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  • By Bahia Simons-Lane (Gunma-ken, 2005-07) for JQ magazine. Bahia is the president of the Florida JET Alumni Association. Summer is a time when those of us who lived in Japan begin to feel nostalgic for the matsuri of our adopted home. In spite of the heat, the summer festivals of Japan were perfect little Japanese moments—just thinking about them brings the taste of yakisoba and takoyaki to your tongue. Sadly, these memories are fleeting. It’s right around this time of year the annual Tampa Natsu Matsuri is scheduled, which is why for the past three years I have packed up my car in Miami and embarked on the four hour drive north to help out. Tampa’s Natsu Matsuri provides a […]<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->

    JQ Magazine: Annual Japanese Summer Festival Heats Up Tampa

    By Bahia Simons-Lane (Gunma-ken, 2005-07) for JQ magazine. Bahia is the president of the Florida JET Alumni Association. Summer is a time when those of us who lived in Japan begin to feel nostalgic for the matsuri of our adopted home. In spite of the heat, the summer festivals of Japan were perfect little Japanese moments—just thinking about them brings the taste of yakisoba and takoyaki to your tongue. Sadly, these memories are fleeting. It’s right around this time of year the annual Tampa Natsu Matsuri is scheduled, which is why for the past three years I have packed up my car in Miami and embarked on the four hour drive north to help out. Tampa’s Natsu Matsuri provides a […]

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  • By John McGee (Nagano-ken, 2004-05) for JQ magazine. John is the Tampa Regional Representative for the Florida JET Alumni Association, and the founder of Tampa Natsu Matsuri, a free annual event organized by local residents with an interest in Japan. The balmy breeze blew in through the screened doors of our house, floating the sheer curtains in soft billows.  Late May in southern Nagano is damp…it’s always damp on the wet side of the Alps. But being from Florida, this was comfortable weather. My good friend was visiting from America. He’d made quite a stir in our sleepy town striding around with his seemingly angry Native American scowl way up there brushing two meters, from which nearly a meter of […]<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->

    JQ Magazine: Chatting with Fireflies in Southern Nagano

    By John McGee (Nagano-ken, 2004-05) for JQ magazine. John is the Tampa Regional Representative for the Florida JET Alumni Association, and the founder of Tampa Natsu Matsuri, a free annual event organized by local residents with an interest in Japan. The balmy breeze blew in through the screened doors of our house, floating the sheer curtains in soft billows.  Late May in southern Nagano is damp…it’s always damp on the wet side of the Alps. But being from Florida, this was comfortable weather. My good friend was visiting from America. He’d made quite a stir in our sleepy town striding around with his seemingly angry Native American scowl way up there brushing two meters, from which nearly a meter of […]

    Continue Reading...

  • By John McGee (Nagano-ken, 2004-05) for JQ magazine. John is the Tampa Regional Representative for the Florida JET Alumni Association, and the founder of Tampa Natsu Matsuri, a free annual event organized by local residents with an interest in Japan. It’s a familiar story: apply to JET for one of several reasons, go to Japan and find a second home, return to the U.S., and…well, that’s where it all falls apart, right?  Most of us come back intent to keep our newfound hybrid culture alive, but few areas in the U.S. have profound Japanese cultural presence.  So we sigh with natsukashii pangs when we can’t take our beer out of the bar, we hang out with JETs on occasion, download […]<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->

    JQ Magazine: Tampa Natsu Matsuri Brings JET Home

    By John McGee (Nagano-ken, 2004-05) for JQ magazine. John is the Tampa Regional Representative for the Florida JET Alumni Association, and the founder of Tampa Natsu Matsuri, a free annual event organized by local residents with an interest in Japan. It’s a familiar story: apply to JET for one of several reasons, go to Japan and find a second home, return to the U.S., and…well, that’s where it all falls apart, right?  Most of us come back intent to keep our newfound hybrid culture alive, but few areas in the U.S. have profound Japanese cultural presence.  So we sigh with natsukashii pangs when we can’t take our beer out of the bar, we hang out with JETs on occasion, download […]

    Continue Reading...