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We're very happy to introduce the first JETAA Mascot, Zebulon "Zeb" Pika of the Rocky Mountain Chapter! Sporting his red JETAARM yukata, he also loves carrying around his favorite green chili pepper and aspen leaf fans to cheer us on.  We hope you'll keep an eye out for him in future events!

Upcoming JETAARM Events

JETAARM Sports Day

We are so excited to premiere this event!
Join us October 12th from 11am - 3pm at
Lion's Park in Golden for some Fall fun! We'll be welcoming back returnee JETs and playing old favorites like the three-legged race and kickball, along with some new games we're sure you'll love! 

>>RSVP HERE <<
JLPT Study Group

The next JLPT study groups will be on October 13th, and 26th at Stella's Coffee .
Bring your books, flashcards, and kanji knowledge! 

>>RSVP HERE<<
JETAARM Book Club

We will be reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.
From Goodreads: "In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations."

Join us October 5th to discuss the book! 


>>RSVP HERE<<
Upcoming Community Events
JA-NE Pop-Up Event!

Hello everyone! Our friends at Japanese Arts Network are hosting their innaugural pop-up event at Sakura Square on Saturday, October 5th at 6:30pm!

Enjoy live street art painting with CRUSH walls artist 
Casey Chohachi Kawaguchi, music from local Japanese Panamanian-American hip-hop artist, Ichiban, Japanese taiko drumming with 3Two + Akatsuki breakdance crew, and an Okinawan shamisen duo led by artist Mamiko Ikeda.

The event will also feature a pop-up shop with artists including 
Akemi Tsutsui-KunitakeCountry Samurai Coffee Company, and more, interactive art demos, information about modern-day samurai influence, specialty food trucks, Pacific Mercantile Company goodies, and more!

LUAU!

Enjoy a traditional pig roast ceremony, hula show and fire dancers! Ticket price includes entertainment, food, one adult beverage ticket and non-alcoholic beverages! Delicious food such as Kalua pig, teriyaki chicken, fried rice, Gyoza, salad, mango cake and Hawaiian style chips will be served!

This fundraiser benefits Aurora Sister Cities International programming which aims to build relationships to expand cultural and educational exchange between our Aurora, Colorado community and its sister and friendship cities.

>>Get Tickets<<

Japanese Knife Sharpening Workshop with Eien Hunter-Ishikawa

Feel the joy of cooking with a sharp blade! Learn the basics of Japanese knife sharpening with water stones in this workshop with Portland, Oregon-based
Eien Hunter-Ishikawa. The workshop will take place at the Tri-State Buddhist Temple in Denver, Colorado on Sunday, October 6th from 12pm - 2pm.

>>GET TICKETS<<
JASC Gala

Join premier Colorado and Japanese businesses along with local, state, and regional leaders as JASC welcomes USA Sumo to Colorado for the first time. An unparalleled evening of Japanese inspired food, libations, sake, and our always fantastic silent auction to celebrate 30 years of Japan America Society of Colorado. 


>>GET TICKETS<<
JASSC Japanese Cultural Festival And Bazaar

Everyone is welcome at this free fundraising event put on by the Japan America Society of Southern Colorado on October 26th from 10am - 3pm! Enjoy live performances and delicious foods while shopping! 

>> Learn More <<

Japanese Culture Day

Come and enjoy the Japanese Culture Day at The First Baptist Church of Denver on November 2nd from 11am -4 pm! There will be booths to introduce Japanese culture and a stage for performances. We hope to see you there!

Recap: JETAA National Convention
Our chapter president Teri Galvez writes:
On September 26th, our treasurer, Kim, and I made our way to Chicago to participate in the 2019 National Conference. It was an exciting and informative weekend where we got to connect with the other 18 chapter board delegates, JETAA-International, USJETAA, JETAA USA, JETAA Canada and CLAIR representatives. We got to learn about what other chapters are doing in their areas, brainstormed ideas on how we can improve our chapters, and then took time to enjoy the beautiful city that hosted us. As we move forward, we want to bring you all more ways to meet up, network, and get involved with JETAA. We hope to see more of you in the future, and are open to hearing your suggestions :)
Recap: JASC Kite Festival

Kites Galore
6th Annual JASC Kite Festival 2019

On September 15, the Japan America Society of Colorado (JASC) held its annual Kite Festival in Denver, Colorado. Edo Kite Master, Mikio Toki, was present to teach kite making as well as fly some of his professional Japanese kites. Families from all over the Denver area came to try their hands at making kites, and while it took until the end of the day for a good wind to pick up, everyone enjoyed crafting their kites, picnicking and food trucks, and in general appreciating the good company. JETAARM volunteers were also able to share their passion about all things Japan-related by helping guests, younger and older, build their kites. Several guests also brought out their own kites, both delicate and fanciful. My favorite: watching a giant ink-black octopus swim through the sky. Thanks to JASC for putting on the event and looking forward to next year!

Alumni Spotlight: Hans Thompson

Hi Hans! Thanks for taking some time to talk a little about your time during and after JET. Could you tell me a little about why you decided to go on the JET program?

I was a Japanese major in college and always wanted to go live there. I considered living in Japan to be a really important part of learning the language, and JET seemed like a great opportunity with a lot of support.

Where was your placement?

I was based in Tottori City in Tottori Prefecture.

Very cool! What was your favorite part about where you were?

At first I wasn’t very excited to go to a relatively small, rural, and unknown prefecture but in retrospect I had a very immersive experience and got to use a lot of Japanese language skills. I think I also was able to connect with people there because I could communicate with them and there weren’t nearly as many people from other countries in that part of Japan as in the big cities like Tokyo or Osaka. I didn’t appreciate it as much at the time, but there is a lot of natural beauty in Tottori, especially along the coastline.

What was your transition like coming back from Japan?

It was tough in a lot of ways. I didn’t really know how to get into a career path or even to do simple things like buying a car because I spent some of those formative years in a totally different environment. I eventually figured it out but there was a fair amount of unease with being 24 years old, suddenly unemployed, and back in my home country in a totally different context than when I left.

How do you feel that your time on JET helped you in your career?

It definitely helped my Japanese language abilities a lot, and learning to convey information in a simple, clear manner helps in many different career fields. More so than concrete skills acquired, my time there gave me a look at different working styles and career paths, and made it easier to know what kind of working life I wanted for myself in the future.

What is your favorite JETAARM event? 

I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t been very involved with JETAARM over the last few years, between having a career, raising kids, etc. But I met some lifelong friends after JET through JETAARM events and it really helped to ease the transition back to “civilian” life. Some events that stand out were playing pool at a bar up in Boulder for a Happy Hour many years ago and a sushi-rolling event we used to do back in the day, but as I said I have been fairly inactive in recent years.

It sounds like you have been busy! It's great that you have been able to make friends through our community, though. Anything else you want to tell our alumni community?

For the recent returnees, I would just say “don’t give up”. Moving back to your home country can seem daunting or even overwhelming after spending so much time and energy learning how to get by in a society that is pretty different from ours. But like many things, it just takes time to adjust and adapt to new circumstances and I wouldn’t trade my time on JET for anything.

Do you know a standout alumni in our community who deserves recognition? Let us know! We would like to celebrate the successes of our community with a shout out every month! Send nominations to: editor@jetaarockymountain.org
Current JET Spotlight: Olivia Novotny

New JET Olivia Novotny writes from Asahi-machi in Yamagata-ken:
 

2 Months In Asahi Machi

This week will mark the two month anniversary of my arrival to the sleepy, little mountain town of Asahi machi in Yamagata Prefecture. The population is rumored to be a couple thousand people...but most days it feels like only my schools keep our town’s population above zero. 

On the day of my arrival to Asahi machi, I was asked what was most surprising so far. My answer then, and my answer now is: the NATURE! I came to my inaka town that rests comfortably in a basin surrounded by lush, tree covered mountains, from an already very mountainous area; Colorado, where hiking trails and great views are never far away. Here, however, the nature is somehow different; it feels raw and untamed. Picture Jurassic Park or the island from LOST and you will know exactly what I am talking about. 

Even though I am isolated by language barriers and too far from other ALTs to meet up during the week or or even weekend evenings, I am not lonely. I am not lacking in companionship because, as crazy as this sounds, I am comforted by the trees reaching out to brush my shoulder on a walk home, by the clouds drifting in to sit on my veranda with me and by the scent of the many, many rice fields to welcome me home. 

I am sure many of you remember your “two months in” marker and I hope you look back at those memories with the same warm fondness I have for them now. 

Have Something to Share?
Feel free to reach out to us by email or on Facebook! This space is open to all - if you have an idea, an essay, a review, an amazing photo, or anything else you want to put out there send it on to editor@jetaarockymountain.org!
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JETAA Rocky Mountain · 1550 Larimer St. Box # 464 · Denver, Co 80239 · USA

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