Haven’t been bothered to update the blog recently, have been quite busy with the JET thing. Last month was boring until the pre-departure orientation and all that stuff. Been busy this month setting up my apartment and such (spent over 240,000 yen! that’s alot more than expected, but whatever, we get paid well). Start at my first school tomorrow (110 students).

Hopefully will have more time to blog on teaching and tips etc, but if you are thinking of joining the JET programme, you will be bombarded with ‘useful’ information all along the way until your first school visit. I feel i could open a small library with all the paper, sheets and books I’ve been handed over the last month or so.

Japan is Fun! I’m just wondering if i should save for a PS3 or a new computer, though a PS3 would be cheaper, I cant really do video editing or design. The PC I’m looking at setting up is going to be about 320,000 yen.

Ok, Time to write Something

Haven’t been able to write anything much recently, for reasons no-one would understand except me. So I thought I’d write an update on the progress with JET and so forth. I have finally heard from my predecessor, and I am happy to know my rent won’t be too much. Also, the Chiba City Board that I will be working for kindly provides all the real necessities, such as a TV, Fridge, Stove etc. I’m not too sure how big my room will be, but I have been told it’s a single room (6 tatami mats) and attached kitchen. So hopefully I won’t be too squashed.

I’m still holding on to the IRD forms I’m supposed to fill out, and have yet to send back my VISA application (Not the credit card VISA) So ill be getting onto those soon. Feels good to know you have a place to go to, and find out what you will need to bring. Turns out the JET I’m replacing has been to over 32 schools over three years, so it looks like I’m going to have many schools, rather than one or two.

Jet official Meeting / Da Vinci Code

I was going to write about the details of the JET participant meeting we had today in Wellington, but then I thought to myself – “Why would anyone need to know”, The fact is, if you are on JET you will have gone to the meeting, and if you aren’t on the JET programme – you don’t really need to know do you?

So I have decided to write a bit about how crap I thought the Da Vinci Code was. It was crap. That’s about it. If you are interested in the details though, the movie had several problems that made it not worth watching. For starters, anyone who knows a thing or two about religion (I’m a Christian, but I’m still trying to get a non-biased opinion in here) would notice the way religion was presented. I can’t remember exactly (wasn’t really focused) but there was misrepresentation of at least two different religions. But this wasn’t the biggest let down, as I found the storyline interesting until about half way through.

The movie was dragging along a bit, as we were reaching a point in the movie where something interesting should happen. You know the point – you can feel something exciting will change the plot and give you a satisfying surprise. This never came. Taking into consideration all aspects of the movie, I would have to pin the sole letdown of the movie was the disastrous ending.
This ending was more of a slow let down of sorts, where what everyone had expected would happen, happened. This made the ending nothing more than a finish – no excitement, no interesting twists, just a plain old happy ending. Not my kind of ending. As with all movies, you never know if you will like it until you watch it. So if you are semi-interested in religion and myth it might slightly entertain you, slightly. Check out some of the many movie review websites on the net if you want to know more. I felt I should say something good about the movie – I liked the first half, and the acting was good enough to prevent the movie from being a complete disaster.

Jet Alumni Meeting

Well, for those of you who did not attend the JET Wellington Alumni Meeting, which is most of you – here is the long list of what was discussed.

The meeting was broken up into the following sections, Pre-Departure, Settling In and Making the most of life in Japan. I have listed some of the questions asked and their answers in the respective sections.

Section One – Pre-Departure / What should I take?

Clothing. Bring summer clothes as you will be literally walking into a sauna. Be prepared to wear formal clothing for at least the first week due to meetings and so on. Don’t go over the limits (20kg baggage, 7kg carry-on) because previous JET’s have been stung with additional baggage costs. If you are a shoe size 7 or lager, bring shoes (as you will find it near impossible to get shoes larger than this). Other than clothing, it was suggested you buy other necessities in Japan, such as shampoo, etc. It was also recommended that you take antiperspirant deodorant as there isn’t a large selection in Japan (and it is also only a deodorant). Bring along toothpaste if you like the flavor. For people with big feet like me, grab some slippers as the ones you will need to wear inside school will fall apart due to them being 10 sizes too small. Don’t take any winter clothing as you can have it shipped to you (DHL was recommended as they deliver to your door in Japan). Expect to pay between $200 and $300 for around 20kg ($NZD).

Souvenirs. There were a few ideas thrown around about what to take to give as gifts. Little things like 5c coins, stamps etc are great to give to the students. Stuffed kiwi’s for teachers etc and maybe a book on New Zealand for the principal. Anything goes, so be creative. Take a lot as gift-giving is almost expected in Japanese culture (and its a great way to make friends). Take along some foods that may not be in Japan (i.e. Vegemite – uugh!) for interesting lessons.

Money. As most JET’s are poor (graduated students) we need to know how much we might need to take. The ex-Jets said that $2000 would be sufficient as many do not need to pay rent up front for the first month. (Remember though, Everyone’s situation is different) It also depends on what you expect to buy, but for those of you used to living like a student it shouldn’t be a problem.

Also be prepared to discuss through email with your predecessor about purchasing their old stuff (for lack of a better word). Sometimes you get a good deal, and other times you can get jacked. So if you are considering buying from your predecessor make sure you know what it is, and what condition it is in. If possible, suggest paying for the goods upon inspection, so you can decide if you want to buy them when you are there. Another JET suggested you may not want to purchase anything from them, and that you can find almost anything you need on street corners that is in near new condition or garage sales for cheap.

Read more for the other two sections Continue reading

Still Nothing

Long Wait until us JET participants find out any more about where we will be going. Most of you will by now know the general area (one of my friends is going somewhere in Shikoku!, How’s that !) and are wanting to find out more about your location. Unfortunately, no-one really knows exactly when we will find out about final destination. Some people have only found out a week or two before they depart! Hopefully the news wont come that late. So in the mean time, I will attend the informal JET alumni meeting (this Sunday) to ask a few silly questions about Japan; such as “Will I find shoes that will fit me?” and “Is it better to take alot over, or buy it over there”. I will blog some of the questions and answers for those who might not be attending (alot of you) There will also be a compulsory JET meeting on the 9th next month, so I’m looking forward to getting a better insight into the JET programme. Till Next Time!

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