KumAJET 2019-2020: A Year in Review!

As this year draws to a close, it’s time to look back on the last year and everything we’ve been up to! We’re starting to rev up for next year and our new board will be announced in the next few weeks. It was so great seeing so many new and old faces in our trips and activities around Kumamoto. Thank you to all of the current and past Kumamoto JETs, and our past executive members. This year wouldn’t have been possible without you!

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So…what did we get up to this year? I’m so glad you asked!

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Kyushu Floods and How to Help

EDIT (7/29/20): Please refer to our volunteering page for information on how to help people in the affected areas!

Kumamotoans and Kumamoto-lovers!

As I’m sure you all know, Kumamoto and the rest of Kyushu is currently dealing with a natural disaster of historic and catastrophic levels. Dozens of people have been declared dead or missing, while tens of thousands have been displaced and hundreds of thousands more have been affected by loss of power and other unfortunate situations.

But what can we do to help?

KumAJET is looking into setting up a fundraiser for current Kumamoto JETs, but for now, in case you’re not sure where to donate, here’s a useful document collecting current donation and crowdfunding efforts.

These range from large corporations and companies like the Japan Postal Service, Aeon Bank, Rakuten, and Yahoo, to smaller companies and the regions and towns themselves. Most of them will have updates as to where the money is going, as well as how much money has been collected.

As the document linked above is in Japanese, here are a few different avenues that KumAJET thinks might be a good place to start.

  • For those in and around Kumamoto City, Jeff’s World Bar is currently raising money at the bar, which they will donate by the end of July.
  • To donate directly to various cities and towns, you can go to Satofuru or Furusato Choice, which are collecting for many towns affected. For both, you will have to log in to donate, but the sign-up procedure is quite straightforward. You can choose where your money goes, as well as have some say into what it is used for, so this is a good option to start with. Payment is possible by credit card, mobile providers, convenience store, and Pay-Easy.
  • Another company collecting donations is ReadyFor, which are collecting for various support and rescue groups in the region. You can choose to donate to any of them by going through their website. Note that there is a minimum donation of 3000 yen.
  • Finally, for our overseas folks, two very simple ways to donate is through Rakuten Global or Yahoo! Japan. This will require a credit card.

With the global pandemic, both evacuation and rescue/volunteer efforts have been significantly hampered. Now more than ever, it’s truly important to come together and support each other. As more news comes out, we will be sure to keep you all updated.

Stay safe and dry, Kumamoto!

KumAJET supports Black lives

After careful thought,  we cannot stay silent.

Unequivocally, KumAJET supports Black and Brown lives. Black lives matter, they’ve always mattered, and they will always matter. Why are we posting this now though?

Being in Japan comes with its own challenges. We may be farther away from protests that disrupt people’s everyday life back home, as well as not directly affected by the depictions of police violence we see on the news. However, being in Japan and having a full-time job can also mean we are farther away from family, friends, and support systems. This (understandably) can be a time full of feelings of anxiety, guilt, and powerlessness. We have been working hard to compile resources in the form of a guide focusing on our experiences and knowledge as JETs, in the hopes of providing resources and support that may be useful for the coming months.

Access the guide or click through to individual sections below:

  1. Educational resources (English)
  2. Educational resources (Japanese)
  3. Vocabulary for talking with Japanese people about BLM and racism
  4. How to have that hard conversation with people back home
  5. Act
  6. Supporting  yourself and self-care

Especially to our Black JETs, but to all Kumamoto JETs, please know – you are not alone. We are here for you, and we hope that you will reach out if there’s anything that we can do to support and help.