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shigusan
August 12th, 2013, 19:00
Hi all,

I am finally in a position to be able to apply for the JET Programme after five years of family commitments. I have been following the program for years and am excited at the prospect of potentially becoming a JET.

A bit of background before my questions:


Age: 24
University Qualifications: Bachelor of Business in Finance and Management (Currently undertaking a diploma in Japanese - externally currently at an elementary level)
Work Experience: Ran family company for last 5 years in Papua New Guinea (my home is Brisbane).
Travel: Have traveled extensively throughout Japan over the last 5 years form Hokkaido -> Okinawa. I have also traveled and conducted business in several South East Asian Countries.
Adaptation to other cultures: Have lived overseas since I was 19 away from family and friends, in Papua New Guinea - has very different customs, beliefs and political structures from my home country.
Knowledge of Japan: Have stayed in Japan about 18 months in the last 5 years, traveling and living with a Japanese family. I am no stranger to adapting and living in another country. I actually like a lot of Japan's etiquette and customs, albeit some are annoying, but I've learnt to live with them. Many Japanese seem to by a little shy when talking to foreigners, so I can only imagine that my travel experience and knowledge of Japan would be some common ground to get the conversations rolling, I've never been a teacher so can't comment specifically though. In general though the Japanese I come into contact with in Japan find it easier to talk about their own country than some random topic when talking to me.
Japan Interests: Been in love with Japan since I can remember, I follow Japanese economics and foreign policy closely, and I am an advocate for any person who wants to or intends to travel to Japan.
Marital Status: Married to Japanese National
Visa Status: I have a Spouse of a Japanese National Visa
Residency Card Status: I have a Current Japanese Foreign Residency Card.
Teaching Experience: Nil, however I had 60 staff working for me, so I am no stranger to stressful situations. I also knew nothing about the family business and had to hit the ground running so to speak. Learning on the Job is something that comes naturally.
Reason for wanting to be a JET: Would love the chance to show Japanese people of all ages the world outside of Japan. Almost all the Japanese I know and have met, think that Sydney is the capital of Australia........
Placement Requests: Hyogo, Tokushima, Okayama (in that order) reason being, spouses parents live in Hyogo, would like to keep my wife closer to them. (They say you shouldn't take a Japanese wife too far away from their parent's [don't know how much truth there is to this - but it definitely wouldn't hurt] she's been away from family for about 3 years now, so it would not matter too much if I got placed somewhere in the middle of nowhere) I hear that placement requests such as mine sometimes have some clout as the reasoning is more than "i like the weather".
Backup plan if don't get into JET: Well as I can already legally live in Japan, I would enter Kansai College of Business and Languages for the 2 year course in Japanese obtaining an Associate Degree. Would love the chance to be a JET for 2 years first though.
Flexibility:not that fussed about placement, or adapting, or being a tape recorder. It's not something I intend to do forever (teaching in General), it would be more for the experience - most likely 2 years.


Ok, now to a couple questions, and before someone says ESID, I have read enough forums and FAQ's to know this. However I believe my questions are a little more specific:

1. Accommodation:

I would like to get my own accommodation. Are we forced to use the accommodation provided by the CO from the beginning?
Are we able to head to our city/town earlier and look around (in my case rent a place and move all my stuff in) before prefectural orientation?
How early does one find out about their exact town placement, and the schools they will be teaching at?


2. Tokyo Orientation:

As I have a residents card already, I believe I can just start from Tokyo rather than fly in from Australia with everyone else. In this situation would I meet at Narita or Keio Plaza?
Are we required to travel to our prefecture with the CO, or can we make our own way there?


And before people start saying 'worry about that after you get accepted', I am fully aware that the program is competitive and I may not get accepted. I believe I have pretty good chances as it seems I have what JET is 'looking for' but then again you never know. If I don't get in I'll go with my plan B to learn Japanese for 2 years formally in Osaka. Either way I am still very interested in my above questions. So please only post if you have something to tell me rather than just to flame my thread.

I believe that's all the questions I have for now, as pretty much everything else has been answered via youtube or on forums.

I want to thank you for time you take to read this and reply if you can.

Kind regards

Shigusan

shigusan
August 12th, 2013, 20:05
One other question I just thought of:

I have read that CO help opening an account. If I already have an account in Japan can I just use the account I have? In my case my accounts are with Shinsei Bank (for many reasons I find them one of the best foreign banks in Japan). Or would I have to open up a bank with whoever my CO decides I have to open one with. I personally don't care if my pay is a couple days late because I have a different bank. In the end I do not intend to become a JET because of the pay.

Thanks again.

Regards

Shigusan

Teishou
August 13th, 2013, 07:47
1. Accommodation:


I would like to get my own accommodation. Are we forced to use the accommodation provided by the CO from the beginning?

Yes, but once you arrive, and are accustomed to your area, you can talk to the BoE about moving to a different residence. Spurning the place from the start doesn't make for good relations.


Are we able to head to our city/town earlier and look around (in my case rent a place and move all my stuff in) before prefectural orientation?

That's an ESID one. For example, Hokkaido has its orientation a few weeks after most JETs get in and get settled to include the C entrees.


How early does one find out about their exact town placement, and the schools they will be teaching at?

There's another ESID question. That solely depends on when the town CO releases that information.
2. Tokyo Orientation:


As I have a residents card already, I believe I can just start from Tokyo rather than fly in from Australia with everyone else. In this situation would I meet at Narita or Keio Plaza?

No clue. I'd assume Keio.


Are we required to travel to our prefecture with the CO, or can we make our own way there?

I believe you are required to travel with all the other people.

Also, the bank account thing. If your bank is a bank that your CO can deposit into, then it should be fine. But if they can't do a DD, or can't figure out how to, you'll be stuck using the account they set up alongside of your own.

Merkypie
August 13th, 2013, 14:37
If you're already in Japan, then you would just go to the Keio Plaza. You do not go to Narita Airport. But if you don't live in Japan, why would you go out your way to fly into to Tokyo yourself w/o the consulate....

You are on the JET Program and when you arrive at the Keio, your are the responsibility of your CO. You can not travel from the Keio to your CO by yourself, as you must be kept accounted of. I, again, don't understand what's the problem with traveling with your fellow prefectural JETs on the government's dime tbqh.

shigusan
August 13th, 2013, 15:01
If you're already in Japan, then you would just go to the Keio Plaza. You do not go to Narita Airport. But if you don't live in Japan, why would you go out your way to fly into to Tokyo yourself w/o the consulate....

You are on the JET Program and when you arrive at the Keio, your are the responsibility of your CO. You can not travel from the Keio to your CO by yourself, as you must be kept accounted of. I, again, don't understand what's the problem with traveling with your fellow prefectural JETs on the government's dime tbqh.

Thanks for the information everyone. The chances that I will already be in Japan are high. I will most likely be getting back from a 4 month trip in Europe around May. I then will ship a container to Japan from Brisbane. So I will already been in Japan by June.

I guess why I asked if I could travel by myself was to get my house set up (as I will have quite a few things on the way from Australia before TO). But the fact that I can't get my own house in the beginning voids the whole process. So basically I will need to put my things into storage until I get my own place, however long that may be.

Merkypie
August 13th, 2013, 15:20
It depends on your CO. Your CO is not obligated to find you housing, but they do it anyway because it just makes the process a whole lot easier. Since you find out your CO in May (if you're prefecture, you don't find out your city until July, at the latest), the time to go apartment hunting is hard and nearly impossible (especially as a foreigner). The system is really set up so that the incoming ALT doesn't have room to do much setting up of anything prior to coming to Japan.

Anyway, don't plan as if this is a guarantee. It makes no sense to waste all that money and not get into the program. Worry about that stuff once you get the conditional offer.

shigusan
August 13th, 2013, 15:33
I will be going to Japan for a few years at minimum, JET programme or not. So its not a waste of money for me. Its more contingency planning if anything. By the way everything sounds doesn't make it easy to plan things more carefully. I like planning if you can tell. Guess I would just have to roll with it, and move to another house once I get there.

Merkypie
August 13th, 2013, 19:52
Ah, well, good luck with your move to Japan. Though, don't exactly plan on it happening right out the gate. Some COs have knee jerk reactions to JETs who don't want to follow their game plan (aka 迷惑).

shigusan
August 13th, 2013, 20:05
Ah, well, good luck with your move to Japan. Though, don't exactly plan on it happening right out the gate. Some COs have knee jerk reactions to JETs who don't want to follow their game plan (aka 迷惑).

Thanks, I understand what Japan is like and I am no stranger to it. The way things are done in Japan are the way things are done. No amount of questioning, badgering, asking will change that.

Damn you McDonalds I want to choose my own toy out of the Happy meals and not be content with the one I have 5 of already!! :P Don't know if you were there at that time but they had mini McDonalds food as mobile accessories. I got like 5 Quarter Pounders, I did not need another Quarter Pounder.

I find though that even if they have a specific way they do things, being a foreigner gives you some leeway in not doing it 'exactly' the way they would do it.

I've been reading a bit on these forums, I agree with the idea that if you want to live in Japan long term you need to be content with being a foreigner and stop the pursuit of trying to be Japanese. For me that's fine, I have never really wanted to be like everyone else. Being your own person is much more fun. Obviously in Japan though, needs to be within reason.

shigusan
August 13th, 2013, 20:12
For others as a reference for the future, this was the response from my Jet Consulate regarding my accommodation question:

"Once accepted, you are generally not required to use the accommodation chosen by the programme, however this will depend on your contracting organisation. As most contracting organisations do have accommodation pre-arranged for their JET Programme employees, once determined you will be required to discuss this matter with your specific employer in Japan directly."

Ini
August 14th, 2013, 08:26
you dont have to use the accommodation your BOE provides, but as a common courtesy you should let them know this as soon as you are in contact with them as they will be getting the contracts drawn up on the house as soon as they know your name. If they just rent a leopalace then they wont care, if they have a long term deal with a landlord where they have been renting the same house for 15 years and all they do is change the name on the contact once a year then they might be a bit more reluctant to let you do your own thing.

If you are already in Japan then theres nothing stopping you from going and driving around your new town. First I would contact your boe and see if they want to arrange a meeting. If they say they would rather wait until after orientation then of course you can still go but don't wander around the streets announcing loudly to anyone and everyone that you are the new ALT.

You'll find out your town before you find out where you will be teaching. Its been 10 years since I did it but I vaguely remember being told where I would be going and what age I would be teaching a month or two before I received an info pack from the town saying which schools I would be going to.

You can go direct to tokyo. You will probably have to travel to your prefecture with the other ALTs. Your wife will probably have to find her own way there, in fact theres no real point her going to tokyo at all as its unlikely they will give her a hotel room. If you have the all clear to arrange your own accommodation she would be better served going to the town direct and start setting things up.

Gizmotech
August 14th, 2013, 10:41
Just a quick note about the accommodation,

Like your consulate responded you are not required to use their place, but like Ini said you should tell them ASAP. My friend, married to a Japanese National with a son, when he moved over they actually helped him find a house to rent which has nothing to do with the BoE at all. That was particularly important as he moved to the town where his wife was born (damn lucky with the placement), and he didn't want any problems with the apartment/house because it was BoE controlled in some way.

As for placement info, if you are a SHS Prefectual employee, it can be quite late (IE some time in July) when you find out your exact city. If you are a City employee you will find that out earlier, in July for instance, but still not know the EXACT information for a bit longer. Specifically for your schools, you never know if you will have a full schedule or not before you get here. I know in my city they use August to shuffle the ALTs around a bit and change their responsibilities.

Finally, if you are in Australia and not living in Japan at the time, there will be some mandatory stuff you will have to do in Australia prior to departure. I suspect you've already asked the Consulate this, but check with them how your specific situation would apply to the application process and which things you must attend. At the very least you must be in Australia at your consulate for your interview.

shigusan
August 14th, 2013, 11:34
Just a quick note about the accommodation,

Like your consulate responded you are not required to use their place, but like Ini said you should tell them ASAP. My friend, married to a Japanese National with a son, when he moved over they actually helped him find a house to rent which has nothing to do with the BoE at all. That was particularly important as he moved to the town where his wife was born (damn lucky with the placement), and he didn't want any problems with the apartment/house because it was BoE controlled in some way.

As for placement info, if you are a SHS Prefectual employee, it can be quite late (IE some time in July) when you find out your exact city. If you are a City employee you will find that out earlier, in July for instance, but still not know the EXACT information for a bit longer. Specifically for your schools, you never know if you will have a full schedule or not before you get here. I know in my city they use August to shuffle the ALTs around a bit and change their responsibilities.

Finally, if you are in Australia and not living in Japan at the time, there will be some mandatory stuff you will have to do in Australia prior to departure. I suspect you've already asked the Consulate this, but check with them how your specific situation would apply to the application process and which things you must attend. At the very least you must be in Australia at your consulate for your interview.

Thanks Ini/Gizmotech,

I did get in contact with my particular consulate they had advised me while I should attend all predeparture orientations in my city, that it was not mandatory and that if I was unable to attend they could send me all information via snail mail/e-mail. While I do intend to go to any orientation that I can both in Tokyo and Brisbane, if I am not in Brisbane due to being in Japan, I won't be able to attend.

Another question that I have just started thinking about, say I rent my own place because I have X Y Z schools, is it common for your CO to change schools on you, I wouldn't want to go and rent a place, sign a 1 year contract, pay key money and a massive bond, then the CO go and be like, 'Ok we've just added School X Y Z that is like 2 hours away from your location'. Is this something that is likely to happen? Or are the schools they choose the ones you normally keep for the duration of your contract?

Also with TO I intend to attend pretty much all the seminars no matter how boring they may be. Many people have noted that nowadays sometimes there are penalties for not attending. My question in particular is more 'Do I need to attend [adjusting to life in japan] and [japan cooking class]' as these are both things that I definitely would not need. The first because I've been in Japan long enough to know what I'm in for, and the second because my wife can obviously cook Japanese food and utilize local ingredients already. In the end though I will probably attend as its a chance to meet more JET's and get to know people, that would be my only motivation for going. I have seen a lot of what Tokyo has tourist wise, so I wouldn't need to go run out and see the sights like a first timer to Japan, drinking and going to karaoke with other JETs does sound like a LOT of fun though.

I envy all you JET's :-P I was thrown into full time work since I was 19, I missed out on a lot of that 'do stuff for fun phase', I'm looking forward to taking it easy for a good 4 years though.

shigusan
August 14th, 2013, 11:44
you dont have to use the accommodation your BOE provides, but as a common courtesy you should let them know this as soon as you are in contact with them as they will be getting the contracts drawn up on the house as soon as they know your name. If they just rent a leopalace then they wont care, if they have a long term deal with a landlord where they have been renting the same house for 15 years and all they do is change the name on the contact once a year then they might be a bit more reluctant to let you do your own thing.

If you are already in Japan then theres nothing stopping you from going and driving around your new town. First I would contact your boe and see if they want to arrange a meeting. If they say they would rather wait until after orientation then of course you can still go but don't wander around the streets announcing loudly to anyone and everyone that you are the new ALT.

You'll find out your town before you find out where you will be teaching. Its been 10 years since I did it but I vaguely remember being told where I would be going and what age I would be teaching a month or two before I received an info pack from the town saying which schools I would be going to.

You can go direct to tokyo. You will probably have to travel to your prefecture with the other ALTs. Your wife will probably have to find her own way there, in fact theres no real point her going to tokyo at all as its unlikely they will give her a hotel room. If you have the all clear to arrange your own accommodation she would be better served going to the town direct and start setting things up.

Good advice about the advanced notice, I guess it would all depend on how early they advise me of my posting. I would have a car already so I would most likely drive around my town see whats there well before PO. Nothing good comes out of making a fool of yourself and being loud in Japan. So that is something I would definitely not be doing.

My wife can stay with her parents in Hyogo, I would not bring her to Tokyo, waste of 26000 yen in bullet train fares. She would follow me to my posting, or if we had the chance to find our own place and meet with my CO beforehand she would already be in the town, village, city of my posting before I go there. Haha although I did tell her its JET and even if I request I could get put in Abashiri, shes like 'you can stay by yourself in the Winter, ill go back and stay with my parents' haha.

Ini
August 14th, 2013, 11:50
you could change schools a lot but it's unlikely it'll be a 2 hour drive away unless the area drops JET and you get transfered.

If you are worried then go with a housing company that doesn't charge key money or requires a deposit.

Gizmotech
August 14th, 2013, 11:57
Thanks Ini/Gizmotech,

I did get in contact with my particular consulate they had advised me while I should attend all predeparture orientations in my city, that it was not mandatory and that if I was unable to attend they could send me all information via snail mail/e-mail. While I do intend to go to any orientation that I can both in Tokyo and Brisbane, if I am not in Brisbane due to being in Japan, I won't be able to attend.

That is also something they will need to know in advance. Your plane tickets over are coordinated quite a bit earlier than your placement information, so the decision on "where will I be" must be done in April shortly after you are notified you are going.



Another question that I have just started thinking about, say I rent my own place because I have X Y Z schools, is it common for your CO to change schools on you, I wouldn't want to go and rent a place, sign a 1 year contract, pay key money and a massive bond, then the CO go and be like, 'Ok we've just added School X Y Z that is like 2 hours away from your location'. Is this something that is likely to happen? Or are the schools they choose the ones you normally keep for the duration of your contract?

2 Hours seems like a stretch, but an hour isn't unreasonable. Some "cities" in Japan are quite the big area, and you can be sent to any number of schools under their control. I know one guy near me who can travel at least an hour and a bit getting from one school to the other.



Also with TO I intend to attend pretty much all the seminars no matter how boring they may be. Many people have noted that nowadays sometimes there are penalties for not attending. My question in particular is more 'Do I need to attend [adjusting to life in japan] and [japan cooking class]' as these are both things that I definitely would not need. The first because I've been in Japan long enough to know what I'm in for, and the second because my wife can obviously cook Japanese food and utilize local ingredients already. In the end though I will probably attend as its a chance to meet more JET's and get to know people, that would be my only motivation for going. I have seen a lot of what Tokyo has tourist wise, so I wouldn't need to go run out and see the sights like a first timer to Japan, drinking and going to karaoke with other JETs does sound like a LOT of fun though.

I envy all you JET's :-P I was thrown into full time work since I was 19, I missed out on a lot of that 'do stuff for fun phase', I'm looking forward to taking it easy for a good 4 years though.

There are penalties for not attending if you get caught. I know that's kinda horrible to say, but many people leave TO and go fuck around in Tokyo without any problem, other's do so and get sent home. I know one of my coworkers spent pretty much the whole second day in his room because he was hung over from the first night out drinking.

I would assume that you could skip out on a particular session if there wasn't anything in the time block you wanted to attend, but I wouldn't want to get caught doing it.

Umm.... I came over to JET at 28 after going right into work after college at 20.

Also, as for your wife. Because you have a Japanese spouse, if she has a good reason for being in a particular place (IE close to the parents and such) that can be grounds for you to ask for a particular placement near that place. I know that's how my previously mentioned friend ended up where he is because it's pretty much smack dab in the middle of all his Japanese family.

shigusan
August 14th, 2013, 11:59
you could change schools a lot but it's unlikely it'll be a 2 hour drive away unless the area drops JET and you get transfered.

If you are worried then go with a housing company that doesn't charge key money or requires a deposit.

I've been looking at the housing situation in Japan both rental and purchase for about the last 6 months. My MIL picks me a copy of Kansai Suumo weekly lol. In general what i've found while yes there is a lot of accomodation with no key money or deposit if you know where to look, they are generally worse condition or in crappy locations. I have to say though I've never house hunted the Inaka before so the situation would probably be different. If I'm going to live somewhere for potentially a few years, I want it to be nice, paying a few months key money is worth it in my eyes. I think its a relic of Post War Japan and should be abolished, but hey If I owned places and people were paying to pay me 'gratitude' money I would do the same thing.

Just a tip for any new JET's, some advice I received from my Japanese friends in regards to renting and your deposit money. Get a camera and take hundreds of photos of the condition of your apartment when you move in. If the place is messed up when you get there, it is not your deposit money that they are suppose to take from the damage the past renter left behind. Most likely they already lost there deposit, so take photos of every angle of inside / outside your place, if possible give a copy to your landlord, if possible make it noted that it was in 'state a' when I arrive etcetera. That way you have a case if you want your deposit back and you've done well in keeping the place in good condition. The same goes for renting a car, you obviously should check the condition beforehand, so you cant be blamed for damage you didn't cause. Most rental contracts should include this as a clause. Could be different though as you are not signing with the landlord you are signing with the CO.

Ini
August 14th, 2013, 12:01
lbg@哌[݃Ap[gE݃}VZ񖞍ځI] (http://e-heya.kentaku.net/)

cheap enough and generally well built/maintained

shigusan
August 14th, 2013, 12:03
Umm.... I came over to JET at 28 after going right into work after college at 20.

.

Apologies I made a generalization based on statistics of the program. The majority of people in JET seem to be just out of College which in my opinion joining the JET Programme, would not only pay well for them, be a lot of fun, give them solid work experience (even if it wasn't in their field), and allow them to travel to another country. Doing that straight out of college is a great way to spend a few years.

shigusan
August 14th, 2013, 12:15
s㒬Vځ@bpXenEX̉摜E- ݃Ap[gA݃}V̂lbg (http://e-heya.kentaku.net/detail/detail.jsp?sc_property_full_id=300000850000780004320)

That's quite nice, a little on the small side, I need at least a 3LDK, I'd rather a 4LDK. That site doesn't seem to have 4LDK only up to 3LDK. But quite reasonably priced though. I will most likely need to do repairs or lose my deposit as I plan to bolt my table down to the ground (its an earthquake table I made). Ill keep the site in mind and mention it to my wife.

moshimoshi
October 10th, 2013, 04:07
Thoughts on early departure?

Gizmotech
October 10th, 2013, 06:09
Are you graduated? Yes
Are you not graduated? no

moshimoshi
October 10th, 2013, 08:11
Graduated, yes.

therealwindycity
October 10th, 2013, 08:28
In a way it might be nicer - you get to come to the new school the same time all the other new teachers do.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - now Free (http://tapatalk.com/m?id=1)

Lianwen
October 10th, 2013, 09:14
^This.

Plus, many of the new teachers probably won't have known your predecessor, so that's a perk. You won't constantly worry about being compared to super!pred, if you have one.

Page
October 10th, 2013, 11:15
Wanted to add to the OP that (as briefly mentioned) you may get just a general city BOE posting in June that includes several small towns. Mine is a small city (collection of towns and villages, lots of them over here) that is spread out over a lot of inaka (over an hour to cross the longest parts) so depending on where you get you might be able to get a feel for the city but you may not actually know which part is yours. You may also get a BOE that doesn't allow their ALTs to drive to work (for insurance reasons, though some BOEs ban driving completely) in which case they'd require you to live in the town as opposed to in the city center 30 minutes away. Though I imagine that BOEs like that probably wouldn't select an ALT that has a Japanese spouse, much harder to control!

patjs
October 15th, 2013, 11:40
.

wicket
October 19th, 2013, 22:17
the majority of people on jet are not straight out of college. just the ones who go on jet forums. about 60% have at least one year of post-university work experience.
why do you want to get your own accommodation? if you don't have a good reason it's going to piss your CO off if they have a long-standing agreement with a landlord/landlady.
be really really careful not to come off as sounding "my missus is japanese so i know all there is to know about how japan works and i'm going to gaijin-smash my way through the bits i don't agree with" - i realise that's not what you mean but they won't.
i'm on the sunshine coast BTW - nice to see another QLDer on here.