This is how the AFWJ Districts are currently organized.
While Hokkaido is the largest prefecture in Japan as for geographical size, our current members tend to be located in or around Sapporo. However, we do love the opportunity to take a road trip to visit members who live further afield and welcome visitors who come from other areas, often making a day outing of it! Our favorite activities include nights out for dinner and a movie, craft store shopping downtown, afternoon family picnics with kids, walks through luscious parks, winter play dates at museums and historical villages, cups of tea at one another’s homes and sharing flowers from our gardens. We like to stay in touch through Facebook messenger and Line groups and have Zoom hangouts from time to time. Hokkaido may be cold but we’re warm with friendship up here!!
The Tohoku District covers seven prefectures in the northern part of Honshu: Akita, Aomori, Iwate, Fukushima, Miyagi, Niigata, and Yamagata. There are currently about twenty members spread out across this wide, diverse area in every prefecture except Akita. While we might not be living right next door to each other, Tohoku members keep in touch through our Facebook group page, AFWJ-Tohoku, the Tohoku Newsletter and email. It is through these we can share local information about upcoming events that might be of interest to anyone in the area at the time. The online connection between us is stronger than ever, and the occasional online meetup has many of us dropping in for a chat from our own homes. Nevertheless, members are always ready to organize an in-person meetup if anyone happens to be nearby. Please do get in touch and join us for a cup of northern hospitality.
The North Kanto District covers Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaraki, and Saitama Prefectures. Our members live in or near the major hubs of these four prefectures: Mito, Tsukba, Oyama, Sano, Utsunomiya, Tatebayashi, Takasaki, Omiya, Saitama City, Kawagoe, etc. Our activities include wine tasting, museum visits, family picnics, ladies’ nights out as well as just meeting up for lunch or coffee. We communicate mainly through our Facebook group. Recently we have been having casual monthly Zoom meetings to just chat and visit with each other.
Our District is identical with the borders of Chiba Prefecture, but we welcome everyone who would like to join. Most of the membership lives in the Northwestern part of Chiba, but we have members scattered all around the prefecture. Our main communication is via the e-mail group and Facebook group. Additionally to the monthly Craft and Chat, taking place in Makuhari, we have seasonal and one-time events, both at members’ places and out and about.
The Tokyo District consists of members living in Tokyo but we also welcome visitors and those living in nearby prefectures to join our events and activities. These include coffee mornings, walks in local parks, and nights out and more recently online catch ups via Zoom. Members are encouraged to create their own events, both online and in person and we enjoy bringing people from different backgrounds and ages together. Tokyo District members communicate mostly through the district email and the AFWJ Kanto page.
The Kanagawa District consists of members living in Kanagawa-ken, though we also have quite a few “honorary members” from Tokyo who often take part in our activities. Our activities include a monthly Ladies Night Out, regular Kamakura hikes, lunches, afternoon tea, coffee mornings, annual moon viewing, Chinese New Year, Thanksgiving, Christmas and bonenkai parties. Some coffee mornings are still on Zoom, but others are in person. We also have occasional outings into the less central areas of the prefecture. Additionally, we are busy organizing the 2023 Convention. All members are encouraged to create their own events. We make a special effort to welcome visitors from other more distant districts!
Chubu-Tokai & Hokuriku
The Chubu-Tokai & Hokuriku District stretches across the center of Japan reaching from the Japan Sea to the Pacific Ocean covering the nine prefectures of Nagano, Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Aichi, Gifu, Mie, Fukui, Ishikawa, and Toyama. We currently have just over 40 members, and though we are quite spread out, we keep in touch on our Chubu District Facebook group page and with the occasional meetup on Zoom. Members who live near each other often get together for lunches or coffee, and we are lucky to have Nojiri-ko in our district, which makes it convenient for meetups over the summer with members who come from all over Japan. We also do our best to have an annual mini-convention.
Kansai & Chugoku
The Kansai & Chugoku District takes in a large area, from the metropolises of Osaka and Kyoto, to the Sea of Japan coast and the calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea. Along with the cultural diversity that comes naturally with AFWJ, there is also great diversity in terms of lifestyles, home settings and local culture among our members. Our district has an annual tradition of holding a New Year party in Kyoto, giving us all a wonderful opportunity to get together and enjoy this beautiful city. Taking in the area around the Seto Inland Sea and the Shimanami Kaido cycling course means that we also have the chance of hosting members of the AFWJ Cycling group. From the city to the sea and everything in between, there are so many interesting people to meet in the Kansai & Chugoku district.
The Shikoku District is a friendly, supportive group in a remarkable setting. Our members are few, and spread across the island, so in-person meet-ups are usually small, intimate events. Shikoku is rich in nature, with mountains to climb and rivers to raft. As well as meet-ups, we stay connected by Facebook and occasional Zoom meetings. In the past, we have enjoyed AFWJ family outings to Tokushima Zoo, Asutamu Land (a science-themed park with a planetarium, toy museum, and outdoor climbing structures, among other things), lunches/dinners in local restaurants, pottery-making, indigo-dyeing and olive oil-tasting sessions.
Kyushu & Okinawa
The Kyushu & Okinawa District has members in all the prefectures of Kyushu, as well as in Okinawa and Yamaguchi, living in very diverse environments. We stay in touch online via the AFWJ Kyushu Facebook group and LINE. Recently, we have been holding Trivia Quiz nights on Zoom which allow all members to socialize and have fun. We have a varied schedule of events organized by members in different local areas, from outdoor family events to women-only lunches or dinners. The most recent was a walk and picnic at Mikaeri no Taki Falls near Karatsu in Saga prefecture, followed by Stand Up Paddling at Karatsu beach, attended by women and families from four prefectures. Annual events include a family camp at a temple in Miyazaki, carol singing at a hospice in Fukuoka, and a mini-convention.
The Overseas District is possibly the most diverse district of all districts within AFWJ. Currently, the Overseas District consists of 60+ members spread out over 12 different countries. The district communicates through monthly newsletters, where members share photos of their areas, as well as an email group and Facebook group. As it is almost impossible to meet up on a regular basis (unless of course you live in the vicinity of another member or are visiting the same area), we have a great online platform where we meet once a month. The ZEST II (Zoom Easy Social Talk), meets on the Monday following the 3rd Sunday of the month at 9am JST. It is a great, few hours spent catching up on the goings on in members’ areas, homes, and families. And a time to exchange whatever! Or just sit back with a cuppa and enjoy the conversations!