Tag Archive : GAJET


GAJET Elections 2017-2018

June 6, 2017 | News and Announcements | No Comments

Here are the nominations for your upcoming GAJET committee! Please read each platform carefully and vote by clicking the link below. If you are unsure of the tasks each role must fulfill then check out the nominations page. Voting is open now until Friday, June 9th at 8 p.m.!!!

Misha Pinyo (Maebashi)PresidentMisha - White Shirt - Smiling

Hello fellow Gunmarians!

My name is Misha and I’m running for President. When I’m not teaching at Mae-Nishi and Haruna High Schools, you can find me learning new musical instruments, exploring Japan’s beautiful mountain onsen, and planning my slow journey across the world.

I believe that I have the experience and skills necessary to lead the GAJET team into another successful year. This August will mark the end of my third year on the JET program, and my second year on the GAJET council. Two years ago I was a Chubu Representative, and this year I was on the executive board as Webmaster. In addition to GAJET, I am also a member of the JOMO JET council, which seeks to create spaces for grassroots intercultural exchange. Also, for a second year running I will be assisting new JETs as they adjust to life in Japan as part of the Gunma Orientation Committee.

I also have experience outside of the Gunma community. I have taken courses in conflict resolution and communication, and I have lived in intentional communities. In those communities we held regular meetings, and made decisions through consensus (vs. “majority rules”), which taught me how to collaborate effectively in a group, and how to find common goals.

As for my platform, I have a few ideas as to what direction the new committee should head in:
Simplify Event Timeline:
In years past GAJET had held a plethora of major events, one right after the other at the beginning of the contract season, with relatively few towards the end. As president I plan on committing to 8 major events spread throughout the year; this will reduce the amount of stress for GAJET members, while insuring that the community has a chance to enjoy big events more consistently. I would also like to bring back the practice of holding small, informal regional events like “family dinners,” hikes, festival walks, and movie nights, depending on the availability of regional representatives.

Schedule Meetings & Events Early:
As for logistics, I would also like to ensure that all major events and meetings for the entire year have an estimated date from the very start, and have these dates shareable to everyone via Google Calendar. Doing this early on will increase the number of people who can attend our events, and will clear up confusion when it comes to scheduling meetings. I would also propose that there be one mandatory meeting per month; 8 meetings would be online and last exactly 1 hour, and 4 meetings would be in person and last exactly 2 hours. In person meetings would be held at or before major events since most GAJET members attend such events anyways.

Make Finances Transparent:

GAJET is a non-profit organization, but a certain amount of cash flow is needed to insure the safety and logistics of events, as well as to provide equipment and services that the broader community can use. I would make sure that GAJETs cash on hand is never too low or two high, and that balances and expenses are made transparent to the community.
Most importantly, I’m running because I want to contribute to a thriving and supportive community wherever I go. We are incredibly lucky in Gunma to have such an active and supportive AJET, and I firmly believe that it is an indispensable part of our little cabbage patch. I want to do my part to make sure that this support stands strong for current and future generations of JET participants.
Thank you for your time,


Paola Torres (Shibukawa)Vice PresidentImage-1

Hello Everyone! My name is Paola Andrea Torres and I would like to run as the GAJET Vice President .

During my first year in JET, I was very impressed with all the hard work the Senpai JETs put together to coordinate and plan such fun events. This past year, I was able to join the GAJET team as a Chubu Representative and  I experienced first hand how the magic happens! It was a lot of fun to work alongside such motivated and driven members. So I would like to join this wonderful team once again as the Vice President.

I am a very charismatic and friendly. And I will do my outmost best to support the president and lead any new GAJET members. As well as being a beacon for any new JET in Gunma.

Let’s have another amazing year full of fun events in Gunma!

Paola Torres


Josh Frankle (Kiryu)Treasurer & Tobu RepJames Frankle - Tobu Rep

Hello Gunmans!

I’m Josh Frankle, and am running once again to be a member of GAJET! I’m a third-year JET living in Kiryu in the Tobu region. Over the last year as a Tobu rep, I have organized and helped lead various regional events and a number of Gunma-wide events too! I have the desire to help contribute and make our community even better this year. With the experience of having been your Tobu rep, this year I would like to take it a step further and join the executive board as the Treasurer of GAJET. I look forward to another year in our cabbage patch!





Talisha Vernon (Takasaki)Secretary & Treasurertalisha

Hi Gunma JETs! I’m Talisha Vernon and I’m going into my fourth year as an ALT.  I’m from “Washington DC” (and if you are also from “Washington DC” you know that I am not really from Washington DC) AKA Virginia and now I live in Takasaki. When I’m not teaching at Chou Secondary School, I can often be found running after my twin babies, singing current pop songs with a 40’s twist, exploring local and national world heritage sites with my family and making (very infrequently) travel YouTube videos.

In my years here in Gunma, I have experienced many of Gunma’s JET events, from cannoning to performing at I CAN JAPAN and Art Night to even leading and teaching the Cha-Cha Slide to a everyone at JOMO JET’s International Carnival. As you can see, Gunma JET community is very active and puts on all sorts of events for everyone to enjoy.

As you can imagine, twins can be a handful but I think I have gotten everything under control and organized. I have been on the Gunma Orientation Committee for two years now and presented on variety of topics at many conferences over the years.  As either Secretary or Treasurer I could use the skills I use daily and apply it to the GAJET community. This year, I’m feel ready to use my experience to create event, get involve and bridge the gap between JETs, non-JETs, and the locals in our Gunma community.


Mandy Brixey (Shimonita)Secretary & Seibu RepMandy


My name is Mandy Brixey and I’m in the beloved city of Shimonita, right at the end of the Joshin Line! Can’t miss it!

The positions running for are: Secretary and Seibu Representative!

As the only ALT in my town, I really want to reach out to my fellow Gunmanites! I have held student council positions in the past in middle school, high school, and college. I started my own groups, (Anime Club and Japanese Conversation Club, respectively) I enjoyed working closely with my fellow members and definitely felt a sense of pride that came with the responsibilities I had.

I currently run 2 English conversation classes, and do a board game event once a month! As a soon to be 2nd year JET, I feel I have greatly matured and also improved my problem solving skills. So no matter the position, I know I can handle responsibilities with ease and can tackle any problems that come my way!

If elected, I will use my  creativity, bubbly personality, ideas and combine them with others in order to help create new and exciting events, as well as doing my best to help incoming and current JETs in my region!


Devyn Couch (Tamamura)Editor & Chubu RepDevyn

Friends, strangers, Gumarians, lend me your…well, eyes, I suppose, as you’re reading rather than listening to this! 

My name is Devyn Couch, and I’m a soon-to-be second year JHS JET in Ball Village, a.k.a. Tamamura. Originally from the frenetic coastline punk scene of NJ, you’ll often find me out and about, meeting people and throwing myself headfirst (sometimes literally) into any and all events happening around this amazing prefecture of ours!

Over the past year, I’ve learned that while Gunma has some of the best onsen and most beautiful natural spots in Japan (have you SEEN these mountains!?), it’s really the people that make living here so wonderful. Volunteering at events organized by GAJET and JOMO JET (I CAN Japan, International Carnival, etc.) has shown me just how welcoming, tight-knit, and enthusiastic this community is. Three cheers for nakama in the inaka!

As such, I’d like to pay the positivity I’ve experienced here forward by joining GAJET as Editor and Chubu Rep. In both positions, I’ll continue to spread the word of GLORIOUS GUNMA™ via the magic of modern technology—e.g. the Interwebs and social media. By keeping everyone up-to-date on happenings, hidden gems, and Gunma-related life hacks, my goal is to bring people together and help them make the most of their time here in our humble cabbage patch.

TL;DR—I’ve got many ideas, and the energy and experience to make them a reality. I’ve held various long-term leadership positions (including an editorship for my school’s literary magazine), have a way with words, the drive to learn new things, and a knack for getting people out of their homes. If elected to GAJET, I promise to put these skills to good use to help make our community even better for all of its members.

Thank you for your consideration!


Abby Ryder-Huth (Fujioka)Editor


abby platform


Tiffany Do (Higashiagatsuma Town)Agatsuma RepTiffany

Hello, everyone! My name is Tiffany Do and I’m from sunny California! Now, you can find me in Higashiagatsuma as a soon-to-be 2nd year Elementary School ALT. “Where is that?” I’m sure you’re all thinking, like many Japanese people would ask. Well, it’s in the western part of Gunma, where Kusatsu is located! But, I hope to change that as the Agatsuma Rep, and show you other amazing places this region has to offer.

During my 1st year, I had the pleasure being guided around Gunma, and was shown the beauty it has to offer by wonderful senpais. I also had a lot of fun attending many GAJET coordinated events. As a 2nd year JET, I want to be able to repay that same hospitality and help create great memories in Gunma for my fellow ALTs. I hope to work with the other members of GAJET to organize the events that you all enjoy and bring all ALTs in Gunma together. I also hope to be a resource to the incoming ALTs and help them with life in Japan.

Thank you for your time~


Jesse Brito (Tomioka)Seibu RepJesse

G’day everyone! For those who do or don’t know me, I’m Jesse Britto. I am currently in my first year on JET and am applying for the position of Seibu rep for the 2017 – 2018 period. I arrived around July late last year from Perth, Australia and am currently teaching at a JHS and an ES whilst living it up in the amazing town of Tomioka! (That’s right, it is where the world famous silk mill is!) 

I remember when first arriving in Japan I was still so unsure of what kind of lifestyle I would have in Tomioka. I researched a lot, but all that really came up was the Tomioka Silk Mill and pictures of old buildings, so to be honest I was a little worried. But, I remember the first drive in from Maebashi with my supervisor and seeing the mountains. SO MANY PRETTY MOUNTAINS! (Perth is basically a really really flat desert with a few trees, sort of). I was ready to begin my journey in Tomioka!
Now, let me tell you about me and why I am applying for this position. As I said earlier I am still a newbie within Gunma, but I have a lot to share. In the short time I have been here I have traveled around a lot, specifically more around where I live. My main goal as a Seibu rep would be to organise many different events within the Seibu region to help educate other Gunma… nites.. (definitely the technical word for people who live in Gunma) about the lesser known and visited parts of my region.

If you choose me as your rep, I would be so excited to show you all of the hidden gems you have been missing out on!
On a side note, I’m good at cooking and I can play guitar sort of, so if this helps sway your decision, I’m all for that.

Thanks for reading through whatever this was. Vote Jesse!


Jansen Magarro (Tatebayashi)Tobu RepJansen GAJET Profile

Hey Gunma JETs!

My name is Jansen Magarro and I am going into my 3rd year on the JET programme. I come from the land where rivers of maple syrup flow, polar bears are a constant threat, and -20 degree Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) is sweater weather. I am currently a Senior High School ALT in the hottest place in Japan, Tatebayashi. (Ironic, eh?).

I’ve participated in many events organized by GAJET. These events were always a great time and because of that I have been inspired to run for Tobu Regional Representative.

Prior to joining the JET programme, I held different positions within the Canadian banking industry and government. During my time at these institutions I assisted in organizing team building events and casual get togethers. Furthermore, I lead and organized many recreational sports teams over the years.

A hobby of mine is traveling. As most of you know, traveling takes a great deal of planning and co-ordination. Using these skills that I’ve acquired through my journeys around the world, I feel that I could utilize these abilities and use them to bring together the ALTs within the Tobu region.

Within the Tobu region, there are 9 cities where ALTs reside. These are 9 opportunities to showcase what Tobu is all about. As your Tobu Regional Representative, I would like to take advantage of each one of our cities and hold monthly gatherings to learn about each other and the communities we live in.

Arigathanks Gozaimuch!


This is the end of candidate platforms for 2017-2018. Next,


 <<< VOTE HERE! >>>


Voting will be held only until Friday, June 9th at 8 p.m.

Only current JETs may vote!

Canyons 2016

September 12, 2016 | GAJET Events | No Comments



It’s that time of year again—one of GAJET’s biggest events—the Canyons Adventure and Mixer! Get to know your neighbors from Gunma, Ibaraki, Nagano, Saitama, and Tochigi while catching the last rays of summer during an action-(or leisure) packed weekend at Gunma’s own Canyons Alpine Lodge in Minakami. (more…)

GAJET Elections 2016-2017

June 14, 2016 | News and Announcements | No Comments

Here are the nominations for your upcoming GAJET committee! Please read each platform carefully and vote by clicking the link below. If you are unsure of the tasks each role must fulfill then check out the nominations page. Voting is open from now until Friday June 17th at 8pm. 

Crystal Lamptey

PresidentCrystal Lamptey

Hello fellow Gunmanians!

My name is Crystal Lamptey, and I am running for GAJET President. I work as an ALT in Shibukawa City, and in August, I’ll become a “unicorn”! … That is to say, I will be a 5th-year JET participant, a sight so rare it has a mythical nickname status.  However, it’s not that uncommon in Gunma, and I believe it’s partly due to our community staying connected, friendly, and supportive.

As GAJET President, I want to continue that tradition, and as a unicorn, I have the experience to do it! I’ve worked in GAJET before as webmaster and currently volunteer at JOMO JET, and for over 4 years I’ve participated in so many international events that I’ve seen what works the best when holding fun and interesting events. My favorite GAJET events are: the Halloween party, the Thanksgiving dinner, and our biggest event for charity, I*CAN*JAPAN. I’m sure you have your favorite events as well, (ski trips, onsen trips, beer gardens, Gunma Games, etc.), and if elected, I’ll strive to create opportunities to acclimate to, explore, and survive Gunma with your fellow ALTS (and non-ALTs!).

(TL;DR: Crystal wants you to live in harmony, harmony, oh, love! in Gunma!)


Becky RobbinsIMG_6652

Vice President / Tobu Rep

Hello everyone! My name’s Becky Robbins. Originally from the UK, I’m a sociable, fun-loving second year JET based in Kiryu who’s always looking for the next adventure. Like many of you I’ve spent the last year attending numerous events offered by GAJET, from snowboarding and canyoning in Minakami, to nights out like I Can Japan in Maebashi. As a Tobu rep, together with the talented Ashley Oros, we’ve organised some awesome events, from the GAJET Halloween party, to the Tobu camping adventure, as well as bowling nights and pub quizzes. I’d love the opportunity to continue creating bigger and better events next year too.

As a region we’re quite spread out in Tobu. Many of us don’t have cars and when winter sweeps in and the karakaze starts shaking your windows, getting to the train station seems a whole lot harder than it used to. It’s my hope that, with more events to tempt us from our homes, we can bring Tobu together and create an even stronger community. There’s plenty to do here when you know where to look and plenty of fun to be had when you’re with good friends. Tell me your suggestions, talk to me whenever you need a friendly ear to listen, and let’s create something great together.

Thank you for your time.


Kristin WilsonKristin Wilson

Vice President

Hello everyone! My name is Kristin Wilson. I’m a soon-to-be third-year SHS JET living in Takasaki, and I am running for the Vice President position for the 2016–2017 GAJET council.

During my year as GAJET Secretary, I became heavily involved in both the JET and greater Gunma community. I had the opportunity to organize many GAJET events (such as the Potluck Thanksgiving, Skibo and Chill, and I Can Japan) and non-GAJET events as a member of JOMO JET. I would love to continue applying my experiences as Vice President, supporting the President and helping plan more wonderful events for the ALT community and beyond.

In my almost two years on JET, I have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role that these events play in making JETs like myself feel more welcome and part of the Gunma community. I intend to continue reaching out to all JETs, new and old, and helping everyone come together to enjoy the best of what our wonderful prefecture has to offer!

As Secretary, I brought enthusiasm, openness, a positive attitude, and top-notch organization and note-taking skills to the position. If elected as Vice President, I would continue this same motivation and organization with the new GAJET council to serve you and help make your time in Gunma the best it can be.


Madeleine ItoMaddie Ito

Secretary / Seibu Rep

Hi Gunma JETs! I’m Maddie Ito and I’m going into my second year as an ALT.  I’m from the bright lights of London but now embracing the inaka life in the village of Nanmoku. I can often be found enjoying the delights of the Japanese countryside, like konnyaku (loveee), onsen, and riverside runs, or escaping the quiet life for a spot of karaoke. On the rarer occasion, you might find me battling my inaka demons (centipedes, lack of conbini), but ganbatte imasu ne!

Life out here could have been pretty isolated, but instead I’ve done more than I thought possible in a year alone, and – even better – in the charming company of you lovely people. Much of that is down to the events organised by GAJET, so I’d love a chance to help continue that legacy as Secretary or Seibu Rep.

Before leaving the big smoke, part of my job was organising events, writing speeches, and generally keeping things ship-shape at a fast-growing hospitality startup. I’ve also experienced many of Gunma’s finest JET events, from lending a hand at JOMO JET’s International Carnival to winning the majority of the raffle prizes (not sorry!) at I CAN Japan this year. Aside from this experience, I’d bring energy, many embarrassing stories, a London accent and a taste for the glam to GAJET’s team to help everyone enjoy Gunma in all it’s cabbage-y glory.


Daniel JongS__3743761

Editor / Tone Rep

G’day, friends! Daniel Jong here, just about to head into my 2nd year on JET, in the gorgeous Minakami. I’m running (I’m really unfit these days, so more like walking) for the Editor and Tone Representative positions for the 2016-2017 year. You may look at my face, and wonder, “Is he Japanese? Is he Korean? Is he Chinese?”, to which I’d answer, “I’m ‘Strayan, mate”. But if you want to know my real heritage, vote for me ehehehe.

Much like you all, I opened my JET acceptance letter, wondering where in the Land of the Rising Sun I was to be sent. “Minakami-machi, Gunma”. Where!? Even Japanese people don’t know where it is. But it hasn’t even been a full year yet, and I’ve fallen in love with this place I now call home. Which is why I want to spread the good news. Spread the love. Spread the beauty of Minakami. (Minakami is known for Hot Springs and Actions Sports. I’ve made a spreadsheet (that’s right, a spreadsheet) of all the Minakami Hot Springs. Don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe for a copy) I want everyone to come to know why Minakami is the greatest, which is why I want to be editor – to use the powers of the internet and social media to talk up how great Gunma and all our regions are.

I was the Editor and Webmaster of a few clubs back when I was in university – namely the photography club and engineering club that I belonged to, so I know my way around. I’ve been in councils and committees my whole life, and I’m not bad with words. Although, if you didn’t sign up for bad puns and jokes, YOU’RE GOING TO GET THEM ANYWAY.

Vote for Pedr- Daniel Jong. Because you can’t spell Editor without the letters, E, I and D, which also appear in Daniel.


Sarah Dela Cruzgajet-sdc

Webmaster / Treasurer

My name is Sarah Dela Cruz and I’m from the Toronto area in Canada. I’ll be heading into my third year as an ALT in Annaka (west of Takasaki). For this upcoming year, I will be running for Webmaster and Treasurer.

In my first year, someone told me that Gunma has one of the best communities and support networks in Japan. For the past two years, I have experienced this firsthand. We have a great group that puts on all sorts of events for people to enjoy together. I love experiencing new things, but I especially enjoy hanging out with JETs from other cities that I normally don’t see very often. I want both old and new ALTs, CIRs, and foreign residents to feel like a part of this welcoming community.

In terms of experience, I have previously served as both Webmaster and Treasurer during my time in University. I have experience in WordPress, HTML, CSS, and also programs like Photoshop. I also have experience with money (of course), spreadsheets, and being frugal!

This year, I’m ready to lend my experience to deepen connections between JETs, non-JETs, and locals in our community. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!


Misha PinyoMisha


Hello fellow Gunmarians!

Last year I had the honor of serving with GAJET as a Chubu Representitive, but this year I would love to be GAJET’s Webmaster. When I’m not teaching at Mae-Nishi High you can find me learning programming, playing musical instruments, exploring Japan’s beautiful mountain onsen, and planning my slow journey across the world. As a GAJET member I started a semi-monthly gathering called MARU, which creates a space for artists, musicians, poets, culinary wizards, and anyone else who wants to come together and get inspired. I also organized GAJET’s annual Art Night along with Ashley Oros, and assisted in several other GAJET events. I’m also interested in creating events for the more outdoorsy and adventurous among us; I once rode my bike to Tokyo along our very own Tone River, and I would love to organize more bike tours, hikes and camping trips utilizing GAJET’s outdoor gear.

As for my logistical experience, I have taken courses in conflict resolution and communication, and I have lived in intentional communities. In those communities we held regular meetings, and made decisions through consensus (vs. “majority rules”), which taught me how to collaborate effectively in a group, and how to find common goals. I’m also currently studying programming and data analysis in my free time with the hopes of creating databases, statistics, and web-apps that teachers and students in Japan can use to teach and learn English more effectively.

Enough with that serious stuff though—really, I’m running because I want to contribute to a thriving and supportive community wherever I go, and so far GAJET has allowed me to do just that.

Thank you for your time!


Paola TorresIMG_0549

Chubu Rep

Hello Minna! My name is Paola Andrea Torres and I would like to run as a Chubu Representative.

During this first year as a JET placed in the center of Japan, *cough* Shibukawa *cough*, I have attended and volunteered in several GAJET events; as well as being involved in many other non-GAJET related community events. I enjoy meeting and socializing with many people and getting to explore the different areas of the Cabbage Patch. I feel that I can support current and incoming JETs as they adjust and cope with life in Japan; as I had to do so myself being born in Colombia and moving to the States as a teen.

I am a very charismatic, friendly, warm-mama-bear type person. I love Japanese culture and language. I really enjoy Karaoke-ing, purikura-ing, eating sushi and drinking sake! So let’s have a party in the BELLY BOTTOM OF JAPAN! (Actually Shibukawa does not have a purikura machine so let’s have the party CLOSE to the belly bottom of Japan).

Ijou desu.


Hilary ReynoldsH-Reynolds

Tobu Rep

Yo! What’s up? My name is Hilary Reynolds from the green state of Oregon.  I am heading into my second year on JET. I’m currently living in Kiryu, but in the half that nearly no one goes to. In general, I like having a good time. I love drinking and cooking, but not at the same time. That can be dangerous. This has been witnessed at any event that involves cooking over a fire.

In the past year that I’ve been here, I’ve been to several awesome GAJET events, full of fun times and countless laughs. I’m not a stranger to coordinating my own events, which I plan when there’s nothing to do. I’m also always down to go on an adventure or start one of my own.

There are many reasons I would love to be Tobu Rep and a part of GAJET. GAJET crates so many great events that brings together people living in Gunma. Being a part of that and helping brainstorming and organizing these events would be awesome. I am full of ideas and I hope that I get other people more interested in the awesome prefecture that is Gunma and the Tobu area. There are many great things to see and experience in the area that many people don’t realize is there. I want to change that. Thank you!


Voting will be held until Friday June 17th at 8pm – Only current JETs may vote!