Japan Exchange and Teaching Alumni Association of Victoria and Tasmania http://jet.org/Melbourne/index.htm Vol. 11, Issue 2
Alumni join forces to get jobs
What’s Inside? PLUS
2. Editor’s letter, Presidential Blah,
Message from the committee.
3. Upcoming Events, Recent
4. Upcoming Events, Recent
5. Recent News/Events, Internet Corner
6. JET ALUMspeak, Current JETs
7-9 Current JETs
9. ‘Kumiko Recommends’
10. ‘Five Minutes with…’
Editor: Andrew Cerini
Contributors: Michelle Clay, Ann Irwin, Tom
Spurling, Claire Thomas, Kumiko Toyama,
Irwin Wong, Glen Clark, Jane Crulci, Tama
Photos Acknowledgements: JETs in
classroom from JET Programme website,
onsen photos all by Tama Neill except for
cover photo by Peninsula Hot Springs,
Ueno Park by Graeme Stables
Contributions welcome at
email@example.com or post to:
JETAA Newsletter Editor
C/-Japan Information and Cultural Centre
Level 45 Melbourne Central Tower, 360
Elizabeth St, Melbourne 3000
From the Editor
Well, we’ve made it to the second edition so we organisations and companies. Please see the ad with more
must be doing something right. This issue has a info in this newsletter edition.
special place in our hearts because it’s most
likely the first JETs will see as they return home A little further along and one to mark in the diary is the
from Japan. We all have that experience of inaugural JETAA Japan Careers Seminar to be held in the
returning home behind us and know in our own city on the evening of Thursday November 10, hosted in
way, the feelings and apprehensions involved. conjunction with Japanese recruitment firm Staff Services.
This edition hopes to offer direction not only to returning Most of us are sitting on a lot of valuable Japan experience
JETs but seasoned alumni. More than any other, the spring gained during our time on JET and have more than likely
issue is where we share and compare, research and delve considered working in a Japan-related field. However, it is
into the world of career endeavour. Dubbed ‘Careers: Past, not always so easy to package the experience in the right
Present, Future’, this issue recognises experiences of all way, to know what Japanese companies are looking for or
members whether they have just come home, if they are still indeed to know where to look. Careers professionals from
overseas or well into a career or other pursuits in Australia. Staff Services Australia will join us on the evening to bring
Careers are always in a state of flux. We offer support for you tips for targeting Japanese companies and the latest on
your career directions in a number of ways. In November, the Japan-related job market in Australia. Stay tuned for
careers professionals will fly from Sydney specially to join us more information coming up over the next month by e-mail
for a Careers Evening, more of which you’ll hear from Glen. regarding the format of the evening and remember to get
If you can’t make it, we’ve done our best to make this issue your RSVP in as early as spaces are limited!
the best possible resource you can find on the subject. Even
an informal chat with fellow alumni at one of our “Diner’s As usual, we'll have the usual offering of a Diners Club
Club” nights could get you the information you need for your evening or two, most likely including something in
next step. Whatever the case, we hope you find what you’re conjunction with the JICC-organised Japan Film Festival
looking for and enjoy this second issue of the JETAA Vic/Tas over the first weekend in November. Diners Club evenings
Newsletter. are a great opportunity to enjoy your favourite Japanese
Andrew Cerini food and catch up with other people who have shared similar
experiences. Of course, before long it will be time for the
BON-ENKAI/Xmas party which always proves rather
Presidential Blah... successful, information on which should be out fairly soon on
Spring is in the air and while in Japan, it the e-mail list.
always meant hanami... eating, drinking and
socialising under the sakura blossoms in I'm off to the JETAA Oceania Regional Conference next
time-honoured tradition. The good news for month, hoping to bring back a load of ideas and enthusiasm
us now is that spring also means hanami for what we can get up to in the near future. Next year has
here in Melbourne. For the first time, JETAA been designated the Japan-Australia 'Year of Exchange'
will join the Australia-Japan Society and when we plan to be working with the consulate and other
Melbourne's wider Japanese community for a hanami party bodies to bring you an extra special event or two. If you have
in the Dandenongs on Sunday October 16. Yes, there are ideas on what JETAA VIC-TAS can do, we'd love to hear
real sakura there too... NATSUKASHII! We hope to see a them... that includes our oft-neglected Tasmanian members.
good turnout of ex-JETS for what should prove to be an Glen Clark
enjoyable outing along with a great chance to meet (or firstname.lastname@example.org
network with) many other people from Japan-related
Welcome back and
みなさん、 good luck with
お帰りなさい。 your career search!
JETAA Vic/Tas Committee 2005-2006
Dear New Alumnus,
We hope you have a smooth transition into life after the JET experience. Wherever you may be, there will probably be
a JETAA operating. We encourage you to get in touch and make use of this invaluable network. If you are in
Melbourne, do join our events, discussions and dinners! You wont know if you don’t go.
Best regards from
The JETAA VIC/TAS Committee http://jet.org/Melbourne/index.htm
If you have an event you’d like to draw everyone’s attention to, please send to: email@example.com
JETAA VIC-TAS & Staff Services Australia present…
Mark it in your not to be
diary! Thursday November 10 missed!
6pm registration for 6.30pm start
Level 11, 230 Collins Street, Melbourne
Staff Services is a leading Japanese recruitment firm, specialising in the set-up of operations for
Japanese companies in Australia. Career professionals from Staff Services will be presenting on
topics including the following:
• Japanese workplace culture: private versus public sector
• Transferring JET skills to employment with Japanese companies
• What Japanese companies want, resume writing & interview techniques
• Improving your prospects: qualifications & education
• Current state of Japanese industry & job market in Australia
• What Staff Services can do & registering
Participants are invited to bring their CV/resume and register with Staff Services. The seminar is
FREE and we expect it to run for approximately 2 hours. Light refreshments will be served.
PLACES LIMITED - RSVP ESSENTIAL firstname.lastname@example.org
PLACES ARE LIMITED - RSVP ESSENTIAL BY
BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28
You're invited to join the JETAA contingent along with Australia-Japan Society (AJS)
members for our first ever...~ HANAMI PICNIC ~
FEATURING: 400 sakura planted in 1995 as a symbol of cooperation and goodwill between the people of Victoria and
WHEN: Sunday October 16 from 12 noon
WHERE: National Rhododendron Gardens, The Georgian Road, Olinda (Melways Ref: 66 K4)
TRANSPORT: AJS-organised bus departs Box Hill 11:00am, $10 (Bookings and getting directions essential Tel 9902
8245 / Fax 9902 8246 or email@example.com by October 10). Normal PT is also possible: Train
to Ferntree Gully, bus to Olinda, and walk to gardens.
COST: Entry to the gardens for our group $7 Full & $5 concession. Ask the gatekeeper for directions to the
BYO: Bento, tarpaulin & sake (or picnic, rug & drinks)
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org RSVP would be appreciated for catering... yes, some goodies will
be supplied for JETAA members.
*Diner’s Club is a regular JETAA event. Catch up, get in touch and basically have a good time with other Alumni.
A perpetual work in progress, we welcome
2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange
Don’t forget next year is “2006 Australia-Japan Year of
There are opportunities for your event or proposal to
have official endorsement. The Japanese website
“We invite you to take part in the 2006 Australia-Japan
Year of Exchange. Plan your own event or join with
others. 2006 is the year to deepen our friendship
between Japan and Australia. Your participation will
invigorate Australia and Japan’s relationship.”
An official website is promised but you can catch
http://www.japan.org.au/2006_Exchange_Year. htm or
9th Japanese Film Festival – FREE!
“GO” - Isao Yukisada 6.30pm Thursda
“Not Yet” (“Madadayo”) 6.30pm Friday
- Akira Kurosawa 4/11/05
“Laputa, Castle in the 6.30pm Saturday
Sky” – Hayao Miyazaki
Venue: ACMI Cinemas, Australian Centre for the
Moving Image, Federation Square, Flinders St., Asialink Arts Forum
Melbourne, VIC (03) 8663-2583 Sun Rising: Japanese Culture Today
*Doors open 6.15pm. *No bookings required. *Free I only managed to catch the morning session but it
tickets available from the ACMI Box Office from 1pm provided an informative snapshot of Japanese culture
on the day of screening. It’s FREE! today, with artist Philip Brophy imploring artists not to
go out of their way
Contact: Japan Information and Cultural Centre (JICC), to make grand
Consulate-General of Japan, Melbourne on (03) 9639- statements but “just
3277 say something”. Co-
developer of the
Japan Art Scene
“Welcome Back Pack” Overhaul
Thank you to the tireless efforts of committee member vagueness of life in
Tama Neill, the “Welcome Back Pack” (pictured in this Japan and reacting
screen shot as “Welcome Back Returnee’s Manual”) intuitively to it. An
has been brought up to date. In case you were example is that
unaware, the Pack provides invaluable links and ‘western’ imports
such as art
Photo by Graeme Stables
information to things Japanese, careers and otherwise
for returnees and savvy Japanophiles. (Note: the following museums in Japan
is not a full screen shot) are empty because
the people don’t see
them as a place that
is theirs even
the need to explore new art spaces, adapt and
experiment, mentioning names such as Command N
and Candy Factory. With time running out,
artist/curator Larissa Hjorth whizzed through the
implications of mobile technology (aka keitai) in Japan,
highlighting nagara mobilism, the new culture of doing http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/former/streams/v13no0
something while you are on your mobile 1/02_2.html
(acknowledging Kenichi Fujimoto). An even more This site carries some of the articles from a 2004
rushed Tadashi Uchino, a Theatre Studies Professor handbook produced by CLAIR. The ‘Go Back to
from Tokyo University, led the audience through a map School’ article offers some very useful insights into the
of contemporary theatre/dance giving us snippets of job market and the need for qualifications.
bizarre backyard video-recordings of men taking turns
to wear big nappies. The map showed about 50 My Career
different types of theatre or companies active in Japan http://mycareer.com.au/
at present. Major Aussie job search site
The morning session began with a 2D/3D live action/ Seek
animated short video about Portuguese visiting Japan http://www.seek.com.au/
in the Edo Period. The film had a whimsical Major Aussie job search site
appearance of a Japanese screen embossed with gold
leaf but characters move through this floating world. A Daijob.com (aka Work In Japan)
very rich digital experience, it is called The Voyage or http://www.daijob.com/dj/en/index.html
A Viagem in Portuguese and is available from ACMI This is the old stalwart. Describes itself as “Japan's
(see image on previous page). largest bilingual jobs web site. Designed especially for
The afternoon sessions were more discussion type English-speaking professionals.”
formats that I unfortunately couldn’t attend. Overall,
the forum was an interesting and informative Jobs in Japan
experience. Anything by Asialink recommended. (Ed.) http://www.jobsinjapan.com/
“The mother lode of Japan jobs info”
How long has JETAA Vic/Tas been around?
Recently at a committee meeting we talked about how Tokyo Connections
long JETAA in Melbourne has been running and the http://www.tokyoconnections.com/
number of newsletters that have been produced. We “This site reviews 227 job resources covering the
came up with 1995 as a beginning year meaning this whole of Japan, as well as opportunities for Japanese
year would be our 10th or 11th run of the newsletter, speakers overseas.”
hence you can find “Volume 11, Issue 2” on the front
page. If anyone knows more about our history and can ‘New Alumni’ Resources
put us on the right track, please do so!
Welcome Back Returnees Manual
If you have news or relevant event you’d like to cover, http://jet.org/Melbourne/index.htm
contact: email@example.com for assistance.
Click on ‘members’ and find our chapter’s in-house
New JET Applications Open guide to after JET. Suggestions always welcome.
Don’t forget to tell your friends and relatives that JET
applications may now be submitted. For all application and JETAA ‘JET Streams’
information session details, please refer to: http://www.jetprogramme.org/e/former/streams/index.html
Applications close The official publication of JETAA International. Lots of
December 1 . Previous JETs who have been away from the information for Alumni.
program 10 years, may re-apply!
The Society has been operating since 1963 in Victoria.
This site gives you info on each state organisation.
Lots of social activities, lots of up-to-date info.
Other Noteworthy Sites
Staff Services Australia (see advert in this issue)
“One of the largest outsourcing agencies in Japan.
Staff Service Group is synonymous with providing elite
“Asialink promotes public understanding of the
personnel for all levels to a wide range of clients. Such
countries of Asia and creates links with Asian
clients include many of Japan’s largest and most
counterparts. Asialink enables Australians to
prestigious organizations as well as many international contribute to and benefit from the dynamism of Asia”
conglomerates with branches in Japan.” This URL is
the Australian branch. Free job search registration
A calendar of Japan-related events throughout
JETAA Australia, produced by the Japanese Embassy in
This must be the most comprehensive post-JET “What
to do now?” websites. A must-read.
Send websites to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
JETAA- After JET Handbook
Last week the plane left without me. A fifty-five-year-
old overweight PE teacher was taken in my place.
When the announcement was made I sighed then
Tom Spurling, Melbourne (ALT 2002-2003) secretly cheered. Why the hell would anyone want to
‘The Quarter-Life Crisis’ go to Japan anyway? My Delayed Reverse Culture
Soon after leaving Japan in 2003, I came across a Shock had been cured.
phenomenon called the “quarter-life crisis”. I was in
Los Angeles, midway through a crisis of my own, when Now all I had to worry about was this damn quarter-life
I met a guy who recommended a book about the crisis.
subject and joked that he was its number one Tom Spurling may be contacted at:
exponent. Even though I didn’t expect to live to 108-
And so I listened to
The symptoms were
Like my neurotic
Californian friend, I
too was prone to self-
harm and self-pity. I
liked to party then
reflect upon it, but I
no longer had
300,000 yen per
month to fund the trip. Unable to pay
Cartoon by Wayne Wilson. Created by Larry Rodney, published in Japanzine http://www.japan-zine.com/
for my coffee, I threw it at my whining
friend then slapped him in the face. My problems were
far more serious than existential humdrum. I was
suffering from Delayed Reverse Culture Shock.
The JET alumni had warned me about this ex-
expatriate virus. It was clearly stated in their Post-
Departure Re-Arrival Pack. Claire Thomas, Okayama, 2005-
A Little Misunderstanding
Upon return to your home country, please remember It's my first day. My supervisor and a man from the
the following; Board of Education have picked me up from my
apartment and are driving me to each of the schools I'll
1. Japanese girls are not more kawaii than be teaching in. I'm nervous, wanting to make a good
Western girls. impression, wanting to be friendly and polite and
2. Shinto is not “the way forward.” hoping that they're happy with me as their new ALT.
3. Japan’s generation gap does not mean your They can't speak English very well, and I can't speak
own parents are irrelevant. Japanese, but we try to make conversation. As we
4. Your mates were knobs before you left. drive between the schools they point out landmarks in
the area... it's not a big town, so there aren't many
For two years after JET I wandered the world without landmarks, but we are all making an effort to
discipline or purpose. I avoided friends, family and communicate.
career. I was a qualified teacher before I went to
Japan, so when I returned to Australia last spring, I fell "There is sports park," says the
back on what I knew. I took a job teaching English in a man.
Catholic boys’ school in North Melbourne where, "Oh, I see! Can you swim there?" I
instead of sleeping in class, the students swear and ask.
fight. "No," says my supervisor, and
there is a pause.
Japanese is part of our school curriculum. Each year, "There is Kirin Beer Factory", says
a group of students take part in a cultural tour of Japan. my supervisor.
Keen to make the journey, I made a point of flirting "Oh! A factory! Is it open to the
with the young female Japanese teacher. I gave guest public?" I ask, but they don't
speeches to her class, and left expensive ochugen in understand. I try to simplify my English.
her pigeonhole. She commented on my excellent "Can people go there?"
Japanese, and maintained that I was an ideal
candidate for the trip. They confer in Japanese for a minute.
"Maybe later," they say. I realise they think I have Getting closer to the city the apartments begin. There
asked them to take me there. I am aghast that they are no houses that I can see, just apartment block
would think I would ask to go and drink beer instead of after apartment block. No rhyme or rhythm to be
working, especially on my first day! perceived. Just chaotically dumped on the streets
facing all directions, and unanimously ugly. I did not
"No, I didn't mean now! Not now!" I say. They are still expect it to be so unattractive. Like walking through a
conferring in Japanese. huge wasteland of housing commission apartments.
"Maybe later, OK? After 5," they say again.
The many apartments dwarf the trees planted
I am mortified. I try to speak in Japanese... "ima... nai everywhere. It reminds me of some other Asian
desu..." I say lamely. They look at me, confused. "How countries, like Thailand and Indonesia. Although you
do I say 'not now' in Japanese?" I ask. They confer. can tell that there is more money here. The same style
but done with more money, and no rubbish, anywhere.
"ato de", my supervisor tells me, but I know that The Japanese are mad for cleaning and rubbish.
means "later"! I keep trying to find ways to explain that Which makes one wonder about the smell in the
I didn't mean we should go there now, and keep failing. railways…
They keep talking to each other in Japanese that I
Next thing I know, we are pulling into the beer park.
Now I am really confused, because it is 2pm and I am
supposed to be visiting my schools.
They beam at me. "Beer park!," they say. They are
smiling at me and clearly pleased with themselves for
trying to make me happy. They must think I really,
really want to go there, and that that's why I wouldn't
drop the subject.
I did not expect this. I thought Japan was all beauty
I smile at them. "Thank you," I say; "I am so
and style. Just goes to show how stereotyping fails.
embarrassed", but they don't seem to know what
We only see the beautiful and fascinating: the shining
'embarrassed' means. They take me inside and get me
pretty lights and Zen artwork. Not the dirty side of real
a beer, for free, and sit with me and drink tea while I
We pass Japanese Disneyland on the left and a giant
I can only wonder what they think of me!
Ferris wheel on the right. It is just sitting alone
amongst a set of low industrial buildings. No
Ann Irwin, Aomori 2005-
surrounding parkland, no other rides. Just the one,
Tokyo – Initial Impressions
towering wheel, sticking out like the proverbial sore
The first impression one gets of Tokyo is not that it is
thumb. I never did manage to find out why it was
crowded. There are cars, but not an overwhelming
number, and there are almost no people in sight. The
highway is large, and the area is mostly industrial.
As we get closer to the CBD, the quality of apartments
There are a surprising number of trees around. The
rises. We go past the imperial palace and someone
buildings are ugly, and the trees look strangely out of
points out the moat. Sometimes we think the Yarra is
place. But it is nicer to have them than not I think.
polluted. Well, the Yarra has nothing on this moat.
Think of the strangest, oiliest, greenest slime you can,
and you are probably close. Someone said one of our
swimmers swam this moat. I wonder if their children
are mutated as a result. I feel sorry for any fish or bird
unlucky enough to be in or land on this water. It is truly
I live in hope that there are parts of Tokyo that are not
like this. Maybe we are just seeing the bad stuff. Either
way, it makes me very glad that I am not working here.
The all you can eat/drink place we go to is kind of
Miyazaki must cry when he sees this. average. A lot of fried food, and they seem reluctant to
give out the drinks you paid for!
On a more positive note, I found a really cool shrine on
the second day. This was the day I got rather Not to mention, it is all you can play. They have
thoroughly lost in the subway. It was nice to find around 5 games along the lines of – shooting game,
something so nice in amongst all the towering basketball game, table tennis and pool/bowling
buildings and concrete. games.
Getting the counters for the games is like pulling hens
teeth. We conclude that they thought no one would
actually take them up on the offer they had advertised
on the Internet.
Tuck had invited a few other friends; it was good to
meet them. Despite the reluctant service, we had a
By 9pm, the ghost of lack of sleep had crept up on me
Shopping in Shinjuku and Tuck and Noriko kindly escorted me back to the
To reach our goal, we need to cross from one side of hotel. Still no idea where we went.
Shinjuku train station to the other. This seems a
simple task to me, until we head for the underground.
Think of the biggest railway you have ever visited. Put
shops underground leading up to it, through it and
across it. Then add around 4 or 5 different train
companies, all of whom own and operate on different
lines, some of which use the same stations. Then
make it go on forever.
I am lost by the time we’ve turned 3 corners. The signs
are in English and Japanese, but this really doesn’t
help if you don’t know where you want to be!
There are maps on the wall, but as I discover later,
they are all in Japanese, and don’t tell you where you
On Monday night we ventured to the top of the
We spend a fun time walking around; I even get to see
government building. Level 45. After a police check of
the red light district (Old town) with a strict injunction
our bags we entered the lightning fast lift and saw the
from Tuck not to go there at night. Like I could find it
most amazing view. The lights just go on, and on, and
on: in every direction. Tokyo is huge.
After totally exhausting ourselves walking around, we
Irwin Wong, Yokaichiba 2005-
head off to dinner. It is a shame I don’t have more
time. Tuck tells me there is a lot more to see in Tokyo,
So shortly after we were taken by bus to our hotel
just need more time to see it.
(The Hilton, in West Shinjuku), we disembarked,
formed random groups and launched into the wild
We weren’t too sure what we were doing. Paul
Kneebone wanted to go to Harajuku to see the weird
dressed up people, and since it was a plan, we
decided to go with it. That said, somehow we ended
up at Yoyogi station and ended up walking in the
direction that we thought Harajuku was. We walked
through a forest on the way there, passed through a
temple, saw a wedding and many vending machines
along the way, and eventually we made it, to the very
bridge where the goths and maids of Tokyo flock every
Friends, Noriko and Tuck It was bizarre and a little bit puzzling to see so many
girls (and some boys) all dressed up in clothes that
would look ridiculous in any other crowded area of the
world. But in Harajuku, they were on parade. They New Zealanders sheep-strokers. And we bagged the
primed and preened, and posed for photographers, Americans about anything we could think of. But it was
strutting around proudly or merely sitting on the all in cheerful fun, and they replied with taunts about
sidewalk watching others or having a smoke. There our convict ancestry. We all laughed at our little
was no end to the variety in their raiments. differences.
We saw fake glass eyes, eyepatches, faux crystal In the end of the day we were just normal people, and
teardrops, bandages, frills, lots and lots of eye shadow Japan was our neutral soil, the place where we all met
– the whole lot. The types of clothing were not just and shared and chased our futures. There will not be a
limited to goths or maids either. There were punks, single person amongst that incredible gathering that
lolitas, prima donnas, a clown (David Wiltshire’s will forget that day.
favourite), and what seemed to be a transvestite Mary
Poppins (Paul Kneebone’s favourite). The outré and
the eccentric gathered at Harajuku on Sunday to
scream their existence to the world.
Our friend, Kumiko Toyama returns with her best of
‘Japanese Melbourne’ series. Welcome back Kumiko!
"Hako", Japanese Restaurant
(Other published opinions)
• "WE all know that city lanes are a great place to
search for bars, but who would have thought that
some of Melbourne's best-value Japanese food would
be found in a tiny room in Degraves Street?" The Age
Cheap Eats 2005
• “Small, excellent Japanese restaurant...The
menu is a mod-Oz twist on old Nippon and there's a
list of specials that changes daily.” Herald Sun,
Sunday Magazine, 2003, Sally Fisher
• ”Hako is a terrific little hidey-hole serving
reasonably priced tucker. It's very Japanese-and very
Melbourne...Everything is fresh, tongue-scorchingly
hot and full of flavour, in an understated, Japanese
kind of way. Beautiful bento, classic inner city laneway
Tokyo Orientation Sessions location. Simple, tasty, filling food.'” Herald Sun, City
A few hours into the orientation session, it was clear Style, 21/10/03, Donna Coutts
that the only people being internationalised were our ‘Hako’
own foreign selves. 1800 people from 44 countries Degraves St, Melbourne (CBD)
gathered in the Keio Hotel ballroom for the opening Tel: 03 9650 0207 Open: Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-
ceremony. It was an amazing, humbling experience. 9pm; BYO Corkage $1
People from as far as Canada,
Jamaica and South Africa filled the
hall with their slightly different
flavours of English as we greeted
each other and formed hopeful
bonds. There were Americans too,
in their thousands, outnumbering
everyone else. It was a bit surreal to
be walking around surrounded by
chattering, nasal American accents
for a while, but after a little bit you
get used to it and it feels as if you
are part of a bad sitcom.
The stereotypes were bandied
around as usual. I started
mentioning to anyone from the UK
how Australia was thrashing them in
the cricket recently. We called the
"2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange"
The 2006 Australia-Japan Year of Exchange
commemorates the 30th anniversary of the signing of
the 1976 Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation
between Australia and Japan. Special Feature
Many events will be held in Melbourne. So please join Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington
us. While I was living in Nagano ken Japan, one of my
www.melbourne.au.emb-japan.go.jp/index.htm most relaxing past times was my weekly visit to the
local monkey hot springs in Komagane. It had two cute
monkey mascots on the sign, with their towels perched
on their heads, no actual monkeys in the baths though,
you had to go further north for that, although those
In this new corner, Jane Crulci monkeys are actually quite dangerous and territorial
spends 5 mins with ex-JETs (especially the old males).
5分 with…. . Anyways it was always a wonderful way to wind down
after a busy or slow week of teaching English. I loved
Michelle Clay sitting in the rotenburo (outside baths) and chatting
with friends, while watching the sunset behind the
mountains. Ah, bliss. So when I came to Melbourne
When were you in Japan? 2001-2004 this was definitely one past time that I sorely missed
What was your role? ALT during the colder months.
Where did you live? Konosu City, Saitama Prefecture So I was very excited to hear the news from a friend
that some hot springs had opened up on the
Top 3 things you loved about Japan? Friendly Mornington Peninsula.
people, amazing culture, beautiful smiles on the faces
I read a newspaper article about how two brothers
of the Elementary school children Richard and Charles Davidson spent five years drilling
Top 3 things you didn’t like so much….. Riding my and building the resort. Actually Charles interest in hot
springs arose while doing business in Tokyo, where he
bicycle to school in the snow/rain, developed a penchant for onsen meguri (touring
wet/humid/hot summer, crowded onsens). So I was even more excited at the prospect
of bathing in some hot springs influenced by the
trains Japanese style of hot spring. I have done a bit of
Top 3 things you missed about onsen meguri myself, exploring hot springs from
Kyushu, Shikoku, Sado all the way up to Hokkaido, so
home? Family & friends, my car, was well keen to see what Charles and his brother had
Mum's roast pork come up with.
Number 1 place you’d recommend for first time
visitors to Japan? Kyoto
Favourite Japanese food? tempura, ramen, norimaki
Least favourite Japanese food? umeboshi
How is your Japanese? I am confident speaking,
reading and writing Japanese
Favourite Japanese TV show? Pride with Sakaguchi
Kenji and Kimutaku
What are you doing now? Working full-time at
Janome (Japanese Sewing Machine Co.) and casually
as a Japanese tour guide
May other ex-JETS contact you?
The Peninsula Hot Springs are about one and half
hours away from Melbourne city and perfect for a day
trip. Set in Rye they are about 10 minutes from the
beach and are in amongst sandy hills. A group of
friends all made an afternoon of it there. As we made
our way from the car we found a small fountain
bubbling with warm spring water and some of us
laughed in excited anticipation.
I have shared onsen with bobbing apples in Nagano,
If you so desire, have skinny dipped in mountain pools, climbed hot
spring waterfalls to reach emerald green pools in
mineral baths with red Hokkaido, and have wrestled in mud springs in Beppu
and while not quite as exotic as any of those
wine, lavender, vanilla experiences Peninsula Hot Springs is a lovely relaxing
day away from the city and I whole heartedly
recommended it to everyone.
milk, or dark beer.
For those of you who are at all shy with the Japanese
style of communal showering before bathing, relax
because the showers are western in style and in stalls,
you still do need to wash before bathing though. The
first pool we tried out was the indoor bath, which was a
Outdoor hot springs have always been my favorite and
there are three of them that all vary in temperature.
The first has some shelter from the sun and is next to
a cold plunge pool. The atmosphere there was
peaceful as a couple of families relaxed and chatted.
The next pool is a little hotter and surrounded by tea
trees and the last of the public pools is up some steps
and a bit more secluded and the hottest of the three.
Two brothers spent Tama Neill is a JETAA VIC TAS committee member.
five years drilling and
building the resort
Then if you’re in the mood there is a small sauna cabin Peninsula Hot Springs are kindly offering the
to build up a sweat and a cold shower outside it. Some
features that weren’t quite finished when I visited in bearer of this newsletter and accompanying
July were the Jacuzzi waterfall and a relaxing water friends a
drip to massage your back and shoulders. We meet
Charles who asked us if the water temperature was
good compared to Japan’s hot springs, and all the
off admission to the public pools* during the
Japanese members in my group all nodded in bliss.
months of October and November.
(*This offer doesn’t include the café or private
You can also hire private pools, or if you so desire
have mineral baths with red wine, lavender vanilla milk,
or dark beer, not sure drinking the bath afterwards is
advised though. Their spa centre also gives massages
and other relaxing beauty treatments. There is also a
small café there that sells Mediterranean fare made
with fresh local produce and they have a good
selection of local wine and a three types of beer from a
local boutique brewery.
Restaurant Review small gas stove attached to a portable gas bottle. Not
‘Akita’ as sleek as the “gas burner in the table” scenario in
Background Japan but just as convenient. Until of course, the gas
Akita has been around for years and is practically an bottle ran out and the staff clambered over one
institution. The décor is typical of many Japanese another to attach a new one. The shabu-shabu
restaurants in Melbourne -pine tables, paper napkins, consisted of fantastic thinly sliced Aussie beef, a plate
cheap wine glasses, staff in yukata- but don’t let this of vegetables with tofu and noodles. When we
sway you from the menu which contains some of the devoured the vegetables in 10 minutes, the waiter
freshest produce alongside some classics. The menu presented us with another serve (complimentary).
consists of Japanese staples: sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki
and shabu-shabu and is accompanied by a In short
handwritten list of daily specials such as “kani-ten”- a Don’t be intimated by the outside (you can’t see
shiso leaf topped with crabmeat and deep fried through the stained-glass windows), make a booking,
tempura style. Need I say more? There are few take a bottle of wine, order off the specials list and let
Japanese staff (I counted two) but all are polite, the food do the talking.
friendly, although it is sometimes difficult to get their
Courtney St (Cnr Blackwood St)
In my experience North Melbourne VIC 3051
On a cold, wintry night, we started with a main size Ph: (03) 9326-5766
lacquered bowl filled with assorted sushi-fresh pieces
of nigiri and makizushi. Aside from the chewy Jane Crulci is Social Secretary, JETAA VIC TAS
mackerel, the salmon melted in our mouths, as did the committee
tuna. The shabu-shabu arrived at the table with a
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