Coordinator for International Relations
My name is Rosemary, and I am the Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) for the Amami City Hall.
CIRs are individuals who act as bridges between their respective home countries and Japan by translating materials, interpreting, holding international events, and various other duties that expand internationalism within Japan.
My hometown is Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States of America. Growing up in a landlocked desert in the southwest, Asian influence was limited. However, my childhood hobby of reading manga and watching Ghibli movies bloomed into a passion for Japanese language and culture, as well as a career in internationalism.
I moved to Amami Oshima as a CIR for the JET Program in August of 2018, and have been working on projects such as tourism promotion via social media, English resources for residents, translations, and authoring articles about Amami in English, among others.
I have absolutely fallen in love with everything about Amami since, and living here still feels like a dream at times. The scenery is incredible, the food is delicious, the locals are warm and friendly; what’s not to love?
I have spent time and lived in other parts of Japan like Tokyo, but I personally enjoy living in Amami the most.
The airport has flights to different parts of the mainland and Okinawa, which has drastically changed Amami’s remoteness; most of the time it doesn’t even feel like I’m on an island in the middle of the ocean.
The nature of Amami is definitely the star of the show, and being able to snorkel in a sea as clear as Amami on the average weekend is a very special experience. Due to the unique circumstances behind Amami’s inception there are is a wide array of wildlife that are endemic to the island, so they cannot be found anywhere else.
Amami also has something to offer for everyone. People who love the ocean have a wide array of marine sports to choose from, and those who prefer activities on land can do things like cycling and hiking (you have to be careful of the Habu snakes though).
Those who are interested in a cultural experience can do things like take part in dyeing workshops where you dye your own cloth in the traditional way that is used to dye Oshima Tsumugi silk fabric, which has a history of over 1,300 years! I am actually one out of four Miss Tsumugi for 2020, and learning more about the fabric by wearing kimono made with it has been one of my favorite pastimes here.
I would recommend that potential visitors plan their trips to Amami in advance; the typhoon season could last longer than the standard August and September range, and summer accommodations fill up fast. Also, having a rental car is ideal if you want to get to as many parts of the island as possible.
Come say hi and check out Amami Oshima!