Hello, will you hanami with us?

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Image© @sodiumion on Instagram

As we greet spring with an explosion of sakura photos on our Facebook, April is also the time for which we begin a new term on JETAA Singapore.

On Wednesday 6th April, we had our handover meeting for the year 2015/2016, and we have decided on the roles for our board members.

The roles are as below:
  1. President: Nathalie Ng
  2. Vice President: Yeo Yi Hua
  3. Secretary: Cheryl Phua
  4. Treasurer: Yao Shuying
  5. Public Relations & Marketing: Genevieve Seah and Faith Ong
  6. Memberships: Fernn Lim and Wendy Ng

We look forward to yet another eventful year with everyone.

First up on our list, we have our hanami event. This year, we’re going to be enjoying it under the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay. Join JETAA SG for our annual Hanami at Gardens by the Bay! Participation is free, and feel free to invite your friends and family along!

  • Date: 7th May 2016, Saturday
  • Time: 4pm – 6pm
  • Venue: Under the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay (Directions to Gardens by the Bay: http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/plan-your-visit/getting-here-and-parking.html)
  • Things to bring: Picnic mats, food and drinks (you’re welcome to share!), sunscreen, insect repellent, games, etc.
  • Wet weather plan: In the event of inclement weather, we will inform you and cancel or postpone this picnic.
  • Contact person: Yi Hua Register for the hanami here: http://bit.ly/1qBLKPL

Cheers! Hope to see you guys there!

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Looking back on 2015-2016

Hi guys!

You might’ve noticed that the updates here are horrendously slow. It’s been an uphill struggle for us this year, as we try to diversify our events, and start to bring in more events that will be of interest to everyone.

As we head towards our AGM, we’ll be looking back on the year with this year’s Kuchikomi. These are the highlighted events of the year – we’ll be working to bring more of these events to you as we head into the 30th Anniversary of the JET Programme, and the 50th year of friendly ties between Singapore and Japan (SJ50)!

You can download it here: Kuchikomi 2015-2016

Enjoy! We hope to see you at our events soon!

Ohisashiburi!

Sorry for our long absence.

Our new board has taken over, but with such a swift flow of events (yes, we’ve had quite a number so far!), it’s hard to keep up.

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Our new board members are:

  • Ms Yeo Yi Hua, President
  • Ms Nathalie Ng, Vice-President
  • Mr Heng Kai Le, Secretary
  • Mr Wong Hung Shane, Treasurer
  • Ms Yao Shuying, Events & Outreach Officer
  • Ms Faith Ong, Events & Outreach Officer

Ms Sheryna Yip and Ms Annette Lee have also graciously agreed to be stay with this board to help with our various events.

So far, we’ve had our amazing Ohanami on Lazarus Island in early May, attended by many JETAA members and members of the local Japanese community. You can find more photos on our Facebook page. I assure you the island is gorgeous.

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We’ve also had a karaoke session in end-May at Cash Studios, where we belted out Japanese songs on their DAM system. (Unfortunately, we were too happy singing, and forgot all about the photos.)

We’ve also had the good fortune to meet some incoming JETs at our monthly Japanese class on every last Thursday of the month. During that class, our lovely teacher, Chie-sensei, taught us about famous omiyage from various prefectures all over Japan. Everyone had lots of fun discussing which are the omiyages that we were most likely to bring home.

In the past month of May and June, we’ve also been able to pair up the incoming JETs with seniors in our Buddy program, and we’ve come up with a list of exciting activities for the next few months. More details about these activities will be announced as soon as we can over on Facebook and our newsletter!

JETAA Outdoor Class

Written by Faith Ong (Mie-ken, 2013-2014)

One of the highlights of the year was the Oishii Japan 2014 Food Fair. On 24 October, JETAA members embarked on their first ‘out of the classroom’ experience where our Japanese skills were put to the test in our first-hand interactions with members from CLAIR Singapore and store vendors from the various prefectures in Japan.

The Oishii Japan Food Fair was such a wonderful showcase of food, drinks and related equipment and machinery from all over Japan. The showcase was first opened to business owners in the F&B line for two days before finally opening its doors to the public for us to gain some precious insight on the possible offerings we could look forward to in Singapore in the years to come.

As JETAA members, we studiously pored over the layout map and information booklet that were given to us to check out if the prefecture we had been placed in as JETs were represented at the fair and we were certainly not disappointed. From the various potteries from Ishikawa, delectable Hida beef from Gifu, sweets from Kyoto to fresh dried bonito shavings from Tokyo, the fair clearly had something for everyone and anyone. It was indeed not for the faint-hearted as we worked our way with much gusto to check out what each stall had to offer.

Food fair 3

Of course, each of us soon had the chance to practice our Japanese when we had to ask questions to the various vendors regarding the item they were trying to market and of course, our listening skills were tested when the owners introduced their products in Japanese. In fact the entire fair was reminiscent of a typical matsuri in Japan, filled with much laughter, excitement and food!

Towards the end of the fair, a vendor from Aomori prefecture soon started to give away their leftover seafood items for the day for free through a game of janken. The stars must have shone very graciously on Pei Hoon, Kai Le and I as all 3 of us who took part in the game were indeed so privileged and lucky to be able to bring home some fresh squid that day.

Food fair 5

As the day drew to a close and each JETAA member shared their reflections of the day and a memorable stall that they fancied with one another, it seemed poignant to note that each of us had a different stall that resonated with us and made our few hours at the fair indeed a memorable afternoon where like-minded people who once embarked on the same path as an ALT could enjoy one another’s company, speak Japanese and allow nostalgia and our tender memories of Japan linger a little longer that Saturday afternoon.

JETAA Conversational Class

Written by Natsumi Tanaka (Kai Le’s wife)

Translated by Heng Kai Le (Kumamoto JET, 2011-2013)

Japanese Conversational Class

日本語クラスに参加して

今回、初めて日本語クラスに参加させていただきました。JETAAの方々の、高い日本語能力も然ることながら、日本語というツールを用いて、独自の感性でそれぞれの体験や想いを話している姿がとても印象的でした。

さらに、それに刺激された他の日本人参加者の方々が、普段日本人だけの授業では話さないような、自分の内面や私生活のことを語っている姿が、またとても印象的でした。

「言語」の授業は言語以上のものを学ぶ機会だと、改めて認識することができました。楽しい授業に参加させていただき、本当にありがとうございました。

Participating in a Japanese class

This was my first time joining the EoJ/JETAA Japanese class this time round. Seeing JETAA members leverage their advanced Japanese skills to effectively convey their thoughts and experiences in their unique ways struck a deep impression within me.

In addition, other Japanese participants who might have been similarly impacted like me (?) shared openly about their personal selves and private lives. These were things that Japanese people wouldn’t bring up in a typical classroom comprising of only Japanese people. Hence, their behaviour was something that has stayed in my mind.

From this Japanese lesson, I once again recognised how a language class afforded people the opportunity to learn other things beyond language. I thank JETAA sincerely for letting me participate in such a fun lesson.

JETAA Singapore, New Friends and Reality Sinking In

By A Yagnya (JET 2014~, Toyama-ken, taken from here: http://iggyinjapan.wordpress.com/ with express permission from the lovely girl herself )

 

JETAA Japanese class

On 29th May 2014 (last thursday), I finally met some people from JETAA Singapore and fellow 2014 Singapore JETs at JCS. And what a lovely bunch of people they are!

We had a lesson about weddings, found out that a sempai was getting married that week, heard vows being spoken in Japanese, learnt how expensive weddings could be, talked about Chinese, Malay and Indian weddings and had so much fun. It was wonderful to meet so many people, with varying Japanese abilities and I learnt so much from everyone.

The kaypoh in me was also very satisfied to FINALLY meet people.

On a more personal note, it was great to know how everyone came from diverse backgrounds. Having interacted with mostly theatre people for so long, I’m psyched to finally expand the walls of my world through JET. : P

Through the JETAA, I’ve also been assigned 2 buddies (both weren’t placed in Toyama, but I’m plenty grateful for all the advice). Exchanging e-mails with them calmed a lot of my frazzled nerves and I’ve gotten a lot of really handy tips. I’ve also met (online) some JET bloggers from Toyama and a Singaporean JET online, and chatting with them has put me at ease.

The fears and questions haven’t disappeared.
I’m still terrified of which school I might get.
What if they hate me?
What if they don’t understand the concept of Vegetarianism?
What if there absolutely nothing for me in that place?
What if I fall really sick in the winter?
What if, what if and more what ifs.
But, life was never meant to be ruled by fear.

And it’s not just fears.
There’s so much excitement bubbling within me at this point.
A different landscape, a new language, fresh challenges, a chance at independence, and, best yet,
A hope for doors to open in the future. 

So, come what may, I’ve resolved to take it as a learning experience. And at least now, I feel a little bit more informed.

Dinner at the Ambassador’s Residence

By Felicia Lee

Dinner Party Group photoGroup photo of the fantastic company for the evening.

On 2 May 2014, His Excellency, Mr. Haruhisa Takeuchi, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore, hosted a dinner reception at his residence in honour of Mr. Sekiguchi Masakazu, Senior Vice-Minister of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Other distinguished guests who attended the reception were Mr. Seki Hiroyuki, Director-General of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Uemura Satoshi, Director of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Komaki Kentaro, Executive Secretary to the Senior Vice-Minister of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Mr. Adachi Masahide, Director of CLAIR Singapore and Mr. Takema Makoto, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Singapore. JETAA Singapore enjoyed the privilege of being invited for this special occasion.

Mr. Takeuchi’s personal chef prepared a delectable 8-course Japanese dinner and most of the ingredients were imported from Japan. For dessert, Mrs. Takeuchi specially prepared the Strawberry Bavarois.

Strawberry Bavarois

The strawberry bavarois specially made by Mrs Takeuchi.

The guests had an enjoyable time chatting over a variety of topics. Mr. Sekiguchi also recommended a popular ramen chain, Hakata Fuuryuu (博多風龍) to the guests. There are about 20 branches in Tokyo serving up tasty tonkotsu ramen with each serving costing ¥550. Diners who are hungry can also request for two times of kaedama (refill of ramen) free of charge!

It was an enriching session for the Japanese officials and members of JETAA Singapore in exchanging views of Japan and Singapore, and group photos were taken at the end of the reception.