FuJET Council 2019-20

Hey, hey, hey everyone, please join me in welcoming our new FuJET council for 2019-20!

President – Eilidh

Hello, everyone! Ciamar a tha sibh?

My name is Eilidh (pronounced like Hayley without the H, or alternatively, you may call me the Skipper), and I’m your FuJET president for 2019-2020. Originally from just outside Glasgow, Scotland, I arrived in Fukushima in August 2017; and since then I’ve been living in the city of Nihonmatsu. I’ve travelled to many different parts of Fukushima, but there’s still so much more to discover!

This year I want to bring our FuJET community together, to encourage prefecture-wide friendships, and to give everyone the chance to experience everything Fukushima has to offer, from the mountains of Aizu to the beaches of Iwaki. When I’m not plotting to take over the world by friendship, you can find me skiing, spending money I don’t have on kimono, and enthusiastically babbling about films I like.

I’m really looking forward to hanging out with everyone this year, forging new friendships and strengthening old ones. I’m here for you whenever you need me, so feel free to add me on LINE (eilidhc) or hit me up on Messenger. If you need to rant about something, ask for advice, or debate which conbini snacks are the best (there is a right answer), I got you.

Let’s make it a good one. Slàinte!

Vice President/Secretary – Stephen

My name is Stephen Marshall and I will be your Vice-President/Secretary. I originally come from Alberta, Canada but currently live in Koriyama City with my wife! My degree is in Mechanical Engineering and I enjoy tinkering, cycling, and being outdoors. Oh! And beer! We can’t forget that, can we? I am always down for a fun activities or just to talk. If I can do anything for you, let me know.

My goal this year is to bring as much fun and enthusiasm into the FuJET community as possible. I will be responsible for the overall transparency of FuJET happenings, sharing the president’s workload, and generally running around like a madman assisting the many happenings of FuJET. I am looking forward to working with this FuJET council to make wonderful things happen. I am extremely excited to be part of such a fine community and I can’t wait to get started! Let’s have an amazing year together!!!

Treasurer – Charles

Welcome to Fukushima! My name is Charles Singer, and I’ll be your FuJET treasurer for the coming year. I’m a second year (almost third year) ALT, from Michigan in the USA. I currently live and work in Minamisoma, on the pacific coast. I work at both the junior high and elementary level, and in my spare time I do things like volunteering, playing games (both video and tabletop,) and going on the occasional nature hike. I can also play the trumpet, although I haven’t been practicing since I got here (curse you, thin apartment walls!)

As treasurer, I’ll be a part of the council, as well as being in charge of finances for FuJET events throughout the year. Be sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming events; they’ll give you a chance to experience things you otherwise not be able to, and they’re fun to boot! You’re also welcome to send me any questions, concerns, or ideas you might have; I’ll do my best to help.

I’ve loved my time in Fukushima so far, and I hope your experience is at least as good as mine has been. I’m looking forward to helping out FuJET and the local community in any way I can.

Volunteer Coordinator – Merton

Welcome to Fukushima! My name’s Merton a.k.a Longboi. I’ve been here for two-going-on-three years and I couldn’t be happier with my new city of Fukushima-shi. I’m from Boston originally, and I enjoyed volunteering and participating in charity events there. Volunteering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in particular opened my eyes to the importance of remembering and being concerned for an area after the news has forgotten about it.

Though 2011 seems like a long time ago, there is still plenty of work you can do as a volunteer to help communities still dealing with the legacy of the triple disaster. If hard work in the hot sun isn’t your thing, there are other opportunities to benefit Fukushima. Governments and local communities in Fukushima are especially interested in attracting foreign tourism so there’s a real need for people to help with communication training and fostering cultural understanding. If you have any questions about volunteering here in Fukushima, please get in touch. Let’s get to work!

FuJET Mount Fuji Climb 2015 – My Experience and Advice

FuJET Mount Fuji Climb 2015 – My Experience and Advice
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A long way up.

I am no stranger to hiking. I have backpacked through mountains in southern France, hauled myself up cables during the night to watch the sunrise from Yosemite’s Half Dome, climbed dozens of other various sized mountains and tried my hand at other types of long distance hiking. Therefore, I was not worried about Mount Fuji, the mountain that has always been touted as the mountain anyone can climb. I heard the mountain gets so congested with hikers that most of the time taken to go up the mountain is spent waiting in line behind all the other eager hikers looking for a decent view of Japan. I heard there were lodges and bathrooms on the mountain, which is pretty absurd for anyone who has climbed less touristy mountains. How hard could it be?

The view from the bus on the ride up to the Fifth Station was spectacular. I could almost forget that one jerk of the wheel or nudge from an oncoming car would send me and 16 other JETs plummeting to our deaths. The clouds stretched out below us like snow, except for the patches brown and gray of the cities below. I had never been so high up in anything but an airplane. If we were so far up Mount Fuji, how much was really left to climb?

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The lodge-type restaurant and shopping area

The fifth station was a quaint little area. There was a large wooden lodge with the clouds as a backdrop and a cluster of restaurants and gift shops set in a semicircle. By the time we stepped out of the bus after a long ride from Fukushima City, Koriyama and Iwaki, the sun was already beginning to set.

“That’s not what we are climbing, is it?” One friend pointed to a small, brown mountain that rose behind a gift shop opposite of the setting sun. “No, no, that can’t be it. Maybe it’s behind that?” We spent the next several minutes debating whether that was the mountain we would climb or if the real mountain was hidden behind it. The mountain we were discussing looked like we could get up it in an hour or so, not the estimated 5-7 hours. We laughed about it and decided we should get a few bottles of sake as a victory drink for the summit.

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That’s Fuji behind us. Can you see why we were deceived?

We had some time before the hike, so we bought some Fuji walking sticks. I didn’t want one, but my incredible boyfriend luckily insisted on buying me one, which turned out to be a very useful investment. Whether you have your own walking stick or buy a Fuji one (1,000 – 1,300 yen) and get it stamped along the way (200 – 300 yen per stamp at various stations), I highly recommend it! It saved my ass several times going up and down the mountain. Read more

2015 FuJET Leaver’s Party! FUKUSHIMA COMIC CON

2015 FuJET Leaver’s Party! FUKUSHIMA COMIC CON

savethedatePaging all Browncoats and bronies! Whovians and Potterheads! Cosplayers, trekkies, gamers, and moviephiles! Join us for FUKUSHIMA COMIC-CON! The FuJET 2015 Leaver’s Party!
You can RSVP and send in your award nominations here!

Check out the Facebook Event Page here!

ESSENTIALS:
**WHO** All of Fukushima and beyond. Leavers, stayers, locals, teachers, everyone. The more the merrier.
**WHAT** Costumed Dance Party & 3 hour nomihoudai
**WHERE** Fukushima City, Area559
**WHEN** Friday, July 3rd, 8:00PM-Midnight (Nomihoudai stops at 11)
**WHY** Because this is one of our last opportunities to party all together. Let’s celebrate our time together and their bright futures with dancing, merriment, and costumes!
**COST** ¥3,000 yen with a costume ¥3,500 yen without

THE DETAILS!
This year’s theme is:
FUKUSHIMA COMIC-CON

Here in Fukushima, we’re proud of our diverse hobbies, tastes, and fandoms. Let’s celebrate what we love, with who we love, and get together. Into Magic the Gathering? Love your some Adventure Time or perhaps you’re more keen on the Wheel of Time? Let’s your geek-flag show.
We will have prizes for the following categories:
– Best Overall Costume
– Best Group Costume
– Best Handmade Costume
– Most Unique Costume
– Funniest Costume

The cost is 3,000 yen for those in costume, 3,500 yen not in costume. We’ll have an amazing soundtrack playing all night long as we accomplish our mischief. Want to hear a specific song? Let us know! Stay tuned for updates on music and entertainment!

LEAVERS AWARDS!

One leaver’s tradition that has been going on for over ten years is the ‘Leaver’s Awards’. A bit of silly fun to top the night off! This year’s categories are:

  • The Yoda Award: Best sempai
  • The FTW Freshman Award:Best new JET
  • The Good Cheese Award: Person most likely to be missed
  • The I’d Tap That for Him Award: Most attractive male
  • The I’d Tap That for Her Award: Most attractive female
  • The Bromance Award: Most beautiful broship
  • The Awwwww Award: Most adorable couple
  • The Oh God Stop Being So Genki Award: Cheery person most likely to make your morning hangover worse
  • The Kawaaaaiiiiiiiii~! Award:Worst abuse of annoying Japanese phrases
  • The Natto Award: Person most likely to try anything once
  • The Tyrion Lannister Award:Person most likely to stave off impending death with a witty comeback
  • The Charlie Sheen Award: The person with the craziest drinking antics
  • The Nobel Prize Award: The person most likely to go on to achieve great things after JET

Enjoying Golden Week in and around Fukushima

Enjoying Golden Week in and around Fukushima

 

Are you ready?

In just a few short weeks you will be experiencing (again, for our veteran JETs) the joy that is one of the few times a year almost every single person in Japan is on vacation due to a long holiday known as Golden Week (May 4th-6th). With a few well-placed paid leave days (nenkyuu), however, you can extend your vacation even longer!

If you haven’t already booked your hotels, train or bus tickets to wherever you think you can hide from the crowds (you can’t), you may be out of luck. Golden Week is one of the busiest times of the year. Last year I found myself standing on a 4 hours bullet train ride because I hadn’t reserved my seat in advance. If you think you can bypass the crowded public transportation by taking your car, the traffic on the roads are generally even worse. If you haven’t already made plans for Golden Week… stop reading and go book it now. If you have decided to save some money and enjoy a few free days in our beautiful prefecture but aren’t sure what to do, keep reading.

Here are just a few ideas of the many things you can do in Fukushima during Golden Week:

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Yonezawa Uesugi Matsuri Festival in Yamagata Prefecture

kenshin festivalThis is a three day festival held in Yonezawa in Yamagata prefecture (oh come on, its not that far away…). Lots of fun activities throughout the three days, but the main event falls on the last day. The last day is highlighted by a procession of shrines, floats and a 1,000 samurai parading down the streets from 9:30 to 12:30. It ends with a reenactment battle on the riverside from around 2 to 3:30 in the afternoon.

Date: April 29th – May 3rd, Opening ceremony starts at 9:30am

 Website (English)

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Superlative Craftsmanship from Meiji Japan @ Koriyama City Museum of Art

art museum

Most crafts from this period were created for export, but this gallery provides a unique opportunity to see this collection of art!

Date: April 21st – June 14th (9:30am – 5:00pm) Closed on Mondays except for May 4th.

Address: 130-2,Oyaji, Aza, Yasuhara-machi, Koriyama-city, Fukushima Pref 963-0666, Japan

Price: 1,000 yen for adults

 Website (English) 

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Flower Aquarium Golden Week Event (Iwaki)

aquariumAlthough you can visit this aquarium anytime during the year, they have a few special exhibits opening for Golden Week! Including jellyfish, plants and fish!

Date: April 25th – May 6th

 

Address: Onahama Pier 2, 50, Tatsumi-cho, Onahama, Iwaki-shi, Fukushima 971-8101 Japan

Price: 1,600 yen for adults

Business hours: 9:00 am – 5:30 am (open until 7:00 pm from May 3rd – 6th), last admission is one hour before closing

Website (English) 

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Spa Resort Hawaiians, Iwaki

HawaiiansI imagine this place will be pretty busy during Golden Week, but it looks like it’s worth it. If you like theme parks revolving around water, this is your place. They have four theme parks – the Water Park (includes water slides!), Spring Park (They have a giant communal spa where you can wear your bathing suit, or gender separated baths to enjoy nothing between your skin and the water), Spa Garden Pareo (More outdoor spa baths separated by color and theme), Edo-Jowa Yoichi (The worlds largest open-air bath. No more explanation needed) and ViR Port (a large swimming pool used for exercises, exercise studios and a beauty salon).

Address: 50, Warabidaira, Fujiwaramachi,
Joban, Iwaki-shi,
Fukushima, 972-8326, Japan

Price: 3,240 for adults

Business Hours: 9:30am – 10:15pm, open every day

Website (English)  (Unfortunately the information is pretty limited)

Website (Japanese) 

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Tsurugajo Castle Illumination, Aizuwakamatsu

tsurugajoIf you happen to be around Aizuwakamatsu city visiting the castle, hot springs and the gravesites of young warriors, stick around until sunset! The cherry blossoms as well as the entire castle will be lit up after dark until 9:30pm every night until May 6th. Oh, did I mention that it’s free?

 

Date: April 10th to May 6th

Address: 1-1, Otemachi, Aizuwakamatsu-shi, Fukushima

Price: FREEEEEEEEEEE

Time: After dark until 9:30pm (8:30pm after the cherry blossoms have finished blooming)

Website (Japanese)

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 Skiing / Snowboarding

I hope you didn’t pack up your snowboard and skis yet. Ski season is still lingering, so why not put in another run down the slopes? Here are a few ski slopes that are still open.

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Ski MinowaMinowa Ski Resort – Inawashiro

Date: Until May 6th

Address: 〒969-2751 福島県耶麻郡猪苗代町横向

Yokomukiyamakō Wakamiya, Inawashiro-machi, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken 969-2751

Business Hours: 9am – 5pm

Website (Japanese)

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grandeco_001Grandeco Resort – Kita Shiobara Village 

Date:  Until May 6th

Address: 日本, 〒969-2701 福島県耶麻郡北塩原村桧原荒砂沢山1082−93

Arasunasawayama Hibara, Kitashiobara-mura, Yama-gun, Fukushima-ken, 969-2701

Hours: 8am – 4:30pm

Website (English)

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nekomaUrabandai Nekoma –Kita Shiobara Village

Date: Until May 6th

Address:  1163 Nakomayama, Hibara, Kitashiobara-Mura, Yama-Gun, Fukushima-Ken

Hours: (weekends and holidays) 7am – 5pm

Website (Japanese)

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None of these events and places tickle your fancy? There are always other things you can do in the third biggest prefecture in Japan.  Anything from BBQ to camping, try to get out of your apartment or house and learn something new about Fukushima!

If you want to make some events on your own, be sure to post it on any (or all) of our Facebook groups for Fukushima. There may be other people who would like to join you as well!

You can always contact me (Sarah Chaney) by email (newseditor@fujet.org) if you need any additional information or require help contacting Japanese establishments. Don’t let the language barrier stop you from exploring!

 

Good luck!