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The Akitan Summer Edition, Issue 2

Our New CIR/PA Photo by Steven Wilson




In this issue Steven Wilson


Summer welcome




SDC Conference


Upcoming events


Upcoming festivals

11 Tips for sempais 13 Photo corner 17 Lesson corner 19 JALT & call for contributions

Rachelle Hamonic

Rachelle Hamonic

SummerWelcome A kita’s rainy season is fast approaching and with it comes the sad reminder that many from our JET community are leaving including our CIR/PA, Casey Kuester. We would like to express our thanks to everyone for a job well done. Thank you for all your hard work and we wish you all the very best in your future endeavors. You will be greatly missed!

On a happier note, in this issue we will introduce the latest member of the PA team! We also have some important information regarding the Skill Development Conference in October along with some great tips on how to be a stupendous sempai. You may also want to check out our summer festival page, lesson corner and photo corner as well! We hope you enjoy this issue!

Renaud Davies 080-1658-4516 Derek Lemieux 080-6013-6528 Nikki Zywina 090-6452-6454

AJET Peer Support Group Hotline: Everyday (8pm-7am) Toll Free: 050-5534-5566

Your PAs

Photo by Renaud Davies


PA/CIR A HUGE thank you to Casey for being such an AMAZING PA and CIR these last few years. We will really miss you, Casey! Thanks for everything. Otsukaresama deshita!

Final words from Casey

“Hey Akitans, I think I said all that I needed to say at the Recontractors and Returners conference, but I just wanted to thank everyone again for a fantastic time on JET, and the chance to work with such wonderful people. I hope all of you go on to lead rich and successful lives so I can one day say I knew you when...�

Photo by Steven Wilson

News! Welcome to the team, Randy!

Randy Umetsu Hello Akitans. I am Randy Umetsu, a 1st year CIR from Hawaii. I cannot believe I have less than a month before departing for Japan. I am truly looking forward to beginning my new life in Akita and, of course, working with you as a Prefectural Advisor. See you all in Akita!


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Conference date


Hosted by: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and



Technology (MEXT), Akita Prefectural Board of Education and Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR)


he 2012 Akita Skill Development Conference (SDC) will be held at the Prefectural Education Center in Tenno on October 18th and 19th. We are in need of presenters. Please see the next page to learn more!




Call for SDC Presenters

ur once a year prefectural wide Skill Development Conference (SDC) is coming soon! As you all know, the success of this conference depends on all of us ALTs as we are the main presenters. Together let's make this year's conference the best yet! The Education Center is now looking for volunteers to present or submit classroom videos. Below you will find a general schedule for the 2012 SDC. If you are interested in doing one of these presentations or have an idea for a different presentation, please contact Renaud Davies at If you forget how awesome last year's SDC was, click here. It should be noted that we will be doing team-teaching videos again this year; however, this year’s videos will only be 10-12 minutes long and composed of short clips from one or even various lessons. Finally, over the next month or so, the Education Center will be contacting ALTs in regard to filling specific presentations that have not been filled by volunteers. Ideally, it would be nice if all presentations were filled by volunteers, so we encourage you to get involved. Thank you and we are looking forward to hearing from you all!

Open Presentation Spots French: Get into your students’ shoes (New Language?) Elementary School Activities Phonics Junior High School Activities Video Presentations (8 in total) Listening and Speaking Activities Reading and Writing Activities *Your own idea for a workshop


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3rd Annual Oga Namahage Rock Festival!

July 28th Tickets can be purchased at Lawson for 6,000 yen, or you can get tickets on the day for 7,000 yen. Parking is available for 1,500 yen at the namahage camp ground. For more details about who is performing when, check out the website here! Welcome Dinner New Arrivals!

August 1st and 8th We are welcoming 1 new CIR/PA and 29 new ALTs! Let’s give them a warm welcome!

August 25th We will have a welcome dinner for the new folks in Akita City. The dinner is tentatively scheduled for August. 25th, 7:30 and will be at the Metropolitan hotel next to Akita station. Karaoke is to follow! Please contact Kenny ASAP if you would like to join us. More details will be sent out shortly.

Photo: Mt. Fuji by Steven Wilson


August 3rd - 6th

Akita Orientation

August 23rd - 24th Akita orientation will be a little later than usual this year, so a lot of these folks are going to need some sempai advice for their first two weeks.

The Akita City Kanto Lantern Festival is probably the prefecture’s most well-known matsuri. Participants young and old gather in the main thoroughfare of the city to balance giant racks of lanterns on different parts of their body in order to hope for a good harvest (but let’s be honest, it’s an excuse to have fun and drink). Drummers and flutists ride on trucks along with the lanterns allowing city residents even far away from the city center an opportunity to bathe in the fabulous atmosphere of one of Tohoku’s most famous festivals. The last day is highly recommended as lantern bearers try to add more and more height to their racks resulting in cracking bamboo and rows of flaming paper lanterns. August 3~6 from 7:00 to 9:00. Check out the next page for links and info on other festivals coming soon!


y ls n a a m tiv of fes w g fe i n A m co p u Omagari National Fireworks Competition (Daisen City) August, 25th

Tanabata Picture Lantern Festival (Yuzawa City) August 5~7

Akita Kanto Festival (Akita City) August 3~6

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Mikoshi no Takiabi (Happo Town) August 1

Nishimonai Bon Dance (Ugo Town) August 16~18

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! e r o m Kakunodate Festival (Float Event) (Senboku City) September 7~9

Photo by Steven Wilson

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Five Tips on Being a Stupendous Sempai! By Casey Kuester

In only a few weeks we will soon see many new faces around the prefecture, eager and fresh to take up the mantle of Akita ALT. Here are some simple ways to make our new colleagues feel welcome and help them adjust to life in their new homes.

1. Be available You, as well as our incoming JETs, are probably excited about meeting some new faces. You may have even prepared a welcome board or dinner for some of the new guys. Most likely this will make their first impression of Akita a great one, and they will soon set out to explore all that our prefecture has to offer. In addition to these fantastic welcoming gestures, one of the best ways to help new ALTs is just to let them know that you are there to answer questions. Even if they never end up contacting you, it is a nice feeling knowing that you are supported by the community.

2. Remain available New JETs will likely remain excited about their new placement for a few days to a few months in a euphoria that you were probably experiencing too when you first arrived. Sadly, this period cannot last for most of us, and we start to feel the cold hard pangs of culture shock/fatigue before long. Staying in contact with someone and talking with them about their new experiences can help put perspective on a lot of the things new JETs can go through. You don’t need to provide any kind of intense counseling, but letting someone know that you are still there if they need to talk can help them out more than you know.

Photo: Steven Wilson

3. Try not to talk too much about a new JET’s predecessor. Nobody is saying that you have to forget about the friends that you have made over the last few years, but put yourself into a newbie’s shoes. Do you really want to constantly hear about how great/awful the person before you was? When you meet a new JET be as forward-thinking as possible, and focus on cultivating new friendships instead of reminiscing about old ones.

4. Try to be as positive as possible We are not saying that you should lie and say you are having a better time than you are, but you should try to focus on remaining positive. Instead of talking about how long and hard winter is, you could talk about all of the chances to go skiing/ snowboarding from January to March.

5. Let new JETs make their own mistakes. Some of the best stories we have on JET are from our wacky mix ups, such as randomly pressing those strange buttons on the side of a toilet only to get a spray of water in the face. It’s easy to want to pass on your hard-won wisdom onto the new folks, but let them discover and make mistakes for themselves too.

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Akita JALT

re you interested in learning more about language teaching? Would you like to connect with other language teachers around Akita or Japan? If so, then you may be interested in The Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT). JALT is a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of language teaching and learning both within Japan and internationally. The Akita JALT chapter meets monthly and invites you to check out the workshops. You will find a schedule for workshops for the year on their website.

NOTE: The Akita JALT community would love to learn more about the JET Programme in Akita and teamteaching. If you are interested in presenting on something, please contact Wayne Malcolm:

There is a charge of 500 yen for all non-members (It used to be 1000 yen, but they lowered it for us ^-^). JALT members and students are free. Scheduled meetings are at JOIN US in Akita City.

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A Call For Your Activities and Contributions



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e hope that you found this newsletter useful. If you have any suggestions to make The Akitan better, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Lastly, submissions from you will make this workrelated newsletter all the more interesting. So, if you have lesson activities, work-related essays, job postings, news articles, photos, etc, please submit them to one of the PAs. Thanks for reading!


We are looking for great photos by you! Please send them to one of the PAs and help make this newsletter even more aesthetically pleasing to read!

You can download The Akitan to read off-line by clicking on the download icon below the newsletter's preview!

Created by your PAs Layout and Design: Renaud Davies

Contributors: Casey Kuester Steven Wilson Melissa Noad Rachelle Hamonic Andrew Lewis

Photo by Steven Wilson

The Akitan: Issue Two  

A Newsletter for JET ALTs in Akita

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