Meet Nanyo A and Toyo A’s Newest A-team

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We got some A-listers glamming up our princess prefecture (seriously, the kanji in Ehime 愛媛 are ‘love’ and ‘princess’). Let’s welcome our new JETs in the Nanyo and Toyo A regions!

These grade A folks come from the prefecture’s most southern region – Nanyo A – and the northernmost point, closest to the main island of Honshu (いいな) – Toyo A. They bring their A-game wherever they go. They put the ‘A’ in ALT (actually not sure if that one’s a compliment…^^* but anyhow). But even still, coming on JET may not have been their plan A (OK, I’m done with the puns now).

Without further ado, let’s get to know who’s new this year in Nanyo A and Toyo A!

Ashlee Griffith

(she/her)
Toyo A

 

I applied to JET through the Barbados embassy in 2019 and was placed as an alternate. After that I decided to get experience in China before I reapplied. Covid was a big surprise so I returned to the US. I tried to get back into China for the next 2 years and after a lot of life changes (both negative and positive), I decided to reapply to JET. It’s funny how the times when you’re not confident are the times you succeed.

I want to do all the arts and crafts I can try, karate/martial arts or maybe Jazzercise, Shokoku 88, and just exploring and eating all the food!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: I’m doing The Thing!

Peter Beer

(he/him) 
Toyo A

 

My fascination with Japan is almost as old as I am, with the music, art and food being a constant source of happiness in my life. The wildlife and nature then quickly captivated me and when I met the people I realised I had to be a part of it. Initially I planned to teach woodwork in Japan as I had done in England, but frankly there’s nothing I could teach here and everything I could learn! So I turned to my fascination with languages and linguistics and got my Ma TESOL with Japanese shortly before discovering the JET programme. Ultimately all the pieces just fit together quite conveniently and I landed myself exactly where I wanted to be doing something I love with one of the most rewarding schemes available.

My favourite hobby is taiko so I’m greatly looking forward to getting to do it in Japan and hopefully play in some festivals. Living between the small islands has also made me thirst for more maritime adventures so I’ll have to get myself a boat too

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: 行きましょう!

Kirsty Jenkins

(she/her)
Nanyo A

 

I was working in English health care system (NHS) before coming to japan. After a couple of stressful years with health care, lockdowns and covid. I decided I needed to explore the world more. I’ve always enjoyed Japanese culture and wanted to learn more and live in japan, if the opportunity appeared. JET was the solution to my answers. So far I’m enjoying every minute of experiencing Japanese culture first hand and teaching children English.

I like Archery and crochet and I’m looking forward to exploring what japan has to offer.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: OMG YOU’RE IN JAPAN, EEHHHHHH

Xavier Antonio Strong

(he/him)
Toyo A

 

Aloha! I’m Xavier and I’m just happy to be here! The path I took to get here was a long and roundabout one. I’m a big reader and in highschool I began to explore literature written in other languages. I decided I wanted to read certain texts in their native language and started learning Japanese. The rest is history. My interest in the culture and language grew and in 2020 I submitted my first application to JET. For better or for worse, I was sadly not accepted.  Shortly afterwards Covid- 19 left me without a plan B to get to Japan. So I got a desk job to save up money. Moved from my home state of Florida to Los Angeles, California and used it as an excuse to road trip across the United States. Having never given up on living in Japan,  when I saw that travel restrictions were leveling out I tried my hand at a second application and was ecstatic when I got accepted! So three years after my first application to JET I’m really excited to see what my first year has in store for me!

I discovered a couple years ago that I really like hiking and Japan seems to be the place to do it! I also would like to get into an art form of some sort while I’m here, like calligraphy or pottery.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Rivers of Nihon

Anne Weston

(she/her)
Nanyo A

 

Hello, I’m Anne! I was born in Texas, but grew up in California. I’ve also lived in England and New York. I applied to the JET Program because I wanted to study abroad during university, but was unable to do so because of Covid. Participating in the JET Program sounded like a great opportunity to live and work abroad, so I applied. I graduated from Fordham University in May 2023 and am currently procrastinating on taking the LSAT and applying to law school. After JET, I plan on going to law school and practicing law internationally in some capacity.

In terms of hobbies, I like dancing and playing video games. I also enjoy barbecuing and cooking. My goals for this year are to learn more Japanese and try as many local sakes as I can get my hands on. I also want to teach the kids at my schools where California is, as well as how to throw an American football.    

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Let’s Japan Together – featuring Kihoku’s 12 PM loudspeaker announcement trap remix and the FUJI theme song

Chloe Spearing

(she/her)
Toyo A

 

I came here straight from university – I graduated in May and arrived in August. (Though my graduation ceremony was this summer and I’ve had to miss it which sucks) I always wanted to teach and travel but travelling is expensive and I wanted to get started teaching. My lecturer for Japanese history used to be involved in JET and told us about it so 3 of us from my uni started JET this year. 

I enjoy a lot of inside hobbies which is nice being that I’m more out of the way. I enjoy crochet and knitting, gaming and anime. I really want to do the 88 temples but that’ll be slow progress I think (I haven’t yet started).   Ahhh this is real!

Steph

(she/her)
Toyo A

 

Before JET, I was an Associate Professor at at U.K. University. From the outisde, it looked like I had it all: a beautiful house, a nice car, designer handbags/clothing, a successful international research career and numerous teaching awards under my belt. I was well on my way to becoming a full Professor, but after 15 years, and especially after the pandemic, I was burnt out and questioning life.

Surely there had to be a more sustainable, healthy and fullfilling life rather than a 60-hour working week? Top tip: nice cars and handbags don’t fill the void. Also, you can exercise and eat well all you want, but eventually the working hours catch up with your mental, emotional and physical health: you simply cannot meditate yourself out of an excessive workload.

It got me thinking about when I was last truly happy; when I last ‘lived’ my life. The answer? Ten years ago when I was living in Kobe for my first post-doc position. So I decided to quit academia and find a way back to Japan. This is how I became a JET.

While, here I’d like to explore by hiking, visiting temples, learning Japanese, finding new coffee shops, and such.

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: Take me home

Rosvir Kate Flores

(she/her)
Nanyo A

 

Mabuhay! I’m Kate, 24, from the Philippines. I have always been passionate about teaching. I love being students of all ages, especially kids. Back in the Philippines, I was part of a non-government organization working for and with children. Before that, I taught English and Math in a public junior high school. To be back in Japan has always been a dream ever since. Back in 2015, I was part of the Japan Exchange for Students and Youths. I spent almost two weeks in Tokyo and Hokkaido as an exchange student. It was my first time going abroad and Japan did not disappoint. Since then, I promised myself that I will be back in this beautiful country and here I am! 

I love exploring new places, whether it’s in the city, beaches or the mountains. I’m up for an adventure! I would also like to visit museums and castles in different areas. Anything that would let me experience Japanese culture is a YES for me. Being assigned in a true inaka, I look forward to seeing wonders of nature. Matsuno may be a very small town but it gives me a sense of comfort. It still feels like home in one way or another. I’m just excited for what’s yet to come!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: KKK*- Kireii Kawaii Kate

(*Note: In the Philippines, KKK refers to the Katipunan, a Philippine revolutionary society against Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. The society was formed in 1892 in order to gain independence from Spanish colonialism. No relation to the other one!)

Finn Lankester

(he/him)
Nanyo A

 

Having just graduated university studying computer science, the idea of doing JET was both absolutely terrifying and incredibly exciting. Moving halfway across the world to a country where I hardly speak the language, and for a job that I’ve never really done before has proved challenging, but the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made since coming here have been genuinely amazing. I really do feel like I’ve fallen into a home away from home already!

I was initially inspired by one of my teachers in high school who worked for JET as an ALT for 3 years, and decided to apply after a rather boring covid-filled university experience. I used to help teach watersports to kids, and I’ve done a lot of local volunteering work back at home, so I figured “why not give JET a try!” I love to cook, bake, and go bouldering, and I really want to explore more of the countryside around me in Kihoku. I’m also hoping to walk the henro pilgrimage at some point next year, so any lodgings would be much appreciated! 😋

Nikki McGlosson

(she/they)
Nanyo A

Before I became a JET, I was heavily involved in multiple performing arts jobs! I was a practiced circus aerial performer (among other cricus mediums) for 6 years, and I had my foot in the door with Broadway in Cincinnati Ohio for a year before deciding to apply for a teaching position in Japan.

I had graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine art (focused in print making) from Miami University in December of 2019. My minor was Japanese language and culture. I have a deep appreciation for woodblock printing, and have long had a fascination with Ukiyo-e and Japanese textile fabric making.

I’m an avid cinephile! I love movies and TV shows from all time periods and places. I’m always down for a movie night, and if you’re looking for recommendations shoot me an email! Same for music as well! I really do listen to a bit of everything.

I love physical activity, and exercise! I’ve taken up taiko with a local group, and I’ve already done a bit of hiking around Matsuno. I would love to see more nature around Japan! I love seeing all the different kinds of fauna and flora. Especially bugs!

I’ve been consuming anime, manga, and video games since I was a kid, and it absolutely sparked my interest in Japan around the mid to late 90’s. In all honesty, it’s a dream of mine to become a mangaka. Although it’s no longer impossible to be one outside of Japan, I’ve had my mind set on attempting it here at some point in the future. Fingers crossed!

Moving-to-Japan Mood Playlist: 90’s long skirt delinquent (but actually nice)

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