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Message from Editors B B B 1:I: : : :EB : B I KB ?HK : EH H? I HIE 8 KL : : E KB A 0 UL A:K ?HK NL H HF B H : P HFFN B F:D P ?KB L : K:EE NBE NI : L L H? EH B ABL BL KN H F: K PA K HN EB B 1:I: HK AHP EH HNU A K N :? K B B .NDNB ?HK :EFHL AK :KL 0 : L: PB A H T A: A HFFN B P A: A K BL N BJN E PH K?NE .KHF H?T B:E H ? K L H A FHK :LN:E EH :E EH D L A .NDNB : - EBLA!LI :DB HFFN B BL EHL K : FHK : B A: AHL B F: H A K IE: L A :F:SB LN FBLLBH L H ABL P L B BH H? 1- .N E BL CNL H FHK :FIE H? A: HFFN B HB PA: B H L L B B HE : B :P LHF , LIB PA: K A:K LABIL 0 F: H AKHN A :L : ?HK B K B 1:I: 0UF :EP: L HEL K : B LIBK :EE A PH K?NE I HIE A K 0 D HP ABL LHN L FNLA N L KBHNLE AHN A HN N L :K :F:SB ,H U HN K ?HK B H 0U EBD H L: A: D HN H A H K H PAH LN FB H ABL BLLN : AHL PAH :K :DB A BF H K : B 2 I B Y F ?KB L E:
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0 AHI K H BL L : B P:KF B ABL L HP!TEE PB K L :LH 0 :F IE :L H PHKDB H LN A : K : HFFN B F: :SB : A: : E H L LHF :F:SB K : B B ?KHF .NDNB 1- L ? K HPIH :E IL BUF LNK HNK FB L P K NKL B PB A K : B B B :EE A: HP BF 1- .N E F: :SB P E HF L : : :EE LN FBLLBH L : P :K EHHDB ?HKP:K H FHK H? HNK PHKD ?HK HNK LIKB : LNFF K F: :SB B BH : L:? : IKHLI K : :LA: :EB? KKH
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CONTENTS 5 Culture 7 9 12 13 14 16 20
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23 Lifestyle 25 D A H 26 F J:A C IH : D I I 27 1 B:C 1: 28 : C :F:CH 2:AO C: D 33 E CP F HB 2: DC 37 1: E: 1 : DD :F C C 38 1: E: C 2K::H DH HD 39 1: E: P :
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40 Community 42 : F F 44 H:F 59 I A: 60 : P 2HDF 61 1:B:B F C : 62 CDC BDI 2I B
63 FJET Announcements 64 Credits This magazine contains original photos used with permission and free-use images. If you are the owner of an image featured in this publication believed to be used without permission, please contact the editors of JET Fuel at email@example.com. This edition, and all past editions of JETFuel e-magazine, can be found online on ISSUU or can be requested through e-mail.
First Year Impressions After arriving in Tokyo for the JET orientation last August, I felt very happy and blessed that, on my 6th attempt to be part of the JET Programme, I had finally made it and now was getting the full experience. It started with educational training on being a JET with workshops that were all interesting and useful. After the Tokyo orientation, I was happy to leave for Fukui where I met the other new JETs that would be in the same prefecture I would be in during training. After that, I met my supervisor and we went to my school (Koshi) where I met for the first time all the staff, teachers and JTEs. I felt very lucky to be placed in such a positive work environment. It was great doing my self-introduction lesson and the students all seemed to enjoy it. For me, being back in Japan and having been an ALT before, I felt like I was right back in a situation I knew well. I have and will continue learning how to be an effective ALT as well as getting new ideas to apply to team-teaching. I have enjoyed all the training we have received since the beginning of my contract. My activities at EFT (English Fun Time) once a month on Saturdays have also been fun and the participants have enjoyed them. I am enjoying adapting to life in Fukui and find it is a great place to live in. I have made and will continue to make friends both in the JET Programme and with Japanese locals. I am also thankful that we can do Japanese language training free of charge with the VLJ (Visual Learning Japanese) online course. This will come in handy as I improve and continue to improve using my Japanese in my everyday communications!
Around fukui Since arriving in Fukui, I have been pretty active in finding popular hang-out spots in the city. Among the places I like to go to are: the Seattleâ€™s Best Coffee to read and relax; Loft to buy stationery supplies; LPA Korona World cinema to watch movies; the Starbucks nearby to also read and relax; 8ban Ramen where I enjoy eating ramen, gyoza and rice; and finally, Texas Hands, which is a nice place to eat a Japanese version of American pizza. I have enjoyed being part of the Halloween train and had a fun time wearing my Super Mario costume both at the party and on Halloween day at my school. I find 100 yen shops like Daiso are great and very convenient. I enjoy traveling in the city with both the smile and keifu buses. I have also found a place to have a special anime character costume designed! Another nice experience Iâ€™ve had in Fukui was to get to see a traditional Japanese opera called Princess Kaguya. Finally, I have found a Christian Catholic church where I can practice my faith on Sundays with an English mass given at noon.
Small Trips Since arriving in Fukui, I went on a few short trips. I went to Eihiji Temple where I experienced a twenty minute traditional zen meditation and took nice pictures. I went to Tsuruga to Kehi Shrine on a rainy day by train. I went to Tojimbo cliffs on a beautiful, sunny day where I enjoyed walking around and taking nice pictures to capture the scenery. I also did a boat tour around the bay near the cliffs. I ate a broiled octopus skewer which was delicious! Finally, I went to Echizen to a new museum where I experienced a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and got to meet the grandson of the Japanese man who introduced it to the western world.
The Trials â€©
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A take on the trek by Karim Mohanna
I was one of the first in line to buy a ticket for the Mount Fuji climb at our Fukui orientation in August. The thought of climbing Mount Fuji was exciting as well as somewhat heavy. In preparation for the climb I got myself some hiking boots at my size from Amazon and bought a parka the night before. I’ve had an incredible experience climbing up Mount Fuji. I took my time and after ten hours I reached the top. Coming down took me four. There were incredible sights when reaching the top. You could think that you were on a mission, a personal quest in climbing Mount Fuji and couldn’t help but feel like you were in a wonderful place unlike any other when you saw that it was like you were in the sky surrounded by beautiful clouds. We were lucky on that day as the weather was perfect. Of course it got a little colder as we got to the top, but it was nothing this Canadian couldn’t handle. I had brought with me a full 2 liters of water and some snacks. I was also wearing Mount Fuji gloves and carrying the walking stick which I had stamped at the very end upon reaching the top. To help stay motivated during my climb I wore headphones and listened to inspirational music such as the soundtrack of the movie Rocky! Coming down I found was somewhat easier than climbing up, however I felt a lot of pressure walking with my toes pushing at the end of my boots. As a result, three months later, my two big toe nails fell off. Luckily, they will grow back! In retrospect, climbing Mount Fuji was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to experience something unique, although challenging. I would also recommend that climbers get enough water for both the climb up and down as you may easily get dehydrated! Now I feel like I can do anything!
By William Tjipto
Some advice for the hike: I’ve climbed Mt. Fuji three times already, so I hope my advice will prove useful to newbies on their next trip. It’s not an extremely difficult hike; many of all physical abilities have completed it successfully, though it is a matter of endurance. I cannot stress this enough, but bring at least 4 liters of water, hearty snacks, preferably water-proof and wind-proof layers (at least 4 medium layers), a beanie, gloves (be prepared to cover all extremities, as the face is also often ignored), and walking lights. While it’s not terribly cold, the wind chill near the summit is painful. Make sure you hydrate and snack along the way, as you may not feel hungry or thirsty until you’re completely exhausted. Buy or borrow a walking stick, it helps. Take your time moving up, even if you cannot make the summit before the sunrise the view anywhere above the clouds is absolutely gorgeous and worth all the trouble.
THE FACTS â€©
• 3-4 LITERS OF WATER • LOTS OF SNACKS • HIKING BOOTS / TENNIS SHOES WITH VERY GOOD GRIP • WINTER CLOTHING / GOOD WIND BREAKERS (THE WIND IS STRONG AND COLD.)
By Megan Daniel Greetings lovesick ALTs! I’m sure many of you have dreams of finding the perfect someone here in Japan, getting married, and settling down. I did that, but fortunately I dodged the bullet of having a Japanese wedding by going back to the US to have a simple wedding at my home church. That being said, until recently, I had absolutely zero experience with Japanese weddings until my cousin-in-law’s wedding. It so thoroughly shocked me that I thought it only proper to warn everyone let everyone know what to expect. So, just in case a Japanese friend of yours gets married, or just in case you choose to marry a local here in Japan, you won’t feel as shocked as I did.
My first indication that something was strange about this whole Japanese wedding thing was when I was informed that instead of giving wedding gifts, my husband and I were expected to give 50,000 yen as a wedding gift. (Single people have to pay 30,000 yen because even numbers are bad luck.) It was a rather painful amount, but I sucked it up, and put 50,000 yen in a fancy envelope before heading to the wedding. On the way there, we got a call from my mother-in-law, making sure that we had new bills in the envelope. Of course, neither my husband nor I had even considered getting new bills, so we had to make a pit stop at a Lawson on the way. There, we awkwardly exchanged 10,000 bills, trying to find the ones that were least wrinkled since Japanese banks close at the super convenient time of 3PM.
Up until that wedding ceremony, I thought the only real rules for wedding attire were 1) wear something nice and 2) don’t wear a black dress. So, going by these standards, I selected a cute little dress with pretty blue flowers. My mother-in-law asked me if I wanted to wear a black kimono, but since A) it is a well-known fact that kimonos tend to make your waist look significantly bigger than usual and B) black is only worn at funerals, I refused her oﬀer. However, at the wedding, I wished that I had taken her up on her oﬀer because there I found out that only single ladies wore dresses. Married ladies wore black kimonos. When I told my mother-in-law that I would wear a black kimono to my friend’s wedding in the spring, she told me that I should wear a dress since I wasn’t a relative.
Before the wedding ceremony even started, everyone, including the bride and groom, posed for a group picture before heading over to the fake chapel. I remembered my cousin-in-law saying that she didn’t want a fake priest at her wedding, so I was curious to see how it would play out. First, the groom walked down the aisle to the front of the chapel. Then, the mother of the bride put a veil on the bride to “protect her from demons as she walked down the virgin road.” After reaching the 5 0 5 front, both of them exchanged vows with their in-laws (never with each , . 5 5. . , other). Then, the little ring bearer girls . , 5 . , brought the rings, and they put them on each other before signing a fake , . m a r r i a g e c e r t i fi c a t e i n f r o n t o f . . , 5 . 50 50 everyone. When it was all over, feathers 5 fell on top of them, and everyone took pictures. At this point, you may be wondering how all of these things could happen without a priest or someone to oﬃciate the wedding. The answer is that the emcee was giving commentary on every little thing that was done during the entire ceremony. Afterward, I asked my mother-in-law if there was an emcee oﬀering commentary because there was no priest, but she assured me that there was an emcee giving commentary during all weddings in Japan, and that she even did it at her part-time job.
At this point, I was ready to move on to the reception for cake, but I was told that we should go out the front doors of the fake chapel, and stand on the long staircase outside so we could throw rose petals on the bride and groom as they descended. I was fine with this, thinking that afterwards we could go and get cake. But, alas, there were more things to do before the reception. When they said we were going to take a picture, I had in my mind standing on the staircase for a group photo, but it turned out that the camera man stood on the staircase, and took a mob picture of everyone standing at the bottom. Afterwards, I was a bit surprised when someone handed me a plastic shopping bag and told me to walk to the side of the stairs. Then, I was really surprised to see the bride and groom throwing cheap snacks at wedding guests below. The snacks weren’t anything special, but it was kind of fun catching them. Though, I must admit that it really seemed out of place since everything until then had been very formal.
So, finally it was time for the reception, and we were treated to a spectacular meal. Everything looked very expensive. There were so many forks and knives that my in-laws had no idea which ones to use. After waiting for several minutes, the bride and groom finally arrived in a green ball gown and a diﬀerent color tuxedo while the Little Mermaid theme played in the background. I thought it was strange, but I wasn’t too concerned as I ate my food and completely ignored the numerous speeches. Suddenly, I saw everyone getting up, and I realized it was time to cut the cake. I watched my cousin-in-law and her husband feed each other cake while the emcee explained how it represented “never letting the other one go hungry, and providing for each other.” I thought it was strange, but I was so excited that I was going to get to eat wedding cake that I didn’t care. But, before I knew it, they were carting the cake oﬀ to a back room before anyone could get any. Disappointed, I returned to my seat, and ate my next course. Then, suddenly, there was a fire alarm, and fire fighters came into the room, announcing that they were looking for the beautiful bride. At that point, I was sure that they had invited strippers to the wedding reception, but I was relieved to find out that they were just having fun asking all of the beautiful women if they were the bride, before finding the real bride at the front of the room in the place of honor. It was just weird. Then, as I was enjoying the next course, I noticed the bride and groom were gone. They stayed gone during the next speeches and the slide show about their childhoods. I didn’t know what was going on, but then suddenly, the window shades opened, and the bride and groom entered wearing traditional Japanese wedding kimonos. They made sentimental speeches. Their parents made sentimental speeches. And then, we FINALLY got our cake and coﬀee. As we left, we were all told not to forget our huge gift bags under the table filled with cookies, coﬀee mugs, towels, toilet paper, etc.
I finally understood why my husband and I had to pay 50,000 yen. I had thought it was expensive before attending the wedding, but after seeing the extravagance, I suddenly realized that the money they received wouldn’t nearly cover all of their expenses, considering their wedding cost twice as much as my house. I enjoyed the experience overall, but it made me appreciate my own simple wedding. My cousin-in-law looked happy, but I can’t say that I’m particularly looking forward to attending any more weddings in the near future.
The Art of Bento: Bento Basics A
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The Hokuriku Area seems to be pretty blessed with quality Indian restaurants and the Reinan Area of Fukui is no exception. I recommend Raja, way down south in Oi, as a great example. Their lunch specials are cheap (starting at 680 yen), their curry is flavorful and thick, and they have really great cheese nan. Off Route 27 near Wakasa-Hongo Station.
Raja Indian Restaurant Oi, Fukui
Local Eats Looking for a new local place to eat? Want a break from the average Japanese fare? Our own William Tjipto has some recommendations for your next meal out on the town!
For the folks in the South, this restaurant is a staple gathering spot. It’s cheap, filling, tasty, and legit run by Chinese folks. Just the way a Chinese restaurant should be! We lovingly call it “China.” Directly in front of Obama Station on the street corner.
Kato Daihanten Shanghai Chinese Restaurant Obama, Fukui
Traveling Outside of Fukui
As a resident of Japan, it’s too bad we aren’t allowed to use the JR Rail Pass, as it would make traveling around so much cheaper. However, many of us are blessed to have a car or know someone who does. While all the cool kids go to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, don’t forget about the other places just a little out of the usual that would be best seen by motorized vehicles. Aichi and Shizuoka are loaded with car museums and showrooms for car aficionados. Nagano is lovely in the summer, with small old post towns and great wine. Wakayama has quiet temples, hiking paths, and citrus fruits. Shikoku has three original castles and beautiful temples, too. Kyushu, far to the southwest, often goes unexplored. Fukuoka is the fifth largest major city, with a mix of Asian cultures and great ramen. Nagasaki and Kumamoto, though far, are worth a trip there all by themselves. Don’t forget our brothers to the north in Hokkaido. While everyone wants to go in the winter to see the Sapporo Snow Festival, the summertime is the best time. Take a ferry there with your car so you can drive around. The weather is perfect, the milk delicious, and the seafood amazing. For this season’s JETFuel, I’d like to showcase Kagoshima, far at the south end of Kyushu. Two major places are worth exploring: Sakurajima and Yakushima. Sakurajima is an active volcano lying in the middle of the large Kagoshima Bay. It recently made headlines for erupting in May, but don’t let that dissuade you from visiting. You can enjoy gorgeous views around the volcano, great onsen and footbaths, and you might be just lucky enough to see some minor volcanic activity at the peak. Yakushima is an amazingly beautiful island that must be accessed by ferry, but it is among the lush cedar forest and flowing rivers that you will find yourself enchanted by the wondrous nature that inspired the setting for Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke. Except for the clearly marked easy hiking paths and narrow roads, the island is largely undisturbed and stunningly beautiful. Some trees standing today are estimated to be 1000 to 7000 (!) years old. Lastly, beware the monkeys and drive with your windows up. I have a story about that one… I hope my short and inadequate description encourages you to seek out and spend more time driving around Japan. Make a plan for the spring or summer! Grab some friends to chip in on the drive and enjoy safe travels around the country. If you want to see some of my experiences and food, follow me on FB and Instagram @readyseatbelt
ramen recs By William Tjipto
Ramen Chicken Yarou in Hikone, Shiga
If you’re tired of the usual tonkotsu, shio, shoyu, and miso variety, definitely take a trip out to Shiga to try their chicken ramen. Its amazingly strong flavor will remind you of a creamy chicken soup, not to mention their great toppings of grilled chicken and cured chashu. Stop by Taga Taisha Shrine and Mitsui Outlet Park while you’re in the area.
in Ikebukuro, Tokyo
If you like savory pork, strong soup, and flavorful ramen, Mutekiya will fit the bill. They serve up amazing tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen with delicious portions of melty chashu. This is one of my favorite ramen restaurants in all of Japan. Short walk south of Ikebukuro Station.
in Takahama, Fukui You don’t need to travel all the way to Tokyo for a great bowl of ramen. I highly recommend Sing Sing down in Takahama for a hearty, flavorful tonkotsu ramen, among others they offer. Their grilled chashu and broth are extremely tasty. Let it be your excuse to head down to south Fukui and visit beautiful Shiroyama Park and Wada Beach, too.
The Inherent Selfishness of Being Happy (and Why That’s Not a Bad Thing)
By Christina Coslian It’s 7:00 in the morning and the alarm is going off. I roll over, tap the snooze, and mentally assure myself that another ten minutes won’t make me that late. I just won’t wear makeup today. Or I’ll skip breakfast. A seemingly acceptable sacrifice for another ten blessed minutes of warmth and sleep. And no, it doesn’t seem like a big deal as I tug on my shoes and run out the door that morning, eyeliner-less and stomach grumbling. I grab a sandwich from my local Family Mart on the way to work and eat it en-route. I arrive just in time for the first thing on my seemingly endless list of things-Ihave-to-do-today. I get to my desk and dump three sugars and two milks into my first coffee of the day because the office coffee tastes very nearly like the underside of a shoe. I grimace in distaste but I get on with it, because I have things that needed to be finished within the hour.
By lunch-time, the empty carbohydrates of my artificial breakfast sandwich have sufficiently burned out, and I’m suffering through my mid-day crash. Blood sugar level low, tired from the mere six hours of sleep I got last night (because though I was tired, the next episode of Star Trek had just started on its own, damn you Netflix), I was ready to just eat a pre-made microwaved meal and shuffle on through to the next activity. All in all, it was a typical Tuesday (which, in my opinion, is arguably the worst day of the week), and I was just trying to move through it in the endless rush to the end of the day where I could once again eat a giant bowl of pasta and slip into a TV coma. But something about this Tuesday in particular made me pause and take a large step back from my normal perspective as I stared at my mediocre, mass-produced lunch.
What the heck was I doing? At the risk of sounding cliché and talking about the drone of the everyday workforce and how it’s so easy to succumb to the unhealthy routines of the day (because I’m sure you’ve heard that before) I won’t tell you much about any of that little epiphany. Most people do recognize that we live generally unhealthy, capitalistically focused lives. We reward ourselves with small moments of what is mentally marked as “well-deserved” (albeit even more unhealthy) pleasure. Whether you are like me and drown your exhaustion in carbohydrates and mind-numbing Netflix binges, or if you’re someone who cracks open a beer at the end of the day or smokes a cigarette, because you know what, it really was stressful and you need a minute to decompress.
I could obtain that blissful moment of oblivion, that “nothingness” that I so rightly deserved. Happiness was relative. I was happy when I travelled and had new experiences. It made up for all of the dissatisfaction in my everyday life. The strong, pervasive desire for sinking into that world of oblivion has only developed more with the rise of the media age. I was quite fine with that, until yesterday, when the realization that my daily life differed very little from a robot’s made me feel like I was suddenly featured in one of those sci-fi movies, where you don’t realize you’re being controlled until the aliens come to eat your poor vegetablized brain.
I enjoy watching sitcoms and cult movies as much as the next person, but do they make me happy? More often than not, yes they do, but “You deserve it!” The media tells us. “You it’s only to a particular degree. Additionally, it’s a work hard and you’re making it through every day. distilled sort of happiness that seems to be missThat deserves something.” ing the self-satisfaction and joy that I know exists elsewhere, primarily because it’s a happiness cre“I deserve this!” We tell ourselves, not ated from escaping the hum-drum of my everyday because we think we are entitled to it but because existence. What I (and so many others) seem to damnit, we’re tired. And this is how we’ve seen our crave is the elusive happiness found in those perparents relax, this is how we’ve been decompress- fect catches of breaths and softening of the eyes; ing our entire lives, just moving through our tiny those frozen moments where we can detach from parts in this infinite world like sand through a sieve. ourselves and say: I want to remember this. We crave socialization but we’re tired, so we just browse through our multifarious applications and I’m lucky enough to have a stable job, think about the weekend. We heat up the microgood friends, and wonderful opportunities affordwaved dinner or eat takeout food, or worse, we ed to me in terms of opportunity for travel and just eat microwaved-leftover-takeout food. experiences. I sludge through the work week to make those experiences happen, because I live for But why? Why am I doing this? those moments of joy. For me, there is something wholly indescribable about standing at the top of That was the question that I had ultimately a literal mountain (though I like my metaphorical come to in a low moment when I was staring at my ones now and again too), cold air rattling in my lunch that Tuesday. At the time, all I wanted was lungs and my heart pounding in my chest. So I another shot of sugar and more of that sludge cof- often try to go and climb them. fee to keep me functioning until I got home, where
Similarly, there is a sensation that ripples through me when I have new experiences, try new food, laugh until my sides hurt with the people that care about me the most. Thus, I travel as much as I can while I’m still young and able, because I do so crave that distinctive sensation of joy. Scientists have explained the emotion chemically as just a flood of endorphins to the brain, bringing satisfaction and registering throughout our entire bodies, from the roots of our hair to the ends of our toes. It’s overwhelming, but I think that’s part of the thrill. “True” happiness. It seems like the secret to that would be obvious. Do the things that bring you that happiness when you can, and you’ll be satisfied and “happy” for most of your life, right? Wrong.
pleasure centers? I think it’s because really deep down we know it’s a band-aid fix for what ends up being a much bigger problem. Despite the recurring cycle of guilt and satisfaction we keep putting ourselves through in regards to our little “pleasures” (see my Netflix and carbs binges), we still continue to devour the media that tells us how to attain that mystical nirvana of the 21st century. That is not to say that those smaller moments of pleasure and relaxation are “unimportant” per say, because they are. So are the moments when we can just “tune out” and re-charge our meta
“I think it’s because really deep down we know it’s a band-aid fix for what ends up being a much bigger problem.”
phorical batteries for the next big thing on that never-ending list.
However, day in and If simply finding day out, the poor habits those moments of joy we create every day were the case, there wouldn’t be giant corporate form from convesectors devoted to bringing us a myriad of differnience and exhaustion layering over themselves ent ways to feel satisfied, from high sugar foods like paint, building a heavy wall over us physically, to engrossing media to the plethora of health and mentally, and emotionally. The composition of beauty products that we buy to make us feel better happiness is a delicate thing, and often all three about ourselves and how we’re living our day-toparts of us have to be in balance. When I eat crap, day lives. I feel like crap. When I don’t sleep, I feel like crap. When I drink three cups of sugar-and-milk doused The scariest part of all is that these concoffee I feel great! And a few hours later...I feel like sumable modes of happiness: that sip of alcohol crap. after a hellish work week, that sneaked spoonful of ice cream because you just had a craving--they are These are things that have been told to us what some of us would call “guilty pleasures.” by every health book in the business. “Just make these few changes and you can turn your life A bigger question--why do the habits that around!” they say. Or if you listened to my Yoga ingive us those small spikes of happiness in our day structor (from back in the day when I actually still to day lives have such a connotation? Why do we did Yoga) you would be told to always “be present inherently feel bad for fulfilling the desires of our in every moment.”
Presence, awareness, gratitude. That is the inherent foundation for not just happiness, but for most faiths. And if you are not one for religious dogma or a higher power, the new wave of thought is to have that faith, that belief not in God, but in yourself. The homilies that go along with these health-based beliefs are things like: “Your body is your temple,” and “Happiness is living in the moment” sort of thing. To a degree, I concur with a lot of those basic ideas, because having self-awareness does play a key part in being happy, but it’s not the end-all be-all. In my everyday mindset, I could never imagine being so focused on being present in every response I had in reaction to the world. Although it is supposedly easy for us to fall into the trap of bad habits that lead to what is ultimately dissatisfaction, I do believe that we should be able to fall into good habits as well. I’ve seen the folks on Pinterest do it, just as I’ve seen the fitness blogs, the inspirational posts, those pictures of sunsets with misquoted but nevertheless poignant sayings in the text. Great Idea, you’re probably saying. But if it was that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it? Of course. That’s the other side of this Janus coin. Most of the self-satisfaction comes from the fact that making the right choices isn’t easy. Ergo, when we do make the right choices, when it isn’t acceptable to just let yourself be sucked into the overwhelming sludge of our everyday lives, we get an extra boost to that pleased feeling. We are mentally reassuring ourselves that we are, in fact, better than some other people. That’s what is so pleasing. “I’m doing this for myself!” Say a lot of people on the internet as they post their daily meal
and workout pics. In our age, it’s difficult to do things without some element of approval-seeking. But that’s okay. I’ll say it again for the people in the back: That’s okay. Which is basically the point of this little diatribe. It’s okay to be a little self-obsessed and feel a little superior now and again. You stuck to your dream and worked hard to get it. You climbed a literal or metaphorical mountain to get where you’re standing today. You should be showing off and taking care to remind yourself that you did something others didn’t, couldn’t, or haven’t. And maybe that’s not as inspirational as we would like it to be. Perhaps I’m a bit more critical of our society than most, or a touch more hedonistic than my mother raised me to be. However, the theory is that we are a product of our society and of our cultural values and norms. Sometimes our happiness is self-motivated and self-serving, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Let me reiterate that one more time: selfish happiness is not inherently wrong. It’s important to care about ourselves. Sometimes it’s important to put our own needs and desires first, to be concerned about number one and not the five thousand other things that are going on in our life right now. We all need to feel special now and again, take it from the companies that make a mint around Valentine’s Day and other holidays where we are socially obligated to prove our affection for others with material
goods (but that is a cliched essay for another day). I digress, because this essay was supposed to be about how habits control our lives, and that’s true. But I’ve come to a second conclusion. Our unhappy habits lead to our eventual dissatisfaction and disillusionment with the world around us, and I do believe those are habits we should change. However, we should change them for no other reason than to be selfish--to make ourselves better, healthier, and happier. You should acknowledge that joy in doing your best, and never second guess the value of your worth, because you are important. What’s more, you should enjoy those thrilling, elusive moments of bliss when they come in a purely guiltless fashion. Toss your head back and scream because you are alive. You are everything infinite in the universe (another clichéd quote from Pinterest here, but I think it works), just as you are so wholly unique that there will never be anyone else like you, no one who will experience the world as you do, truly able to enjoy your own blissful moments of happiness. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll start writing useless essays questioning the inherent selfishness of your own smiles and selfies too. Or you’ll just grab that extra cookie from the snack bar because hell, we’ve got to seize the day when we can.
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RICE COOKER BANANA BREAD Cooking with Love, and Nyssa Makes: 6-8 Servings Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour INGREDIENTS 2 large Eggs 1/2 cup Orange / Mikan Juice 2 large Bananas 1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar 1 tbsp Olive Oil (or butter) + extra for greasing the pan 1/2 cup Cranberries 2 fists full Walnuts 1 tbsp Cinnamon A pinch of Salt 1 tsp Baking Powder 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
DIRECTIONS: Use a small amount of olive oil or butter to grease your rice cooker bowl. Wash and cut cranberries in half and set aside. Break walnuts into small pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, mash bananas, add eggs, and beat until combined. Add orange juice, sugar, and olive oil and beat. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder. Add mixture to wet ingredients and mix until well combined. The batter should resemble a thick pancake batter. Add cranberries and walnuts until just combined. Pour batter into your rice cooker and cook for 1 hour on the cake setting. If your rice cooker does not have a cake setting, check it after a standard cooking cycle, or after 45 minutes, and add more time as needed. Insert a chopstick in the middle to check doneness. If it comes out basically clean, it’s finished!
To make this into a Fruit-Cake Add 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 teaspoon powdered ginger (or all fresh ginger from icing), 1/2 cup diced apples dusted in flour, 1/2 cup blonde raisins, and baste with sherry or brandy while still warm. SUBSTITUTIONS Egg-free – use 1/2 cup of yogurt in place of eggs. Or use chia seeds or ground flax seeds, 1 tbsp + 3 tbsp water, for each egg. Allow to get gooey before mixing in. Gluten Free – I used Pillsbury All-purpose Gluten Free Flour. Any mix will do, but don’t forget xanthan gum! Fruits/nuts – anything is fine, but wet fruits like apples should be tossed in flour first.
Let it rest for a few minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Keep covered and eat within the week!
Submitted by Nyssa Giangregorio
ASIAN SWEET POTATO PIE Makes: 8 Servings Prep: 4 hours, 30 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS 2.5 lbs. (1134g) or 2 cups of Asian sweet potatoes 1 cup (170g) of Brown Sugar 1 cup (236 ml) Heavy Cream 3 large eggs 2 tablespoons of Vanilla Extract 3 teaspoons of Ground Cinnamon 2 teaspoons of Nutmeg 1 beaten egg white, for brushing onto pie crust (optional) 1 ¼ cup (155g) of All-Purpose Flour (中力 粉) ½ cup (115g) of Butter ¼ teaspoons of Salt ¼ cup (60ml) of Chilled Water (as needed)
DIRECTIONS Pie Filling 1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Using a fork, puncture the sweet potatoes with a few pricks. Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until potatoes are extremely soft, between 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool. 2. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). When sweet potatoes are cool, scoop out the insides of the potatoes. 3. In a large bowl, mash 2 cups of sweet potato with a potato masher or a hand blender/mixer until smooth and with minimal lumps. 4. Add the heavy cream and brown sugar into the bowl. Mix until blended. 5. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. 6. Pour sweet potato filling into prebaked crust. 7. Bake at 200C (400C) for 45 minutes, or until filling is set. 8. Allow pie to cool for 30 minutes before serving.
Pie Crust 1.
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Roll dough out to fit a 9in. pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. When the crust is chilled, bake pie crust in oven at 200C (400F) for 45 minutes or until the edges of the pie turn slightly brown. Place pie weights (beans, rice, etc.) onto pie covered with cooking paper (wax paper) before baking to keep pie from puffing up in the center.
Allow crust to cool before adding filling.
Submitted by Natasha Taliferro
KIKI’S FISH PIE Makes: 8 Servings Prep: 4 hours, 30 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS 1 (3lbs) Japanese Pumpkin ¼ cup Heavy Cream 3 fillets of Salted Mackerel (塩さば) ½ Onion 2 tablespoons Butter 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour (中力 粉) 2 cups Heavy Cream 1 ¼ cup (155g) of All-Purpose Flour (中 力粉) ½ cup (115g) of Butter ¼ teaspoons of Salt ¼ cup (60ml) of Chilled Water (as needed) 1 Egg Yolk, to apply on surface of pie (optional) 6 Black Olives, for decoration
DIRECTIONS Pie Assembly
1. Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). 2. Spread the pumpkin puree on the bottom of the casserole dish, about 1 inch deep.
3. Cover the pumpkin puree with the béchamel sauce (white sauce). 4. Flour your surface. Roll out the pie dough to your desired thickness, and to the size of your casserole dish. Keep in mind that dough shrinks slightly in the oven, so make sure the dough is big enough to include shrinkage. 5. Using the scraps of the pie dough, re-roll out the scraps and cut out the design on Kiki’s pie. Cut out 6 strips, a fish shape, and the details of the fish from the dough. 6. Cut the olives in half and place them 5 on each side. Mix the egg yolk and brush it over the pie. 7. Bake the pie for 30 minutes at 200C (400F). Serve pie warm.
Pumpkin Puree 1. Cut pumpkin into medium to large chunks and boil on medium heat. Remove the inside flesh from the pumpkin when the pumpkin is cool. 2. Put the pumpkin into a large bowl. Add ¼ cup of heavy cream while you mash or puree the pumpkin by hand, with a hand mixer, blender or food
processor. Add seasoning to taste. Béchamel Sauce (White Sauce) 1. Dice the onion. In a saucepan, brown diced onions in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Stir until the butter, onion, and flour are mixed well. 2. Add one cup of heavy cream and season to taste, and stir until sauce is thick. When the sauce has thickened, add second cup of heavy cream and chopped fish. Stir on low heat until sauce is desired thickness. Pie Crust 1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Submitted By Natasha T.
Dear Diary, "Winter in Fukui is dark, wet, cold, and lonely. What is a person to do when they've just moved to a different place and are still getting settled!? How can I keep myself out of the infamous winter rut?" Dear cold, wet, and lonely first years, Whether this is your 1st or 41st winter in a cold, dreary place with snow, the seasonal depression in Fukui is REAL! You might consider buying a special SAD lamp (seasonal affective disorder), and taking vitamin D supplements. Other than that, here is the method I use to get through the winters: NOZOMI. It means "hope" and as long as you have a little, tomorrow is only a day away. Name it! If you're feeling down and don't know why, you can get stuck in a cycle of feeling awful very easily. Calling "seasonal depression" what it is can help you make a plan for how to combat it. O-dekake Going out, or お出かけ, essential to fighting those winter blues. It's so easy to stay huddled under the kotatsu and become a hikikomori (shut-in), but leaving your house will brighten your spirits. Even if you're an introvert, being around people sometimes will help you feel less isolated in a new place. Zoom-zoom! You may have heard of the miracle of endorphins, but they really do make a world of difference in the winter. Every person is different, but on average, it usually takes up to 30 minutes of exercise to release the hormone. Doctors suggest that even just 2-3 weekly sessions of 30 minutes of exercise can help to fight depression. Fukui has a large array of evening classes you can join, in just about any activity. It's a good chance to make friends with Fukui people as well. Some gyms even have baths, so you can get nice and toasty before going back home. Otagai "each other" Next is having a support system--any support system--in your town. You may feel that if you disappeared, no one in this entire country would care or notice, but that is simply not the case. Make sure that you have a couple of people you can reach out to when you're stuck in a dark place. If you don't feel like you have anyone, try to make contact with someone you'd like to be friends with. Chances are they'll be just as happy to make a new friend. We are here to look out for each other, after all. Mutual Experience Social media can make us feel like we're the only ones struggling, but the truth is that if you're here, you're probably having a hard time with something.You are NOT alone; in your feelings or in your geographic location. We're all in this together, so try to remember that when you feel down. Itadakimasu! You live in Japan, that's SO cool! No, but really, it's no small feat! You've worked hard to get here and you deserve to enjoy your stay. Positive thinking goes so far in how you experience your life. Every day try asking yourself these three questions: What's one thing that happened today that you are thankful for, that you could only experience because of where you are? What's one little thing that made you happy today? Finally, what's one thing you're looking forward to in the very near future? Asking yourself these three questions every day will change your entire outlook on your life, but be warned that it can also make it very hard to leave! So if you find yourself in a bit of a slump this year, remind yourself to keep a little NOZOMI in your back pocket. And if you really need help, ask for it. Here is the JET counseling website, TELL, along with the lifeline telephone number. Please use them without shame or fear if you need to. http://telljp.com/ TELL Lifeline: 03-5774-0992 Stay warm,
After JET An interview with Stuart Meadows
When were you on the JET Program, and for how many years? I was on the JET Programme from 2010-2015 and spent another year working for the board of education. I left Japan in 2016.
What ultimately made you decide to end your time in Japan? After spending six years in Japan where I grew a lot, it was a very difficult decision to leave. The decision was made after I realised I was getting complacent. I had stopped pushing myself at work, and although I was still really enjoying my time in Japan I had stopped trying the new flavours of Kit Kats and cola – that’s when I knew it was time to go.
What are you doing now? I’m currently in my second year working in Kunming, China. I work for a private English school called “i2 International Institute of Education” where I am a Teacher Manager at my campus. I teach kids from three to fifteen years old, but the average age of the students is around eight years old. The maximum class size is four students, which took some getting used to after the classes in Japan. While the teaching is easy, managing the foreign teachers here is definitely a challenge!
What made you choose your current country of residence? I wanted to experience Chinese culture. Since the Japanese food and culture that I loved is heavily influenced by the Chinese, it inspired me to come here. Though I
experienced a lot of anti-Chinese sentiment in Japan, I wanted to experience it for myself and make up my own mind.
How was the application process for your current job? I found the job online myself. My girlfriend and I narrowed down the Chinese cities that we would want to live in to two; Kunming and Harbin. Harbin is freezing cold and in the north of China, while Kunming, otherwise known as “The Spring City” because of its climate, is in the southwest and borders Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos. Once we agreed on Kunming, we searched online for jobs and i2 seemed to be the most interesting and most financially attractive job in that area. I applied while still in Japan and got accepted. Though the application process was swift, the documents required to get a work visa in China are now heavily regulated and took some time to complete.
What was most difficult about transitioning from Japanese culture to your current country of residence’s culture? The manners! Daily manners are very different here. Although the people are essentially the same (though they would HATE to hear that I’m sure), the manners and what is considered socially acceptable are completely different. There is no social conformity here because there is no social norm – not in Kunming at least. However, that led to a couple of things that I struggled to come to grips with at first: i) People clearing their throats anywhere and anytime. No, not by a nice gentle cough, but by hacking their phlegm up from their lungs. Spitting it on the street in front of you isn’t uncommon either. I’m told this is much less common in the big cities. ii) I see this less now that before, but kids up to the age of seven or eight would just pull down their pants and take a crap at the side of the street. Often their mums or grandparents would hold them over a bush while they squeezed one (or two) out. iii) No queues. Being from the UK (Scotland), queues are something of a national pastime. I know they may be annoying and even inefficient at times, but they are orderly and fair – two concepts that don’t really exist in China. My very first experience in Beijing airport was of people pushing each other to cram their cases through the scanners at customs. I soon became used to this, but at first it struck me as very rude. Now I realise it is just a cultural difference.
What are some of the differences between education in Japan and education in your current country of residence? I have certainly met more genius kids here than I did in Japan. However, I am aware that the general education is lower here. Kids are encouraged to be more creative here – in our school at least – and can think more freely due to the lack of social conformity.
Also the level of English is generally much higher among students (not among local adults). I think this is due to the concept that the Chinese economy depends on international trade and that English will be the crux in becoming a successful individual in China’s future society. In contrast, I often heard my students in Japan saying, quite correctly, that they didn’t “NEED to speak English. I am Japanese”. As a foreign teacher working in China however, I am not allowed to discuss politics or religion.
What do you miss about Japan? A lot! My friends, the food, the nature, soothing my naked body in scolding hot water surrounded by old men, my ex-colleagues, being complimented on my ability to do menial tasks (use chopsticks, bow, wear a t-shirt in autumn), my job - especially the holidays and free time. Fukui…. What an amazing place it is. It will always be a second home to me and somewhere I will continue to revisit throughout my life.
What is your favorite thing about your current country of residence? Hmmm there are a lot of great things here: food, freedom (social of course, not political), flexibility of individuals. But if I have to choose one, then I would say it is how the people know how to enjoy their lives. If you walk through any of the parks in my city, you will see loads of minority groups meeting up to dance, grannies will be practicing tai chi while listening to techno music, families will be enjoying time together, artists singers and musicians are all over the place performing or displaying their work, and old people have a very strong community – playing majiang, cards, or Chinese chess every day while sipping on their flasks of tea. I REALLY love that about Kunming. Everywhere I look, people are enjoying their lives in some way, no matter how simple.
What kind of things do you do when you’re not working? I travel a lot and love taking pictures. Kunming is home to the largest number of minority groups in the whole of China (twenty-four different ones). This means that when travelling around this province, not only are you experiencing different landscapes and architecture, but also a completely different culture. From the matriarchal Mosuo - whose women determine family lineage, lead the family decisions, and control the money – to the Hani and Yi communities, who have been responsible for carving the beautiful century-old rice terraces out of the mud at Yuanyang. As an amateur photographer, there is so much to see here; and as a human, there are a lot of different peoples to connect with and learn from if you are open-minded.
What advice do you have for people who want to teach abroad after finishing JET? Make sure you know what you want, and what your boundaries are before you rush in. China, like Japan, is not for everyone. I have seen a lot of people who have moved here and done nothing but complain and stay in their houses on their days off, just counting down the days until their contracts finish. It must be a horrible experience for them. Similarly in Japan I sometimes heard people who would always compare Japan negatively to their own country. However, if you are accepting of different cultures and open-minded, I really think travelling anywhere in the world to live, work, and learn is unparalleled. I have no regrets
If you could participate in JET again, would you? This is tough! I would probably have to say no, but only because of my life situation; I’m getting married next year and need to think about settling down. If I could have the freedom to do any job I wanted in Japan, then I would certainly consider moving back, but JET is always a temporary position. I loved it, it was amazing, and I got a lot out of it, but now I need to think about long-term commitments. Plus I’m sick of seeing things I want to buy for my house and thinking “but I won’t be able to ship it home.”
All photos used in this article were provided by Stuart. If you’d like to see more, check out his social media links below!
An Interview with Vienna Tran
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After JET An interview with Amberly Rose Young
When were you on the JET Program, and for how many years? I was on the JET program for two years, from August 2015 until June 2017.
What ultimately made you decide to end your time in Japan? I was ready to move on. At my junior high school in Japan I was a supporting teacher, and I wanted a job with more responsibility. Plus, I just couldn’t see myself living in Japan longterm. I’m the kind of person who walks around singing and carrying a ukulele and intentionally wearing mismatched socks. My key values are creativity, self-expression, individuality, and fun. After two years I felt that Japan’s culture centers around discipline, dedication, organization, and teamwork. I respect them for that, and I know I have a lot to learn from them, but I felt it just clashed too much with my upbringing for me to ever feel completely comfortable there.
What are you doing now? I’m teaching English in a small city called Almendralejo, which is in the Extremadura region of Spain, two hours north of Seville and next to Portugal. I work in a Jesuit primary school and high school, and one public high school. I only have twelve hours of teaching per week, so I work Monday through Thursday. In those twelve hours of classes, I am the main teacher in eight of them, and I have complete freedom to teach the class in any way I want – games, songs, activities, anything. Teachers give me the textbook to work off of, or ask me to prepare something about a specific grammar point or holiday. My work life is very satisfying, and I have plenty of free time.
What made you choose your current country of residence? Since I spent two years in Japan, and before that traveled for eight months in Southeast Asia, I was ready to move to a different part of the world. I still had the travel bug and found teaching English to be fulfilling, so I decided to teach English in Spain, where I could brush up on my Spanish and use my holidays to travel in Europe.
What program did you use, or how did you go about finding a school to teach at? I posted on Facebook asking my network if anyone knew someone teaching in Spain. Luckily, a friend of a friend did, she put us in contact, and she recommended this program! It’s called “Cultural Ambassadors,” or “Auxiliar de Conversation,” and it’s sponsored by the Spanish government.
How was the application process? The application is much easier than JET! All I needed was a 250-word essay, one letter of recommendation, and my college transcripts. There was no interview; they emailed me telling me I was accepted. After I was accepted, however, I did have to have an official background check and a medical exam.
What was most difficult about transitioning from Japanese culture to your current country of residence’s culture? It might sound silly, but for me the trickiest thing about living here their daily schedule. All the shops are closed from 2 – 5 p.m. for siesta and on Sundays, which takes some getting used to. Another issue is the time they eat dinner. I’m used to having dinner around 7 p.m. and being in bed by 10:30 p.m., but here no one starts eating until 10 p.m. Most people here eat dinner at 10:30 p.m. and go to bed at 1 or 2 a.m.. They take a nap or ‘siesta’ in the middle of the day. For me, my routine of diet, sleep, and exercise is really important, but I’m forcing myself to be flexible and try to change my steadfast ways. Last weekend I went to Valencia, and I ate dinner at 11 p.m. and partied until 5 a.m. at a salsa dancing club. Now I realize that if you stay up so late it makes sense to eat late, too! The other most difficult thing about living in Spain is the language. I’ve accidentally spoken Japanese to some people and they look at me like I’m crazy. Spanish is more difficult than I expected because of the verb conjugations and gendered pronouns. But I have plenty of chances to practice. I live with two Spanish people and one other English teacher, so we speak a lot of Spanish in our apartment. I don’t have a car, so I get rides with other teachers to school. During that time I try to speak Spanish, but sometimes I’m so tired from teaching or it’s so early in the morning that it’s quite a mental challenge to turn on my Spanish brain.
The way people interact in Spain, of course, is vastly different from Japan. As much as I appreciate the open, friendly personalities I’ve encountered in Spain, I sometimes find them to be a bit abrasive and harsh. When I walk into a clothing store, in Spain they greet you with “dime,” or “tell me,” which I find to be a bit harsher than the gentle “Irasshaimase!” I remember from Japan.
What are some of the differences between education in Japan and education in your current country of residence? I’ve only been here for three months now, so I’m no expert in the Spanish education system, but I think that it is much more relaxed. While I feel a relaxed atmosphere is more conducive for fostering positive feelings about learning, I do miss certain aspects of the strict Japanese school system. For example, at the start of every class in Japan, every student stands up and greets the teacher. When the class is over, the bell rings, and all students stand up again, and respectfully wait for the teacher to say goodbye before they go to their next class. On the other hand, in Spain, kids are often late, they don’t greet the teacher, and at the end of the class, when the bell rings, they stampede out of class like a herd of elephants.
What do you miss about Japan? It’s a long list: the food! The scenery! My students and friends! The convenience of life! I had such a wonderful community of ALTs in my little town in Takefu and Fukui City. There were great events on weekends, from Irish festivals to soccer tournaments to music nights. I had a car, and would drive to a soccer pick-up game almost every weekend. I could take the train to Kyoto in about seventy-five minutes. I had a wonderful set-up there for two years, and I’m really grateful for it. Plus, I miss the simplicity and freshness of Japanese sushi, nabe, and tofu. I’ve told some of my friends here about conveyor belt sushi, and they are all so impressed.
What is your favorite thing about your current country of residence? The friendly people. For example, if I’m in the staff room with a break between classes, a teacher will approach me and ask me how I’m doing, how my life outside of school is, or what I think about Spain. I find these small interactions to be really important to my mental well-being, and I remember feeling lonely in Japan from lack of being acknowledged.
What kind of things do you do when you’re not working? Thanks to my awesome schedule - I only work four days a week, and the school day ends at 2:30 at my public school! - I have plenty of free time. I teach private classes to kids aging from three years old to eighteen years old, and there is a fairly high demand for native speakers to teach them. (The money I make from my private classes pays for my
rent!) I joined a local gym and I take zumba classes there, and on the weekends I go salsa dancing. I’m vegetarian at restaurants and vegan at home, so I really enjoy cooking most of my meals. At home I spend a lot of time talking to my roommates and new friends. Since I have three-day weekends, I travel at least once a month. There are so many famous cities near me that I can visit on the weekends: I’ve already been to Seville, Madrid, Valencia, Merida, and Badajoz, and I’m going to Granada for Christmas vacation. I also live near Morocco and Portugal, so I plan on going there too!
What advice do you have for people who want to teach abroad after finishing JET? Go for it! Why not? I was a bit scared to change countries, and it was a lot of effort, but now I’m so glad I did. I intuitively felt that it was time for a change, so I followed my gut and now I’m living a totally different adventure.
If you could participate in JET again, would you? If I could be guaranteed a high school where I had more teaching responsibility, I would consider doing JET again. However, I feel like I’ve ‘been there, done that’ and I don’t really need to do JET again. I do want to visit Japan again though, and see all my old friends and students, and travel to the parts of Japan I didn’t get to visit!
All photos used in this article were provided by Amberly. If you’d like to see more from her, visit her blog at https://whereisamber.com/.
An Interview with Akito Nicol
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How prepared did you feel for your life now when you left Japan? N JHMF M 6 SGD BKN D S SGHMF UD G C SN ETKK SHLD INA N E BST KK N JHMF LN D GNT OD DDJ SG M KNS NE L E HDMC A BJ HM LD HB HLD L M FDLDMS KNS LN D BG KKDMFHMF SG M HS HM BNKKDFD MC CDZMHSDK CDUDKNODC ADSSD DM D EN N F MH SHNM MC O HN HSH SHNM D ODBH KK ADB T D MSDC SN PTDD D HM L M CUDMST D BNTKC HMSN G S E DD SHLD G C 7TBG LN D HLON S MSK EDKS SG S K N GDKODC LD CDUDKNO S NMFD DM D NE D ONM HAHKHS E BNT D M 6 BNTKC FDS HSG KNS BD S HMK LN D SG M L
O MD D BN N JD MC SGD D D D MNS SD HAK L M HMBDMSHUD SN FHUD HS L KK 2N DUD K N S NMFK ADKHDUDC SG S 6 D DO D DMS SHUD NE SGDH BNTMS HD MC NSGD HM SGD NF L K N EDKS SG S BNTKC MC GNTKC S L AD S SN L JD K SHMF HLO BS NM SGD STCDMS HMSD D S MC AHKHS HM MFKH G GT EDKS SG S G C CTS SN CN L AD S SN GN TO NM SHLD CDUDKNO LD MHMFETK MC DMF FHMF KD NM HSG L BNKKD FTD MC S ESD BGNNK SN N J HSG STCDMS S NMFK ADKHDUD SG S SGH EDDKHMF NE D ONM HAHKHS HKK D UD LD DKK HM ETST D DLOKN LDMS N SNO HS KK NEE EDDK SG S N JHMF M DCTB SN L CD LD ADSSD OD NM S Z S FK MBD L STCDMS D D KK E H K HLHK STCHNT MC KDDO CDO HUDC HSG LN S NE SGDL G UHMF SGD KK SNN E LHKH TM HKKHMFMD SN S MC NTS 2N DUD FDSSHMF SN JMN SGDL NM LN D HMCHUHCT K KDUDK L CD LD D NE SGDH TMHPTD LNSHU SHNM MC HMSD D S DKK SGDH N HD MC HM DBT HSHD ,DHMF AKD SN TMCD S MC MC DLO SGH D HSG L STCDMS KKN DC LD SN N J HSG SGDL ADSSD MC BG KKDMFD O DBNMBDOSHNM ANTS K BJ NE LNSHU SHNM N AHKHS UD KK SGHMJ ADB LD JDDMK D NE IT S GN EN K BJ NE ADSSD SD L! GTL M NSGD ODNOKD D L MNS DW BSK DWBHSDC ANTS SGD O N ODBS NE ADHMF D K CTKS ATS S M SD CDZMHSDK EDDK LN D O DO DC EN HS MN SG M CHC ESD F CT SHMF E NL BNKKDFD
Is there something you took for granted about your home country before you left that you appreciate more after having come back? N AD E MJ G C MN HCD IT S GN LTBG NTKC LH OH GD D D D ED NOSHNM GDM HS B LD SN NAS HMHMF SGH ZMD ENNC HM 0TJTH MC IT SHE HMF SGD BN S BG KKDMFHMF FHUDM GN DK SHUDK HMDWODM HUD OH H HM LD HB CCHSHNM KK GHKD TMKHJD L M NE L D SDDLDC BNKKD FTD ! CHC DMIN L M NE SGD TMHPTDK O MD D U HDSHD NE OH ENTMC L DKE KNMFHMF EN UN SG S HLOK D D MNS NEED DC S .NLHMN N C D LDMSHNM SGH D S AKH GLDMS DW 2 MC 7DKNC L SHB OH LAKHMF HCD K N OO DBH SD -GHONSKD PTHSD AHS LN D MN ESD D NE MNS G UHMF HMFKD AT HSN SD J AT HSN HSG GNS K MC FT B LNKD G MDUD S SDC ADSSD
What advice do you have for people who are still working in Japan? For enjoying Japan? SGHMJ SGD AD S SN DMIN NT SHLD HM O M H SN OTKK ?NNSNOH MC S DUD SGHMF E NT DMBNTMSD S MFD MD ENNC NT G UD MDUD DDM ADEN D S HS HS LHFGS AD CDKHBHNT KNB K CDKHB B E NT FDS M DL HK HMUHSHMF NT SN NG N ATJH DUDMS BGDBJ HS NTS NT LHFGS ZMC SG S NT KNUD S CHSHNM K O MD D SGD SD LN D SG M NT SGNTFGS E NT G UD E HDMC GN G UD KHUDC HM O M EN GHKD J SGDL EN TFFD SHNM SGD LHFGS SDKK NT ANTS GHCCDM FDL SG S SGD SNT H S DA HSD CNM S LDMSHNM 1DMD KK OD JHMF ENTMC SG S ODNOKD GN D D TM HKKHMF SN S JD BG MBD MC S MD SGHMF D D LN S KHJDK SN MNS AD DMIN HMF SGDH DWOD HDMBD HM O M
For preparing to leave? GD AD S CUHBD B M FHUD SN SGN D O DO HMF SN KD UD H SN S S D K 0HMH G KK NE SGD MDBD O OD N J PTHBJK ON HAKD DKK NT ADKNMFHMF N DMC SGDL GNLD DUD K LNMSG HM CU MBD NE NT CDO ST D M ED NT LNMD NUD SN NT GNLD A MJ BBNTMS JHMF B D NE SGD D SGHMF D K ON HAKD H SGD AD S SN G UD S D E DD KD UHMF O NBD GHKD SNNJ B D NE CNBTLDMS SHNM HM SHLDK L MMD DMCDC TO GHOOHMF NTS LN S NE L ADKNMFHMF HM SGD K S LHMTSD KN S PTHSD AHS NE LNMD ADB T D CHC MNS G UD SGD SHLD SN D D BG SGD CHEED DMS LDSGNC NE HMSD M SHNM K GHOOHMF D TKSHMF HM LD T HMF M DWODM HUD H L HK NOSHNM .NM S L JD SGD LD LH S JD LD S S D K
If you could work in Fukui or Japan again, would you? E BNTKC O SHBHO SD HM F HM A NKTSDK F HM EN S N D HM SD C NE IT S NMD
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125 Puddles I was a block of ice before I met you, frozen by a world without a shield from the cold. The only flame I had was incinerating my mind: raging, growing and wild. I chipped away at the crystals with frustration and promise, unable to understand why the fire couldnâ€™t spread. Filled with red and blue, I could see my own breath. Then, your hand caught mine. I felt the flame start to calm and fall, sinking. A quiet fire burned in my heart as the ice thawed away. The heat, controlled and constant, radiated around us. You melted me.
By Charlene Santiago
Cheska’s Story I looked at him in the eye and finally had the courage to ask, “Do you love me?” His eyes slowly met mine, and he said, “Of course I do.” I had a brief moment of happiness. A little feeling of assurance. A peace of mind. It was bliss. But then that happiness was short lived. When I was ready, I asked him the question I really wanted to ask, “More than ‘her?’” His eyes immediately diverted to the floor, the look of guilt starting to color his face. A truth that he thought he could hide. He did not answer my question, but I had all the answers I needed.
Remembrance Did you know that hearts can bury bodies? And just like any cemetery, each had tombstones with a names etched on them. All had a special dedication, some tombstones more extravagant than others. But yours by far, was my favorite. A different emotion, all wrapped in roses and thorns. A memory that was once cherished, now turning to dust. â€œFunny, how we can harbour so much hate for a person you once loved.â€? A flower laid down each day, for a person I used to know.
Carlo Marasigan Carlo Marasigan
The Parking Space.
FJET Announcements 3
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Sources 125 puddles Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-of-tea-light-candle-againstblack-background-321444/ Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Amatic+SC
After JET Interviews Photos: The photos in each interview were submitted by the interviewee. Fonts: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Fjalla+One https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Exo https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Bungee
Asian sweet potato pie recipe Images: http://weekofmenus.blogspot.jp/2009/11/korean-sweet-potato-pie-necessity-is.html?q=sweet+potato
Cheskaâ€™s story Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/flower-pink-peony-blouse-112324/ Flower Graphic: https://thy-darkest-hour.deviantart.com/art/Peony-PNG-08-286642373 Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Devonshire
Climbing Fuji: Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adventure-asia-beautiful-bird-s-eyeview-347145/ Background: https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/topography/ Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Londrina+Sketch
Dear Diary Logo Image: http://harvardpolitics.com/humor/dear-abby-the-future-of-the-republican-party/
First year impressions Photos: Submitted by Karim Mohanna Doodle images: https://www.flaticon.com/
Fuji Tips Photos: Submitted by Will Tjipto Background: http://thepatternlibrary.com/ Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Coming+Soon Fuji Graphic: https://android272.deviantart.com/art/TeeWorlds-Mount-Fuji-566424369
Is Japan’s Christmas season America’s Cuffing season? Images: https://allabout-japan.com/en/article/4650/ https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-8703328-stock-footage-candleslight-background-heart-shaped-valentine-s-day-candle-flame-at-night-holidaywedding.html
Japanese wedding extravaganza Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/14163131@N04/3406827586 http://www.bridesmagazine.co.uk/planning/general/flowers/2014/01/ monochrome-bridal-bouquet/gallery#!photo5
kiki’s fish pie Recipe Images: Fish pie image taken from the movie Kiki’s Delivery Service https://matome.naver.jp/mymatome/old78s?page=2&order=F&type=
Local eats Photos: Submitted by Will Tjipto Background: http://thepatternlibrary.com/ Fonts: https://www.dafont.com/linowrite.font https://www.dafont.com/veteran-typewriter.font https://www.dafontfree.net/freefonts-berlin-sans-fb-f64533.htm
Ramen recs Photos: Submitted by Will Tjipto Background: http://thepatternlibrary.com/ Fonts: https://www.dafont.com/chalk-dash.font https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Cabin+Sketch
Remembrance Photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-and-red-roses-131821/ Font: https://www.dafont.com/veteran-typewriter.font
Rice cooker banana bread recipe Photos: Submitted by Nyssa Giangregorio
Traveling Outside of Fukui Photos: Submitted by Will Tjipto Background: https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/tree-bark/ Font: https://www.dafont.com/joint-by-pizzadude.font
The art of bento: bento basics Photos: Submitted by Nyssa Giangregorio
The inherent selfishness of being happy Photos: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blonde-hair-blur-daylight-environment-214574/ https://www.pexels.com/photo/casual-cheerful-daylight-friends-541518/ Background: http://graphicdesignjunction.com/2013/03/seamless-high-qualtity-wood-textures/ Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Amatic+SC
Sources Background: https://www.toptal.com/designers/subtlepatterns/halftone-yellow/ Font: https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Bungee https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Bungee+Inline
The Facts Background: https://pixabay.com/en/birds-flock-flying-animals-2750483/ Image: https://dribbble.com/shots/2887804-Mountains
The Trials Background: http://moziru.com/explore/Drawn%20mountain%20transparent/ Image: http://pluspng.com/png-19997.html http://pluspng.com/png-20012.html
Cover: Natasha Taliferro Culture Page: Will Tjipto Lifestyle Page: Natasha Taliferro Community Page: Caroline Yueh Announcements: Angela Hinck
Published on Mar 8, 2018
Published on Mar 8, 2018
JETFuel is a bi-annual e-magazine produced by the ALT community in Fukui, Japan and in conjunction with the Fukui JET chapter of AJET. In th...