Newsletter 2017-2018, Issue 1

April 4, 2017

1) Intro to 2017-2018 Newsletters
2) Officers Intro/Q&A
3) Book Club Announcement
4) Calendar of Events
5) Request for submissions

1) Intro

Howdy! I’m your press officer, Rochelle Breen, and this year I’m hoping to publish bi-monthly (twice a month), as promised in my campaign platform. The other officers and I are happy to have your votes and excited to represent your interests this year!

Newsletter issues will come in two types: odds and evens. Odds (1, 3, 5, etc.) will provide a calendar of events that you, a JET alumni, are sure to be interested in.
Some of these are TEXOMA JETAA events, while others are simply Japan-related or cultural-exchange-related events and notifications. Evens, on the other hand, will provide an in-depth or broad spectrum look at JET Alumni life through interviews, surveys, etc.

But since this is our inaugural issue, I’ll start Issue #1 with an introduction to most of your new officers.

2) Officers Intro/Q&A

President – Tim Roller

1) Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
To be an international lawyer working with Japanese businesses.

2) Dayjob?
I work as counsel for the Japan America Society of Houston.

3) What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Hitori-nabe. There is nothing better than a bowl of fresh ingredients you

can just take home and cook for yourself with no cleanup.

4) What’s your favorite American junk food?
Sour Patch Kids

5) Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
Koya-san (高野山)  in Wakayama Prefecture. Seemingly endless cemeteries with graves nestled between huge cedar trees...when the fog rolls in every morning it feels like the most hushed, sacred place in the world.

Vice President – Gregory Gaylor

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
To continue bridging cultural gaps and fractures one effort at a time, leading to enhanced, global understanding and communication

2. Dayjob?
I work as a Senior Business Account Executive, International Markets here in Houston, TX at one of Japan’s largest liquid seasonings and spices suppliers.

3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
UFO Yakisoba, with gobo (burdock 
 root) salad coming in at a strong second place - both in copious amounts at Lawson and Family Mart.

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?
Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cups

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
During my first two years on the JET Program, I lived in a small village (湯原町) of 4,000 residents famous for温泉 (オンセン) or “outside natural springs.” It was a picturesque locale with lush nature and multiple shades of green - all reminding me of a postcard.
Treasurer - Jessica Holloway

1. Hopes and Dreams in 2 sentences or less:
See the world and be the change I want to see in the world.

2. Dayjob?
VP Operations and Marketing for Enfusia, a local bath products company sold in 400+ stores in Texas and beyond.
3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Katsuobushi Onigiri.

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?
Cookies - particularly Mint Oreos

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
Not exactly a place but a moment and place together. Shortly after I arrived in Tottori, local JETs and Japanese friends of JET organized a trip to a secluded beach on the Sea of Japan. It was pitch black except for the squid boats out on the horizon, lit up like so many jellyfish. We laid under the stars and witnessed the 2008 Perseid meteor shower while the waves crashed on the shore, getting to know one another.
Secretary - Alisa Tobin

1. Hopes and Dreams in 2 sentences or less:
To learn a third language and find the time (and resources) to travel to a new country every year.

2. Dayjob?
JET Program & MEXT Scholarship Coordinator at the Consulate by day, Houston Symphony Chorus Soprano by night.

3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Nikuman & Spicy Tomato Cup Noodle

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?
Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:

Picnicking and gathering shells with friends on the Tanesashi coast, south of Hachinohe City. Tanesashi kaigan, which was designated a National Park after the earthquake, offers breathtaking views and a natural grass lawn that stretches right up to the ocean’s edge.
Web Master - Dusty Downing

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
Good health and success for friends 
and family and everyone else and a ubiquitous online presence for JETAA TEXOMA.

2) Dayjob?
Patent Attorney.

3) What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Tuna-mayo Onigiri.

4) What’s your favorite American junk food?
Red Velvet Oreos.

5) Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET Taketomi Island in Okinawa.
Press Officer - Rochelle Breen

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
To be an inspiring author and to live in a cottage at the edge of the wilderness with my own running trail out back.

2. Dayjob?
I work in the Consular Section at the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston.

3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
An-man. I have consumed thousands of them, I’m sure.

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?

Ice cream. (Yes, I consider it a junk food)

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
Rakusan-en (楽山園) in Kanra-machi, Gunma-ken. Basically used to be home to some Daimyou. Dude had a pond garden plus mountain for his backyard.
Houston/South Texas Regional Officer - Emily Gurvis

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
To build a family, to have a cat on my lap, to visit new places, and to have a green bedroom with a window seat perfect for book reading.

2. Dayjob?
I’m the Cultural Affairs Assistant at the Japanese Consulate.

3) What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Niku-man. Hands down the most delicious I-only-need-one-hand-to-ride-a-bike snack.
4) What’s your favorite American junk food?
Ice cream snickers. The best of both worlds. Those worlds being traditional candy bars, of which the snickers is King, and ice cream.

5) Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
I want you to know that I spent at least an hour thinking about this. Every time I thought I had settled on a place I remembered something else and had to change my mind. I’m extremely frustrated and leave you with this list: Yakushima in Kagoshima-ken, an island cum national park whose beauty inspired the scenery of Mononoke Hime; Oze National Park in Gunma-ken which is a blossoming wetland surrounded by mountains; Noashima in Kagawa-ken, the “art island” home to multiple museums and not much else; and Iya Valley in Tokushima-ken which is one of the least developed locations in the country and as my friend said, “might be where they filmed Jurassic Park”.  Please look up all of these places.
Austin/Hill Country Regional Officer - Jaymie Udan

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
I’d love to travel to more places around the world and just eat all the yummy food.  Pretty cliché, I guess, but there it is.

2. Dayjob?
Administrative staff for one of the graduate research groups at UT.

3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Like, everything!  For today, I’ll say hiyashi chuka. Cuz who doesn’t want chilled noodles on a warm day?

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?
Fried chicken.  Or fried pickles.  Or 

French fries.  Basically, anything fried.  #Texas

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
I gotta give a shout-out to the Iya Valley in my placement prefecture of Tokushima.  I also have a soft spot for Takachiho in Miyazaki-ken.
San Antonio/West Texas Regional Officer - Ian Cruz

1. Hopes and dreams in 2 sentences or less:
Being able to dress up as Kumamon and dance an event here in the U.S.

2. Dayjob?
I work for the City of San Antonio’s International Relations Office.

3. What’s your favorite Konbini food?
Chocochip Melon pan and a can of coffee. #BreakfastOfChampions

4. What’s your favorite American junk food?
Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

5. Most beautiful place you experienced while on JET:
There were so many! The one that stands out to me, though, is called Tachioka Kouen in Kumamoto prefecture. It’s a beautiful park that has a lake surrounded by over 3000 cherry blossom trees. When they bloom every spring, it’s magical.
We have no reps for Oklahoma or the DFW area. Interested? Let us know! (Social Media links at the bottom)

From all of your 2017 officers:

3) Book Club Announcement

The Houston area JETAA community is starting a book club and we want you to join us! Anyone in the Greater Houston Area is welcome to participate as we hope to include even those far reaches of the city like the Woodlands, Sugarland, and Katy. To help us get started we need to hear from you. Below is a link to a survey including 16 book options including fiction and nonfiction, Japanese-themed and non. Complete the survey to help us select the six books we will be reading for our first book club year! 

Deadline: April 12, 2017

How often will the book club meet?
We aim to meet every two months, but reserve the right to meet slightly earlier or later due to holidays and other events.
Do I have to attend every meeting?
Nope! We'd love to have you but we understand that interest and time will impact your participation. Come when you'd like and miss when you need.
Where will the book club meet?
Depending on those who are attending in a given month, we are open to meeting outside of the loop to both explore the city and to encourage participation from a wide variety of JET alumni. 
Who will lead the meeting?
Once books are selected we will ask for participants to volunteer to lead discussion for a given meeting. If you have a hidden professor somewhere inside, now is the time to set him or her free! 

4) Calendar of Events

Now-May 14, 2017: “AFTER THE FLOATING WORLD: The Enduring Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints”
When: Various events (such as hands-on print-making or films) related to the exhibition. See their website:
Where: Oklahoma City Museum of Art. 415 Couch Dr., Oklahoma City, OK
Admission: Varies. Some events are free and family or disability focused. See this page: and the event page above.
Description: “Organized from the collections of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, this exhibition focuses on two artists: Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941) and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950). These printmakers were at the forefront of the early 20th century evolution of the Ukiyo-e tradition into a style known as Shin Hanga that incorporated stylistic elements from the West.”

Now-Fall 2017: “The Magic of Clay and Fire: Japanese Contemporary Ceramics”
When: Tues, Fri: 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Wed, Thurs, Sat, and Sun: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: San Antonio Museum of Art:
Members: free, Adults: $10, Seniors (65+): $7, Students and Military (with ID): $5, Children 12 & Under: free.
Description: “A small but stunning selection of contemporary Japanese ceramics is on view in the Asian Special Exhibitions Gallery through Fall 2017. Contemporary Japanese ceramics come from a long tradition that celebrates both the utilitarian and decorative potential of fired clay. Eleven pieces are on loan from Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz of Beverly, Massachusetts, with additional loans from two Texas collectors:  Susan and C.J. Peters of Galveston, and Allen Bennett of Kerrville.”
Parking: A large parking lot directly faces the Museum's entrance. Parking is free with Museum admission.

April 6, 2017
Deadline for TEXOMA JETAA banner photos. We want your JET pictures! See our Facebook page for more.
April 6, 2017: Reception for “World Heritage Sites in Japan Photo Exhibition (世界遺産フォト展覧会)”
When: 6:30 pm
Exhibit April 5 -25, 2017, 9:00am – 5:00pm
Where: 2400 Grove Boulevard, Tokyo Electron U.S Holdings Inc. Lobby, Austin, TX
Description: “As of July 2016, 20 sites in Japan have been added to the World Heritage List: 16 cultural sites and 4 natural sites. The country’s mountainous geography and four distinct seasons mean that the physical environment of Japan can be harsh. …The wooden architecture of Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples… stands as a monument to this heritage of adaptability and harmony.”

April 7-9, 2017: Anime Matsuri
Where: George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Avenida De Las Americas, Houston, TX
Admission: is not free unless you are a child age 5 or lower, in which case you still need a parent/guardian, so see their registration page:
Description: “Anime Matsuri is an annual anime, Japanese culture and related arts convention based in Houston, Texas. Whether it’s cosplay, music, fashion, anime, art, or collectibles; you name it, we’ve got it!”
-Additionally, we’re told the Consulate will both run a booth and present a panel at 2:30 on April 8, titled “Pikachu and Beyond: Appreciating Anime through Japanese Language and Culture”

April 13-14, 2017: Shank’s Mare Puppetry Performance
When: 8:00pm-9:30pm (both nights); a special workshop (the 14th) on Japanese puppetry 2:00pm-3:30pm; more here:
Where: Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX
Admission: $15 Members; $25 Nonmembers.
Description: “Created by Tom Lee and Japanese Master Puppeteer Koryu Nishikawa V, Shank’s Mare is the story of two wandering travelers whose paths intersect in time and space. Using traditional kuruma ningyo puppetry, video projection, and live music, the piece explores themes of life and death and how tradition is passed on.”
Parking: ($5)

April 14, 2017: Kinokuniya (Bookstore) Plano Grand Opening
When: 11:00 a.m.
Where: Mitsuwa Marketplace, 100 Legacy Drive, Plano, TX
What: “Both stores [Carrollton & Plano] will carry a wide variety of Japanese books, magazines, stationery, and other merchandise. Additionally, we will carry Kinokuniya exclusive items that we have collaborated with popular Japanese brands along with a variety of unique merchandise from both Japan and the United States.” Also, probably cool things for the opening, like Taiko or Koto performance, as occurred at the Carrollton grand opening.

TBD: Houston JET Alumni Monthly Trivia
When: 6 pm-8:20pm-ish. Date TBD based upon interest in avoiding conflict with Mother’s Day and Japan Festival.
Where: Lowbrow (a pub with full menu), 1601 W. Mainstreet, Houston, TX
Description: No more than six to a team, you may want to arrive a little early to ensure parking, drinks, and chitchat before the fun competition begins!

May 6-7, 2017: Japan Festival Houston
When: 10:00am-7:00pm (Sat.); 10:00am-5:00pm (Sun)
Where: Japanese Garden in Hermman Park, Houston, TX
Admission: Free, but like many matsuri, you may want to bring money for food ,etc.
Hosted by: JASH
Description: “Boasting an attendance of over 30,000 guests annually, the Japan Festival has the mission of promoting Japanese and Japanese American traditions while bringing together the rich international profile of Houston and its diverse cultural communities.” JETAA TEXOMA has a booth, and we need volunteers! Here for more:
Festival Information:
Parking Information:
5) Request for Submissions
If you're anything like me, living in Japan challenged you even in how you got your daily grub. When cookies fell flat, I made stellar muffins, and my breakfast became poached eggs over blanched spinach and fukujinzuke. If there's a recipe that you picked up while abroad on the JET program, why not share it along with a photo? Our Mid-May issue will celebrate a rising summer season with your submissions. Limit 250 words. Watch the Facebook group/page for how to submit.
Feel like we missed something? Find us on Facebook and let us know!

Our mailing address is:
JETAA Texoma
c/o Consulate-General of Japan
Two Houston Center, Ste. 3000
Houston, Texas 77010

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