First and foremost is the Wide Island View, an online magazine written for and by JETs in Hiroshima prefecture.
Front page from last Nov.'s PDF version of the WIV
Fellow JET Josh Zimmerman and I took over as editors of the Wide Island View last summer. Up until a few weeks ago, the WIV had always been published in PDF format every two months and e-mailed to a mailing list of around 200 current and former JETs. It was a pretty slick little publication, but without a website a lot of great articles that could have been helpful to future JETs or other gaijin around Japan were getting buried at the bottom of a few people's inboxes, never to be seen again. When we took over as editors we realized what a treasure trove of knowledge we had in all the travel articles that JETs had written since the Wide Island made its debut in November 2006. Given how many JETs travel near and far while they're in Japan, it was really a shame that such knowledge wasn't being shared. So, now it is — along with all the other enlightening stories about Japanese culture, language study, recipes, event reviews and listings, etc., that Hiroshima-ken JETs have written. There are a lot of fantastic writers on the JET program, and I'm always consistently impressed by the interesting and helpful stories that volunteers contribute.
We're both really proud of the new site and pleased with how professional it looks, even though neither one of us is a professional web designer. It's amazing what you can do using Wordpress! Now we've been working to spread the word, encouraging everyone to link to the Wide Island on their blogs and Facebook pages. The more links we get, the higher the website will show up in the rankings on a Google search, and the more eyes will see the site.
(For those who might be wondering why it's called the "Wide Island View," it's because the kanji for Hiroshima, 広島, mean "wide" and "island" respectively. Hence, the Wide Island View.)
The other website I got involved with a few months ago is JetWit (JET Writers Interpreters Translators), a blog aimed at connecting JET alumni. It's got lots of job listings aimed at JET alumni, commentary on news from Japan, and updates on the various activities of Japan-related organizations. The blog was started by a former JET now living in New York. I'm now writing a weekly roundup of upcoming events planned by the many chapters of the Japan-America Society. We've been
cross-promoting each other's sites.
So if it's been a while since I've updated this blog, chances are it's because I'm busy working on Wide Island View or JetWit. The good news is that even if you come here and find nothing new, the Wide Island View has a full archive of past articles to give you your Japan fix. We weren't able to put up the pictures that go with the old articles, but you can still see them in original form if you download the PDFs of the old issues.