2018-2019: A Year in Review

During the fiscal year of April 2018 ⁠— March 2019, JETAA TEXOMA hosted and participated in the following occasions to promote cross-cultural understanding and connect JET Program Alumni across Texas and Oklahoma (and other chapters in the US!).

2018-2019 Recurring Events:

  • 5 trivia nights in Houston (April ‘18, May ‘18, June ‘18, July ‘18, and January ‘19)


  • Apr 14-15: Alumni provided information about the JET Program at Japan Festival Houston
  • Jun 23: JET Q&A Session for Departing JET’s
  • Jul 15: Book Club in Houston met to discuss The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Jul 30: Departing JET’s Farewell Reception
  • Sep 14-16: President Andy Mack and Vice President Alisa Tobin represented JETAA Texoma at the 2018 JETAA USA National Conference in Denver, Colorado
  • Sep 21: Karaoke Night in Austin
  • Sep 29:  Luncheon in San Antonio
  • Nov 3: Game Night in Houston


  • Jan 13: Shinnenkai in Houston
  • Feb 2: Kakizome Calligraphy Workshop in partnership with Japan-America Society of Houston
  • Mar 23: Texas Japanese Speech Contest, to which JETAA Texoma donated a small gift for winners in the haiku category
  • Mar 25: JET Returnee Reception
April 2018 Japan Festival Houston
May 2018 JETAA Texoma officers meeting with Vice-Consul Kawase from the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston
Jul 2018 Departing JETs (Houston) Reception, hosted by Consul-General Fukushima
Sep 2018 JETAA USA National Conference in Denver, Colorado. Can you spot your Texoma officers?
Sep 2018 Austin area alumni at karaoke
Dec 2018 Reception to celebrate the Japanese emperor’s birthday
Jan 2019 Shinnenkai in Houston

2017-2018: A Year in Review

Despite Hurricane Harvey, JETAA TEXOMA was more active than ever, hosting and participating in the following stellar events to promote cross-cultural understanding and connect JET Program Alumni across Texas and Oklahoma.

2017-2018 Recurring Events

  • 6 trivia nights in Houston: April ‘17, May ‘17, June ‘17, October ‘17, February ‘18, March ‘18.
  • 4 Book Club Meetings: Silence (July ‘17), The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (October ‘17), Our Land Was a Forest: An Ainu Memoir (January ‘18), and Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (April ‘18)

2017 Events We Supported or Facilitated

  • May 6-7: Alumni provided information about the JET Program at Japan Festival Houston
  • Jun 24: JET Q&A Session for Departing JET’s, in which alumni advised outgoing JET’s on topics such as health, team teaching, and daily life in Japan
  • Jul 22: 2017 Departing JETs Farewell Reception held at the Consul-General of Japan in Houston’s residence
  • Aug 3-Aug 6: President Tim Roller, Vice President Greg Gaylor, and Treasurer Jessica Holloway represented our chapter at the 2017 JETAA USA National Conference in Washington D.C. and the JET Program’s 30th Anniversary Reunion
  • Aug 19: Austin Alumni gathered for karaoke
  • Aug 31: Hurricane Relief Fund raised $1000 to assist local JET Alumni affected by the storm
  • Sep 16: ‘Houston Strong’ Day of Service for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts
  • Nov 11: Houston Nengajo Party, co-hosted with The Japan-America Society of Houston, educated attendees about the Nengajo custom and helped them create their own
  • Dec 9: Bounenkai 2017 gathered more than 40 Attendees including Alumni members, members of the local Japanese community, and guests from JASH, the Consulate-General of Japan in Houston, and CLAIR

2018 Events We Supported or Facilitated

  • Jan 21: Shin-nen-kai 2018 in Austin
  • Feb 11: JET Returnee Reception
  • Feb 17: Austin Alumni Meeting
  • Mar 18: Texas Japanese Speech Contest, to which JETAA Texoma donated a small gift for winners in the haiku category

Houston Book Club Details Finalized

The first JETAA Houston Book Club meeting details have been finalized:

Date: Saturday, July 29, 2017
Time: 10:30 A.M
Place: EQ Heights (1030 Heights Blvd.)
Book: Silence by Shusaku Endo

Please be aware that parking may be limited. For those close enough, car-pooling or ubering may be preferable.

Our Houston Rep, Emily Gurvis, will arrive early to hopefully secure a table, and will also be leading the discussion. If someone else has an interest in leading, please contact her at: houstonrep@jetaatexoma.org

As June is just around the corner, now is a good time to begin sourcing your book. For those of you that prefer borrowing books from the library, consider digital copies, which are also available for loan through various library apps.

Friends (JETA and non) are welcome to join, but please inform Emily in advance so she can anticipate the number of seats needed. And if you haven’t RSVP’d yet, or need to change your RSVP to ‘no’, please reach out in a timely manner. Thank you!

Volunteers Needed: Japan Fest Booth, May 6-7, 2017

If you’re a JET Alumni and you want to volunteer at our booth at Japan Festival Houston 2017,  May 6 or May 7, here’s how:
1. Click the In It Live link: https://app.initlive.com/JE/bybejjzff9771i
2. Create an account for volunteers at Japan Fest by entering your first & last name, email address, and a password for this volunteer account.
3. Check to agree to the event waiver.
4. Enter your date of birth, sex, phone number, and an emergency contact.
5. Read the two-tab info box and click out of it.
6. Look at my pictures below for how to find and fill out Step 1 of the Questionnaire.

7. Fill out your questionnaire (Step 1), click the green save button at the bottom to continue onto Step 2 (roles), and Step 3 (schedule).

And that’s it. In 5-7 minutes you’re signed up to volunteer at the JETAA Texoma booth at Japan Fest Houston! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!

August Meet-ups – DFW/Houston (August 23/24)

martinhous FORT WORTH – August Brewery Tour & Tasting
WHEN? August 23, 2014 at 2:00 PM
WHERE? Martin House Brewery, 220 South Sylvania Ave., Fort Worth, TX

Who’s free for an afternoon at Martin House Brewery in Fort Worth next Saturday? Hope to see you there!”

Please RSVP via Facebook.

brunch HOUSTON – Brunch with Fukushima University Students
WHEN? August 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM
WHERE? Ouisie’s Table, 3939 San Felipe

Join Texoma JETAA pals and 8 Fukushima University students (6 Japanese and 2 International) for a lovely Restaurant Weeks brunch at Ouisie’s Table located at 3939 San Felipe St, Houston, Texas 77027 (brunch will be $25/pp)

The students are all participating in the “Business English Internship: Texas 2014” program. This is the 5th year of this program, which promotes the students’ English skills as well as their cultural understanding of the US and US government institutions. 6 of the students are interning at the City of Houston, and 2 are at the Harris County Housing Authority.

Please RSVP to info@texomajetaa.org or on Facebook by August 20, 2014 (Wednesday) so we can confirm our reservation.

Second Annual Central Texas Camping Trip

Our Second Annual Texoma JETAA 2013 Central Texas Camping Trip is just around the corner. We would like to invite both members of JETAA, their families, and friends to Central Texas for a weekend of good times. The event will take place on November 15-17 at Pedernales State Park.

Friday, November 15- Sunday November 17, 2013

5:00 ~ 8:00 PM Friday, Nov 15th – 2:00 PM Sunday Nov 17th

Pedernales State Park, Texas (2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, Texas 78636)

* Park Link * Map Link *

If you are planning on coming, please fill out the form at the “continue reading” link as soon as possible.

Please email any questions to info@texomajetaa.org
Continue reading “Second Annual Central Texas Camping Trip”

Summertime JETAA Events: JET Q&A Meet-n-Greet – Sake Course – Karaoke?

Is it just me or is summer off to an oddly cooler start? Enjoy it while it lasts! For this edition of the newsletter we have an assortment of events for you to consider. Aside from our own events, JETAA is partnering with organizations such as the Japan-America Society of Houston, in hopes to connect you with some Japanese Cultural Activities that you might be interested in and give you that natsukashii tingle…


Hands-on Japanese Pottery Experience


Saturday, June 1, 2013
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sam Houston National Forest, 45 Shady Oak, Sheperd TX, 77371.
Cost $60 for JASH member $75 for nonmembers.
Reservations at info@jashouston.org

Shane Tidmore, a Japanese trained ceramic artist will present the history of ceramics in Japan and give you the tools to make tea bowls, flower vases, pots and much more.

Shane studied in Japan under pottery masters, and some of his pieces sell for over 5K.

After the clay work you will have a chance to sign up for a time slot to work the fire kiln: a giant pottery oven that takes 5 tons of wood at a temperature of 2400 degrees Fahrenheit firing 24 hours a day for 5 days in order to glaze the Japanese pottery.

This once in a lifetime experience will take place in a picturesque national forest, an ideal setting for the serene art of clay work.

Materials and lunch will be provided. The event is Saturday! There are still a few open spots, If you are interested sign up now by emailing info@jashouston.org


June Pub Quiz@ Porch Swing Pub

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
7:30 PM
Porch Swing Pub
69 Heights Blvd Houston, TX 77007

Come spend their bar tab join the JETAA Team as they defend their multi-win dominance!
To make a reservation email drew@texomajetaa.org


Mastering Fish the Japanese Way


A lecture with All-Japan Sushi Association Director Masayoshi Kazato

Thursday, June 6, 2013
Free Sushi Reception: 6:00 PM Free Lecture 7:00 PM
Rice University, Sewall Hall 309

From preservation necessity to luxury treatment, learn how fisuh has been finessed into an artform from none other than the All-Japan Sushi Association Director Masayoshi Kazato. This delicious event is FREE!


Departing JET Q&A Session After-Party!


Saturday, June 29, 2013
6:00 PM
Sushi Raku (Tentative)

While soon-to-depart JETs will spend the day at the annual Q&A Session, it’s important that the JETAA teach them about the Japanese tradition of Enkai! Come out to meet with our newest group, share stories, advice, and make new contacts. To make a reservation please email jetcoord@ho.mofa.go.jp (mailto:jetcoord@ho.mofa.go.jp)


Sake Professional Course


Thursday, August 8 – Saturday, August 10, 2013
Four Seasons Resort and Club, Dallas

The course is led by John Gauntner, a JETAA member who has since become known as “The Sake Guy”

The content of this intensive sake course will be identical to that of the Sake Professional Course held each January in Japan, with the exception of visiting sake breweries. The course is recognized by the Sake Education Council, and those that complete it will be qualified to take the exam for Certified Sake Specialist, which will be offered on the evening of the last day of the course.

The course is geared toward industry professionals wishing to expand their horizons in a thorough manner into the world of sake, and will therefore be somewhat technical in nature, and admittedly somewhat intense. It is likely more than the average consumer needs! But the course is open to anyone with an interest and sake and will certainly be enjoyable.

The cost for the three-day class, including all materials and sake for tasting, is US$825. Participation is limited and reservations can be made now to secure a seat,
with payment due by July 8, 2013.

For more information and a view of the daily syllabus, please see www.sake-world.com/html/spctexsom.html (http://visitor.benchmarkemail.com/c/l?u=25910D0&e=2DB3A2&c=8993&t=0&l=3433C61&email=THCzQ8YJpYgWwFL0dRGJza0DO%2F4OjaF%2B) now. Testimonials from past participants can be found there as well. For reservations or inquiries, please send an email to sakeguy@gol.com (mailto:sakeguy@gol.com) .

Japan Fest JET Booth Volunteer Sign-Up

Hello Texoma,

Spring is near and that means so is the Houston Japan Festival.

This year Jfest will be held on April 13 and 14 and TEXOMA JETAA will have a booth again this year.

We would really appreciate if some of you could help us man the booth over the weekend and tell attendees about the program and your experience. We will also have some Japanese games out to play with kids.

If you can volunteer please sign up here.

ALSO, we plan to make some pictographic trifold presentation boards to relay “A day in the life of a JET”. If you have any good pictures from teaching, traveling, hanging with other JETs or whatever else, please send them to us at officers@texomajetaa.com (mailto:officers@texomajetaa.com)

Drew Himmelreich


End of Summer BBQ in Houston

What: 2012 JETAA BBQ!

When: Saturday, September 8th, 5:00 PM

Location: Dusty & Emily’s House, 912 Eleanor St., Houston, Tx, 77009

Come one come all! we will be having an End-of-Summer barbeque just north of downtown Houston. Come on down and enjoy that last little bit of the searing summer sun before it’s gone (in approx. 3 months). Standard BBQ Food and drink will be provided by JETAA, but feel free to bring anything special you might be interested to eat and share.

JETAA will also be taking charity donations for The Alliance for Multicultural Affairs, so bring some cash!

Central Texas Camping Trip Update and Survey

We are very excited to officially announce the Texoma JETAA Central Texas Camping Trip (aka the JETAAstrophe). We would like to invite both members of JETAA, their families, and friends to Central Texas for a weekend of good times. The event will take place on October 5-8 at Garner State Park.

Event: Texoma JETAA Central Texas Camping Trip (aka the JETAAstrophe)
Location: Garner State Park
Date: October 5th-8th

If you are planning on coming, please fill out the form at the “continue reading” link by September 15th.

Please email any questions to info@texomajetaa.org

Continue reading “Central Texas Camping Trip Update and Survey”