News & Events - School News

Meet Chasen Stahl, our System Engineer

Chasen Stahl is our School’s System Engineer. He is managing IT infrastructure for our various campuses and also developing online and blended learning educational platforms in partnership with BBT, our parent company. Part of A-JIS since 2015, he enjoys being here since “it’s exciting and extremely rewarding to see how our work directly impacts the school”.

Where are you from and how long have you been living in Japan / Tokyo?

I am originally from Los Angeles, California and have been living in Tokyo for three and a half years.

Have you lived or worked in other countries?

While I have traveled to other countries, I have only lived and worked in the U.S. and Japan.

What did you study, why, and what did you like the most?

My formal education background is in Economics and Japanese language.

The most enjoyable thing about Economics, for me, is the interdisciplinary nature of the subject.

While studying Economics, one is simultaneously drawing on research from various fields such as anthropology, history, politics, finance, law and more.

What are your relevant work experiences until now?

Before joining A-JIS, I worked for a Japanese firm designing and building websites for corporate clients in Tokyo.

Since when are you working in A-JIS?

I have been working for A-JIS since 2015.

What are your roles here at A-JIS?

My work at A-JIS involves managing IT infrastructure for our various campuses and, more recently, developing online and blended learning educational platforms in partnership with our parent company, BBT.

What do you like most about your profession?

IT and technology in general is in a permanent state of evolution.

Keeping abreast of new developments and figuring out how to implement technology at A-JIS is a constant challenge, but it is always exciting and extremely rewarding to see how our work directly impacts the school.

Plus, computers are cool!

What do you do for fun?

When I’m not in front of a computer screen, I enjoy doing anything on the ocean; surfing, sailing, diving, swimming, fishing, barbecuing or otherwise hanging out.

I’m also usually in the middle of reading a novel or two at any given time, and will never turn down a trip to the onsen (Japanese hot springs).

Do you have any special sayings or expressions?

Try to have a net positive impact on the people and places around you.

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you can control your reaction to it.

Relax.

Is there something interesting about yourself you would like to share?

My last name means “Steel” in German.

I love Mexican food.

I’d like to visit the natural hot springs in Iceland.

Meet Nami Taguchi, our School’s Registrar

Nami Taguchi is our School’s Reigistrar. She studied English Literature in Tokyo and Secretarial Administration in UK and has a wide range of working experience in different fields. Being part of A-JIS since August 2003, she mostly enjoys to communicate with people of different nationalities and cultures; “they make me realize what I believe is only right and proper is not always so from their different points of view”.

 

Where are you from?

I was born in Tokyo, but my family moved out of Tokyo when I was one year old.

Have you lived or worked in other countries?

I studied in UK for 3 years at several language schools and a vocational college.  One good thing about British language schools is you can easily move from one school to another.  In fact, I travelled from Devon in the west to Scotland in the north for 2 years going to these schools.

What did you study, why, and what did you like the most?

I studied English Literature at a college in Tokyo.  I love literature both classic and contemporary.

Although I always managed to get decent jobs after graduating from the college, at some point in my life, I felt urgent necessity of furthering my career and decided to go over to UK to study secretarial administration at a college in Surrey.

What are your relevant work experiences until now?

I worked as a personal assistant to the director of the research department at a securities company for 6 years.  I was fascinated by the job because almost all of the clients of the company were from other countries and I could learn how to deal with people from different backgrounds.  Previous to that, I worked for a bank for 5 years where I gained good organization skills.

Since when are you working in A-JIS?

I joined A-JIS in August 2003.

What are your roles here at A-JIS?

I started as an academic secretary and now I am a registrar.

What do you like most about your profession?

I am excited to communicate with people of different nationalities and cultures, including parents, students, teachers, and also visitors and enquirers, and sometimes they make me realize what I believe is only right and proper is not always so from their different points of view.

What do you do for fun?

I love nature and enjoy hydroculture and veranda gardening at home.  Recently, I have participated in trekking tours, but I am only a beginner and no good at rambling along long trails.

Do you have any special sayings or expressions?

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Is there something interesting about yourself you would like to share?

If you want to know about the temples and shrines in Nara, please ask me.  I have visited Nara once a year for over 10 years.

Meet Yoshi Todo, our IT Administrator

Yoshi Todo is our School’s new IT Administrator. He is originally from Nagoya and has been living in New Zealand and Australia for many years. Getting to know people form different cultures and backgrounds is one of his hobbies and that’s one of the reasons why he has chosen to work with us. Welcome to Aoba-Japan International School!

 

Where are you from and how long have you been living in Japan / Tokyo?

I am originally from Nagoya and moved to Tokyo 3 years before, right after I came back from New Zealand. 

Have you lived or worked in other countries?

Yes. I have studied and worked in New Zealand and Australia. The 6 years I have spent in these countries really influenced me in a positive way. It opened my mind to new things and totally changed my perspective about life. I got interested in other cultures and languages also. It really made a change in my life.

What did you study, why, and what did you like the most?

I have studied IT in Australia. What I really enjoyed was to meet people with multicultural background. I really developed my communications skills during the years studying my major.

What are your relevant work experiences until now?

I have worked as IT and also as Japanese language teacher.

Since when are you working in A-JIS?

1st of May, 2017.

What are your roles here at A-JIS?

IT Administrator.

What do you like most about your profession?

IT troubleshooting.

What do you do for fun?

Greeting and chatting between staff.

Do you have any special sayings or expressions?

G’day and Kiora mate.

Is there something interesting about yourself you would like to share?

Please raise a ticket if you have questions and IT issues.

Meet Andrea Cozzolino, our Kitchen Manager!

Andrea Cozzolino, from Cezars Kitchen, is our School’s Kitchen Manager. He is originally from Florence and moved to Japan at the age of 21. He has been working in the kitchen for 30 years and in different countries. “If you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life” is the quote that shows his life philosophy. At Aoba, we really enjoy the food he and his great team carefully prepare for us!

Since when are you living in Japan?

I came on July 1991, when I was still 21 years old. Since then, I have been living in Miyazaki, Karuizawa, Gunma and Tokyo.

What brought you to Japan?

Because I used to watch Japanese movies and Manga. I really liked this Samurai called Kozure Ookami, he was the most good looking Samurai in the world for me. That’s why I start liking Japan. Also, by that time my brother was already here, running two restaurants.

What do you like most of living here?

Many things! The people, the food, Tokyo… I love big cities!

How do you spend your free time?

Gym, spending time with friends, painting… I use to paint flowers and women portraits. Two painters I really like are Picasso and Van Gogh. I used to sell a lot of my paintings.

Have you lived or worked in other countries as well? 

Yes. I was in Rotorua, a very small town in New Zealand, four hours by car from Auckland. By that time I was 22 and wanted to improve my English so I worked at a restaurant at night and learned English in the morning. I was also six months helping an Italian company opening restaurants in Phuket and Bangkok with other 5 chefs. I have experience opening restaurants and also owned 2, one in Italy and one in Tokyo, Roppongi. Also, I have opened many restaurant for different companies, doing the first setting up, finding the staff, running around 6 months to see how it goes. Restaurants are like newborns, you really have to take care of them in the beginning once they are still young.

What do you feel most proud of?

I have two beautiful children, that are healthy, thank God. Also for be doing what I like.

Who do you most admire in life?

I admire people who don’t get panic and never lose control, whatever happens. That’s what I am trying to learn.

What age do you feel right now and why?

35! Because I can do any physical exercise and it’s not a problem. Also, I am always listening to modern music. I also enjoy talking with the kids and teens here. I need to be actualized because I have two kids myself. Talking with younger people makes you feel younger.

Since when are you working in the kitchen?

Since when I was 17. That’s already 30 years ago.

Why did you choose this profession?

Because I like it! Its a profession that you must like. Wherever you want to go you will always find a opportunity. It was really helpful to come to Tokyo as a Chef. You can find a job easily.

How were your first steps in this field?

Washing the dishes is the beginning. Then little by little the chef makes you do something and if you’re good at it you will do it again. If you start working for a restaurant and your goal is to be a chef, its not difficult. I am sure that if you have the goal, you will achieve it. Step by step, by doing it better everyday, by always improving.

What are your strengths in the kitchen?

I am very fast and I never panic. There is normally a lot of stress in the kitchen, but as Confucius said “if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life”. The word work is feeling like stress, but if yo like your job, you really don’t go to work, you enjoy yourself working. I like my job, I like coming here, I wake up and I am happy to come here. Stress only comes when you don’t like something, the environment, the people around..

Which is your role in Cezars kitchen? What are your duties?

My title is Kitchen Manager. We are the Chef, we have to manage the staff, take care of the parties, allergies, etc.

Do you plan the school’s menu? What are important things to pay attention to?

Our company has many schools around Japan. My boss decides and sends us the food menu and I pick the days. I have to change the menu plan for those who have especial needs like allergies, Halal food or vegetarian. If is the Lasagna day and there is a little girl that can not eat egg, I would make a special Lasagna for her.

Do you get feedback from the students, teachers or staff from the food?

Yes, I get nice feedbacks from the people around the school, they just come by and tell it to me. Only once I got a critique, but that was really only one case, so I am really happy. Students, teachers and staff come and say things like “Chef, thank you very much!” Or “We like your pizza! When is the pizza day?”.

What (do you think) is the common favorite food between students?

The most popular ones are Pizza, Lasagna, Hamburger, Hotdogs…

How does a normal work day look like for you?

Everybody knows what to do already. We have a meeting once a week. Normally, we start preparing salad, dessert, main dish, bread… Everyone has her duties. Akiko does the bread and dessert, Alex does the vegetables and rice… I make the main dish or Alex makes it. It depends on the day.

Why do you enjoy working at Aoba?

Because I am a foreigner and everybody is so international here. I enjoy the diversity, the working style. Since I am here, nobody left from my team because of the working environment. I absolutely have a good team! My philosophy is “be a leader, not a boss”, you have to make them feel good, take care of them. I am in between my manager and my team so I must filter the information for them. Working just as you are working with your friends. I have learned through experience. When I opened my first restaurant with 29 years old, I still lacked of this sensitivity and leadership skill.

Addressing Educators at IQRA University, Karachi, Pakistan

Robert Thorn of A-JIS was invited to address delegates at the IQRA University’s International Conference on Innovation and Emerging Trends in Education & Social Sciences.  IQRA University topped the league of universities in Pakistan this year.  The conference hosted educators from universities and schools throughout Pakistan and beyond.  

Robert spoke about the possibilities of transforming education within the current system through an inquiry approach to change.  The approach allows change to occur from the cultural perspective of the people in the system therefore strengthening positive aspects of culture rather than imposing external changes that weaken culture.

Throughout the conference, interest was generated around developing connections especially in teacher training and the development of entrepreneurship.