Author: Lily Sun

新年会 New Year’s Celebration

GLJETAA will be hosting a New Year’s celebration in the Detroit area. We will be in the Tatami Room @ New Cherry Blossom in Novi.
Of course there will be delicious food and we are planning some fun activities as well (we will try to have games, karaoke, and koto playing). All Great Lakes JETAA members are welcome.

We hope to see you!

New Cherry Blossom 43588 W Oaks Dr, Novi, MI 48377

Youth for Understanding Luncheon

All Great Lakes JETAA members, who are registered on our website, are invited to a special luncheon session on December 5th.

Youth for Understanding (an international cultural exchange organization) is hosting a weeklong special delegation of Kakehashi Program (a Japanese Government Program) Participants from Japan. There are 25 students and chaperones between the ages of 19-27. There are college, grad, and ph. D. students all from Kanazawa University. Part of the goal of this exchange is to socialize with Americans around the same age to help the students learn about our culture.

This luncheon is a farewell to those students and chaperones Local community leaders and Consulate General of Japan staff will also be attending this event. The event will take place on Monday, December 5th from 11 AM to 1 PM at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Detroit-Dearborn.

For more information and to RSVP please contact
Debra Bledsoe at

Monthly Meet-Up at Emagine Royal Oak

Sunday, December 11 at 3 PM. Join us for food, drinks, and bowling fun at Star Lanes, Royal Oak. We will provide free shoes and some appetizers to all JETAA attending and hope to see you there!

Emagine Theatres (Royal Oak, MI)
200 N Main St, Royal Oak, Michigan 48067

October GLJETAA Board Meeting

This Sunday, Oct. 23rd. 1-4 at Rochester Mills Beer Co.!

Come join us for lunch, beer, and conversation at a brewey in downtown Rochester. We could go for a walk after lunch in downtown Rochester and enjoy the many shops and stores.

Rochester Mills Beer Co., 400 Water St., Rochester Hills, MI 48307

US JETAA’s Membership Initiative

You may be a member of Great Lakes JETAA, but how about your JET friends in other parts of the U.S.? Keep in touch with them by signing up at US JETAA! There is no conflict with being a member of BOTH these organizations!

In this new initiative, they are building an online directory so that JETs across the US can keep in touch and network. Standard membership is free. Check it out!

Individual Membership Categories

October Board Meeting Date Change!

October’s GLJETAA board meeting has been rescheduled to Sunday, October 23rd.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

The Yates Cider Mill trip will still be proceeding as planned.

Shin Godzilla Movie Night

Anyone interested in Japanese monster films, should join Jeff in seeing Japan’s newest film about Godzilla. Its at the Maple Theatre on Telegraph rd. and 15 mile all next week from the 11th to the 18th. Let’s meet around 7pm before it starts. The tickets are $10 and if you want food, the theatre has a restaurant. For anyone not able to attend, go to the link I provided below and see where this movie is showing in your area. Maybe JETs in Ohio and other parts of Michigan can plan their own event.

GLJETAA Yates Cider Mill Meetup

Sunday, October 9 at 1 pm! The scenic beauty at Yates Cider Mill is ideal for a relaxing stroll, an afternoon picnic, or simply a quiet moment at the river’s edge while enjoying a Cider Mill treat. You name it, it’s your memory waiting to be made! For an enjoyable Michigan afternoon, visit Yates Cider Mill!

Yates Cider Mill

September Events: Bowling Meetup & Picnic!

We really hope you can join us for two of our exciting new MI & OH meetups!

On September 11th we are having a bowling meetup in Michigan.
On September 18th we are having a picnic in Ohio.

These are both family-friendly events, and we would love to see a good turnout! Even if you have never been to a JETAA event before, there never been a better time to come out and meet some of your fellow JET alumni! Please see the Events calendar for more information:

Never miss an event update by subscribing to our calendar:

JETs in Academia: Health Privacy in Japan

Originally posted on JETwit: The alumni magazine, career center, and communication channel for the JET alumni community worldwide.

Nathaniel Simmons (Nara-ken, 2007-2009) is currently a communication faculty member at Western Governors University and lives in Columbus, OH, USA. He teaches a variety of intercultural, interpersonal, and health communication courses. He has researched and published several scholarly articles regarding privacy management between foreign English teachers and Japanese co-workers in Japan.

“Something of and in Japan, [is that] it doesn’t matter about who you are. Your health is never private. They [Japanese] don’t see health as a privacy thing. So you know, if you want to keep it private, don’t talk to anyone about it.” – Alice

After having my own interesting health experiences in Japan, I remained curious as to what other ALTs experienced. Therefore, I went back to Japan and interviewed 10 ALTs (5 women and 5 men) about their medical encounters. I quickly learned that it wasn’t “just me.” I heard a lot of strong comments such as Alice’s. In fact, everyone managed their medical privacy to some extent. I share one story below:

“There were no barriers. Every person in the village, every school, you know everyone in the Board of Education, the whole school knew that I broke my leg and what days I was going to the hospital, and medication I’ve been given. There’s no quiet, patient confidentiality.”

Meet “Jamie.”

An ALT in rural Japan like most of the ALTs employed by ALT organizations. She loved her job, teachers, and students. She worked hard and was enthusiastic about English education.

After breaking her leg, everyone knew. But how? She explained:

“It starts off with the supervisor who tells the Board of Education, they then informed the schools, and well, the schools tell the teachers, and the students ask, they tell the students, the students tell the parents, the parents go to the restaurant down the road and tell them, and the whole village knows.”

For Jamie, living in rural Japan meant that she wasn’t able to obtain her desired privacy levels. Suddenly, she was not just the “foreigner,” but the “foreigner with the broken leg.” She was the talk of the town. Even her prescribed medication wasn’t a secret. At the same time, Jamie was a “good sport.” She laughed about the spectacle of her situation. However, this somewhat uncomfortable experience influenced later health encounters.

After having appendicitis, Jamie didn’t want to go to the hospital as her doctor suggested. She told her Board of Education (BOE) that she just needed to go home and “sleep it off.” However, her tale doesn’t end there.

“I got a phone call from my Board of Education! [The] Doctor called the hospital when I didn’t turn up. So, the doctor then called the Board of Education and told them everything, what he thought, and that I needed to go to the hospital. The Board of Education called me and I said “No, I just want to sleep,” and they are like, “It’s too late. Your supervisor is coming to your house to pick you up, to take you to the hospital.”
Although somewhat comical to Jamie, she saw this as a privacy violation. After-all, this isn’t a situation Jamie would have experienced in her home country. People now knew information she didn’t want them to know. She attempted to not have her school involved, but things didn’t go the way she planned. In reality, the doctor’s decision potentially saved her life, but, at the same time, Jamie perceived her privacy to be violated.

This sentiment was echoed throughout stories of ALTs’ health experiences. Someone told someone, who told someone else…and before they knew it, everyone knew information about them and, yet, they didn’t know much about anyone else.

How did ALTs manage their privacy in this study?

Withdrawing from workplace relationships (i.e., not talking to co-workers), lying, intentionally or through omission, and relying on the help of a non-workplace related friend (i.e., another ALT, Japanese friend, etc.) were the three most common strategies shared. For example, if an ALT was on medication that they didn’t want their co-workers to know about, they might say it was an “allergy” pill. If any ALT felt their privacy was violated, they stopped talking to co-workers…sometimes about everything.

Questions for you:

  • To what extent was privacy a concern for you? Why/why not?
  • How did you protect your secrets? (It doesn’t just have to be health!)
  • What do you recommend to current ALTs regarding their private health information? Future ALTs? Do you agree with Alice?

This blog post is an adaptation of the scholarly article: Simmons, N. (2012). The tales of gaijin: Health privacy perspectives of foreign English teachers in Japan. Kaleidoscope: A Graduate Journal of Qualitative Communication Research, 11, 17-38. Retrieved from