Akita Chapter President Report
written by Takeshi Suzuki on March 27, 2003

Chapter Name: Akita (located in the northern part of Honshu)

2002 & 2003 President's name and contact information

Suzuki, Takeshi
PALS English Class
164-1 Detomachi Aza Gomon, Honjo-shi, Akita 015-0007


1. Which positions were filled on your Chapter's Executive Committee (ExCom) in 2002?
Program Chair: Cunningham, Mark
Membership Chair: Ragan, Jarrett (Dave) Jr.
Treasurer: Okakoi, Yumiko
President: Suzuki, Takeshi

2. Who was the Chapter Representative to the Full Executive Board Meetings (Full EBM) held in June, 2002 and at the fall Conference?
- Nobody, but president sent in his proxy.

3. How much time did you spend managing your chapter in 2002? Please feel free to elaborate.
- From at least a couple of hours a week to a dozen or more hours depending
on a week.

4. How much time did you spend monitoring the EBM-NET and ChapRep listserves? Please feel free to elaborate.
- I have tried reading all the messages, but sometimes being a non-native person, I don't understand everything and am missing some important information against my will. It would be of big help if someone could summarize important points of what is being debated or discussed in easier and clearer language periodically although I am afraid that it might be very difficult.

5. If one of your ExCom was not one of the 10 chapter delegates or an alternate at the January 2002 EBM, how did your chapter convey its opinions on JALT National issues?
- I haven't felt much need to voice ourselves, not at least so far.

6. What compliments and/or complaints do you have about JALT's online officer database?
- It is good if the use of the Internet help would save the national
officer's work.

7. What compliments and/or complaints do you have about JALT?
- No particular complaints. As for compliments many people know the name of JALT all over Japan. Although the organization has been diminishing in size for whatever reasons, it still has far over 2,000 members nationally. It is a good NGO and NPO that we can be proud of. We also shouldn't forget the fact that JALT is a big name to many. Thanks to the prestige, all chapters including Akita can get excellent speakers in other areas to visit us rather willingly just by paying a small honorarium, provided that our budget can afford their transportation.

Akita has made our efforts to invite good speakers who teach in central parts of Japan and elsewhere for the past 6 years in which I served as president. Many people in Akita have enjoyed listening to them, benefiting a lot from such opportunities we provide. I thank all the presenters who came to Akita. The name of JALT is really important for us. My gratitude to all the people in Japan who started JALT and have worked so hard to keep it going.


1. Does your chapter offer local memberships to people who are not members of JALT?
- Not so far. Although the idea is attractive and tempting, as a small chapter I have had serious reservation to put it into practice. For the past 6 years, our membership has ranged from 20 to 30. It's very difficult to go beyond 30. Now if we started local membership, we might be able to go over 30, but at the same time I might have to expect the following problem.

2. How many JALT chapter members did you have as of December 2001? _____
- 26

How many JALT chapter members did you have as of December 2002? _____
- 29

3. What do you feel are the reasons for membership growth, decline or stability in your chapter?

- Some kept leaving us for whatever reasons. But thanks to good monthly meetings (8 to 11 a year) we have had new members applying for membership. As a result the number has been around 25 (plus or minus 5) for the past 6 years.

4. What is the rough percentage breakdown of your membership?
JHS 15%
SHS 20%
College/University 40%
Language School 25%

5. What does your Chapter do to encourage timely membership renewals?
- Email and face-to-face reminders. We ask them to continue their membership
by sending notice through email and meeting and talking to them.

6. What are your expectations for membership growth or decline in 2003?
This year will be a difficult year for us. MSU-A (Minnesota State University - Akita) is closing this month. Akita JALT has depended on MSU-A and its faculty a great deal. They have helped us so much. For example we have held most of our monthly meetings at MSU-A. Some of the faculty have served Akita JALT by being the members and volunteering to be guest speakers for our meetings. It is sad for us to see MSU-A go. It has provided excellent education in teaching English (teaching English all in English) and others for the past 12 years.

Good news is that Akita prefecture has decided a new university called Akita International University, which is scheduled to start in April 2004. Hopefully the valuable tradition and quality of MSU-A will continue to live at the new institution. If everything goes well, the new school will be bigger with some new merits and be based on the more stable financial help from Akita prefecture. If that happens, I expect that more teachers will join Akita JALT from the faculty next year. So we have to survive this year!

Akita JALT might very well suffer from the loss this year. But I have high expectations that we will have a greater chance of success in and after 2004.


1. Altogether, how many events did your chapter hold in 2002?
- 9

2. Please list the titles, dates and attendance figures for your 2002 events here.
- You can visit Akita JALT website for more information: http://www.edinet.ne.jp/~takeshis/jalt.htm

You can see some pictures of each meeting:

February (2/13) Albert Evans: Personal experiences in an International College: 23

April (4/27) Todd Jay Leonard: Utilizing the Four Skills in Textbook Design: 22

May (5/25) R. Jeffrey Ringer, Ph.D. : Social Aspects of Communication and Their Relationship to Teaching English as a Second Language: 22

June (6/22) Dave Ragan: Effective Language Learning Strategies and Techniques: 12

July (7/13) Helen Korengold: How do English teachers in Japan approach this topic in their classroom?: 18

September (9/28) Naoko Taguchi: The Corpus Linguistics Approach to Language Teaching: Trends, Directions, and Challenges: 17

October (10/19) Kristie Collins: a new method for teaching EFL using drama techniques: 14

November (11/17) Dr. Kirby Record: Methods of Using Content-Based Instruction: 18

December (12/7) Discussion Meeting: Language teaching and learning in Akita: What do you want?": 17

3. What was the average attendance (including members of your chapter's executive committee) at your chapter's events?
- 18

4. What were the highest and lowest attendance figures at your chapter's events?
- 23 (the highest) 12 (the lowest)

5. How many meetings per year would you like to have?
- 10 Actually we have managed to hold 9 to 11 meetings each year for the past 5 years. And we would like to continue this.

6. Is the required minimum of five meetings per year appropriate for your chapter? If not, please elaborate.
Since most members in Akita want a meeting every month except for winter (snow) and August, we intend to hold at least a meeting every month.

7. If any of the meetings held during the year were of a "special" nature, please provide details. (mini-conference, book fair, extended program, joint program, etc.)
- No

8. If there were any programming problems encountered during the year such as cancellations, delays, honorarium discrepancies, miscommunications, unexpected expenses incurred, lack of speaker preparation, etc., please elaborate.
- None

9. Did your Chapter put on any joint or regional events? When and how often?
- None

10. Did your Chapter participate in the Four Corners Tour? Why or why not? What was the cost?
- Not last year.

11. Did your Program Chair file monthly program database reports? If not, please explain why.
- No, but two years ago JALT started National Calendar, which I think, is a very good one. We have kept reporting all the monthly program to the page as an announcement.


1. How many chapter executive committee meetings did you hold in 2002?
- twice and we can talk to one another and communicate after each meeting. We also communicate by email.

2. What was the average attendance of executive committee members?
- usually everybody

3. How many executive committee meetings per year would you like to have?
- Usually all the officers attend all the monthly meeting. We have no problem communicating one another.

4. How well did your executive committee function in 2002? What kinds of problems and successes did you have?
- It's been functioning very well.


1. Did your chapter reimburse officer membership dues in 2002? Why or why not?
- No. We have never done that for the past 6 years. We can afford it.

2. What was your chapter fund (after deducting membership fees collected which are owed to JALT National as a liability) at the end of 2002?
- About 150,000 yen

3. Will this cover expenses for meetings to be held the first quarter of 2003?
- Yes.

4. How much was your 2002 chapter grant?
- A little less than 100,000.

5. How much do you expect your Chapter will need for 2003 (same - less - more)?
- The more, the better. :-)

6. Do you consider your Chapter's financial position healthy, stable or weak?
- Stable so far.

7. Were there any unusual Chapter expenses or income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. We had a special intensive summer seminar - 5 days both morning and afternoon. The seminar was sponsored by Akita JALT and was held at MSU-A between July 29 and August 2 in 2002. 11 Japanese teachers attended the seminar. Akita JALT got a revenue of 25,000 yen from the event.

8. Did your chapter file all required Financial Reports? If not, please explain why.
- Yes


1. Where do you hold your regular meetings? Please list the name, address and phone number of each facility.
- For the past 5 years and in February and March this year, almost all the monthly (regular) meetings were held at MSU-A. But MSU-A is closing by the end of this month. So we will have to hold this year's meetings at other places. Most probably we will use the following facility.

2-52 Senshu-Meitokumachi, Akita City 010-0875
Tel: i018j837-1171.

2. What is the average cost of these facilities?
- 1,100 to 1,400 yen if we use Joinus in Akita City

3. Did you have any problems in securing adequate facilities? If yes, please elaborate.
- No


1. Please give details of how your Chapter publicizes events and meetings (announcements in The Language Teacher, local publications, newsletters, postcards, etc.). Which are the most effective?

- Email to our members and prospective members as well as the National Calendar. I think email is an efficient way to publicize our activities because it costs very little and more and more people are getting access to it. In the spring of 2001, we started Akita JALT web site, too. The following is the URL.

Website is another good way to appeal our chapter meetings and events. You can put all the information on your chapter website. You can make it more attractive by putting pictures of your monthly meetings and others so that more people want to visit it more often. That's what I have been trying to do since 2001. Of course it takes some time and effort to start and keep updating your website, but it is worthwhile the time and effort, I think.

2. What sort of liaisons does your Chapter have? (AJET, JACET, AMs etc.)
-None in 2002.

3. What compliments and/or complaints do you have about the web page JALT provides for your chapter?
- I like National Calendar very much.


1. How many newsletters does your chapter produce per year? If available, attach a copy.
We have no newsletters, but we send information by email. And I try it put all the information on our chapter website.

2. Does your chapter maintain a web site? If so, what is the URL, and how often is it updated?
- Yes. I keep updating almost every week.

Takeshi Suzuki
Akita JALT president
PALS English Class
164-1 Detomachi Aza Gomon, Honjo-shi, Akita 015-0007
Tel: 0184-22-1562

****** See the pictures!******
pictures of the meetings in 2003
pictures of the meetings in 2002
pictures of the meetings in 2001
pictures of the meetings in 1998-2000

"GENKI" English education homepage by Takeshi Suzuki

Read My Diary 4(from January 1, 2003)
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