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