News and Events

Letter from the Executive Director

Dear <<First Name (Required)>>,

This is the time of year that JETs are returning home and looking to the future. Perhaps you remember the uncertainty of moving back to the United States, experiencing reverse culture shock, and trying to find a job. It feels like just yesterday that I was in that same boat, moving back to the U.S. during the 2008 recession.

Today, returning JETs face even bigger challenges than usual with a global pandemic and record unemployment. 
That's why this issue is a special careers issue, packed full of programs to aid both recent returnees and mid-career professionals with the challenges they are facing.

I want to share with you two of our newest programs. In addition to our on-going professional development webinars, we have just opened the Career Services for JETs program for the second year. It provides career counseling and a resume workshop, absolutely free. We are also delighted to partner with Pacific Northwest JETAA to offer Transitions: Opportunities Forum & Networking Expo in a virtual format to all JET alumni regardless of location.

These programs are suitable for alumni in many different life stages and are made possible by the generous time given by alumni well established in their careers who serve as speakers and mentors. We couldn't do it without you!

We offer this career content to JET alumni with at no cost. Can you spare a few dollars to support these programs?
If you've benefited from these programs or want to support the next generation of JETs, please donate today so that we can continue to offer career support to returnees and early- to mid-career professionals. Every dollar helps!


Bahia Simons-Lane
Executive Director
Gunma, 2005-2007

P.S. Is your first name not displaying in this email? You can update your preferences to make sure we have your full information!

JET Natsukatshii Series

Do you remember heading to Japan during a distant summer many years ago? We want to hear your stories and share them with the JET alumni network on our Instagram and Facebook pages!
JET alumna Laurel Lukaszewski (Kagoshima, 1990-1992) looks back on her time on JET. Laurel is a professional artist based in Washington, DC. You can check out her work at

“Thirty years ago today I started a two-year adventure, moving to a country I had only studied about in college, with my very rusty textbook Japanese..." Read more
JET alumnus Andy McCarthy (Futatsui, Akita, 2005-2008) looks back on his time on JET as part of our JET Natsukatshii series. Andy is an energy attorney based in Houston, Texas. 

“Fifteen years ago I arrived in Futatsui, a 12,000 person town on the northern outskirts of Akita prefecture..." Read More
Share Your Natsukashii Story!

Career Services Just for JETs!

Registration Open until October 9, 2020

USJETAA is excited to offer 25 personal career counseling sessions and a free resume course with small group sessions to JET alumni on a first-come, first-served basis. Space permitting JET alumni are able to  participate in both services (a career counseling session and the resume course). Our career and resume expert, Emily Frank, is a JET alum who wants to give back to the JET community and so will be offering discounted rates for additional services if you’d like to schedule additional sessions with her. Please see below for more details on these services.

  • Career Counseling is first come, first served and will close when filled.

To be eligible, you must be an alumni of the JET program, a member of USJETAA, and a resident of the U.S. All of the services take place online, so you can participate from your home or work.

Information and Registration

Transitions: Opportunities Forum & Networking Expo

September 20, 2020 to September 26, 2020
Sessions held nightly at 5:30 PM PDT / 8:30 PM EDT
Open to all JET alumni!

Transitions: Opportunities Forum & Networking Expo is the annual career and networking event organized by the Pacific Northwest JET Alumni Association (PNWJETAA). This year, the event is co-hosted by the U.S. JET Programme Alumni Association (USJETAA) to expand Transitions beyond the Pacific Northwest and welcome alumni from other chapters. The event is co-sponsored by The Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) and the Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA (Sasakawa USA).

Transitions is suitable for both recent returnees and mid-career professionals. Hope you will join us for a great event!
Schedule and Registration

Virtual Networking Session: Careers Using Japanese

September 1, 2020

There was so much interest in our webinar on careers using Japanese that we will be holding a networking session for those interested in pursuing a career using Japanese. Join USJETAA, our speakers from the webinar on careers using Japanese, and other JET alumni working in the field to ask questions and learn about their experiences. We will be using breakout sessions for networking in small groups.

Careers in the Foreign Service

September 9, 2020

Are you interested in a career in the Foreign Service or learning more about the work of Foreign Service Officers? Please join USJETAA for a keynote address from Karen Kelley, the former Consul General in Osaka. Kelley's tour ended this summer and in her keynote she will share her perspective being Consul General during Olympic planning and the COVID-19 pandemic. The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion where she will be joined by Michael Turner, Culture & Sports Attache at the US Embassy Tokyo, and Katherine Tarr, former Coordinator for Japan and Korea in the Office of Public Diplomacy, East Asian Pacific. They will share their journey through multiple tours and answer questions.

This webinar is partially supported by the Japan Foundation CGP and CLAIR.

National Membership Drive

Did you know that there are more than 35,000 JET Alumni from the United States?

Help us find our JET Alumni friends by building a National Alumni Directory!
Registration is free, and you'll get access to some awesome resources including:

* Searchable alumni directory to track down those long-lost JET friends
* Support network after JET
* Job board listing open positions across the U.S.
* Access to free career support
* Information about Scholarships & Fellowships
* Monthly webinars on professional development & leadership skills
* Connection with JETAA Chapters in the U.S.
* Email edition of monthly Alumni newsletters

Already a member? Encourage your fellow JET friends to sign up as well! at!
Become a Member

Recording: School for International Training (SIT) Info Session

Are you interested in attending graduate school? The School of International Training (SIT) Graduate Institute has partnered with the USJETAA to offer a scholarship to JET alumni interested in pursuing a master’s degree program at SIT. SIT will commit to providing 30% tuition scholarships for eligible JET alumni. Please join us to learn more about the master’s programs and scholarship available to JET alumni. JET alumni who have completed their MA at SIT have been invited to join us for this presentation. SIT offers master’s degree programs in part-time, low-residency and full-time, face-to-face, global formats. Link to video.

Recording: Careers Using Japanese for JETs

The JET experience is a life-changing one, and when you return home, you may feel confused and/or stressed about the job search, specifically for jobs that allow you to use your Japanese. Join this seminar if you’re still on or already done with the JET Program and learn some key tips about job searching for jobs that allow you to use your Japanese language skills. Link to video.

JET Alumni News & Highlights

Link to video
Official First Look of My Invisible Compass (2021)

My Invincible Compass (2021) is a 5-year documentary following the journeys of Tomoya and other abused, abandoned and neglected children living in institutional care around Japan. Movie made by Matt Miller (Gunma, 2006-2009). To learn more please visit:
New JET Streams Spring and Summer 2020

JET Streams in the JET Programme newsletter featuring articles by JET alumni. Read it here!

This issue features articles by:
  • Roseanna Finkle-Vern, Aichi Prefecture CIR, 2014-2017
  • Divya Jha, Kitakyushu ALT, 2007-2008
  • Jennifer Sherman, Mie Prefecture ALT, 2012-2016
  • Shuying Yao, Sapporo ALT, 2010-2012
  • Steven Munatones, Shiga Prefecture ALT, 1988-1990
  • Lindsey Bridges, Tochigi Prefecture ALT, 1997-1999
Kokoro Care Packages Featured on Forbes

Forbes featured an article on the women-owned business, Kokoro Care Packages, which includes handcrafted Japanese snacks, recipes and ingredients from Kyoto and Kyushu all delivered right to your front door. JET Alumna Lillian Rowlatt (2002-2005) runs the U.S. operations. Read the article.
Link to video
James McKnight talks to Ginn and Topics about Yellow and Black Fever

James McKnight speaks with Leighton Ginn of Ginn and Topics about his new book during this video.
JET Alumni Podcast Features!
  • ALT Insider features Daniel Stone (Saitama, 2004-2007) and how he turned his career with JET into his own teaching company in America, in a niche he was very comfortable with, Japanese people wanting to learn English! Listen here.
  • Life After JET podcast features Michael Coleman and Alex Varney.
    • Michael talks about his voice acting career, including for something called Road Puncher? Lane Brawler? Oh wait - Street Fighter! Yea, that's the one. Never heard of it. Hope it'll take off some day. 😉 We talk about conventions, creative projects and more. If you've played a computer game, you've probably heard his voice behind a character. Listen here.
    • Alex gives a 101 into the marketing, communications, and PR industry, discusses whether PR has bad PR, and they we discuss that most precious of "industries," the social media influencer.
      Listen here.
  • Season by Season: An Audio Odyssey Through Nature is a podcast with Alexis and Kit, lifelong friends who now live on opposite coasts. They explore poetry, music, and sound on a journey through the rhythm of nature expressed by the seasons. Alexis (Shimane, 2009-2011) is a JET alumna and many of the contributors to the poetry readings in the podcast are JETs. More information and listen here.
New Book Features Inaka Stories from Three JETs

The new book Inaka: Portrait of Rural Japan is a collection of short stories featuring contributions from three JET alumni: Austin Gilkeson (Nagasaki, 2004-2006), Sam Baldwin from the UK, and Sarah Coomber (Yamaguchi, 19994-1996). Inaka: Portraits of Life in Rural Japan is an affectionate but unsentimental taste of authentic rural living: inconvenient superstitions, the tough realities of training to be a Buddhist monk, the mystery of an abandoned shrine, an ancient pilgrimage given new life, fishermen’s tales, cycling adventures, examples of rural revitalization in tea farm tourism and the indigo dyeing industry, hypothermia-inducing housing, and friendly neighbors sharing old customs and local histories. More information here.
Have something you think we should share? Email us at Not all submitted ideas will be shared.

Special Offers

Discount on Kokoro Care Package Subscription Purchase

The USJETAA network can enjoy a 10% discount off your first order of a subscription purchase! 

Use Code: JETAA

Kokoro Care Packages was founded by two female entrepreneurs, Lillian Hanako Rowlatt (Niigata, 2002-2005) and Aki Sugiyama, two friends living an ocean apart but who wanted to share their love of authentic Japanese food while supporting local Japanese farmers and producers. They offer hand-crafted Care Packages filled with premium-quality, all-natural Japanese foods delivered straight from Japan to your door. 

JETAA Online Activities

September Event Round Up!

The blog post will be updated as new events are created. As always, check with your local chapter to see what's going on. Links to events in private/closed Facebook groups may not be available unless you are in the group.
Click for Chapter Virtual Events

Other Information & Opportunities

Volunteer for California Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit 

The California Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit will be held online on Saturday, February 6, 2021. The Sister Cities International Southern California Chapter, Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) USA, and the U.S. Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme Alumni Association would like to invite U.S. JET Program Alumni to serve as volunteers for this nonprofit online event that will be moderated by young professionals and college students for high school students throughout California, as well as high school students from California’s sister cities around the world. 
Event Date: February 6, 2021
Time: 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm PST
Location: Online
Summit Overview
The overriding theme of the online California Sister Cities Youth Leadership Summit is “Peace and Kindness.” The online event will feature:
  • a few short speeches 
  • a series of themed short panel discussions addressing issues that are most important to our youth and their future well being. Panelists: high school students. Moderators: college students and young professionals
  • an international round table featuring high school participants worldwide
  • entertainment
  • an award ceremony

Nakamura Hashigo and the New Face of Kabuki in the 21st Century

Japan Society of Northern California
September 8, 2020 at 5 PM PDT

Nakamura Hashigo and the New Face of Kabuki in the 21st Century - Tuesday, September 8th
Join this Kabuki “crash-course” and hear about the history and cultural significance and continuing evolution of this traditional art form. More info here!

The event will be moderated by JET alumnus Mark Frey

Date and Time:

September 8, 2020 @ 5:00 PM (Pacific Time)

September 9, 2020 @ 9:00 AM (Japan Time)


9/9, Japan (9/8, San Francisco)

9:00am (5:00pm) Opening Remark

9:05am (5:05pm) Kabuki 101 Prof. Yuki Goto | School of Theatre & Dance, College of Liberal & Creative Arts, San Francisco State University + Mark Frey

9:15am (5:15pm) Hashigo Nakamura Performance 中村橋吾氏パフォーマンス 30min

9:45am (5:45pm) Q&A

10:30am (6:30pm) End

JASWDC Author Event with Scott Haas

Date and Time: September 14, 6:30-8:00 p.m. (EDT)

The J-book club would like to announce an exciting partnership with the Japan-America Society of Washington for an author event! Scott Haas, author of Why Be Happy: The Japanese Way of Acceptance, will be joining us via Zoom for a discussion about his book. Since this event is virtual, those from outside the DC area who are interested are welcome to participate! Contact Amy Sherman (Okinawa, 2006-2008) at for the Zoom link and password.


Looking for greater peace and satisfaction? Look no further than the Japanese concept of ukeireru, or acceptance. Psychologist Scott Haas offers an elegant, practical, and life-changing look at ways we can reduce anxiety and stress and increase overall well-being. By learning and practicing ukeireru, you can:

  • Profoundly improve your relationships, with a greater focus on listening, finding commonalities, and intuiting
  •  Find calm in ritualizing things such as making coffee, drinking tea, and even having a cocktail
  • Embrace the importance of baths and naps
  • Show respect for self and others, which has a remarkably calming effect on everyone
  • Learn to listen more than you talk
  • Tidy up your life by downsizing experiences and relationships that offer more stress than solace
  • Cultivate practical ways of dealing with anger, fear, and arguments -- the daily tensions that take up so much of our lives

By practicing acceptance, we learn to pause, take in the situation, and then deciding on a course of action that reframes things. Why Be Happy? Discover a place of contentment and peace in this harried world.


USJETAA would not be able to carry out all these activities without the support of our generous donors. If you wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to USJETAA, please click the button below for donation options.
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 © 2020 USJETAA, All rights reserved.

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