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Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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IN APRIL’S EDITION: Editor’s Note: Every month the newsletter tries to broaden and improve our output whilst keeping it all fresh and interesting. This month we have several new writers taking on the mantle as well as our regular writers. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you to vote in the upcoming Toyama AJET Council Elections. From pages 16 – 18 in this edition of the newsletter you will find details about the upcoming elections and platforms from the various people running for positions. Remember that these people are running to represent you and essentially work on your behalf so here in the newsletter we are giving you the chance to see what these candidates are all about. Finally a reminder that if you feel that you can contribute we are always looking for articles, poems, cartoons and recipes. To contribute please email By: Paula Kerrigan Not Intended for Children

Pg 2–3

By Michelle Haward You Don’t Know Natsumi Soseki?!!

Pg 4

By Ruth Kingdon To Infinty and Beyond (What’s On)

Pg 5–6

World Baseball. Classic. By Daniel Pearce

Pg 7

What’s in a Car

Pg 8–9

By Kyle Jewett Pg 10

Trouble in the Opposition Camp

By Maddy Rodell JET EFFECT

Pg 11

Sekkusu in the Shi

Pg 12

By Paula Kerrigan Upcoming Events

Pg 13–15


Pg 16

AJET Elections

Pg 17

AJET Election Platforms

Pg 18–19

National AJET News and Bulletins

Pg 20–21







Cartoon By: David Piper,

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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Not Intended For Children

By: Michelle Haward

dolls catered for is quite wide: Blythes, Pullips, ball-jointed dolls, Tonner-style Barbies and many more. The show was dominated by the first three types, particularly the ball-jointed dolls. What some might find even more surprising is that there were almost no children present at the convention. These dolls are all seen as collectors items and artworks, not toys.

A sweater for ÂĽ2500. Somebody squeals with delight and snatches the bargain off the table to hand it to the dealer. But this is not your typical clothing sale. The sweater is, after all, Âź of the size of a normal sweater. Welcome to I-Doll Volume 6. It's not your typical convention. There are no cosplayers running around dressed as their favourite anime character, no artists signing copies of their comics or artworks, no panels or discussion forums. Instead, there are only 2 rooms and many, many people devoted to their hobby: doll collecting. On 23 November 2008, crowds of men and women toting backpacks and travel luggage made their way to Port Messe, Nagoya to indulge themselves and their dolls with new merchandise and the company of other doll lovers. There are essentially two doll conventions in Japan. I-Doll (which is open to all brands and styles of doll) and Dolpa (run by Volks, which only allows Volks brand dolls). The range of

Doll collecting in Japan got a boost in 1999 when Volks created their first Super Dollfie line of dolls. At the time, Volks produced garage kits to allow people to build models at home. When one of their sculptors (Akihiro Enku) made a doll for his wife, inspired by Japanese art dolls which had been based off European ball jointed dolls, but made from polyurethane resin, Volks decided to try to sell these dolls. These highly articulated and fully customizable dolls became very popular very quickly. By 2003, some Korean manufacturers started producing these dolls and now there are a number of Korean and Chinese producers, as well as a few independent western producers. Japan is still dominated by Volks as they are the only large scale Japanese producer. The influence that Volks has had on the doll collection market was clearly visible at I-Doll. The first room you entered at the convention was the dealer's room. While the dealers room contained many stalls filled with clothing for dolls, well over half were devoted to the Volks dolls and their sizes, not to mention the stalls devoted solely to eyes and wigs for these

A regal display at a jewelry stall

A clothing stall

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

Page 3 of different models; to how lucky someone was to have a limited edition doll. This was also the room where you could see the widest variety of dolls, from tinies, at less than 10cm, to 70cm or larger dolls from Korea. But once more, the ball-jointed dolls dominated the room – easily utilizing all but 2 tables. After browsing the dealer's room, most of the doll collectors socialized here until the close of the convention.


ball-jointed dolls. Even those selling tiaras, necklaces and other doll jewelry had primarily targeted the ball-jointed doll owners. Dealer's set up their own dolls in weird and wonderful displays to show off the craftsmanship of their particular specialty, from doll kimonos to lingerie – you could find almost anything. The only other room at the convention was the display room. While people did occasionally pull out a doll to try on a particular wig or to see if a shirt fit well in the dealer's room, the display room was where the doll owners got to pose and display their doll, along with those of other collectors. People posed their dolls together, took photographs and spoke about their hobby – from the posing; to the aesthetics

While it would be easy to dismiss a doll convention as uniquely Japanese, doll collecting is gaining popularity in non-Asian countries as well. Thanks to Internet forums, collectors of any type of doll can meet with others from all over the world. Even ball-jointed dolls, which were first designed in their modern incarnation in Japan, are gaining international popularity. The largest English speaking forum currently has over 20,000 members. Dolls are already starting to make appearances at other conventions internationally. Volks has started to run Dolpas in the U.S.A. The closest Volks retailer is located in nearby Kanazawa. Have a look, and see what all the fuss is about yourself! Useful links for more information: I-Doll homepage - Volks homepage. Den Of Angels Forum (English ball jointed doll forum).

Yes, men participate in doll collecting, too! A doll lingerie stall

Owners showing off their dolls in the display room

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.8, February 2009

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‘You don’t know Natsume Soseki?!!’ By: Ruth Kingdon him however, which caused uproar amongst my students and JTE alike: “What do you

mean you don’t know him? He’s the most famous writer in Japan!” Yes, I get the picture.

As I am sure any of you who teach using the Sunshine Junior High English books will know, Natsume Soseki is

“The most famous writer in Japan”… or so we are told by this infallible source. I personally had never heard of

I still don’t know him, but nice use of the grammar point. So, I decided I should probably get on it. Looking to our always faithful companion: the internet, to find out which book I should choose, I was drawn to the sound of the 1906 novel “Botchan”. Described as: “Soseki’s lightest and funniest work”, I decided to give it a try. “Botchan” is a semibiographical novel written about Soseki’s time as a teacher in Matsuyama, Shikoku. The central character of Botchan, like Soseki, was born and raised in Tokyo and moves

to Shikoku on a whim to work in an all-boys High School. Botchan is a very opinionated and rebellious character and quickly makes his enemies very apparent in the school. Their backwards, inaka ways confuse him, and he doesn’t fit in well. There is also a lot of behind-the-scenes corruption going on, including the unwanted transfer of one of the only colleagues he respects in the school. Botchan’s unique perspective on a Japan that is quickly becoming very westernised, as well as his confident turn-ofphrase in the narrative make this a compelling read. Although I definitely didn’t always agree with Botchan’s one-of-a-kind opinions on life, this only proved to make the book all the more interesting.

Sakura Boat Viewing

By: Jon Perry

Cherry blossom season is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than taking a boat tour around the riot of colour provided annually by the two thousand sakura trees in Kojo Park, Takaoka. The Toshinaga-go boat will set sail for thirty minute tours of the old castle moat eight times a day each Saturday, Sunday and National Holiday from April 1st. The cost is 800 yen for adults, 400 yen for children.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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TO INFINITY AND BEYOND (AND BY INFINITY I MEAN TOYAMA‌) Our ken is the place to be this month with some wonderful events. Here is a selection of the best Toyama has to offer and a couple of choice pickings from nearby kens too.





It opens April 17 and closes May 31. Walk through the giant walls of snow and enjoy the fact that the lower regions don't get this. You can also enjoy the cable car ride up the mountain from Tateyama Station. T















Running from April 23rd-May 9th. Check out the sights in Tonami Tulip park (just a short walk from the JR Tonami Station). Over 450 varieties of tulips in full bloom, a fantastic sight to see. F I R E F L Y



April 29th in Namerikawa, Lots of fun adventures with the firefly squid try to catch one or test your skills in the eyeball spitting contest.

KANAZAWA 21ST WORLD KITE FESTIVAL IN UCHINADA While Toyama has its own little kite festival in Daimon on the Shougawa in mid-May, it has nothing on the International Kite Festival outside of Kanazawa in Uchinada. Some of you may know Uchinada as the beach town on the outskirts of Kanazawa. The festival runs from the Sunday to the holiday Monday during Golden Week (May 3/4) and is free to attend. Come marvel at the largerthan-life 3D Doraemon and other amazing kites, and bring your own (you can buy one cheap at the event) and reminisce about how kites turned your father from a dick into a pretty decent guy, thanks to a little help from your nanny... wait, no, that's the plot to Mary Poppins. Anyways, enjoy the food, fun, and flying!

Uchinada Station can be reached by taking the JR Hokuriku Line to Kanazawa and walking from the station into the main atrium [with the massive wooden tori gate] and down the escalator to the private line. Upon arriving at Uchinada Station, walk out, turn left and keep walking straight until you hit sand.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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April 9-12th (18:15 – 21:00, rain or shine!) This is the 21st annual Heian-jingu shrine Weeping Cherry Blossom Concert, established to celebrate the gorgeous weeping cherry trees in the shrine garden. These beautiful cherry blossoms are even mentioned in selected works of Japanese literature and will be lit up as the highlight of this event. Live music will play as visitors enjoy the illuminated cherry blossom trees reflected in the garden pond.

Tickets to the event are 2,000 yen each. The shrine is a 3 minute walk from the city bus stop Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan-mae (look for the massive orange tori) and you can order tickets (or inquire about details) by calling the shrine at 075-241-6094.

SPRING GEISHA DANCE (MIYAKO ODORI) The geisha and maiko of Kyoto (or “geiko” as Gion geisha prefer to call themselves - meaning “a woman skilled in dancing and music”) still carry out their traditional annual dances throughout the month of April. The most popular of these dances are the Miyako Odori: "Cherry Blossom Dances" and "Dances of the Old Capital“. The dance performances will be held from April 1-30th at the Gion Kobu Kaburoenjo Theater (next to Gion corner). Each performance runs for 60 minutes and the performance are held at 12:30,14:00,15:30 & 16:50. There are three ticket packages available and reservations are recommended (although tickets can be bought the day of the show). For more information or to book, please call 81-75-541-3391 or check out the event at





On Saturday, April 25 (starting at 11am), Shiga JETs from around the prefecture will come together at Nagahama Park – about an hour out of Kyoto – for the EARTH DAY Competition! Teams will compete to see who can pick up the most garbage, the biggest piece of garcage, and – yes – the most unusual garbage! The grand prize is ¥10,000 and there will be a BBQ and touch rugby afterwards to celebrate the efforts to keep Japan’s largest Lake, Biwako, beautiful. The event costs 500 yen/person which will go towards BEE Japan and to help pay for trash bags, etc. For more details please register your team by April 13th so the organizers know how many supplies to buy. Uniforms, mascots, flags, fight songs & idols are all strongly encouraged. For more information, or to register your team, email Kyle at

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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World Baseball. Classic.

By: Daniel Pearce

This month’s  Sports  writer  is  on  loan  to  us  from  Yamagata  prefecture  as  part  of  the  newsletter exchange programme.  He is a first year ALT from New Zealand.

Having worked as an ALT for  the  last  6  months,  noticing  that  teachers  come  to  school  as  early  as  6  or  7  in  the morning, and often stay  until  7  or  later  at  night,  I  wondered  if  work  ever  stopped  for  my  Japanese  colleagues. Apparently,  when  the  baseball  is  on,  it  does.  So  I  jumped  on  the  bandwagon  and  decided  to  watch  the  World Baseball Classic, up to  the  thrilling  conclusion  last  Tuesday.  Japan  had  just  soundly  beaten  the  (admittedly  second‐class)  American team the previous  day,  and  was  heading  into  the  final  against  Korea.  Having  played  2  games  against Korea already this 

tournament, and  having  lost one – it was going to  be a close match. The  game  started  slowly,  Japan  picking  up  their  first  run  in  the  3rd  innings,  and  Korea  tied  the  score in  the  fifth.  The  game  progressed  at  a  sluggish  pace,  with  the  8th innings finishing at 3‐2,  Japan still in the lead.  At the bottom of the  final  innings,  work  stopped completely and a  crowd formed around the  staff  room  television.  Korea’s  Lee  Bo‐Hum  had  just tied the score and the  team  had  runners  on  second  and  third  base.  The  tension  in  the  staff  room could have been cut  with  a  knife.  Japan’s  star  pitcher, Dalvish, picked up  the  pace  and  struck  out  their  next  batter,  sending  the game into overtime. At  the  top  of  the  tenth,  things  were  looking  dire  for  Japan.  Bases one and three were  taken, with two outs, and  no score on the board yet,  when  Ichiro  stepped  up  to  the  plate.  Strike  one.  The  teachers  around  me  were clenching their fists. 

Japan managed  to  steal  to  second  base  on  Ichiro’s  next strike. Gasps, and then  silence. I had heard a lot about  Ichiro’s  magnificence,  but  had,  frankly,  been  dis‐ appointed  so  far.  I  had  yet  to  see  him  make  a  decent  hit,  yet  alone  score  a  run.  But with two outs, and two  strikes  against  him,  Ichiro  showed  his  magic:  a  clean  drive  down  the  centre  – sending  two  runners  home  and  tipping the  score  5‐3 in  Japan’s  favour.  Cheers  reverberated  around  the  staff  room,  and  could  be  heard  coming  from  the  office. Japan’s  next  batter  struck  out.  Entering  the  bottom  of  the  tenth,  the  young  Darvish seemed  nervous,  resulting  in  a  couple  of  walks  – Korea  might  yet  come  back.  But  then  Japan’s  favourite new  star  recovered  and  struck  out  Korea’s  remaining  batters,  sending  Japan  to  their  second  victory  in  the  World  Baseball  Championship. I have never,  and doubt I ever will, hear a  sound like the cheers in the  staff  room  that  day!

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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WHAT’S IN A CAR? By: Kyle Jewett named for what it is. I haven't come across such a diminutive model name for a car since the Suzuki Sidekickbut at least with the Sidekick, it makes you feel like some sort of action hero. With the Minica, you just feel big and awkward.

I think about cars a lot in Japan. I’m not really a “car guy” per se- maybe I just notice cars more now because I don't have a car. So when I'm riding in someone’s car, or even when I'm riding my bike around a parking lot, I take a look around at all the cars here, and occasionally something catches my eye. "Well," you ask, "is it the sleek design, or the abundance of features, or the cool color, or even the size?" No, it's none of those things. What catches my eye is simply... the model name of the car. In western countries, there are all kinds of names of cars. Some are just random letters and numbers, or part of a series (Z3, 626, F150, LX, etc.). Other names try to evoke a sense of power, adventure, or fun (cougar, outback, grand cherokee, tundra, firebird, etc.). Still others just have random names that don't seem to

mean anything (camry, camaro, miata, jetta, etc.). However, in Japan, they tend to get a little more.... creative? Random? I don't know, but after some careful research and scouring of parking lots, I'm pleased to announce the

TOP 10 JAPANESE C A R M O D E L N A M E S (I'VE FOUND SO F A R ) : 10. Mitsubishi Minica- On first glance, this seems harmless enough, but upon closer inspection, you realize that this name is only one letter away from spelling out "mini-car." And that's exactly what this car is- it's a compact, two-door, cheap, weakengined box. Plus, it's exactly how you would pronounce "mini-car" with Japanese pronunciation. Instead of trying for something fun, this car is just

9. Toyota Voxy- Another car named after just what it isthis one is big and boxy. But it sort of seems like a compromise between "Boxy" and "Foxy", so at least they tried to jazz it up. Still, a friend of mine once asked a Japanese person, "What's the name of that big boxy car that's really popular that looks like a big boxy square?" and they replied, "The Voxy," but with their pronunciation it came out as, "The Boxy." And my friend felt pretty stupid for even asking. 8. Nissan Cube- I think this is Nissan's answer to the Voxy... the Cube. And yeah, bingo!- it's a big cube! I think there are a whole series of Cubes. Once I actually managed to snap a picture of a cube parked next to a cube cubed! Now that’s a whole lotta cubes! 7. Honda Stepwgn- Yes, that's the spelling they used on this minivan-like vehicle. I think what happened is that two wgns got married and had a baby wgn, and then the two wgns got divorced and

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009 one of them married another wgn which became the Stepwgn. How would you feel driving around a Stepwgn? Sure, it could be great, and fun, and good for you... but you would always feel like it's not your biological Wgn.

6. Honda Life- You know, why should you name a car something else? Why cater to a niche market? Why narrow your focus? Why not just broaden your horizons and make as wide of an appeal as you can? Doesn't this car just say it all? It's with us from the time we are born until the time we die. Shouldn't we have really, REALLY high expectations from this car? Sadly, it just looks like a smaller version of the Voxy. 5. Honda That's- I believe this is the first time I've seen a car with a contraction in the title. "That's"....... what? I really want to know. Still, you can have fun with this onemaking sentences like, "That's a Honda That's." and "That's that That's I saw that other day."

Page 9 4. Toyota Crown Royal Saloon- This is great on many levels. For one thing, Crown Royal is a popular brand of whiskey back home, so to me there is kind of a loose association with drinking and driving going on here. Then, one of the definitions of a "saloon" is “a place where alcohol is bought and consumed,” so that just furthers the drinking association. And then, what is a Crown Royal Saloon? Is that better than a regular Royal Saloon? This car looks kind of like a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, so I think they were trying to go with some luxurious-sounding titlehowever, they just chose the wrong words. 3. Suzuki Wit- Most cars will get you from point A to point B and maybe make you feel comfortable during the ride. But apparently this car can take you all sorts of places laughing all the way, finally to reach your destination with you almost peeing your pants because the ride was so hilarious. I've never been in this car, but I hope to ride in one someday. I don't know what kind of humor this car is capable of, but hopefully it's not the slapstick kind. 2. Toyota FunCargo- I just really like the name on this one- another minivan-like automobile. I guess I always imagine this

scenario: "What are you carrying in the back there, sir? I'm going to have to take a look. Well, now, that's just.... heh heh heh... ha ha.... hee hee hee ho ho ho ho haaaaaaaa haaaaa WHEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And the number one position goes to:

1. Daihatsu Naked – Possibly the greatest name I've found so far! I laughed out loud when I first saw it. I really can't comment on this one too much more except... it doesn’t sound like this car comes with too many “extras”, does it?

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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Trouble in the Opposition Camp

By: Maddy Rodell

As I  write  this  article  today,  the ‘Ozawa  scandal’ appears  to  be  nearing  its  bitter  conclusion.  As  Ozawa  is  the  head  of  Japan’s  leading  opposition  party,  it’s  clear  that  the  scandal  will  affect  the  results  of  the  general  election, to be held this  year.  This  month  I  will  explain  the  background  behind the story.

fundraising group. Until  now,  it  has  On  the 3rd of  March,  been  up  to  investigators  Takanori Okubo,  the  to  decide  how  much  secretary  of  Rikuzanai,  responsibility  Ozawa  was  arrested  over  himself  must  assume  with  allegations of funneling  the  scandal.  Ozawa  has  illegal  political  said  that  he  will  not  donations.  It  turns  out  stand  down  from  his  that  Rikuzankai had  position  if  only  Okubo  accepted  a  donation  of  is  charged  with  the  21  million  yen  from  a  deceit.  Critics  have  construction  corporation, said  that  Ozawa  must  but  the  money  was  stand  down  as  the  recoded  as  being  from  public’s  lack  of  trust  two  political  in  him  will  make  the  organisations.  Under  general  election  Japanese  law,  it  is  impossible  for  his  party  illegal  for corporations  to  win.  Ozawa’s  reaction  to make contributions to  to  the  findings  of  the  politicians  personally.  case  may  well  be  pivotal  It  looks  likely  that  in  the  Democratic  Party  Okubo will be charged of  Japan’s  fate  in  the  with the fraud. upcoming elections.

IN OTHER NEWS: 2 Japanese  warships

have been  dispatched  to  join  an  anti‐piracy  mission  off  the  coast  of  Somalia. At present, they are only permitted to act  in defense of Japanese  nationals, ships and cargo,  although some worry that this could change as Japan  becomes increasingly involved in military activity.

Okubo’s Stern frown:    the secretary of   Rikuzanai’s future  looks bleak

A s u p p l e m e n t a r y   b u d g e t

Is expected  to  be  compiled  by  Prime  Minister  Aso next month in an attempt to claw back ratings. The  need to pass this new budget is likely to mean  that  an  election  will  not  be  called  in  the  Japanese  politics,  spring.  especially  for  those  at  the  top,  is  a  very  expensive  game,  and  The  destruction  of  his  grandfather’s  fundraising  is  a  very  villa by a fire on Sunday left Prime Minister Aso important part of being a  ‘very  upset’.  Aso claims  to  have  many  happy  politician.  The  memories  of  Ex‐Prime  Minister  Shigeru  Yoshida’s  organisation involved  in  villa.  There  has  been  a  recent  spate  of  arson  the  scandal is Rikuzanai,  attacks  on  empty  historic  homes  in  Kanagawa  Ozawa’s personal prefecture.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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JET EFFECT: Chip Boles uses his art skills to connect to his community. This month, we have a different kind of JET Effect. Instead of spotlighting a single event, we are spotlighting a JET who has used his artistic talents to engage in unique ways with his students and community. Chip Boles, an illustrator and ALT in Hyogo Prefecture, has used his talents in a variety of innovative ways. We hope that his accomplishments will give you some inspiring ideas for ways you can get involved in your own communities. CONTRIBUTING TO THE JET COMMUNITY - Chip has been designing the fantastic Hyogo Times covers since June 2008. His very professional designs are always relatable, often humorous, and appeal to both JETs and JTEs. - Chip will be the new National AJET artists beginning next May, creating design work for the council. CONNECTING TO THE JAPANESE COMMUNITY -The “Himeji-Joe vs. Ultra Tako-Yaki� Hyogo Times Cover (above) won an award in the Hyogo Prefectural Art Competition, and allowed Chip to meet other artists in the area as well as the city government who did the awarding. - Chip has been getting involved in the community by planning art shows in his area. His work has allowed him to meet many local artists, and he hopes to start up some group shows with the Japanese artists he has gotten to know.


-For the past few years, Chip has helped his ESS students create illustrated storybooks in English for the school's culture festival. Last year, he took the project a step further: the students translated a story about a legendary samurai named Musashi that takes place at Himeji Castle. The students practiced reading the story aloud and then took their beautifully illustrated book to the castle and read the story in English to Japanese and Western tourists alike. Over the course of several days, they would attract crowds as large as 30 people and handed out information sheets on Musashi and the castle which also included their e-mail addresses. Chip tells us that the students are still corresponding with their pen-pals from this project. Through his passion for art, Chip has been able to involve his students in connecting foreign and Japanese communities. Check out Chip's work at Send inquiries and nominations to

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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Sekkusu in the Shi: Is that a daikon in your pocket? Yes.

By: Paula Kerrigan

You may have noticed that this column often focuses on what’s sexy. Well this time I am focussing on what is not sexy, and in Japan that is a significant area! Food is sexy, right? I’m always reminded of my favourite scene in “Hot Shots” (a spoof movie with Charlie Sheen) where Charlie Sheen starts seductively running an ice cube down his lovers body, but she is so hot that he ends up frying an egg on her. Well, the other day I asked a friend what Japanese foods they thought were sexy. They jokingly replied curry rice. So I googled it…this is my life. Anyway, what did I find but Pheromone Curry Rice! [pictured below] Look carefully on the bottom left corner to find the Passion Meter…that’s right: eight out of eight! (For those of you that are unaware, sexiness is always measured on a scale of one to eight.)

In Japan the conventions of what is sexy and what is not seem to be knocked on their head! So just in case you’ve forgotten what things are absolutely not suitable when you’re getting hot and steamy with your partner, let me just remind you of some basic things that are neither acceptable, nor should you accept!

Top 5 non - sexy foods: 1) Natto (Japanese people LOVE this food, but even my Japanese friends conceded that it just isn’t sexy) 2) Sushi (Think sex in the city the movie when Samantha covers her body with sushi!) 3) Daikon (It’s no cucumber!) 4) Colon chocolates biscuits)



5) Wasabe (comes in the same tube kind of tube as lube. Lets face it, there are a lot of things you don’t want to confuse with your lube tube (toothpaste for one, but that is another story!) but I’m pretty sure that mixing up your wasabe tube and your lube tube would be the worst mistake you ever made!)

Pillow talk gone wrong! 1) L i c k t h i s n a t t o o f f m y n i p p l e s ! 2) S l u r p m e l i k e a b o w l o f n o o d l e s ! 3) M m m , 4) I t Would you like extra pheromone with that?


m a k e s

m e



e x c i t i n g .

5) Is that a daikon in your pocket?


Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

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As our last hurrah as your current AJET Executive Officers, please join us for a hanami picnic in Kojo Koen.   We will be grilling shishkabobs and burgers, and Erika is going to make her delicious Porch Climber party  punch for you to drink down.  Veggie options and non‐alcoholic beverages will be available. To say THANK YOU to current AJET members, this event will be free of charge.  For non‐AJET members, it  will  only  cost  you  a  meager  500  yen  to  chow  down  with  us.    If  you  can’t  remember  if  you  are  AJET, please ask us, we have a list.

And yes, we will play ultimate Frisbee.


WHEN: Saturday, April 11 from 12:00pm – 4:00pm WHERE: Kojo Koen in Takaoka – look for the group of foreigners that stick out like a sore thumb with the  "unorganized"  tarps  and  food  and  drinks.  That  will  be  us.      Kojo Koen is  a  short  10  minute  walk  from  Takaoka station, and street signs will direct you the entire way. WHAT TO BRING: BYOB (Erika’s punch will be in limited supply), tarps/blankets, games to play in the park  (soccer balls, footballs, etc).   **If anyone has a grill they could bring, it would be much appreciated!** RAIN?: If the forecast calls for rain, we will reschedule the party date. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE RSVP  on  the  facebook page  by  April  6th so  we  know  how  much  food/drinks  to  buy.   If you have any questions, email us at

See you under the cherry blossoms!  FLOWER POWER!

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

Page 14

UPCOMING EVENTS The Gentlemen’s Auction Calling all Gentlemen… On Saturday May 23rd AJET is proud to bring you our First Annual Charity Event!! GET EXCITED! So what is a Gentlemen’s Auction? Well, the name speaks for itself…we’re going to auction gentlemen. Well, not technically the gentleman himself!! We’re asking all you fine and willing gentlemen out there to dedicate some of your time and, more specifically, a special talent or skill of your choosing that you are willing to auction off to the general public. The highest bidder will win whatever you’re offering: dancing, cooking, massaging, serenading…

The Best Part? All The $$$ Goes To Charity If you were James Bond you might offer to assassinate someone, although baring in mind that this is for charity - you might want to go with something a little softer, such as an autographed photograph of you. x

So if you want to participate


If you were the mighty Ichiro you might offer a crash batting course.

Please Respond By Friday April 10th


Please include: 1. Your full name 2. A general/specific idea of the talent/skill to be auctioned 3. An idea of your theme music (optional) If you are interested in participating but unsure what talents you can offer feel free to get in touch with one of our lovely Auction Madams: Erika or Hilda. They’re full of bright ideas on how you can participate.

Attention: All Proceeds Go To Charity.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

Page 15



“ Review: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration-"when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded." Italo Calvino's novel is in one sense a comedy in which the two protagonists, the Reader and the Other Reader, ultimately end up married, having almost finished If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. In another, it is a tragedy, a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: "Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade." Alas, after 30 or so pages, he discovers that his copy is corrupted, and consists of nothing but the first section, over and over. Returning to the bookshop, he discovers the volume, which he thought was by Calvino, is actually by the Polish writer Bazakbal. Given the choice between the two, he goes for the Pole, as does the Other Reader, Ludmilla. But this copy turns out to be by yet another writer, as does the next, and the next. The real Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches--stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition--with explorations of how and why we read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to. Meanwhile the Reader and Ludmilla try to reach, and read, each other. If on a Winter's Night is dazzling, vertiginous, and deeply romantic. "What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space."

Looks to be quite interesting! Come join in for good discussion and delicious foods on April 19th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, hosted this month by Jarrad! For direction‘s to Jarrad’s house, check out the toyamajets interactive map. It‘s listed as “Skinny’s Spot” and it‘s in Toyama-shi. WARNING: Amazon estimates 11-13 business days for shipping, so if you don’t have your copy yet and want to make it to the book club, ask if anyone in the community has a copy you can borrow! And don’t forget, even if you can’t make it to book club, give this great book a chance anyway, and read it at your own leisure ☺

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10, April 2009

Page 16

What’s Happening – April 2009 Sunday
















7 Happy Birthday Katherine





12 Happy Birthday Hilda





19 Toyama Book Club


21 Happy Birthday Cory



26 Happy Birthday Shambhav i



29 Showa Day Hotaruika Matsuri

30 Happy Birthday Melanie






2 Hamamatsu Kite Festival

Advertise your event (or an event you know about) on the AJET calendar! Send info to

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10 April 2009

Page 17


A Message from the Prez… Well, here they are, the platforms for the upcoming AJET Officer Elections! I’m thrilled that these capable and driven members of our community have come forward to continue AJET’s ongoing legacy of success in the community! I couldn’t be happier with our candidates, and I hope you feel the same way too! Take a close look at the platforms, as these will help you make your decision when it’s time to vote for AJET officers. Don’t forget—voting will take place during the spring regional meetings, which are scheduled in the next couple of weeks!

Some important notices: We are still looking for volunteers for the SOCIAL REP position. This position is currently held by two people. If you are interested, please send me an email at, and I’ll add your name to the ballot. Also, please, don’t forget—you can also volunteer for the following positions at the regional meetings!

Volunteer Positions: The following are available volunteer AJET Officer positions. These positions are on a volunteer basis and you need not submit a platform. AJET LIBRARIAN (NIIKAWA REGION): We are currently looking for an AJET librarian to hold English books for the Niikawa region. This is not a time commitment, so much as a space commitment. If you are interested, please contact PUBLICATIONS STAFF: Anyone may volunteer to work on the Publications Staff for the AJET newsletter and/or the TRAM and its affiliated publications. Look for the volunteer sign up sheet, which will be circulated at the April regional meetings. WEBMASTER; The webmaster is chiefly responsible for the upkeep of the message boards. If you are interested, please contact

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10 April 2009

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!LET’S ENJOY VOTING! AJET PREFECTURAL REPRESENTATIVE Paula Kerrigan I am throwing my hat in for AJET President because I think AJET is a valuable part of our society, not just the JET society, but our Toyama society in general. I have been part of AJET as Newsletter Editor since last September and I have learned a lot about its structure and working. I hope that as President I can help to improve AJET on a larger scale. I am a very organised and enthusiastic person and I am committed to making AJET even better. I hope that these characteristics are what you are looking for in a President.

AJET TREASURER Hilda for AJET Treasurer!

Hey everyone! Recently I’ve discovered that I just may have a slight case of OCD, because I absolutely LOVE to make numbered, lettered, wonderful lists for many things. Why do you care? Well, that’s because this means I will be a spectacular AJET Treasurer! I love having the responsibility of taking care of people (Takaoka RR) and events (Gentlemen’s Auction), and I have no qualms about chasing people down for monies needed for collection. Plus, I really want everyone to know my name. ;-)

AJET PUBLICATIONS EDITOR Jon Perry I have chosen to run for PE because I feel that the printed word is the most important means of communication for our diverse group of ALTs and CIRs spread across the prefecture. This year’s newsletter has been a little gem, showcasing the talents of Toyama JETs and inspiring people to do new things, see new places and generally make the most of their life here. I hope that as PE I can integrate the newsletter with a wider range of publications in order to keep everyone in our AJET community informed, entertained and enlightened.

AJET EXCURSIONS REPRESENTATIVE Maddy Rodell Toyama AJET is a superb organisation. I would love to become more involved with AJET next year and help take it from strength to strength. One of the main reasons that many of us are here in Japan is to travel and have experiences that we wouldn’t have in our home countries. This makes excursions rep an important post. If you want to have the opportunity to go on exciting trips with your friends from the ken, which are well organised and come in on budget, choose me for your excursions rep.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10 April 2009

Page 19

Charity Representative(s) HongVan Tran for Charity Rep!

Michael Grudzinski/Ally Lomas

Hey guys! For the upcoming year, I would like to be YOUR Charity Rep for Toyama! Why? First, charities provide an excellent way to give back to our communities. In the past, I was only able to participate in charity events. Now, I want to take a more informative and active position. This will be my opportunity to expand my hands-on charity experiences and gain and share my knowledge with other motivated individuals who want to make a difference. Second, a personal motive: I intend to work with charities in my future career in fashion design. Here, not only would I be truly enthusiastic and dedicated in my position, but I would also build stronger connections between us and local/worldwide charities. I will uphold the current charities that are successful, and will also create fun and interesting ways to help those less fortunate than we, and aim to raise more money! With a personal motive, on top of a strong interest in charities and the Charity Rep position, you know I’ll take my work seriously and do my best for you and the community! Here are my qualifications: --Experiences in leadership roles -AJET chief publisher for the T.R.A.M. for the past two years, -3 years in college as an Ambassador for the Fashion Department, -2 years as Treasurer for Key Club in high school, 4 years active member. --Active participation -AJET participation in Toyama -high school and college volunteering/charity events locally, and nationally. My goals and what I want to do for you: --Inform and update you about current charities, events, and charity-related financial status. --Reorganize charity events to encourage more community connections and participations. --Create a more structured system for Charity Rep and get more involved with AJET. --Raise more money for Charity.

Ally Lomas and I wish to propose the creation co-charity representative positions. We feel that the position could be strengthened by having a duo to share the efforts of event planning and financial organization required of the Charity Representative. Like the social and excursion representatives, the charity representative must organize events, supervise the running of said events, and also manage the finances inherently tied to fund-raising activities. Ally and I wish to build on the successes of past charity representatives and increase the number of events and activities that raise money for worthy causes. We would not only continue the proud tradition of the annual Peace Street Kitchen buffet and auction, but we also envision events at other restaurants and bars. A possible night of wine tasting, for example, care of the good people at Cincuenta y Uno, a wine bar in Toyama City. We also envision educational events whereby people can learn together not only about the targeted charities, but also about the conditions that make these charities necessary in the first place. Ally‘s experience as Excursion Representative for AJET in 2008-2009 combined with my past political grassroots organization experience makes us a strong team to share the myriad responsibilities of Charity Representative. Not only have we traveled together to some of the countries that Toyama ALTs have helped - think of Cambodia and Room-to-Read, for instance but we also are Toyama veterans who have many contacts within the local community in order to solidify ties between ALTs and Toyama-jin for the benefit of charity. We have worked very well together in the past, planning trips and travel budgets, and believe that our combined energy and experience makes us well-suited to a job that requires not only due diligence, but a passion to help others.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10 April 2009

Page 20

National AJET News and Bulletins National AJET Surveys Twice a year National AJET meets with CLAIR, MEXT, MOFA and MIC to discuss issues relevant to you and how we can work together to improve the JET Programme. In order to prepare for our June Opinion Exchange, we are now conducting surveys of all JET Participants. Each survey will only take 10min or so of your time and will provide invaluable information on the issues that you face every day. Sexual Harrasment (open to all JET Participants): New Elementary School English Curriculum (open to all JETs teaching MEXT's new curriculum): ALTs Visiting Multiple Schools (open to all ALTs who visit multiple schools): CIR survey (open to all CIRs):

Help improve the JET Programme, and we'll help you improve your Japanese! By

completing the survey, you can help enable National AJET and the JET Programme to work together to find solutions for the issues at hand, and help yourself to a discount on Japanese study products courtesy of White Rabbit Press. For each survey you complete, you will receive a coupon for a discount on a White Rabbit Press product such as kana and kanji flashcards, a kanji wallposter or a realtime audio guide. Preferred by thousands of students in over 60 countries, White Rabbit Press is the recognized world leader in Japanese kanji flashcards.

Toyama AJET Quick Contacts: President: Treasurer: Excursions: Social Reps: T.R.A.M: Librarians: (Tonami/Takaoka) TBA (Toyama) (Niikawa) Charity: Webmaster:

AJET Newsletter Staff: Editors: Tiffany Dyer Paula Kerrigan Staff Writers: Michael Grudzinski Maurette Kirwan Ally Lomas Jon Perry Maddy Rodell Cartoonist: David Piper Haiku Guru: Bryce Rawers Production: Danielle Lewerenz

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.10 April 2009

Page 21

Got Ken Pride? Nominate Toyama AJET in the 2009 National AJET Awards! This year, National AJET would once again like to recognise some of the outstanding contributions prefectural AJET chapters and individual AJET members have made to their local communities. Please take a moment to nominate the group or person you think deserves recognition for all the hard work they have done to support JETs this year. All current JET Programme participants are invited to send nominations to for the following categories: 1.Most Active AJET Chapter 2.Most Improved AJET Chapter 3.Outstanding Special Interest Group (SIG) 4.Charity Award – Best AJET Group 5.Best Website 6.Best Newsletter 7.Best Sports Event 8.Best Local Community Event 9.Best Inter-Prefectural Event 10.AJET Service Awards **For a complete description of each category, please visit ** Please send all nominations to The deadline for nominations this year is Thursday, April 30th 2009. In your nomination please include your name, contact details, prefecture, the name and address of the group/person you are nominating and a paragraph about why you think they deserve an award. Please attach any relevant information such as copies of a newsletter, links to websites, event photos, etc. We look forward to reading about extraordinary efforts by JETs everywhere!

AJET Newsletter  

April 2009

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