Hi everyone! The results of the Country Rep elections are out! Here’s how voting works. Your elected officers for Florida JETAA  discuss and vote amongst ourselves to select which CRs to support. We then cast one vote for the whole chapter. This is one of the duties your elected officers do for Florida JETAA, so keep this in mind as you’re casting your vote in our current election. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to contact me at president[at]floridajetaa[dot]org any time.

CR Election Results

Message from Jessyca Livingstone,

Thank you to all the chapters that voted in the elections this year! I’d like to formally announce your 2015-16 JETAA USA Country Representatives:
  • Cheryl Hou (JETAA PNW)
  • Monica Yuki (JETAA NY)
  • Xander Peterson (JETAA NC)
Casey and Melissa will be stepping down and hopefully getting some rest after all the time and energy they’ve put into the organization this past year. These two women have been absolutely amazing. I have personally enjoyed working with them and feel that JETAA USA was lucky to have their leadership for as long as we did.
Thank you, Casey and Melissa!  お疲れさまでした!!
That being said, I am really excited about the team we have stepping into place this year. There will be a lot happening and I’m confident that we’ve got a group that can guide JETAA USA through to continued success and recognition. I’m sure you’ll be hearing from them directly after the transition takes place and our new team is up to speed!
The new CRs officially take on their roles this Friday (April 3rd) as the outgoing CRs plan their retirement somewhere sunny and warm where they can hang out and sing enka to their heart’s desire. 🙂
-Jessyca Livingston (RMJETAA)
JETAA USA Advisory Board Member
JETAA USA CR 2010-2012
ALT, Hokkaido 2003-06
E: jessyca(dot)livingston(at)gmail(dot)com


Thank you for voting and we will announce the winners shortly.

The positions up for election this term are Vice-President, Secretary, and Webmaster. For more information about the responsibilities of these positions, please visit this link.

To cast your vote, visit this Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/gNwSHXM37h

Voting closes April 13th at 11:55 PM. Any votes received after this date will be discounted.



Allan Mortdetsky

Hello everyone in Florida JETAA. Allan here, your vice president. It’s been great serving ya’ll for the past year and change and I’d like to do it again if you’ll have me. I’ve volunteered with the Consulate and represented JETAA at functions, researched and started projects for bringing events to Florida and trying to break the wall of the JBA, and represented Florida at the past regional and national conferences. I look forward to helping FLJETAA continue to grow. Thank you.

Allan M.
Vice President Florida JETAA

Jennifer Hwang

Originally from Southern California with an MA in Linguistics from San Jose State University, I was a JET in Shizuoka prefecture from 2008 to 2012. My first two years were spent as an ALT at a small, low academic level high school in rural Kawanehon-cho. I was later transferred to a high academic level high school in Yaizu City where over 90% of the students went on to universities. In my final year as an ALT, I was invited to transfer to the Prefrectural Education Center where I planned and facilitated several training workshops including Orientation for new JETs, Mid-Year Seminar for ALTs and JTEs, as well as mandatory refresher training for Japanese teachers only. I also helped piloted the Elementary School Foreign Language (ESFL) Program which was nationally institutionalized in 2011.

Since returning to the United States, I have taught English for Academic Purposes at Hillsborough Community College and am now an academic advisor for international students at INTO USF. In the past couple of years, I have declined recommendations to join the Florida JETAA board. However, now that I have become more familiar with Florida’s relationship with Japan–through attending Tampa’s Tsudoi and Natsumatsuri, participating in the 2013 JET PDO, volunteering with the Japan-America Society of Tampa Bay (JASTB), as well as meeting with the Deputy Consul General and attending the Networking Meeting for Sister City Representatives–I feel that I can make a productive contribution to our association as Vice-President. I am eager to support the President in bringing alumni across the state together as well as providing more support for JET at both the national and local level. I know that Japan holds a special place in all of hearts and I would love to help people maintain their relationship with the country.


Autumn Widdoes

I was born and raised in Florida and currently call Tampa my hometown.  I’ve lived in Germany, Vietnam, England, and Japan.   I completed my BA at the Wilkes Honors College of FAU and my MA in Performance Studies at Tisch/NYU.   I spent 4 years on JET in Okinawa from 2010-2014, where I lived in both Ishigaki and Naha. While in Japan, I helped organize Tohoku relief efforts via the SHINSAI:  Theaters for Japan fundraiser and we raised more than 70000 yen in one afternoon of live performance presented in both English and Japanese.  I also founded a bilingual performance collective called TASK 沖縄 after teaching several performance/dance theater making classes at ひやみかち学校 culture school in Naha, Okinawa.  Since returning to Florida, I have been actively involved in the JETAA community in the Tampa Bay region, speaking at JET recruitment events at Eckerd College and helping organize the Tampa screening of LIVE YOUR DREAM: The Taylor Anderson Story.  My long term goals are to promote Japanese performance/arts in the US and to bring more Japanese and Japan-related arts, film, and performance to the Tampa region.   I look forward to working with the JETAA communities throughout Florida to instill a sense of importance in maintaining our connection to Japan via JET.


Lauren Sorondo

Hello! My name is Lauren Sorondo, and I’m a Miami native. In September 2014, I returned from 2 years in Kumamoto with JET. Since then, I’ve been participated in FL JETAA events, such as the Bounenkai and the recent  film screening for the Taylor Anderson Story down in Miami. I’ve also stated hosting “Coffee 会話,” a conversation circle in South Florida. While I don’t have prior experience as a webmaster, I am passionate about JETAA and supporting the new and old alumni. In a state as large as Florida, I believe the best way is through communication of events. I hope to be able to continue improving the website that our previous officers have worked hard to create.  🙂


To cast your vote, visit this Google Form: http://goo.gl/forms/gNwSHXM37h

Voting closes April 13th at 11:55 PM. Any votes received after this date will be discounted.

Election Update!

We are running a bit late in getting everything set up for our annual elections. I apologize about that. Election information will be up soon and you will have 2 weeks to vote regardless of the start date of the elections. I will post the information here and you should receive an email with details if you are on our mailing list. (If you’re not on our mailing list or want to change your email address or other information, you can do that here: https://www.floridajetaa.org/about/joining-florida-jetaa/ )


Internship opportunity at the Morikami Museum and Gardens in DelRay Beach: https://www.floridajetaa.org/…/2015-summer-internship-at-th…/


Planning for Natsumatsuri is underway.  This is Tampa’s only Japanese Summer Festival, and this is our 10th year.  The festival is entirely non-profit and community-based.  This means it’s all run by volunteers and everything at the festival is provided by the Japanese cultural community in the area: that’s you!

So, we are looking for volunteers to set up games and exhibits.  You can make your own or run one of the games we have. If you want to volunteer, contact John at tampa@floridajetaa.org

We also need vendors who sell anything Japan-related.  There is no fee to vend.  We just ask for a donation of 10% of your sales that day to cover costs.

Keep in mind, a portion of the money raised at the event goes to help ongoing rebuilding in the Tsunami area, another portion goes to fund intercultural education efforts in Florida, and the rest, covers costs to bring you the only authentically Japanese experience on the Florida West Coast.  So if you love Japan or miss the fun of Natsumatsuri, please come help us out.

You can find more info on facebook, www.facebook.com/tampanatsu.  Join us there to stay up to date and see how you can help.  Remember, we really do need your help.  Together we make this happen.

There are a lot of great Japan related events coming up at the end of March and April all over Florida!

Check the consulate calendar for info: http://www.miami.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/calendar.html


MIAMI: April 1st, 5 PM at FIU.

Lecture by Micheal Slackman, New York Times International Managing Editor. Free and open to the public! (Hosted by my office, FIU’s Office of Global Learning)

At 5 p.m. on April 1, Michael Slackman of “The New York Times” comes to FIU’s Ruth K. and Shepard Broad Auditorium (SIPA 125) to show the power and the responsibilities foreign correspondents have to shed light on pivotal world events.


Know of any Florida events related to Japan or international affairs? Comment below!

03/28/2015: 第三Coffee会話 in Miami

Come join us and practice Japanese at our third Coffee会話!While the rain washed out our picnic last month, We’ll be trying again this month. This time, however, Japanese is mandatory! People using English will have to participate in a バツゲーム。








04/03/2015: Tampa Tsudoi

Always held the first Friday of the month from 7pm – 9pm – McAlisters Deli at 11402 North 30th Street.  Everyone is welcome.  Just look for the group with a little Japanese flag on the table.  There’s no agenda and you can come and go as you please.  It’s just a time to meet some people who share an interest in Japan. Contact tampa@floridajetaa.org for more information or to be notified each month by email.

I am writing to inform you that we are looking for an intern for the summer (June to Mid-August 2015) in our Education Department. This is an unpaid internship but will be counted as school credit (depending on approval of their school or college advisor).

Their duties will include:

–    Assisting the Youth & Outreach Program Coordinator in coordinating, developing and preparing activities for our Summer Tour Plus (STP) Program.

–     Monitoring the high school volunteers in the STP Program creating a positive learning environment for the summer campers.

–    Organize and direct the Hands-on-Art activity with expertise and flexibility.

–    Work with museum docents to provide an educational and enjoyable Japanese cultural experience for all participants.

–    Assist the Education Department with other tasks when needed.

Someone with knowledge of Japanese culture is required. Please keep in mind that the Morikami is located in Delray Beach, FL. Those living in Miami-Dade and Broward who apply must be willing to commit to the internship and the expense from commuting to our museum. We unfortunately cannot reimburse them for their commuting expenses. The days of the internship are flexible and negotiable to fit the intern’s schedule. We would like to have the intern Tuesday through Friday, mostly in the mornings and an occasional afternoon.

We believe this is a great opportunity to have hands-on experience teaching, develop management and leadership skills, learn teamwork, and use their knowledge about Japanese culture. The intern will also have an opportunity to gain experience working with a cultural and non-profit organization.

Please direct all inquiries and/or email their resume to Jaclyn DeMarzo, Youth & Outreach Program Coordinator, at jdemarzo1@pbcgov.org or at 561-495-0233 x. 237

The deadline for submitting their resume will be on Monday, April 20th 2015.



Kimono Fashion Show


Miami Beach, Florida – The Consulate General of Japan in Miami proudly presents a Japanese Kimono Fashion Show featuring Ms. Hiromi Asai, owner of Kimono Hiro in Florida.

The fashion show will feature 12 ensembles, designed by Hiromi Asai, whose kimonos are featured in Vogue, in national television ads by Verizon Wireless, and New York Fashion Week.  She will also talk on the history of Kimonos and “the Coming of Age Ceremony” and present the material they are made of to educate the audience on the process of creating and wearing a kimono.

The Kimonos are unique in the way that they are traditional yet modern.  Ms. Asai believes that the kimono will be recognized as a universal formal wear that is beyond cultural and ethnic boundaries.

This event is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Japan in Miami and Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

The media is welcome to attend this event.  Please contact the Consulate General of Japan in Miami for details.



Date: Sunday, March 22, 2015              

Time: 1:00pm~2:00pm

Location: Miami Beach Botanical Garden

2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Contact: Miwako Patton

(305)530-9090 ext.142


Donate for Tohoku from March 10 & 11 to DOUBLE your contribution!


JETAA USA is supporting the Taylor Anderson Memorial Foundation for another donation drive that starts when the clock strikes midnight in Japan on March 11. GlobalGiving has once again offered to match these donations!

Last year, the JET Community helped raise nearly $50,000 for the 311 relief and recovery effort. We hope to continue the success of last year’s “JETs Rally for Tohoku” campaign and hope you will join us in showing your ongoing support for Tohoku by going to the Global Giving website on March 11th to make a donation that will be matched.

Online donation drive

Donation website: www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/jets-rally-for-tohoku

Starts: 12:00 midnight Japan time on 3/11 (11 am EDT, March 10; 8 am PDT, etc)

Ends: When we reach maximum matching amounts ($30,000 total, $15,000 per project)


Three years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the devastation in Tohoku has largely faded from the news. However, so much remains to be done for the survivors and TAMF has been partnering with a number of organizations in Japan to provide relief and help the people of Tohoku build a strong and vibrant future.

TAMF has provided funding to the following projects:

For more information on TAMF, please go to http://www.taylorandersonmemorialfund.org/, their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/taylorandersonmemorialfund, or watch the NHK interview with Jeanne and Andy at https://vimeo.com/86637051.

JETAA USA is proud to partner with TAMF to carry on the support JETs and JET alumni have shown for Japan and the people of Tohoku ever since March 2011.

Read the latest project updates from the three TAMF projects to see the impact of your donations:


All donations up to $1,000 per individual donor made to the Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund beginning on March 11th Japan time will be matched by Global Giving through their Japan Match Global Giving program. (Global Giving will charge a 15% facilitation fee to cover their costs, which donors may choose to cover if they wish so that their full donation amount goes to TAMF. See the page for details.)

Social media concepts are up on JETAA USA and ready to be shared!


Social media kit: http://www.jetaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/2015-JETs-Rally-for-Tohoku-Social-Media-Examples.pdf

Donation link: http://www.globalgiving.org/fundraisers/jets-rally-for-tohoku

Pictures are uploaded at the bottom of the page here: http://www.jetaausa.com/2015/03/05/donate-for-tohoku-from-march-10-11-to-double-your-contribution/

FB cover photo: http://www.jetaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/TAMFGG-2015-Facebook-Cover-Image-300×111.gif
2×4 horizontal:  http://www.jetaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/TAMFGG-2015-2×4-horizontal-300×167.gif
2×4 vertical: http://www.jetaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/TAMFGG-2015-2×4-Vertical-167×300.gif
125×125 vertical: http://www.jetaausa.com/wp-content/uploads/TAMFGG-2015-125×125-Vertical.gif

Please use the following social hashtags and Twitter handles in your sharing:


Thanks again to Board of Advisor Ryan Hart, Kirsten Henning and James Gannon from JCIE, CRs Casey Mochel, Melissa Spooner and Xander Peterson, and Working Group member Christina Omori for putting together an awesome social media campaign!