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

JETAA Texoma Establishes a Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

The events of Hurricane Harvey have left many dealing with extensive damage and even total destruction of their home and property. The Japan Exhange in Teaching Alumni Association of Texas and Oklahoma and its membership were not spared from this tragedy.  We are setting up a gofundme fundraiser to aid those in our community who have been impacted by this catastrophe.

Japan Festival Houston 2017

JETAA Texoma hosted a booth at Japan Festival Houston on Saturday, May 6, and Sunday, May 7, 2017, to boost the JET Program and the Alumni Association.

Eight volunteers assisted our JETAA booth during a busy matsuri environment and made meaningful connections with attendees. Seventy guests stopped by the booth to take brochures about the JET Program, and nine Alumni came by to say hello, some chomping down okonomoyaki, and some taking free cupcakes and pocky off our hands. Alumni enjoyed hearing “Wasshoi, wasshoi!” again and seeing lively booths, dances, and demonstrations by the local Japanese community.

We hope to see you next year at Japan Fest, but in the meantime, we’re all looking forward to Japanese festivals in Dallas and San Antonio this fall!

Newsletter: Pride 2017 Issue

June is Pride month, and in celebration, your Press Officer will take entries for a mid-June Pride issue! To participate, please note the following details:

Word count: 100-200
Deadline for submissions: June 10, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
Theme: Pride-tastic story from your time in JET. This is a pretty free topic, but that’s the point. Brainstorm and we’re sure you’ll find you have a few memories to share relating to this aspect of your identity. The weather’s heating up in most towns, so share a winter memory and everyone will thank you. The Press Officer sincerely hopes she won’t be alone in sharing a story!

To participate, email PressOfficer@jetaatexoma.org by June 10, 11:00 a.m. Please indicate if you want to be kept anonymous, and if so, make sure to give us your cool pen name.

Houston Book Club First Meeting Announcement

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!

Austin Alumni Interests Survey

UPDATE: The deadline for this survey is June 16, 2017

Hi, Austin alumni!  We’re trying to expand our JETAA events in your area, and we want to hear from you.  Please click the link below* to take this short survey (only seven questions) to let us know what you’d like to see happening!

https://goo.gl/forms/cF1mzDSVy3kDNksL2

*Previously, a different, incorrect link was displayed. Our Austin Rep, Jaymie Udan, emailed everyone who had given some kind of response, so if you weren’t able to fill it out before or haven’t received an email, please follow the link to successfully submit your responses as soon as possible.

2017-2018 Board

JET Alumni Association Region 9, Texas and Oklahoma, hosted elections this spring, inviting platforms from interested and eligible candidates starting Feb 22, 2017 (announced via newsletter). On March 13, 2017, candidates and their platforms were announced and voting commenced using Survey Monkey. Voting closed on March 20, 2017.

The following elected board representatives and vacancies were  announced March 21, 2017, over the JETAA Texoma newsletter and the Facebook group and page.

President — Timothy Roller
Vice President — Gregory Gaylor
Treasurer — Jessica Holloway
Secretary — Alisa Tobin
Web Master — Dusty Downing
Press Officer — Rochelle Breen
Houston/South Texas Regional Officer — Emily Gurvis
Austin/Hill Country Regional Officer — Jaymie Udan
San Antonio/West Texas Regional Officer — Ian Cruz
Dallas/North Texas Regional Officer — No applications received, position open. Email PressOfficer@jetaatexoma.org to step up to the plate!
Oklahoma — No applications received, position open. Email PressOfficer@jetaatexoma.org to step up to the plate!

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!

Houston Book Club Announcement

Houston has spoken! The books selected for the first Houston-area book club are, in order of month of suggested reading:

July 2017:  Silence by Shusaku Endo

September 2017:  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

November 2017: Our Land was a Forest by Kayano Shigeru

January 2018: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

March 2018:  The Sarashina Diary by Lady Sharashina

April 2018:  Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

The order is subject to change based on member feedback.

If you are interested in reading and meeting about the first book, Silence, RSVP to houstonrep@jetaatexoma.org .

RSVP’s are not binding, but will help us anticipate the number of participants. In your email, please also indicate where you are located in Houston, e.g. Sugarland, the Heights, Katy, EaDo, etc. This will help me to choose a meeting place each month.

At the top of each meeting I will welcome newcomers, give a brief introduction of our book club, and ask you to introduce yourself. We will then segue into the discussion. I would like for members to be active participants! If you are interested in leading the inaugural discussion on Silence, please say so.

After concluding each meeting, another similar announcement will be sent out via the Newsletter and Facebook.

I look forward to meeting everyone.
Emily Gurvis
Houston Rep, JETAA Texoma