Who We Are: The HAJET Prefectural Council


 ‘Ferfie’ Brownoff | President


Howdy, howdy, howdy, howdy.

I’m Ferfie and I’m the HAJET President for 2016-2017. I’m currently spending my days in the small town of Rikubetsu, located in the kind-of-central-eastern bit of Hokkaido. It’s known for being the coldest place in Japan, having a pretty nice Astronomy Observatory, and a lesser known fact is that it’s home to some of the nicest folks in all of Japan. Seriously. My town is so charming it hurts.

As President, I work to help coordinate and follow up with the rest of the HAJET PC; to provide support to them and ensure that our tasks as a whole are completed. On top of that I’m here to provide support to all of you – the general HAJET membership. If you have questions, concerns, or just want to talk about interesting stuff, please feel free to contact me at: president@hajet.org. There’s a whole lot of rad to be had out here in Hokkaido, so hopefully I can help any and all of you make sure you get your fill.

I look forward to the year ahead, and I hope all of you are stoked on it too!

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Nikolai Muth | Vice-President


Hi there! My name’s Nikolai and I’m very happy to be the HAJET Vice President for 2016-2017.

Outside of Japan I come from a little rural town in Upstate New York, all the way from America. Living in Hokkaido has been one of the best things for me, and I’ve been able to meet so many great people, make some Japanese friends, and put lots of effort into my job as an assistant English teacher.

I joined HAJET because to me it it’s a group of like-minded, incredibly friendly and supportive people that are quick to go above and beyond to help both its members and the children they teach. As Vice President, I’m really excited to keep on that track! And one of the best perks of this job is meeting all the new people, so please, don’t be shy, I’d love to get to know you. Send me an email anytime if you have any questions at all or just want to chat!

HAJET really does provide some incredibly cool opportunities for everyone in Hokkaido and I can tell it’s only going to get better in 2016-2017! :)



Bryan Campbell | Treasurer


Hi everyone. I’m your new Treasurer. I am a second year JET ALT in Kamikawa, a small town in the centre of Hokkaido that is famous for ramen and snow. So much snow.

I’m a tabletop gamer and I like movies and rock climbing (even though I am terrible at the last one). I also like folding complicated origami and traveling with my stuffed red panda, Buttons.

Treasury is a weird job and very uncool, but don’t be shy when you see me around events; I’m far less dry and normal than I make it look.

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Debbie Walter | Secretary


Hey, everyone! My name is Debbie, and I’m glad to be returning to the HAJET PC this year as your new Secretary. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a second year JET who lives in the lovely little town of Kuriyama, nestled in the heart of the Central Region. When I’m not our exploring my town and the surrounding areas, I like to spend my time reading a good book, watching YouTube, cooking, and playing video games. I’m really looking forward to working with the PC this year, so let’s have a good one!

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Adam Gentle | Northern Rep


Hi, guys. My name is Adam, and I’m this year’s Northern Representative! I’m a Hokkaido BoE ALT living up in Monbetsu with my lovely and very patient wife, Marie. From what I hear there are technically two Monbetsus, but rest assured that I have no idea where the other one is. Mine is up on the Okhotsk coast, and is a pretty excellent place for eating crab, petting seals, meeting Russians, balancing precariously on sea ice, and hanging with the Gentles. You’re welcome anytime, and we may even cook for you.

As Northern Rep, my job is to represent the interests of those HAJETeers living from Asahikawa all the way up to Rishiri Island. It’s a big ol’ piece of territory, with a ton of rad stuff to offer. In addition to repping you guys for the PC, it’s also my job to coordinate events and information that can help bring us all together and provide you with opportunities to do cool stuff in your communities (kind of the point of this whole HAJET thing). With that being said, if any of you Northerners hears about something awesome that I somehow haven’t heard about yet, give me a holler. I would love to help spread the word or help find volunteers/participants for events.

I’m making it my goal this year to get out and see every corner of the Northern region that I can, and I’m super down for almost any adventure, so feel free to reach out if you need a hiking buddy, Japanese study partner, have a question about your radical Hokkaido life, or if you simply just need a little time to vent in English. northern.rep@hajet.org

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Kelsey Woodford | Eastern Rep


Kia ora! My name is Kelsey and I am the 2016-2017 HAJET eastern region representative. I am now living in the far eastern peninsula Nemuro City, but sprouted up and spent the first 22 years of my life in Wellington, New Zealand.

Before coming to Japan I spent most of my time watching the curves and landscapes of human bodies and recording them to paper, walls and objects with pencil, paint and tools. I really miss figure drawing so if you miss it too let’s get together and find a way. Nowadays I watch the curves and landscapes of Hokkaidō, and really enjoy forming connections with the people out here. There are so many fabulous adventures to be had, we can all learn so much from each other and this place.

Mainly my jobs as eastern rep are to represent the eastern HAJET members at meetings, report on regional events and activities, integrate new-coming JETs into Hokkaidō life and coordinate the eastern regional welcome party.
As well as that, one of my jobs as eastern rep is to facilitate social interaction and develop a sense of community among members – so I’d love to hear from you! Email me anytime at eastern.rep@hajet.org if you have any questions, or even just to say hi!

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Betrice Yambrach | Central Rep


Hey Everyone! My name is Betrice and I’ll be your Central Rep this year! I am a second year JET originally from Washington D.C. but now live in Urakawa, the small (but not too small) adorable town famous for konbu and race horses. We also have some pretty amazing strawberries and salmon from the local farms and rivers that I highly recommend. When I’m not busy dealing with sassy high school students, I enjoy spending my time at the onsen, hiking, or driving around Hokkaido and taking in the natural scenery. Seriously guys, this island is so beautiful! I especially love when I’m driving to school in the morning along the coast and see the local fisherman out in the water in their white boats. As Central Rep I’m hoping to find events, activities, festivals, anything going on in the Central Region and make it available to the HAJET community as well as throw some great parties and gatherings to help you best experience Hokkaido life and make the most out of your time in Japan. Hit me up if you’re in my area (or I’m in your area). I’m always down for getting a drink, doing something fun, and meeting new people!


Jennifer Wang | Sapporo Rep



My name is Jennifer, and I’ll be taking over as the Sapporo rep. I was born in Taiwan, lived on Guam for 10 years, then moved to California to attend university before coming to Japan as an ALT.

Last October was the first time I have ever seen snow, and I love it! I hope to help other JETs experience all the exciting events that Sapporo and Hokkaido has to offer.

My hobbies include wasting my savings at the UFO machines, collecting Pokemon’s from the Pokemon store, and playing with snow in my backyard.

In addition to culture shock, the vast time difference and the absence of loved ones can make adjusting to life in Japan a challenge for anyone. My goal this year is to help new JETs settle smoothly into their life in Hokkaido and make the most of their time in Japan. Whether it’s questions about schools, Internet, credit cards, pet shops or pudding shops, I’m here to help you find your answer.


Daneille O’Neil | Southwest Rep


Hi all, My name is Daneille. I’m 27 years old and hail from the island of Jamaica. I’m currently based in Mori, near Hakodate, a wonderful little town with some of the people I’ve ever met. I’m a fun loving bookworm with an interesting sense of humour. An avid lover of music and crafts. I also like to help people in any way I can. As your SW Rep I hope to have some epically awesome events :)

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Jack Powers | Polestar Editor-in-Chief


I’ve recently gotten into the onsen craze. Add that to the other things I enjoy. Email me if you have an interest in contributing to Polestar in any capacity. We accept articles, poems, photos, graphic designs, original artwork, and hate mail. Conbini beer of your choice for any published content, redeemable whenever you find me around the island. Back to me: I usually listen to Future while grading papers. Also, I was cut from my high school basketball team junior year. What do you think Hokkaido looks like?

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Isabelle Legault | Polestar Designer


Hello! My name is Isabelle Legault, and I am the current designer for Polestar Magazine. I’ve been an ALT working for the Abashiri Board of Education since August of 2015, and was attending a university in Canada before becoming a JET. While I’m in no way a veteran as a teacher or PC member, I will do my absolute best in the job I’ve been given (as long as I stop procrastinating and actually find the time to put together this magazine for you lovely people). So, I’ll just be sitting down with my old, miraculously functioning laptop to make a Polestar Magazine that (I hope) you can be proud of! A few past issues can be found at issuu.com/polestarhajet, and we’ll be working to upload more in the future. If you have any questions about the magazine, submission, or really anything at all, feel free to email me at designer@hajet.org.


Karisa Whelan | Publications Coordinator


Hello! I’m Karisa, the HAJET publications coordinator. I’ll probably have to hand in my Australian passport for not starting with “g’day mate”, despite growing up by the beach, enjoying barbecues and beers, in a town called Ulladulla on the South Coast of New South Wales. Moving to Hokkaido has been a huge change from the year-round early summer I was used to in Australia. Living in Hokkaido and enjoying the vast differences between the seasons and all they offer is simply awesome. I live in a small town called Yuni in the Yubari district. I’m lucky enough to get the best of both worlds, inaka life but only an hour from Sapporo. Moving to Hokkaido has brought out my adventurous side and on weekends you’ll find me exploring, whether on foot or by bike. I seem to have settled in to life in Japan pretty well and I am hoping to make the transition a little easier for all newcomers by updating the Hokkaido Newcomers’ Guide. With 10 years experience working as a journalist and a Master in Communications under my belt, I’ll be doing my best to make the HNG a must-read resource for all ALTs. I’m always keen to hear new ideas and to make friends, so please say “hello” or “g’day” when you see me out and about.

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Katelyn Mitchell | Musical Director


Hello! My name is Kate, and I will be filling the recently revived position of HAJET Musical Coordinator! I originally hail from North Carolina, USA, where I studied theater at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I now reside in the gorgeous seaside town of Urakawa, famed for racehorses, konbu, and fairly mild winters. My hobbies include writing, cosplay, horseback riding, and breaking into spontaneous song (usually show tunes) throughout the day. Hit me up if you’re ever in need of a karaoke buddy!

My role on the PC this year is to bring the HAJET Musical project back to center stage! If you like singing, dancing, acting, costuming, working with sound/lights, stage management, or just think this is a really cool project to get involved in, contact me at director@hajet.org.


Kelsey Fast | Social Coordinator


Hey guys, whats up? I’m the other Kelsey, and the Social Coordinator this year. I’ve lived most of my life in the city of Calgary, Alberta, and I have been placed in the comparatively warmer city of Hakodate, which is almost all the way down south.

We’ve got it all down here! The Shinkansen, a beautiful night view, a star-shaped fort, and strange promotional videos of a monster squid attacking the city and fighting Goryokaku tower…

Our food specialty is squid by the way.

My hobbies that I have partaken in Hokkaido mostly involve trying (and loving) to do things like hiking, biking and skiing, but not being particularly good at any of them. I truly excel at making obscure pop culture references and Netflix marathons.

If you are ever down in Hakodate, please give me a shout! If I am free I’d love to show you around the city.


Phillip Hennessy | HEC Coordinator

mail: hec@hajet.org | website: hec.hajet.org

Hey! I’m the HEC Coordinator and a second year Hokkaido BOE ALT living in Abashiri. This wonderful place is famous for sea ice, a prison, and a chipmunk petting zoo. If any of those strike your fancy, come on over!

I joined the HEC camp last year and needless to say, I loved it. It lead me to see HEC as a valuable tool for ALTs around Hokkaido. Simply put, it’s a way for us to really connect with our students. It’s also a wonderful outlet for our students who want to improve their English and experience other cultures. That’s why I decided to take on this position. Even though I’m a noob compared to a lot of you wonderful people, I’m willing to work hard and want to make this a wonderful year! I’m actually co-author on a scientific paper published in the European Journal of Soil Science. I also through hiked the Appalachian Trail. But don’t let those things fool you…

Anyways, a large part of my job now is mediating between people. I talk to people who are involved and who want to be involved, so, please, contact me anytime. The more people talk to me, the happier and less worried I am : ). Feel free to let me know about any thoughts or ideas or questions you might have.


Jordan Frazier | HEC Camp Coordinator


Hello! I’m Jordan Frazier, a 4th year ALT in the great northern wilds of Takinoue, and this year I am the HEC Camp Coordinator! I’m a transplant from the US (Texas, specifically- never say that the JET Programme doesn’t have a sense of humor) but have found a happy place here exploring, onsening, and skiing as much as I can.

I have been involved in HEC for a couple of years, and I’ve seen the impact that HEC can have on students firsthand. I’ve had multiple students attend HEC at this point, and seeing them at camp has made this ALT misty-eyed at times. Some of my proudest moments have been watching them grow and interact with others at camp. Even students who take the test and don’t even go to camp are affected by the process- they gain confidence and a more positive attitude towards English as they realize that they can express themselves in creative and adaptable ways in preparation for the test.
HEC is an amazing experience for everyone involved, so if you’re interested, whether to volunteer or to enter your students, please contact me! Every year we need talented and dedicated individuals to make HEC run smoothly; we can’t do it without you!

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Bree Storey | HAJET Translator


Hey everyone, I’m a front-and-center, outgoing, and loud person in charge of doing mostly quiet, behind-the-scenes work – isn’t life funny. I’m the courier across the kingdoms of Japanese and English, making sure you, your BoEs, and local communities can read and understand the HAJET meeting packets, constitution and any amendments, events, website information, and so on. So talk language with me if you want. Or come visit the amazing geopark I interpret and translate for down in Samani. I’m way interested in Japanese folklore and theology as well, so if you want to while away time on that, I’m here. Thanks for reading, and good luck navigating these white rapids we call foreign language learning. I am gato malo.

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Marie Gentle | Bookseller


Hello, I’m Marie and I am your Bookseller. I grew up in southwestern Idaho and spent a lot of time in central California as well. I live up in the wild north of Hokkaido with Adam and we spend a lot of time adventuring around this island that we call home. I am a self professed book snob and being in charge of the bookstore allows me to indulge in ALL of the reading that I could ever want. I love to talk about and share books with people so if you see me around, and don’t know what to talk to me about, just ask me what I’m reading. It’s a sure fire way of having a good conversation.

[ :) ]

Fiona Dunton | Elections Coordinator

[Under construction – Coming soon!]

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Ellen Mariano | Project Outreach Coordinator


Hello! My name is Ellen. I’m HAJET’s Project Outreach Coordinator, which means it’s my job to coordinate volunteer opportunities for you and advise you on your own volunteering initiatives!

Why volunteer? Well, not only do studies show that people who volunteer are happier and healthier than people who don’t, but it’s also a great way to meet other ALTs and become a part of the Japanese community while simultaneously making the world a better place. Do I need to say anymore?

With that being said, I’m currently working on a few projects. They include helping out at an orphanage and an animal shelter, doing disaster relief in Tohoku and volunteering abroad.

When I’m not organizing volunteer activities, you can find me getting in touch with my outdoorsy self and exploring this beautiful island we live on. I love running, biking, hiking and skiing and I’m always up for a new adventure.

If any of these projects sound interesting to you…or if you are ever in need of an adventure buddy, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!

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Jonathan Curry | Webmaster


Yo! 2nd year ALT Jon Curry here, taking care of all your HAJET interweb needs. In other words, I get to play with HAJET website and email things during my many many BoE hours. Shoot me an email or find me on Facebook if you have events you would like to share with your fellow JETs, or if you have questions or suggestions regarding the website.

There’s not a lot to do way up here in Hamatonbetsu, so I spend my off time playing Pokemon and pretending to commit to getting back in shape – if any of that interests or relates to you*, let’s enjoy talking together!

*Also applies to anyone not in this demographic.