July 22, 2011
Acting-Consul-General Watabe Hosts Orientation and Reception for Departing 2011-2012 Japan Exchange & Teaching Program Participants
For the31 excited new Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program participants, the last day in Texas was a hot and humid summer send-off. Acting Consul-General Takahiko Watabe welcomed this year’s participants to the residence of the Consul-General for their pre-departure orientation, which included a training session and reception before their departure for Japan early the next day. Selected from more than 200 applicants, the 2011 participants underwent a stringent selection and interview process to earn their position. The JETs will work in schools and government offices throughout Japan for between one and five years.
Part of the initial steps on their journey, all participants arrived at the residence of the Consul-General for a pre-departure orientation. The meeting focused primarily on travel logistics and last-minute questions to Houston-area JET alumni who were in attendance. Lisa Chambers, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Dallas County gave a keynote address. Chambers, a former JET, discussed her placement in Nagano and how the JET Program propelled her into a position managing security operations in the Athletes’ Village during the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
Following the orientation, Acting-Consul General Watabe invited JET Program alumni and supporters to join the new JETs in a farewellreception. Acting Consul-General Watabe noted that unlike previous years, the 2011 JET group faces challenges created by the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred in March of this year. With this challenge in mind, he asked participants to become involved in their communities and help be part of Japan’s recovery. After Mr. Watabe’swords of encouragement, he offered a toast to the new participants and invited the guests to enjoy the banquet reception.
On behalf of the departing JETs, Ms. Thanh Tran and Mr. Samuel Martinez spoke, thanking Acting-Consul-General Watabe, all the JET supporters for their heartfelt assistance while also expressing their excitement for their adventures yet to come. JET Alumni Association (JETAA) President Ms. Chieko Christinziani and JETAA Treasurer Mr. Dennis Li congratulated the new class of Houston JETs and expressed a desire to switch places while reminding participants the program does not simply conclude when one leaves Japan. JET Coordinator Alex Maciulaitis concluded the evening with remarks thanking everyone and encouraging participants to enjoy themselves in Japan. The send-off of the 2011 JET Program participants marked the fourth and final departure group for Mr. Maciulaitis who will move on to attendgraduate school in Maryland in the coming fall.
The 31 new JET Program participants departed for Japan the following morning, arriving safely at Tokyo’s Narita airport on July 24. Participants from Houston joined a greater body of participants from around the world for a three-day orientation at Tokyo’s Keio Plaza Hotel in the heart of the Shinjuku district. We wish them great success in their new positions and communities.
To learn more about the JET Program or to request an application, please contact Ryan Pauley, JET Program Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (713) 652-2977.