April 2015

Message from the Editor, April 2015

            After flailing about at PunkSpring 2015 and relaxing in what may have potentially been my last overseas trip while on the JET Programme (shameless plug and thank you for Brittany Teodorski’s Cambodia review), I can’t help but hear Alien’s voice whisper, “Spring break forever,” over and over again in my head. For those pop-culturally uneducated wondering who Alien might be, it is in fact James Franco’s Floridian, rapper persona in the movie Springbreakers – a movie I continue to go back and forth on, as either a work of pure genius or one of absurdity, although that may require a much lengthier analysis than allowed here. However, besides suffering from post-March Madness depression, I also know that the “Spring break forever” mentality can survive just a little while longer since April and May are filled with AJET and HAJET events. The AJET Block 6 Car Rally is on Apr 18, Tajima Pub Quiz XII is on May 16, The AJET Block 6 Biwa Boat Ball is May 23, and the HAJET Awaji Camping Trip is on the same day. Sure these events won’t provide the potential for drug use and violence that Director Harmony Korine’s movie promises, but that’s not to say they won’t allow for the same levels of fun. Make sure to RSVP on Facebook and get in on the action before your school year gets too busy.

Now, not only is it a new school year for us all, but for many it is the last term we will teach in Japan. I know I’ve already beaten to death the idea of making lasting impressions on your students and JTEs, and Ryan’s PR message this month does a great job confronting our fears about moving forward, but given my enormous consumption of everything American collegiate basketball related over the past few weeks there are some similarities I want to point out as April gets underway.

-       Be the underdog or giant-killer. Maybe the bar wasn’t set too high for you last year and your school’s expectations fell far short of what you yourself expected. Don’t let that stop you from pursuing a lesson or initiative you really want to do. Just make sure it’s well planned and thought out before going up against the more powerful forces at your school.

-       Be a consistent free-throw shooter. There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your team miss free-throw after free-throw when the other team allows for the opportunity to catch-up with easy points. And there is nothing more frustrating than watching an ALT fail at doing the simple tasks of our job consistently. If you can’t make it to school or class on-time, if you always forget your inkan at home, or if you have a tendency not to print enough materials for your students, people are going to notice. It’s these small failures that can add up and make it nearly impossible for you to get the ok to pursue your bigger, better ideas.

-       Avoid the buzzer beater. We all know last second shots, make for one hell of a win, but the skyrocketing anxiety that leads up to it is extremely unpleasant and the odds are you’ll miss the shot more than you’ll make it. Plan your lessons well in advance and have a general idea of how you’ll tie everything together throughout the year. Also be sure to have those grab n’ go lessons ready for last-minute teaching requests from your JTEs.

If you have already done these items, you’re well ahead of the game. Take some time and enjoy this issue where you’ll find the usual sections and a glimpse of former ALT, Kevin Lang’s novel, Forbidden in Jade. If you’re still in the process of figuring out how best to tackle this new year, don’t be afraid to reach out and best of luck. As a friend once said, “You be the moon, I’ll be the earth and when we burst start over o’darling. Begin again. Begin again.”

Sean Mulvihill

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