By Christian Jalim
Salutations you amazing mikans! T’is I, your gracious AJET President taking his final bow as he steps down. We are in our second year of the pandemic, and it has just been a constant roller-coaster for everyone, but we have all endured, adapted and survived.
Admittedly, I do feel that I haven’t done enough to make my presence known to the community and my deepest apologies for that. Nevertheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my amazing team that have been the proverbial glue holding the AJET council together and working hard to keep the community involved and prevailing in defiance of the looming presence of the COVID-19. I’m so extremely proud of everyone on the council with me this year and I’m glee-ridden to have shared connections with them in this capacity for the last year.
Our committed Event-Coordinators, Ada Smith and Sage Burch, have worked so hard to navigate the pandemic for a full year and still keep the community active with a few events. They skillfully utilized our newly implemented Ehime Discord to host a fun Photo Scavenger hunt while ensuring that participants observed safety guidelines to avoid contracting COVID-19. The SDC enkai was a much needed social mixer for many of us throughout the prefecture that haven’t delighted in a social setting with fellow JETs in Ehime and it was a great event to help new JETs meet and greet fellow mikans and new mikans for the first time. I will also like to commend them on adeptly changing the parameters to still host a TTRPG event despite the rise of COVID numbers in Ehime in January. I’m extremely appreciative and proud of you both and of your resilience and adaptability to ensure that AJET had events for the community.
The Mikan Blog overseen by Jordan Rocke has been thriving over the last year thanks to his hard work and dedication to seek out content to ensure that our blog is consistently updated with insightful and sometimes entertaining writing. I will also like to commend his acumens to, amidst the chaos of the pandemic, adeptly acclimatise the contents of the blog to the current state of affairs . Being that many folks cannot embark on experiences and write about them, introducing the “Unbeaten Paths” series has been a great welcome to blog and offers a great account from our senpais who have graduated the JET experience way ahead of many of us. Through this smart move, our Blog has never been lacking content.
2021-2022 marked our first foray into implementing Discord as another way of making our community feel closer together across Ehime. Of course this would not have been possible without Matthew Keithley manning the social media arm of the Ehime AJET. Thanks to his reliability, we were able to ensure safe virtual spaces. He has also been extremely dependable for facilitating our Discord to be used easily with virtual events if needed.
Before I conclude, I will like to remind my successor that one of the pillars of the AJET is our scholarship fund, which is something that my predecessors have poured so much love and care into implementing, so that students from Ehime can benefit from a study-abroad experience as many of us may have had the benefit of also experiencing. While we could not do anything with that section of the Council, I do wish to remind the community of the importance of this facet of our council because I know that one day we will eventually go back to a state of normalcy where we can help fulfil the dreams of a student through a study-abroad and cultural exchange enterprise.
In closing, I will like to welcome all of our new mikans. It is really great to see new faces enter Ehime and to the new folks, I hope that Ehime has been very welcoming to you all. Ehime and, by extension, Shikoku is an amazing place that is sure to offer great memories and adventures to everyone, so be sure to savour every moment of it! And to the entire Ehime JET community, I hope you all continue to stay safe and sound. It was an absolute pleasure being your AJET President for this year and from now I gracefully bow out as we move into another year with new discoveries and adventures waiting to be experienced.
Christian Jalim is currently a third year JET living in Matsuyama. Being from a very rural area in Trinidad, he has a great appreciation for teaching at his schools in the mountains where he is surrounded by nature. He completed his Master’s degree in Global Studies and has an interest in learning foreign languages and Linguistics.