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Upcoming JETAARM Events

Japanese New Year/Nengajo Workshop

This collaborative event will take place on December 7th from 12pm -3pm at 6th Garden Center, Broomfield and will include a presentation on traditional Japanese New Year traditions, storytelling using the traditional kamishibai performance, and a workshop where you can create your own New Years card or nengajo!

$8/Adult
$5/Child or Student
$13/Family of 3 or more
$5 JASC/JETAARM Member *reach out to your organization for discount code!

We are also looking for volunteers to help us out with this event. If you would like to volunteer, please contact Kim McMillen at treasurer@jetaarockymountain.org
All-Chapter Breckenridge Trip 2020

Join JETAARM the weekend of April 3rd, 2020 for an all-chapter winter weekend getaway in historic Breckenridge! We'll have some fun in the snow while building stronger JET alumni connections. We've booked a private mountain house, with easy access to both the historic mountain town and the ski resort. Join us on the slopes, or enjoy a plethora of other mountain activities like tubing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. In the evenings we'll explore the quaint town of Breckenridge and it's various restaurants, breweries, and shops! And it wouldn't be a JETAA event without some Japanese flavor, so we'll also have nabe and curry dinners provided by JETAARM.

Over half of our beds have already been booked!
Purchase your spot ASAP so you don't miss out on this epic vacation!

>>TICKETS<<
JLPT Study Group

The last JLPT study groups of the year will be on November 9th and November 23rd at Stella's Coffee .
Bring your books, flashcards, and kanji knowledge! 

>>RSVP HERE<<
Upcoming Community Events
33rd Speech Contest

The 33rd Japanese Speech Contest for the Colorado-Wyoming region will take place on Saturday, November 9th beginning at 9:30am and ending at 3pm at the First Baptist Church of Denver. Stop by to support contestants from elementary school to university!
Fall 2019 Japanese Ensemble

CU Boulder's Japanese Ensemble, dedicated to hands-on learning of Japanese music and dance, studies several traditional Japanese instruments and Japanese poetry and performs a wide variety music and dance from many regions of Japan. This is a free concert, so please come enjoy!

>>
REGISTER<< 

Studio Ghibli Fest: Princess Mononoke

Join JASC members in this subtitled viewing of Princess Mononoke
at
Harkins Theatres Arvada 14

Synopsis: From the legendary Studio Ghibli, creators of Spirited Away, and Academy Award®-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, comes an epic masterpiece that has dazzled audiences worldwide with its breathtaking imagination, exhilarating battles, and deep humanity.

Inflicted with a deadly curse, the young warrior Ashitaka heads west in search of a cure. There, he stumbles into a bitter conflict between Lady Eboshi, the proud people of Iron Town, and the enigmatic Princess Mononoke, a young girl raised by wolves, who will stop at nothing to prevent the humans from destroying her home and the forest spirits and animal gods who live there.

Recap: JETAARM Sports Day!
We had a great time with everyone who came out to our first Sports Day! We started the day off with rajio taiso and a delicious sushi banquet from Misaki before getting to the main events. It was a fierce competition between Team Red and Team Blue as they battled it out in three-legged races, pictionary, and balloon battles. In the end, Team Red was victorious and walked away with JETAARM swag and bragging rights. Well done, everyone!
Alumni Spotlight: Evan Milton

 

Hi Evan! 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?

EM: Nice to talk with you again! It hasn’t been that long but I miss hanging out with all you JETAARM folks. I first visited Japan on a school trip at age 16 and immediately knew I wanted to get back for a longer experience at some point. It was my Japanese professor in college who first told me about the JET program and recommended it as a good way to see Japan. But it wasn’t until after I graduated and had been working for a while that I met a JET returnee who really inspired me to apply.

That is so cool! Where did you end up being placed?

I was originally in the small town of Tsuyama in northern Okayama Prefecture. After 3 years there, the Board of Education let me move to Okayama City, where I did another 2 years.

What was your favorite part about where you were?

Actually, it was my least favorite thing when I arrived - living in a small town in what felt like the middle of nowhere. I grew up and had spent my whole life in large cities, never experienced anywhere that small and inaka before, so I felt cut off and under a microscope. But I soon realized how beautiful the surrounding area was, and started getting out more. After a while, I also made many good friends there. Those friendships have remained over the years and I really credit that placement with changing my perspective for the better.

I've definitely heard that from other JET alumni - sometimes it takes a little time to appreciate where you are! What was your transition like coming back from Japan?

To be honest, pretty rough. I had shelved plans to pursue a career in science when I went to Japan, and then ended up staying the full 5 years. Perhaps naively, I thought an opportunity would be available when I looked seriously, and that I could come back and pick up where I had left off. But the competition and job scene in America were unsympathetic, and I floundered, ended up barely getting by with several part-time jobs. Then, what started out as an almost perpendicular move to working at a travel company turned out to be a big career fork that got me to where I am now.

That is quite a change of plans, but it seems to have worked out for you! How do you feel that your time on JET helped you in your career?

Very directly. There were almost no other JETs close to my town, so I quickly got involved with AJET, mostly to set up events so I’d have opportunities to hang out with people. My personal baby was a yearly charity cycling event. I also travelled around the country to other prefectures’ AJET events - bike rides, hiking, camping, skiing, etc. Those experiences helped me land a job with InsideJapan Tours in Boulder - which hires a lot of JET alumi - when a friend working there suggested that I should apply. After 3 years of designing trips and sending people to Japan from our US office, I really wanted to get out of an office environment and do something more active. It was a long shot, but I interviewed for a different job within the company and was accepted. 

And now you’re back in Japan! What is it like being back after all this time? What are you doing now?

Yeah! As of January, I am back in Japan working as a tour leader, taking people cycling, hiking, and sightseeing on tours and single days of guiding - which is a blast! In time, I’m hoping to develop more cycling and outdoor options for our customers, and hopefully do some specialty garden day tours, which would utilize a bit of my background in Botany.

Moving back to Japan was much easier than the first time, probably because I had a good idea of what to expect and some set up time before starting. During JET I had often visited Kyoto on short trips, but it has been amazing walking outside and getting to explore the city every day. There is such incredible beauty here. At first, my language skills were really rusty, and the reality is that most of my friends live a bit too far away to get together often. But the language is coming back, hopefully improving, and I’m making new friends. The job is great, I love the work and the chance to meet so many cool people while travelling together.

Anything else you want to tell our alumni community?

JETAA connected me to a lot of good people after returning, when I was struggling most. Now I get to do something that I enjoy every day, and it’s tempting to connect the dots in a success story narrative retrospectively. But I don’t want to gloss over the reality, it wasn’t a smooth progression, or one I saw coming. I know a lot of other returners also struggle with coming home, finding a good job, a sense of community, place to live, etc. For me, a lot of good friends and good people helped me get through that. And I think when you find yourself in a good position, you turn around and help the next ones who need it.

I’d like to stay connected with JETAARM and everyone back home, make the bridge between the Rocky Mountain Region and Japan a little stronger. Please give me a shout if you’re over here!

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: Sam Churches

New JET Sam Churches writes from Rausu in Hokkaido:

After the jet lag finally wore off and I was finally in my new home; after a busy few days of training and travel; I noticed several things about Japan. The first was that they take the saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” to a whole new level. From fax machines to paper money, it seems like the country takes its time adapting the newest technologies. It made me wonder about my own culture and how companies and people alike feel out-of-date if they don’t have the newest iPhone. Why does this matter so much in my culture? Here it seems that they don’t out-date anything but instead just integrate the new with the old. 

It struck me that this has been going on in Japan for many generations. They have constantly been only adapting parts of other cultures that they deem useful. This has both kept the original fascinating culture of Japan intact, while keeping it relevant in the now globally connected world. 

The second thing I noticed is just how friendly everyone is. You have probably heard from many other people or experienced first-hand how friendly Japanese people are, as I did. But even though I had an idea of this before coming here I found I had underestimated the level of kindness displayed every day. A few examples include: coworkers bringing homemade baked goods copious amounts of snacks and drinks to the office as small gifts, people's eagerness to have conversations despite language barriers, everyone's willingness to help a lost foreigner, and invites to dinners, festivals, and other events. It inspires me to be a more generous and hospitable person to everyone in my life and, in my opinion, adds to the general feeling of positivity I’ve felt since coming here. 

Obviously, there are many other things I found out pretty quickly, like how much I overestimated my Japanese listening ability, that the stop signs are triangles, and how -compared to Colorado- the entire country is like a lush jungle. But even though some of these things take me off guard or surprise me I feel that at the core all human beings are connected. The empathy and connection I feel towards those around me, despite the cultural chasm is a testament to universality in the human experience. And even though it might be a strange sweet potato and red bean cake, snacks are always a good way to make friends. 

 

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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