Introducing the 2008-09 PAs

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Greg Beck

Greetings all!

Welcome, or welcome back, to Hiroshima! I am your new PA (Prefectural Advisor) Greg Beck. I am here for YOU! as you may experience hardship adapting to a new culture, xenophobia bordering on racism, or frustration from being spoken down to. I want to help you overcome this and get the most out of this amazing place! I am no psychologist or counselor (and those people ARE here for you too!) but I am happy to answer questions, give simple advice when asked or translate when it’s an emergency.

On a personal note, I am going to be a CIR living in Hiroshima City, but wrapping up two years as an ALT in Kure. I am 24, a University of Arizona graduate and a Tucson native. My degree is in Japanese Religion with a minor in English, and I’m pretty good at both languages. I love travel, music, movies, skateboarding, snowboarding and partying. I am crap with names so it may take me a few times to learn yours. Facebook helps. I also tend to come off as a bit of a know-it-all. This is not the case. I am a scatter-brain, I go off on random tangents and I don’t plan vacations (I just GO). So please forgive my shortcomings and keep in mind I just want to help, and share the random knowledge I have retained from my life, which includes living a year with a Japanese family in Kobe for college, a year on an inaka island (Ondo) and one more on the main land (Kure) both here in Hiroshima. Also, I’m taking over for Justin Ratcliff who has been absolutely AMAZING, so please be patient while I learn the ropes too.

Don’t hesitate to contact me 24-7. Also, while settling in, don’t worry whether your problem is too small, just try me and we’ll work it out quickly.

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Natalie Oram

Welcome to Hiroshima-ken! I hope that you will come to love your placement and experience all that Hiroshima and Japan have to offer. My name is Natalie Oram; I am a South African and one of the two Prefectural Advisors for the next year. As Prefectural Advisor I am here to help you with any problems you have including personal problems, problems with your school or placement and just supplying answers to any questions you may have. Other than that if you just want someone to chat to or hang out with, I am your girl.

I live in Tadanoumi, which is a tiny town along the Seto-Inland Sea, at the base of Mt. Kurotaki. I love my town and especially Okunoshima Island, only a ferry ride away and populated by bunnies. Other than my obvious bunny love, I enjoy traveling in Japan and Asia. I also like keeping active by cycling and hiking. I came to Japan without any knowledge of Japanese, so the language is still a mystery I am deciphering. Even in my third year, I know there is still so much to learn about Japan, so please enjoy discovering Japan with me.

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Laura Graham

I’m not used to self-introductions where I don’t have to pretend to be a sky-diving, flute-playing, Harry Potter fanatic who is fluent in Welsh (my Japanese students believe this – about 30% is true). So I thought I’d interview myself – here are some questions asked by various people since I arrived in Japan two years ago:

Where do you live? Midorii, about twenty minutes north of downtown Hiroshima via JR or Astram Line (Arsetram Line if you’re British…..sorry)

Can you eat natto? No.

Where do you come from? A village called Mumbles on the south coast of Wales in the UK. No, people don’t go around mumbling all day, and yes, Wales is a country, not a suburb of London.

What’s the name of that Welsh town with the really long name? Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

Why did you come to Japan? A combination of early childhood influences (Japanese lodgers) and horror at the thought of becoming a lawyer.

What’s the deal with the City JETs? Basically we are under the admin of Hiroshima Municipal Board of Education, and have a different orientation in August so the BOE can send a defined group of city ALTs to certain events such as school seminars, peace lectures etc.

What’s the best place you’ve visited in Japan? Tokashiki Island, Okinawa.