New JET Program Participants Leave Seattle as New Friends of Japan
Article and picture from The North American Post
The 2011 Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program participants left for Japan on July 23. They were hosted a farewell reception by the Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle on July 22 at Consul General Kiyokazu Ota’s official residence. This year, Seattle had 46 members to depart for the cultural exchange program including 45 language instructors and one office staff person working for a local city government.
According to the consulate general, the program will have 4330 participants from 39 countries including 2322 from the United States. While 855 members are new participants from the states, the program faced cancelations after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 hit the Tohoku region. But still many are willing to work in the area through the program.
From Seattle, there are four members who will stay in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. They have no fear of the disaster but will be excited to join the relief activities and experience of their new lives.
“I chose Fukushima because I like mountains,” said Johnson Garrett, who will teach English in southwestern Fukushima. “I’m excited to go there and I’m not afraid of the nuclear reactor.”
Melanie Vartanian will stay in Sendai, Miyagi, as an English instructor, saying “I chose Miyagi because I have never been to the Tohoku region.”
Two others will be appointed to Iwate prefecture.
New program participants also include Nikkei (Japanese Americans) like Aimee Machiels and Ryo Kato.
Machiels will stay in Okinawa, her mother’s homeland. “I wanted to go there because my mother is from Okinawa,” she said.
Kato also said that he looks forward to meeting his relatives and learning Japanese language and culture. He will work for a city government’s international program in Kagawa Prefecture as a Coordinator for International Relations.
At the farewell reception, Consul General Ota mentioned how to be successful in Japan along with tributes to Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson who passed away in the Tohoku Earthquake during their JET program term.