Member of the Month: Brandon Wright

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In an effort to better know our members both new and old, we’ll be posting a brief introduction to one lucky JETAADC member each month. If you’d like to be featured as our Member of the Month, please contact Kat Kovacs at 

Name: Brandon Wright
Nicknames: Branpanman
JET Placement: Fukui-ken
Where I’m from: Spokane, Washington
What brought me to DC: Work

The funniest story from my time on JET (that’s fit to print!): Once, early in my tenure in Fukui, I went on a date with a local girl to a movie theatre. As we walked out, my arm was around her shoulder and I was “seen” by some obachan who knew the area of Fukui I worked in (the incident itself took place over 20 miles from my school). This obachan then called every local school in my area (12 schools) and complained to their Kyoto sensei. The next day my supervisor approached me and said, “Brandon you were seen, ah, ‘shouldering’ a woman last weekend. We need to be very careful in public, we are teachers and teachers are public servants. And I think you are especially noticeable. You see, it is not appropriate to shoulder girls, in Japan.”

I was mad about this at first, but then I published a full account (with liberal creative license taken) in JET FUEL, a local paper by and for Fukui JETs. I’ve been laughing about it ever since. The incident is also featured in the recent book about life in rural Japan, written by my friend (and neighbor at the time) Sam Baldwin, For Fukui’s Sake: Two Years in Rural Japan.

The strangest food I’ve ever eaten: Odori-gui (little fish drowned in a shot of sake, still alive as you take the shot. They “dance” all the way down your throat. Gross.)

What I miss most from Japan: The food ( but not Odori-gui).

The world's biggest toast is TOM'S TOAST in Echizen.
The world’s biggest toast is TOM’S TOAST in Echizen.
Years later, still burning off all those calories.
Years later, still burning off all those calories.

The lesson I learned while on JET: That nothing affects your worldview more than where you grow up, and who you grow up with.

The game my classes always went totally crazy for: English-song karaoke.

The perfect JETAADC event would be: A karaoke competition.

I knew I lived in Washington, DC when: I realized I had become comfortable dealing with relative strangers asking me things like where I worked, where I went to school and what I could do for them.

Celebrity/historical figure I am convinced that I would be best friends with…if only we could meet: Hattori Hanzo.

Where you’d find me on the perfect weekend: Sleeping. Brunching. Sleeping some more.

The person I would choose to play me in a movie is: Robert Downy Jr.

My favorite Japanese TV personality: Shimura Ken

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