JET Alumni Association 20th Anniversary Essay Contest!

We are proud to announce the JETAA 20th Anniversary Essay Contest celebrating twenty years of JETs and the JET Programme! Fifteen Kintetsu Grand Prizes will be awarded to the top essays. Grand Prize recipients will win a trip to Japan, including an opportunity to visit their JET host prefecture courtesy of Kintetsu USA. Winners will travel as a group to Japan in early December 2007, winners unable to travel with the group will forfeit their prize.

Prize for all 15 winners:
• Round trip airfare to Japan via West coast gateway
• Reception and one-night hotel stay at West coast gateway
• Transportation from Narita Airport to Tokyo hotel
• Reception and three-night hotel stay in Tokyo
• One-week JR pass
• Assistance from CLAIR and AJET arranging home stays in host prefecture

JETAA USA is also coordinating with JETAA International to include some winning essays and runners-up in a compilation of international essays, details of which will be announced at a later date – all entrants in the JETAA USA/Kintetsu contest will automatically be considered for the International contest.

We invite all writers from JET Alumni nationwide to submit an essay to help us celebrate the long, varied experience of JET participants, please see below for topic and submission guidelines.


Topic: Narrative Essay of Japan
Essay contest participants are asked to submit a narrative essay depicting a scene, point, or experience of Japan and/or the JET Program. Narrative essays recount a connection forged and developed either in the time the author lived in Japan or recounts a recognition of this connection when the author goes home where the tie to Japan remains strong. The narrative uses the theme of “building bridges,” “ties through time,” or “uncommon journeys.”

Some Additional Prompts:

• Home away from home
• A familiar “stranger”; new friends and families
• Stories and lives, connected through time
• Uncommon stories, hiccups along the road
• Foiled again, learning is never easy

• Share an event or series of events that had a profound and positive impact on you or the person/people you were involved with.
• Capture moments, rather than the whole one or three years of life in Japan. Use those moments to reveal what makes your experience unique, extraordinary, and worth telling or a personal story that embodies a universal truth.
• Show, don’t tell. Stories draw a reader into what the writer experienced first hand. Stories have details that the reader can feel, taste, touch, see in vivid detail. Make your reader experience the events and emotions portrayed. “Color” your story with details that make the experience come alive, details in action, imagery, dialog, and/or dramatic scenes.
• The JET Program or the JET Experience must be integral to the narrative or event described.

Submission Rules:

• All submissions must be received via email by September 4, 2007
• The essay must be typed in MS Word
• Double spaced
• 1000 -1500 words
• Include essay title as a centered header on every page
• Include page numbers as a centered footer on every page
• Do not identify your name or chapter in your essay
• Do not include a title page
• Include Chapter # and location in subject line

Submissions must be sent to and MUST include the following:
In the Subject line: “Essay Contest Submission – JETAA Chapter Location and Number” (i.e. JETAA US 2 – New York). See for a list of chapter locations and chapter numbers, you do not have to be an official member of a chapter to participate!

In the body of the email:
• Name
• Email address
• Mailing address (including Country)
• Phone Number
• Years on JET (i.e. 1999-2001)
• Location on JET (i.e. Tottori Prefecture)
• Essay Title (this must also be included as a header in the essay itself)
This information is used solely for awarding prizes, and will be kept strictly confidential. If you would like JETAA USA to forward your contact information to your local chapter for membership information, please indicate this in the body of your email as well.

For more information on the essay contest, please contact

Thanks and good luck!