku, as I’m sure you are aware. But earthquakes and tsunami are not limited to Fukushima or even Tohoku. Japan sits on the edge of a tectonic plate (like the west coast of America or New Zealand) so earthquakes happen. Mostly they are small and harmless. The rule is to be prepared, and know that Japan has a good idea of how to deal with disasters when they arise.

Anyway, enough of that dark stuff. Fukushima rocks. The majority of FuJETs re-contract because people don’t want to leave! If you do have any questions, shoot someone an email (I’ll do – fjkerkham@gmail.com), check the forums, or join our Facebook page  (Fukushima ALTs). We’re all looking forward to meeting you!

FuJET Presidential Platforms

Below, you will find the platforms for our three presidential candidates for the 2014-2015 FuJET Council. Please read the platforms carefully before casting your vote. You will be able to select two candidates for the position of FuJET president. The nominee with the most votes will win the seat of FuJET president with the second highest votes will win the seat of vice-president. Please click on the names below to expand and read an individual’s platform.

The Sapporo Snow Festival 2014: Retrospective

The Sapporo Snow Festival 2014: Retrospective

The Sapporo Snow Festival
By Renata Janney

snow1The yearly trip to the Sapporo Snow Festival in February is the biggest trip organised by FuJET. Each year JETs head for the coldest prefecture in Japan for snow sculptures, skiing and various other activities. If you haven’t gone on this trip, it is highly recommended – maybe next year?
snow2About 29 ALTs, my husband and I included, participated in the FuJET trip to Sapporo’s Snow festival in mid-February. We went to Hokkaido together by ferry, which, for land lubbers like me, was a new experience! After I got used to the rocking and the endless black night outside our windows, I had a good time! Both our ferries to and from Hokkaido had restaurants, onsen, TVs, and one even had a karaoke lounge! It might have taken a long time, but it was nice to travel in style.

Once we arrived in Sapporo and settled into our hotel, we had our only combined activity in Sapporo – an all-you-can-eat meal at the Sapporo Beer Hall! Though I wasn’t interested in the beer, I got to try out Genghis Khan – lamb and vegetables cooked on your table. After the dinner, however, everyone could do what they want. A lot of people took advantage of the ski slopes near the city, or visited the chocolate factory in Sapporo. Our hotel was only a few blocks from the main site of the Snow Festival, so Tyson and I visited the sculptures throughout our weekend. There were some huge sculptures of palaces, but I really loved the smaller snow sculptures of everything from hinaningyou (traditional Japanese dolls) to Totoro! We were also really close to the Maruyama Zoo! I loved seeing some of the Hokkaido wildlife there, as well as some cute polar bears and the tropical bird exhibit.

Tyson and I also went to the town of Otaru, a port city about one hour from Sapporo. While it was a lot busier than I thought it would be, I loved seeing the lanterns they had strung out over the canals. Tyson and I also had a fun time getting lost and we ate at a kaisendon (sashimi over rice) restaurant off the beaten path.

In case you couldn’t tell, one of the best parts of this trip for me was the food! Hokkaido is famous for its ramen, and Tyson and I had the opportunity to eat in Ramen Alley, a small street with 17 ramen shops. The area is also famous for its crab, and I got to try a lot of crab dishes – one of my favorites was crab miso soup!

snow3To sum up, Tyson and I had a great time in Sapporo! The town has a very different vibe from other Japanese cities, since the area was only settled in the 19th century. I was worried about the cold and the snow, but as long as I bundled up I stayed warm! If you have the chance to visit the festival, I recommend that you take it!

Now Open! Voting for the 2014-2015 FuJET Council!–UPDATE! Polls are now closed!

Now Open! Voting for the 2014-2015 FuJET Council!–UPDATE! Polls are now closed!

vote

UPDATE! March 14, 20014 Ladies and gentlemen! The polls are now closed! Thanks to all of you who took the time to vote and make their voice heard for the new council! Stay on the lookout and keep your eyes peeled for the election results!

Good evening ladies and gentlemen! I am proud to announce that voting for the 2014-2015 FuJET Council has officially started! Voting will run from now until March 14th at 6:30PM.

This year, we will have elections for the positions of president, vice-president, and treasurer.  For the positions of president and vice-president, the nominee with the highest number of votes will win the presidency with the nominee with the second-highest number of votes winning the vice-presidency.  As such, you will be allowed to cast two votes for the presidential candidates. For the treasurer candidates, you can cast a single vote.

Make sure that you have your JET number ready (found on your JET study materials or you can check with a PA!) and let’s vote! Just follow the button to get started!