What is KumAJET?
KumAJET is the local chapter of the Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching (AJET). AJET is a national volunteer organization of JET Programme participants whose mission is to serve the JET community by building support networks, organizing useful information, and offering resources to enhance the lives of JETs.
KumAJET strives to be a group that brings people together to have fun and make friends here in Kumamoto. Whether you’re looking to do some volunteer work, get out for a night on the town, or explore some of Kumamoto’s scenery, we are the group for you.
KumaJET members include current and former JETs as well as members of the local community. Our events are open to all residents of Kumamoto, both foreign and Japanese. Along with planning our own unique KumAJET events, we provide details about other events going on in the prefecture here and on our official Facebook page.
The 2020-2021 Team
Kelli Yogi, President
Hey everyone! My name is Kelli and I’m from Southern California, USA. I am currently going into my 3rd year as a SHS ALT in Kumamoto City and this will be my 2nd year as President.
Despite all the hardships we will be facing this year, I hope to continue planning fun events/volunteer opportunities/supporting people in our communities with a strong team of motivated individuals on the KumAJET Staff this year.
To those who have been to our events before, I hope to see you again. To those who are new, I hope to meet you soon!
Annabel Shu, Volunteer Coordinator & Webmaster
Hello hello! I’m Annabel, from Atlanta, GA in the United States. I’m a second-year SHS ALT in Kumamoto City!
In Kumamoto, I climb rocks both indoors and outdoors and eat a lot of different kinds of ramen. I love cheering for my home soccer team, Atlanta United, and for underdogs everywhere (Ganbarou, Roasso!!!). I am also constantly trying to keep plants alive in my home, which works about 50% of the time.
This is my second year as webmaster so any fun n forthcoming blog posts with Usagyuuun GIFs will likely be from me. I’ll also be taking over as volunteer coordinator! Please reach out if there’s anything that can be improved or added to the website, or if you have any fun volunteer opportunities!!
Elea Paybins, PR Director
Heya! I’m Elea. I’m from West Virginia, USA and yes, it’s the one and only West Virginia from the song Country Roads! I’m a second year ALT in the town of Mashiki. I only work with ES and wow they can be cute little weirdos.
I’m an illustrator and I hope to grow my graphic design skillz this year by making fun graphics for KumAJET! I’m also someone who likes trying to propagate succulents from ones I find on the streets of the city to ones I find on walls in the inaka. Succulents are EVERYWHERE here in Kumamoto and Kyushu! Ya learn somethin’ new every day.
I’ve never done PR before, but I’m going to try my best! I hope to inspire y’all to come to our events!
Emily Caruso, Treasurer
Hello! I’m Emily, a second-year ALT from Colorado, US. I teach at the elementary schools and junior high school in Nishihara Village, Aso.
I am a hiker of hills, snowboarder of mountains, bather of onsens, mama of plants, binger of Netflix, and connoisseur of 和食 (Japanese food). I’m excited to continue to explore this beautiful prefecture and country. Although travel bans are currently in place that prevent us from leaving Japan due to the pandemic, there are still so many exciting places to go in our own backyards.
I’ll be the treasurer this year. I’ll be at almost every event (to make sure you pay but also because our events are, like, super cool and fun) so I look forward to seeing your faces and getting to know you all!
Lewis Marks, Online Community Manager
Hey there! I’m Lewis, one of the rare ALTs from the UK. I’m in my 3rd year of teaching at SHS in the faraway lands of Kikuchi, home to the infamous Kikuchi-kun.
I like my indoor activities a little more than most. With 7 different musical instruments, a tower PC, dual monitors and some of the best veggies that Japan has to offer who can blame me?
As the Online Community Manager I’ll be helping to refine the online hub that we have created together for everyone to connect with each other regardless of time and distance. If you have any great ideas or additions for our discord server, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Harry Barter, Athletics Director
Hi everyone, I’m Harry Barter, a second-year JET from the UK, living in Kumamoto City. I love sports, outdoor adventuring, playing in bands, ramen, onsen, karaoke, Russian literature, and drinking gin until I fall over.
When I talk to fellow ALTs, one of the biggest things they tell me they miss from home is playing, watching, and socializing around sport. My goal this year as Athletic Director is to bring as many KumaJETs together through organised sport as possible – both in casual and more competitive settings.
Having played sport all my life around the world, I understand how essential being part of a sporting community is for physical, mental and social wellbeing. If you have any interest or suggestions surrounding sports participation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I look forward to meeting you all on the pitch/field/court/track/dancefloor.
Sanjay Krishna, Marketing Coordinator
Hello all!! My name is Sanjay and I’m from Bangalore, India. I am currently living in Kumamoto City working as an engineer.
I’m a happy-go-lucky person and love to be around people. You can call me a social animal or an “Enthu cutlet”.
I enjoy cooking not only curry but a wide range of delicacies. I admire fashion, technology fascinates me, and I am a coffee lover. I’m an adventure enthusiast who likes to go hiking with people that chitchat.
I’ll be handling the marketing part of the community’s activities, and I’m always open for any suggestions and improvements.
Lee Cockerham, Activities Researcher
Hello to my fellow expats, My name is Lee and I’m from Canada.
This is 3rd year in Japan and I am now living in the lovely countryside of Aso.
I enjoy a wide variety of hobbies (sports, anime, retro games, hiking, biking, photography and exploring Japan) to name a few. I also play tennis and am always looking for some competition.
I specialize in the countryside of Japan so I will be putting together some possible events and activities for fellow ALTs to participate in if they so choose. I am not a fan of big cities but don’t mind the occasional visit to interesting sites or to dive into recycle shops.
If you have any event ideas from local festivals to planned/guided events just send me the information I will be happy to compile it and submit it to the team.
Aaron Long, Secretary
Salutations and good morning/day/evening, dependent on what time of day it is. My name is Aaron Long and I will be humbly serving you all as the secretary for KumAJET. With regards to my passions, I am a purveyor of the Abyss, the Void, and all things exquisitely existential.
I am originally from America and am currently comfortably housed in Kumamoto City, where I reside among the Higashi League of Darkness. If you happen to be on the streets of Kumamoto-shi at 7:30AM you might spot me lethargically pedaling to my job at Seiseiko High School.
When I’m not investing too much time into a video game, I can usually be found writing stories, reading comic books, annoying friends, or staring into space for no apparent reason at all. If this Bio is anything to go on, I also don’t take many things too seriously. Here’s to a great year!