Recent GenkiJACS parties

Posted on March 31, 2011 | evankirby

We uploaded a few photos from recent parties at GenkiJACS to our photo album here.

Students really enjoyed making their own displays for the shichigosan festival.
Shichigosan

And having the best chosen by popular vote!
Shichigosan

A massive group photo, including student artworks:
Group photo

Some incredibly scary demons from mamemaki:
Demons

More demons

Even more demons

New GenkiJACS dorm!

Posted on March 31, 2011 | evankirby

We added a new dorm for students from today, Fujisaki Pine Heights. It's a little bit special - it's billed as an "international dorm", so the foreigners and the Japanese people who stay there are especially interested in international communication. They hold regular parties and events, and have large common areas.
Fujisaki Common area

The rooms are all Japanese-style, so it's futons on tatami mats, the traditional Japanese way.
Fujisaki dorm room

There's also quite a nice view from the balcony.
Fujisaki window view

And a communal kitchen for your cooking!
Fujisaki communal kitchen

More photos of the dorm in our photo gallery here.

Early Hanami Party

Posted on March 29, 2011 | evankirby

We had a slightly early hanami party last week at GenkiJACS. Because of the cold weather this spring, the flowers have only just started to bloom, and unfortunately the day of the party was rain, so we switched the event to GenkiJACS itself.
Hanami party
Genki Japanese school students and students of FCC English school attended. Students cooked food from their own country, and a sushi chef was on hand to prepare professional-grade sushi for everyone. A good time was had by all!

Sushi chef

Genki Japanese students

Japanese school students

Chirashizushi
Chirashizushi

Paella
Paella!

Teacher farewell
Teacher farewell to graduating students

Earthquake Effects Update – March 16

Posted on March 15, 2011 | evankirby

UPDATE: A new post with the latest information is here.

GenkiJACS is located in Fukuoka City, in southern Japan, more than 1000 kilometers from the earthquake that devastated large parts of the northeast. We experienced no direct effects from either the earthquake or the tsunami that followed it. We are also more than 1000 kilometers from the troubled nuclear power plants. This means that Fukuoka is not in any danger of radiation exposure.

Classes
All classes and activities are being held as normal.

City
There are no direct effects from the disaster on Fukuoka City. The rolling blackouts that are in place in Tokyo and other parts of the country are not in place here, and never will be. (The electricity supplies on the east and west of Japan use a different frequency, so they are not compatible.) There are no shortages of items in shops.

Travel
There are no delays or cancellations at Fukuoka International Airport. Narita Airport is almost fully operational, so transfers through Narita Airport to Fukuoka are not a problem. However, if you would prefer to avoid Tokyo at this time, it is possible to travel to Fukuoka through Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and others.

Feelings
The atmosphere in Fukuoka is of course a little more subdued than usual, but life goes on as normal for the most part. Major events are still being held.

Embassy and Country Warnings
As of Thursday the 17th of March, the embassies of several countries (including France, Germany, and Australia) are recommending their students to leave the Tokyo area, and to move to western and southern parts of Japan, such as Fukuoka, which are deemed safe.

We are happy to welcome any students who had planned to study in Tokyo or other locations but would prefer to study further south instead. Students who are already booked to study with us should rest assured that there is nothing to reduce your enjoyment and education here.

If you are interested in helping victims of the disaster, the best option is to make a donation. GenkiJACS will be donating money to the Red Cross in the coming days.
Several students have asked us about volunteering. We really appreciate the thought, but many nations have contributed teams of trained professionals, and Japan has mobilized the Self Defense Forces, so individual untrained foreign volunteers who are not familiar with the local area would perhaps be better to focus on fundraising efforts in your home area.

Parents or relatives who want to contact students at GenkiJACS, or who want to talk to a staff member about potential safety issues, can contact us by phone at +81-92-716-8673, or by email at info@genkijacs.com.

UPDATE March 18
There seems to be little change at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. However, in the worst case, if radioactive material is released in significant quantities, it will be carried on the wind. The winds in Japan run from west to east, so radiation would be carried over the pacific ocean. As GenkiJACS is far west of Fukushima, we would be safe from radiation. As a result, many countries are recommending their citizens to come to the west of Japan, including the Fukuoka area where GenkiJACS is.

Best News in the World: Mandarake coming to GenkiJACS!

Posted on March 07, 2011 | evankirby

Mandarake logo

I think we might have oversold it a little in the headline, but it is still pretty exciting. At the start of this year, the supermarket on the first floor of the GenkiJACS building closed down, and we were all very sad.
But yesterday we received the news that the world's best shop, Mandarake, is moving in in its place! For those who don't know, Mandarake is a favorite of Japanese school students. They sell manga, collectibles, cosplay items and lots lots more. Their current store is about 10 minutes' walk from GenkiJACS, and is a gargantuan treasure trove of fabulous stuff. This time we're not overselling it in the slightest.
Mandarake is also distinguished by having one of the best English language websites around, and also one of the best taglines around - "Mandarake - Rulers of Time" indeed.
We're already working on some special plans together with Mandarake, so we expect a lot more excitement when the store finally opens around the end of April. Fun times!