New USJETAA Member Portal is Live!

Behind the scenes, we've been hard at work implementing a new and improved member portal for USJETAA. If you already have a USJETAA member account you will need to reset your password the first time you login. 

Members can:
  • Use the directory to find and connect with other alumni
  • Register and manage events
  • Add a profile photo
  • Update your bio
  • And more!
Become a JET Alumni Member

Special Event: Celebration of JET Alumni

October 28 - 5 PM PT / 8 PM ET
Join us on October 28th for a special event! In the lead up to the 35th anniversary of the JET Program, join us for a creative program celebrating JET through the success of the alumni. Highlighting the contributions of JETs to the U.S.-Japan community, this variety show brings together the diverse community of JET alumni with snapshots into their experiences with arts, culture, research, and more!
Featured speakers:
  • The Basics of Sake in 6 Minutes - John Gautner
  • Influence of Japan on the ceramics art of DC artist - Laurel Lukaszewski
  • Yokai and their Introduction to Marvel Comics - Zack Davisson
  • Filmmaking in Japan - Interview with Aaron Woolfolk, director of the Harimaya Bridge and first African American to direct a film in Japan
  • The Japanese Beer Industry - Kyoto Brewing & Mario Depeine
  • A Look at Japan - InsideJapan Tours
  • Farm Stays in Rural Japan/JET Entrepreneurship in Japan - Hidden Japan
  • JETs and Taiko (remarks and short performances) - Kokyo Taiko (Lincoln, Nebraska), Kawakami Village (Nara, Japan)
  • Japanese American Experience in Japan - Jane Yamashiro
  • From JET to Entrepreneurship - Kay Makishi

Recording: How to Land a Job Teaching English in Japan

On September 29th, USJETAA Executive Director Bahia Simons-Lane (Gunma, 2005-2007) spoke at a U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation webinar where she shared the ins and outs of teaching English in Japan, with an emphasis on the JET program.

Microgrant Initiative Applications Are Open!

Calling all current American JETs! 

This program provides small grants to JET participants working in Japan on the JET Program to fund projects that introduce American culture and English language to students in their classrooms and to the local community. The Microgrant Initiative for American JETs is funded by the U.S. Embassy Tokyo.
Apply Here

Chapter Grant Program Funding Awarded to JETAA Florida

USJETAA, in partnership with Sasakawa USA, is excited to announce that the JET Alumni Association of Florida (JETAA Florida) will be the second recipient of our 2021-2022 Mini-Grant Program for JETAA Chapters and Subchapters in the U.S. JETAA Florida will host a two-part webinar series to educate JET alumni and community leaders on the contributions of Japanese Americans (Nisei) during and after WWII. This webinar series will examine how the Nisei have positively impacted the U.S.-Japan relationship and will explore how their legacy can be shared to combat anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. Additional information will be forthcoming on JETAA Florida’s website. More information on the Mini-Grant Program can be found on USJETAA’s program page.

JETs on Japan Forum Applications Open

The JETs on Japan Forum 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 a deeper understanding of U.S.-Japan relations from their fields.

Contributors receive a stipend between $250 and $500 depending on the article length and amount of research. 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. 

This program is a partnership between USJETAA and Sasakawa USA.

Apply Here

Alumni Interview: Stephanie Simpson-White (Toyama, 2006-2009)

"I was a Japanese Language and Literature major at Tufts University, so the JET Programme was the natural next step for me after I graduated. I had already spent a year in Japan, studying abroad at Kanazawa University, and I knew I wanted to return."

"Oishii Mizu represent! The snows from the Japanese Alps provide the area with fresh, pure water, which feeds the paddies that grow delicious rice and is brewed into excellent sake. Of course Japan overall is known for sushi and sashimi, but even within Japan the fish from Toyama in particular is among the very best. Local culinary specialties include masu no sushi (pressed box sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves), hotaru ika (firefly squid), kan-buri (yellowtail), and shiro ebi (white shrimp). Notable sightseeing locations are the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the Kurobe Dam, Shomyo Falls (Japan's tallest waterfall), Gokayama Gasshouzukuri Village (a World Heritage Site), Toyama Castle Park, and the town of Yatsuo when it hosts the annual Owara Kaze no Bon festival."

Read the full interview with Stephanie here.

Alumni Interview: Liz Brailsford (Niigata, 2004-2007)

"Being that Niigata is kind of like the midwest of Japan, it has a pretty standard dialect! But I love douzo, yoroshiku/yoroshiku onegai shimasu - simple phrases for which we here in America just don't seem to have an easy replica. I also love their saying ichi-go ichi-e; I have that in calligraphy and framed to this day."
"JET gave me the gift of wanting to work in international affairs for my career, and although my career hasn't been linear, the connecting thread has been international. Japan has always been in the picture in some form or fashion so have remained close by doing that and also working on several boards of Japan-related nonprofits. I've stayed tight with the JET alum community as well. Japan and JET is a constant gift."

Read the full interview with Liz here.

These alumni interviews are part of a partnership between the Japan Society Boston (JSB) and USJETAA in which JET alumni contribute short interviews about their experiences in Japan in each prefecture. To read the full interviews, please visit our website.

Your Generous Support Makes Our Programs Possible, Join or Donate Today!

Donate Here
USJETAA is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, EIN 47-4042132. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Upcoming Events

Online Event: USJETAA Japanese Reading Group

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. 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 is facilitated by Daniel Morales of How to Japanese. Sessions are not recorded.

Join the Facebook Group to share resources and ask questions.
For October and November we will be reading a short essay titled "Reflections on Rain (雨の回想)" by the writer Wakasugi Toriko who was sold to a geisha house at the age of one and later was able to become a newspaper journalist. You can read a translation of her writing "The Foot of Mount Asama."
RESCHEDULED - October 24 at 10 AM PT | 12 PM CT | 1 PM ET

First half of "Reflections on Rain (雨の回想)" by Wakasugi Toriko

November 14 at 10 AM PT | 12 PM CT | 1 PM ET

Second half of "Reflections on Rain (雨の回想)" by Wakasugi Toriko

Celebration of JET Alumni

October 28
5 PM PT / 8 PM ET

In the lead-up to the 35th anniversary of the JET Program, join us for a creative program celebrating JET through the success of the alumni. Highlighting the contributions of JETs to the U.S.-Japan community, this variety show brings together the diverse community of JET alumni with snapshots into their experiences with arts, culture, research, and more!

Japan-Related Careers Webinar Series

With the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation we are partnerning on this eight part webinar series from September to October includes tons of great topics for college students, returning JETs, and early career professionals. Many of the of speakers are JET alumni, including Bahia Simons-Lane of USJETAA, LinkedIn and Job Search Strategist Kamara Toffolo, Brooke Brown of Link Global Solution Inc., Trevin Dye of JETRO, and Jessica Kennett Cork of YKK.
  • Oct 20: How to Network in the U.S. and Japan
  • Nov 3: How I Built My Career Related to Japan as an Artist and Educator
  • Nov 17: Resume Recipe: How To Write A Resume That Sizzles
  • Dec 1: How I Built My Career as a Translator
  • Dec 15: Similarities and Differences in Japan and U.S. Business Practices
Events funded by Indeed and Recruit. In partnership with the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, The American Chamber of Commerce in Japan, Japan-America Society of Washington D.C., J.C.C. Fund of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of New York, Japan-United States Friendship Commission, and USJETAA.

JETAA Chapter News & Events

Events are added as announced. Is an event missing? Let us know via email at
  • For October alumni events, check out this blog post for a round-up of activities you can join virtually or in your region.
  • For November alumni events, check out this blog post for a round-up of activities you can join virtually or in your region.

Recording: A Look Back to Move Forward - JETAA Chicago JTalks Webinar

August 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. In commemoration of this monumental moment in history, on September 23rd, 2020, JETAA Chicago hosted a discussion on the historical legacy of these cities, with a focus on the present. We were joined by Koko Kondo, a peace activist and survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing whose father was prominently featured in John Hersey’s seminal Hiroshima, and three guest speakers who answered the question: “Why should we care now?”: Yuki Miyamoto, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies & Global Asian Studies at DePaul University, Tom Le, an Assistant Professor of Politics at Pomona College, and Saira Chambers, Founding Director of the Japanese Arts Foundation.​ Now available for viewing on YouTube

JET & JET Alumni News

Khalid Birdsong on Pursuing your Passion

Khalid Birdsong (Shimamoto, 2003-2005) wrote the article "This Quote From Seth Godin Could Change How You Think About Pursuing Your Passion"
Dr. Tinianow Brings His Super Talents to the Classroom in a Helpful Way 

Dan Tinianowwas (AET, 1987-1988) was named Faculty of the Month at the University of Arizona Global Campus. 
Article: "What to Expect as a 'Teacher of Color' in Japan"

Farrah Hasnain (Shizuoka) wrote a Japan Times article on how she and other women of color navigated questions about their identity and stereotypes in the classroom. 
Global Expat 1:10 Coaching Support

Kristy Ishii (Gunma, 2016-2018) is offering coaching support for expats navigating life in a new country. Please email her at for more information.
JET alum Graham Selby on The Moth Storytellling Hour 

Graham (Fukushima) tells his story about seeing his birth father for the first time. Initially aired on the CBS Evening News, "The Man on TV" re-aired on The Moth Radio Hour. 
JET Alumni at the Japan Writer's Conference
  • Michael Frazier will lead a poetry workshop at the Japan Writers Conference. Find out more about Michael's poetry on JETwit
  • Tom Baker will share tips on writing a pub quiz at the Japan Writers Conference. Learn more on JETwit
  • Suzanne Kamata will host a panel discussion on "Writing Identity" at the Japan Writers Conference. Read more about Suzanne's talk on JETwit
  • Joe Palermo will speak about self-publishing his memoir at the Japan Writers Conference. Find out what life was like in the 1980s Japan on JETwit
  • Todd Jay Leonard will offer publishing tips at the Japan Writers Conference including his10 basic points to keep in mind. More on JETwit
  • Joy Jarman-Walsh will present on how to conduct an interview at the Japan Writers Conference. Learn more about Joy's talk on live broadcasting interviews on JETwit.  

JETwit Movers and Shakers Initiative Latest

Loren Greene (Osaka, 2007-2010) wrote two novels set in Japan. Find out more about Loren's novels on JETwit.

Michael T. Cibenko (Kumamoto, 1996-1999) published a novel based upon the Shimabara Rebellion. Learn more about Michael's inspiration for his novel Masaru on JETwit
Krewe of Japan Podcast S02E01 – The Fantastical World of Studio Ghibli ft. Steve Alpert

Doug Tassin (Fukushima, 2007-2010) has a new Krewe of Japan Podcast.

TADAIMA! The Krewe is BACK! Season 2 kicks off October 1st at 12 pm CT. The Krewe goes down the rabbit hole that is Studio Ghibli, talking about some history behind the famous animation studio and their favorite films. Then, Steve Alpert, former Senior Vice President at Studio Ghibli and author of Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli, joins the Krewe for a deep dive into what it was like to work with Miyazaki and how he played a pivotal role in bringing Ghibli favorites to international markets. 

The Krewe of Japan Podcast is a weekly episodic podcast sponsored by the Japan Society of New Orleans. Check them out every Friday afternoon around noon CT on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and Stitcher.  

Hajimemashite Offers Special JET Rate for Japanese Courses

Aarti Barve (Okayama, 2006-2008)
is the founder of Hajimemashite, a platform for customized online Japanese courses. With the experience of 17+ years, Aarti prepares students for JLPT exams. She has designed a special fee structure for the JET alumni. JET alumni can use the HAJIME 21 code for a discount of 20% off. 

Article: "Becoming Global Citizens: A Story of JET Alumni Association of Minnesota (JETAAMN)"

Karl Hoeschen (Saitama, 2010-2013) wrote a piece for Japan America Society of Minnesota Tsushin Monthly Newsletter on page 3.

Inside Japan Tours named #4 best Travel Specialist in the World

InsideJapan Tours was named one of the best Travel Specialists in the world by Conde Nast Traveler's Readers Choice Awards! Coming in it at #4. The Australian branch was established by JET Alumnus Harry Sargent and the U.S. branch based in Boulder, Colorado was established by U.S. Branch Director Mathew Eccles.

2021 NAJET Harassment, Assault, and Discrimination Survey Report: ALT Summary

Annually, the National Association of JET (NAJET) conducts a survey of JET Program participants. This report use used to share concerns with CLAIR and the three ministries of the Japanese national government. Read the full report here

In the report, NAJET addressed the following issues concerning ALTs, based on the 2020-2021 survey results:
  • Harassment, assault, and discrimination are quite prevalent in the JET Programme. 47% of women ALTs reported directly experiencing harassment, assault, or discrimination while on the Programme.
  • 63% of ALTs report working a few hours of overtime each month. 43% do not receive compensatory time off for this overtime. Many ALTs report that this is because there is no system to keep track of their overtime hours.
  • Only 65% of ALTs have guaranteed access to sick leave. Additionally, over 60% of ALTs say their workplace’s COVID-prevention measures have been inadequate. A majority also feel the communication between CLAIR and their CO regarding the states of emergencies and the pandemic has not been clear nor consistent.
  • JETs report that their CO’s guidance for mental and physical health issues is generally acceptable, although views are a bit mixed. Naturally, some people do have issues getting help out of the large number of Programme participants.
You can access all NAJET reports and appendices here

Job Board

Visit the Job Board for more great opportunities.

Community News & Events


Seeking Applicants for the 2021 EngageAsia Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher Award 
October 15
Apply Here

The Elgin Heinz Award recognizes exceptional teachers who further mutual understanding between Americans and Japanese. The 2021 award will focus on humanities teachers and consist of an award grant of up to $1,000.

The award is open to current full-time K-12 classroom teachers of any relevant subject in the United States. There are two award categories, one in the humanities and one in Japanese language. The 2021 award will be awarded only in the Humanities category and the 2022 award will focus on the Japanese Language.

Applicants for the Japanese language category must have an excellent command of the Japanese language. 2012 applications are due on October 15, 2021.

Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Graduate Fellowship Program

Applications are open for the 2022 cohort of the Rangel Fellowship. The Rangel Fellowship is a premier U.S. Department of State program created to attract diverse talent to its Foreign Service. The program encourages the application of members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, women, and those with financial need.

Selected fellows will receive support for graduate school, internships, and professional development. Applicants must be college seniors or graduates, can come from any academic discipline, and must be seeking entry into graduate school in fall 2022.

Mansfield Fellowship 

Applications for the Mike Mansfield Fellowship Program are open!

The 27th class of Mansfield Fellows will be selected from a wide range of federal agencies. They will be given the opportunity to develop Japanese language skills and receive an unrivaled, intimate view of Japan.

See this flyer for more information on the program.

Memories of 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Best Wishes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

This short film by Regge Life highlights the memories of three foreigners who have lived in Japan for more than 50 years and remember the 1964 Olympics games. 

Japan Foundation CGP Program Guidelines 2022 & Current Opportunities

Grant programs in arts, culture, and Japanese studies. View the full list of opportunities here.


Onigiri Action 2021 - World Food Day Campaign
October 5 - November 5

Onigiri Action is an annual social good campaign in autumn. Every Japanese rice-ball-related post on the global campaign website or your social media with #OnigiriAction will provide five school meals to children in need around the world.
New Discoveries in Japanese Culture with Miss Sake Japan 2021
October 18
5 pm PT

Register Here

Have you ever wondered about the story behind sake? Join us for a special program with Miss Sake Japan 2021, Miyu Matsuzaki, dedicated to exploring sake as Japanese culture, both in historical and modern terms.

Join Japan Society of Northern California as you learn about a new breed of women sake chief brewers or “Touji” (杜氏), and more about the people behind the scenes who are keeping sake traditions alive. 

From beginner to enthusiast, this program is sure to provide everyone with unique perspectives on how the traditions surrounding sake are continuing and evolving today.
OIST Foundation x Japan Society of New York Webinar Series: Adjusting to the New Normal: COVID-19 & Mental Health
October 20
7 pm ET 

In this webinar, mental health experts share their insights into the psychological impact of living in a COVID-19 world in Japan and the United States, and how we can best transition to this new way of life.
Japan's Relationship with China
October 21
6 am ET

Sponsors: Yokosuka Council on Asia-Pacific Studies (YCAPS); Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership Speaker: Stephen Nagy; Senior Associate Professor, International Christian University, Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs, Visiting Fellow, Japan Institute for International Affairs
Administrative Litigation Reform in Japan
October 21
7 pm ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: Rieko Kage, Professor of Political Science, University of Tokyo 
J-book Club
October 25
6:30 pm
Email for Zoom link

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café that has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.

In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-traveling offer. But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Judging Inequality: Japan in Comparative Perspective
October 28
7 pm ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: Yeonju Lee, Assistant Professor, Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Weatherhead Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion, Harvard University 
Coffee Life in Japan
October 28 / October 29
3 pm PT / 7 am Japan Time


In Japan, coffee gained popularity in the 20th century along with the increased fascination towards the West at the time. Many kissaten, or Japanese-style tea rooms that also serve coffee, opened during this period. Kissaten owners emphasized detail and accuracy in their brewing methods while creating a unique atmosphere to enjoy the coffee in.

Cosplay: Discovering a Sense of Self Through Fandom
October 28
8 pm ET
Cosplay, a portmanteau of “costume” and “play,” is the practice of dressing up as a fictional character, usually from an anime, film, or video game. The practice has grown in popularity around the world and has even evolved into a profession in some cases. 

Please join our panel discussion with four cosplay experts who study cosplay and have worked in the field both in the U.S. and in Japan: Edmund Hoff, Frenchy Lunning, Akiko Sugawa-Shimada, and Diana Tolin. They will delve into the history of cosplay and how it spread globally, exploring the core essence and the power of cosplay through examining topics such as gender, identity and race. 

Drawing the Sea Near: Satoumi and Coral Reef Conservation in Okinawa
November 4
12 pm/Noon ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: C. Anne Claus, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, American University 
Japanese Contemporary Literature: Perspectives and Aporia in the Global 21st Century
November 11
12 pm/Noon ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: Cécile Sakai, Professor of East Asian Languages & Civilizations, Paris University 
Middlebury Language Schools – Japanese Admissions Webinar
Thursday, November 18
7:00-8:00 p.m. EDT

The Middlebury Master’s in Japanese launched this summer. On Thursday, November 18 at 7:00 PM, the School of Japanese is going to host a webinar on the program, and feature our graduate students and well as some of their 8-week students.
J-book Club
November 22
6:30 pm

Email for Zoom link

Penance by Kanae Minato

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko, and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.

Sae, Maki, Akiko, and Yuko weren't able to accurately describe the stranger's appearance to the police after Emily's body was discovered. Asako, Emily's mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter's murder.
Japan as a Marine Tourism Mecca
December 2
7 pm ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: Kirk Patterson, President and Chief Sailing Officer, Konpira Consulting; Dean Emeritus, Japan Campus, Temple University 
Creation of and Participation in Networks: Visiting the Japan Biographical Database
December 9
7 pm ET

Sponsor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Speaker: Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Professor of Japanese History, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University 

J-book Club
December 13
6:30 pm

Email for Zoom link

The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada

Asa’s husband is transferring jobs, and his new office is located near his family’s home in the countryside. During an exceptionally hot summer, the young married couple move in, and Asa does her best to quickly adjust to their new rural lives, to their remoteness, to the constant presence of her in-laws, and the incessant buzz of cicadas. While her husband is consumed with his job, Asa is left to explore her surroundings on her own.
One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole—a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape. 

J-book Club
January 10
6:30 pm

Email for Zoom link 

There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing – and ideally, very little thinking.

As she moves from job to job, writing bus adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear, and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she's not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful.

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

Grantors and Major Donors

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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