In Memory of Ezra Vogel


Ezra Vogel, a leading expert on East Asia, passed away on December 20, 2020. Dr. Vogel had deep impact on scholars and practitioners in the U.S.-Japan and U.S.-China fields. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues, students, and all affected by his passing.

Publication: Gift-Giving as Relationship Building between the U.S. and Japan

JETs on Japan Forum Issue No. 1
By Mary J. Eberhardinger, PhD

In issue 1, Dr. Eberhardinger discusses the significance of the role of gift-giving in the omiyage industry in Japan. The role of gifts in the omiyage industry is situated and argued as an extension of U.S.–Japan grassroots public diplomacy. Read more.

The JETs on Japan Forum is a partnership between USJETAA and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA that features selected articles of JET alumni perspectives on U.S.-Japan relations. The series aims to elevate the awareness and visibility of JET alumni working across diverse sectors and provides a platform for JET alumni to contribute to deeper understanding of U.S.-Japan relations from their fields.

Submissions Open: JETs on Japan Forum

Authors will receive an honorarium of between $250 and $500 (depending on word length, amount of research, etc.) from USJETAA upon the article’s publication. 

Submissions are encouraged from mid-to-senior level professionals who are established in the current fields OR current/recent graduate degree students in both masters and doctoral programs. Click here for more information on how to submit a proposal for consideration.

Announcement: Chapter Grants Awarded

We pleased to announce the second round grantees of the Sasakawa USA/USJETAA Chapter Grant Program: JETAA Chicago and JETAA Southern California. Both chapters are planning to bring some incredible virtual events to their communities. In partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, USJETAA administers the Chapter Grant Program for JETAA Chapters and Sub-Chapters. This grant program provides opportunities for the alumni associations of the Japan Exchange & Teaching Program (JET Program) to partner with Sasakawa USA and USJETAA to organize events and activities on U.S.-Japan relations in their regions.

JETAA Chicago

JETAA Chicago will host a webinar series centered around the themes of identity, cultural understanding and leadership, as experienced by JET alumni and individuals with meaningful connections to Japan. The program will involve two webinars, scheduled for late January and February, respectively. For the first event on January 28th, speakers will explore the hidden roots of the Japanese community in the Midwest and how we as JETs can continue to build meaningful U.S.-Japan relations. We will share a link to sign up and more details on the event in the coming weeks. Please follow JETAA Chicago and USJETAA on social media or check our websites for more details about this event.

JETAA Southern California

JETAA Southern California will hold an event focusing on the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. The event will bring together speakers from the Japanese American community to offer historical information about Little Tokyo and its significance to Los Angeles, while also addressing the effects of the COVID pandemic on the district. The event will be held in February.

Event: Racial and Social Justice in Cross-Cultural Contexts

Meaning and Action in the U.S.-Japan Community
January 26, 2021
8 - 9:30 PM ET
Join Dr. Mya Fisher (JET in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa, 2000-2002) from Global Equity Forward for a 90-minute training on "Racial and Social Justice in Cross-Cultural Contexts: Meaning and Action in the U.S.-Japan Community." The session will use presentations and interactive breakouts to examine the challenges presented by the way Japan and the U.S. understand terms like diversity, racial and social justice. Discussions will focus on how these issues impact organizations and members of the U.S.-Japan community. Participants will learn how to create safe spaces and foster community to address these issues. Be prepared to have your camera on and discuss your personal experiences. This event is hosted by USJETAA in collaboration with CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission.

Event: USJETAA Japanese Reading Group

February 9, 2021 from 7 - 8:30 PM Eastern Time
RSVP via Facebook or join by Zoom link
Registration not required

The goal of the USJETAA Japanese Reading Group is to help advanced beginner and intermediate level students improve their reading skills. Each month we will look at a short reading from Aozora Bunko, a repository of public domain literature. Participants should attempt to do the reading on their own and come to the meeting with any questions. We will spend the meeting each month reading the assignment sentence by sentence to understand how the Japanese is working. This event will be on the second Tuesday each month, rom 7:00-8:30pm Eastern Time and is facilitated by Daniel Morales of How to Japanese.

In February, we'll be reading the first "night" of Natsume Soseki's "Ten Nights Dreaming" (夢十夜). Soseki is one of Japan's literary godfathers and is widely considered one of the most important modern writers. His well known novels include "Kokoro" and "I Am a Cat." "Ten Nights Dreaming" is a set of 10 surreal short stories, which has had several translations, including one from JET alum Matt Treyvaud. We'll read just the first night. Access the readings here.
Recording: Making Your Own Luck after JET

Join our speakers and USJETAA for a discussion on how you can be proactive after JET in finding your next big opportunity. Our speaker will share their own journeys after JET and how they have utilize the JET alumni community to kickstart their careers. This webinar will shares ways to start connecting and getting involved in the JET alumni community. Each speakers is at a different stage in their post-JET journey and has a lot of great insight to offer! Speakers: Kristy Ishii, Mya Fisher, Steven Horowitz. Direct link to recording.

January Chapter Events

For January alumni events, check out this blog post for a round up of activities you can join or check out our event feed. Is an event missing? Let us know via email at or add it to our website from the events tab when logged in to your account.

Events coming up in the next 2 weeks:
 We rely on your generosity to support our programs, so please consider a tax-deductible donation to USJETAA to help us continue our work. USJETAA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, EIN 47-4042132. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Donate here.

JET Alumni Highlights

JET alumni have been busy! This issue is full of alumni news.

Winner of Elgin Heinz Award is JET Alumnus Dan Carolin

Mr. Daniel Carolin (Nagano-ken), Teacher of Japanese Language and English, Kennedy High School - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Co-awardee: Ms. Junko Tanaka, Teacher of Japanese Language, Clarendon Elementary School - San Francisco, California

Dan started his professional career teaching English at a high school in upstate New York. Looking for new experiences, he decided to spend a few years living in a completely unfamiliar culture. He spent his first year in Japan as a teacher with the JET Program in Ina City in Nagano-ken followed by two years in Chiba-ken. In the early days of his tenure with the JET Program, he began studying Japanese for basic survival skills. The more he studied, the more he wanted to learn, and he spent many hours of his free time studying both independently and in private lessons. 

The award is named in honor of Elgin Heinz in recognition of his commitment to educating students about Asia and for the inspiration he has provided to those in the field of pre-college education.This year's co-awardees will split the award which includes a grant for Japan-related projects. More information about the awardees here.

Virtual Course: How Race Shapes American Life: Perspectives on 2020

Dr. Mya Fisher (Kanagawa, 2000-2002) is offering a virtual course "How Race Shapes American Life: Perspectives on 2020." Registration is now open for the winter session.

As we begin a new year, this sociology based course, looks at how race continually shapes the experience and outcomes of everyday life in the United States. In addition to academic learning, this course is also an opportunity and a "safe community" for personal exploration and sharing of global perspectives on these issues.

The cost for the 7-week course is $150.

Check out the registration page for more information and testimonials from the summer participants -

Deadline to register is Monday, January 18, 2021!

There is a 10% discount for JET Alumni! Message Mya directly (via LinkedIn or to learn how to get it.

The course is open to anyone who is interested.

New Book: A Rhetoric and Philosophy of Gifts

Dr. Mary J. Eberhardinger's (Hyogo, 2008-2010) new book "Rhetoric and Philosophy of Gifts" synthesizes a scope of rhetorical and philosophical perspectives of the gift. Eberhardinger asks “What is the relationship between gifts and rhetoric?” She contextualizes the question throughout a review of related literature, analysis, examples, and personal anecdotes of overseas experiences. Eberhardinger concludes the book by offering implications and opportunities for interpreting gifts, thereby addressing why the question concerning the relationship between gifts and rhetoric matters for the larger landscape of international relations, intercultural friendship, and peace-making. Scholars of communication, rhetoric, and philosophy will find this book particularly interesting.

Preorder the book at Rowan & Littlefield or on Amazon.

Liz Brailsford New President and Executive officer of The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth

Liz Brailsford (Niigata, 2004-2007) joins The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth apresident and chief executive officer on Feb. 15, replacing retiring CEO Jim Falk. Brailsford has since 2018 been the chief operating officer of the World Affairs Councils of America in Washington, which serves more than 90 affiliated councils across the United States. Press release.

Jennifer Butler Speaks on Ashinaga Foundation’s Africa Initiative

JET alumna Jennifer Butler (Shizuoka, 2001-2004), Manager, Ashinaga Africa Initiative, Ashinaga Foundation, was featured as a speaker at the US-Japan Bridging Foundation’s Bridging Scholars/TeamUp webinar on December 9. She spoke on the topic of “Social Enterprise/Grassroots Nonprofits in Japan,” where she shared information on the Ashinaga Foundation’s Africa Initiative, which is focused on education and cultivating the next generation of leaders in sub-Saharan Africa. A recording of the event is available here.

5 Ways to Form International Friendships Beyond School

Tom Collins' (Oita, 2004-2007) latest article discusses how making friends when you move abroad is an important part of the journey and ways to do it without relying on in-school connections.

Black Americans and US-Japan Relations - Jan 21, 2021 at 4 PM ET

USJETAA Board Chair and JET alumna Paige Cottingham-Streater (Mie, 1988-1989) is presenting on Jan 21 at 4 pm ET on Black Americans and U.S.-Japan Relations. The session is part of an ongoing series focused on blackness in Asian and Middle Eastern studies, hosted by the UNC College Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, with support from UNC Asia Center, the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies, and the UNC Institute of African American Research. Register here:⠀

Virtual Interviewing: A Guiding Framework for Career Service Professionals

Ned Khatrichettri (Kobe, 2005-2010) co-authored an article covering virtual interviewing best practices and how employers need to know what students, as potential employees, can do for them, with relevant advice for any job searcher.

Iowa State University’s English placement test of oral communication in times of COVID-19

New journal article co-authored by JET alumna Jeanne Beck (Nagano, 2008-2011) on the impact of COVID-19 on Iowa State University's English placement test. Read the abstract and more info here.

Zen Art: Mu Qi’s Six Persimmons

David Titterington (Ehime, 2005-2010) analyzes Chinese Zen master Mu Qi’s famous painting of six persimmons in his latest on Medium.

Emily Metzgar named 2020-2021 Perspectives Guest Editor

USC Center on Public Diplomacy welcomes Emily Metzgar (Shimane, 1993-1995), Director of the School of Media and Journalism at Kent State University and former CPD Research Fellow as 2020-2021 Guest Editor for CPD Perspectives in Public Diplomacy, their scholarly paper series authored by public diplomacy scholars and practitioners from around the world. Read more.

Freelance Translation Webinar, January 16, 2021 from 4:00–5:30 pm (EST)

JET alumnus James Patrick (Aichi, 2000-2005) will be presenting a webinar on freelancing and productivity for the Japan Association of Translators. More info and registration here.

Description: Ready to take the big leap to go freelance but not sure where to start? In this webinar, established freelance interpreter and translator Jim Patrick will present his soul-searching process of identifying “the why” and walk you through the “mind, money and business” to consider before and during this major career and life change. Both insightful and lighthearted, Mr. Patrick will also share some tips and productivity tools on time management, work/life balance and budget planning. The webinar will be in English and recorded.

Japan ICU Session: Japan & the Sustainable Development Goals - Jan 20

The next session on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 9:00am-10:30am Japan time (Jan 20 at 7 PM ET) will focus on "Zero Hunger" (SDG #2). Guest speakers are JET alumnus Dr. Gavin Whitelaw (Executive Director of Harvard University's Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies) and Dr. Oussou Kouame Remi (Assistant Professor of Université Alassane Ouattara, Côte d'Ivoire), and the session will be moderated by ICU Professor Shaun Malarney. Current students and alumni are welcome to attend. Please register at:

Have something you think we should share? Email us at Not all submitted ideas will be shared.

Job Postings

Visit the Job Board for more great opportunities.

Have a job we should include? Email us at

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

Megan DeVille, President of JETAA Mid-South, has volunteered her expertise to help USJETAA evaluate new membership platforms.

Incoming JET Sydney Seekford has been helping USJETAA with video editing for a virtual Pre-Departure resource for new JETs.

Thank you for all your hard work!

Other Updates & Events

Japanese School at Middlebury info Session on New Master's in Japanese
Middlbury offers  JET scholarship for the new Japanese Master's Program

Thursday, Jan. 21
12:00-12:45 EST
Sign-up to receive the Zoom Link

The Japanese School at the Middlebury Language Schools is hosting an informational webinar next week about our 8-week immersion program and our NEW Master’s in Japanese. JET scholarship information:

Carnegie Mellon University Heinz College Application Deadline Extended
CMU Heinz College offers a scholarship for JET alumni.

The final application deadline for the August 2021 intake for full-time master’s programs at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College has been extended until February 1, 2021. JET scholarship information:

To connect with representatives:
To schedule a virtual campus tour: 
To arrange a chat with a student:

Recording: Japanese War Brides: Bridges in the Post-War Alliance
On December 3, Sasakawa USA hosted a virtual roundtable with Ms. Kathryn Tolbert, an editor at the Washington Post, and Col. (Ret.) Jyuji Hewitt to discuss the role of Japanese women who married American G.I.’s following World War II as bridges in Japan’s transition from wartime enemy to post-war ally. Ms. Tolbert discussed her project, Japanese War Brides: An Oral History Archive, and concluded that Japanese war brides came to represent racial integration and cultural pluralism, playing a defining role in bridging the U.S.-Japan post-war alliance. Following Ms. Tolbert’s talk, Col. Hewitt discussed his personal connection with Ms. Tolbert’s project, as he is the son of a Japanese war bride and an American G.I. A full recap and video of the event can be found here.

Photo: Ms. Tolbert and Col. (Ret.) Hewitt

Mask Up 2020 Contest

The Japan Foundation, New York (JF) and The Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP) has launched “Mask Up 2020,” an original face mask design contest open to all U.S.-residing amateur artists - from children to adults - and participation is free. Winning designs will be printed on masks, winners will receive 25 masks; the rest will be distributed. Winners will be announced during a live event on our YouTube channel.  

News from The Japan Foundation, New York & CGP!

For more information:
Here is a brief outline of the contest:  

  • Deadline: Friday, January 22, 2021 by 6:00pm (EST)  

  • Voting: February 8-17, 2021

  • Winners announced: March 1, 2021  

AATJ WEBINAR on National Japanese Exam
January 16, 2021 at 6 PM ET

TOPIC: "Advocating for proficiency-oriented Japanese language learning through the National Japanese Exam"
START TIME: Saturday, January 16, 3:00PM Pacific time / 6:00PM Eastern time
Tomomi Sato, University of Virginia
Miyuki Johnson, Elkins Pointe Middle School
Junko Tokuda Simpson, University of California San Diego
Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku, University of California San Diego
Please REGISTER IN ADVANCE from here:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Sister City Friendship Dinner ~Where Sushi meets Borsch~ At Your House!
Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 6:30 PM PT / 9:30 PM EST

Join Sebastopol World Friends at the annual celebration by Zoom this year! Register at
• Dinner-to-go special: Sushi Dinner by Sushi Tozai and Borsch Dinner by Hole in the Wall.
• Exclusive interview of Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer.
• Cultural presentations, entertainment, and more!
• Registration is free. Registration is required with or without food orders. Dinner orders are optional and must be received by January 17.

Mental Health Matters during COVID-19 and Beyond
Dr. Kathleen Pike (Columbia University) discussed mental health during COVID-19, with particular focus on women and mental stress, in an online seminar on December 11. Her remarks and discussion with Sasae Nobuko (Nobuko Forum Japan) are now available online. This seminar was co-organized by CGP and AJC Asia Pacific Institute.

Thank you to our grantors, program partners, and donors!

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USJETAA is an independent, self-sustaining 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that serves as a resource for and about the JETAA network and alumni in the United States. To learn more about our activities, become a registered member, or to support our efforts, please visit us at
Copyright © 2021 USJETAA, All rights reserved.

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