Meet the Team

CONNECT MAGAZINE  is happy to announce its new team for 2017-2018.

These men and women will be working hard throughout the year to bring you useful, interesting content to help connect you to Japan and the community no matter where you are.

Find their profiles and contact information below!


HEad editor – Lilian diep

Welcome to our Meet the Team page! My name is Lilian and I’m the Head Editor of Connect for this year. I’m a third year Toyama ALT, and this is my second year on Connect. I now have a little bit more responsibility and a lot more creative leeway, so I’m excited to bring you new content every month with our magazine and new Connect website.
I have an English major with a focus on literature, a Japanese minor, and a TESOL certificate, so I’m hoping that my editing skills are up to snuff, but online memes and big novels are constantly at war for my attention.
If you ever have any ideas or interests for us, drop a line and I’ll Connect you to our editors (har har har). 

assistant HEad editor – Lauren hill

Hey everyone! I’m Lauren, a second year ALT from the UK living in Kunitachi, Tokyo, where you’ll find me excessively photographing cherry blossoms along Daigaku Dori. I studied English and Creative Writing at the University of Manchester, and in my time off I’m working on becoming the next Chuck Palahniuk.

HEad designer – ashley hirasuna

Hello everyone!  My name is Ashley Hirasuna and I am a third year ALT living and working in the beautiful Ishikawa prefecture (on the opposite coast of Tokyo).  I have a BA in Architecture Design but I have been pursuing a career in graphic design.  I enjoy traveling to things, photographing things, drinking things, making thing, drawing things, and eating things.  ALL THE THINGS!!! (except natto….hate that stuff…).  Call me a busy body, or the ultimate bachelor, because why clean when you can design and make cool things!!

assistant designer – Connie Huang

Halloa, my name is Connie, a second-year ALT residing in rural Hiroshima Prefecture. My hobbies include looking at art in museums, reading webtoons and manga and watching comedy news shows. Looking forward to collaborating with you on Connect!


assistant designer – Malia Imayama

Hello! My name is Malia and I am a first year ALT living in the hidden mountains of Niimi. Being 2 hours away from the nearest city leaves me to explore as much of my town as possible and learn it’s culture. I love dance, hiking, traveling, eating and pretty much EVERYTHING! Excited for this experience in Japan!

copy editor – Verushka Aucamp

Hello! My name is Verushka and I am a first-year ALT in Fukui Prefecture. I have degrees in English and Applied Language Studies. I thoroughly enjoy procrastinating by researching seemingly inapplicable topics that tickle my interest, traveling, and petting every dog that I see.

copy editor – Sylvia Gallagher

Hello! I’m a History major and first year JET from New Zealand, now living in Iwaki, Fukushima. Despite the many differences in culture and lifestyle between the two countries, the ubiquity of poorly insulated housing in Japan has made me feel right at home. In my spare time I’ll usually be found rock climbing, reading, drawing, or burying my face in the fur of a stranger’s dog.

general editor – Nicole Antkiewicz

Hey, everyone! My name is Nicole and I’m one of two General Section Editors for this super cool magazine. As a first-year JET living in Oita City, Oita Prefecture, I love onsen and chicken karaage! I have Bachelor’s Degrees in English and Psychology from Penn State in the United States. In my spare time, I love singing, gaming, hiking, and reading. I look forward to reading all of your submissions!


general editor – Hayley Closter

Hey! I’m Hayley from Melbourne, Australia, the coffee capital of the world. I’m a second year ALT way down south in Miyazaki Prefecture, where there’s green everywhere, big bugs and crazy humidity (not much different to Down Under, really). I majored in Creative Writing and Japanese at the University of Melbourne and spend every spare moment rerunning Friends, reading books, getting sunburnt at Aoshima Beach, taking salsa classes or drinking coffee. I’m sharing the role of General Section Editor with Nicole and I’m looking forward to hearing about all your adventures all over Japan. We want to hear every one!


News & Events

news editor- Tresha Barrett

Hey! I’m Tresh (aka Charlie) I’m a third-year JET from Jamaica who is currently living in the beautiful city of Kyoto. I have a degree in Print and Online Journalism with a minor in English Literature. I’ve worked as a journalist and writer for several years and with my time on JET serving as a mini hiatus I now have the awesome opportunity to scratch my writer’s itch by bringing you guys some important news about Japan!

I live to explore the corners of the mind, soul, and universe – and, yes, I fully embrace my crazy… ^^

Events editor – Bailey Jo Josie

Greetings! I am Bailey Jo, and this is my first year as an ALT, happily placed in the Miyazaki prefecture. I have a degree in visual journalism and I am so glad that I get to use my formal skills here at Connect when I`m not teaching English!  I am originally from Enumclaw, Washington which is a 45-minute drive south of Seattle. I grew up competing in rodeos and even won a few buckles along the way. I enjoy horror movies, playing guitar, painting and adventuring.

Arts & Culture 

culture editor – Jack Richardson

Hi everyone. I’m Jack, your new culture editor, fresh off the plane this year and living in sunny Nanyō in Yamagata Prefecture. I’m originally from Essex in the UK, so mountains are still a little bit unnerving, but an English Literature degree from the University of York and a bit of experience on its student newspaper should hopefully even out the panic. You can find me practicing kendo, taking photos and writing most of the time, all the while secretly wanting to get to the nearest city and get away from all this peace and quiet.

Entertainment editor – Sabrina Zirakzadeh

I’m Sabrina, a sixth-year expat performer from Colorado now living in the exciting city of Osaka! I am absolutely thrilled to be Entertainment Editor for Connect for the third year.

In addition to editing for Connect, I freelance as a travel and pop culture writer for multiple online publications, and work as English staff at Kinki University. I also serve as Japan’s Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month and perform with local theater groups. For fun, I enjoy traveling, dancing, and going to as many concerts and stage shows as possible! Here’s to a great year at Connect!

fashion editor – Abby Ryder-Huth

My name is Abby, and I’m a 2nd year ALT in steep, steamy Gunma. Originally from Michigan, I studied creative writing before working as a florist and educator in Chicago. I’m into poetry, language and art, and love how fashion lets us show and explore who we are. When I’m not hightailing it to Tokyo, you can find me belting Janis Joplin in the onsen or basking at karaoke. If you’re interested in style, identity, beauty, or whatever floats your chic lil boat, please don’t be a stranger. Linen, leather, or lampshades– let’s make this a vibrant year!


health & nutrition editor – rachel greenwood

Hi, I’m Rachel, your Health and Nutrition Editor. I live in the small city of Nakatsu in Oita prefecture with 5 cats, 3 kids and 1 husband. I’m originally from New Zealand, but I’ve lived in Japan for a long time! I teach from kindie to college and above, and do some desktop publishing in my spare time. I love books and magazines, parties and wine and cheese and beer and sashimi, beaches and onsens, travel and museums, music and photography.

travel editor – Jasmin Hayward

Hi everyone! I`m Jaz and I`m a first year JET based in the beautiful city of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. I am originally from the UK but don`t ask me where as last time I checked I`ve lived in twenty two different places since the tender age of zero. I studied English and Philosophy at the University of York, England, and York University, Canada, just to confuse you further. When I`m not bamboozling people with my life story you will find me exploring this gorgeous country, squawking “kawaii” at any and all furry animals I come into contact with, and having a go at this here writing malarkey. I look forward to what will hopefully be a fantastic year at Connect!


community editor – Shantel Dickerson

Name: Shantel Dickerson

Home(s): California, Italy, Japan

Likes: reunions with friends, ranch dressing, IPAs, hiking, taking photos, country music, coffee, golden retriever puppies, crystal light, and Hula.

Quote: I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish…” ― Simone de Beauvoir

YOU should: Tell me about your community – especially through the lenses of race, sexual orientation, gender, and whatever interests YOU!

sports editor – Kirsty Broderick

Hello wonderful people! I’m Kirsty, a first year ALT in Saitama. Originally from New Zealand, where yes, there are more sheep than people, I worked as a lawyer after graduating. Tired of the legal world I sought new adventures in Japan. I read incessantly and have a yoga obsession. I’m addicted to grape flavoured lollies and love plum wine. I am keen to travel and explore as much as possible while here. I’d love to hear from all of you – hit me up to talk sports, I want to hear all about what you’re doing or watching!

Social Media 

social media manager – Michelle Cerami

Hello! My name is Michelle, and I am a first-year ALT based in the beautiful city of Sendai within Miyagi prefecture. Originally, I am from Los Angeles, California and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Religion and minors in Sociology Asian Studies. Additionally, I spent time as an exchange student at Sophia University in Tokyo. I enjoy traveling, trying out new cafes, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.

social media manager –  John Wilson

Hello! I’m John, a third-year JET-spouse. My wife and I moved to Oita prefecture in 2015 after we both applied to the JET program and they correctly assessed that she would be a great teacher, while I would be a disaster. Rural Japan is little slower paced than where we were living in Chicago, USA, but they didn’t have onsen there, so there’s pluses and minuses.


head web editor – nadya dee

I am Nadya Dee, a writer born and raised in the city of Kingston, Jamaica. After studying both Japanese and English in University, my wanderlust has so far manifested with the opportunity to live in Southern Japan twice in this lifetime; as an ALT in Kagoshima (in 2007) and Nagasaki (in 2017).

I enjoy long walks on the beach, all things tea and online content, in that order.