The Prefectural Council

The prefectural council, or PC for short, is the group of elected volunteers that help our organization function. Elections happen annually, so you are more than welcome to apply after reading our constitution. If you have questions for any of us, feel free to reach out!

Sonia Chand : President

Sonia Chand


My name is Sonia and I’m a second year JET from Scotland. These days you can find me in the lovely coastal town of Yoichi, near Otaru. Originally from India, my family raised me in Glasgow and so I grew up with a huge mix of cultural influences in my life. Now, in Japan, I find myself reading more poetry, snowshoeing, looking at pictures of elephants and watching horror movies with a wonderful lady from my BOE.

Volunteering has always been an important and constant part of my life. I’m thrilled that I can be part of the PC for a second year, alongside a group of talented, driven and passionate individuals. I'm really looking forward to attending the HAJET seasonal meetings and welcome parties this year. Some of my best memories in Hokkaido took place within the HAJET community and I'm keen to make some more.

If you have any HAJET related questions, or just wannt to chat, shoot me a message anytime

Oda May Ranes : Vice President

Oda May Ranes

Vice President

I’m Oda, your new VP! I’m a first year ALT based in Higashikawa, the town of photography. I like travelling and exploring new places, but chilling at home isn’t too bad either. I’m looking forward to making lots of new memories with everyone in HAJET this year!

Annabel Baker-Sullivan : Secretary

Annabel Baker-Sullivan


Hi everyone!

I am Annabel Baker-Sullivan and (currently) am a first year JET in Nemuro, the most eastern part of Japan! If you like birdwatching, crab festivals, and giant pro-wrestling pandas, I guess Nemuro is your place. I hail from New York State, have lived in New Brunswick, Canada for university, lived in Osaka for a year during my university years, and recently one year in California as a Starbucks barista. I studied Modern Languages, Literature and Culture, or in other words three different languages, my favourite being Japanese of course. My hobbies include cello, music, Netflix, anime, reading books, and a little bit of traveling. I also love tea, sukiyaki, and studying Japanese songs for karaoke~!

I am interested in the secretary position of HAJET as it requires skills like organization, planning, note taking, and most importantly, listening. I personally want to improve and hone these skills for any careers I have in the future. As your secretary, I would like to make the members of HAJET a strong community with a sense of belonging. I really look forward to working for you this year! Of course feel free to email me about your ideas, concerns, or just introduce yourself! I would love to get to know you.

Meghana Brandl : Treasurer

Meghana Brandl


Hi! I'm Meghana and I'm your Treasurer this year! I'm originally from Austin, Texas, USA, but I now live in the teeny tiny potato farming town of Assabu in Southwest Hokkaido. I love history and politics, so come find me at an enkai for super nerdy drunken conversations, or any other time for super nerdy sober ones. I look forward to meeting y'all if I haven't already!

Arin Mitchell : Social Coordinator

Arin Mitchell

Social Coordinator

Hello! My name is Arin Mitchell and I’m the new social coordinator. I’m originally from Spokane, Washington (USA), but now I live in a coastal village called Tomari. We’ve got the only nuclear plant in Hokkaido and amazing squid. In my free time I love camping, playing board games, visiting shrines, reading, and listening to podcasts. I can’t wait to get to know y’all at the awesome events we’ll have this year!

Emily Lynn Schuster : Sapporo Representative

Emily Lynn Schuster

Sapporo Representative

Hi there! I’m a California girl who fell in love at first sight with snowy Hokkaido and never left. This is my 6th year living on the island, and my 3rd in Sapporo City. My favorite things in Hokkaido are nature (hiking, rock climbing, hot springs), food (soup curry <3 forever), and beer. If you ever need to know anything about Sapporo, or just wanna hangout, get in touch!

Kaylynn Noriega : Northern Representative

Kaylynn Noriega

Northern Representative

Hello and welcome! Tis I, Kaylynn Noriega, your 2019-2020 Northern Representative! I am originally from America (Go Ohio!) and now a resident of Bifuka! We are best known for our pumpkins and squash, so if you ever have that dire need to fulfil your pumpkin cravings/carvings, Bifuka is the place. Speaking of Bifuka, it is pretty small, that is why I never say no to an opportunity to travel/experience something new. If you are ever in the mood to go do something adventurous, hit me up! P.S. I can drive!

Kristin Grandolfo : Eastern Representative

Kristin Grandolfo

Eastern Representative

Hey there!
My name is Kristin Grandolfo and I'm the Eastern Rep this year! I'm from the Midwest where Indiana and Chicago are places I call home. In Hokkaido, you can find me looking for local coffee shops and reading. My hubs and I live in Nakashibetsu where the milk is good and the views from Kaiyodai are breathtaking. Let me know when I can offer tips, lend an ear, or offer good foodie spots!

Heather Ann Rand : Southwest Representative

Heather Ann Rand

Southwest Representative

Hello, I’m Heather, the new Southwest Rep. I was born and raised in Alaska, so living in Hokkaido is basically a milder version of that. As the worst Alaskan transplant ever, I hate being cold, so while away the winter eating around the island, and the summer doing... pretty much the same thing, but outside. (Incase we ever get other Hokkaido people with kids, heeeeey!)

Jacob Prusak : Central Representative

Jacob Prusak

Central Representative

Hello! My name is Jacob Prusak, and I am thrilled to be this year’s central representative! I am originally from Chicago, but have been living in Portland, Oregon for several years before starting JET. I am passionate about spending time outside, and can be found skiing, hiking or fishing in the mountains of Hokkaido most weekends. I hope to provide many opportunities for folks to get together and enjoy the nature we are surrounded by, and to further strengthen the community of JETs here. I live in the quite town of Takikawa, tucked right in the middle of the island, but I'm always ready to pack my car with friends and go on an adventure to the far flung reaches of Hokkaido.

Erica Beukes : First Year Representative

Erica Beukes

First Year Representative

Hello everyone 🙂

I’m Erica, the First Year Rep for 2019-2020. I’m from sunny South Africa, braving the not-so-sunny and definitely not-so-African winters of Otaru. Otaru is a popular day trip from Sapporo; famous for its canal, Tenguyama and the freshness of the seafood. Locals from all over Japan seem to love this quaint fairytale-like city and so do I!

Back home I was a high school English and Maths teacher. I also created and reviewed online learning courses for an educational company. For this coming year I want to embrace my wanderlust and explore as much of Hokkaido’s beautiful nature as is humanly possible, while forming deep and meaningful connections with people living here. Besides hiking and braving snow for the first time, I’ve become involved in dancing and yoga classes in the area as well as volunteering at the local City Hall and UNESCO English groups.

If you have any concerns, questions or just want someone to talk to - give me a shout! 🙂

Kyle Poleman-Biittner : Elections Coordinator

Kyle Poleman-Biittner

Elections Coordinator

Hello! My name is Kyle, and I'm the elections coordinator for HAJET. I'm a high school ALT in a very small town in the deep southwest of Hokkaido called Kaminokuni. I'm twenty-nine years old and have been teaching ESL since graduating from college. I spent two years in Korea as a new teacher who had no idea how to do anything. Then, I returned to the states to tutor high school students and immigrants, after some training. I've really enjoyed returning to foreign language teaching in public schools. I look forward to meeting everyone!

Dayna Andreous : Polestar Editor-In-Chief

Dayna Andreous

Polestar Editor-In-Chief

Hi folks, I’m Dayna your new Editor-In-Chief of Polestar! I’m originally from London – the south side of the Thames, so I’ve never had posh afternoon tea nor have I ever met the Queen – but I now reside in little Yoichi, a town sitting right on the Hokkaido coast. I’m passionate about languages, poetry and doggos! When I’m not tucked in my apartment reading books and plotting world domination, I can be found causing trouble in one of Sapporo’s nightclubs or traveling through Japan one shrine at a time. If you are ever in the area and fancy a chat over a pot of coffee, hit me up!

Colin Takeo : HEC Director

Colin Takeo

HEC Director

Hello! My name is Colin Takeo. I am a 2nd year JET based in Mukawa-cho. Before coming to Japan, I studied music and history before working at a museum in Portland, Oregon. I love to hike up mountains, cook with garlic, and have adventures across Hokkaido. I also love my volunteer position here at HEC. It's an amazing program. I cannot wait for HEC 2020! No HEC. No life.

Rachel Bartholomew : Publications Coordinator

Rachel Bartholomew

Publications Coordinator

Greetings! I’m Rachel from Northern VA in the U.S.A. and I’m placed (almost) conveniently outside of Sapporo. I’m mostly a shut-in but can be bribed to venture out with anything curry. I can’t say I’m a resident of Hokkaido without mentioning my love for the prefecture’s nature life and onsen, although you may be more likely to find me hiking through Sapporo’s snowy streets and photographing the nightlife.

Duncan Wood : Project Outreach Co-coordinator

Duncan Wood

Project Outreach Co-coordinator

Hi, I`m the new Project Outreach Coordinator. I'm from the U.S., specifically the great state of New Jersey. I now live in the beautiful seaside town of Yakumo, which is abouts half way between Hakodate and Chitose on the Hakodate Main Line. Yakumo's the only municipality in Japan to touch both the Pacific and the Sea of Japan, which (along with the fried chicken of Harvester) is our claim to fame. I used to have hobbies, but I mostly just work or chill now. Keep an eye on our facebook page and the HAJET group for future volunteering information. I'm usually at HAJET events barring unforeseen circumstances or exceptional distances, so feel free to seek me out at those. Otherwise, if you need anything/ have questions/ requests/ events you want promoted/ just want to say hi, dont be afraid to message me.

Guannan Mei : Translator

Guannan Mei


Hey, guys. Nice to meet you. This is Guannan Mei, a Chinese girl. You can call me Guannan, however few people knows it. Since the Chinese pronunciation of my first name is a bit annoying, you can just call me “Mei” which sounds the same as “May”. I came to Hokkaido as a CIR last April, now live in Niseko. I’ m so honored to be a member of HAJET family and can’t wait to see you all.

Andrew Gerber : Polestar Designer

Andrew Gerber

Polestar Designer

Irankarapte! Originally from California, I have desperately wanted to see snow my whole life. After three years living in a yurt in Mongolia, I applied to JET, but left my placement request blank, and got sent to Nakashibetsu. I enjoy my eremitical existence in the Wild Wild East, a land that invokes in me ceaseless wonder. That’s all. Thank you for listening.

Kay James : Social Media Coordinator

Kay James

Social Media Coordinator

Hi, everyone! I’m Kay, HAJET’s new Social Media Coordinator. I came to Hokkaido in July 2017. I live in the Hidaka subprefecture, so let me know whenever you’re in the area! I’m originally from Florida, so moving to Hokkaido was a big change for me. This year, I want to spend more time in nature and go to more events across the island. If you or your Contracting Organization ever hosts an event or hike, let me know and I’ll try to spread the word!

Max Turner : Bookseller

Max Turner


I’m a fun loving 2nd Year ALT living in the northern city of Nayoro, famous for its Observatory, Sunflower fields and Mochi Rice Paddies. I spend most of my time frequenting Hokkaido’s eateries, convincing myself that ramen is healthy, being in the great outdoors camping or skiing, playing a spot of rugby or sitting in an onsen with friends chatting about all things life.

Kyle Willits : Webmaster

Kyle Willits


Hi friends! I’m Kyle from the tiny, tiny, tiny town of Utashinai. We likely have more deer than people in my neighborhood. Before coming on the great JET adventure I was a web developer at a few different businesses, so this isn’t my first rodeo! I figured I’d put my skills to good use and help all of you. The past year has been a blur of finishing my Master’s, learning Japanese, working full time, and teaching; it still feels like I’m unable to slow down. I’m a big believer in black coffee and green tea.

Besides studying Japanese, this year I’ve started learning Kyuudo and have been teaching myself how to roast and brew coffee. I also enjoy photography and I try to explore Japan as much as possible in order to document how beautiful it is.

If you want to learn about web development for some post-JET career assistance, or just need a friend to talk to, don’t hesitate to let me know!