March 2015

Message from the Editor


March in Japan is an incredibly difficult month to define and I can’t tell if it is one of the best or worst. With winter still lingering and spring not completely established (though my renewed runny nose and itchy eyes seem to say differently), March can be an enormously relaxing period or one of tremendous boredom. Classes are over and you would love to take days off, but maybe you are stuck in the office due to the many days of nenkyu you enjoyed when you went home over winter break. Or perhaps you’re just saving those days to take a vacation at the end of the month. Whatever your reasons for still being at work during this month are, it can be a long, drawn-out period leaving you with little or no motivation to be productive. I can only offer a few ideas to keep you busy and entertained, rather than sleepy at your desk.

First, classes are over and you deserve a reward for your hard work. The first thing that comes to mind is obvious, go travel! For those of you with nenkyu to spare, give yourself a vacation during spring break and live it up like your college days. Review Hyogo Times’ numerous travel reviews and pick the destination that fits your mood. If you’re hoping to stay around here and save your nenkyu catch classical forms of entertainment by seeing a Takarazuka Revue Show (a number of AJET Block 6 members already have their tickets!) or the Osaka Sumo wrestling tournament. If you want something more modern look into the Nipponbashi Festival, one of Osaka’s biggest cosplay events, as well as this year’s PunkSpring. While you’re planning one trip, keep going and lay out your itinerary for Golden Week in May. This year we will have a five day weekend and you can be sure that domestic travel will be overwhelming. However, if you reserve your flights and accommodation well in advance (now!), you’ll avoid much of the stress and disappointment that comes with the last-minute planning and having to settle for your fourth pick travel destination.

If all your travel needs have been met, it’s time to think about that place we spend most of our time when we aren’t traveling – our schools. For first year JETs coming at the start of the second term last year, having an outline for your new year is especially important, even more so if you are in charge of the lessons. If you’re leaving after the first term, how are you setting your successor up for success? Write them a guide and let them know what you’ve been working on and what worked for you in the past so they aren’t left reinventing the wheel. Even more important for those of us leaving is to start the preliminary job and education hunt now. Find out when applications open, when deadlines are, and send those resumes. Yes planning a week getaway is important, but probably not as important as your future.

Finally, if all the above has been thoughtfully planned you can always study Japanese, read a book, read this issue of Hyogo Times, or better yet, write an article for next month’s issue. This month we grace you with not one, but three travel reviews with Brittany holding down her usual spot, but making room for our graphics editor, Erika who wrote on Myanmar and Rackle tackling the AJET Block 6 Yuki Matsuri Trip. Helen gives us not one, but three (there must be something about March being the third month) ways to cook with shio-koji and your Joe gives us an in-depth look into what makes Osaka every Kansai JETs favorite prefecture. Enjoy and good luck staying busy, as a friend once said, “When I keeps it movin’ that means there ain’t no stopping’ me. Constant motivation, the god fiend bury kings.”


Sean Mulvihill



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