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Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.1, July 2008 In this issue… Charity Show 2008

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A message from the pres…

Nara AJET Charity

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Are We There Yet?

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Got books?

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Leaver’s Weekend

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Crafts in Toyama

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What’s Happening

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Greetings and salutations! Tiffany here, comin' at ya with the first Toyama AJET newsletter! Whether it's trips around Japan, charity opportunities, local events, books, or…ummm…random ass stuff (a.k.a. the T.R.A.M.), the AJET team is here to help bring JETs from every region in Toyama together for some good fun and great memories! We sincerely hope you enjoy the newsletter, and don't forget, this is all about you! If you've got any suggestions or anything to add, be it funny stories, pictures, or information on future events, don't hesitate to send it my way. And don't forget to check out the "what's happening" calendar at the back of each newsletter! Peace!

“You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like We!” A big お 疲 れ (otsukare) to everyone who contributed to this year’s charity show! The project takes about 9 months from start to finish, making it one of Toyama’s largest, most impressive charity endeavors. The show features acts from both the Japanese and JET community, and it is a collaborative effort the entire ken can be proud of! Each year, 100% of the proceeds are donated to one local, one national, and one international charity. This year’s local charity is Toyama-shi Aiikuen, an orphanage in Toyama-ken. The national charity is Second Harvest Japan, the nation’s first nationally organized food bank. The international charity is heifer International, a group that donates work cows to families who can use them to help maintain a sustainable food

Ruben van Mansum, singing an original “love” (?!) song for the variety show supply. The total amount earned is yet to be determined, but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out!

This year’s variety show included enchanting shadow puppetry, old-school “trumpetriations”, a variety of Japanese dances including Mugiya and Yosakoi, and colorful (if not downright hilarious!) musical performances by talented musicians from across the ken. The play was Snow White and the 7 (…but really it was 6…) Otaku. In addition to the traditional cast of characters, it featured Densha Otaku and his companions Gundam, Video Game, Cosplay, Pokemon, and Drunk Salaryman; Snow White’s jealous little sister, Yellow Snow; a small army of ninjas with big dreams; and a very hungry bear. The cast and crew would like to thank directors Joshua

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.1, July 2008

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Johnson (variety show) and Rachel Chaffin (Snow White), whose drive and 一 生 懸 命 (isshoukenmei) effort have made this show possible. Photos courtesy of Stephanie Simpson-White

Job well done…see you next year!

National AJET News: Ride for Africa - a Nara JET's Charity Event A departing JET in Nara is embarking on a very ambitious and exciting project when his contract finishes - basically he is going to cycle Japan tip to tip to raise money and awareness for sustainable agriculture and food security in Africa. Please read his statement below, and get behind his amazing project by donating through his just giving link, support him in person when he passes through your town, or get in touch to join him for any leg of the ride! I am a South African living and working in Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET). With the conclusion of my contract at the end of July this year, I will embark on an adventure and a project I have long dreamt of – cycling the length of Japan and raising awareness and funds for a development organization working in Africa.

Background I have an educational background in Development Studies, Environmental Science and Human Geography from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. For the past two years, I have lived and worked as an English teacher in Mitsue Village in eastern Nara Prefecture. I am a keen cyclist and photographer, and enjoy the outdoors. For a long time I have been interested in sustainable and organic agriculture and have seen agriculture as a tangible means to lessen the effects of poverty and the global food crisis. This is where I would like to base myself in the larger frame of development – working the land and helping provide one of the most basic needs. I want to support an organisation that focuses on food security. Garden Africa dex.html is that

organization because of its ethos and the fact that it operates so close to my home country. Event I will ride the length of Japan from its northern most point in Hokkaido (Soyā Misaki) to the southern most tip of Kyushu (Sata Misaki). This is an approximate distance of 3500km (2190 mi) over a period of six weeks. I will live off my bicycle, camping and relying on the good will of people along the route. The starting date is 04 August 2008. The event is open to whoever wishes to join or contribute in any way they feel able. I have setup a web page with the help of Just Giving at rama . This will be the primary means for collecting funds. Any other funds collected offline will be receipted and deposited into the fundraising account at the end of the event.

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Are We There Yet? Adventures with Ally Greetings one and all from your new Excursions Representative. First, I’d better introduce myself to those who don’t know me. My name is Ally. I’m British. I was born and brought up in London, although I’ve spent the last 5 or so years trying to get as far away from it as possible, first to university in Kent, and then by travelling to anywhere in Europe my budget would take me. The JET lottery placed me in Uozu, famous for parties at Halloween, mirages, and 100 yen sushi. I teach in a junior high school. My hobbies are writing and taking photographs, and I do these best on the move. In my year here I’ve climbed Fuji, meditated in the mountains, thrown far too many all-nighters in Kanazawa and travelled to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. My main purpose is enable you to do what most of you probably came here to do: see Japan. There are three trips planned for the coming year (a 33% increase on last year’s outings) and they should cater for a wide variety of tastes. I also plan to write little instalments about my solo adventures so this won’t be the last you hear from me. The first trip of the new JET year will once more be an assault on Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest, holiest, and most iconic mountain. To increase the sense of adventure, we will climb at night, to make the most of the incredible sunset and sunrise from 3776m above sea level.

It’s an unparalleled experience and definitely one to tick off the ‘Things to See Before You Die’ list. It IS a challenge, but don’t let that put you off. It makes the big event of the sunrise that much more special when you’re exhausted and low on oxygen. The second trip, sometime in the autumn, will be to Kyoto. There is more to see in Kyoto than one trip could do justice to, but we aim to see all the main sites. Kyoto is an amazing place to get a real feel for Japan as it once was, and the entertaining people of the Kansai region are sure to make our stay a good one. I insist on guiding you to the eerie and magical Fushimi Inari shrine in the evening, an incredible place criminally forgotten by the Rough Guide to Japan. It’s an experience not to be missed.

The final trip, which didn’t run last year, will go deep into the mountains of Nagano around Hakuba, for world class skiing and snowboarding.

On the right day the views can be stunning, and so can the clothes that many young Japanese people wear on the slopes. After a long day on the slopes we can head to the onsen and then get rid of our aches with some local sake. Hangovers are best cured by throwing yourself down the mountain again on the second day. If it’s your first time snowboarding, don’t worry. I learned here last winter, and there will be plenty of young Japanese and foreigners out for the weekend who are also dire. Just try not to watch the local elementary school children, as they often get lessons at school... This is not your only chance to frolic in the snow in the winter (I plan to hit the slopes at least once every two weeks), but it promises to be one of the most entertaining. That’s it for the official events. However, being the restless sort who always wants to know where the party is happening (and unless there’s something organised in Banana’s, it’s not usually Uozu), I venture out of the prefecture regularly. I can offer advice on how to get to places, things I’ve seen and done which are off the beaten track, or, if you’re really lucky, I can go somewhere with you. I’ve barely seen a fraction of Japan but the experiences I’ve had this past year mind blowing. If you want to know where you can sleep in an unheated shack surrounded by bamboo under 3 feet of snow, I’m your man. œ Climbing Fuji œ Sightseeing in Kyoto œ Skiing in Nagano

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Got books? Toyama Book Club The regional AJET libraries have a ton of great books just laying around, which is great for the librarians, but what does this all mean for you? The libraries (or at least the one here in Niikawa) hasn't received much publicity since I've been here, but I would like to change that by offering some neat programs to let everyone take advantage of our vast book collections.

In particular, I would like to set up a Book Club for Toyama. Basically, I would just like a nice informal group to read books and get together about once a month or so to discuss them. I'm still working on the details of how this Club would work, but before I can proceed much further I need an idea of how many people would be interested in joining up.

If you've got a literary itch to scratch and a free day once a month, why not give it a shot? I ask that any interested folks please send me an email to

at: james.j.floyd@gmail.c om or call my keitai at (080)3045-8559. Donating your books to the ToyamaJET Library will ensure that they remain in circulation for the enjoyment of your successors and their successors, and even your great-great-great successors, who will keep your good graces in mind as they flip through the dusty, oxidized pages of that Olde English classic, "The Life of Pi". Also, looking to get a Book Club together for the Toyama Region. We would meet at various comfy locations throughout the year to discuss whatever the

current read is. More info to come this Fall! Input and suggestions are also welcome!

Hey Folks! The Toyama-shi JET Library has been moved to my pad. I live in Chateau Yasunoya, an enchanted Japanese castle South of Toyamaeki by about 15 minutes on foot. You can find my place on the ToyamaJET map, under "James' House of Preasure". I also live just above the Ami Grill, also in the Handbook. The new library will be bigger and better than ever, and it even has its own room! For directions, title inquiries or wanting to set up a time to drop off any books you wish to donate to this great and fast-growing system, please email me

Read On! James

If you’re interested in joining/starting a book club in your local area, or if you’d like to check out one of the many books our AJET libraries carry, contact your local AJET librarian! For an online list of books each region carries, go to x.php/Main/AJET

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From the Desk of Your Friendly Social Reps‌ FAREWELL WEEKEND As you should know by now, Leaver's weekend is happening July 5th-6th in Toga. You must RSVP through the electronic evite that was sent to your email, or by emailing the socialreps directly ( Things you should be thinking about: - Cars. How will I get there? You are to travel there by car. There are lots of people driving there, so try and sort out a drive with one of those lovely carowning folks. I'm sure bribes are welcome. If you have exhausted your resources and still turning up empty, please email us, and we will do our best to help you out. -AWARDS - this year is different! We are giving you guys the chance to submit award nominations early. Prior to the event. If you have a creative mind, and can think of something funny and well-natured to cerify someone from the community - please send in: THE NAME OF THE AWARD (that you made up) and THE NAME OF THE INDIVIDUAL who you want to give the award to. Like previous years though, we will also be holding a vote at the party for more broad award titles. You are also welcome to submit suggestions for these voting categories! Let's award! -- Friends! If you have any friends, or loved ones that you want to invite to Toga to celebrate - that is fine and awesome. However, we need to have a number count, so you need to let us know. We need to know how much to fudge our numbers by, and how much food and booze to buy. -- Monies. I know. I hate talking about money. But the way it is is that if you aren't an AJET leaver, you have to pay money. All non-AJETs will have to pay the same amount, even if you don't plan to eat any food or drink any beer. We pay a big lump sum upfront for the privillege to rent and use the campsite. The more people who feel that they should deduct yennies based on what they did or didn't eat or where they did or didn't sleep -- it just becomes a ridiculous mess. So please remember: * Leaving AJET memebers = free! * Leaving non-AJET people = 1000 * Staying AJET members = 3000 * Everyone else = 3500


Phew! With that out of the way. I think that we're gonna have a blast!!!!! You will get an email with directions from the SocialRep email account very soon. Hope to see you in Toga!

and Scotia,Eh!

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Getting Crafty in Japan

This month why not try painting clay dolls? It’s fun, it’s cheap and it makes a great gift for mom or dad (they’ll put it next to your macaroni art). The Toyama Clay Doll Craftsmen's Workshop is located in Toyama Folk Craft Village. Easiest way to get there is to take the free Museum bus from the CIC building and walk up the hill. The studio is on the left. Hours: 9 -5, closed holidays. Cost: ¥500 - ¥700 Telephone: 076-431-4464

DOH! Write for the T.R.A.M Please send your submissions to Deadline for submissions: August 31st, 2008

WRITE FOR AJET! This newsletter is all about YOU! So why not write an article about a local event you attended, something you’re interested in, submit a book/movie/music review or pictures of a recent trip…anything! Submit your articles, photos, etc. to Send your submissions for the August newsletter by JULY 21st. Toyama AJET Contact Information: President: Tiffany Dyer……………………………………… Treasurer: Danielle Lewerenz……………………………… Excursions: Ally Lomas………………………………………… Social Reps: Janet Calhoun…………………………………… Erika Bateman T.R.A.M: Van Tran…………………………………………… James Floyd Stephanie Simpson-White Susan Coyne Hilda Solomon Librarians: Dominique Pumphrey (Tonami/Takaoka) … James Floyd (Toyama)………………………… Brett Quimby (Niikawa)……………………… Charity: Laura Rountree………………………………… Webmaster: Tim Lindenschmidt……………………………

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What’s Happening – July 2008 Sunday 29


Monday 30


Tuesday 1








Takaoka farewell dinner – Shangrila’s (Takaoka), 6:30

Toyama farewell dinner— Sawasdee (Toyama), 7:30





Happy Birthday Claudia!!

Niikawa farewell dinner – Jiro Kitchi (Uozu), 7:30





















Group A arrives in Toyama!

Regional Group A welcome dinners

Happy Birthday Alex!!



Group A arrives in Japan

Happy Birthday Max!!

Happy Birthday Cheryl and Brett!!


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

AJET Newsletter  

July 2008