By Meryl J, ALT PA
When: Friday, October 20th from 10:00-16:20 (Registration begins at 9:30)
Where: The Gifu Prefectural Library, in Gifu city: https://goo.gl/maps/oySTjWke4Zz
Dress code: Business
Call for Demonstration Lessons/Activities: Due October 2nd
Do you have a lesson/activity that students enjoy and you're able to teach cooperatively with a JTE? We are looking for ALTs to teach in our SDC Teaching Showcase.
Who: You with your JTE attending (If you do not have a JTE attending with you, will will have an RPA or JPA fill the role).
What: You will teach an activity/lesson with the your attending JTE. You will have 15 minutes to teach the activity together, showing what you uniquely do as the ALT, and what you do with your JTE as a successful team. Then you will facilitate a short discussion between the JTEs and ALTs watching. An RPA will help you create the discussion questions.
If you volunteer to do this, you will not have to bring a material for the Material Fair (see below), though if you wish to, you are of course more than welcome to.
When: If you are interested or want more information please e-mail email@example.com.
Material Fair, Materials due by October 11th
This year we will be having a Material Fair for both High School and Municipal ALTs.
Who: If you are a 2nd-5th year ALT you MUST bring a material to showcase at our Material Fair. If you are a 1st year ALT and you have an activity that you think is useful to share, please feel free participate, but if you would prefer to only watch, you are welcome to. 1st year ALTs who do not bring materials will still attend and participate in the Material Fair, but by watching presentations and taking notes for future ideas for their own classes.
What: You MUST submit a description of your material to Meryl (either to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) or to your RPAs using one of the templates attached to the e-mail sent out on September 22nd from firstname.lastname@example.org. If your material cannot be described using one the documents, feel free to change the formatting. You then must bring the material with you on SDC to show (for example, if your activity is a card game, Meryl will not be printing off all the cards, so please bring the cards with you. If you do not need physical materials, you will just explain the activity). If you volunteer to teach an activity with your JTE during our Demonstration Lessons (see above), you will not be required to submit a material.
When: Materials descriptions are due by October 11th
Bring to SDC
Gifu AJET is holding an SDC Enkai in Gifu City. Details are on Facebook. ALTs are more than welcome to invite their attending JTEs to join the enkai as well.
Please RSVP via Facebook or by contacting an AJET officer by October 13th!
By Meryl J., ALT PA
It is time to fall in love with fall (unoriginal and over-used? Come at me, bro, I am a poet).
Japan might not have Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I am still very devastated about this) but in all honesty, autumn is one of the best times to be in Japan. I highly recommend checking out some of the delicious fall foods (秋の味覚 - あきのみかく) famous in Gifu:
-Persimmons (柿: かき): A delicious fruit that is famous particularly in Motosu city
-Chestnuts (栗: くり or マロン): There are a variety of chestnut foods, both sweet and savory available at this time. In paricular, Mino city and the Tono region are famous for their kurikinton (栗きんとん), a boiled chestnut sweet.
Some other Japanese fall foods include:
-Matsutake Mushroom (松茸) Soup
-Roasted Sweet Potatoes (焼き芋: やきいも）
-Ginko Nuts (銀杏: ぎんなん）
-Samna Fish (秋刀魚)
Between meals, make sure to plan some trips to see the autumn leaves' colors (紅葉: こうよう or もみじ)and hunt for those red leaves. Kouyou begins in early October and goes through early December. I can promise you, the Instagram pictures are a fabulous excuse to get out and explore Japan. Plus, be real, who doesn't love to frolick in beautiful leaves?
You can download our list of leaf-viewing spots and the best times to head to each city in our seasonal guide found here:
By Kris Elrod, Chuno RPA
Baking in Japan can be challenging, but never fear! It can be done. For my baking needs, I use a microwave with an oven function (オーブン). If you don`t have one, you can also use a toaster oven. Both of these can be purchased in most secondhand stores that sell appliances.
NOTE: In Japan, instead of teaspoons (tsp) and tablespoons (tbsp), a small spoon, 小さじ (kosaji) and a large spoon, 大さじ (oosaji) are used. The kosaji is comparable to a teaspoon and the oosaji is comparable to a tablespoon.
MAKES: about 25 cookies
All-purpose flour 120 grams
Bread flour 120 grams
Baking soda ½ tsp (or ½ kosaji) and a bit
Baking powder ½ tsp (or ½ kosaji) and a bit
Salt ¾ tsp (or ¾ kosaji)
Unsalted butter 141 grams
Brown sugar 141 grams
Granulated sugar 113 grams
Vanilla extract 1 tsp (or 1 kosaji)
Chocolate chips 1 ¼ cup
TIP: Baking soda (重曹 juusou), baking powder (ベーキングパウダー), vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and chocolate chips can all be found in the baking section of most major supermarkets, such as Okuwa, Valor, and Seiyu.
By Sam L, Hida RPA
Got some spare change you want to burn in pursuit of spare change? Keen to soak your clothes in cigarette smoke and risk emphysema without ever forking out for your own pack? How about a desire to do irreparable damage to your hearing without the consolation of having lost the frequencies listening to anything other than a rattling of small balls and chiming of low-fi synth?
Then might I suggest pachinko?
Pachinko plays a bit like a vertical pinball game. Shoot the ball, get it in a hole, win a ball or balls. If it drops to the bottom then you’re down a ball. But luckily you buy the balls by the hundreds so there are plenty more to shoot.
Gambling is illegal in Japan. But where there’s a will there’s a way. When you play pachinko the small steel balls are the currency with which and for which you play, and after you win a sizable amount you can exchange them in-house for a number of goodies: beer, snacks, electronics, the list goes on. But most coveted, and what the vast majority of people are playing for, are small gold medallions that you can just-so-happen-to take outside of the parlor and exchange through a tiny window - one that the parlor insists vehemently is not associated with them - for cold hard cash. Gambling with extra steps..
Temples and shrines are beautiful and serene, but after a year in Japan I wanted a bit of culture that wasn’t crisp and clean but instead gritty and seedy. I decided to delve into the bright lights and obnoxious chiptunes of pachinko, especially after the rush I had gotten from arcade claw machines began to slowly but surely subside. Despite not knowing the first thing about how to actually play the game, I burst through the double doors at my local parlor with all the enthusiasm of a young dumb drunk on the Vegas strip. It was a rough uphill battle. Pachinko is not a sprint but a marathon. It’s a grind. You’ve got to go in with more time to kill than cash, though you’ll still be burning bills as fast as you can get them into the slot. But I was flying blind, I had no real understanding what it was I was meant to be doing. No knowledge of what was good and what was bad. I needed a mentor in the ways of small steel balls, and in true heroes-journey fashion, help arrived in the form of a wizened old hunchbacked man with eyes more steely than the small balls he had accrued by the thousands. But, like a zen master his instruction was by direct transmission, outside of scripture or spoken word. That is to say, I watched him out of the corner of my eye, careful not to draw too much attention to myself while I mimed at my machine, doing my best to make it look like I did in fact know exactly what I was doing.
Here’s what I learned.
Just like in Aristotelian ethics, pachinko skill is set upon a spectrum. To shoot the ball you twist a handle, like a small wheel. The further you twist it to the right, the faster and harder the ball will be launched into the machine. Twist it too far and the kinetic energy of your enthusiastic shot will surely set the ball bouncing off each and every brass pin and down into the bottom slot. One ball down. But don’t twist the wheel far enough and the ball will pop out of the slot, lethargically and slowly missing the prize holes, or not pop out at all. One ball down. It’s all about finding the sweet spot somewhere in the middle. But trying to pinpoint this middle point in one twist with accuracy when the finest tune left or right means victory or defeat is almost impossible. The greatest strategic insight I earned watching my unaware master was not to treat each ball as a play in and of itself. Treat the pachinko machine like a machine gun firing a steady stream of projectiles, not a pistol launching one shot at a time. When you have a thousand bullets you can afford to spray them around like Scarface. As you launch shot after shot you can finely tweak the wheel left or right until you find a position where you’re getting the most balls in. You’ll never get all of them in, this is a game of chance after all, but you can increase your odds. The best I got was about 1/3 in the hole. After you get a ball in, you’ll often trigger a slot machine style spin which will award you a certain number of balls. Each machine is different in its payout style. Some, like a Lupin III machine I tried, had a pistol handle built in that would be used for a game of skill if you managed to get a match on the slot spin. I cannot recommend the Lupin machine though. Living up to its character's name, it took everything I had before I decided enough was enough and moved onto machine without a licensed character attached, hoping the lack of royalties owed would mean a machine more willing to pay out.
I stayed for an hour, or maybe two. I can’t quite remember. I called the attendant who carried my trays of metal balls to a machine, pouring them in in a cacophonous crash before it spat out a small receipt I took to the counter. This was it. I was in the money. With significantly more balls than I had paid for initially I knew payday was coming early this month. I exchanged my receipt for four golden medallions. Resisting the urge to keep one as a trophy, I took them outside and proudly slid them through the tiny window attached to the parlor around the poorly lit back staff entrance beside the rubbish bins. I couldn’t contain my excitement. How many tens of thousands of yen were coming my way? I rubbed my hands together with glee as a small hand heavy with gold rings shot out through the window with some crisp bills. I snatched them up. Counted them out. Four thousand yen. Fuck.
If you took the Japanese Language and Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N3 and passed in July 2017, you could be eligible to recieve a grant from CLAIR covering the cost of the exam! CLAIR must recieve your application before Tuesday, October 31st, so don't waste any more time!
Read more about it here: jetprogramme.org/en/jlpt/
Despite CLAIR originally telling you a deadline, registration is still possible to enroll in their Japanese courses. Check the course guide before registering via the online Contact Information Survey for JET Participants. If you apply before Tuesday, October 10th, you will be able to start their course on Wednesday, 1 November.
By Meryl J., ALT PA
Some people at Work Orientation were wondering where they might be able to grab some healthy food. Of course, Gifu City is not convenient for everyone but if you are in the area and interested you can find a "natural market" here:
コスモスふぁーむ、〒500-8175 Gifu-ken, Gifu-shi, Nagazumichō, 2 Chome−8
We actually don't know any JETs who have been there yet but we have heard good things about it. If you do check it out, please let us know how it is!