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Remembering JET Alumni, Darcy Belanger

JETAA Prairies is saddened to learn that one of the passengers on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 was Canadian JET alumni, Darcy Belanger. Below is a written statement from the Consul-General of Japan in Calgary:

We have learned that one of our former JET Programme participants, Mr. Darcy Belanger from Edmonton Alberta, passed away on 10 March 2019, a victim of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Mr. Belanger, a citizen of Canada, was an Assistant Language Teacher at Shizuoka Nishi High School in Shizuoka Prefecture from 1995 to 1997.

A construction executive by day, Mr. Belanger was a founding member and Strategic Initiative Director of Parvati.org, a non-profit organisation that focuses on eradicating global hunger and poverty. He worked on the organisation’s MAPS (Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary) initiative, a proposal to declare the Arctic Ocean north of the Arctic Circle an international peace park. He was on his way to the UN Environment Assembly to promote this initiative.

We at the Consulate-General of Japan in Calgary are enormously grateful for Mr. Belanger’s contributions, and we offer our sincerest condolences.

2019年3月10日に発生したエチオピア航空の航空機墜落事故により、アルバータ州エドモントン出身のJET経験者であるダーシー・ベランジャー(Darcy Belanger)さんが他界されました。
ダーシーさんはカナダ出身であり、1995年から1997年まで、静岡県立静岡西高等学校においてALTを務めておられました。
JETプログラム終了後は、民間建設会社に人材発展ディレクターとして勤めながら、Parvati.org というボランティア団体の代表として活躍していました。国際連合環境計画会議でのミーティング等に参加し、同団体が創造したMarine Arctic Peace Sanctuary(極圏海洋生物平和サンクチュアリー)という北極圏の海全体を国際平和公園に指定する政策に取り組んでこられました。
在カルガリー日本国総領事館は、これまでのダーシーさんの貢献に深く感謝するとともに、謹んで哀悼の意を表します。

Members of JETAA Prairies also extend their deepest condolences to Mr. Belanger’s family, loved ones, and friends.

If you would like to read more about Darcy Belanger, here are some links:

JETAA Prairies Alumni Attend The Kakehashi Project

The Consul-General of Japan in Calgary, Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, poses with students from Nagoya's Toho High School, Miles Macdonnell, and Vincent Massey Collegiate. March 13th, 2019.
The Consul-General of Japan in Calgary, Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, poses with students from Nagoya’s Toho High School, Miles Macdonnell, and Vincent Massey Collegiate. March 13th, 2019.

Tonight, JET alumni of JETAA Prairies attended a presentation of the Kakehashi Project at Vincent Massey Collegiate. Firstly, The Kakehashi Project is a youth exchange between Japan and Canada. This year, the Project finally selected schools outside of Alberta to participate. Secondly, the two participating schools were Vincent Massey Collegiate and Miles Macdonnell School. These students did a homestay in Nagoya. Tonight, the two groups of Canadian students gave their respective presentations about their experiences in Japan. Thirdly, a group of students from Nagoya’s Toho High School are currently doing a homestay in Winnipeg right now, and will do their presentations once it is over.

The Consul-General of Japan in Calgary, Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, giving a welcome speech at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, March 13th, 2019
The Consul-General of Japan in Calgary, Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, giving a welcome speech at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg, Manitoba, March 13th, 2019, to students from Toho High School of Nagoya, Miles Macdonnell School, and Vincent Massey Collegiate. All students participate in an exchange program as part of the Kakehashi Project.

In addition to JET alumni in the audience, also in attendance were the Consul-General of Japan in Calgary, Mr. Shigenobu Kobayashi, representatives from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (who co-administers the Kakehashi Project), the Japanese Cultural Association of Manitoba (JCAM), the University of Winnipeg, and the University of Manitoba. As JET alumni, we hope that one of these high school students, who participated in the Kakehashi Project, decides to participate in the JET Programme.

Our Next Meeting: Thursday, March 14th @ 6:30pm

Salmon and tuna sushi.
Salmon and tuna sushi.

We will be holding her next meeting on Thursday, March 14th, 2019, at 6:30pm at Naru Sushi, 159 Osborne St. Above all, if you want to help out (eg. pre-departure orientation, Ai-kon, returners’ meeting, etc.) or just hang out talk about Japan things, we hope to see you there! Let us know by contacting us.

Representing JETAA Prairies at Winterfest

JETAA Prairies members giving presentation and Q&A at Winterfest 2019, February 23rd, 2019, at RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg
JETAA Prairies members giving presentation and Q&A at Winterfest 2019, February 23rd, 2019, at RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg

This past Saturday, February 23rd, members from JETAA Prairies attended Winterfest. We had an JET information table full of goodies such as pamphlets, Japanese maps, and other related materials. About a hundred people stopped at our table.

We also tried to recreate the atmosphere of a typical Japanese classroom during our presentation about the JET Programme. JET alumni took on roles of the Japanese Teacher of English (or JTE), the Assistant Language Teacher (or ALT), and the student leader who leads the classroom during the greeting. About 25 people attended our presentation. Because of our informative presentation, the small audience asked the JET alumni a lot of questions.

We hope that those who we spoke to or who attended our presentation will apply for the JET Programme in the near future. We wish them luck. It was a fun, great day!

Alumni Japanese Classes 始め!

JET Alumni studying and reviewing their Japanese language skills in Downtown Winnipeg.
JET Alumni studying and reviewing their Japanese language skills in Downtown Winnipeg.

Hello, all! We’ve started our free alumni Japanese classes last week. We meet every Monday night in downtown Winnipeg. More importantly, these classes are only available to alumni only and it does require some basic knowledge of the Japanese language. These classes are for a limited time only.

Consequently, if you would like to attend, let us know!

JET Alumni studying and reviewing their Japanese language skills in Downtown Winnipeg.
Study, study, study….

Our First Executive Meeting of the Year…and Discovering an Old JET Video from 1993

The Meeting

Yummy….

We held our first meeting of the new year at Chosabi’s in Winnipeg. We have a couple of events coming up in the next couple of months: namely, we are planning to have a Japan panel at next month’s Winterfest (a.k.a. Ai-kon Lite), and a March screening of a documentary commemorating the Great Tohoku Earthquake. If you are a JET alumni who would like to get involved, please let us know!

Afterward, via Skype, JETAA Prairies members talked to a JET alumni in Saskatchewan and would like to contribute to JETAA. One of the challenges for JETAA Prairies is to connect and work with JET alumni living in Saskatchewan. However, the distance and transportation costs are always a barrier. As a result, JETAA Prairies don’t have an enough presence in Saskatchewan. Hopefully, we can slowly change this in the upcoming future.

A Piece of History

Lastly, after we concluded our Skype teleconference, we went through this bin of old JET Prairies materials. Most materials looked like they are mostly from the early 2000s. Then we found this disc that said “JET Video”. Our curiosities peaked. What was this? We popped it into a player. We were not disappointed.

Well, hello there…

It looked like an informational, yet casual, video of JET Program life, particularly in the southern island of Kyushu. The fashion was definitely early 90s and in one of the scenes, there was a timestamp of “1993”. All of us were in awe. The best way to describe the video: combine JET informational content with the aesthetic of 90s skateboard videos done in 8mm.

Hockey in Kyushu 1993

There were nice sceneries of Fukuoka and a shot of an ice hockey game. There were also some strange scenes in the video. The most hilarious part was when a JET participant and her Japanese friend were talking about their art exhibit. The JET participant tried to explain the theme of their art but couldn’t explain very clearly. Her Japanese friend also made an attempt….and said the art being “something sexual”. Then for some reason, the editor of the video decided to loop that sound clip three more times.

We tried to understand their art. We just couldn’t…

All of us were so enamoured by this video that we decided to reach out to one of the hosts. Hopefully, we can get the complete story (or a sequel). This video made our night, at least, made my night. To all of our JET senpais: WE SALUTE YOU!

あけましておめでとうございます!今年もよろしくお願います! Happy New Year!!!

Firstly, Happy New Year to all our alumni! We hope that you all had a lovely holiday! 明けましておめでとうございます!今年もよろしくお願いします!

Secondly, our first meeting of the new year is on January 17th at Chosabi, 2696 Pembina Highway at 7pm. This January is an exception since our committee usually meets on the second Thursday evening of every month. If you want to attend, let us know via email or Facebook.

Wrapping Up The Year With Ramen & Cake Night!!!

Enjoying ramen at Cho Ichi Ramen on Pembina, Winnipeg.  

We had a small gathering of JET alumni at Cho Ichi Ramen on Pembina.  The members enjoyed great ramen and we even had a small debate on which we preferred more:  Vietnamese pho or Japanese ramen.  Afterward, we went to one of the JET alumni’s home and we feasted on Christmas cake.  

JETAA Prairies members enjoying some festiva Christmas cake.
Who wants some Christmas cake?  

As the evening progressed, we discussed about upcoming events for 2019.  To sum it up:  we have more events coming your way, so stay tuned!  Lastly, ramen and cake really do make a good combination (especially during winter).

Japan Trivia Night: A Sucess!

Teams participate at the inaugural JETAA Prairies Japan Trivia Night, December 1st, Garbonzo's Pizza Pub, University of Winnipeg

Teams participate at the inaugural JETAA Prairies Japan Trivia Night, December 1st, Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub, University of Winnipeg AnX

We held our inaugural Japan Trivia Night at Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub in the University of Winnipeg AnX.  A total of three teams participated.  It was a nice mix of Japanese nationals, university students, and JET alumni.  Topics spanned from anime to history to sports to pop culture.  The level of difficulty ranged from easy to hard as time went on.  But  most importantly, the number one goal of holding Japan Trivia Night is fun.

If you are wondering how we formatted the quiz, we broke the trivia into two halves with each half containing 20 questions.  Firstly, the questions were grouped into groups of 5 questions (hence 4 groups in total) and the groups increase in difficulty as you go from the first group to the fourth group.  For example, Group 1 are worth 100 points, Group 2 are worth 200, and so on.   Secondly, all questions require one answer except for every fifth question where they require two answers and doubling the points to close the group.     As a result, trivia can be bring out the roller coaster of emotions because you could gain points back if you know how to answer the questions which are worth double.  Below are a sample of a team’s answer sheets.

Answer sheets from one of the teams. Could you decipher that questions asked?

Answer sheets from one of the teams. Could you decipher that questions asked?

To sum the event up, it was a huge success.  We will definitely be holding another Japan Trivia Night sometime in the near future.  A big thank you to all participants.  See you next time!

Are You Cold Yet? We’ve Got The Remedy….Ramen + Christmas Cake Night!!!

JETAA Prairies will hold a Ramen + Cake Night on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 6:30pm at Cho Ichi Ramen, Winnipeg.

JETAA Prairies will hold a Ramen + Cake Night on Thursday, December 13th, 2018 at 6:30pm at Cho Ichi Ramen, Winnipeg.

Do you miss having a bowl of hot ramen to warm you up? Do you miss having Christmas cake as well? Do you miss mingling with likeminded people who understand what Japan is all about? Behold! We will have Ramen + Christmas Cake Night! on December 13th, 6:30pm  at Cho Ichi Ramen, 1151 Pembina Highway. Cake will be held at a yet to-be-determined location. For JETAA Prairie members.  Please RSVP by December 5th, 2018 either through our Facebook Events page or RSVP directly to rsvp@jetaaprairies.ca

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