Recycle Your Used Clothes at Uniqlo

Leaving Japan? Moving to a new city? Just have too many clothes?

Recycle your Uniqlo clothes at Uniqlo! Gently used clothes will be donated to charity; clothes that can no longer be worn will be recycled into fabric.

Clothing must be Uniqlo brand.
Clothing must not be stained or soiled. Wash before donating.
Clothing must be brought to a Uniqlo store; it cannot be posted by mail.

For more information on the process and the initiative, see the English website or the Japanese website.

To find the closest Uniqlo to you, click here. (Japanese only)
(In Ishikawa, there are 2 stores in Kanazawa, one in Nonoichi, one in Komatsu, and one in Nanao.)
Thanks to Dipika for the tip-off!

Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. She has 4.5 words for you: free on-site hemming services.

Cambridge Oral Examiner Training

This guest post is by Gavin Lynch of Hokuriku Gakuin University about the October 2010 Cambridge Oral Examiner Training Session, a professional development training session that will qualify you to become an oral examiner for English-language proficiency exams.


My name is Gavin Lynch, at Hokuriku Gakuin University. We are a private college, but are involved with the JETs in a number of ways.

Last week, (May 15th) we had some JETS helping us out with our English Camp – thanks a lot guys! Last December, we held training for the children’s Oral Examiners. Very successful day, with all the attendees getting an important qualification on their CV/resume and (maybe more importantly), getting some much needed professional development that could be used in their classes.

We will hold training for the KET/PET levels of Cambridge (bigger kids/adults) on October 10, 2010. If you are interested, please get back to me as soon as possible as numbers are limited.

It is a training session, so you will have to pay to attend. The 10,000 yen course fee covers the costs of training and registration. When you pass, you will be registered and asked to be an Oral Examiner when the tests are held (usually, twice a year – those of you who are EIKEN examiners will kind of know what it is like). You will be paid for doing this.

There are some restrictions (such as allowing only people with
teaching experience attend), but Cambridge counts things like work
experience in university, summer school teaching, etc.

Please contact Gavin Lynch (email) gavlynch at gmail dot com to see if you are qualified to attend the training session, and if not, what you can do to become qualified before the next one.

For more information about Cambridge OE, check out the official websites at (English) (Japanese)

Ishikawa For Sale/Wanted Forum

Sold through the For Sale/Wanted forum in under an hour

If you’re starting to think about packing up your apartment and preparing to leave Ishikawa, you may have come across a few useful items that you’d like to sell (or give away for free).  Fortunately, there’s a great For Sale/Wanted Forum for Ishikawans, where you can put up a post about your item.  A lot of JETs already use this forum, so you have a built-in audience!

You can often get better prices by selling on the forum than selling to a second-hand store (although that’s a good alternative to taking it to a landfill/tossing it in the trash).

Similarly, if you’re going to be in Ishikawa for another year, check out the forum.  There are some great deals to be had!

Basic Guidelines of For Sale/Wanted Forum

– You must register on the forum to post.  It takes about 3 minutes.

Post photos of your items for sale, so we know what we’re getting.

– If you include an email address, write it in a format so spambots won’t get it.  For example, “ishikawajet [at] gmail [dot] com”.  (Note: you can just use the “message” function of the forum so people don’t know your email address).

– Comment on your post once the item has been purchased.  We want to keep the forum up-to-date.

– Posts are moderated and can be deleted/edited at the moderators’ discretion.  Be businesslike.

How to Register

  • From the main page, click ‘Join this community’. The link is on the top left.
  • Click ‘Join J-talk’.
  • Choose a username, and enter it along with your email address. Prove you’re not a robot by entering the captcha. Decide if you just want a username, or if you want a J-talk blog as well.
  • Go to your email. You should have an email from J-talk, entitled ‘Activate [username]’. Click on the link.
  • Congratulations, you have an account with a password!
  • Go to Log in. Post.
  • ???
  • Profit!

Thanks neotaiko for the info I yoinked about registering on the forum!

What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

Taking the GRE in Japan

So you’ve just arrived in Japan, and already it’s time to start deciding what you’re going to do when this year’s contract is over.  Awesome.

For those of us who have American graduate schools in our future, there’s a good chance your school may require you to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination, in case anyone asks).

Photo: CarbonNYC

If you’re lucky enough to have to take the GRE for grad school next year, but haven’t started planning yet, consider this your wake-up call.

Japan has 4 sites for taking the GRE (two of which are in Tokyo.  Naturally.) For those of us in Ishikawa, we can choose to travel to Tokyo, Kanagawa (which is right next to Tokyo), or Osaka.  Osaka is the closest and most convenient to get to, for those of us on the forgotten peninsula.  (Just be glad you’re not traveling from Sapporo or Hiroshima, right?)

You can check out Prometric to see testing center availability.  (Just a note, as of today, Sept 16th, nearly half of the available slots from now until the end of October have been filled).

Photo: jhull

Luckily for those who lean towards procrastination, all GRE tests in Japan are computer-based, meaning that you can see your test results immediately (except for your essay results), and your graduate schools will recieve your results in about 2 weeks.  Paper tests can take over a month to get there.

What’s the moral of the story? If you’re applying to a grad school that has a Dec. 1st deadline (not uncommon if you want a scholarship), then you should probably plan to grab an October (or November) GRE seat that still exists.

Oh yeah.  The GRE general test fee is US $180.  A bus from the Kanazawa station to Osaka will run about $40 each way (slight discounts available if you buy round-trip tickets and pay in advance).  It takes 4-5 hours by bus.

Good luck studying!

Life After JET: International Education

Photo by mariachisamurai

During JET, my former college-plans of the rest of my life have all but disappeared.  Sure, I still like English Literature, but I found out that I like working with “foreigners” a lot more.  I like the feeling of making someone feel comfortable in a new place, with a new language.  We hear a lot about TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign language)  jobs, since, well, that’s what we do as ALTs, but I really didn’t know what else was out there.  I had a little experience working in the field of International Education before coming to JET, so I thought I’d share something about this lesser-known field.

International Education isn’t a new field, but it isn’t particularly well-known one, either.  There are 2 main ways that people interpret the field “international education”.


Studying Education Around the World

Some people are really interested in forms of education around the world.  What is education like internationally? How does a country’s education affect its population, etc. This may be a practical application of how countries can exchange ideas in education and how can they help each other by doing so. It might also be a more theoretical approach to the same question.  This may be of interest to you if you have enjoyed observing the differences in education here in Japan versus at home.  Maybe you’ve seen something that can be borrowed from one country and applied in another.  If that sounds cool, check out this half of the “International Education” field.

Another way of interpreting “international education” is the way that I’m personally more interested in: People go to another country to become educated.  I’m from the United States, so I’ll be using the U.S. as an example.  There are 3 basic ways to go about helping people who travel to other countries for education.


Help People Who Come to Your Own Country

A lot of people travel to the United States for a variety of reasons. Most obviously, students come to the United States to learn about English and American culture. They also come to study business and pursue degrees. All of these students need help from a variety of people: ESL teachers, program administrators, people familiar with law involving visas, foreign recruiters, etc.

There are also plenty of people who are not students who need international educators. These might be immigrants or temporary workers in your country. They may simply be visitors. These people may need classes, or they might need someone to simply educate them about the local area that they’re moving to.


Help People from your Country go to Other Countries

Of course, if people are coming to your country, there are also people from your country visiting elsewhere. Most commonly people who work in international education work with sending people to study abroad. There is also a variety of programs that encourage volunteering internationally and working abroad.


Help Advance the Field of International Education

The United States produces graduates with an embarassing lack of knowledge about the rest of the world. Although studying abroad is becoming increasingly common, and students are slowly improving their ability to speak a second language, the U.S. still falls behind many other countries when it comes to international education.

The United States needs to make international education a much higher priority. International education produces individuals who are less fearful of the world because they have a greater understanding of it. The U.S. appears less self-centered, and in an age of rapid internationalization, this is really key. Businesses want to work with people who are understanding of other cultures and can relate to a variety of people. If the business doesn’t have an understanding of new markets, it simply won’t grow.



I’ve studied in Ecuador for 5 months, worked with Japanese exchange students in a variety of capacities, and will have taught English in Japan for 3 years before returning home. Life just happened that way.  Because of these experiences, I’m personally drawn towards working with foreign students in America.

If you also have an interest in International Education, I recommend checking out the NAFSA website, which has a wealth of information available (and even more available if you decide to become a member — a fee is involved, though).

The Fulbright Scholar Program is also another interesting possibility to look into if you’re interested in international education and conducting research abroad.