Program Chair

Ben Grafström

(Akita University, Lecturer)

Chapter President, 2020–present
Program Chair, 2020–present
Membership Chair, 2017–2020

I’ve been in Japan for 10 years—3 in eastern Hokkaido and 7 in Akita. Before coming to Japan I was a high school teacher at Monsignor Bonner High School, just outside Philadelphia, and a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

I first became a JALT member while I was a JET Programme ALT in eastern Hokkaido. It was difficult to get all the way to Sapporo for the Hokkaido Chapter’s activities, but the few times I did go, they were fulfilling and well worth it.

Upon arriving to Akita, I switched my chapter affiliation and started attending the Akita Chapter’s monthly meetings. Since I was new in Akita and didn’t know anyone, the meetings were great opportunities for me to meet new people—especially colleagues from the other universities in Akita, high school educators, and private teachers. Before becoming chapter President, I was the Membership Chair for about 3 years.

My background is in Japanese literature and culture. Attending the Akita Chapter’s monthly meetings has given me so many ideas of ways I can incorporate English language learning into Japanese studies, and vice versa. Akita JALT has kept me on my toes, professionally!