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)

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.

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!

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:

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


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.

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