FuJET Pun-tacular 2014 Leavers Party!

FuJET Pun-tacular 2014 Leavers Party!

punThe theme for the 2014 Leavers Party in Fukushima City has been announced– and it’s pun-tacular! It’s PUNS! Check out the Facebook event. To RSVP and nominate people for the Leavers Awards— head here now!


WHAT: FuJET Leavers Party
Every summer, there comes a sad time when we are forced to bid farewell tothe many wonderful people who will be moving on from JET in the coming weeks. That time is almost here, so let’s give them the best send-off we can!

WHEN: Friday, July 4th, 2014 (following the Leavers Conference), from 8:00 pm – 12:00 am

WHERE: AGATO Café & Dining, Fukushima City

HOW MUCH: 3,000 yen with a costume / 3,500 yen without a costume
Your money will get you FOUR (4) hours of all-you-can-drink fun times in excellent company!
Agato has been really good to us when we’ve booked with them in the past, so let’s be nice to them!
Look out for your friends, and pace yourselves. Let’s not call any ambulances!

Inside every person secretly lurks an inner oyaji, just waiting to be freed.
Their time has come at last, because our theme this year is… PUNS!

If you’re not sure what a punny costume is, here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
– An empty box of granola and a knife: Cereal Killer
– A cowboy costume: Ranch Dressing

Speaking of costumes…

You’d better believe we have costume prizes! This year, we’ll be giving out five (5) fabulous prizes for the following categories:
– Best Overall Costume
– Best Group Costume
– Best Handmade Costume
– Most Unique Costume
– Funniest Costume
Show us what you’ve got!

We’re looking for DJs to keep us dancing from start to finish! If you’re interested in taking a turn, send us a mail at <fujet.council@gmail.com> and we’ll see if we can’t get you sorted! (Leavers will get priority.)

This is the time of year when you, the good people of Fukushima, are called upon to nominate your friends for the illustrious FuJET Awards! Tell us if you think you know somebody who deserves to win one of the following:

1. The Yoda Award: Best sempai
2. The FTW Freshman Award: Best new JET
3. The Good Cheese Award: Person most likely to be missed
4. The I’d Tap That for Him Award: Most attractive male
5. The I’d Tap That for Her Award: Most attractive female
6. The Bromance Award: Most beautiful dude friendship
7. The Awwwww Award: Most adorable couple
8. The Oh God Stop Being So Genki Award: Cheery person most likely to make your morning hangover worse
9. The DPRK Award: Person most dangerous to those around them
10. The Natto Award: Person most likely to try anything once
11. The Tyrion Lannister Award: Person most likely to stave off impending death with a witty comeback
12. The Nobel Prize Award: The person most likely to go on to achieve great things after JET
13. The Community Outreach Award: Person who has gone above and beyond in giving back to Fukushima

The Japan Cat Network

The Japan Cat Network

maxwellby Maxwell Lamb


I grew up in an era when a person’s general sanity meter was determined by how many cats they owned. It started at one cat, which usually said, “I’m single, but not for long.” With two, it was: “I’m a little crazy, but clearly I love animals, and isn’t that charming?” With three or more, it was: “I am certifiably insane and single to the point of being contagious, please keep ten feet away from me at all times so you don’t catch the crazy.”

In short, the term ‘Cat Lady’ used to mean something. After I moved to Fukushima, I heard that one of my closest neighbours was a North American woman who took care of forty or fifty cats in a single house. My math was clearly broken, because I don’t think my established ratio of cats-to-sanity had ever measured anything that high. What is this place all about? How can a woman manage to take care of so many animals by herself? And just how crazy is she?
The Japan Cat Network (JCN) is situated along a country highway in Inawashiro, Fukushima, which happens to be about ten or fifteen minutes from my house by car. A big ol’ brown house down the road from Hiro’s famous burger shack, the shelter looks a lot like any other house along the highway stretch. Once inside, you enter a pretty enormous common area that functions as a free hostel for its volunteers and visitors, as well as a couple of enthusiastic and sociable dogs who will probably be too lazy to get off their sofa-beds to greet you at the door (unless you make the mistake of picking up a leash, which is a terrible idea).

There are several rooms that house a few different varieties of kitty cat. There is the quarantine room, which is used for sick or loner strays, usually the kind that would sooner remain anti-social. There are a couple of rooms that serve the rescue cats that are learning to adjust to the company of both humans and other cats. The final room over is basically heaven for cat lovers, because it’s the social kitty room. You walk in, and at least nine or ten cats will immediately present themselves at your feet, meowing and purring for pets and cuddles and playtime. It’s kind of surreal the first time you do it. I recommend the catnip. There’s something truly awesome about watching a pile of kitties rolling around and hallucinating on a carpet, their minds having gone to places no human could possibly understand outside of the 1960s.

At the center of this rescue organization is a pretty remarkable woman named Susan. I met Susan through my best friend, who was travelling around Fukushima acquiring footage for a documentary pitch, and he introduced us. Susan didn’t exactly fit the build that I had in my head for ‘Cat Lady,’ because she clearly wasn’t insane, and seemed to be doing what she was doing out of both compassion for the animals and empathy for the human beings that once loved them. As the head of JCN, Susan rescues and tends to pets that were abandoned after the Daiichi power plant failure by going into the evacuated zones of Fukushima, and working with select individuals with access to the exclusion zone. She does this for the animal’s sake, but also so their owners have a chance of reuniting with their loved ones. A lot of these pet owners were forced to move into new housing that wouldn’t allow animals, so many were left behind.

I went with Susan on one of these trips to the evacuated zone. We filled up food bowls for the cats who didn’t want to be rescued, looked for strays that needed a helping hand, and dodged the local community police that presumed us to be eco-terrorists of some kind. Most of these animals have owners that will never return to them. The ones left to the wild face the dangers of seasonal shifts in temperature, other wild animals and starvation. The ones Susan picks up have a real chance.

JCN is always look for donations and manpower to keep the organization running, as well as potential adopters or foster parents to temporarily take care of its feline and canine inhabitants. We want to find temporary foster and adoptive homes for every single cat and dog at the Network, and we need volunteers and donations to keep the program running. If you are interested in paying a visit, fostering a cat, lending your time, making a donation, or just want a nifty virtual tour of JCN’s digs, please visit the website at https://japancatnetwork.org/ .
Cat people. We may be a little crazy, but the fuzzy cuddles are worth it.

What’s Hot? Spring 2014

What’s Hot? Spring 2014

It’s pretty important to be able to keep abreast of what is popular with our students and what isn’t. Who wants to be the teacher that brings in a bunch of stickers with a character the kids think is uncool and outdated? Whether when considering who to put on your worksheets or what kinds of prizes to bring, this quick cheat sheet will keep you in the know and help your kids think that you’re way more hip then you have the right to be.

First, here is a quick overview to a few ‘Classics’ that you can stick with which have weathered the test of time.



Our hero, Goku
Our hero, Goku
Vegeta, making receding hairlines sexy.

Dragon Ball With the remastering of DBZ about to start playing on TV again, DBZ is guaranteed to be pretty big. Younger students love it for the ridiculous attacks and it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip for the rest of us. You should know Goku (our loveable hero with a power level over 9,000) and Vegeta (the cranky widow’s peaked anti-hero). Chances are that you probably know at least a little about DBZ if you spent any time in the 90s.

The Straw Hat Crew
The Straw Hat Crew

One Piece Your kids will either love this perennial Shonen Jump pirate story or they’ll hate it. It’s a mixed bag for the older kids. But, so long as you know Luffy, Ace, Zorro, and Chopper– you should be good to go. One Piece goods are everywhere, seriously. Pick a rare character to be your favourite and the kids will be even more impressed.


Sailor Moon says~!

Sailor Moon With the new anime (finally) given an airdate of July of this year, Sailor Moon and all of the other planets are going to be everywhere. Sailor Moon goods are already popping up across gatcha machines across the country. The big down side with Sailor Moon is due to a lack of merchandise for the past twenty years, if you want to get anything Sailor Moon related for your kids, you are going to have to pay for it due to the price mark up. Sailor Moon says: Not cool, retailers!

Duffy, The Disney Cashcow
Duffy, The Disney Cashcow

Disney/Pixar Mickey, Minnie, Chip, Dale, Pluto, and one Disney character you may not be so familiar with– Duffy the Bear. Duffy is a mascot character at the Tokyo Disney parks that you can buy outfits and accessories for. He looks just like a regular bear but has a mickey shape on his paws. In terms of Pixar– the hot Pixar properties are Toy Story and Monsters Inc. Learn to draw a good Mike or ‘Little Green Man’ and you will be the jouzu-est teacher on the block.


Don't be fooled. He'll TPKO you.
Don’t be fooled. He’ll TPKO you.

Video Games Pokemon, Monster Hunter, Mario, Dragon Quest… these are still popular. A blast from the past, right? There’s a good chance that you won’t know too many of the newer pokemon or much about Monster Hunter besides that it has cute cats and pigs for mascots but that’s okay. They’re cute and what’s what matters. Also, who doesn’t love a blue slime?


BFFs, yo.
BFFs, yo.

Doraemon/Anpanman These are classic characters for little kids but learn how to draw them and even your most jaded SHS kids will appreciate this nod back to their youth.



Cute Kitty-chan, Rilakkuma, Sentimental Circus. You don’t have to know about the characters but if it’s cute and pastel coloured, your kids will eat it up.

What’s Hot Now?

Pictured front centre is Barysan. The weird wheel with legs is Nishikokun...
Pictured front centre is Barysan. The weird wheel with legs is Nishikokun…

Yurukyara Those crazy mascots. What will we they get up to next? Currently, Funasshi is the king of the Yurukyara with his crazy shouting and running from explosions. Other popular yurukyara’s include Barysan (a previous winner of the Yurukyara grand prix), Nishikokun (I don’t even…), and the current reigning champion of the yurukyara Grand Prix– Sanomaru. A local yurukyara how is starting to gain a bit more country-wide popularity is Koriyama’s own Gakutokun. He’s pretty easy to spot in UFO catchers in Tokyo right now!



Lil' Levi
Lil’ Levi

Attack on Titan//Shingeki no Kyojin Kids flying through the air with swords fighting giants who eat people. What isn’t to love about this overtly gory anime and manga series? Erin, Mikasa, and Levi are the top three favourites– especially Levi with the girls. Include Levi on your next handout and you’ll be deafened by the squeals of delight.


Slimes and cute creatures and shirtless warriors, oh my!

Puzzles and Dragons//Puzadora The whole swap-three style game brought to brand new levels of popularity here in Japan thanks to the incorporation of cute characters you have to breed and raise. It’s like Digimon meets Bejewled and your kids are eating it up. Thankfully, many of the characters are just blobs and easy to draw.


Taiga and Tetsuya
Taiga and Tetsuya

Kuroko’s Basketball//Kuroko no Basuke The plot of this anime/manga, as told by Wikipedia: ‘The basketball team of Teikō Middle School rose to distinction by demolishing all competition. The regulars of the team became known as the “Generation of Miracles”. After graduating from middle school, these five stars went to different high schools with top basketball teams. However, a fact few know is that there was another player in the “Generation of Miracles”: a phantom sixth man. This mysterious player is now a freshman at Seirin High, a new school with a powerful, if little-known, team. Now, Kuroko Tetsuya, the sixth member of the “Generation of Miracles”, and Kagami Taiga, a naturally talented player who spent most of middle school in the US, are aiming to bring Seirin to the top of Japan, taking on Kuroko’s former teammates one by one. ‘ Two characters to know here are the blue-haired titular charcter Tetsuya Kuroko and his red-headed partner Taiga Kagami. Tetsuya #2, Tetsuya’s cute dog is also worth knowing.

Cast of Silver Spoon
Cast of Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon//Gin no Saji From the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, this is a new slice of life manga/anime that focuses around a boy from Sapporo transferring to an agriculture high school in the country. Comedy, love, life, and valuable moral lessons are probably contained within the story– in addition to newfound respect and cool points with your kids.



Current animated heart throbs of your students.
Current animated heart throbs of your students.

Free!An anime about a boy’s SHS swimming club. You maaaay want to avoid including goods and prizes with Free! as the characters are typically depicted in speedos or the like but it’s good to recognise what the characters look like (half naked anime boy on a student’s bag probably means it’s a Free! Character) so that you can talk to your kids or comment about it. At the end of the day, we all just want to relate and find something that we can connect to our kids with.


What’s Out

Kumamon That big black bear is still seen everywhere but it so decidedly uncool wit the kids anymore.
Nameko I’m not sad to see those phallic looking weird mushrooms fall from grace…
Stitch He’s still here and there but he’s reached the point of over saturation with most students so he’s seen as a little hokey with most students.

These are just some guides as to what is trendy with our kids. Each school and each individual kid is different. Pay attention to what straps, stickers, and pencil cases your kids have to help you learn what your kids like the best. And even if something that you love isn’t ‘cool’ with your kids, MAKE it cool to your kids. After all, I’m working on making Mameshiba the most popular character out there one student at a time.