Category Archives: The Mikan

Backtrack #4: Those Impressions Last for Generations (Abdulla Zokari, Imabari & Matsuyama 2011-2016)


What’s your name, when and where was your placement, and where are you from originally?

Abdulla Zokari. I was placed originally in Imabari in 2011, but I got married to a foreigner in Matsuyama and was able to transfer to that school to live with my wife 🙂   

Originally I’m from Yemen, but moved to Canada at 13 and learned English, then moved to Japan in 2010 at 23 years old to work for a private company (iTTTi PKC) in Ozu. That year I applied for the JET program, flew back for two weeks to take the interview, returned to Japan, then found out I was a successful candidate for 2011 JET programme. Not a typical JET story lol. 

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Mikan PhotoMaps #1: Matsuyama Castle with Sage

By Sage Burch

This is the first installment of our new series, Mikan PhotoMaps. If you are interested in submitting a location near you, please have a look at what we’re looking for in a submission here.


For our first installment of Mican PhotoMaps, there was no other place I wanted to introduce more than Matsuyama Castle. 

Take a look at the post below if you’re looking for a place to visit in Matsuyama City and want to know what to expect, and remember, for this series we need your photos and descriptions of your favorite places across Ehime. What place will you write about?

This is Matsuyama Castle.

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Introducing: Mikan PhotoMaps

The Mikan blog is proud to introduce a new project! In addition to our Unbeaten Paths articles talking to incoming or new JETs and our Backtrack articles from former JETs, we are proud to announce a new project: The MikanMap. Without further ado, here’s what Mikan PhotoMap is:

Ehime is a beautiful place full of delights. If there’s a place you want to share, whether it’s a grand view of the city or just a really good place to stop and eat a bento, you can now share the location here on The Mikan.

Pick three photos (or less) that show what the location has to offer, and then write a short description and drop a pin in google maps. Tell us what really stood out to you during your visit and why others might want to visit, too. Consider what people might want to know before they plan their trip, too. Is there a place to buy food, a clean restroom, or a long hike? 

Please note that while we eventually want to showcase your favorite local restaurants and entertainment venues, we are only publishing descriptions of public, outdoor areas for now. Think public parks, bike paths, and hiking trails. Please have a look at our first installment about Matsuyama Castle, here.

We have so many photographers, writers, and adventurous spirits here in Ehime and we can’t wait to see the places that you share with us! If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at, or contact us personally via social media.

Unbeaten Paths: Toyo 20202021

Edited by Jordan Rocke

Hey everyone! Welcome to our second annual consecutive Unbeaten Paths. Last time, we focused on a handful of incoming JETs from under-represented countries on the JET programme, talking about how they ended up coming here despite not having the same avenues to entry as British and American JETs. This year, I want to use Unbeaten Paths as a way for any incoming JET to introduce themselves to their community, considering how ridiculously long the delay has been.

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Backtrack #3: Goal Well Met (Terrence Gardiner, Yawatahama 1993-1995)


Flowers say thanks,
As do some sweets,
But a poem 
Does them better...

For the flowers will die,
And the sweets will be eaten,
But a poem is immortal,
To all forms of death,
And may only be consumed
By the heart...

So thus is my thanks,
Hereby written,
In hopes that your hearts,
May be filled
By my thanks.

What’s your name, when and where was your placement, and where are you from originally?

I’m Terrence Michael Gardiner. I was a JET in 1993 in Japan, Ehime prefecture, working in high schools, and I lived in Yawatahama city . I’m originally from Corcoran, Minnesota, USA.

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Backtrack #2: With New Eyes and Extra Colours (Sara Armstrong, Matsuyama 2005-08)

English Camp July 2006
A picture from a SHS school camp.

What’s your name, when and where was your placement, and where are you from originally?

My name is Sara Armstrong, I’m originally from West Virginia, USA. I was placed with the Matsuyama-shi BOE from 2005-2008 and worked at Asahi-chu my first year, Yushin and Nishi during my second, and I was in the BOE working only elementary schools for my third year.

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Backtrack #1: So Many Firsts (Annie Vuong, Matsuno 2009-12)

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first edition of Backtrack, a hopefully interesting project I’m pursuing as the newly re-elected Mikan editor! This year presents a few challenges to the blog. Firstly, we have a much smaller group of JETs to draw from than usual, even including the incoming JETs currently stuck in limbo. Secondly, these same JETs are restricted in what they have been doing in the last year or so. There haven’t been any festivals or large JET gatherings to write about. Although there are stories to be told about being a JET during covid, I think it’s fair to say that it will be a little easier to write those articles when we are completely out of the pandemic, and have some more perspective.

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