November 2012


Welcome to November everyone! The days are getting shorter at a stupidly fast rate (sunset at 5 – seriously?!) and nights are starting to be more than a little bit chilly. It’s pretty much the best time of year (apart from the short days, you don’t have the time to appreciate as much as you might want to sometimes) and fantastic for going out and exploring Japan whilst avoiding heatstroke. With the 3 day weekend falling just after the Skills Development Conference, I hope everyone gets the chance to see some of the truly magical sights that Japan has to offer in this most colourful of seasons (if you’re not madly cramming for the JLPT at the beginning of December that is ><).

Most JETs (except the unicorns of course) will have received their re-contracting papers in the past few weeks. It’s a big decision to make as to whether you stay on or head home and that goes for 4th years just as much as first. There are a multitude of reasons to stay (not least because you can have at least 1 more autumn in this fair land) but also factors that might make you want to go back home or somewhere new. You may have been given the papers now, but that doesn’t mean you have to give them back yet. Since you don’t have to decide now, don’t if you don’t want to. Take your time.

So what do we have as a distraction device to provide a break from these deep and ponderous questions, and doing all that wonderful preparation for the Skills Development Conference of course? Amongst other things, a very timely recommendation for travel within Japan, a trip report exposing the wonders of Seoul, an ex-JET’s perspective on what he gained through his time in Japan and an interesting exploration of how we make choices in our relationships. Have a 休憩, and maybe an interesting kitkat a la my article from September, and enjoy.


P.S. Given the timing of the Skills Development Conference, submissions by the 10th November would be appreciated. Restaurant/Movie/Book/Music reviews, poems, short stories or anything else you fancy really. Remember, the Hyogo Times is YOUR magazine.


Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying autumn so far. Personally, it’s my favourite season in Japan. I’ve really enjoyed getting around my local area and checking out the various autumn harvest festivals that have been going on. That said, I didn’t enjoy getting woken up at 4 A.M on a Sunday morning by some overzealous taiko players in Futami! This year I managed to get to Sone and Hanagata for their festivals. It was really nice seeing some of my students carrying the Mikoshi/Yatai, and outside of school enjoying themselves. Classes the week after the festivals were also interesting. Some of my boys had lost their voices.

A couple of exciting events we have coming up are the Skills Development Conference enkai and an autumn hike. Places for the Skills Development Conference enkai are filling up fast and we will keep everyone informed about the details for the autumn hike through the facebook page. Autumn is a really good time to get around and see some beautiful scenery. One great place to visit is Arashiyama in Kyoto. I visited a couple of years ago and the food stalls that came out at night sold some really delicious snacks. The gardens in Arashiyama are incredibly beautiful in autumn. Also, a bit further west, Miyajima and Mount Daisen are also stunning at this time of year.

It’s also the time of year when everyone who’s not a fifth year, receives their re-contracting papers. It’s an important decision and taking some time to make the decision to stay is important. Think about it for a week, a month or hand them in on the last day. I know I’ll probably be handing them in as close to the last day possible!

Keep Smiling!

-Arjan Tulsi

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