The JET Program is now in its 26th year and has grown significantly since its humble beginnings— from 848 participants from four countries to over 4,300 participants from 39 countries. This year, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco sent 52 individuals to live, work, and participate in cultural exchange on the JET Program.
On Friday, August 3, 2012, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco held the 2012 JET Program Pre-Departure Orientation at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown. In the morning, there was a special workshop for family and friends of new JET participants, giving an overview of the program and addressing questions and concerns about the program. I served as the workshop MC and presenter. The main presentation was followed by a panel of JET Alumni who talked about their JET experiences and answered questions. The panel consisted of Matthew Moser (Kumamoto Prefecture, 2008-10), Yulin Zhou (Okayama Prefecture, 2006-10), Melanie Neault (Ibaraki Prefecture, 2001- 04), and John Charlton (Mie Prefecture, 2003-06). The workshop was well-attended with around 50 family members, friends, and new JET participants.
Following the friends and family workshop, the main Pre-Departure Orientation session was held in the afternoon. The session was a mandatory event for all outgoing JET participants. During this program, final preparation details regarding the following day’s departure, entry into Japan, and Tokyo Orientation were reviewed. Speakers from the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco included Mr. Michio Harada (Deputy Consul General), Ms. Sumi Kato (Advisor for Educational Affairs), and me. Additionally, Karen Drennon from the TTA Travel Agency spoke, and Mr. Mark Frey (Kumamoto Prefecture, 2002-06) presented a keynote presentation. During the Pre-Departure Orientation, the outgoing JETs received luggage markers as a gift from JETAANC.
A farewell reception hosted by Consul General Hiroshi Inomata was held at his official residence in San Francisco in honor of the outgoing 2012 JET participants. Attendees included the 2012 San Francisco JET participants, members from the community, JET Alumni, and consulate staff. Speeches were given by Ms. Kathleen Kimura, a member of the San Francisco-Osaka Sister City Association and long time supporter of the JET Program, new JET Jordan Vaughan, and the Honorable Hiroshi Inomata. The MC for the event was Ms. Sumi Kato, Advisor for Educational Affairs.
On the evening prior to their departure, JETAANC hosted a special nomikai send-off event for the outgoing 2012 JET participants at the Hotel Kabuki’s O! Izakaya Lounge. This annual tradition gave JET alumni the opportunity to connect to the newly departing JET participants and reminisce about their times on JET.
Peter Weber, JET Program Coordinator and JETAANC Vice President, San Francisco, Saitama, 2004-07