Category Archives: The Mikan

Backtrack #7: Earnestness, a bit of Naiveté, and a Sincere Interest in Japan (Nicole Uehara, Saijo ALT 1999-2002)

JET class

How did you find out about JET, and what led you to apply?

I heard about the JET Program during a college internship from a few employees who participated in the early years of the JET Program. As an international business major studying German and Japanese, I was interested in living overseas and a chance to hopefully improve my Japanese language skills. My Japanese ability was not the best (unsurprising since the foundation was built on freshman year intensive classes that started at 8:30 am). I thought that the best way I could improve my language skills would be by living and breathing Japanese every day. Having grown up as one of a handful of Asians in a rural town in upstate New York, I also wondered what it would feel like to live in a place where I would not be the face that stood out. After graduation I was wondering what to do next when I learned that the JET application window opened in the fall. I filled out the paper application I received from the Embassy of Japan on a typewriter and bought my first professional business suit the day before the interview. Back in 1999 there wasn’t a Reddit forum or YouTube videos to explain in detail how to ace the JET interview, so all I had was earnestness, a bit of naiveté, and a sincere interest in Japan.

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The Sea, The Iwa & The Classroom

By Patrick Peh


Not long after my arrival in Baishinji, I decided that it would be a tremendous waste not to write something about it. This place is not only rich in heritage, but also representative of a coastal suburban area close to the city. The reason it took so long for me to produce this piece of writing is because I wanted to do the Nakajima article first (Into the Seto Naikai). It was also because I was spending a lot of time refining lesson ideas (maybe I’ll do an article on the way I refine my lesson ideas as well), and editing previous drafts of this post.

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Backtrack #6: The Language of the Colonizers (David Titterington, Niihama ALT 2005-2010)

Screen Shot 2021-05-09 at 7.41.25 AM
Taken 2008 or 2009 (I’m on the right)

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

Pandemic greetings! I’m David Titterington from the USA, specifically from land stolen from the Pawnee and Kickapoo Nations – what we now call Kansas City. I lived in Niihama, Ehime, Shikoku (or New Port, Love Princess, Four Lands) from 2005 to 2010.

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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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