COVID-19 Information

Nagano Prefecture alert level map from the Nagano Prefectural Government COVID-19 information portal, May 9: The Kiso area is at Level 1, The Northern Alps area at Level 3, Kamiina and Hokushin at Level 4, and all other areas of the prefecture at 5. The table displays each area (far left), alert level (left), new case numbers within the past week (right), and approximate cases per 100,000 population within the past week (far right).

Notice on Booster Shots: Those who received their second shot in Japan should receive a voucher for their booster shot by mail six months after their second shot. Those who received their second shot abroad (ex., before coming to Japan) will need to apply for the booster shot through their municipality. Most applications are available through town and city webpages. Please ask your supervisor or caretaker, or email the PAs for guidance.

Recent Updates:

  • April 20: Nagano Prefecture has issued a Medical System Alert (source), calling attention to the risk of the more contagious BA.2 variant and urging precautions to prevent spread to the elderly and those at higher risk of developing severe symptoms.
  • April 8: The Period for Strengthening Protections Against the Spread of Infection lifts April 10. However, the prefecture notes continued high infection rates among younger populations leading to the greatest overall risk of infection yet, and urges careful adherence to local safety protocols (source).
    • Those in areas at Level 5 are still encouraged to follow all of the protocol in the March 17 update below.
  • Jan. 7: Nagano Prefecture is currently offering free PCR and quantitative antigen tests to those without current symptoms or confirmed close contacts. See this post for additional information.

  • View the Nagano Intercultural Consultation Center’s English COVID-19 page here.
  • Need English-language assistance? You can reach the COVID-19 Multilingual Call Center 24 hours a day at 0120-974-998. You can also find them on Facebook here, or add them on LINE.
  • If you are concerned about a fever or other possible symptoms, contact your designated health center, using the number above for translation if needed. (See Consultations below.)
  • Learn about precautions at work: Observe Nagano’s COVID-19 workplace guidelines.
  • Dining out? Look for this Arukuma sticker outside restaurants with approved COVID-19 countermeasures.
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2022 Leavers’ Series #1

To all our JETs leaving the program this year:

Whether you’ve been here for one year or five, we hope you’ve made some wonderful memories in Nagano. We have been happy to have you as part of our international community, and hope you have found a fulfilling and life-changing experience during your time here. Preparing to leave JET can feel overwhelming, but the 2022 Leavers’ Series is here to help you prepare.

We will be releasing these resources in three stages as we approach the Leavers’ Conference on June 3. Today, you can access the first installment, which includes important checklist information about the following items. Start preparing in May, and be ready to end on a smooth note at the end of July!

  1. Scheduling
  2. Bills and utilities
  3. Budgeting
  4. Car sales and disposal
  5. Sending items overseas

A special note on shipping: Please be advised that extra charges across all Japan Post shipping methods for International Parcel Post (larger international packages) are increasing starting June 1, due to reduction of routes during the pandemic. These charges can be quite expensive. If you have items that can be shipped early, it may be a good idea to do so before the end of May. Prior to June 1, only EMS shipments incur extra fees.

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Applications Open for SHS Direct Hire ALT Positions

A. Position Details

  1. Job Type: Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)
  2. Number of Positions Available: 10
  3. Placement locations:
    • Base school: A Prefectural senior high school in the Chushin, Toshin, Nanshin, or Hokushin area
      • Regular visit school(s): Prefectural senior high schools in the neighboring area
      • Irregular visit school(s): Prefectural special education schools in the neighboring area
    • Note: Base school: 3-4 days a week; Regular visit school: 1-2 day(s) a week; Irregular visit school: A few times a month.
  4. Period of Contract:
    The duration of the appointment shall be from August 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023.
  5. Work Terms and Conditions:
    • Remuneration: 280,000 yen/month (3,360,000 yen/year)
    • Compensation for income tax and inhabitants’ tax is not paid
    • Commuting expenses are provided
    • Housing allowance is not provided (although teacher housing may be available)
    • Working hours: 08:30 to 16:15
    • Break time: 12:15 to 13:00 *subject to change according to the schools’ daily schedule
    • Holidays: Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and New Year’s Holiday
    • Insurance provided: health insurance, employee’s pension insurance, employment insurance, workers’ accident compensation insurance
    • Note: As for other work terms and conditions, the Terms and Conditions for JET Prefectural ALTs shall be applied. However, the JET Programme Accident Insurance will not be available.
Continue reading “Applications Open for SHS Direct Hire ALT Positions”

Seeking Applicants for a Senior High School Global Instructor(s)

The Nagano Board of Education is currently seeking an experienced teacher for the Global Instructor position (hereinafter referred to as “G Instructor”).

In order to provide more Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) opportunities to students in Nagano Prefecture, the Nagano Prefectural Board of Education employs international citizens as part-time, temporary classroom lecturers with special appointments.

These lecturers, Global Instructors, will work closely with the foreign language department and other departments relating to their academic specialty at their assigned school. They will be responsible for developing curriculums for school-specific, interdisciplinary courses together with a Japanese senior high school teacher. Depending on their school placement, the Global Instructor may be asked to Team Teach (TT) with Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) and to participate in after school activities such as English Club, English Debate, and Presentation Contests.

A. Position Details:

Continue reading “Seeking Applicants for a Senior High School Global Instructor(s)”

Hokushin East’s NagaYes: We Painted a Friend with Friends

This year’s Hokushin East NagaYes took place at the Nihon Tsuchi Ningyo Museum (日本土人形資料館). The Nakano City museum sits higher up a mountain, affording a breathtaking view of the city.

When you enter the museum, there are two places you can go. To the right is the museum, which we forwent. To the left is the painting area, and a glass case filled to the brim with unpainted clay dolls. 

Continue reading “Hokushin East’s NagaYes: We Painted a Friend with Friends”

Submissions Open! 17th Annual “Nagano International Perspective” Photo Exhibit: #sukinagano


Submissions: April 18–May 16

Each year, the Nagano Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) collect photos showcasing international residents’ favorite things about life in Nagano, including local nature, favorite places, daily life or objects representing home culture. Through the exhibit, we hope to deepen intercultural connections and understanding in Nagano Prefecture.

Our theme moving forward is #sukinagano, combining “sukina” (liked/loved/favorite in Japanese) and “Nagano.”

Continue reading “Submissions Open! 17th Annual “Nagano International Perspective” Photo Exhibit: #sukinagano”

Stop, Mallet Time

Nanshin NagaYes mallet golf tournament signup (Deadline June 1)

Have you ever played mallet golf? It’s like a cross between croquet and golf. Hit the ball with a hammer, get it in the hole with the fewest number of strokes. Move to the next course. Simple, right? Compete as a team, and as a block representative.
Let’s enjoy an outdoor get-together in Beautiful Nanshin!

Date: Saturday, June 4th, 10:30am
Location: Oshiba Kogen, in Minami-Minowa. (access instructions below.)
Fee: 600 yen
(200 yen course fee + 300 yen mallet/ball rental or BYO. 100 yen contribution for the prizes)
There is no public transportation, and it is 15 minutes by car from Ina-Kita Station, so please drive or carpool if you can. There may be people able to give you a ride from Ina-Kita station, so if you need assistance it doesn’t hurt to ask.

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Lady Appledown’s Society Papers (Block Leader Changeover Announcement 2022)

28 April 2022, Thursday

Dear Gentle Reader,

My name is Lady Appledown. You do not know me, and rest assured, you never shall. But be forewarned, Dear JET, I certainly know you.

The season’s Block Leader Changeover at Kencho House is a most highly sought-after invitation, indeed. For every darling Block Leader from Ogawa Village to Ina City will be on display.

As we all know, there is nothing more this author loves more than a scandal, and today’s soiree promises more than its fair share. I would caution any young Block Leader from getting caught up in the in-person nature of this fete. For a wayward brush of skis, or, heaven forbid, a shared oyaki would banish any young Block Leader from society in a trail of ruin.

Scandalous Hokushin West Block Leaders Replaced By Sensible JETs

Any young Block Leader of good and pure repute would know the appropriate number of dances to grant any one potential co-Block Leader. However, it seems that Miss Lexi Harrison decided to forgo her manners and danced a daring three times with the same co-BL at Lady Greenbear’s most recent ball on Sunday. Paying no mind to the more discerning members of the prefecture unsubtlely side-eyeing the audacious duo, they were about to embark on a fourth dance when one of Lady Greenbear’s footmen ushered them out of the ballroom. This author has it on good authority that after this most indecorous display no respectable house has extended any additional invitations to the Harrisons. Perhaps this explains why a carriage was seen hastily departing Harrison House for the countryside early this morning, packed with trunks.

There are some who believe that birds of a feather flock together, and this author counts herself among them. It should be no surprise, then, that Miss Brigitta Kaiser is enduring her own fall from grace. The young lady was seen speaking to the young Lord Azalea while simply standing outside of the modiste on Tuesday afternoon. Despite Lord Azalea’s best attempts to engage Miss Brigitta in pleasant conversation and a promenade, she expressed her disdain for the practice. If that were not ghastly enough, an outburst of laughter and, some suspect, a snort, were heard shortly thereafter. Such unseemly behaviour from a supposedly well-bred lady from a respectable family was nothing short of disgraceful; some would say it was outrageous. It should be no surprise to anyone, then, that the young miss has not been seen since, likely sent off to the countryside until the prefecture has forgotten her transgressions.

It is often said that those who become Block Leaders in haste must repent at leisure, a sentiment that is clearly shared by Miss Sarah Warso who has apparently waited not one, not two, but three months for a suitable co-Block Leader. Some believe she was showing admirable forethought in her deliberations, but I would venture a different conjecture, that she was waiting for pandemic border restrictions to ease.

It is therefore my great pleasure to announce the news others questioned but I never doubted: Miss Tracy Lavizzo has made her match, officially partnered with Miss Warso. While Miss Lavizzo is yet a greenhorn, she is certainly capable, a quality that will no doubt serve her well this season. Let us hope that her surrounding peers are of only the sharpest wit, lest their dry musings leave the young lady wilting like a parched nanohana.

Nanshin Narrowly Avoids Scandal, New Jewel Emerges in Ina

While much occurred at the block meeting, this author feels not all is fit to print. But if you thought we would reach the end of this journey without this trusted author finding a truly delectable apple slice of gossip, then you are sorely mistaken. Lord Elliot Fowlks has made his match and found his countess. The groom is undoubtedly giddy with anticipation over the upcoming nuptials… an event that will apparently take place sooner rather than later. Of course, there are only two reasons to procure a special license and race to the altar: love, or concealing a mysterious mushroom contract. It seems the Count and Countess of Coltroot shall be spending the rest of the season in the country, where the lord may continue his research on fruits and flora.

Dearest Reader, this author finds herself compelled to share the most curious of news. An even rarer character of only the most remarkable brilliance, fire, and lustre has been unearthed. Her name, unknown to most, yet soon known to all, is Viscountess Leila Nicholson. A new exhibit at Ina History Museum has opened where several attractions will be displayed… like the lovely Lady Nicholson, newly recovered from her mysterious illness and expected to finally join the season. As spotted pumpkins and poetry stir the passions and move the spirits, this author hopes they also inspire more newsworthy pursuits.

Toshin Triumphs, Saku Surprises

Of course, there is today’s royal announcement as well, the timely demise of a distant relative of the Ogawa family making the heir, Miss Satoe Ogawa, the new Queen of the Northern Alps. Her apprehension in taking the throne is understandable, of course, yet is anything more exhilarating than taking a gamble? For it is often the highest risk that carries the greatest reward. More details on her glorious coronation follow at the bottom of the page.

There will forever be just two words that come to this author’s mind the morning after any good party: “shock” and “delight”. Well, dear reader, the stunning accounts from Tuesday’s soiree at Saku AEON Mall are quite shocking and delightful indeed. Emerging, phoenix-like from the fallen petals of cherry blossoms, is one Miss Natalia Orshanskaya. The illustrious debutante was seen dancing not once, but twice with the season’s most secretive and most uncatchable candidate, Miss Amy Zau.

If Miss Orshanskaya’s triumph is to be the match of the season, perhaps the accomplishments of Miss Amy Zau must also be inspected. These days, the modern young lady must display a miscellany of talents in her quest for a co-Block Leader. She must be a witty presenter, an accomplished gourmet, and an expert in the art of the swoon. For managing to faint with nary a petticoat nor PowerPoint animation out of place is a most coveted talent indeed, a talent that Miss Zau indeed possesses.

Continue reading “Lady Appledown’s Society Papers (Block Leader Changeover Announcement 2022)”

Hanami Hana Meals!

Spring is finally upon us! While it might have passed in some areas, there are still places left to enjoy some great cherry blossom viewing. If it’s not too wet, you may even enjoy some out of doors dining while witnessing Nagano’s beautiful sakura!

Block Leader John, as usual, enjoys great views and eating spots around Lake Suwa. The eastern side has plenty of take out restaurants and public benches where you can enjoy the calming waters of the lake while the sakura bloom.

– by John
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Hokushin East NagaYes: Paint a Friend with a Friend

This year Hokushin East is hosting a colourful event in Nakano City. Get ready to flex your painting skills at the Nihon Tsuchi Ningyo Museum.

We’ll be painting our own clay dolls, and then will vote for our favourites. Additionally, the venue is a clay doll museum, which we can explore if there is time (and interest). 

Continue reading “Hokushin East NagaYes: Paint a Friend with a Friend”

JLPT Summer 2022 Registration

Thinking about putting the Japanese skills you’ve been polishing to the test this year?

The JLPT, Japanese Language Proficiency Test, is once again being offered with summer and winter testing dates. Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have led to a small testing fee increase compared to previous years.

If you’re interested, please see the details below!

Continue reading “JLPT Summer 2022 Registration”