The US JETAA #JET30 Reunion weekend wrapped up with the first-ever JETAA Mothra Storytelling Hour (modeled on The Moth Storytelling Hour), MC'd by Steven Horowitz (Aichi-ken, 1992-1994). And it proved to be a big success. JET Alumni from various years and prefectures shared personal anecdotes and experiences of living in Japan as participants on the JET Program, all on the theme of "Fame & Fortune." From getting lost to getting naked, from eating dangerous food to meeting dangerous people, and from trapping gaijin to falling into gaijin traps, they kept our audience laughing, cheering and feeling natsukashii with their shared histories and memories!
Download a recording of all the stories told during the evening event, which took place on the back patio of the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. on August 5, 2017.
Thanks to the wonderful stories from the following JET alumni:
Adam Lisbon – ALT, Hyogo 2004-2007
Hartley Haft – ALT, Nagano 2003-2006 (winner)
Dan Lowe – ALT, Chiba 2011-2013
Emily Metzgar – ALT, Shimane 1993-1995
Errol Packard – CIR, Niigata 2005-2008
Tim Edenfield – ALT, Chiba 2011-2014
Tim Martin – ALT, Fukui 2006-2008
Alex Varney – CIR, Saga 2011-2014
John Carr – ALT, Oita 1988-1990
Alicia Smith – ALT, Hokkaido 2008-2013
Saad Chaudhry – ALT, Kagawa 2012-2012
Want to host your own Mothra Storytelling Hour for JET alumni?
- Find a venue.
- Pick a theme. (e.g., Sports; Food; Happiness; Coincidence; Loneliness; Religion; etc.)
- Invite JET alums to come and tell their stories.
- Put names in a hat and draw a name for each new storyteller.
- 5 minutes per story. Make sure each storyteller says their name, location, and years on JET.
- Record the stories, post to your chapter website or a central place like USJETAA or JETwit, and let the rest of us know when it's posted so we can all listen too!
- Set up a Google Form for people to sign up in advance if they want to tell a story. Give those early submitters priority in telling their stories.
- The voice recording app on your smartphone works just fine for capturing these stories.
- Have an MC who makes "dad jokes" in between each story.
Final words from Steven:
I'd been wanting to do this for years. I was so excited that the US JETAA organizers set this up and asked me to MC. One of the great and unique bonds of our community is the stories of JET life we all share. And I've always loved listening to them and trying to gather them.
My hope is that someday when we're so old that even our gateball days are behind us, we can all sit around and listen to recordings of JET stories. So hopefully this first Mothra leads to future Mothra events hosted by JETAA chapters around the US and internationally that are recorded and shared widely amongst our JET alum community.