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Bookshelves: the Ideal, the DIY, and the Real Life
Emmaline Cotter
June 5, 2017 (0)

Eggnog, Hot Cider, Mulled Wine, and What Else?
Jin Chang
December 15, 2016 (2)

A Month of Turkey and Writing
Jin Chang
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Thanksgiving in Berlin
A.V. Crofts
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When in Need of a Celebration
Jin Chang
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Halloween in Asia
Jin Chang
October 31, 2016 (0)

A New Tale of Noodles
Jin Chang
October 24, 2016 (0)

A Determined Swing
Grant Liebel
August 2nd , 2016 (0)

Yet Another Thing about Pokemon GO
Grant Liebel
July 17th, 2016 (2)

The Typewriter Renaissance
Olenka Burgess
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The Impossible Reading Lists of Summer
Olenka Burgess
June 20, 2016 (1)

Happy Sushi Day! How About Some Sacrilegious Asparagus?
Olenka Burgess
June 18, 2016 (1)

A Compendium of Beloved Blogs from the Literary Food Community
Olenka Burgess
June 14, 2016 (1)

Dean Wong "Seeing the Light" Book Launch at Wing Luke Museum
Olenka Burgess
May 31, 2016 (0)

Spoonbill & Sugartown in NYC
Cali Kopczick
May 18, 2016 (0)

Open Call: Submit to Ghosts of Seattle Past until April 30th
Cali Kopczick
28 March, 2016 (0)

Ghosts of Seattle Past: Irish Wake for Lost Spaces
Allison Dunn
29 Monday, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Jay Gatsby
Allison Dunn
12 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Grendel's Mother
Allison Dunn
11 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Victor Frankenstein
Allison Dunn
10 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Lady Macbeth
Allison Dunn
9 February, 2016 (0)

Our discomfort with language
Todd Shimoda
November 23, 2015 (0)

Go see The Martian!
Matt Damon
22 September, 2015 (0)

A Katrina Scavenger Hunt
Rex Noone
August 28, 2015 (0)

Hurricane Story revisited
Bruce Rutledge
August 26, 2015 (0)

Five Essential Post Katrina Albums
David Rutledge
25 August, 2015 (0)

Q&A with Zack Davisson
Ryan Chu
10 August, 2015 (0)

A Visit to Minidoka
David Rutledge
July 15, 2015 (2)

Open Letter to the place called "Mushaboom"
TexMex Richards
30 June , 2015 (1)

TexMextern Reviews: Masculinity in the Time of Cholera
TexMex Richards
9 June , 2015 (0)

SIFF Special: Most Likely to Manipulate
David Rutledge
June 5, 2015 (0)

TexMextern Reviews: Reviews with a Zest!
TexMex Richards
2 June, 2015 (0)

A Tale of Two Noodles
Dandi Meng
11 May, 2015 (3)

It's Time We Started Talking About Endpapers
Dandi Meng
4 May, 2015 (2)

Spine Poetry
Dandi Meng
1 April, 2015 (3)

CMP Presents...12 by M. Lynch
Dandi Meng
10 March, 2015 (2)

Week of Literary Love: Bartleby the Scrivener
Dandi Meng
14 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Jean Valjean
Cali Kopczick
13 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Winnie-the-Pooh
Dandi Meng
11 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Katniss Everdeen
Dandi Meng
10 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Holden Caulfield
Dandi Meng
9 February, 2015 (0)

Literary Showdown: Seattle vs. Boston
Dandi Meng
3 February , 2015 (2)

It's Time We Started Talking About Section Break Markers
Cali Kopczick
19 December, 2014 (2)

Short Run Festival Recap
Cali Kopczick
November 26, 2014 (0)

Selling Culture: Japan and America's Trickiest Trade
Cali Kopczick
November 7, 2014 (0)

History's Bestsellers in Translation Part II: Nonfiction
Cali Kopczick
October 20, 2014 (0)

China/Seattle/Reykjavík: Ryan Boudinot on Seattle as a Global City of Literature
Cali Kopczick
October 8, 2014 (0)

BuzzFeed Article - 8 Reasons Japanese Ghosts Make Terrible Roommates
Cali Kopczick
September 23, 2014 (0)

History's Bestsellers in Translation Part I: Fiction
Cali Kopczick
September 9, 2014 (0)

Ramen Revisited: Tips from Ken Taya aka Enfu
Cali Kopczick
September 2, 2014 (0)

Kodawari Can Render the Prosaic Profound
Cali Kopczick
August 27, 2014 (0)

Before the Summer Runs Out: A Road Trip Proposal
Cali Kopczick
August 19, 2014 (12)

The High Art of Smelling Books
Cali Kopczick
August 4, 2014 (1)

Pike Place Location Opening and Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy Open House
Staff
July 28, 2014 (1)

Indie Book Publisher Opens Office/Retail Space in Seattle's Pike Place Market
Press Release
July 16, 2014 (0)

Q&A with "A Commonplace Book of Pie" Author Kate Lebo and Illustrator Jessica Lynn Bonin
David Jacobson
Oct. 9, 2013 (0)

A Broadside for Mardi Gras
Bruce Rutledge
February 12, 2013 (0)

Oprah Outs Armstrong; Irvin Mayfield Next?
Rex Noone
January 26, 2013 (0)

Friends of CMP
Bruce Rutledge
November 21, 2012 (0)

Nippon-NOLA challenge: week 3
Bruce Rutledge
October 24, 2012 (2)

The NOLA-Nippon challenge: week 2
Bruce Rutledge
October 6, 2012, 2012 (0)

The NOLA-Nippon challenge
Bruce Rutledge
September 24, 2012 (2)

Infusing Nonfiction with Truth: American True Stories
Bruce Rutledge talks to Michael Rozek
June 29, 2012 (1)

Questions rain down on NOLA
Bruce Rutledge
June 18, 2012 (0)

En-Joying Kanji: A Review of Eve Kushner's Joy o' Kanji
David Jacobson
May 24, 2012 (1)

Michael Rozek Redefines Nonfiction
Bruce Rutledge
April 19, 2012 (3)

Viewed Sideways: a collection of essays by Donald Richie
D. Michael Ramirez II
December 30, 2011 (0)

New Orleans Book Fest
Bruce
November 4, 2011 (0)

Review: The Beautiful One Has Come (Suzanne Kamata)
D. Michael Ramirez II
August 12, 2011 (0)

The JET Program's Finest Hour
David Jacobson
July 9, 2011 (0)

And the winner is ...
Bruce Rutledge
July 5, 2011 (0)

An even dozen: slow books in a fast world
Bruce Rutledge
June 29, 2011 (1)

Last Chapter for an Island Bookstore?
David Jacobson
June 24, 2011 (0)

More than just another 'Kawaii' face
Bruce Rutledge
June 16, 2011 (0)

Hurricane Story - Free Offer!
Dave Jacobson
June 9, 2011 (0)

Books for Katrina-hit New Orleans Schools
David Jacobson
May 25, 2011 (0)

Todd Shimoda wins Hawaii's top literary award
Chin Music Press
April 12, 2011 (1)

"The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P": A Review
Will Eells
March 28, 2011 (0)

A great sorrow
Bruce Rutledge
March 25, 2011 (1)

Blog Entry
The JET Program's Finest Hour
David Jacobson
July 9, 2011

The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) was established in 1987, the same year that nine U.S. Congressmen, in a very visual display of Japan bashing, sledgehammered a Toshiba radio into smithereens at a Capitol Hill press conference.

The program was intended to help internationalize local communities in Japan by bringing in native speakers to teach junior and senior high school students. But its greatest success may actually have been the creation of a huge reservoir of goodwill towards Japan, especially among the 55,000+ worldwide alumni of the program.

Their support this spring, in the aftermath of the devastating March 11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, may have marked the programs finest hour. Japan, in this difficult hour, is reaping the benefits of years of dedication to internationalization in the form of JET, writes Emily Metzgar, journalism professor at the University of Indiana and herself a JET alumna, in a piece titled This is What Public Diplomacy Looks Like.

Online Forums Connect Survivors

Within hours after the disaster, Eric Butler, a former JET who lives in Calgary, Alberta, created a Facebook page, Foreigners from Miyagi. He intended it as a place to discuss how to help the quake victims, but within days it attracted nearly 700 users, many in Japan, and morphed into a forum for those seeking the whereabouts of JETs or others in disaster areas. [NB. Credit for the original reporting on this should go to UBC journalism student Jamie Williams who chronicled it in his piece, Social Media's Role as a Crucial Lifeline During Japan Disaster.]

It soon became clear that the dialog format of Facebook made it difficult to find information, so Eric, with the help of Sendai JET coordinator Iain Campbell, language teacher Greg Lekich and other volunteers on both sides of the Pacific, added a searchable wiki, which in turn was linked to a Google map of the disaster area. The power of that combination was soon felt when the Miyagi JETs initiated a systematic search for (then) missing JET Taylor Anderson.

Weve developed a really clear picture of where shes been and what she did after the disaster, and how people can look for her, Eric told Jamie Williams in the days before she was found. And weve managed to coordinate quite what I feel is a fairly professional search effort for a bunch of mismatched volunteers across the Internet.

Unfortunately, Taylor became the first known American victim of the tsunami when her body was found in Ishinomaki city.

Editor (and JET alumnus) Steven Horowitz began a similar effort providing up-to-the minute updates on JETwit, a blog that has evolved into the de facto central information source for the JET alumni community. But he also saw his role as helping JET alums become involved in the relief effort, listing opportunities for volunteers, translators, even offering practical advice for those in Japan. And he recommended that JETs get the word out: Make yourself available to talk to schools, churches, companies, other organizations. Engage your grad school or college alumni offices. Wear a button that says, Ask Me About Japan.

Alumni responded with enthusiasm, whether in response to JETwit's call to action or simply out of an intrinsic desire to help the country that had become a second homeland to so many of them. They took their stories to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Louisville Courier-Journal (KY), Washington Post, Boston Globe, Claremont-McKenna College website and , Washington State University, among others.

Some, like Harvard physician Stuart Harris, werent content to stay at home. Within days of the quake, he was already in Japan offering his expertise in emergency medicine to the communities in Iwate where he had once worked as a JET volunteer 20 years before.

JET Fundraising Tops $300,000

By March 15, the 19 American chapters of the JET Alumni Association (23,000 members worldwide) had jointly set up the JETAA USA Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Over the next few months, chapters in countless American cities New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Columbus (OH), among others organized local fundraising events. As of June 8, they had collectively raised $60,000 for the fund, but when one adds other fundraising events they participated in, the amount jumps to $343,000 (as of May).

Other alumni chose to pursue their own individual fundraising efforts. Since 2008, 5-year JET veteran Michael Maher King has been running a nonprofit assisting orphanages in Fukui prefecture, after having learned that one of his students was an orphan. After the tsunami hit, Smile Kids Japan teamed up with Tokyo-based NGO Living Dreams to take on the task of helping the huge number of kids newly orphaned by the disaster in Tohoku. Together they plan to provide basic necessities and eventually counseling for kids at 18 orphanages in three prefectures and have raised $45,000.

JET alumnus Anthony Bianchi, who has taken Japanese citizenship and is now a 3-term councilman in the Nagoya suburb of Inuyama, returned to his Brooklyn high school for a fundraiser and raised around $18,000 for tsunami victims.

Scotsman David Chalmers, in his first year in far off Ehime prefecture, conceived of the Man up for Japan event to encourage people to denote 1-man yen (10,000 yen or $124) from their paychecks to various relief charities.

And Akita JET Paul Yoo created The Fruit Tree Project to provide fresh fruit to occupants in evacuation shelters who rarely get them. So far, he has raised nearly $15,000, enabling it to deliver nearly 30,000 fresh bananas, apples and oranges.

Jim Gannon, a JET alumnus who now works as executive director of the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), sees JETs impact primarily in the mobilizing and channeling of resources rather than in direct fundraising. In an email, he said, Many JET alumni are now mid-career professionals who are well positioned to bridge the two societies and help direct resources in a more effective way, keeping momentum alive.

JETs Role Noticed in Japan

Fortunately, JETs role has not gone unnoticed in Japan. The director-general of the
public diplomacy department
of Japans Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) sent a letter to the alumni association thanking JET alumni for their contributions to the relief effort. And CLAIR (the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations, which manages the JET program), recognized JETwit in particular for its sustained and far-reaching efforts. The Japanese media has also noted the dedication of JET volunteers who have remained in their communities, and the sacrifice of the two JETs who died in the disaster: Monty Dickson and Taylor Anderson.

Yet, ironically, the future of the JET program remains in question, given the Japanese governments continuing budget woes. But JETs response to the Tohoku quake and tsunami may have won it some new allies.

The future of the JET program itself should be clear under the beacon of light cast by the tragic deaths of these two young people, writes former deputy press secretary Taniguchi Tomohiko of MOFA who describes the program as one of the crown jewels of Japanese diplomacy. The last thing we should be considering now is packing up our banner and quitting.

Today, the change in sentiment toward Japan (as compared to the time of JETs founding) is palpable. A lot of that, of course, is sympathy in the wake of the disaster. But surely, some of the change has to be attributed to the quiet success of the 24-year-old JET program which has seeded America with more than 26,000 Japanophiles which, as the program likes to point out, amounts to nearly 1 in 1,000 Americans.

A disclosure: Chin Music Press itself is, in a way, a product of the JET program. CMP co-founder Bruce Rutledge took part in the Mombusho English Fellows program, a precursor to JET. Other alumni include book designer Josh Powell and marketing assistant Jessica Sattell.

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