Block system

Three-block System; 2012-2019
Four-block System; 2009-2012

Starting in 2009, Akita Prefecture initiated the block system. This system is designed to create a better local support system concerning work, Japanese Culture, and January re-contracting decisions. Officially, there is a block meeting (ブロック会議) sponsored by the International Affairs Division each January.



Akita Prefecture is currently separated into three blocks, with two block leaders for each. The blocks are North (県北), Central (中央), and South (県南). This three-block system will be phased out on March 31st, 2019.


A new, four-block system will be implemented on April 1st, 2019. The four new blocks will be North (県北), Capital (秋田), Yuri (由利), and South (県南). Each block will have a Block PA, plus an as-yet undetermined number of Block Assistants.

Block Leaders

The 2018-2019 Block Leaders are as follows:

Block name Leader Location JET Year
North Domonique Owens Kitaakita 5
Ken-Hou Yee Kosaka 2
Central Kaixin Chin Oga 2
Amber Shamma Akita City 3
South Catherine Johnson Higashiyuri 2
Marissa Lightfoot Yokote 2

What does a block leader do?

Every year Block Leaders are elected from the community within each block.

Block Leaders are people willing to share local information with all new incoming ALTs. In some cases, sempai ALTs or supervisors are unable to do so (for various reasons). In these cases, the block leader is a person you can contact about local information such as where to buy stuff for your apartment, find interesting places, or show you a good place to meet locals. Your Block Leader keeps in contact with the PAs to provide feedback and help with outreach and support.

The Block Leaders coordinate our official January block meetings. In some cases, Block Leaders also coordinate with sempai JETs in organizing smaller local block meetings in August and March/April. Also, Block Leaders attend Akita orientation to welcome new JETs and give presentations concerning work and life in Akita.

It is important to note that, because they are only elected by the community, Block Leaders are not trained or expected to give counseling of any kind. If you require any form of mediation, consultation, help with work-related issues or any problems that you find difficult to deal with by yourself, please contact your Prefectural Advisors. If you want counseling, please contact your CO or Prefectural Advisors for information on finding a counselor. You may also consult the counseling page on this wiki for more counseling information.

As of 2017, block leaders are expected to host a number of social events each year. These are to promote inter-JET relationships, and help keep people involved and active in the JET community. Every year each block will also host one event which specifically caters to JETs from all of Akita's Block.

As of April 1st, 2019, the Block Leader position will be renamed Block Assistant.

Block Meetings

Held in mid January, these one day conferences provide a forum for exchanging teaching ideas, tips to survive and thrive in winter, and are also a great way to reconnect with local JETs after the holidays. The PAs also use this opportunity to talk to the JET community about the recontracting decision (unless the recontracting deadline has already passed).

Historical Block Leaders

Three-block System (2012-2019)

Year North Block Central Block South Block
2018-2019 Domonique Owens Ken-Hou Yee Kaixin Chin Amber Shamma Catherine Johnson Marissa Lightfoot
2017-2018 Aaron Kern Tristan Hill Didy Huang David Wilson Chloe Doole Liam Fahy
2016-2017 Michelle Berent Hannah Phillips Cari Johnson Rebecca Bamlett Jackie Jean-Francois Danie Manos
2015-2016 Andrew May Colin Flinn Dorene Yamaguchi Alex Childs Chey Parlato Sasha Ryan
2014-2015 Sean Corrigan David Ranzini Connie Look Jeffrey Lowther
2013-2014 Jon Stimmer Kenneth Grant Russell Kabir Kinza Cooper
2012-2013 Melissa Noad Shane Sargeant Ali Shirazee KK Miller Zikon Leung

Four-block System (2009-2012)

Year North Block North Chuo Block South Chuo Block South Block
2011-2012 Melissa Noad Rachelle Hamonic Paul Yoo Jim Messner
Anne Smith Ashley Hinkleman Jonathan Hui Nikki Zywina
2010-2011 Alicia Miller Delmer Lopez Paul Yoo Michael Culler
James Jones Mark Dawson Jonathan Hui Patrick Costello
2009-2010 Michael Nakashima Maureen McCarthy Jonathan Hui Tina Schoolman
Jesse Kerstetter Mark Dawson Melissa Dawe

See also

Block Meetings
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019