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sandbear
April 23rd, 2013, 12:10
Hi all,

I was initially really excited about the JET program when I found out about it while doing some research online. After reading through several forum posts here, now I'm not so sure!

I was originally looking to apply to an international university, to learn Japanese and immerse myself in the culture. I stumbled across the JET program while researching this avenue. I found the JET program appealing because it appears to be a way to spend a significant amount of time in Japan, allowing me to immerse myself in the culture, and also be paid a salary while I'm at it (rather than spending my entire savings with my original idea of university).

But now I'm not so sure. Does everyone really find the program as lack luster as what the threads are leading me to believe?

Should I just stick with my original plan to attend university?

Thanks

coop52
April 23rd, 2013, 12:14
You have to have a 4 year degree to do JET, so get that first and see if you still want to do it.

sandbear
April 23rd, 2013, 12:17
I have a bachelor's degree already. I'm just looking for something to do post-grad. But thanks for the reply.

MJN
April 23rd, 2013, 12:24
I enjoy it, really.

therealwindycity
April 23rd, 2013, 12:55
This is our meeting ground to complain about all the tiniest things that bother us on a daily basis. In reality, it's a very easy job for decent pay. You have the chance to internationalize, which will bring both the most insane frustrations and the coolest moments. If you're someone who can make their own fun, deal with a challenge and take criticism, it's a great job. If you are unsociable, cannot entertain yourself and have a thin skin, it would not be ideal.

I second this. If your main goal is to "internationalize" and you don't try to pretend culture shock doesn't exist there's a good chance you'll enjoy JET. If you want to get a taste of teaching/a feel for the Japanese workplace it's also really good. If you're hoping to learn Japanese, JET can help but it still requires a lot of self-motivation. Ifyou're hoping to be a really successful EFL teacher you may end up tearing your hair out, depending on the school environment.

If you want to study in Japan, there also some scholarships available, including the MEXT scholarship which allows a living stipend in addition to full tuition.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 23rd, 2013, 12:56
I found the JET program appealing because it appears to be a way to spend a significant amount of time in Japan

The JET program is a reasonably good way to do that.


allowing me to immerse myself in the culture

You could do that while you're here but it's unlikely you really will. Mostly because the Japanese working culture is balls and the social culture is nice but not staggeringly beautiful. Most ALTs skim the surface of the culture and ignore/avoid all the shit parts, which isn't really 'immersion'. Instead of immersing yourself in the culture, think of it more like snorkling.


and also be paid a salary while I'm at it (rather than spending my entire savings with my original idea of university).

Depending on where you are from, that salary is between minimum wage (Australia) to the average you'll get as a fresh graduate out of college (America). If you want a good salary though you should consider working at a job in your chosen profession, as with the JET program you do get a 'raise' each year, but they cut the salary enough that it'll take you 3 years to break even compared to previous ALTs. Furthermore, coming back home with 3-5 years on the JET program can put you in a difficult position depending on the field/industry you want to get into. It might help if you are going to be an ESL teacher, but it's going to make things pretty rough if you're looking for engineering jobs with a 5 year old degree and no applicable work experience.



Should I just stick with my original plan to attend university?

A year on JET looks pretty good on an application, and if you're thrifty you can save enough to help pay for some of your degree. It also provides you with a year of mostly free time in which to prepare your applications and get accepted. Personally, I would sign up for JET and do JET while you apply to universities. If/when you're accepted, break contract and go home.

mothy
April 23rd, 2013, 13:13
JET is shit for anything education related. It's also not that good for immersing yourself in the culture if it's your first time working a full time job as your work habits will probably alienate you from your coworkers leaving your only option for social activities hanging out with foreigners.
JET is good for developing a drinking problem and a superiority complex, which shouldn't go hand in hand but because of all the truly horrible people you will meet, it does in Japan.

word
April 23rd, 2013, 13:16
Seconding what RL said, also.

I think it's safe to say that most folks here generally like the JET Program, but the unfortunate reality is that what they don't like is actually Japan and Japanese culture itself. In the West/'Murika, we get a very skewed version of Japan--the "crazy" sh*t is picked up and amplified by Western media, weeaboos idealize virtually every aspect of the nation and its culture, and the Japanese people you actually meet in America/other nations tend to be, by and large, very atypical in comparison to the vast majority of the Japanese population.

Many JETs, ALTs and the like, who have created this fantasy of what Japan is like based on their extremely limited information, invariably experience a very startling and depressing immersion in reality once they arrive. Japan is nothing like it is portrayed in Western media. It is nothing like it is portrayed in any japanimation show. It is nothing like any of the stereotypes that are constantly being perpetuated across western nations.

If you can handle this once you arrive, you'll be fine.

Pablo668
April 23rd, 2013, 13:49
I really enjoyed JET, though it could be soul crushingly boring at times.
If you want to experience the culture your best bet is by making Japanese friends outside of work.
I did this by being part of a sports club and making friends with Japanese friends of friends.....as it were. Keep in mind the fact that most of the Japanese people you meet will be friends with other foreigners and/or will have spent time overseas so they'll be a bit western in outlook.
As opposed to the old drunk Japanese guy who swears at you about foreigners while your sitting next to him late at night in a ramen stall. He's very Japanese.

Jiggit
April 23rd, 2013, 14:09
JET is good for developing a drinking problem and a superiority complex, which shouldn't go hand in hand but because of all the truly horrible people you will meet, it does in Japan.


http://i.minus.com/iQVaz9DJRtAl7.gif

Seriously though JET is great and all but OP do yourself two favours: develop a thicker skin if reading a couple internet posts can bother you that much and also please stop using the phrase "immerse myself in the culture" and actually think of solid reasons why you want to come to Japan and things you want to do and experience here. Cause not saying this is true of you but that phrase seems to be a favorite of weeaboos who often have a completely incorrect idea of what Japanese culture or society is actually like and freak out upon coming here. Nah but seriously it's just not very solid reasoning. I think a lot of people come here without really thinking about why and that can make it difficult when things don't turn out like the imagine in your head. Get some more solid things that you want to do that you know other people have done and actually are achievable by coming to Japan. Read the horror stories and whining and ask yourself if you can deal with it. Also think about if you want most of your waking hours being spent teaching. Potentially with very young or very low-level students. In buttfuck nowhere.

I'm not saying "immersion" is impossible... I've just never met a single person who has done it or wanted to do it after living here a while. Really it fcan take quite a lot of effort and frustration to even get a group of Japanese friends, never mind "immersion". It's just a very vague goal which will probably result in you ending up like the majority of posters on here. I speak as someone who has had this experience. If you do set more solid goals for yourself you'll probably be far more proactive about achieving them.

University will be different but not that different. The main thing I would say would be being able to choose where you get to live (I assume a decent-sized city) and having more time/interaction with young people.

Page
April 23rd, 2013, 14:35
What RL said. JET is not study abroad, it is a JOB. Chances are if you stay a year and aren't an anxious failure of a human being you're going to have a good time and find some time to do cool culture stuff. If you stay longer? Depends on how strong your resolve is, a job is a job no matter where in the world you're doing it, plus you get the added fun of dealing with cultural/logical differences.

If you want real cultural immersion do study abroad. If you pick a good program it's worth the money; there's field trips, Japanese classes, cultural sht, host families, etc. It'll be an amazing experience (oddly enough this is why a lot of people who study abroad in Japan before JET/weeaboos hit Stage 2 of culture shock before complete noobs).

Ini
April 23rd, 2013, 16:16
Does anyone like JET??

http://tkyosam.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/jason3.jpg?w=194&h=145&h=145

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 23rd, 2013, 18:44
What RL said. JET is not study abroad, it is a JOB.
lol, not really.

mothy
April 23rd, 2013, 19:21
It's the hours of a job coupled with the responsibilities of a four year old. Just don't crap your pants and you did good that day.

MJN
April 23rd, 2013, 19:50
Seconding what RL said, also.

I think it's safe to say that most folks here generally like the JET Program, but the unfortunate reality is that what they don't like is actually Japan and Japanese culture itself. In the West/'Murika, we get a very skewed version of Japan--the "crazy" sh*t is picked up and amplified by Western media, weeaboos idealize virtually every aspect of the nation and its culture, and the Japanese people you actually meet in America/other nations tend to be, by and large, very atypical in comparison to the vast majority of the Japanese population.

Many JETs, ALTs and the like, who have created this fantasy of what Japan is like based on their extremely limited information, invariably experience a very startling and depressing immersion in reality once they arrive. Japan is nothing like it is portrayed in Western media. It is nothing like it is portrayed in any japanimation show. It is nothing like any of the stereotypes that are constantly being perpetuated across western nations.

If you can handle this once you arrive, you'll be fine.

See, I actually like Japan and Japanese culture. It's not without its problems, as any place in the world, but I find it interesting enough and the country fun enough to want to stay living in. What grinds me in all honestly is working under the confines and inside the inanity of the Japanese bureaucracy, but I'm guessing the levels of that change nationwide.

What I agree with is that if you come to Japan expecting it to be like all your precious anime, it's going to destroy you unless you have a fantastically robust soul.

word
April 23rd, 2013, 19:51
Just don't crap your pants and you did good that day.
2812

word
April 23rd, 2013, 20:09
See, I actually like Japan and Japanese culture. It's not without its problems, as any place in the world, but I find it interesting enough and the country fun enough to want to stay living in. What grinds me in all honestly is working under the confines and inside the inanity of the Japanese bureaucracy, but I'm guessing the levels of that change nationwide.I agree with most of this. MG and I actually really enjoy our life here, for the most part. However...


I'm not saying "immersion" is impossible... I've just never met a single person who has done it or wanted to do it after living here a while.This.

I have met people who have wanted to do it after living here a while--and they are, invariably, completely freakin' weird. The longer I live here, the more comfortable I am being a gaijin--the more I value it, the more I appreciate being able to live "outside" of many of the social constructs within Japanese society. I've found that my Japanese friends are often the sort who chafe under such constructs, as well. I could easily live here the rest of my life (I won't, but I'm very aware that I could)... it would be a nice life, as a gaijin.

Prospective
April 23rd, 2013, 20:48
I have met people who have wanted to do it after living here a while--and they are, invariably, completely freakin' weird. The longer I live here, the more comfortable I am being a gaijin--the more I value it, the more I appreciate being able to live "outside" of many of the social constructs within Japanese society. I've found that my Japanese friends are often the sort who chafe under such constructs, as well. I could easily live here the rest of my life (I won't, but I'm very aware that I could)... it would be a nice life, as a gaijin.

Yeah, one of my friends "went native" for his first 3-4 years on the program. He is at N1+ level of Japanese and spent enough time with the culture that he "gets" a lot of the cultural quirks. He often makes comments about how the way I do things is non-Japanese and possibly irks my teachers to which I respond with "so?" Despite his ability to "be Japanese" he's still not immune to irking his teachers, I don't think his work life is especially more fulfilling than mine in which case I'm left thinking "why bother?"

I'm happy to take and leave what I want from Japan, much as I do back home in Aus. I don't feel a need to "become Australian", in many ways I choose to distance myself from the typical Australian.

So I definitely wouldn't want to immerse fully in the culture. Just being a full time worker here is more than enough "immersing". If by immersion you don't mean "live life as a Japanese person" but "get to experience a diverse range of cool Japanese cultural quirks without any of the associated bullshit" then JET probably isn't the best for you. If you have the money you'd be best off picking an expensive study abroad that involves a homestay, temple trips, zazen, green tea and onsens. Homestay is actually pretty important for the "cool" kind of immersion, in some ways I learnt more about Japanese family life in the 4 days I spent at my VP's house when I arrived than I've learnt in the entire time since. You can't beat living with someone for immersion.

Speaking of which if you want to immerse yourself inside a Japanese person's nether regions that can be something JET can potentially provide.


As for what else it provides? It's a job, so unlike study abroad you don't go backwards. It's a job you can do even with "unemployable" liberal arts majors. You get exposure to Japanese people and Japanese media more easily than back at home. You have access to vacations in Japan more easily during your holiday period. If you're lucky like me you might even be within an hour of a major touristy place like Kyoto making weekend fun a reality. For me it's also been a time for me to adjust to the Mon-Fri 9-5 grind. I've never had a full time job before so it's been good to have the regularity of that in an environment that I'm comfortable in.

Gizmotech
April 23rd, 2013, 20:50
I have met people who have wanted to do it after living here a while--and they are, invariably, completely freakin' weird. The longer I live here, the more comfortable I am being a gaijin--the more I value it, the more I appreciate being able to live "outside" of many of the social constructs within Japanese society. I've found that my Japanese friends are often the sort who chafe under such constructs, as well. I could easily live here the rest of my life (I won't, but I'm very aware that I could)... it would be a nice life, as a gaijin.

Living in Japan isn't particularly hard. People don't really bother you, you have health care, and you can usually find work (regardless how demeaning some of it can be). As for JET, it has it's moments, but most of those moments aren't worth sharing. I suppose we could post daily about seeing a kid smile when we explain something to them and they understand, or the moments of pride you feel when an activity goes perfectly. The feeling of success when the kid you've been training for 2 or 3 years tells you they are going to study abroad. Those are the things that keep you going, that aren't really needed to be shared.

What we need to share, and why ITIL exists is to explain the uniquely backwards and idiotic things in Japan, so others can avoid them or share in our misery from a similar experience. Sure it might seem negative, but it's something of a survival trait in a country in which you will never be one of the team, regardless how much slanty eye plastic surgery you get.

word
April 23rd, 2013, 21:54
2813

Jiggit
April 23rd, 2013, 22:04
Yeah, one of my friends "went native" for his first 3-4 years on the program. He is at N1+ level of Japanese and spent enough time with the culture that he "gets" a lot of the cultural quirks. He often makes comments about how the way I do things is non-Japanese and possibly irks my teachers to which I respond with "so?" Despite his ability to "be Japanese" he's still not immune to irking his teachers, I don't think his work life is especially more fulfilling than mine in which case I'm left thinking "why bother?"


Next time he does this tell him that pointing out another person's failings is very un-Japanese and in any case his attempts to act like a Japanese and not a foreigner probably irk his teachers more than anything. They employed him to be a foreigner monkey not a sniveling salaryman wannabe.

dvac002
April 24th, 2013, 01:12
\
I have met people who have wanted to do it after living here a while--and they are, invariably, completely freakin' weird. The longer I live here, the more comfortable I am being a gaijin--the more I value it, the more I appreciate being able to live "outside" of many of the social constructs within Japanese society. I've found that my Japanese friends are often the sort who chafe under such constructs, as well. I could easily live here the rest of my life (I won't, but I'm very aware that I could)... it would be a nice life, as a gaijin.

I haven't even left for Japan yet, but I've met people like this and they are in fact bone-chilling weird! When I studied abroad in Japan, three months in I had already recognized the fact that living there as a foreigner pretty much guarantees you will never (EVER!) be one of them and integrated into their society. Does it matter? Maybe at first, but after a while you simply stop caring, and you begin to see that accepting and respecting the culture, but retaining and proudly displaying your own, is the way to go and probably the only way to stay sane. Mind you, I haven't lived there for a year as I will be doing with JET, but I still feel like I got a general feel for longer-term living. Bottom line: Don't be that weird dude in full ninja gear.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 24th, 2013, 08:42
The one common trait I've found among Japanese high-level English speakers who have lived and worked in America is that very, very, very few of them are back in Japan by choice.

Gizmotech
April 24th, 2013, 08:45
The one common trait I've found among Japanese high-level English speakers who have lived and worked in America is that very, very, very few of them are back in Japan by choice.

You can remove America and just change it to "not in Japan". I have a teacher who spent two years working in Palao and she's confided in me more than once that she really dislikes Japan and the system she has to work in. She just does it because she has good English and knows she'll always have a job as a teacher.

Jiggit
April 24th, 2013, 10:42
I don't really see why people feel a need to be "one of them" but even if they do the complaints are always funny to me. So many people are like "You'll NEVAR be one of them!!!" while they have mediocre to decent japanese skills, spend most of their social life in the gaijin ghetto and really make little effort to stop behaving like their own nationality and constantly bitch about the way Japanese people behave. Like that kind of person is gonna become "one of them" in any country? How many first generation immigrants do you know who never become fully naturalised back in your country?

Of course Japanese society is more homogenous/hierarchical so it can feel more pronounced perhaps. But really people make too much of a deal about it. If you're generally well liked, have friends and get along in life then what more are you asking for? Like word said what would you gain/lose from trying to give up all your gaijin privilege? Yes it'd be nice to not get stared at so much but really not a big deal.

I mean plenty of foreigners marry Japanese people, that seems pretty accepting to me. Try that shit in some other asian countries and see what the family has to say about it.

mothy
April 24th, 2013, 10:46
Try that in Japan and see what some Japanese families say about it.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 24th, 2013, 11:09
At an Enkai, nothing is as entertaining as bringing up the subject of other South East Asians.

coop52
April 24th, 2013, 11:26
Why would you want anything more than that sweet spot where you can have Japanese friends and a decent relationship with coworkers and still be able to get away with stuff because derp gaijin. After seeing just how much bullshit regular Japanese people put up with, why would you want all that? I like Japan (enough to stay here as long as I have and want to continue here post JET), but I'd never want that kind of stress for myself. I feel like I'm accepted enough as I am.

Ini
April 24th, 2013, 11:42
In an attempt to be accepted I sliced the first 4 inches off my penis and started beating women.

coop52
April 24th, 2013, 11:47
That's pretty radical. Why didn't you start by smoking and giving all your money to Filipino women at your local snack bar?

therealwindycity
April 24th, 2013, 13:39
I don't really see why people feel a need to be "one of them" but even if they do the complaints are always funny to me. So many people are like "You'll NEVAR be one of them!!!" while they have mediocre to decent japanese skills, spend most of their social life in the gaijin ghetto and really make little effort to stop behaving like their own nationality and constantly bitch about the way Japanese people behave. Like that kind of person is gonna become "one of them" in any country? How many first generation immigrants do you know who never become fully naturalised back in your country?

Of course Japanese society is more homogenous/hierarchical so it can feel more pronounced perhaps. But really people make too much of a deal about it. If you're generally well liked, have friends and get along in life then what more are you asking for? Like word said what would you gain/lose from trying to give up all your gaijin privilege? Yes it'd be nice to not get stared at so much but really not a big deal.

I mean plenty of foreigners marry Japanese people, that seems pretty accepting to me. Try that shit in some other asian countries and see what the family has to say about it.

Pretty much this. I think language is a huge part of not feeling "integrated." Not that I don't have moments of feeling like an outsider, but I've never really felt like I'll never be "accepted" by Japanese society (whatever that means ...)

Jiggit
April 24th, 2013, 14:48
In an attempt to be accepted I sliced the first 4 inches off my penis and started beating women.

I never knew you came here to be a volleyball coach?

sandbear
April 25th, 2013, 05:21
Many JETs, ALTs and the like, who have created this fantasy of what Japan is like based on their extremely limited information, invariably experience a very startling and depressing immersion in reality once they arrive. Japan is nothing like it is portrayed in Western media. It is nothing like it is portrayed in any japanimation show. It is nothing like any of the stereotypes that are constantly being perpetuated across western nations.

If you can handle this once you arrive, you'll be fine.


How exactly would you describe what it is like then?

I guess when I said I want to immerse myself in the culture, I more so meant that I want to experience the country and people, then go back home. I by no means want to "turn Japanese". I've always thought that Japan is a beautiful country, so I thought JET would allow me to spend a year sight-seeing and learning more of the language and customs.

I've been to Japan once before, and I had a great experience. So I'm not sure what people mean exactly when they talk about experiencing a "startling" depression when doing the JET program.

Maybe studying abroad would better suit what I'm looking for.

coop52
April 25th, 2013, 08:20
I guess it comes from hearing about how Japan is the technological wonderland and is filled with people who have all these creative ideas about business and students who do nothing but study since that's what Japan's image has been since the 80's. Then you come here and discover that a startling number of your co-workers are terrified of even CD players, business managers and politicians do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, and many students don't seem to give a shit about their studies at all. If you do your research and come in with more realistic expectations, then you should be ok. It's a very nice place, with nice people and nice scenery and such. It's just hard to work here if you're expecting it to be the awesomest country in the world, and it turns out not to be.

Ini
April 25th, 2013, 08:35
if you're an extrovert type of person come on JET, stay for a year, travel around, allow mad old ladies to show off about japanese culture to you, avoid places like itil like the plague and go home with a suitcase full of kimonos and a heart full of joy.

If you are an introvert type of person come on jet, stay for 3 years, lock yourself in your apartment, curse the japanese people every night for not fulfilling all your hopes and desires, spend all your time on itil, go home with a burning resentment towards japan and a suitcase full of anime porn.

If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

MJN
April 25th, 2013, 08:48
Can we make that a poll to ask people what category they think they fall into?

coop52
April 25th, 2013, 08:54
If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

As if they won't jump in front of a train first

mothy
April 25th, 2013, 09:16
Well we're not all lucky enough to get thyroid cancer causing doses of radiation.

Tyr
April 25th, 2013, 10:15
If you've other prospects- then Jet isn't for you. Getting to Japan really isn't all that hard, much better to work for a few years in your field at home then transfer/get a new job here.
If you've not much else going on/want a year out after finishing your bachellor, then Jet is pretty good.

It depends what Japan you're expecting too.
If you're some crazy anime freak who expects to be in down town Tokyo, go out to bars whenever you like and make lots of awesome, hot 'friends' with the same odd interests as you then lol no.
If however you like the idea of living in a small town, seeing a side of Japan foreigners don't usually see unless they are very lost, etc... then it is awesome- I could well imagine this would really appeal to someone who comes from a big city and for whom the countryside is quaint and interesting, not just an annoying fact of life.


I don't really see why people feel a need to be "one of them" but even if they do the complaints are always funny to me. So many people are like "You'll NEVAR be one of them!!!" while they have mediocre to decent japanese skills, spend most of their social life in the gaijin ghetto and really make little effort to stop behaving like their own nationality and constantly bitch about the way Japanese people behave. Like that kind of person is gonna become "one of them" in any country? How many first generation immigrants do you know who never become fully naturalised back in your country?
How many of those people bitching about not being 'one of them' fully fit in back in their own country?
This is a key lesson for anyone moving abroad: it is a fresh start but it won't fix any personality problems you had back home. A anti-social weirdo is a anti-social weirdo whatever the country, abroad they're just able to mask it slightly better.


Seconding what RL said, also.

I think it's safe to say that most folks here generally like the JET Program, but the unfortunate reality is that what they don't like is actually Japan and Japanese culture itself. In the West/'Murika, we get a very skewed version of Japan--the "crazy" sh*t is picked up and amplified by Western media, weeaboos idealize virtually every aspect of the nation and its culture, and the Japanese people you actually meet in America/other nations tend to be, by and large, very atypical in comparison to the vast majority of the Japanese population.

Many JETs, ALTs and the like, who have created this fantasy of what Japan is like based on their extremely limited information, invariably experience a very startling and depressing immersion in reality once they arrive. Japan is nothing like it is portrayed in Western media. It is nothing like it is portrayed in any japanimation show. It is nothing like any of the stereotypes that are constantly being perpetuated across western nations.

If you can handle this once you arrive, you'll be fine.

Its interesting that the overwhelming majority of foreign views on Japan you see tend to be from Americans and they tend to paint this picture of Japan not being crazy as they expected, the people being cold and strange, etc...
From a European perspective the challenges we face in Japan are utterly different to those Americans get. Culturally Japan really isn't so crazy to us; the whole modesty about everything, not wanting to say no, etc.... thing isn't too alien to Brits.
Japan is still a bit alien and strange in these little cultural ways but the gap is much smaller, Europe is sort of in the middle with Japan to one extreme and America the other.
The things I found most difficult to adapt to in Japan- the vastness of the countryside, so much of society being based around the ability to drive absolutely everywhere, 'dating', decentralised towns, etc.... aren't things that would faze most Americans at all.

word
April 25th, 2013, 10:38
How exactly would you describe what it is like then? A very, very, very homogenous place full of old people, old, rather uninteresting buildings, and average scenery.

Most pop culture is mind-numbingly dull--fashions, music, trends, etc.--not really any more or less than in Western nations, but the perception of Japan as being at the forefront of pop culture is laughable unless you're in certain parts of Tokyo. There are good bands, good fashions, good foods, and other forms of good culture to be found--but they are few and far between, and there is an ocean of incredibly mundane crap between them. Also, nobody cares about good pop culture. They'd take an AKB song over your obscure hipster sh*t any day, no matter how good your obscure hipster sh*t really is.

Technology is not advanced in Japan--if anything, it is years behind much of the rest of the world--and the gap is increasing. Japan will probably still be using fax machines and floppy drives in ten years--literally. I would not be surprised at all--nor would anyone else who's been here for a while. Technology is outdated, overpriced, mistrusted and wildly misunderstood by much of the population.

Japanese people are not polite. Western cultural perceptions cause us to interpret many of their behaviors as polite, but, in fact, they're just maintaining their culture of "appearances." Many a clueless ALT has long assumed that s/he was well-liked by many folks around them, completely unaware that they were, in fact, receiving the absolute minimum permissible level of societal acceptance by their coworkers. Japanese people are just like anyone else--there are some nice folks, lots of idiots, a few cool people, and a bunch of assholes.

Students are not "better" or more diligent or better behaved or anything of the sort. They are exactly like kids in the US--just raised in Japanese culture, rather than Western culture. They will pass their classes no matter what their scores might be. They will pass their classes if they do not show up for class at all. They are both more mature than Western students--and appallingly immature in comparison. It's difficult to describe. Their aspirations for life are sobering. The high suicide rate is not a mystery to folks who have been here a while.

Life in Japan is not magical fantasy kimono-land. It can be every once and a while, but mostly, life is just mundane and typical--with more kanji, green tea, noodles and such. I think this is the depression that people feel--and I've seen it in quite a few new ALTs. Life in Japan is great--but it's generally not what people expect. They're expecting it to be "special" somehow--and it's not. It's just life. You'll spend the vast majority of your time just doing normal sh*t--working, eating, sleeping, maintaining your household, studying, etc. JET isn't a vacation in awesome anime Japanland; it's a job, like any other, and you'll be living a normal, relatively mundane life, just like you would anywhere else. Yeah, you get to do some cool Japanese sh*t once and a while, but for the most part... it's just like living and working anywhere else.


I guess when I said I want to immerse myself in the culture, I more so meant that I want to experience the country and people, then go back home. I by no means want to "turn Japanese". I've always thought that Japan is a beautiful country, so I thought JET would allow me to spend a year sight-seeing and learning more of the language and customs. You might really like it. I don't mean to talk anyone out of it--I've really enjoyed my time on JET. I just hate seeing people show up here with some bizarre fantasy of what life will be like, then sinking into a miserable, depressed, angry state when it doesn't quite turn out that way. I've been lucky; there was only one of those folks in this year's batch. Lots of the other folks around me have really done well for themselves here.


If you do your research and come in with more realistic expectations, then you should be ok. It's a very nice place, with nice people and nice scenery and such. It's just hard to work here if you're expecting it to be the awesomest country in the world, and it turns out not to be.Word. This.


if you're an extrovert type of person come on JET, stay for a year, travel around, allow mad old ladies to show off about japanese culture to you, avoid places like itil like the plague and go home with a suitcase full of kimonos and a heart full of joy.

If you are an introvert type of person come on jet, stay for 3 years, lock yourself in your apartment, curse the japanese people every night for not fulfilling all your hopes and desires, spend all your time on itil, go home with a burning resentment towards japan and a suitcase full of anime porn.

If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.LOL Pretty much.

Tyr
April 25th, 2013, 11:34
I agree with most of what you're saying there word, but



Japanese people are not polite. Western cultural perceptions cause us to interpret many of their behaviors as polite, but, in fact, they're just maintaining their culture of "appearances." Many a clueless ALT has long assumed that s/he was well-liked by many folks around them, completely unaware that they were, in fact, receiving the absolute minimum permissible level of societal acceptance by their coworkers. Japanese people are just like anyone else--there are some nice folks, lots of idiots, a few cool
people, and a bunch of assholes.

isn't that was politeness is?
Even if you think someone is an utter moron you still treat them with respect.
Being polite and being nice are pretty different imo.


Life in Japan is not magical fantasy kimono-land. It can be every once and a while, but mostly, life is just mundane and typical--with more kanji, green tea, noodles and such. I think this is the depression that people feel--and I've seen it in quite a few new ALTs. Life in Japan is great--but it's generally not what people expect. They're expecting it to be "special" somehow--and it's not. It's just life. You'll spend the vast majority of your time just doing normal sh*t--working, eating, sleeping, maintaining your household, studying, etc. JET isn't a vacation in awesome anime Japanland; it's a job, like any other, and you'll be living a normal, relatively mundane life, just like you would anywhere else. Yeah, you get to do some cool Japanese sh*t once and a while, but for the most part... it's just like living and working anywhere else.

Definitely.
This is kind of the same of a lot of big life changes really. You finish middle school and look set for high school which will be just like on TV, all those beautiful people and parties and adventures!.....no, its just middle school except now you're a dumb midget rather than the man about town. But university! That will be better! .... no it's just high school except people are drunk all the time and everybody seems either very poor or very rich.
As I said, if life is shit then merely changing your surroundings won't be a cure all.

Jiggit
April 25th, 2013, 12:00
From a European perspective the challenges we face in Japan are utterly different to those Americans get. Culturally Japan really isn't so crazy to us; the whole modesty about everything, not wanting to say no, etc.... thing isn't too alien to Brits.
The things I found most difficult to adapt to in Japan- the vastness of the countryside, so much of society being based around the ability to drive absolutely everywhere, 'dating', decentralised towns, etc.... aren't things that would faze most Americans at all.

I've often felt this but it feels arrogant to say so... but I think it's a fair statement if you do acknowledge that there are equally things about Japan which Americans "get" more than we do. The whole patriotism/enthusiasm/do your best mentality is something that often weirds me out here. But American friends have found it totally normal where I think most British people would be very uncomfortable. On the flip-side I think a lot of the social interactions, the kind you described, are things that are more similar to Euro/British society (though of course not completely) and I've had North American ALTs describe conversations/interactions to me that has really irked them which doesn't seem that strange to me.

I don't think I've really experience what a lot of people call "culture shock". If anything I felt I prepared for a more extreme situation than i ended up in. People are far less alien in their perspectives than I expected they would be, since I expected beforehand Japan would constantly be forcing me to readjust my viewpoint.


Maybe studying abroad would better suit what I'm looking for.

To be honest it might well be. I really think you need to be someone more than a tourist for JET or at least that's what I'd like to think. I think it's a little disingenuous to come over here with the mission statement of teaching English and exchanging culture and then just kind of show up to the job and otherwise only help themselves. I'm not saying that isn't what plenty of people do and it's definitely possible but if studying abroad is feasible for you it might well serve your needs better as well as giving the JET position to someone who is going to be more dedicated... (ah fuck who am I kidding)


Technology is not advanced in Japan--if anything, it is years behind much of the rest of the world--and the gap is increasing. Japan will probably still be using fax machines and floppy drives in ten years--literally. I would not be surprised at all--nor would anyone else who's been here for a while. Technology is outdated, overpriced, mistrusted and wildly misunderstood by much of the population.

Japanese people are not polite. Western cultural perceptions cause us to interpret many of their behaviors as polite, but, in fact, they're just maintaining their culture of "appearances." Many a clueless ALT has long assumed that s/he was well-liked by many folks around them, completely unaware that they were, in fact, receiving the absolute minimum permissible level of societal acceptance by their coworkers. Japanese people are just like anyone else--there are some nice folks, lots of idiots, a few cool people, and a bunch of assholes.

Technology is pretty advanced here in certain situations, in other situations it is bogged down by bureaucracy and corruption.

I really don't agree with the politeness thing. In fact really isn't politeness largely based around appearances? If I genuinely liked someone I wouldn't have a need to be polite as I could just show my genuine feeling without consideration. Whereas disliking or having a problem with someone and not letting your emotions show or affect your working relationship seems pretty sensible and polite to me. Like Tyr said this may well be a cultural thing. I've often felt a lot of unspoken disapproval/discontent with my behaviour as an ALT (some of which I care about, some I don't) but I think I've experienced less than 5 situations where someone has directly addressed/criticised my shortcomings since I got here. Of course I don't know but if being direct in expressing your feelings about someone is "polite" in America then that is a cultural difference you have with more than one country.

Of course I agree with you that people are people, regardless of culture, are generally either cool dudes or assholes on an individual basis but I absolutely think Japan is more "polite" than most, by which I mean people have a more generally accepted standard of polite behaviour that nearly everyone follows to a far greater extent than most other countries. Of course in specific situations (table manners lol) they have different standards but I would say by and large Japanese people follow their own standards of polite behaviour far more thoroughly than people from my country at least.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 25th, 2013, 12:03
Technology is not advanced in Japan--if anything, it is years behind much of the rest of the world--and the gap is increasing. Japan will probably still be using fax machines and floppy drives in ten years--literally. I would not be surprised at all--nor would anyone else who's been here for a while. Technology is outdated, overpriced, mistrusted and wildly misunderstood by much of the population.

It's unevenly applied too. I came to Japan when I was 15 and I was amazed at the selection of Mini-Disc players in Akihabara. They had stores with literally hundreds of models with various features, colors, designs, etc.

I remember going "Wow, Japan is really the tech capital of the world.........wait..........who the fuck wants a mini-disc player?"

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2013, 12:19
@Jiggit and Tyr.

I really agree with the ideas that Americans and Europeans/Oceania have different approaches to interaction and distance and that it can drastically affect their views here in Japan. I feel that as a Canadian I'm kinda stuck in the middle, coming from a large country, with a concentrated (cities) but spaced out population (Like America, but not as bad), with many beliefs on social interaction and values which come from our old and more entrenched British heritage.

It's likely why, though I might sound like a totally disgruntled ass hat most of the time, I adapt very well to where I am. It's just like being at home for the most part (I would prefer a slightly different type of social drinking atmosphere, but it's not terrible), where people pretend to be polite, and things just kinda go at their own pace, and yet I am pretty far removed from everywhere but can get to it easily.

Also I think Jiggit is entirely right about JET. You do need to be more than a language/tourist to do the job. You need to have some investment in teaching, or internationalizing, or integration (as best as you can achieve it), to really succeed at the job in any way. I know a person near by who is very much a tourist here in Japan, and they only planned to stay a year, and right now are really antsy to get out (from what I could tell). The job just doesn't do it for them and I don't think they wanted to experience any more of Japan than the 1 month tourist version. I remember the WORST ALT EVER from last year who was so butt hurt over not getting a "japanese experience", ie not getting all that touristy exchange shit and living in the middle of nowhere, who had multiple mental break downs and was absolutely hated by both ALTs and JTEs. He also didn't have the balls to go home, and abused the entire situation by not working for almost 5 months and still got his free flight out (by that point they paid it just to get rid of him).

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 25th, 2013, 12:22
Let's not forget that for ugly socially awkward white guys, Japan offers the best chance to actually get with a girl several points above them, be popular, and have friends.

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2013, 12:26
Let's not forget that for ugly socially awkward white guys, Japan offers the best chance to actually get with a girl several points above them, be popular, and have friends.

If by friends/popular you mean Japanese sycophants who only talk to you because you speak English, then sure!

Tyr
April 25th, 2013, 12:31
Let's not forget that for ugly socially awkward white guys, Japan offers the best chance to actually get with a girl several points above them, be popular, and have friends.

If you have friends and can get a girl at home (virgins need not apply) and are lucky enough to meet that rarest of things outside of Tokyo, Osaka and the like; a girl (or indeed boy) in her twenties. Then yes, your chances of getting someone a few points about you are better here. The whiteness works to make you exotic and therefore hotter just as being Japanese back home would make the girl hotter there. You can probally make some good friends too, though again this will be hampered by the lack of unicorns/young people who publically socialise, so you won't make quite so many as you could at home.
Those who are total social retards at home won't find things particularly better in Japan.

mothy
April 25th, 2013, 12:45
On politeness, maybe it's a regional thing but I agree completely with word on that matter. Japanese people are horribly rude, and that's judging them by their own standards.
And I'm getting the feeling some people don't understand American culture as well as they think they do.

Ini
April 25th, 2013, 12:49
Saitama people are horrifically rude. The whole prefecture is like something from escape from New York.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 25th, 2013, 12:50
Those who are total social retards at home won't find things particularly better in Japan.

I dunno man, I saw a lot of social retards who did far better in Japan than I imagine they did back home. Forced friendships, guilt-invites to group events, co-workers too polite to tell them to fuck off, and a language barrier to disguise social awkwardness seemed to help them out a lot. Plus the rare encounter with a Japanese girl who doesn't know better.

mothy
April 25th, 2013, 13:02
Saitama people are horrifically rude. The whole prefecture is like something from escape from New York.

That's the most accurate description of Saitama I've ever seen. I fit in so well here.

Jiggit
April 25th, 2013, 14:18
And I'm getting the feeling some people don't understand American culture as well as they think they do.

Oh yeah, I'm pretty ignorant and I probably shouldn't venture my opinion but I was trying to speak purely from shared anecdotes, online and with actual friends. So not really very good evidence either way. Doesn't help that the vast majority of JETs are American either.

But on the other hand I do think it is a pretty important factor that is largely ignored. Anglophone countries are very similar but they aren't as identical as we sometimes assume.

coop52
April 25th, 2013, 14:49
American culture isn't even one unified thing. Someone moving from New York City to rural Texas can get culture shock like they would moving to another country.

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2013, 14:58
They also could get shot.

coop52
April 25th, 2013, 15:03
That only depends on their answer to "What church do you go to?"

Jiggit
April 25th, 2013, 15:11
American culture isn't even one unified thing. Someone moving from New York City to rural Texas can get culture shock like they would moving to another country.

This is true of every country though.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 25th, 2013, 15:12
Oh yea, I just remembered another wonderful example of Japanese technological superiority; the embassy webpages.

Here's the US one: http://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/JET/

Holy fuck, that webpage.

The UK one is sweet too : http://www.jet-uk.org/

Meanwhile it looks like someone in Canada actually hired a webpage designer: http://www.jetprogramme.ca/

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2013, 15:22
The Canadian JET Coordinator last year was married to a web designer who was the head of the Ottawa AJET group. She got him to make the site if memory serves :P

dvac002
April 26th, 2013, 00:31
Isn't it quite ironic how many people that want to do JET talk about breaking misconceptions and tearing down stereotypes yet go to Japan with a shitload of misconceptions and stereotypes.

mothy
April 26th, 2013, 02:07
I've never heard a JET talk about that.

Ini
April 26th, 2013, 05:55
I do my best to uphold the Japanese's misconceptions and stereotypes about british people

dvac002
April 26th, 2013, 06:01
You're telling me that all those people who complain about being told countless times how good their Japanese is despite it being shit and how amazing it is that they can use chopsticks actually want to keep hearing the same thing over and over again? They might not directly say "Hey, I want to break down these stereotypes and misconceptions", but that seems to be what they'd hope to accomplish, or at the very least what they wish would happen.

Gizmotech
April 26th, 2013, 07:06
I also want to make love to Scarlett Johansson, neither that nor the changing of Japanese Stereotypes is likely to happen any time soon.

dvac002
April 26th, 2013, 07:35
You probably have a better chance with the Scarlett thing.

Ini
April 26th, 2013, 08:20
Why would you want to change it? Being a celebrity/performing monkey is awesome!!

dvac002
April 26th, 2013, 08:35
@Ini

Just out of pure curiosity, what are some of the stereotypes you've found Japanese people have of British people??

MJN
April 26th, 2013, 08:36
@Ini

Just out of pure curiosity, what are some of the stereotypes you've found Japanese people have of British people??

The women all wear maid outfits and the men perfect gentlemen.

Ini
April 26th, 2013, 08:39
Always carries umbrellas, opens doors for ladies, eat nothing but fried breakfasts or fish and chips. I make a point of doing all those things everyday while wearing a top hat and a monocle

dvac002
April 26th, 2013, 09:21
Surely you're exaggerating! The fish and chips I could understand though.

MJN
April 26th, 2013, 11:02
I open doors for ladies because I'm not a massive faggot, generally.

Jiggit
April 26th, 2013, 11:09
Why would you want to change it? Being a celebrity/performing monkey is awesome!!

"sensei sensei how do I tell Jiggit that he is cool in English?"
"Jiggit have you been to france? Oh my gaa i love you"


"Jiggit how tall are you? you are perfect, please marriage with me"

Anyone who says they want to change that is probably an awkward fatty who can't keep their interest beyond the first few weeks.

Gezora
April 26th, 2013, 11:29
Or not a pedo.

coop52
April 26th, 2013, 12:14
Being called cute all the time is ok, but "big bust!" followed by a tit grab is out.

Jiggit
April 26th, 2013, 12:22
Or not a pedo.

you're just a racist.

mothy
April 26th, 2013, 12:46
Being called cute all the time is ok, but "big bust!" followed by a tit grab is out.

That's out? Jeez. Glad I'm married now. I just don't think I could deal with the modern dating game.

@dvac002
There's a big difference between saying "this is stupid. I wish they would stop." And saying "I want to make them stop."

Gezora
April 26th, 2013, 12:51
you're just a racist.

Ummm... Some of those definitely sounded like quotes from yr kiddos.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 26th, 2013, 13:18
"sensei sensei how do I tell Jiggit that he is cool in English?"
"Jiggit have you been to france? Oh my gaa i love you"


"Jiggit how tall are you? you are perfect, please marriage with me"

Anyone who says they want to change that is probably an awkward fatty who can't keep their interest beyond the first few weeks.

Sounds like you work in high school, meanwhile in junior high school it sounds more like this:

".............."
".............."
".............."
".............."

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 26th, 2013, 13:20
Being called cute all the time is ok, but "big bust!" followed by a tit grab is out.

How are they going to experience a foreign culture if you cut them off all the time?

Jiggit
April 26th, 2013, 13:35
Ummm... Some of those definitely sounded like quotes from yr kiddos.

What's your point?

Are you trying to say your excuse for being a unlikable misery is that you don't want to seem like a paedo?

DickForce
April 28th, 2013, 05:00
Why would you want anything more than that sweet spot where you can have Japanese friends and a decent relationship with coworkers and still be able to get away with stuff because derp gaijin. After seeing just how much bullshit regular Japanese people put up with, why would you want all that? I like Japan (enough to stay here as long as I have and want to continue here post JET), but I'd never want that kind of stress for myself. I feel like I'm accepted enough as I am.

I'm thinking this is where I would want to draw the line. I've always been wrapped up in the concern of getting deep enough to not feel like a total outsider, which feels like a permanent fear to me, either because I'm neurotic or because people refused to sit next to me on buses and trains every day for 7 consecutive months. I think "going native" has less of the objective of trying to turn completely Japanese (because really, who would want to turn completely into any culture? they all suck, there's your non-bigoted racism for the day) and more the objective of not feeling like you're from another planet every time you try to encounter anyone.

I mean, no, I don't want to work 16 hour days, I don't want to become an alcoholic, I don't want my marriage to include multiple decades without any sexual contact, and I don't want to draw myself into a crazy fascination with rice and green tea instead of realizing that there exists something called variety in the world. To that extent, no, I don't wish I could become completely Japanese and am willing to accept my gaijinity. On the other hand, is it really too much to ask for to try to dip a little more than my feet into Japanese society, long enough that I can live comfortably instead of building some kind of fantasy world around me where the gimmick of being some kind of walking variety show segment to everyone around me lasts the rest of my life or until I leave? In all my time studying abroad, very few people advanced past the most shallow conversational topics in existence (even by Japanese standards), never have I been more than some kind of mascot for any sports club I joined (and let me not start on the International Friendship club, which I learned I was not supposed to join because their mission is to prepare events for Japanese to meet foreigners), never could people even greet me with an ohayo and depart with an otsukare, and every person I met at an international party relegated me to one of two positions: "must be a halfee" or "how cute, the gaijin is speaking Japanese to us."

It's kind of dickish how whenever I bring this up, the response is always the hilarious false dichotomy of "Why can't you just appreciate being a gaijin? It's not like life is any better for the Japanese." As if the options are very clear: have everyone talk to you like you're on a variety show, or be an alcoholic lifer in a dead-end job and marriage.

On that note, if anyone has a guide on how to become valuable enough to the Japanese around you that they will treat you like a friend and/or co-worker rather than a mascot, please let me know.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 28th, 2013, 10:56
I'm thinking this is where I would want to draw the line. I've always been wrapped up in the concern of getting deep enough to not feel like a total outsider, which feels like a permanent fear to me, either because I'm neurotic or because people refused to sit next to me on buses and trains every day for 7 consecutive months. I think "going native" has less of the objective of trying to turn completely Japanese (because really, who would want to turn completely into any culture? they all suck, there's your non-bigoted racism for the day) and more the objective of not feeling like you're from another planet every time you try to encounter anyone.

I mean, no, I don't want to work 16 hour days, I don't want to become an alcoholic, I don't want my marriage to include multiple decades without any sexual contact, and I don't want to draw myself into a crazy fascination with rice and green tea instead of realizing that there exists something called variety in the world. To that extent, no, I don't wish I could become completely Japanese and am willing to accept my gaijinity. On the other hand, is it really too much to ask for to try to dip a little more than my feet into Japanese society, long enough that I can live comfortably instead of building some kind of fantasy world around me where the gimmick of being some kind of walking variety show segment to everyone around me lasts the rest of my life or until I leave? In all my time studying abroad, very few people advanced past the most shallow conversational topics in existence (even by Japanese standards), never have I been more than some kind of mascot for any sports club I joined (and let me not start on the International Friendship club, which I learned I was not supposed to join because their mission is to prepare events for Japanese to meet foreigners), never could people even greet me with an ohayo and depart with an otsukare, and every person I met at an international party relegated me to one of two positions: "must be a halfee" or "how cute, the gaijin is speaking Japanese to us."

It's kind of dickish how whenever I bring this up, the response is always the hilarious false dichotomy of "Why can't you just appreciate being a gaijin? It's not like life is any better for the Japanese." As if the options are very clear: have everyone talk to you like you're on a variety show, or be an alcoholic lifer in a dead-end job and marriage.

On that note, if anyone has a guide on how to become valuable enough to the Japanese around you that they will treat you like a friend and/or co-worker rather than a mascot, please let me know.

Jesus Christ, listen to yourself.

Ini
April 28th, 2013, 11:10
On that note, if anyone has a guide on how to become valuable enough to the Japanese around you that they will treat you like a friend and/or co-worker rather than a mascot



work 16 hour days


http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/18300000/Sucker-Punch-poster-Sweet-Pea-sucker-punch-18393090-316-480.jpg
You have all the weapons you need. Now Fight!

DickForce
April 28th, 2013, 11:37
Jesus Christ, listen to yourself.

Hint: the secret to reading my posts is understanding that I am rarely 100% serial about anything. That doesn't mean treat me like a troll, it means don't take everything I write completely seriously. Understanding this, if you use your noggin a little bit you'll be able to figure out where I'm being more satirical.


You have all the weapons you need. Now Fight!

I will gaman with all my isshokenmei.

Kuroda Ishikawa
April 28th, 2013, 13:18
Hint: the secret to reading my posts is understanding that I am rarely 100% serial about anything. That doesn't mean treat me like a troll, it means don't take everything I write completely seriously. Understanding this, if you use your noggin a little bit you'll be able to figure out where I'm being more satirical.



I will gaman with all my isshokenmei.
[/FONT][/COLOR]

I see, so this is like a posting invincibility blanket, where every time you make a terrible post or say something stupid you can go 'nuh huh! I'm just joking/trolling/being sarcastic' etc.

DickForce
April 28th, 2013, 13:27
On the internet, you're always right and everyone you talk to is always wrong.

mothy
April 28th, 2013, 20:26
You're right in that you're wrong.

Gezora
April 29th, 2013, 21:00
What's your point?

Are you trying to say your excuse for being a unlikable misery is that you don't want to seem like a paedo?
In what universe would that be my excuse? By that logic, you're saying that perving on/getting borderline innappropriately affectionate comments from your students is the only thing that makes you happy.

Jiggit
April 30th, 2013, 09:45
In what universe would that be my excuse? By that logic, you're saying that perving on/getting borderline innappropriately affectionate comments from your students is the only thing that makes you happy.

This is still a very confusing conversation for me. The tone is accusative but I'm not sure what's being said that hasn't already been asserted.

Tyr
April 30th, 2013, 11:33
I hope there aren't any JETs who want to change all Japanese people's view of all foreigners, but I think there are a lot of people who think to themselves, "I'm going to be a shining beacon of my nation's awesomeness, and even if I can't spread my greatness to all people in all places, at least the population of Bumfuck Town will learn than not all foreigners are awful." That is still way too ambitious, but it's not quite as sickeningly saccharine.

Yeah.
I think a big problem is so much of the pre-jet stuff we read and what we're given at orientation comes from people who were jets 10-20 years ago with all their stories about being the only foreigner their kids had ever seen, their staff not having a clue what to do with a jet, etc....
When for people going on Jet these days we're just the latest in a long line of boring foreigners

Gezora
April 30th, 2013, 12:14
This is still a very confusing conversation for me. The tone is accusative but I'm not sure what's being said that hasn't already been asserted.
Oh, it sounded to me like you were getting defensive at one point. Never mind then. My mistake.

Maninguenice
May 7th, 2013, 22:21
The first four or so pages of this thread were probably the most useful/interesting discussion I've read in the applying section of ITIL. A moderator might consider pinning it for next year's application season?

mothy
May 7th, 2013, 22:30
The next time a moderator does something useful in here will be the first time.

tedcase
July 29th, 2013, 16:41
I see now why you made this sticky.
For someone seriously considering doing JET, this is a goldmine of honesty.

patjs
August 7th, 2013, 13:04
On that note, if anyone has a guide on how to become valuable enough to the Japanese around you that they will treat you like a friend and/or co-worker rather than a mascot, please let me know.

Are you asking how to fit in better? You need to speak Japanese, learn the culture and customs, learn to read that air, and probably join in all of those nomikais trips and things that a lot of ALTs blow off to be out chasing tail or whatever the hell it is they do on weekends.

Unfortunately if you don't speak Japanese you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage because not only can you not actually communicate on a level besides "what foods do you like sushi?" you don't have the ability to comprehend what's going on around you enough to gain a good understanding of how to behave not like a gaijin.

As many have said, most don't care to do this nor do I think anyone should feel obligated to do so.