February 2015

A month into the new year and it’s already almost time to bid farewell to your students. 3 nensei have their graduation ceremony in late February and most ALTs will wrap up their lessons before the month’s end. Similar to your students making it through their elementary, junior, and high school careers, you too will have made it through the Japanese school year (and winter) alive. And what awaits you at the end of this accomplishment? The answer is one of the most pleasant and beautiful seasons Japan has to offer. Yet, before we get too far ahead of ourselves and start planning our hanami trips, let’s soak up the last of the winter activities before they disappear for another nine months.

Looking to hit the slopes one last time before all the snow melts away? Join the HAJET Ski Trip as we head to northern Hyogo’s Ojiro village, known for being one of Japan’s most beautiful, on Feb 28 – Mar 1, with an optional day on Mar 2. If those dates don’t work for you there is always the WhyNot!? Ski/Board Trip in Nagano from Mar 6 – Mar 8 (you can often get a discount when signing up if you let them know you are a JET). If you’ve had enough of snow sports perhaps you can find a last minute spot for Hokkaido’s famous Yuki Matsuri, where I definitely recommend stopping by the Sapporo Brewery and Genghis Khan Restaurant to devour all the beer and lamb you want for 90 minutes.

If snow’s not your thing maybe an abundance of flesh wrapped in thin loin clothes fits your style. The festival known as Hadaka Matsuri, or more familiar to foreigners as the Naked Man Festival, is held in a number of locations throughout Japan with the most famous being at Saidaiji Temple in Okayama. Luckily Okayama AJET has created an event that consistently receives the National AJET award for “Best Interprefectural Event” to provide an amazing experience for anyone wanting to attend this wild night. This year, Okayama AJET’s event will run from Feb 21 – Feb 22.

If you’d rather skip the cold all together, cuddle up under the kotatsu and read this short month’s short issue. Ryan gives us a preview of what to expect from Kobe’s day long rock event, Punkspring. Brittany and Louie share their escape from the cold with their respective travel reviews on Malaysia and Thailand and a JET alum tells us what’s great about living in Kagawa Prefecture. Of course, there are our normal sections with tons of new information and Scott, well, being Scott. Since we’re stuck with the winter weather we might as well make the most of the season.

Back to the classroom, I hope you can find ways to make your last lessons of the school year leave a strong impression for your students (check out Pete’s PR message for some ideas). Even if most of our lessons have completely flopped or we’ve convinced ourselves that our students will never learn English, keep in mind that as long as you were diligent in teaching the importance of knowing another language you’ve most likely had an impact on a handful of students. It’s easy to think that you’ll simply be another ALT lost in the continuous revolving door of JET, what’s harder is to believe that as you did your best you influenced the students and people around you to discover and engage themselves in the world around them. As a friend once said, “Know there was something that, and something that I left behind…Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget.”



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