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JETAARM Board Openings

We're looking for a few talented and conscientious volunteer board members to lead and strengthen our US-Japan relationship through social, professional, and cultural activities in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. If you can contribute your time, thoughtfulness, and leadership one evening a month, and are interested in exploring this opportunity, email or come to our upcoming informational session in March (final date TBA) to find out whether this volunteer opportunity is right for you. We're especially looking for folks for: 

Vice President
  • Helps with meeting agendas & leading members and events
  • Contact between CLAIR, the Local Japan Government Center (JLGC), JETAA International, JETAAUSA, and the Denver Consulate of Japan
  • Network with and build relationships with other Japan affiliated organizations
  • Review financial procedures and financial reporting systems
  • Keep accounting statements, audit reports, technical details for the Board
  • Reimburse Board members as needed
Newsletter Editor
  • Collect, write, and edit articles, photos, and stories used for the chapter newsletter

Upcoming JETAARM Events


Do you have mad curry cooking skills? Or just mad eating skills? Join the Japan Exchange & Teaching Alumni Association, Rocky Mountain Chapter, for our annual Shinnenkai: Curry Cook-Off Edition on February 8!

We we're featuring a curry cook-off this year - but don't worry, you don't have to cook a curry to attend - we need judges, too!

In addition to the curry, we'll provide sushi, salad, and drinks - including some delicious sips from Colorado Sake Company - and have some fun entertainment planned, like tea ceremony, karaoke, kakizome, prizes for best curries, and there's event a pool table. So RSVP today ($20/person) and bring your appetites! **we'll guarantee vegetarian and gluten-free options**

If you would like to enter a curry and receive a hefty discount on your ticket, please contact Cassie at for more details!

An RSVP is required. This event is $20 per person that covers attendance, drinks, and entertainment at the Camden Lincoln Station apartment complex, located at 10177 Station Way, Lone Tree, CO.

The link to purchase your ticket is below:

Please direct any additional questions to the JETAARM VP, Cassie Vander Meer (
JLPT Study Group
The first JLPT study groups of 2020 will be on February 8th, and 22nd at
Stella's Coffee in Denver.
Bring your books, flashcards, and kanji knowledge! 

FoCo Happy Hour

Get together for our Northern Colorado JET Alumni!
If you haven't been to Social before, be prepared for some crafty cocktails and artisan boards. They also have amazing soft pretzels on the happy hour menu plus more and yummy mocktails!

When: Tuesday, Feb. 25th from 6-8:00
Where: Social in Old Town, Fort Collins

Please RSVP to the Facebook event so that we have an accurate headcount
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.

We have one bed remaining!
Purchase your spot ASAP so you don't miss out on this epic vacation!

Upcoming Community Events
JASC Kaiwa Club

The Japan America Society of Colorado hosts a bi-weekly gathering for native and non-native Japanese speakers to use their language skills in a relaxed space. If you want to brush up on your Japanese, or just chat with people who love the language as much as you this is the place for you!

Kaiwa club meets from 9:30am to 10:30am at
Broadway Market in Denver. They will be meeting in February on the 8th and the 22nd. Keep up-to-date with information on the Kaiwa Club Meetup group:

Celebrate the beginning of spring in Japan with the Takayama Committee!

The Denver-Takayama Sister City Committee invites you to a
Celebration of Setsubun 2020!

Setsubun is the day preceding risshun, the first day of spring, according to the old Japanese calendar, also known as the lunar calendar. On the day of Setsubun, there is the custom of throwing roasted soybeans while chanting “In with Fortune! Out with Evil!” in order to prevent evil ogres from entering one’s house. It is believed that the ogres are warded off by throwing beans, and that good fortune will then come to one’s home. On this day, events with entertainers and athletes are held at shrines all over the country. According to Japanese tradition, if you eat the same number of beans as your age, you will enjoy a year of good health.

Enjoy a delicious, traditional Japanese set dinner menu; fun, frivolity; and, of course, the bean throwing ritual

Adult (20 and older) – $37 for members of DSCI, $42 for non-members
Teen  (13-19) – $27 for members, $32 for non-members
Child (4-12) – $15 for members, $18 for non-members
Toddler / infant (0-3) – free


Shoka (or Seika, depending on each Ikebana school) is today's name for the original "Ikebana" style which started in Japan in the early 17th century. Shoka expresses the life and the beauty of plants in nature.

Instructor: Kazuko Kozai is a Senior Professor of Ikenobo Ikebana School, which is the largest Ikebana school begun in Japan in 1462. She has studied Ikebana for more than 40 years and teaches enthusiastically in the Denver and Boulder area.

Special Instructions: Students are encouraged to bring their own Ikebana container (vase) and a large Kenzan (Pin-frog, 3.5" diameter or larger) as well as garden clippers (or Ikebana scissors) so that they can take home their finished arrangement. The Kenzan and Ikebana vase can be reused for future arrangements again and again for years. Container, Kenzan, and scissors will be lent during the class for those who don't bring their own.

Price: $44, $39 members


Join the Mile High Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League for the 2020 Day of Remembrance. Day of Remembrance is free to the public, although museum admission is required to view additional exhibit galleries. 

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which allowed the US military to designate “exclusion zones” to ban anyone of Japanese ancestry. These exclusion zones were along the West Coast, and reflected the fear that anyone who was even part-Japanese -- including children who were born in the US and therefore American citizens – could be spies or saboteurs. As a result of EO 9066, 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II in 10 concentration camps hastily built inland, from remote parts of California to the swamps of Arkansas. One concentration camp, Amache, was built in southeast Colorado and housed almost 10,000 people during the war.

Keynote speaker Mitch Maki, CEO of the Go For Broke National Education Center in Los Angeles, will pay tribute to the heroes of the Military Intelligence Service, or MIS. These Nisei soldiers were not famous like the “Go For Broke” 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe, but they were instrumental in the allied victory in the Pacific, and in the U.S. Occupation postwar Japan. For details, click here


The Colorado Dragon Film Festival starts on February 20. Koshien: Japan's Field of Dreams will be playing on February 22nd at 7PM. 


Baseball is life for the die-hard competitors in Koshien, Japan’s national high school baseball championship, whose alumni include US baseball stars Shohei Ohtani and former Yankee Hideki Matsui. As popular as America’s World Series, the stakes are beyond high in this single-elimination tournament. For Coach Mizutani, cleaning the grounds and greeting guests are equally important as honing baseball skills, however, demonstrating discipline, sacrifice and unwavering dedication. Director Ema Ryan Yamazaki follows Mizutani and his team on their quest to win the 100th annual Koshien, and, in the process, goes beyond baseball to reveal the heart of the Japanese national character.


We were thrilled to have a short visit from CLAIR representative, Shoji.

JETAARM enjoyed showing you a little of what Downtown Denver has to offer. We were grateful for the good conversation over Mexican tacos, burritos, green chile and spice. Hope to see you in the Rocky Mountain Region again soon!
Alumni Spotlight: Adam Lisbon
(Above: Adam, Second from the left, showing CU students a 300+ year old book of a Dutch expedition to Japan)

Hi Adam! 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?

Well, 17 years ago when I applied for the JET program, I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Japanese studies. I was pretty single-mindedly focused on doing JET at the time. I still think how fortunate I was to be accepted and it’s hard to imagine my life without doing JET.

Where was your placement?

I live in Kobe-shi from 2004-2007. I was a rare urban JET.

That is pretty rare! What was your favorite part about Kobe and being in a big city?

To me, Kobe is atypical of a lot of cities in Japan. It’s quite famous for its food and restaurant scene. The city is very cosmopolitan, and given how limited my international experience was, it was novel for me to meet people from around the world. In a country often described as homogeneous, Kobe seemed to buck that trend. 

I admit I didn’t realize how international Kobe was; I tend to just think "beef" when I hear Kobe. But, what a cool experience! What was your transition like coming back from Japan?

I think I had one of the more difficult transitions back to life in the U.S. I lived very “in the moment” on JET and hadn’t considered what my next steps would be after it ended. I took an office job right away with a Japanese company, but it was such a bad fit that I quit after two weeks from the stress and anxiety. I spent six months floating between staying with friends and family until I decided to leave my safety net in New York and moved to San Francisco to get out of my rut. Luckily there are JETAA chapters in both cities and it was easy to make friends thanks to the alumni. That much transition wasn’t without stress, but I’m really glad I opted to move across the U.S.

Oh, wow, that is quite the move -all the way from New York to California. Even though you were living mostly in-the-moment, do you feel like your time on JET influenced your career?

It took some time to sort out my goals, but I got certified to teach ESL through CELTA, and got a job right away in San Francisco. It was far more intense than JET, but was also really rewarding. While I was teaching English I thought long and hard about what kind of career I wanted. I actually volunteered as a librarian for Hyogo AJET (this was before eReaders and all that, so mailing books was quite common) and remembered how much I enjoyed doing all that. So I went for my Master’s in Library and Information Science. Amazingly, I was able to fold Japan into that experience and after earning my Master’s I was hired by the University of Colorado-Boulder where I am a professor and the Japanese/Korean Studies Librarian.

I remember someone mentioning that you have been working on a project at the university library. Can you tell me a little more about that?

I’ve lived in Colorado for 7 years now, and I slowly became friends with a lot of the Japanese American (JA) community in the Denver metro area. I started to learn about the history of incarceration during World War II and Colorado’s own unique Japanese and JA history. It turns out CU Boulder actually played a large role with the community. We have an archival collection of that time about some of the JAs on campus, but there really wasn’t an active effort to track everything that was happening. So the head of Archives and I planned and launched the “CU Boulder Japanese and Japanese American Community History Project” to tell CU’s 100+ year history of Japanese and JA’s at CU. We have a great video on it here:

That is so cool. Thank you for sharing that! Is there anything else you want to tell our alumni community?

I think it’s really great to be involved. JET is the gift that keeps on giving. I have so many friends who are alumni. Every time I would move the JETAA Chapters would be there for me, so making friends in a new city was so easy. You don’t necessarily have to serve on a JETAA board, but making the effort to show up to events and meetings, and even just offering simple stuff like planning a hike means a lot to the community. As a board member, I have loved meeting JETs all over the U.S. at the National Conferences and have gotten to take a lot of vacations to places I might have never gone if it weren’t for JET friends living in those places.

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:
Current JET Spotlight: Katie Ehrlich
"Mt. Fuji at sunset and street in Fujiyoshida in Yamanashi"

Katie, whose placement has her right in the heart of Tokyo in Shibuya, took this photo on a road trip with her boyfriend to his hometown in Fujiyoshida, at the base of Mt. Fuji. They arrived just in time for sunset, and Mt. Fuji had beautiful dual tone colors because of the setting sun.

To see more of Katie's beautiful photography check out her website: 
You can also follow her adventures on Instagram @ktehrlich
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JETAA Rocky Mountain · 1550 Larimer St. Box # 464 · Denver, Co 80239 · USA

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