It’s June, and with a new month comes a new alumnus to the spotlight! This time we’re talking to Jamie Mucaria, a unicorn five-year JET! Not only does he have that coveted status, but he also has a story or two about broken bones and wheelchair rides in the hospital. Also, don’t get between him and his 7-Eleven. Come along, get to know your fellow JET alumnus, and wonder how Jamie was able to do so many activities while on JET!
Where are you from in Michigan or Ohio?
I’m from Novi, Michigan.
Where was your placement, and how long were you there?
I was placed in Ukiha City, Fukuoka for five years (2011-2016). After school, I did eikaiwa (English conversation classes) for adults through my board of education, learned piano and karate, and took Japanese lessons. I kept a crazy-busy schedule. Weekends were usually devoted to hanging out with other JETs and friends and going to onsen.
What was your school setting like?
I taught at Ukiha Junior High School and traveled once a week to one of six elementary schools, three of which were way up in the mountains.
What is a memory you have in Japan that sticks out to you?
I think the most interesting memory is when I tore my ACL and had surgery in Fukuoka. I was in the hospital for a month, but I made a lot of friends there. We used to ride our wheelchairs all over the hospital. Plus, the food was really delicious!
My karate dojo did kyokushin, which is a full-contact style of karate. I ended up breaking some toes, tearing my ACL, and getting a lot of other injuries while doing karate, but I still loved it.
What are you doing now that you have returned?
Now I am working for Concentra’s Central Billing Office, but before I was working for some Japanese companies in Michigan.
Do you have any future plans you’re working towards?
I really want to travel around the USA. I traveled all over Japan, but honestly have not seen much of the USA. I think I’d head for Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon first. My dream would be to ride from Maine to Florida on a bike.
What is something Japan-related you wish you could get involved with here in MI/OH?
I really miss doing karate, so I would like to find a gym or dojo around here.
What advice or help would you like to give to other GLJETAA alumni?
I’m always down to reminisce or go to karaoke! I would also be up to help people prepare for interviews and to network.
What konbini food do you miss the most?
ALL the onigiri and 7-Eleven oden. Plus, don’t come at me, but 7-Eleven Japan has some of the best iced coffee!
As always, a big thank you to Jamie for coming on for the June edition of Alumni Spotlight. We’re looking for our next guest alumnus to spotlight, so if you’d like to be featured here, make sure to email in. The weather has warmed up, and the sun is shining. So enjoy the heat, bring out the grill, and enjoy those summer vibes! While you’re at it, give Jamie a shout to practice some karate and belt out some good tunes. Until next time, mata ne!
Alumni Spotlights is an outreach activity through the Great Lakes JET Alumni Association seeking to build stronger connections between alumni and to provide bridges for networking. If you or an alumnus you know would like to be featured in an installment of Alumni Spotlights, please email Andrew Esterline at email@example.com.