Monday, November 15, 2010

bfg on sharing the love

So I think now is the time JET applications are sent in. TO THINK I was doing that this time last year... I was writing my thesis proposal too and going crazy because the JET application was so intense. I mean a lot of it is just your CV but you have to somehow fit them all in these really small boxes. APPLICANTS! Pay attention - one girl got her placement because she had nice handwriting on her application. True story. She didn't get into JET because of it, but she was given a high-level school because one of her work duties would be to comment on several essays. Crazy thing this JET program is.

I remember one of the most difficult parts was my list of placement preferences. Kobe, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto were out for me because the odds were SO against me to get it. So, instead, I made a list of all the things I wanted.

1) Access to bookstores, preferably one with some English books.
2) A place I can buy clothes for a large white woman with an Italian ass.
3) A place that had a lot of museums and places to visit so that I don't feel like I always need to travel far and away to experience the "real" Japan.
4) No snow. I want to know what it is like for once in my life.
5) A place that was central enough so I can travel all over Japan for relatively cheep.

I showed the list to two people: my thesis advisor and my Japanese student. The ThA said to definitely consider Shizuoka. My student recommended another city that starts with a Y (yes, I forgot sorry!) and Shizuoka. So the Shiz got first place.

How many people do you know got everything they asked for on a JET application? NONE. But I did. I got the Prefecture I wanted, in the city I wanted, the teaching level I wanted (high school). I did not get a high-level school which was my dream but they didn't ask for it on the application so !

Am I still happy I got what I wished for? HELL YES!

In Shizuoka, I get an apartment subsidy which was something of major concern for me (it covers a little less than half my rent). For someone who is sending half her paycheque home, every little extra counts! One of the MTL JETs who got Toyama Prefecture had to pay Key Money, a "gift" to the landlord, and 2 months rent up front. This was ridiculous! Though you do need to bring cash to start off with 3K is a little too much... and that was just for her apartment.

Also, the trip from Tokyo was short and sweet. I mean it sounds like nothing now but let me tell you Orientation is hell, a hell where you just want them to shut-up so you can sleep. Getting to your place so soon is a blessing in disguise.

Also, Shizuoka is a super safe place. Even for Japan, many friends I have made here who have recently moved here comment at how wonderful it is to be able to leave your helmut in your bike basket/ on your scooter seat without worry of it getting stolen. I left my iPhone in my bike basket three times downtown and it was untouched. For someone who is always out studying until 2, 3 am every night it is somewhat comforting to not have to concern myself as much about just things. (I should say a girl got her bag stolen in one of two nightclubs in Shiz. The bag was found with her papers and stuff but her 70000 YEN went missing. But that is a long complex story which I can sum up with honestly, if I saw 700$ and didn't take it I would call myself stupid. I digress.)

Shizuoka has so much to offer in shopping, convenience and places to see (cue FB pics). Basically, my prof was right; it really checks off everything on my list. I highly recommend if you are considering applying to the JET Programme put the Shiz as an option.

I almost forgot the most important part of Shiz! I'M HERE. And I host one hellofa party. Ask the stray cats, even they get a piece of the action.

Anyways, just in general if you need any help with your application just give me a shout! I have no problems with helping out if I can!


  1. Hai! I'll be applying for the JET programme this year around, and am curious on your views of the SoP. I figure it would be best I get several different POVs before starting on it myself. Thanks in advance.

    I love your blog by the way. :D

  2. Thanks -
    If you have any specific questions just ask. It is a little hard to know what to say... just be honest, show you love to teach and your interested in Japan. Coming here was the best decision of my life.