For Fukui’s Sake – A new novel by a JET alum

A JET alumni named Sam Baldwin recently released a novel of his experiences as a JET in rural Japan.  Please check out the blurb below and read more on his site

For Fukui’s Sake: two years in rural Japan – by Sam Baldwin –

Far from the high-tech, high-rise of the super-cities, there lies another Japan.

A Japan where snakes slither down school corridors, where bears prowl dark forests and where Westerners are still regarded as curious creatures. Welcome to the world of the inaka – the Japanese countryside.

Unhappily employed in the UK, Sam Baldwin decides to make a big change. Saying sayonara to laboratory life, he takes a job as an English teacher in a small, rural Japanese town that no one – the Japanese included – has ever heard of.

Arriving in Fukui, where there’s ‘little reason to linger’ according to the guidebook, at first he wonders why he left England. But as he slowly settles in to his unfamiliar new home, Sam befriends a colourful cast of locals and begins to discover the secrets of this little known region.

Helped by headmasters, housewives and Himalayan mountain climbers, he immerses himself in a Japan still clutching its pastoral past and uncovers a landscape of lonely lakes, rice fields and lush mountain forests. Joining a master drummer’s taiko class, skiing over paddies and learning how to sharpen samurai swords, along the way Sam encounters farmers, fishermen and foreigners behaving badly.

Exploring Japan’s culture and cuisine, as well as its wild places and wildlife, For Fukui’s Sake is an adventurous, humorous and sometimes poignant insight into the frustrations and fascinations that face an outsider living in small town, backcountry Japan.

If you know of any other alumni projects that might be of interests to other JET alumni or current JET participants please comment below.

Job: ALT or CIR

Company: JET Program
Company URL:
Location: Japan
Contact Person: JET Program Coordinator (Miami) Email:

Job Title: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) or Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
Job url:
Salary: ¥3,360,000-¥3,960,000 (before tax)
Deadline: December 2 (note: approximate)
Job Description:
ALT: Assistant Language Teachers (ALT) account for the highest percentage of JETs. ALTs work in elementary, junior high, or high schools, and sometimes also visit special needs or technical schools. ALTs support Japanese teachers in the classroom, and their duties largely consist of creating games, tests, and worksheets, as well as finding creative ways to promote English proficiency and intercultural learning.

CIR: Coordinators for International Relations (CIR) are required to have an advanced level of Japanese proficiency, and often work in local government offices as liaisons between Japan and other countries. CIR responsibilities vary from position to position, but often include translation, working with international envoys and exchange groups, and occasionally teaching English.

Continue reading “Job: ALT or CIR”

Webpage Updates

At the end of October, the former Florida JETAA webpage will no longer be accessible and will replace it as the official webpage for Florida JETAA. We’re still in the process of creating this website, but so far the following topics have been completed:

  • About
  • JETAA Board
  • JETAA Board Descriptions
  • Joining JETAA
  • JETAA Regions
  • Verifying JET Participation
  • About JET
  • Contact


Leave a message with ideas and/or suggestions!

REVIEW: Heart Rock Sushi – Japanese Restaurant (Ft. Lauderdale)

Submitted by: Allan M..; Saitama-ken, 2005-2007  Date Submitted: 07/19/2011

Name:  Heart Rock Sushi – Japanese Restaurant
Address: Gateway Shopping Center
1970 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Review Type: Business (Restaurant)


Review: Perhaps you’re wondering the difference between the “Happy Sushi” icon and the “Angry Sushi” icon. Well the
“Happy Sushi” are for places you could go to. The “Angry Sushi” are for places you should avoid. And now you’re wondering,
“Wow. What would it take for a place to get 5 Angry Sushi.?” Well ladies and gentlemen your search is over, behold the horrible Heart Rock Sushi.

You are welcome to a seemingly nice store front, interior and a sushi chef that welcomes you…with a host/hostess no where to be seen. We sat at the bar with a good view of both chefs and got our menus.

– First warning sign – menu has Japanese, Thai and other Asian dishes. Usually a sign of chefs that aren’t well trained in any.

The lunch specials are ordered and we wait. The waiter brings our drinks and goes about his business.

– Second warning sign – the sushi ordered from the daily specials come before our soup or salads even arrive, instead of with the other sushi we ordered.

– Final warning sign – the head sushi chef was more interested talking to the women at the sushi counter than making their lunches.

Our lunches arrive, in bento boxes and we dig in. It’s a combination of sushi and random dishes with our daily specials on the side. The waiter lied; the soup was from a packet and still powdery. The shumai was deep fried unidentified stuff with an odd taste. The hijiki salad was in a sickening sweet syrup. And the sesame Chinese noodles were so overcooked they were mushy and smeared onto our chopsticks. Something would have been said but the waiter disappeared for the rest of the meal and the sushi chef was back with the women. Now the sushi…

The sushi was utter ****. The California Rolls were guacamole rolls with a fruity cucumber aftertaste. The crab wasn’t even a
pencil thick and lost in the guacamole like avocado. The sushi rice itself had little flavor and fell apart when picked up. The tuna was dry and tasteless and disappeared into the rice making a squishy, tasteless mess. The salmon had little taste, was tough and “chunky” when you started eating. The sashimi were odd rectangle’s half the size of regular sashimi, all bland. The daily specials were the worse. The tobiko was tough and odd tasting, the Escolar had NO taste (zero, none, nada). And our other sushi had been cancelled – we were explained it could only be served fresh when the weekend deliveries come in, basically catching themselves in their lie about many of our sushi options being fresh.

Our final straw was when the bill was paid and we never got the change. It was kept for a 23.62% tip that they gave themselves
apparently apparently for the horrible food, the waiter that disappeared for most of the meal and the chef that enjoyed his ladies.

Have a recommendation or review to share? Enter it in the form here and we’ll post it!

REVIEW: Hiro Japanese Restaurant (North Miami Beach)

Submitted by: Allan M.; Saitama-ken, 2005-2007 Date Submitted: 7/2/2011

Name: Hiro Japanese Restaurant
Address: 3007 NE 163rd Street North Miami Beach, FL 33160 305-948-3687
Review Type: Business (Restaurant)


Review: The owner’s of the infamous and popular Hiro’s Yakko-san have parted ways and opened their own individual restaurants. This is part 1 of a 2-part review after the split up.

The “new” Hiro’s is a disappointment and riding the reviews of the old place. What’s left is a dirty restaurant with staff that
speak out any random Japanese words they know when a customer enters. Add this to the lounge and the neon lights and our group were uncomfortable from the start.

Their menu is still quite varied, with both sushi and traditional offerings. We ordered a selection of appetizers, sushi and a few
dishes we just had to try. The service was very good, in fact a bit annoying as we always had someone watching us or coming by as the restaurant wasn’t full.

As our food began arriving (we asked for it to come as it was ready) we dived in to see what the new standards were like. To put it
bluntly, the food was a blight. The sushi was mostly frozen or less than stellar quality, over priced with small cuts of fish, the rolls worse with loose rice and fish of worse quality. Some of the fish actually had a weird taste to it that we couldn’t place. The cooked dishes were no better. Tempura was oily, nasu eggplant was over cooked with a thick miso paste (and the wrong kind of eggplant), natto was warm and lost it pungency and the soups tasted prepackaged.

In the end, this incarnation of Hiro’s does provide a wide range of dishes of authentic Japanese cuisine and American faire but the
lack in quality and exorbitant prices make this place nor worth anyone’s time as the “good ol’ days” are gone.


Have a recommendation or review to share? Enter it in the form here and we’ll post it!

REVIEW: Joto Japanese Restaurant (Clearwater)

Submitted by: Nina M.; Kochi, 2006-2009  Date Submitted: January 11, 2011

Name: Joto Japanese Restaurant
Address: 2549 Countryside Boulevard, Clearwater, FL 33761
Review Type: Business (Restaurant)


Review:  Sushi bar as well as traditional Japanese cuisine. All staff are Japanese speaking!!! They have delicious sushi, both authentic Japanese style and American style so there is something for everyone here. PLUS, the prices are affordable.


Have a recommendation or review to share? Enter it in the form here and we’ll post it!

REVIEW: My Land Asian Market & Gifts (Dunedin)

Submitted by: Nina M.; Kochi, 2006-2009 Date Submitted: January 11, 2011

Name: My Land Asian Market & Gifts
Address: 1338 Main Street, Dunedin, FL 34698-6251
Review Type: Business


Review: This is a very tiny Asian market but I always seem to find exactly what I’m looking for. Most notably, I have found: Umeboshi, udon and dashi, furikake, instant ramen, vinegar for making sushi, rice ball molds and who could ever forget the endless supply of Ramune and Pocky. 


Have a recommendation or review to share? Enter it in the form here and we’ll post it!

REVIEW: Asaka Japanese Restaurant (Aventura)

Submitted by: Bahia S.; Gunma-ken, 2005-2007  Date Submitted: January 2, 2011

Name: Asaka Japanese Restaurant
Address: 20355 Biscayne Blvd Aventura, FL 33180 (305) 682-9331
Rating Type: Business (Restaurant)


Review: The  food was good, but I felt that the price was quite high for the amount of food  we got and the service was poor, bordering on rude.  For a place that is  Japanese run, the attention to detail that I look for was absent and the  waitstaff was surprisingly inattentive.  We only ordered the Shabu-Shabu  so this review only deals with their Shabu-Shabu sets – it’s possible that we  didn’t order enough food for the number of people, but we didn’t find the  waitress very helpful, nor did she allow us to order more meat.  If I  lived nearby I would probably go again to try the other things on their menu,  but since I don’t I doubt that I will go back.  I was also disappointed  that their sodas were not fountain and therefore did not have free refills – I  wish it said that on the menu because I would have ordered something else if I  had known.

The decor was nice and the place was fairly clean, and their private room was a  good size for our party of 10.

Have a recommendation or review to share? Enter it in the form here and we’ll post it!