JETAA Chicago Book Club (1/21)

This month, JETAA Chicago Book Club will be reading The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz (2008).

  • Date: Wednesday, January 21
  • Time: 6:30
  • Location: Harold Washington Library

The novel’s narrator is Haruko, Empress of Japan. In 1959, at the age of twenty-four, she marries the Crown Prince, becoming the first non-aristocratic woman to enter the longest-running, most hermetically sealed-off, and mysterious monarchy in the world. Met with cruelty and suspicion by the Empress and her minions, controlled at every turn, Haruko suffers a nervous breakdown and loses her voice. Yet she recovers and perseveres, holding tight to the self that the imperial bureaucrats would see crushed. When thirty years later—now Empress herself—she plays a crucial role in persuading another young woman—Keiko, a brilliant foreign servant who dreams of having a career—to accept the marriage proposal of Haruko’s son, the Crown Prince, the consequences are tragic and dramatic.

Meticulously researched and brilliantly imagined, The Commoner is the mesmerizing, moving, and surprising story of a brutally rarified and controlled existence at once hidden and exposed, and of a complex relationship between two isolated women who, despite being visible to all, are truly understood only by each other. With the unerring skill of a master storyteller, John Burnham Schwartz has written his finest novel yet.”

Read the NY Times review of The Commoner here and visit author John Burnham Schwartz’s website to read reviews and an excerpt at


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JETAA Chicago January Board Meeting (1/5)



On Monday, January 5, JETAA Chicago will hold its first monthly board meeting of the year. We will be discussing our busy December, hearing updates on the Shinnenkai, and looking to make plans for the coming months.

Start the year off right and come join us on Monday night.

The meeting will be held in downtown Chicago at 6:30 PM and last about 90 minutes. The building is the Olympia Center (Japan Information Center), and a photo ID may be required to enter the building, so be sure to bring one.

Our meetings are open to any and all JET Alumni. Dinner is provided to all who attend. Let us know if you have any food allergies or avoidances.

Email with any questions you would like to add to the agenda.

Please confirm on Facebook so we know you are coming!!/events/829724507091781/?notif_t=plan_user_invited


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Shinnenkai New Year Party 2015 (1/17)



Register online:

JETAA Chicago is proud to present the 12th annual Shinnenkai New Year’s Party. Join us as we welcome the Year of the Sheep! Celebrate Japanese culture, play traditional games, win prizes and meet others interested in Japan.

When: Saturday, January 17th, 5-8pm
Where: The Japan Information Center (737 N. Michigan, Suite 1000, entrance on Chicago)

Buy tickets in advance until January 16th and save $5!

Adults – $15 for advanced tickets* ($20 at the door)
Students and Volunteers – $10 for advanced tickets* ($15 at the door)
Children 12 and under – $5 (kids under 5 are free)

Enjoy appetizers, snacks, beer, wine, and soft drinks. Experience Japan’s traditional arts and crafts including: calligraphy, origami, and kimono dress-up. Challenge your friends in a trivia tournament or a game of karuta (picture matching game). Don’t forget about the $1 Janken Contest, where you can win the cash prize and be crowned the rock, paper, scissors champion!

Win prizes in the charity raffle benefitting Smile Kids Japan. Prizes include gift certificates to local businesses, Japanese themed treats and treasures, and more!

This is a family-friendly event. Kids of all ages are welcome and kids under 5 are free.

Want to volunteer at the event? Volunteer shifts are 4:30-6pm or 6-8:30pm and are an easy way to get involved, meet people and save money! Find out more by emailing

*all advance tickets are non-refundable


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Outreach Coordinator at Japan Information Center Opening

There is a Full-Time Position Opening as an Outreach Coordinator at the Conulate -General of Japan in Chicago’s Japan Information Center!

Applications are due by 5 PM on 12/15


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