Prefectural Advisors

For more information on Prefectural Advisors (PA),  click here.

To contact a PA, please email:

Rich Becker – ALT PA


Hello, my name is Rich, and I’m from Colorado. I’ll be going into my fifth year as an ALT in August of 2018. I initially lived in a town called Iwagawa, but I moved to Kagoshima City when I first became a PA in 2016.

When I’m not shaking down leprechauns for their gold (quite a time-consuming endeavor, I must say) or out slaying dragons, I like to go to some of the lesser-traveled spots in Kagoshima. One of my favorite places is Uchinoura, where I go to collect seashells. I also enjoy driving in the countryside and participating in many of Kyushu’s full and half marathons.

One thing I love about Kagoshima is its people, who I find to be warm and helpful. No matter your Japanese level, there always seems to be someone who is interested in teaching you about Japan or learning about your country. I hope you enjoy your next year here; I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to stay even longer!

Alexandra Valdez – ALT PA

Year: 4th (as of July 2016)

Hometown: Topeka, Kansas, USA
Residence: Kagoshima City

What I like about Kagoshima: What I like best about Kagoshima is that there is so much to do and see—especially when it comes to nature-tourism—but it is rarely overrun by visitors. It makes it much easier to enjoy all that Kagoshima has to offer without the stress of crowds and lines. Every area in Kagoshima Prefecture has its hidden gems; fits right along with the Calvin and Hobbes philosophy of “Let’s go exploring!”

If you are wondering where to start or where to go to next, I recommend Sarugajou Ravine (猿ヶ城渓谷) in Tarumizu.  I have yet to see any monkeys (saru) or castles (jou) there, but misnomers aside, it is truly one of my favorite places in the world.

Ying Yan Quek – CIR PA


Hello! My name is Ying Yan. I come from sunny Singapore, but I’ve also spent some time in Tokyo and Scotland for studies. I’m a fourth year CIR for Kagoshima Prefecture working at the International Affairs Division in the Kagoshima Prefectural Office (Feb-Jul) and at the Kagoshima International Association at the Kagoshima Citizens Exchange Center (Aug-Jan).

I like Kagoshima’s food (fresh seafood and ramen especially!), its nature (Amami Oshima for its beautiful beaches, Yakushima for its magical mossy forests, Iwojima for its volcanic landscape and wild peacocks, and let’s not forget majestic Sakurajima), but what I love most about Kagoshima is its people. My first time in Kagoshima was in 2009 for a two-week homestay program, and it was then that I first encountered the friendliness and laidback lifestyle of Kagoshima. I’m really glad fate has brought me back to one of my favorite prefectures in Japan.

Michelle Kato – CIR PA

michelleAloha! My name is Michelle Kato and I come from the island of Kaua´i in Hawai´i, U.S. I am currently 3rd year Prefectural CIR currently stationed at the International Affairs Division in the Prefectural Government Office in Kagoshima City. I am stationed there between February through July, then switch to the Kagoshima International Association in the Citizen’s Exchange Center in Kagoshima City. This migration occurs every year with the other English-speaking CIR, Ying Yan. However, towards the end of July I will be returning back to the states to continue developing my career path.
In my spare time, I play indoor soccer, outdoor soccer (mixed league), volunteer, practice Amami-style sanshin (shamisen) and folk songs, and enjoy other, lower-key pastimes.
There are too many things I love about Kagoshima to list and skillfully advertise but, other than the simple, delicious food, I can confidently say the common factor in all the things I like about Kagoshima is nature. The interaction with nature is highly encouraged and, at the same time, the enjoyment of its resources is highly revered. However, the preservation of nature is also highly prioritized so industries do not seem to dominate the environment. Consequently, Kagoshima offers a balance of opportunities for enjoying life in a large city (by population) and life in the country side (plus the islands). The pace here may be slower than most places, but I see that as a good opportunity to take the time to invest in others and see the Kagoshima the locals are proud to call their furusato (native hometown).