For the last year I have been on the National AJET Council, working as the regional representative and also overseeing the publications distribution pipeline. I sought involvement in this group as a chance to further involve myself in my work, and also to build on my resume. It had been a good year, but it was time for us all to descend on Tokyo’s Aoyama district to pass our batons to the next council. I stopped by a couple of places Saturday morning but was severely burdened by a number of large boxes of books that I had to lug around with me. While I could have simply mailed these to my successor, I didn’t want to waste the money and opted to haul them instead.
The Asia Center of Japan, we made some memories here
I really didn’t do a whole lot before heading to our conference center, but along the way I ran into a couple of the other council members. We all live in a different parts of Japan, so there are only about 3 times that we actually get to meet each other face to face, but the close working relationship that we all share really lets us really get to know each other.
The first day of meetings got underway in the early afternoon, and we then spent the next several hours droning on about the duties of each position and briefing the incoming people on the current state of affairs. One of the challenges that a council of this nature faces is that on a yearly basis, there is an almost entirely new group of people to come and take it over. This means that ongoing projects need to be detailed so that they carry on and see the intended results.
I had my chance to talk about how we had ‘hella books’ and teach the new me what it took to do my job. I had jotted down a few notes while at McDonald’s earlier that included pretty much everything she needed to know. I also explained to the incoming council some of the challenges they would be taking on pertaining to finances and the mountain of books we have sitting in storage. Once finished with my bit, I joined in with the rest of the outgoing council to hop on Gchat in order to give our attention to something more interesting.
Everyone seems so deeply interested
At the end of the day, we had a party in at an Israeli restaurant where were had beverage and hummus to our heart’s content. It was a lot of fun to laugh with people who had by now become friends and also set the tone for those new people. Last year I remember being in their position, noticing the relationship they had developed and myself sitting there struggling through some feeble small talk. But a year later, it was a role reversal. Following dinner, most of us decided to throw down at the karaoke booth.
Love that matzah
The next morning all of the outgoing members rose and then went over to a Mexican restaurant for a pseudo-awards banquet. I was deemed ‘most likely to appear in a shampoo commercial’, on account of my golden Fabiesq locks. They make a fair assessment. I showed up rather late and was forced to scarf down some tacos before the group returned for the second day of meetings.
For this, we picked up where we left off the day before and also went over the reports to be presented to a couple different government organizations. Though I wasn’t slated to be a presenter, I was indeed a contributor and was pleased to see our report on the professional development opportunities offered by our contracting organizations coming to fruition.
The end of this meeting basically meant the end of my time on National AJET, so I joined a couple of other members for some great food before the trip home. If there is anything I love about spending a few days in the big city, it is certainly the diversity of cuisine, and for this evening we went to a little place called Devil Craft. This restaurant is spread across four tiny floors of a building with room for about 3 tables on each. And rare for Japan, they have a massive selection of microbrews on tap, which is great for washing down the Chicago-style deep dish pizza. We didn’t hold back, ordering a drink each and a number of pizzas of the hearty pies. Everything was a little pricey, but the quality of both the food and company more than compensated for it.
Following dinner, it was time for me to get back home and ready to start the week. All in all, the weekend was a great deviation from the standard fare. Though, with my remaining days in Japan dwindling, I’m doing my best to make the most of them.