JETAABC NEWSLETTER VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2: SUMMER 2007
In this issue: Note from the Editor . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Upcoming Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Food Night: Okonomiyaki . . . . . . 3 Calgary Conference Report . . . . . 4 Healing Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Ready, Jet, Go’s Summer of Fun . . . 6 Death-Defying Hike . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 News from the Consulate . . . . . . . 8
Itadakimasu! Attendees of the latest Food Night are all smiles after enjoying authentic okonomiyaki at Modern Club in Vancouver. For more on Food Nights, see page 3! page 1
Note from the Editor Joanna Karaplis
rom warm sunny streaks to weather that would be more appropriate for fall, summer has been anything but dull. However, no matter how much I miss Japan, I can’t say I miss the unbearably humid summers. At least I don’t need air conditioning to survive in Vancouver! When I find myself missing Japan, I simply remind myself of how lucky I am to be in Vancouver, where there are so many opportunities to enjoy Japanese food, culture, and experiences. The third Thursday of each month sees me at the Mokuyokai pub night, nibbling nachos and practising my Japanese on unsuspecting victims. When I crave okonomiyaki, I can be found at Modern Club enjoying my beloved buta-dama (for more on Modern Club, see page 3!). Thanks to the Mokuyokai and JETAABC mailing lists, I’m always finding out about new Japan-related events, from movies to workshops to picnics! Really, the only thing that’s missing is a nice local onsen...
2007 JETAABC BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Greg Joughin firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Advisor Bobby Taylor email@example.com Secretary Ann Yamashita firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Chris Bailey email@example.com Membership Coordinator Erica Moizumi firstname.lastname@example.org Social and Cultural Coordinator Anita Lien email@example.com Technical Coordinator Joseph Luk firstname.lastname@example.org External Liaison Nina Inaoka Lee email@example.com Volunteer Coordinator Jeff Co firstname.lastname@example.org Career and Personal Development Sabine Sengmueller Sasakura email@example.com Newsletter Editor Joanna Karaplis firstname.lastname@example.org
Handmade crafts for sale at the Powell Street Festival in Oppenheimer Park page 2
Food Night: Okonomiyaki! Joanna Karaplis
Fun in the Sun! Nina Inaoka Lee
elcome back to the newly returned JETs, and a warm hello to the seasoned alumni. Ready, JET, Go! and JETAABC are having a barbeque at Jericho Beach and you and your friends are all invited! Please join us! There will be games (crack the watermelon, scavanger hunt, donut run, bocce, volleyball) and prizes. Please bring a chair. We only have a few picnic tables reserved and most of them will be holding the food! Date: Sunday, August 26, 2007 Time: Food served between 11-3 p.m. Place: Jericho Beach: just look for the tent surrounded by balloons and AJET and Ready JET Go! team banners. Cost: $10 per person, for either meat or vegetarian option. Meat option: 1 beef burger, 1 European weiner, salad, and 2 drinks (pop, water, or juice). Vegetarian option: 2 veggie burgers, salad, and 2 drinks. RSVP with name, contact number, and food option to email@example.com. See you soon!
konomiyaki, how I’ve missed you! And how wonderful to have found you in Vancouver! (Though I would gladly have travelled to Osaka for you!) I’ve been to a few Japanese restautants boasting okonomiyaki on their menus, but none have measured up... until now. Modern Club, located at 3446 Dunbar St, has okonomiyaki fit for an Osakan! The only drawback is the price: twice what you’d pay in Japan, sadly.
A Touch of Class Michelle Dong
i, I’m Michelle Dong and I’m with the Vancouver Chamber Choir. This year, our concert Northern Light! Japan, Scandinavia and Canada is featuring guest conductor Mr. Chifuru Matsubara from the Tokyo Philharmonic Chorus. He leads the Vancouver Chamber Choir in a fascinating programme of choral music from northern realms: Japan, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Latvia, and Canada. The concert will be held at Ryerson United Church (2195 West 45th Ave, at Yew) at 8 p.m. Friday, October 19, 2007. This is an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange and may be of particular interest for JET alumni. We also have a student rush ticket program: students with valid student ID can purchase concert tickets for $10 one hour before the concert. See you there!
Sabine Sasakura shows off her okonomiyaki For our Food Night on July 6th, we had a grand total of nine people come out for delicious okonomiyaki, gyoza, edamame, and other standard izakaya fare. The service was good at the atmosphere was homey and comfortable, which almost made up for the high prices. It was also nice to hear the cooks speaking in Japanese, and to see the sizzling okonomiyaki being prepared out in the open for diners to watch. The next Food Night is scheduled for Friday, September 7th. The location is yet to be confirmed, so keep checking the JETAABC website (jetaabc.ca) for updates. We hope to see you there! page 3
Calgary Conference Report Ann Yamashita and Erica Moizumi
algary, what an interesting city! With nearly a million people, the city is definitely experiencing a growth spurt. The job market is booming but then again, you’ll be lucky to find housing. Much like Vancouver, the city is constantly under construction. Nevertheless, our two JETAABC Reps (Ann Yamashita and Erica Moizumi) and substitute Canada Rep (Sabine Sasakura) found the conference a worthwhile endeavor and the city quite entertaining. Unfortunately, we didn’t see as many cowboys and cowgirls as we had hoped, since we were two weeks too early for the Stampede. The 2007 National Conference officially began on Friday, June 21st with a visit to the Consulate of Japan. It was a great opportunity to mingle with staff from the Calgary Consulate while meeting reps from across Canada. Afterwards, some delegates opted to practice their singing at a local karaoke club. Bright and early on the Saturday morning, we gathered for our first series of workshops and discussion sessions. Although it was an intense eight hours, by the day’s end we had managed to clarify Grant-in-Aid procedures, review Chapter reports, and partially discuss amendments to the Canada Rep roles & responsibil-
ities. For the evening activities, SAJETAA (Southern Alberta JET Alumni Association) had arranged for us to enjoy a bit of Calgary’s nightlife. First stop was the Calgary Tower for an amazing view of the city, although it was rather odd seeing the Rockies from that side of the mountain! Dinner was a fine dining affair compliments of CLAIR NY. Lots of wine, good food, and great company! Of course we headed off for another round of drinking (nijikai) in true Japanese fashion. Sunday was our last day so we revisited the issue of Canada Rep, which led to a discussion about this year’s action plan. We have pledged that each chapter will give back to their community in the spirit of sharing. However, the highlight of Day 3 was the opportunity to play with taiko drums. One of the SAJETAA execs belongs to a taiko group and she kindly taught us some of the basics of drumming. Next year’s national conference will be held in Winnipeg, home of Winnie the Pooh! As a final note, if you happen to be in Toronto from September 13th-16th, you’re invited to join our International JETAA Conference. Just send an RSVP to JETAA Toronto. Most of all, we would like to thank SAJETAA, the Consulate of Japan, and CLAIR NY for organizing and supporting this event.
Left to right: Sabine Sasakura, Ann Yamashita, Erica Moizumi page 4
Healing Hands Nina Inaoka Lee
n Friday, May 18, 2007 at the YWCA on Hornby Street, we had 12 JET alumni and 18 guests attend this successful sold-out shiatsu massage workshop. It was so great to see so many of you join us! It was definitely fun and a wonderful learning experience. Chikako Tsukada and Sayuri Hariu of Healing Space at 1238 Robson Street (Konbiniya 2nd Floor) gave their time to teach the basic techniques of Shiatsu. As we learned, stress — whether it’s everyday life stresses at work or home or physiological stresses such as wastes, toxins, or too much cholesterol in the body — is negative energy that causes aches and fatigue. This is reflected in the body with pain and tension and is held by the tsubo or pressure point. We learned how shiatsu (literally, “finger pressure”) helps to release the stress. By pressing the tsubo that are located all over the body, we are actually digging out and relieving the stress from the tsubo, to feel good! Straddling the chair backwards with a pillow to lean on, everyone took turns with their partners practicing shiatsu for the neck and shoulders. Learning the very basics required finding about 50 pressure points then pressing them three times each.
Practice time! A little higher, please!
Instructor Chikako Tsukada helps Sabine Sasakura give Ann Yamashita a relaxing massage. As beginners, our “10-15 minute massage” was more like 20-25 minutes, as we had to keep checking our pressure point maps to make sure the points were right. In the end we learned that just about every spot on your body has a pressure point. Shiatsu should not hurt but should feel good, so communication is important as everyone has different comfortable level of pressure. Ita-kimo was my new word of the day. Itai (it hurts) + kimochii (it feels good) = good pain. I’ve heard that some of the students are continuing to use shiatsu to release stress after a long day. All in all I think everyone enjoyed the workshop (and the snack platters we had to wrap up the event!). We welcome any suggestions for other events and encourage your participation! Hope to see you soon! page 5
Ready JET Go!’s Summer of Fun Ann Yamashita
t’s been another busy summer for Ready JET Go! (RJG), the JET alumni dragon boat team. RJG had two races in the month of June. The Alcan Regatta, where they placed third in the C Finals, took place on June 2nd and the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival was on June 16th and 17th, where they placed first in the Rec B Consolation. Way to go! Another busy day was in store for RJG as they were in Harrison Hot Springs for the Fraser Valley Dragon Boat Festival on July 21st. This is the first festival where they were able to take home a silver medal, the first medal of were able to show off their colourful new uniforms! the season! Great job and otsukaresamadeshita! Despite the rainy forecast, the weather turned out just RJG has two more races in the season. September 1st perfect during the day: cloudy with sunny breaks. The and 2nd is the Taiwanese Dragon Boat Festival held at first two races were important, as their placement into False Creek, which is the last race in the Lower Mainthe next round depended on the average time of the two land. For those that miss that race and happen to be in races. However, not to worry — RJG whizzed through the Okanagan, RJG will be in Kelowna on September their first two races coming in first both times, which 15th and 16th for the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival. placed them into the Rec A semi-finals. The semi-final Please come out and support your alumni team! If you’d turned out to be a tough race, but again, RJG came like to come out and try dragon boating sometime, through with a first place finish. please contact either Nina at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jane Even though there were long delays and the rain at email@example.com. started pouring in the evening, RJG kept their team spirit alive with the help of a lot of 80s music. They
Happy Ready JET Go! members show off their silver medals at Harrison. Way to go, team!
Death-Defying Hike Sabine Sasakura
hen I first did a Google search on the Cerise Creek trail, I came up with numerous posts about the attempts of mountaineering types to ascend the infamous glacier up there. However, our goal was a hut built to honour a mountaineer named Keith who was killed trying to ascend Mt Logan. Hmmmm. About one kilometre into the hike, we noticed a lovely mound of bear droppings. Unwilling to be eaten on this fine July day, we pulled out our bear bells and started singing the “Sound of Music” as we walked (nothing turns a bear away like Julie Andrews). Three more steaming piles of bear dung later (were they following us, or were we following them?!) we arrived at the trailhead. Thrilled by the fact that we were but a 2-hour hike from our goal, we sprung up the trail. A mossy mountain greeted each step as we bounced along the trail. The forest closed in and for a moment, I could imagine a sasquatch poking out from behind the big boulders. We reached a river, but it was a swollen monstrosity. Luckily, its bridge of fallen logs was still intact. Intact, but under two feet of raging water. I unbuckled my pack, stepped gingerly onto the slippery logs, and extended my hiking poles into the water, waiting to hear the chink of metal against rock. It never came, so I decided to hold my poles out horizontally, like a tightrope walker, which proved to be more effective. We survived the river crossing, and were elated to find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a mosquito-infested marsh. After we crossed the marsh, the trail suddenly ended. A rock slide had gone through and wiped the side of the mountain clear, trail and all. Yet, that was not the sole difficulty. The rockslide itself was covered with a metre of snow. And it was steep. So incredibly steep.
Unwilling to die that fine July day, I sent my husband in first. This may sound cruel, but he was actually a forester in Japan, and hiking mountains in the snow was his job for years. He cleared a nice trail for me and taught me how to use my hiking pole as an ice pick to anchor myself. I was mountaineering woman. ROOAARRR! However, it soon became apparent that we were now left to hike on fragile spring snowpack, on a steep mountainside, without snow gear, with no sign of a trail in sight, and we were hours from the car or any safe place to pitch our tent for the night. I did what any selfrespecting woman would have done in the situation: sat down and insisted that the men go first to find the trail. I waited. And waited. Finally, after about an hour, Yoshi came sliding down the slope — they had found the hut! He and Kenny half dragged me up to the top. It was the most beautiful sight I had seen all day: a small log cabin perched on the lovely July snow, looking out at the sheer face of a mountain that was covered in a thick, poofy glacier. The setting sun had turned the evening sky pink, and the stars were dancing in the tree tops behind us. It was one of the most fabulous nights of my life, as my husband and I stood on the porch of the hut arm in arm, watching the shadow of the mountain before us fade into the twinkling night sky, steaming cups of sake in our hands. It was so peaceful and quiet and beautiful and breathtaking that I almost forgot about the fact that we still had to descend the mountain the next morning. Luckily, I managed to slide my way down that mountain, teaching Yoshi and Kenny some new profanities along the way. Battered, bitten and bruised (but NOT dead!), we stumbled out of the forest the following afternoon, huge grins on our faces. Now THAT’s a Mokuyokai hiking trip!! page 7
News from the Consulate Steve Chevalier
o you remember the first time you stepped off the plane in Tokyo? How about the “insta-sweat” of a humid Japanese summer or the jetlag that ensued? On August 4th, sixty-three participants of the 21st JET Programme (59 ALTs and 4 CIRs) will depart from Vancouver to begin their new adventure. Participants leaving from Vancouver still make up one of the largest contingents departing from Canada. Prior to departure, participants gathered at BCIT’s downtown campus on June 23rd for this year’s Preparation Seminar. The MC, Carl Brodie, started things off with an icebreaker activity, so participants could get to know each other. Valuable insight about life as a JET followed. In the morning, alumni spoke on topics such as “From Now to Tokyo,” “Your First Month in Japan,” “Money and Taxes,” and “Culture Shock.” In the afternoon, participants were divided into small groups to discuss case studies on JET life and work situations, facilitated by alumni. JETAABC’s own curmudgeon, Greg Joughin, rounded out the event by explaining, tongue-in-cheek, the “no fun” spirit of JETAABC activities that await participants when they return. Thanks to JETAABC’s help and support, the event was big success! Other items in brief: • Landing examination procedures for Japan are changing. Starting November 27, 2007, all foreigners entering Japan will be fingerprinted and photographed for security reasons. Details on the new procedures can be found here: www.vancouver.ca.emb-japan.go.jp/en/special_en/landing_procedures.htm • The Creative Japan website (www.creativejapan.net) was recently launched by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce contemporary Japanese culture. Topics include manga, anime, gaming, art, architecture, design, literature, food, and fashion. • The Government of Japan recently launched the First International Manga award. Introductions to the recipients and their works can be found at www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/gaiko/culture/manga/index.html. Although most of the site is in Japanese, the PDF links do have some English content. • Drop by the Consulate booth on Friday, August 17th at Anime Evolution. This three-day Asian cultural and Japanese animation convention will be held at SFU’s Burnaby campus. Visit www.animeevolution.com for further details. • The Japan Foundation and the Consulate General of Japan present THE JAPAN FILM SHOW, Saturday, September 15th at Pacific Cinémathéque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver. This year’s films are Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai) at 1:15 p.m., and Hoteru Haibisukasu (Hotel Hibiscus) at 3:40 p.m. Admission is free. RESERVATIONS ADVISED – Call (604) 684-5868 ext. 372. Visit the Culture & Education page on the Consulate website for movie synopses: www.vancouver.ca.emb-japan.go.jp
At the Powell Street Festival, a little girl watches her father “fish” for water balloons, a common matsuri pasttime.
The Powell Street Festival, which celebrates Japanese culture, takes place annually at Oppenheimer Park on the first weekend in August.