GAJET is your friendly Gunma JET community and support group. We are here to help make your time in Gunma as fulfilling as possible by bringing you information, connecting you to resources, and building a strong community that enjoys this beautiful prefecture to the fullest! We are the local chapter of AJET, the Association of the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, and are 100% run by elected volunteer JETs just like you.
We also run the ultra-useful Gunma ALTs Facebook Page, which is perhaps the best way to stay up-to-date on local happenings and news. We’ve got a year of great events ahead and a community which we think is truly fantastic, so please pull up a chair and stay awhile! Don’t be a stranger, unless you are a wild Gunma bear or monkey, in which case, please do stay away.
2020 – 2021 GAJET Crew:
Valerie Landers, President, Contact Valerie at [email protected]
“The more the merrier.” “Where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Hello Gunma JET family! You know me as a senior high school ALT who has lived in Tomioka for four years now, enjoys adventuring around Gunma in less socially restricted times, and currently serves as a member of Gunma’s Prefectural Advisor team. I have also served on GAJET committees for the past two years, and am looking forward to a third year as President!
Coronavirus isn’t going to stop GAJET from doing what it does best—bringing Gunma JETs together, providing support and building a community that extends throughout Gunma, and lives around the world.
This GAJET year will be about inclusion, innovation, and accessibility—bringing us together, ensuring that Gunma JETs feel at home and welcome, making information and activities accessible linguistically, and having fun! With the support of the community and the committee let’s make 2020–2021 another successful year to add to the annals of Gunma JET history.
Ciara Lily Malone, Vice-President. Contact Ciara at [email protected]
Hello, everyone! I’m Ciara Malone and I’m going into my fourth year as an elementary school JET in Yoshii, Takasaki. This is my third year as a member of the GAJET team.
I can’t believe it has already been three years since I landed in the then unknown Gunma and what an adventure it has been since. If you’re looking for recommendations on places to go, food to eat, mountains to hike, or random festivals to visit, shoot me a message!
‘Let’s enjoy’ the great inaka!
Kelley Lau, Secretary, Contact Kelley at [email protected]
Hello everyone! My name is Kelley and I’m from the city of Toronto in Canada (really the Greater Toronto Area, but for all intents and purposes we’ll just say Toronto). I’m a current Takasaki ALT placed in Kurabuchi, and am enjoying every moment of living in Gunma!
My hobbies include watching movies (like so many movies), drawing/painting, and visiting new places with my friends! I’m also a sucker for Yoshinoya’s negitama gyuudon.
Although the ‘rona has caused quite a stir in recent months and has put a halt to many a plan, I’ll be working hard with the other members of GAJET to make this year just as amazing as ever, if not better. I’ll be looking forward to seeing everyone at GAJET events, whether it be physically or digitally!
Geoff Hendricks, Treasurer, Contact Geoff at [email protected]
My name is Geoffrey (Geoff, Joff, Goph, Gee-off, etc.) from the great lands of YeeHaw, Texas living in Takasaki. I’ll be a second-year Elementary School JET in the fall, and I’ll be representing y’all as treasurer for the coming year.
I like to consider myself a jack-of-all-trades, a bard if you will. I’m a classically trained musician of 14 years, an avid cooker of all things edible, and a video-game playing, d20 rolling, cardboard spellcasting nerd. My free time is spent either hitting the gym with the guys or playing fantasy RPGs and trading card games with my friends, so if you’re looking for a Dungeon Master or a friend to play Magic with, hit me up!
Takasaki is a great place full of wonderful people, so I’m very happy to be representing you as part of the GAJET crew. Let’s enjoy drinks and burgers and the many things to come in the future! 宜しくお願い致します！
Marissa Danielsen, Editor/Webmaster, Contact Marissa at [email protected]
Hi! I’m Marissa I will be working as the editor and webmaster for GAJET. I’m going into my second year as a SHS ALT in Yoshii-machi. I am from Orange County, California, where you might have found me chilling at a beach bonfire with my friends or hiking in canyons. I was living in North Hollywood before I came to Japan, and quickly tired of the big city life(and rent prices). I live in Takasaki with my husband and quickly expanding garden.
I am a lover of all art forms high-brow and low. If you need recommendations for cultural activities, want strong opinions on art history, or just want me to send good vibes, send me an email. Please also send me your art, music, writings, poetry, etc etc. We need a lot of things in life to survive, but we need art to thrive.
Loïc Cremer, Seibu Representative, Contact Loïc at [email protected]
Howdy everyone, my name is Loïc! I’m a soon-to-be second year JET living in Takasaki and I’m your freshly-minted Seibu Rep this year! I’m really excited to be on the committee and super pumped to plan all sorts of neat events for you all, it’s a pleasure and an honor to serve you.
If you want to know a little bit about me, I was born in Liège, Belgium, I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and I’m super proud of both my Belgian and Canadian Heritage. I love video games, board games, tabletops RPG’s, and sports., and my favourites in each category are Bioshock 2, 7Wonders, the Sprawl, and cycling respectively. I’m obsessed with games and want to be a game designer after JET. I’m also trilingual, so if you need any assistance in French or Japanese (or if you just want to chat in another language,) feel free to hit me up!
I’m excited to see what this year brings and to fill it with quarantine fun for everyone! Cheers!
Ashton Acree, Chubu Representative, Contact Ashton at [email protected]
Hello! My name is Ashton Elizabeth Acree, and I’m a JET placed in Maebashi. I’m your Chubu Representative! I will take great joy in welcoming new JETs into the Cult of Chubu and establishing myself as a go-to member for information, community involvement, and mild shenanigans.
I am a go-getter who strives for victory. I came in second-to-last place in the cabbage toss at the last Gunma Games, but no one had more heart in yeeting that cabbage than me.
I love adventure and keep myself curious. I never turn down offers to travel somewhere new and am delighted to explore all of the nooks and crannies of Gunma. One of my past times has been to visit new shops and restaurants to equip myself with an arsenal of recommendations.
Send me an email if you need any recommendations around Chubu!
Linka Wade, Agatsuma Rep. Contact Linka at [email protected]
Linka, Agatsuma Representative, Contact Linka at [email protected]
Hello! I’m Linka Wade and I’m the Agatsuma Regional Rep this year. I’m from Monterey, California (NorCal > SoCal) and I live with my husband, and two guinea pigs in the middle of a rice paddy. I am a third year ALT at two very tiny and rural schools.
I love living the inaka life and sharing the gems of one of Gunma’s less-visited regions. I enjoy cooking, hiking, photography, and dragging my husband out on adventures.
Phillip Yawata, Tone Representative, Contact Phil at [email protected]
Hello fellow JETs, my name is Phillip Yawata and I’ll be the Tone Rep this year. I’m from Hawaiʻi Island of the Hawaiian Islands. In order to avoid confusion it is known by its locals as the Big Island, aptly named for its size. Here in Gunma, I’m a soon-to-be third year JET teaching at two senior high schools in Numata.
In my free time, you’re likely to find me at the gym, driving my tiny kei car around Gunma, or hanging out and drinking with friends. Being in one of the regions that experiences frequent snowfall during winter, you’ll often find me staring at the falling snow and being mind-blown by it. I sometimes also go snowboarding.
The Tone Region is host to an array of events and sights, such as Numata Festival (the best festival in Gunma btw), Fukiware Falls, Takaragawa Onsen, and so much more. During my time as its representative, I hope to manage many events and get-togethers to share this wonderful region with you all. I’m looking forward to a wonderful year and meeting more current and future Gunma JETs! E komo mai!
Kei, Tobu Representative, [email protected]
G’day cobber! It’s Kei; your best friend, your DM, and your sommelier- I’d recommend you a nice red, if I hadn’t drunk it all already!
I’m a soon-to-be-second year JET originally from sunny Queensland, Australia, now residing in Midori, which is currently not so sunny. However, the sunshine lives on in us, dear reader, and I hope that we can support each other as we blindly stumble through these bizarre times we’re living in.
When I’m not drinking wine, I’m drinking tea and playing games, getting lost on a mountain somewhere, or enjoying the company of my fellow ALTs. My goal is to travel to every prefecture in Japan while on JET (I’m 48.9% of the way there!) and I can tell you with confidence that there’s nowhere I’d rather return to each time than Gunma. I guarantee there’s something here you’ll love, so let’s enjoy together!
See the 2019-2020 crew here.
See the 2018-2019 crew here.
See the 2017-2018 crew here.