Florida JETAA

Looking Back: 2016 Tampa Natsumatsuri

Posted by admin

This year, FL-JETAA celebrated the 11th year of the Tampa Natsumatsuri! On June 11th, around 700 guests came out to enjoy the games and performances provided by this FREE community festival -- an all time record for us! The festival was started by John McGee, former board member and current Tampa Region Representative. This year, Orlando Region Rep and former Treasurer Tom Gregorich signed on as Festival Director. Thank you both for all the hard work and the amazing time!

Visit the gallery to see more pictures from the festival.

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2016 JET Program Departure!

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Last Friday, we said goodbye to the newest batch of JET Program participants at a Farewell Reception hosted by the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami. This year, another 46 JETs from Florida were selected to teach all over Japan -- one of our biggest groups yet!

In a rare sighting, Bahia (President), Jennifer (Vice-President), Kyle (Secretary), Lauren (Webmaster), Wendy (South Florida Region Rep.) and Barbara Barret (former Info. Officer) were all together to see them off. We were also glad to be joined by some of our most active South Florida members, Jaclyn, Brian, Gabi, and Barbara.

Congratulations, everyone! We hope to hear about your awesome experiences soon enough!


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2016 Tanabata Hot Pot

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The Tanabata party in South Florida has been a yearly FLJETAA event for some time now, organized by Wendy Lo, our South Florida Region Rep. In the past, it was held potluck style, and everyone came in Yukata. Last year, our Chapter President Bahia hosted it at her house, and we were able to tie some wishes to the bamboo trees she had in her yard.

This year, we were unable to have the potluck at someone's house due to various circumstances. Instead, we decided to have a Tanabata Hot Pot Party! Thanks to the alumni that came out to Lemongrass Hot Pot in Boca Raton. Hope you enjoyed the buffet!

See full photo gallery.

2016 Tanabata Party at Lemongrass Hot Pot

2016 Tanabata Party at Lemongrass Hot Pot

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2016 Yukata Bar Crawl – South Florida

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Last month, we had our first Yukata Bar Crawl in South Florida. And what a great turn out! Around 30 people - Both JET Alumni and Friends of JET - came out to the Miami Coffee Kaiwa language meetup, then joined up with us for a night of bar hopping in Coral Gables, FL. Among the places visited: Small Tea, Books & Books, Sushi Samba, and The Bar. Although not everyone could get Yukata for this event, we hope that next time we can get more out there.

Don't live in South Florida? No worries! We're planning for other Yukata Bar Crawls around the state, so keep an eye open for information from your regional representatives.

2016 Miami Yukata Bar Crawl 1


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2016 Election Results

Posted by admin

Voting results are in! Help us welcome our new (and old) FL-JETAA Officers!
President: Bahia Simons-Lane
Treasurer: Sean Beckwith
Secretary: Kyle Litow
Information Officer: Justice Pitts

Also, a big welcome to our new Gainesville Region Rep, Katie Brunell!

If you're interested in joining our efforts, there are two open positions for Region Reps (Tallahassee & Treasure Coast). If you're interested in taking one on, please contact our Secretary: Secretary@florigajetaa.org.

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Voting Open: 2016 Board Elections

Posted by admin

Voting for the 2016 Florida JETAA board elections is now open through April 26th at 11:55 pm. Any votes received after this date will not be counted.

Read candidate Bios here.

Click here to cast your vote!

The positions up for election this term are President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Information Officer. All terms are 2-year terms. For more information about the responsibilities of these positions, please visit this link.

JET Program alumni who are registered members of Florida JETAA are eligible to vote. Friends of JET are not eligible to cast a vote.

Your vote will be kept confidential. Only the current Florida JETAA webmaster, Lauren Sorondo, who is handling the elections this year will see your vote. We ask for personal information to verify that you are a JET alumni.


Job Opening at Consulate-General of Japan in Miami

Posted by admin

Web Management & Media Relations - Consulate General of Japan in Miami

The Public Relations and Culture Department of the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami is hiring for one full-time Webpage Management and Media Relations position.  This is a temporary position that will run until March 2017. The primary responsibility of this position will be to maintain and update the Consulate’s website using the Consulate’s content management system. The secondary role will be to develop the Consulate’s media relations by working with a contracted PR company as the Consulate’s liaison.  Ideal candidate should be adaptable, fast‐paced, results oriented, creative, and knowledgeable of technology applications and software.

To apply, please submit your resume with a letter of recommendation from a professional reference to the Public Relations and Culture Department (Miwako.Patton@mi.mofa.go.jp) by April 8, 2016.

Click here for job details.


2016 Elections – Nominations Open

Posted by President


It's time for Florida JETAA elections! While the 2016 FL-JETAA elections will not be quite as much of a spectacle as the Washington ones, they are still pretty important!   If you are interesting in working more closely with FL-JETAA and helping our community grow, please consider running for a position.  Elections will be held during the first weeks of April, and a later email this month will confirm the candidates, how to vote, and the voting deadline.

You must be a JET alumni to vote, nominate, and run in our elections.

Nominating Yourself
If you'd like to run for a position, simply nominate yourself for the position that you are interested in by emailing our outgoing Webmaster, Lauren, at webmaster[@]floridajetaa.org. Send a brief 1-2 paragraph bio about yourself, any related experience, and why you'd be a good candidate. Bios are due by March 30, 2016.

Nominating Others
Hey, what about that guy? You know, the one you think would be perfect for one of these positions? You can nominate them by emailing their name and nominating position to Lauren at webmaster[@]floridajetaa.org. Nominations of others must be received byMarch 24, 2016, to allow us time to contact the nominee. Nominees will not be told who nominated them and are free to accept or decline the nomination.

Open Positions
Here are the openings and a description of the opening positions:


The President shall attend the JETAA USA yearly conference and report important information back to the Board of Directors and members, vote on issues presented to the Board of Directors, act as a tie breaker in the event that the Board is unable to reach a majority decision, and represent Florida JETAA at a minimum of one (1) yearly event. The President will also work with the Secretary and Information Officer to create and distribute an annual report on the chapter’s activities to all FLJETAA members. This position carries a 2-year term.


The Treasurer shall maintain the financial record of FL-JETAA, be responsible for preparing end of the fiscal year reports, vote on issues presented to the Board of Directors, and represent Florida JETAA at a minimum of one (1) yearly event. This position carries a 2-year term.


The Secretary shall keep minutes during Board meetings and disseminate information to all Board of Directors, maintain FLJETAA documents, vote on issues presented to the Board of Directors, and represent Florida JETAA at a minimum of one (1) yearly event. The Secretary will also collaborate with the President and Information Officer to create and distribute an annual report on the chapter’s activities to all FLJETAA members. Position carries a 2-year term.

Information Officer:

The Information Officer will collaborate with the Board of Directors, especially the Webmaster, and the JETAA community to maintain blog content and arrange for guest bloggers.  They will also work with the Secretary and President to create and distribute an annual report on the chapter’s activities to all FLJETAA members.

Regional Representatives

There are also openings for regional representatives in Gainesville, Treasure Coast, and Tallahassee. These positions are appointed by the elected officers. Regional representatives act as a point of contact for Florida JETAA and the JET Coordinator at the consulate regarding events and recruiting in your area. Reps are encouraged to plan one event a year if there is interest in their area.  Please contact Bahia at president[@]floridajetaa.org or Lauren at webmaster[@]floridajetaa.org if you're interested in being a representative for these regions.


2016 Tampa Natsumatsuri Announcement

Posted by President

JETAA Table at Tampa Natsu Matsuri
Hi everyone,

We are pleased to announce that the 2016 Tampa Natsumatsuri has been set for June 11 from 6pm-9pm!

That's right, we're moving to the evening!  This should make it less hot and hopefully easier for people to attend.  It's also more traditional.  We just haven't been in a position to do it until now.

I'm also very please to announce that we have a new festival Director!  Tom Gregorich is a JET alumni who has been active in sharing Japanese culture since his return to the US.  He's been a personal friend of mine for many years and I know he's going to do a great job.  Of course, I'll still be involved, but Tom will be handling most of the coordination.

To help with the transition, we've also established a new email address that is dedicated to festival business.  Please add TampaNatsuMatsuri@gmail.com to your address book and direct festival questions there from now on.  This is the last festival email you'll receive from the Tampakumi address.  But you will still receive emails from me about other Tampa Japanese community events.

As always, we need your help to make the festival a success.  Tampa Natsumatsuri is a non-profit community-based festival.  This means, it's you, the Tampa Japanese cultural community, that make it happen.  So we need exhibitors, vendors, game operators, cosplayers, martial artists...anyone who participates in Japanese culture to come show off what you love.  As I always say, if there's something you've always wanted to see at the festival, that's a good sign you're the one to bring it!

Thanks and see you there,


Tampa Natsumatsuri Founder

JETAAFL Tampa Region Representative.


Tohoku Tomo Movie Screenings

Posted by President

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March 2016 is the five year anniversary of the great east Japan earthquake. On March 11, 2011, while the rest of the world watched, much of the northern coast was washed away by the massive tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 earthquake.The tragedy was devastating to Tohoku, Japan, and the entire world. People lost loved ones, their homes, and even their way of life. In the months after the disaster, countless volunteers rallied from around the world and came to Japan’s aid to help begin the long process of rebuilding. Whether by donating money, organizing events, or coming to volunteer, these individuals showed they truly care about Japan and about the people of Tohoku. Tohoku Tomo tells their story.

Tohoku Tomo is 60 minutes in length, with English audio and Japanese subtitles.

These screenings are free and open to the public.


RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1678143389125886/

Where: Miami
Florida International University, Room GL100
Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC)
11200 S.W. 8th Street
Miami, Florida 33199

Time: 8:00 PM

Details: The screening begins at 8 PM. From 9 PM - 10 PM we will hold a panel discussion with director Wesley Julian, Consul General Okaniwa, and Bryan Barber (M.A. in Asian Studies and Ph.D. Candidate in International Relations from FIU).

Part of the Global Engagement Film series hosted by FIU's Office of Global Learning Initiatives. Sponsored by Florida JETAA, Office of Global Learning Initiatives, and FIU's Asian Studies Program.

Parking Information

Parking Map FIU


RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/984431898294285/

Where: Orlando
Asia Trend / Y.E.S.S. Center
3201 E. Colonial Dr., Suite M-25,
Orlando, FL 32803
Inside Orlando Fashion Square near JC Penney


Time: 6:00 PM

Details: 6 PM - 7 PM Fundraising by Orlando Tewassa Group

7-7:45 PM Movie Screening

7:45-8:30 PM Discussion and Q&A with Director Wesley Julian

Sponsored by Florida JETAA, Asia Trend, and local community group Orlando Tewassa Group whose mission is to support survivors from Tohoku Earthquake for the long term.


A Series of Short Documentary Films Highlighting Tohoku

View at www.113Project.org

From the creative team of the documentary Tohoku Tomo, an IDFA 2015 Finalist with over 30 domestic and international screenings to date, comes the 113 Project, a short film series inviting you to rediscover Tohoku through the eyes of young adults, local businesses, and other communities rebuilding their lives and working towards the future. Featuring over a dozen interviews and stories embodying hope and perseverance, these short films showcase the warmth and beauty of the region while sharing the voices of people who want to let you know how life is today.

The short film series will be available at www.113Project.org beginning March 7, 2016. For questions, please contact info@tohokutomo.com. The public is encouraged to use the hashtag, #TTWeek, for Tohoku Tomo Week, where thoughts, photos, and memories of Tohoku can be shared on social media.


As an all volunteer effort, the 113 Project is in need of your support to finalize the production of the short film series. Our goal is to share these moving stories that showcase Tohoku and the warmth of its people.  With your support, we can share these stories across the United States and Japan, and create greater awareness for Tohoku. Donations will be accepted online at TohokuTomo.com.


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