’23 New Arrivals – New Faces in Nanyo B!!


The weather is finally getting around to the chilly side of autumn. It’s just about time to bring out the good ole kotatsu and electric heaters and mountains of blankets. But along with the chilly weather comes the beautiful momiji viewings and nabe, so it’s not all bad :,)

Bracing for their first winter here are the new folks in Nanyo B. We have a lot of new faces this year in the region, so hope you enjoy getting to know them!

Jarron Andrews


Before Japan I was a teacher that held teaching near and dear to my heart. I came here to learn more about a different culture and style of education so I could be a better professional. I am excited for this change.

I’m excited about actually exploring all of Japan and playing sports with new people!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Nigga’s in Japan


I graduated from uni in 2021, and had planned to spend a year or so in China teaching English and then come to Japan, but COVID made that one of the worst timed plans in history. Fast-forward two years and after a last-minute JET application, here I am in sunny Ehime.

This is my second time in Japan – my first time was a three-week trip in 2018. While here, I’m hoping to get into hiking, taiko drumming and exploring Shikoku – especially the temples and shrines.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Return’

Sofia Lyon


I was supposed to study abroad while in university, but was unable to due to the pandemic. After graduating, I still felt the desire to live and work abroad. I knew about the JET program and thought it would be a great opportunity to experience a new culture and learn a new language. I became interested in Japan after visiting at age sixteen, and I wanted to return every since. I’m so glad to be here!

My hobbies include yoga, reading, and traveling. While in Japan, I want to take up an art form like ikebana, and of course travel as much as I can. I also want to study Japanese and familiarize myself with more Japanese others, both older and contemporary (though I’ll probably need to read them in English).

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: a cicada’s voice (Sofia’s actual playlist; from a Bashō line)

Andrew Schrank


I was born near Chicago but have lived in five US states, Trinidad & Tobago, and Germany. I had strong connections to Japan growing up, playing games like Final Fantasy and watching Gundam and Bleach with my brother. Before moving here with JET, I worked closely with the Japanese exchange students at my university’s ESL program. I TA’d, tutored, or subbed for them as the program needed it. Those experiences led me here!

For hobbies, I play tons of video games and TCGs, but I am down for anything from cooking to playing sports. I recently began building Gunpla models again and am also considering picking up an electronic drum kit.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Rivers of Nihon

Danny Ibarra

I worked in special education for Chicago public schools for 7 years. I was a full time employee and full time student through out my employment. Visiting Japan had always been the plan, but then 2020 ruined it for me. Things started to change drastically post pandemic at work and I decided to search for new opportunities. That’s when a good friend of mine reccomended the JET programme.

I’m an aspiring polyglot. I’m currently learning to play the Ukulele, love volleyball, foodie, and love anime and manga.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: The Great Perhaps

Katie Bonney


I just graduated in May with a degree in Anthropology and Art History. I knew I wanted to travel and explore the world more before I started graduate school, and my interest in the history and culture of Japan led me to apply to JET.

I love to learn, so you can often find me at a museum reading every display. When I’m not doing that, I like to play tennis, craft, read, or watch movies. I’m very interested in going to the many beautiful natural places Shikoku and Japan have to offer, as well as exploring the many historic sites here!

Patrick Brown


Before JET I worked in the natural resources field, most recently assisting the United States Forest Service in forest management efforts for dealing with fire, insect damage, and other forest disturbances. I was particularly drawn to Japan for its landscape; rolling mountains peppered with dramatic peaks, as well as the mixed hardwood and softwood forests that hang over a floor of sasa, all within a short distance to the sea.

I’m looking to explore hiking, camping, and winter sports in every region of Japan. I also want to get involved in the Japanese music scene, whether that be through live houses or impromptu jam sessions at local bars.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: ひこうき雲

Samuel Wink

I have just finished my masters in university. I was also a gymnastics coach before coming to Japan. Some hobbies I’m looking to explore while here are Astrophotography and Gymnastics.

Lidija Kostic

I grew up in Europe and moved to the U.S. after high school. I lived in the beautiful state of California, where I pursued higher education, including a master’s degree in TESOL. Before starting my adventure on the JET Program, I worked for the State of California and volunteered as an ESL teacher for local non-profit organizations. Coming to Japan was a great opportunity to combine my passions for teaching English and traveling. I love it so far!

I love hiking, traveling, and exploring new places. I am really looking forward to visiting and exploring as much of Japan as possible during my stay here. I am especially interested in the Japanese architecture, traditions, and all the beautiful nature that is abundant here in the Ehime prefecture.

Jason Man

(any/all pronouns)

Yooo!! I’m Jason Man, I’m a highschool JET currently situated in Ozu city. I am 24-years old from London, England. Super Bri’ish. As to why I chose JET, your guess is as good as mine. In clean and pure honesty, I just wanted to leave everything behind and disappear so what better choice is the land of the rising sun to start off with. I like Japanese culture but the most important part was the free flight. Even after JET, I’ve decided the next destination is Hong Kong because I want to get touch with my ancestral roots. The world is huge and I think it’s a waste to not explore it.

As for hobbies, I’m very much indoorsy (yes I’m well-aware I just said I wanted to travel the world) and sedentary. I like games, reading books, anime/manga, eating food (my whole personality) and most importantly, I enjoy meeting people and listening to the frustrations of their day to day battle with existence. Seriously. I love listening to people’s stories and venting. Spill the beans and tell me everything! Anyway, that’s it from me. Bye bye!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: The Path of Aloneness

Benn Rapson


I’m from Scotland. I found out about the JET Programme when I was very young and it’s always been a dream of mine to live and work in Japan. I moved out of my family home in the middle of the pandemic and worked full time for two years as a student representative at my university and during that crazy time decided that I would  take a chance and apply. I didn’t think I would get an interview, and after the interview I didn’t think I’d get a placement but I did! Ehime Prefecture was actually my first preference choice, so I was really surprised!

My hobbies are video games, Anime/Manga, politics, and travel. I also do voluntary work, I’m the Chairperson of a charity and a student union in the UK which I do via Microsoft Teams! (The time difference is killer!)

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Merry-Go-Round-of-Life by Joe Hisaishi (aka the Main Theme of Howl’s Moving Castle!)

Jackson Masson


In college, I majored in both Japanese and East Asian History.  Through the Japanese program at my school, I decided that I wanted to study abroad in Japan during my junior year.  Sadly, COVID canceled my program and I was unable to live in Japan.  Going into my senior year, my Japanese professor/advisor suggested that I apply for the JET Program.  She told me that it was another great opportunity to live and work in Japan.  The more I looked into the program, the more I fell in love with it.  Now that I’m officially here and living in Japan, I’m very excited to not only teach, but to improve my language skills and learn more about Japanese culture.

Some of my hobbies include swimming, skiing and playing video games.  I was on the swim team at my university and I hope to be able to continue swimming whenever I can while I’m here.  I also really want to travel all over Japan.  So far, I’ve been to a few of the prefectures in Shikoku, but I can’t wait to explore a lot more.  I also love American football lol (Go Falcons).

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Matsuyama Meltdown

Byron Dean Perez


I worked as a lab technician before I came to Japan. I originally majored in computer science, but decided to switch to English after I realized I didn’t enjoy the classes in my major. I found out about the JET program from my Japanese teacher while I was in university and I became instantly motivated to join the program after hearing my teacher’s stories from her time in JET. I worked really hard to study linguistics and Japanese in university so I could prepare myself for this job.

I love basketball, FPS games (Apex Legends), and studying Japanese!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: I want to eat at MOS Burger every day

Emma Toschlog


Before joining the JET Program, I served in the United States Air National Guard in order to cover my tuition costs. In the military, I worked as a weather forecaster, but in college I pursued my interest in learning Japanese. When I learned about the JET Program through my Japanese classes, I decided to make it my goal to become a JET!

I love nature and art, so I want to visit as many museums, natural areas and shrines as I can while I’m here!


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