Category: Alumni

Ambassador of Japan Meets With JETAA Prairies

His Excellency, Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, his wife Ms. Kaoru Ishikane, and members of the JETAA Prairies at the Fort Garry Hotel after lunch, Tuesday, May 14th, 2019
His Excellency, Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, his wife Ms. Kaoru Ishikane, representatives of the Consul General of Japan in Calgary and the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa, and members of the JETAA Prairies at the Fort Garry Hotel after lunch, Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

On Tuesday, May 14th, JETAA Prairies members were invited to have lunch with the Ambassador of Japan to Canada, His Excellency Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane. Mr. Ishikane, his wife Ms. Kaoru Ishikane, representatives from the Consul General of Japan in Calgary, and JETAA Prairies members gathered at the historic Fort Garry Hotel. Mr. Ishikane is making an official visit to Winnipeg.

Indeed, JETAA Prairies would like to send our sincerest gratitude to Ambassador of Japan, Ms. Ishikane, Consul General of Japan in Calgary, and the Embassy of Japan in Ottawa for having us. In addition, if you would like to know more about His Excellency Mr. Kimihiro Ishikane, please read his CV.

Monthly Meeting in Osborne Village

Coincidentally, the evening of May 14th was also the time for our Monthly meeting. Members gathered at the famous Baked Expectations in Osborne Village. Particularly, we discussed plans in the upcoming months. For example, the upcoming Pre-Departure Orientation in June, Ai-kon, and Folklorama. Furthermore, if you would like to help in some sort of capacity for any of these events, please let us know via our Facebook group page or Contact Form.

Cake and coffee/latte at Baked Expectations
Cake and coffee/latte at Baked Expectations, May 14th, 2019
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May’s Monthly Meeting Coming Up: May 14th, 6:30pm, Baked Expectations!

Kanazawa Station, March 2018
JR Kanazawa Station

Is there a better way to spend time with individuals who have lived in Japan than eating dessert in a popular Winnipeg neighbourhood? Soon, we will meet next Tuesday, May 14th, at 6:30pm at Baked Expectations, 161 Osborne Street. Furthermore, the main points on the agenda are:

  • We will discuss planning for the Pre-Departure Orientation (happening on June 15th)
  • Ai-kon (July 26th – July 8th)
  • Folklorama 2019: Winnipeg’s largest multicultural festival

Likewise, if you are a JET alumni, are willing/genki to help out (even for just a little bit), and are hungry for some dessert, let us know via our Contact Form or Facebook Event.

By the way, this is our first monthly meeting under the Reiwa Era! We hope to see you all soon! (Side note: we have moved our monthly meetings from the second Thursday to the second Tuesday of every month)

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2019 Annual General Meeting

Members of JETAA Prairies having the 2019 Annual General Meeting at Izakaya Edokko in Dowtown Winnipeg.  April 14th, 2019.
Do you crave for Japanese food? Why don’t you join us?

On April 14th, 2019, JETAA Prairies members, met at Izakaya Edokko in Downtown Winnipeg for the Annual General Meeting. JETAA Prairies is the local Japan Exchange & Teaching (JET) alumni chapter representing Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Indeed, nine members showed up. We briefly introduced ourselves, and enjoyed the delicious food while talking about Game of Thrones and the Winnipeg Jets.

Afterward, the members reflected on past JETAA Prairies events/activities. For example, we reflected on last year’s National Conference at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, our info booth/panel at Ai-kon/Winterfest, the Japanese language classes for alumni, and the inaugural Japan Trivia Night. Truly, JETAA Prairies had an eventful year.

More importantly, we also voted for the 2019-2020 Executive. The results are:

  • Jeff: President
  • Melissa: Treasurer
  • Carol: Secretary
  • Ali: Cultural Ambassador
  • Roger: Senior Advisor
  • Alastair: Legal Attaché
  • Rigor: Webmaster/Communications

For the rest of the year, we have upcoming events lined up. For example, we will hold our Pre-Departure Orientation for the new JETs, we will return to Folklorama this year, and many others. Hence: stay tuned. By the way, if you are interested in helping out, even for a little bit, please let us know via our Contact Form.

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Annual General Meeting, Sunday, April 14th, 12pm @ Izakaya Edokko!!!

Kobe, Japan
Kobe, Japan

We will be holding our Annual General Meeting on Sunday, April 14th, 2019, 12pm at Izakaya Edokko, 190 Smith Street. This is your opportunity to voice your opinions/suggestions for events that JETAA Prairies should get involved in. Also, we will also be creating the 2019/2020 executive! This event is open to all JETAA Prairies alumni. You don’t have to be a regular volunteer of the JETAA Prairies community to attend. If you can only attend the AGM, that is ok, too. If you are planning to go, please let us know via our website or our Facebook events page on what you want to order by April 12th. We can cover the cost of appetizers for everyone, however, each member is responsible for his/her own meal (here’s the link to Izakaya Edokko’s menu). We won’t do omakase because it requires an $80 minimum per person.

Hope to see you there!

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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, 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。
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、 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。

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:

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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.

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

The Meeting


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!

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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).

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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!

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