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Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009

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Peace Street Gets It’s Just Dessert! We’ve reached the final edition of the Toyama newsletter Volume 1. Volume 2 will start with July’s edition. Since the newsletter has grown to compete with some of the biggest kens in the country we felt it appropriate to rename her with something more encompassing. So from next month you can look forward to receiving your first copy of the Toyama Times. Times.

Most of you will recognise the dashing gent pictured below as Michael Grudzinski, the food critic for Toyama’s AJET Newsletter. The lady beaming beside him in the picture below is Yoshida-san, owner of the Peace Street Kitchen, which was featured in March’s Newsletter. With the translation help of Cory Potwin we were able to present Yoshidasan with a framed, bilingual version of the article for her to hang in her restaurant. Hopefully this will help Yoshida-san continue to draw in customers to support her wonderful restaurant.

Meet the new AJET Council


Charity Show Interviews


Competition - Win a Free Ticket!


Restaurant Review ‘Someday’


Leaver’s Weekend


Nanto International Festival


Do I Have Worms


Charity Auction


Charity: Room to Read

10 - 11

Fighting for the Pride of Toyama

12 - 13

Recipe: Spaghetti Meatballs


Film Review: Red Cliff Pt 1


JET Efftect


Haiku & Photo


National AJET Competitions


Blog Review





June Calendar


Yoshida-san is presented with a framed Newsletter article by Michael Grudzinski.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009

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Introducing the new AJET council

Paula Kerrigan AJET Prefectural Rep. Contact:

Cory Potwin & Rebekah O’Brien AJET Social Reps Contact:

Maddy Rodell AJET Excursions Rep Contact:

Hilda Solomon AJET Treasurer Contact:

Jonathan Perry AJET Publications Rep Contact:

Ally Lomas & Michael Grudzinski AJET Charity Reps Contact:

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009

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CHARITY SHOW! First Performance When: June 13 Where: Uozu, Niikawa Bunka Hall

Second Performance When: June 20th Where: Takaoka, Wing Wing Centre.

How do I get tickets? To buy tickets or to get more information talk to anyone involved in the show or send an email to

Can’t wait? Me either! The countdown is on. With just a couple of weeks to go I thought I’d give you a sneak preview into some of the characters (and I do mean characters) you can expect to see in just a couple of weeks. First, a word from director, Rachel Chaffin:

This is Alice in Wonderland as you've never seen it before--street punks, maids, and TV queens. Make sure your eyes are well-fastened in their sockets and that your jaw is securely hinged because this show will be an eye-popping, jaw-dropping all out assault on your senses! I'd like to extend my profoundest thanks to the entire cast, stage managers and crew, producers and language coach-you have all been tremendous throughout the past 5 months and are the reason I can find the energy to be at every every rehearsal.


Q) What’s she like? A) Totally and utterly clueless. Most of the time.

Q) Do you think people will be able to identify with your character? A) Singing songs from Aladdin with a cat-boy and watching Tokyo Hosts do Michael Jackson numbers happens to people everyday, so yes.

Q) Final word? Ever heard me try to speak Japanese? Exactly. Come if only for the entertainment value of watching me butcher a bit of Nihon-go. Oh, and to give money to charity of course.

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Q) What’s he like? A) He’s goofy, caring, loyal, responsible, oh and he’s a cat!.

Q) What’s she like? A) Usagi is a sassy, fun-loving, genki-ass school girl!

Q) What will the audience think of him? A) The Cheshire cat helps Alice make sense of her crazy environment. They’ll see that his heart is in the right place. Nyao!

Q) What would Usagi say to encourage people A) Come on guys, follow know you want to



Q) What’s he like? A) Fruity and delicious, a dancer, a madman, some say creepy.

Q) What’s he like? A) Massively inflated ego - but is it justified?

Q) How are audiences going to react to him? A) Laughing and the word 'creepy' in the highest high school girl pitch you can imagine

to come and see the musical?

Q) Do you think people will identify with him? A) Yes, but hopefully they won't know him intimately! SHAMBHAVI KADAM A.K.A. YURI

RAEWYN MCGREGOR A.K.A. CAT MAID Q) What’s she like? A) Ditziest, cutest cat/human/maid thing this side of the Alps. Q) Will people be able to identify with her? A) Yip, just like people can identify with blondes. She's as idealistic as a 4 year old!

Q) What’s she like? A) Bitchy slut who likes metal. Q) How are audiences going to react to her? A) They’ll wonder where her whip is. Q) Do you think people will identify with her? A) Man, I hope not.


Q) What’s She Like?

A) She's a bitch who looks down on ugly/unfashionable people.

Q) What will the audience think? A) They will think I’m non Japanese but that I’m very fabulous.

Can you guess who these costumes belong to? AJET Newsletter is giving away 1 free ticket to the performance of your choice to the first person to identify all 7 people in the pictures below. Send your entries to Deadline is June 5th. Cast and Crew members may not enter.

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Eat, Drink, Rock: Inaka Style By Haruko Castro Someday Phone: 0763-22-6356, Closed: Tuesdays How to get there: Take the Johana sen to Fukuno station. Walk out onto the main street and make a left at the 2nd intersection, where the eyewear shop is. Walk a couple blocks, and you should see the white sign on your right. Your first ride on the Johana sen from Takaoka can hit you hard. The limitless expanse of rice paddies, the wiry cranes swooping on to them, the toddlers beside the tracks who wave at you as their grandmothers hold their tiny hands: all of it beats into you the inescapable reality that




RURAL JAPAN!!! Yet, while Nanto City’s frighteningly boring quality wears off after a month or so, sometimes it’s still nice to escape the ubiquitous reminder that you’re not in the most happenin’ part of a town that isn’t home. Welcome to Someday. Entering this place is like walking into the outcome of a classic-rock paraphernalia explosion, after which everything just happened to land on the walls in an artistically spaced-out fashion. You’ll find haphazard shrines to The Beatles and Hendrix, among others. If you come in on a weekday night, you’ll have your pick of where to sit, from the low wooden tables the

extensive music and beverage selection (FYI: Guinness on tap), the museum décor, and the fact that Someday is a two-person operation—this is indeed a restaurant. The pizza is intoxicating. And please trust that I am not hooked solely because its toppings don’t include mayonnaise and corn. The side dishes may seem a little pricey, but I end Z cramped bar with narrow up ordering them anyway stools that appear to be made because—I promise you—you can taste the precision in them. out of logs. Immediately after you sit, Order the fried potatoes and you’ll be greeted and handed tell me I’m wrong. When you a hand-written menu by peek into the kitchen and see Akemi—a self-taught either a) the cutest little that bespectacled woman you ever chef—is cooking all by herself, did see or b) a wide-eyed, you may feel a little bad for shaggy-haired man eager to having wondered what the use his English (but not in the heck is taking so long. When annoying, drunk izakaya dude you take your first bite, you conclude that you’d happily sit way). They are Akemi and Koji, through the wait next to you the married couple and come here. If eating home-cooked Fukuno natives who own and operate Someday. Someday food and listening to awesome opened in 1983 after Koji classics isn’t your thing, visit returned from L.A. with on a Saturday night when they enough Americana to, well, have live performances (check open a store. As the rock n’ http://someday1983.hp.infose roll goodies ran out, the menu for schedule). Most of got larger, and Someday the audience will be friends turned into what it is today. and family of the local Someday’s current LP performers and shout lovable collection is at 3 to 4 jabs at them mid-set, but the thousand, and the same goes familiarity in the room is not so for its CD collection. The overbearing that you’ll feel left DVD/VHS collection is also out. With pizza in one hand, a impressive, and some classic corona in the other, and artist is often performing on original music blasting from the amps, you’ll need to walk one or both television sets. When your food arrives, back out into the quiet night to you’ll be forcefully reminded remember that you are, indeed, in Fukuno. that—despite the

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The JET adventure is one of trials and turmoils: of classes sprung upon us; of JTEs who don’t speak a word of English; of days alone at our desk trying to find some way to pass the hours. Throughout our year(s), we have punctuated this time with journeys together, whether it be trips to bigger and better cities, the occasional weekend party, or just chatting it up on gmail, and we have made friends among other JETs in the community. As some leave for greener fields and possibly weaker economic climates, let’s get together to celebrate the times we spent with one another and enjoy one last crazy night up in Toga. Join me and all your JET friends on the 27th of June, at the Toga International Campgrounds for a jolly romp in the woods, complete with cabins, yakisoba, ghost stories, award ceremonies, hangovers, PB&Js and more hugs than you can shake a stick at. It’s bound to be a grand ol’ time.

THE RUNDOWN: RUNDOWN: Date: Saturday, June 27th starting at 4PM Don’t forget to check out Nanto International Festival before you head up! Location: Toga International Campgrounds  Maps will be included in the e-mail to be sent out soon! You WILL need to drive or carpool up! Sorry, I asked them if they could move the campgrounds anywhere closer to a station and they just told me I didn’t quite grasp the concept of simple physics. Cost: Refer to this handy chart! AJET





Non-leaving JET/ Non-JETS



Contact: Or talk directly to Cory Potwin or Rebekah O’Brien

See you there ☺

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009

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Nanto Summer Festival! By Will Moore When: 27th June (Saturday) 12pm - 3pm The Nanto Goodwill Exchange Association is currently in the planning stages for the Nanto Summer Festival! Think of it like a small version of JETFest in southwest Toyama.

Features include:

•Stage Acts (Andean music by master Peter Lopez, Taichi demonstrations, Hula dancing, performances by the local Preschools) •Country Booths •Panel Exhibits (set up by High and Junior High schools in Nanto) •Booths by various organizations around Toyama •Kids Corner •Face Painting •Tea Chatroom •Cultural Costumes •Tons of international food •Things there aren’t even words for!

Where: Fukumitsu Fukushi Kaikan. The big Leaver's Weekend party is up in at the Toga Campsite the same night, so most of you should be in Nanto during that weekend anyways! Fukumitsu is a village on the way out to Toga village, so come hit up the Fukumitsu festival for a couple hours before booking off to Toga. It could be a good place to meet up for carpooling. This is a great event, and its success is largely dependent on the volunteers running the affair. I would really appreciate it if anyone would be willing to volunteer for Face Painting in the Kids Corner, cooking International Dishes for a hungry audience, or even with general help at the event. We are also looking for those interested in running a country booth. I can call up your embassy and receive more materials if you want to present but have nothing to show! Did you have fun with the country booths at JETFest? Were you envious of those who did? Here is another chance! I would really appreciate any help or ideas with our Nanto Summer Festival! Shoot me an email at or give me a ring, 0763-523022. Even if you don't want to volunteer, I hope to see you in Fukumitsu on the 27th!

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Do I have Worms? By Kieran Murphy Every JET has a unique perspective when they talk about their experiences in Japan. That perspective is influenced by their work, friends, where they live etc. My perspective of Japan is very much influenced by a view delivered at a height of about 110 to 120 cms, this being the approximate height of my boys, Darcy (5) and Bryn(4). They, along with my wife Lisa, are having this ‘JET experience’ with me. When I talk about my boys and their experiences in Japan it is very hard for me not to turn it into a love letter to the country. Darcy and Bryn have experienced things which will stay with them for forever and learned skills which they will use throughout their lives. I don’t think those skills and experiences could have been taught more caringly anywhere else in the world. In general, Japan’s approach to young children is very protective, children are given the chance to grow and mature in a safe environment with a lot of freedom. This love affair I am having with Japan does however, at times, leave me shaking my head and wondering what I have gotten us into - this is

particularly the case for all things ‘medical’. A classic example of head spinning moment was a conversation I had with Bryn. Bryn: Hey dad, do you know what is happening on mum’s birthday?’ Me: ‘No, are we going out for sushi?’ Bryn: ‘No. It’s the day you put sticky tape across my bottom.’ Me: ‘Oh….. Okay.’ This was a conversation I never thought I would have with anybody, let alone my son. It turned out that the sticky tape was being used to see if any of the children at kindy had worms. It makes me smile when I imagine 50 children lined up with their little envelopes containing their specially provided bum tape inside

– only in Japan (I hope, anyway!). It also makes me smile when I imagine the worker, in April, finding out that they are on bum tape checking in Toyama Ken for at least the next year. Throughout the next month my boys will also be weighed, and measured (as is done every month), have their wee inspected – once again there will be a line of children, this time with their little bottles of wee, not a drop will be spilled, let alone a bottle poured all over someone’s neighbor – and their throats, noses, ears, eyes and teeth inspected. To be truthful, my fear is that at the end of our time here while I will have two bilingual boys; who are well adjusted, versed in a very wide range of subjects, have a love for music (unseen in Australia at their age) and knowledge of Japan’s 4 seasons; they will also have a love of all things ‘medical like’ with a desire to have bodily fluids tested regularly and be prodded on at very regular intervals – we shall wait and see. Oh and a very important postscript – Do I have worms? – No, both boys were clean.

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Toyama AJET Leavers’’ Charity Buffet Dinner and Auction When? 18:30 on Saturday July 11th at Peace Street Kitchen, Toyama City. See map at How much? 2,000 (1,000 for Room to Read, 1000 for a delicious Peace Street vegetarian buffet!) plus something to sell. What should I do/bring? Please bring or make anything that you think we can auction. All money will go to Room to Read. This is a great chance for leavers AND stayers to clear their apartments of useful or interesting things they never use or can’t take home! For stayers, it’s also a chance to pick something up you might want! If we can’t auction it we’re afraid you will have to take it back home. Anything else? Please RSVP to by Sunday July 5th at 17:00. Peace Street can fit 50 people, so it’s first come first served! If you RSVP and are later unable to come, but fail to notify us before the above cutoff date, you will be responsible for you portion of Peace Street's food costs. We’ll send the  round for your 1000.

What will happen with all that money? We will send it to Cambodia. Our chosen charity, Room to Read, will use it to build a library to improve the lives and education of some of Cambodia’s children. We need $19,000 to reach our goal - a library funded entirely by Toyama’s JETs. For more information about the charity and why we chose it, read the article on page 10 and 11 of this month’s Toyama AJET Newsletter. Room to Read’s website can be found at:

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Toyama For Charity This year, charity work is taking a front seat in the Toyama AJET world. With two reps on our council the first thing you’re probably wondering is which charities we’re going to donate to. Over the next few editions of the newsletters our reps will be explaining which charities have been chosen and analysing why. To start us off, Ally talks about a charity that we have been donating to for some time.

Why Room to Read By Ally Lomas As AJET charity representatives this year Michael and I have decided to continue to support Room to Read, and hope to raise money towards building a library in Cambodia. Our long-term goal is to raise $19,000 – a library entirely funded by Toyama’s JETs! Whilst I am sure most members of the JET community in Toyama have heard of Room to Read many will be unaware of what exactly the charity is and what it does. As it is your money we are going to be giving to them you may be interested in why we think you should part with some of your salary. First perhaps, why Cambodia? Why not somewhere else? Look at this graph and press play:

CLICK HERE TO VIEW GRAPH Cambodia is one of the poorest nations in the Asia-Pacific region, hanging well behind the others in terms of income per person and life expectancy. Pay particular attention to what happens between about 1969 and 1978. Whilst things have recovered more recently, and have seen a boost within the last ten years, it still lags behind neighbouring Vietnam, Thailand

and even Laos. Why is the situation so bad? Let’s look at that blip. Between 1969 and 1973 U.S forces bombed and invaded the already poor Cambodia as part of the

‘Vietnam’ war, helping to cause a massive famine. This enabled the Khmer Rouge to take over, and between 1975 and 1978 (three years – the average term of a JET) this regime killed or led to the deaths of between one and three million people – half a generation - all in the name of creating the agricultural ‘utopia’ of Kampuchea. Everyone deemed ‘too clever’ was executed or fled. This included teachers, scientists and people who wore glasses. It only stopped when the Vietnamese army marched in. So that’s why we feel Cambodia is deserving of our attention. Why Room to Read? Well, with a median age of 22 years (CIA, 2009) and 37.6% of Cambodia’s population aged

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009 under 15 (UNDP, 2005), there are a lot of children. It’s a muchworn cliché, but children are the future. Cambodia has relatively decent primary school completion rates at 85% but only 34% go on to secondary education (UNESCO, 2007). The unnatural demographic as well as a large number of landmine victims needing support forces many children into working. With few educated role-models and few history books even the relatively recent horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime have been to reduced to ghost stories for large parts of the population and most are unaware that its last surviving members are currently being tried (Mydans, 2009). Room to Read aims to help change this trend, by building libraries and publishing Khmerlanguage to encourage more young to people to stay in education and improve standards for those already there. The long term aims are to establish a book culture and help replace the educated classes that were entirely wiped out in the Khmer Rouge years. Since starting in 2002 the charity has

Page 11 completed 1105 libraries across the country (Room to Read, 2008). JETs often choose Angkor Wat and Cambodia as a destination for a holiday during their time out here. They have been and will continue to be deeply moved by the country and its people. On a personal level I will never forget my trip to the Khmer Rouge killing fields, Tuol Sleng prison, and the long tuk-tuk ride through the desperate slums of Phnom Penh between them. I will especially never forget, as we sat down for a meal one evening near the city’s river front, a small boy, perhaps the same age as the ones we hope to help, who sold books from a tray round his neck to earn his keep. I chose not to buy from his tray; there were many young children selling things, and I couldn’t buy from them all. As he realised he wasn’t going to make a sale, frustration got the better of him, and he began to pound his tiny fists into my arm. With your help, he and children like him in Cambodia will be reading books, not selling them.

So urces and R e f e r e n c e s : • CIA. (2009, May 14). CIA World Factbook - Cambodia. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from CIA - The World Factbook: lications/the-world-factbook/ geos/cb.html#People • Mydans, S. (2009, April 7). Pain of Khmer Rouge Era Lost on Cambodian Youth. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from 04/08/world/asia/08cambo.html ?_r=1&ref=world • Room to Read. (2008). Where we work - Cambodia. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from ntries/cambodia.html • UNDP. (2008). 2007/2008 Human Development Report Cambodia. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from United Nations Development Programme: es/data_sheets/ ml • UNESCO. (2007). UIS STATISTICS IN BRIEF - Education in Cambodia. Retrieved May 25, 2009, from co/TableViewer/document.aspx? ReportId=121&IF_Language=eng &BR_Country=4060&BR_Region =40515 ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALLY LOMAS

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Kataller: Fighting for the Pride of Toyama By Jon Perry Kataller in the J2! After last year’s fine efforts in making promotion, the 2009 season is sure to provide the sternest test in the young club’s history. Promotion last season was unexpected, given that the team was only formed in 2008 by the merger of YKK FC and Hokuriku Denryoku FC. That they managed to form such fine team spirit and chemistry is an achievement in itself, and to haul themselves in the same season up to third place in the JFL was quite amazing. So, can they pull off a similar shock this year, by finishing in the respectable safety of midtable? Relegation is not an issue; as the leagues are in the process of expansion, there is currently no relegation from J2 into the JFL. This will comfort Toyama, who were widely regarded as potential whipping boys along with fellow J League first timers Tochigi FC when the season began. So, how are the underdogs doing so far, six games into the new season? In short, not as badly as might be expected. First, let us put things into perspective. The team has only three players with previous experience in the J League. Most of them are simply not professional footballers, but a group of talented electricians, factory and office workers who are probably just as

shocked as their fans to being in the realms of professional football. It is the most patronizing of football clichés, but they really have already exceeded all expectations. They will be up against teams like Cerezo Osaka, relegated from J1, hungry to get back up and with national team players like Akinori Nishizawa and Shinji Kagawa in their side. Or Vegalta Sendai, who have brought in a batch of foreign talent to help them over the line for promotion that they came so close to crossing in 2008. Pointing out the disadvantages that Kataller face is about as difficult as finding a tuna in the middle of Tsukiji market at 6am on a Tuesday morning. Given this, their current standing of 14th out of 18 teams does not look terribly shoddy. Their record is three losses, two draws and a win.

The season’s opening game took them down to Avispa Fukuoka in Kyushu, where they battled well for a creditable 0 - 0 draw against their former J1 opponents, with one headed effort from captain Hamano bouncing tantalizingly off the crossbar in the final minutes. Losses at home to Ehime and away to Tokyo Verdy took the shine off this first result (the local newspapers, optimistic to the end, nonetheless celebrated this second loss as it contained Kataller’s first J2 goal whilst cleverly twostepping around the fact that they were defeated), but the team bounced back to record another scoreless draw away to Yokohama FC. They played host to Gunma outfit Thespa Kusatsu the following Sunday, and claimed a hard-fought inaugural season win, with a single goal from the tireless Toyama midfielder Asahi Daisuke separating the teams after 90 minutes. Alas, this did not inspire a winning streak, and a failure to pick up any points at home last week against Tokushima Vortis, one of the weakest teams in the league, may be seen as a lost opportunity. The eagle eyed among you will have spotted the main problem faced by the Toyamans already. They have scored just two goals in six matches. Unlike last season, when they were on occasion wasteful in front of goal, this time around they are simply

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Kataller: Fighting for the Pride of Toyama (cont.) By Jon Perry finding it much harder to get through the better organized defensive set-ups prevalent at this level. Their front line, which has collectively not a minute of professional experience between them, often look like they do not have the quality to break through, and so rely on long balls and crosses, using height advantage to threaten the opposition goal. Whether the preseason acquisition of Sakurai Masato, a promising but untested youngster from Hamamatsu University, will make any difference has yet to be seen, but any optimism may be tempered by the fact that he has not yet made the starting XI. Why, then, has there been no attempt to bolster the squad with purchases, if the current crop are not up to standard? Firstly, there is cold, hard, money. In order to keep their J League licence, the team must stand as models of financial probity, and thus avoid reckless spending at all costs. Their signings so far for the new season have been the aforementioned Sakurai, right back Esaki Kazuhito, another college recruit, and central defender Asuke Sho, none of whom cost so much as a yen. This is in direct contrast to another of the promoted teams, Tochigi FC, who have spent themselves to near bankruptcy in the preseason. They have gambled that by buying big name players they can pull themselves back from

the brink of financial ruin with the increased gate revenue, and at the same time establish themselves firmly as J2 mid-tablers. Secondly, in an admirable show of loyalty to the team, there has also been a conscious decision to give the players who worked so hard to bring the team into the J League a chance at playing in it as professionals, for one season at least, rather than putting them out to pasture and bringing in a fresh herd of young faces. This will hopefully strengthen fan loyalty, as they can identify with the same players as last season, and give a sense of squad stability. If it sounds like mawkish sentiment to keep the journeymen on for their time in the sun, then perhaps it is. But with no relegation to fear, why not? They deserve it, and there will be time aplenty for

new players and tactics in future seasons. Also, if it goes to give hope to the thousands of budding amateurs out there who plug away week after week for local teams that just occasionally the underdogs can win through, then it is entirely worthwhile. Of the other newly promoted teams, Tochigi have looked particularly desperate as their big name signings fail to gel, and Fagiano Okayama, whose name is Italian for pheasant, look good for a roasting every weekend. Meanwhile, the Blues grind out the odd result, which will hopefully be enough for a respectable finish above the bottom three; an important psychological victory, even if there is no relegation. Perhaps then, even if you can’t teach the old dogs new tricks, you can at least get them to use the old tricks as best they can. Update: Since this article was written, Kataller have won four and drawn one out of six, pulling themselves up to 9th in the league.     

                      DMHWQHZVOHWWHU#JPDLOF RP                

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Spaghetti Meatballs Recipe By Stephen Reid Let’s enjoy making meatballs. These meatballs are really delicious and the sauce is very simple to make and adapt to bolognaise if you have some left over. You shouldn't have much trouble getting any of these ingredients. The balsamic vinegar might cost you a little if you don't have some already and the only place I have seen fresh rosemary is in Daiwa in Toyama. You could use dried rosemary but it's just not the same. On the other hand dried basil works perfectly well. If you can, save some money and buy your dried herbs at the 100 yen store.

Ingredients: •500g Ground beef/mince •18 Small crackers (about 3 packets) •1 teaspoon of Mustard (real mustard not hot dog mustard) •An egg •1 tblspoon of dried Oregano •3 or 4 stalks of fresh Rosemary •Salt and pepper •(Freshly ground, if you can. We want to do this right!) •2 cans of Chopped tomatoes •1 Onion •A bunch of fresh Basil •1 tablespoon of Balsamic vinegar •1 dried Chili •2 cloves of Garlic •Extra virgin olive oil •Spaghetti

Method: Get a large bowl or mixing dish and put your meat in there. Pull the rosemary leaves from the stalk and chop them up well. Finely crush up the crackers then add those to the bowl with the egg, oregano, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix all that stuff together making sure the rosemary in particular is spread evenly throughout the mixture. Next, pull off a meatball sized chunk and roll it into shape, setting it aside on a baking tray or plate. Repeat until you have all your meatballs neatly rolled. To cook the meatballs, you can bake them in the oven (200C for about 30 mins) but I prefer to fry them. If you fry them, coat them in a little olive oil so they don't stick and then put them into a frying pan on a medium high heat. Keep an eye on them so they cook evenly. When they are cooked through take them off the heat and set aside. You can get to work on the

sauce while the meatballs cook. Put a large frying pan on a high heat and finely chop your onion. Deseed and finely chop your dried chili and slice the garlic. Wash and coarsely chop the basil or (if you are using dried just measure out 2 tablespoons.) When the pan is ready add the onion, garlic and chili and a generous 2 or 3 glugs of olive oil. Fry until soft then add the tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste and bring to the boil. Once it starts to boil reduce to a simmer. Check the taste and add more salt and or pepper if required, then add your cooked meatballs to the sauce. Cook your spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta and transfer it to a plate and let everyone dish their own meatballs and sauce on top from the frying pan. Serve with optional parmesan and freshly ground black pepper and maybe some red wine.

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Red Cliff Part 1 By Trevor Magson So by popular demand I shall indeed do a review of Red Cliff. But before I do I must first ask that you please excuse my very rudimentary attempts at communicating in written format. Anyway here we go… Red Cliff is a movie by John Woo about the battles of the Red Cliffs at the end of the Han Dynasty between the Imperial army, led by Prime Minister CaoCao, and two upstart faction leaders, Sun Quan and Liu Bei. Red Cliff uses a considerable amount of CGI with mixed results. Sometimes the CG is seamless and other times it is laughably obvious but over all I wouldn’t say it detracts from enjoying the film. The fighting consisted mainly of spear combat, which is nice to see considering it was the main weapon of this era. Sadly these fighting sequences suffered from many cheeseball moments where one of the hero characters throws his only weapon into a mass of enemies killing one in the process then proceeding to attack the mass unarmed. The hero then punches these

fully armored men in the chest to puzzlingly great effect. Unlike the Matrix, where heroes flying through the air get grabbed by ten men only to hurl them all to the ground with ease, the only reaction to these scenes in Red Cliff is laughter. Another problem I had with this film was that I found it hard to follow who each character and army was at times. I found much of the costuming and the looks of some of the actors to be very similar. Add to this that two of the supporting cast members,

Liu Bei’s general and Sun Quan’s, grand viceroy were named Zhou Yu and Zhao Yun respectively led me to some confusing moments. My favorite sequence in the movie is when Zhuge Liang, chief advisor to Liu Bai, attempts to forge an alliance with Sun Quan. Instead of using feats of wit, logic and military might to win the alliance of Sun Quan, Zhuge Liang instead woos him with knowledge, compassion, and musical skill. Ending with the two men coming to an understanding from playing music together, each reading the other mans intentions from the music he played. I definitely recommend this movie. I found Red Cliff to be fast paced and entertaining despite its strange moments. What the fight scenes lacked in realism they made up for with the sheer weight of bodies that the Hong Kong studio can bring to bear. If your a fan of martial arts war movies and grandiose Chinese story-telling then Woo's adaptation of `Romance of the Three Kingdoms` is sure to satisfy.

Toyama AJET Newsletter Vol.1, No.12, June 2009

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JET Effect: Akita's International Sumo Basho! In Akita, the traditional Sumo pre-bout shiko dance took on a lesstraditional groove as JET ALTs and other members of the foreign community took to the ring in the annual Akita International Sumo Basho. Blonde top knots shook under the force of high leg raises, traditionally performed to drive away evil spirits. The taiko drums rolled, the crowd cheered, and casting rather large shadows in the summer sun, members of the Akita City Sumo Federation looked on proudly (or was it bemusedly?) at their eager protégés.

Every summer since 2005, Akita JETs have organized this international sumo event to raise money for the charity Room to Read, a non-profit organization run by JETs that partners with communities in the developing world to build schools and libraries, and publish childrens' literature. (Last year they raised an amazing 125,000yen) The event, by nature, is a sure-fire success. It's philanthropic aims and entertaining approach to cultural exchange has even gotten the Academic & International Policy Division of the local Prefectural Government and the Akita Prefecture Sumo Federation involved. The event begins in the morning with the sumo federation providing the day's wrestlers

with some practical training. The wrestlers then get fitted into their mawashi (an 8 meter-long belt wrapped into the traditional t-backed thong). The outfitted wrestlers (called rikishi) are then briefed on the rules, photographed, and then loosened up before the match. The event is such a big hit that one year a local TV station did a whole special on the event and the daily life of the reigning yokozuna! ---Then the sumo begins.--A taiko performance by a local group heralds the opening ceremony as the rikishi parade one by one into the ring. The bouts are carried out in a tournament style, with the day closing with the championship bout and the declaration of a new yokozuna. This year will mark the event's 5th anniversary, and the organizers are hoping to continue expanding the involvement of the local Japanese community. This year's organizer and Room to Read president, Sophie Danner, says they are offering children free admission and student discounts: “Of course students

would love to see their ALTs in mawashi fighting it out in the ring!” Audience members can also vote on their favorite rikishi and get prizes if their pick wins. Sophie also mentioned an especially intriguing “new aspect currently in the works for this year...a women's tournament!” You can't go wrong with a foreigner sumo tournament. (Professional teachers and city workers foregoing clothes in exchange for uncomfortable

pride-consuming thongs all in the name of cultural exchange?) If you are considering starting up a community involvement event, this is definitely one that will have everyone itching to get involved. For these of you who are, Ms. Danner was full of good advice for potential organizers. -Make sure to have open communication with the sumo association: they'll have rules and traditions that they will want you to work within. -Have something for everyone: Akita's tournament also has an international bake sale as well as the taiko performance and audience participation. -Promotion: promote in your schools and on local familyoriented event calendars. Invite JETs from other prefectures to join and bring fans. I will leave you with these thoughts and images of sumo wrestlers charging through your head. I will also leave you with a recommendation: search for “gaijin sumo” on youtube. You will not be disappointed. JET Effect wishes you the best of luck! For more information about the sumo event or the charity organization Room to Read, visit To get in touch with Sophie or JET Effect for advice or info, or to nominate a great project that deserves to be spotlighted in JET Effect, send an e-mail to

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By Bryce Rawers The post-sex cig is— by design--anti-cuddle. But at best--pro-nap.

I think it's a quail But my reference points are few-Eggs, & Doug Funny.

The National AJET Haiku Competition Write us a haiku We'll print it and reward you If it's any good National AJET are having a haiku competition, so grab your pen and start writing! The competition is open immediately and will close on Friday, June 12th. Submissions relevant to the JET experience are welcomed from current JET Programme participants. Traditional haiku make reference to seasons and nature, but we're not fussy - clever and humourous poetry is encouraged! In the spirit of our Japan experience, the competition will be conducted in two categories, English and Japanese. Submissions should be: 1. accompanied by the name, address and JET number of the poet 2. original works 3. written in English and/or Japanese 4. if written in Japanese, accompanied by furigana and an English translation There is a limit of two (2) haiku per entrant total. Current National AJET Council members are not eligible to enter. For more details email or check out the facebook event The

National AJET Competition


The AJET National Council invites all budding JET photographers to submit entries for the third annual AJET Photo Competition. The competition is open immediately and will close on Friday, June 12th. Submissions relevant to the JET experience are welcomed from current JET Programme participants. We are interested in receiving "human" and humourous photos, including images from AJET events or activities - landscape shots, for example, are unlikely to receive much attention. Submissions should be: 1. accompanied by a caption describing the scene 2. accompanied by the name, address and JET number of the photographer 3. original images 4. high quality JPG files; for example, a single image should be at least 400kb in size

Photo by Ally Lomas

There is a limit of two (2) images per entrant. In the case that you submit photographs including people's faces, please receive permission from those featured before submission.

For more details email or check out the facebook event

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BLOG REVIEW! By Paula Kerrigan I’m never bored at work, here’s why: a list of my top blogs in the ken that will keep you entertained and stimulated through the dullest day: •

Ally Lomas’s photo blog:

Kim Ryan Harper’s photo blog:

Mel Messer and Emmett Barton’s blog:

CARTOON B y D a v i d P i p e r

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IT’S JUNE! Sunday













6 Happy Birthday Ríona






12 Happy Birthday Ruth and Sal



21 Happy Birthday Trevor M.







24 Toyama Book Club




25 Oyabe Beer Tasting Festival


19 Happy Birthday Trevor O.





LEAVERS’ WEEKEND 26 Nanto International Festival




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

AJET Newsletter  

June 2009

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