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Nell
May 24th, 2014, 23:44
I've just been placed in Fukaura-machi (population 9,000) in Aomori-ken, and after my initial excitement, the realisation of just how rural this place is has started to sink in... I really want to keep an open mind about this but the nearest city is about 2 hours away and the town itself seems pretty dead. I was just wondering what other JETs' experiences of living in rural areas are like? I know not everyone gets amazing placements but I'm worried about being so isolated for such a long time, and the climate might just make it that bit more depressing!

Namisuke
May 25th, 2014, 00:44
Your nearest city is only an hour away (Noshiro in Akita). There are young people there who also throw parties (Night Groove, they call it). Your area isn't "dead" either. It's very scenic with lots to do. You are placed next to a UNESCO World Heritage site. Try not to worry and give it a chance!

Nell
May 25th, 2014, 00:54
Ahh i hadn't thought about Akita! I've just found a good website about it which has way more information than i found before :) i am trying to give it a chance which is why i was interested in hearing about other rural placements. You have cheered me up anyway! Haha

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Page
May 25th, 2014, 01:19
I'm in a town of 5000 and I remember the horror I felt when I rode through it that first day, you're definitely not alone in your misgivings. My biggest tip is to get involved in something in your area (you may have to go to another town but if you can find it in your own that's even better), I joined my town's dance team and it was a great way to fill a couple nights and also see the area when we would travel to festivals. It might seem like there's nothing around and even people at your school or BOE might not know (they're probably not from your town anyway), just keep asking! Lots of ALTs in my area do something: basketball team, archery, orchestras, taiko groups, etc.

I also recommend using some of your free time to hone a skill that you've always wanted to learn, I know plenty of ALTs that have picked up things like crafts, cooking, weight lifting, and so on. JET can be a good chance to work on "you" in your spare time (of which you may have more than a city JET).

I love being a rural jet, it has it drawbacks in the fact that everyone knows the ALT's business and I can't buy most things I want without going to the city BUT the communities are so kind that it more than makes up for it, imo. It's not easy at first and it does get lonely but that's more of a hindsight reflection, I don't really remember feeling sad or isolated, there was too much to take in to worry about it then!

word
May 25th, 2014, 01:34
I was in a town of fewer than 2000. I was thrilled, because I'd been looking for an ultra-rural placement. As Page said, I came to understand the negative aspects of the inaka... but I loved my placement and had a fantastic time there. I'm in a slightly larger city now, although most folks would still consider it pretty rural (the local ALTs all do; to me, it feels like the big city in comparison to the last few years).

Don't stress too much. Get a credit card ASAP to buy things on Amazon; where folks in cities might hit Costco, you can get anything and everything delivered the next day.

Lianwen
May 25th, 2014, 07:02
I know where you are (and probably your pred, actually). But, while you're on the other side of the ~ken, I've heard it's lovely. Just don't isolate yourself, and you'll be fine. The winter sucks here, but it does have it's moments of awesomeness (like, ooooh, everything's pretty and white!!!) and if you drive, I think you're actually close to a beach. You can also easily get to either Akita or Hirosaki, and the latter has a ton of JET events for the prefecture!!!

Nell
May 25th, 2014, 07:27
Thank you all so much, I am definitely feeling a lot more positive now! I think the main thing that bothered me was the thought that it would be difficult to get out and about, but hopefully if I can get a car it'll make it easier. Yeah it must be really nice to be such a part of the community, that was one of the things I was looking forward to if I did get a rural placement. Thanks for the reassurance!

wasao
May 25th, 2014, 18:44
Stumbled across your post and thought I'd make an account since I currently live in the area and can share some pertinent information.

Fukaura looks isolated on the map, but assuming your living situation is the same as your predecessor's, you'll be living towards the northern edge of town (which is about half an hour from Fukaura proper and some 40 miles from the Akita border).

This'll put you well within striking distance of civilization, as you'll be less than an hour away from Hirosaki (not quite Tokyo, but a reasonably lively and interesting city in its own right), and Goshogawara (which has a nice mall with a Starbucks and one of Japan's best festivals Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara City | Aomori-mori (http://goo.gl/D7ThBB)). Oh, and you will also be right down the road from Japan's #1 celebrity dog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1ucmVzPiMk

Your nearest JET neighbor will be about 15 minutes away in Ajigasawa, and there are several other JETs sprinkled throughout other nearby towns. There will be a bunch of newbies arriving in the area this summer, so you'll definitely have people to explore with!
As far as rural placements go, it's a pretty good one!

I'll leave it to your pred and future coworkers to give you the full rundown, but thought I'd share a little bit to allay your concerns and tide you over until they get the green light to contact you :)

Nell
May 25th, 2014, 20:41
Stumbled across your post and thought I'd make an account since I currently live in the area and can share some pertinent information.

Fukaura looks isolated on the map, but assuming your living situation is the same as your predecessor's, you'll be living towards the northern edge of town (which is about half an hour from Fukaura proper and some 40 miles from the Akita border).

This'll put you well within striking distance of civilization, as you'll be less than an hour away from Hirosaki (not quite Tokyo, but a reasonably lively and interesting city in its own right), and Goshogawara (which has a nice mall with a Starbucks and one of Japan's best festivals Tachi Neputa Festival in Goshogawara City | Aomori-mori (http://goo.gl/D7ThBB)). Oh, and you will also be right down the road from Japan's #1 celebrity dog! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1ucmVzPiMk

Your nearest JET neighbor will be about 15 minutes away in Ajigasawa, and there are several other JETs sprinkled throughout other nearby towns. There will be a bunch of newbies arriving in the area this summer, so you'll definitely have people to explore with!
As far as rural placements go, it's a pretty good one!

I'll leave it to your pred and future coworkers to give you the full rundown, but thought I'd share a little bit to allay your concerns and tide you over until they get the green light to contact you :)

Wasao, thank you!! It's really nice to hear so much positivity about the area and it's grown on me significantly since yesterday! Hirosaki looks like an awesome city, so I'll definitely be making regular trips there. I'm stoked cos I love apples and I've heard they are pretty big in this part of the country...
Would you advise getting a car or are the transport links alright for getting around the area?

par92186
May 25th, 2014, 21:58
So in some of your opinions, which is the most rural prefecture for ALTs to be placed? I'll be living somewhere in Shizuoka-ken, so I'm a bit curious.


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therealwindycity
May 25th, 2014, 23:45
It's not really so much about the prefecture as it is relative distance to big cities. Tottori and Shimane, for example, while the least populous prefectures in Japan, both contain large-ish urban areas near which quite a few of the ALTs end up living and are pretty easy to get around. On the other hand, I've met ALTs who geographically aren't very far away from big cities, but toll roads and lack of direct train lines mean they have to take crazy roundabout 4-hour trips anytime they want to get away from home. ALT density can also vary a lot, and it really just depends on where in the prefecture you end up.

mrcharisma
May 26th, 2014, 00:12
Yeah the prefecture itself isn't an indicator of how rural a placement it is. Parts of Kyoto are a 3 hour drive from Kyoto city. Prefectures like Gifu, Mie and Shiga are viewed as rural but have large areas that act as suburbs of the big cities in Kansai / Chubu.

webstaa
May 26th, 2014, 08:25
Shiga is great - it has good JR up both sides of Biwa (including the Shinkansen stop in Maibara) and there isn't a lack of shopping/things to do like in most inaka areas. Its pretty convenient to Kyoto/Osaka by train and car too.

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 09:13
Odate had another famous dog, Hachiko. It's also not far from Hirosaki.

As for rural placements, there's a technicality to be aware of. Some of you might be placed in "cities" with the lowest population you can have to be a city over a large stretch of land. Many areas have redrawn the lines of where the jurisdictions are. Your "city" might be a line drawn around multiple towns and villages.

A couple years back on Official, people debated what rural meant. Some thought having hundreds of thousands of people was rural. Rice fields does not equate rural. Simply look at the population distribution and the definition of how many people it takes to be defined as a village, town, or city. I have a little general idea about cities. Small cities might have one McDonalds. Larger ones get Starbucks. Small towns rarely have those, in my experience. The really small towns might have one or two convenience stores. Having no convenience store nearby means you're pretty rural.

Rural ALTs definitely get their own perks - usually fresh produce (maybe fish too). Knowing your community is a plus. Being in a city doesn't mean you'll instantly have tons of friends. Tokyo is known as a lonely place by those who have lived there before on their own. It's much harder to meet strangers there. If you put yourself out there and accept as many invitations as you can, winters shouldn't be too lonely. Joining a group activity like taiko or kendo is a good way to be with people too.

BeckyJones
May 26th, 2014, 09:17
Living in Rural Japan is the best place if you want to become part of the community. The closer you are to the city, the more likely you will fall into an expat bubble. Never make good friends, and spend all your time searching for that "connection" that should come naturally.

Also, in a year or two you will be speaking fluently... unlike all the fat weeaboos in Tokyo who have lived there for 10 years and can barely say "O ha yo"

Ini
May 26th, 2014, 09:17
If you have a train station and a convenience store you are not rural

coop52
May 26th, 2014, 09:18
If you have stores that aren't also someone's house, you aren't rural.

kuzco
May 26th, 2014, 09:48
So in some of your opinions, which is the most rural prefecture for ALTs to be placed? I'll be living somewhere in Shizuoka-ken, so I'm a bit curious.


10 prefectures with the lowest population density (# of people/square km):

47. Hokkaido (65.73)
46. Iwate (86.01)
45. Akita (92.37)
44. Shimane (106.19)
43. Kochi (106.75)
42. Yamagata (124.55)
41. Aomori (141.03)
40. Fukushima (144.37)
39. Miyazaki (146.20)
38. Nagano (157.95)
...
13. Shizuoka (481.88)
1. Tokyo - Shinjuku (6,029.22)

This measure gives you a decent idea of which prefectures have the most uninhabited/thinly populated land, but I would note that EVERY prefecture (including Tokyo) has "inaka" and "urban" areas. Without knowing the specifics of your placement it is hard to say one way or another.

word
May 26th, 2014, 09:48
If you have a train station and a convenience store you are not rural


If you have stores that aren't also someone's house, you aren't rural.

word

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 11:58
I've seen many shops that are out of someone's house when I lived in Tokyo, and train stations in villages in Akita. I personally don't think those are markers of rural vs. urban life in Japan. Population density is the biggest factor, really. Businesses and trains tend to stick to higher density areas, but there are exceptions. This had previously turned into a competition of who is more rural than who on Official. If one person has 2 convenience stores and another has none, it doesn't mean the other isn't rural. The percentage of elderly can also factor into feeling rural as there might be fewer youth/people outdoors or people in your age range to make friends with. The number of schools per area can also show signs of how rural the place is.

It's really a great experience in rural areas! Make good relationships with other ALTs when you come. You will want places to stay when you visit other hotel-less places!

Gizmotech
May 26th, 2014, 11:59
10 prefectures with the lowest population density (# of people/square km):

47. Hokkaido (65.73)
46. Iwate (86.01)
45. Akita (92.37)
44. Shimane (106.19)
43. Kochi (106.75)
42. Yamagata (124.55)
41. Aomori (141.03)
40. Fukushima (144.37)
39. Miyazaki (146.20)
38. Nagano (157.95)
...
13. Shizuoka (481.88)
1. Tokyo - Shinjuku (6,029.22)

This measure gives you a decent idea of which prefectures have the most uninhabited/thinly populated land, but I would note that EVERY prefecture (including Tokyo) has "inaka" and "urban" areas. Without knowing the specifics of your placement it is hard to say one way or another.


Ahh, okay, see akita and iwate shouldn't be in that list because they have big mountains making huge parts of their ground area unliveable. Seriously, look at Akita, it has massive mountains cutting up the prefecture, and Iwate is half of the Aso mountain range.

I tend to look at rural as 10k people or less in your town. Genuine buttfuck inaka is the 600 person town out by the sea. I am in no way rural however, living in a town with 100k people (60-75 actually in town proper, rest in various subtown/subrubs.

kuzco
May 26th, 2014, 12:17
Ahh, okay, see akita and iwate shouldn't be in that list because they have big mountains making huge parts of their ground area unliveable. Seriously, look at Akita, it has massive mountains cutting up the prefecture, and Iwate is half of the Aso mountain range.

I tend to look at rural as 10k people or less in your town. Genuine buttfuck inaka is the 600 person town out by the sea. I am in no way rural however, living in a town with 100k people (60-75 actually in town proper, rest in various subtown/subrubs.

Yeah, but that applies to all of the other prefectures with low population densities as well... there aren't many truly "isolated" places on the main islands that aren't in the middle of or surrounded by mountains. Pretty much all of the large, flat, open areas are built up heavily or are filled with rice fields and still relatively close to a larger city.

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 12:28
Rice fields in Akita take up more space than mountains. Less livable space means higher chances of rural life. But yeah, it skews population density interpretations.

kuzco
May 26th, 2014, 12:34
Rice fields in Akita take up more space than mountains. Less livable space means higher chances of rural life.

It might seem like that from the ground, but check out a satellite view:https://maps.google.com/maps?q=akita+prefecture&hl=en&ll=39.743098,140.394287&spn=1.210092,1.911621&sll=40.232364,140.265198&sspn=0.600735,0.955811&t=h&hnear=Akita,+Japan&z=9

But yeah, pretty much everything that isn't wilderness appears to be rice fields!

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 12:42
Depends on your definition of mountain. I like to think of a lot of that space as tall forests...lol They're not really that high. That's mostly our forestry industry there.

Gizmotech
May 26th, 2014, 12:45
I should add that Yamagata is also much denser than that metric. We have Part of Chokai, all of Gassan (of of the tallest mountains in Japan), and Ito taking up all that space.

Topical views really give you an idea of where most people live. Akita really is a lot more dense than people think, but that's the problem with tohoku is plenty of people live close to each other, but getting around the massive (and inconvenient) mountain ranges is just frustrating.

Gizmotech
May 26th, 2014, 12:47
Depends on your definition of mountain. I like to think of a lot of that space as tall forests...lol They're not really that high. That's mostly our forestry industry there.

Nah, but there's enough mountain in there. Having driven from Daisen to Kitaakita myself, it's not just forests....

par92186
May 26th, 2014, 13:25
10 prefectures with the lowest population density (# of people/square km):

47. Hokkaido (65.73)
46. Iwate (86.01)
45. Akita (92.37)
44. Shimane (106.19)
43. Kochi (106.75)
42. Yamagata (124.55)
41. Aomori (141.03)
40. Fukushima (144.37)
39. Miyazaki (146.20)
38. Nagano (157.95)
...
13. Shizuoka (481.88)
1. Tokyo - Shinjuku (6,029.22)

This measure gives you a decent idea of which prefectures have the most uninhabited/thinly populated land, but I would note that EVERY prefecture (including Tokyo) has "inaka" and "urban" areas. Without knowing the specifics of your placement it is hard to say one way or another.

Cheers Kuzco!

Libellule
May 26th, 2014, 13:48
I'm in a town of 5000 and I remember the horror I felt when I rode through it that first day, you're definitely not alone in your misgivings. My biggest tip is to get involved in something in your area (you may have to go to another town but if you can find it in your own that's even better), I joined my town's dance team and it was a great way to fill a couple nights and also see the area when we would travel to festivals. It might seem like there's nothing around and even people at your school or BOE might not know (they're probably not from your town anyway), just keep asking! Lots of ALTs in my area do something: basketball team, archery, orchestras, taiko groups, etc.

I also recommend using some of your free time to hone a skill that you've always wanted to learn, I know plenty of ALTs that have picked up things like crafts, cooking, weight lifting, and so on. JET can be a good chance to work on "you" in your spare time (of which you may have more than a city JET).

I love being a rural jet, it has it drawbacks in the fact that everyone knows the ALT's business and I can't buy most things I want without going to the city BUT the communities are so kind that it more than makes up for it, imo. It's not easy at first and it does get lonely but that's more of a hindsight reflection, I don't really remember feeling sad or isolated, there was too much to take in to worry about it then!

Sorry to go off topic, but orchestras? Yay! Does anyone know how common they are/how easy they are to join? Is it possible to obtain a cheap string instrument in Japan? I wouldn't really want to bring mine over.

coop52
May 26th, 2014, 13:51
Orchestras really depend on the area. New instruments here of all kinds are pretty expensive. It's not too hard finding used ones in decent condition.

therealwindycity
May 26th, 2014, 14:27
Sorry to go off topic, but orchestras? Yay! Does anyone know how common they are/how easy they are to join? Is it possible to obtain a cheap string instrument in Japan? I wouldn't really want to bring mine over.

Hmm RomulusLupin was in an orchestra iirc. Maybe we can get her to make a special emeritus post about how she found it/got involved?

uthinkimlost?
May 26th, 2014, 14:39
Hmm RomulusLupin was in an orchestra iirc. Maybe we can get her to make a special emeritus post about how she found it/got involved?

Good Japanese and excellent fingering.

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 14:42
Nah, but there's enough mountain in there. Having driven from Daisen to Kitaakita myself, it's not just forests....

Well, now you must tell me what you did in Kitaakita! ^_^

Gizmotech
May 26th, 2014, 14:46
Well, now you must tell me what you did in Kitaakita! ^_^

Drove past it as quickly as possible to get to Hirosaki after making the terrible decision to drive through that mountain road while it was a little wet. Every freaking obaasan from omagari to kita akita was on the roads doing about 20 the entire way.... I will never drive the 105 again.

Vietnamazing
May 26th, 2014, 14:59
I've just been placed in Fukaura-machi (population 9,000) in Aomori-ken, and after my initial excitement, the realisation of just how rural this place is has started to sink in... I really want to keep an open mind about this but the nearest city is about 2 hours away and the town itself seems pretty dead. I was just wondering what other JETs' experiences of living in rural areas are like? I know not everyone gets amazing placements but I'm worried about being so isolated for such a long time, and the climate might just make it that bit more depressing!

OOoooh herro. Ummm... Your nearest city is NOT in Akita... In fact, I'm in Hirosaki, Aomori along with a bunch of others! You aren't far from everyone else either. The person whose spot you're taking over is ALWAYS hanging out here in the city along with a bunch of other people not far from them. While Hirosaki isn't gigantic, we are about 180,000 people with a few universities in town. The music and art culture here is rad. And the Aomori-ken JETs aren't bad either:) We have a FB group... you should get on her! Trust me though, you got people around you, that beach is amazing, and one of the raddest onsens is right in your town too:)

Keep an open mind and a good attitude, otherwise you'll just remain pessimistic and poopy all year. Don't be worried.

mrcharisma
May 26th, 2014, 15:07
raddest


Is it still 1990?

Vietnamazing
May 26th, 2014, 15:09
Is it still 1990? I'm from Portland;)

BeckyJones
May 26th, 2014, 15:43
I'm from Portland;)

so San Fran from 1994?

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 15:54
Drove past it as quickly as possible to get to Hirosaki after making the terrible decision to drive through that mountain road while it was a little wet. Every freaking obaasan from omagari to kita akita was on the roads doing about 20 the entire way.... I will never drive the 105 again.

Yup! That sounds like Akita!

Nell
May 26th, 2014, 17:27
OOoooh herro. Ummm... Your nearest city is NOT in Akita... In fact, I'm in Hirosaki, Aomori along with a bunch of others! You aren't far from everyone else either. The person whose spot you're taking over is ALWAYS hanging out here in the city along with a bunch of other people not far from them. While Hirosaki isn't gigantic, we are about 180,000 people with a few universities in town. The music and art culture here is rad. And the Aomori-ken JETs aren't bad either:) We have a FB group... you should get on her! Trust me though, you got people around you, that beach is amazing, and one of the raddest onsens is right in your town too:)

Keep an open mind and a good attitude, otherwise you'll just remain pessimistic and poopy all year. Don't be worried.

Oooh okay I think I love it already, yep I was planning on going to the city pretty regularly as Hirosaki looks gorgeous, especially if the music/art is good!
I'm a music grad (piano major) and rather than buy a keyboard I was thinking whether it would be possible to find someone in my town who has a piano and ask them if I can play it in exchange for English lessons or something?

Namisuke
May 26th, 2014, 17:49
Right! If you're placed on the northern side, that's definitely closer. Still good though that you have lots nearby!

therealwindycity
May 26th, 2014, 17:57
Your schools should have a piano too, although it might be a bit of a pain to find a time when there aren't a bunch of students around practicing for something or other.

Vietnamazing
May 27th, 2014, 11:41
Keyboards are relatively inexpensive and I think you may find it hard to find someone that owns a piano to exchange lessons? Just keeping it in mind as a reality thing here. My huz is in a band with an amazing jazz pianist, and he is always getting new gear. There are lots of used music instrument shops too around. You'll be fine.

yingyangryder
May 27th, 2014, 11:48
I ended up buying a digital piano, about 5 man (stand + pedals) totally worth it.

EDIT: Be careful who you tell about your piano skills. Unless you don`t mind impromptu performances. I came to school one day when one of the teachers came running up to me and said, you play piano right? Of course I beamed and said yes! She then handed me a ton of sheet music, bowed with a yoroshiku onegaishimasu and gave me an hour to prepare to play it to the whole school.

Actually, this has happened twice now.

Ini
May 27th, 2014, 11:49
if you end up in an apartment block any instrument you can plug headphones into is a plus.....

Libellule
May 27th, 2014, 12:14
Not sure how this happened (I guess the piano is a string instrument) but I don't play piano. I play violin. And I have a killer practice mute that worked well when I had roommates in Uni :) Also, I wouldn't be able to play in an orchestra with an electric violin.

Vietnamazing
May 27th, 2014, 14:17
Not sure how this happened (I guess the piano is a string instrument) but I don't play piano. I play violin. And I have a killer practice mute that worked well when I had roommates in Uni :) Also, I wouldn't be able to play in an orchestra with an electric violin.

It happened because I think we were replying to Nell's previous post here:


Oooh okay I think I love it already, yep I was planning on going to the city pretty regularly as Hirosaki looks gorgeous, especially if the music/art is good!
I'm a music grad (piano major) and rather than buy a keyboard I was thinking whether it would be possible to find someone in my town who has a piano and ask them if I can play it in exchange for English lessons or something?

Libellule
May 27th, 2014, 14:32
It happened because I think we were replying to Nell's previous post here:


Hah. Maybe I shouldn't just skim threads :s silly me

scarreddragon
May 29th, 2014, 10:05
I know a few people have mentioned this before me, but truly one of the most amazing things about getting a rural placement is the community. In big cities or areas, it can be difficult to "fit in" to the daily lives of the people around you. Apartment buildings are pretty anonymous; unless you're place with other jets, you don't really go out to "meet the neighbors", and everyone already has their own connections for the most part. I feel like out in the country people are a lot more willing to accept you into their social circles. Meeting people and making new friends isn't impossible in bigger cities, just a lot harder. But whether you have to work at it or not, having those people you "know" around you can help you out immensely!

Case in point: my bf is trying to start an English school in the city where we work, and the business bureau in city hall offers subsidies to new businesses, such as 3 man a month to help out with rent the first year, or matching construction up to 10man. However, when he went to city hall to apply for it, he was told by the grunt that "because you don't live in [our city], you can't get it" even though the business would be in the city and we would probably move back to be closer to it anyway. My bf's long-term barber heard this, and was annoyed about it, so he called up his drinking buddy who works in city hall, and who happened to be the head of the department and the grunt's boss, and basically explained the situation. The head guy went "yeah, sure, no problem!" and voila! He can apply for the subsidies now!

Even if you're placed in a bigger city, find the local bars and hangout, local shops, local everything. You will find a sort of "community within a community", and making friends there, getting in on your towns festivals and participating, etc. will not only be fun and rewarding for you, but there may come a time where you will want to bank on the connections you've made!

ihatefall
May 29th, 2014, 11:23
I

I also recommend using some of your free time to hone a skill that you've always wanted to learn, I know plenty of ALTs that have picked up things like crafts, cooking, weight lifting, and so on. JET can be a good chance to work on "you" in your spare time (of which you may have more than a city JET).




This is excellent advice to not just rural JETs, but to all ALTs. You're mostly likely going to have more free time than you have had since you were in elementary school.

By namisuke's system my first placement had two Mcdonalds and my second placement had a Starbucks. I still had a lot of free time.




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Ini
May 29th, 2014, 12:11
basically it like being in prison, nothing to do but lift weights, work on getting your GED and try to avoid getting raped

ihatefall
May 29th, 2014, 16:18
Except you can still drink....


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Page
May 29th, 2014, 21:42
Never heard of prison hooch?

RomulusLupin
July 1st, 2014, 06:40
Sorry to go off topic, but orchestras? Yay! Does anyone know how common they are/how easy they are to join? Is it possible to obtain a cheap string instrument in Japan? I wouldn't really want to bring mine over.
Not sure if you've already found an orchestra yet, but my case was just one of luck. I lived about 30 minutes away from a major city where there was a community orchestra. Another JET in the prefecture had already joined, so I went to the annual concert and followed up with her afterward. I had brought my own flute and piccolo from home in hopes of finding a group to play with, so I was ready to go when they accepted me (no audition). It was a very low-pressure group. I'm guessing you could find something similar if you're willing to travel to the nearest major city. Good luck!

cantdecideforshit
July 13th, 2014, 06:30
I'm in the same, but worse position you are. I'm technically placed in a "city" in shikoku but was told by my predecessor when he first emailed me a few days ago that i'd actually be on an island, which is according to google maps 35 min drive away from the actual "city" and connected by a long bridge with a 1500Y toll one-way. This island has a population of 8000, half of which are elderly (no surprise there). I actually found a predated article online nicknaming the island "Island of the Old". There are no other ALTs on the island (big surprise there) and no one else currently lives in the apartment building I'm in..or to be in. To make matters worse, I wasn't planning to drive so I'm not exactly sure how I'd get around because I have 2 schools a mile away (no prob there), 2 others 4 miles away (aghhhh) and 2 others across the bridge (1.5 hr bus ride- RAWR). I was gonna ride a bike around because I thought I'd be in the "city" but 4 miles is a lot for someone who has no experience riding a bike. I've been trying to learn. I'm trying not to get depressed but I'm starting to get some serious second thoughts about this. Oh and my predecessor is staying in the program, but moving to another part of the "city" so he'll most likely take all his furniture with him, so I'm gonna have to seriously think about how I'd even haul any new purchases I make. I know there's home delivery and things like that but I don't know...

greyjoy
July 13th, 2014, 07:38
This article? The island of the old - Asia - Travel - The Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/asia/the-island-of-the-old-739276.html)

ihatefall
July 13th, 2014, 08:53
I'm in the same, but worse position you are. I'm technically placed in a "city" in shikoku but was told by my predecessor when he first emailed me a few days ago that i'd actually be on an island, which is according to google maps 35 min drive away from the actual "city" and connected by a long bridge with a 1500Y toll one-way. This island has a population of 8000, half of which are elderly (no surprise there). I actually found a predated article online nicknaming the island "Island of the Old". There are no other ALTs on the island (big surprise there) and no one else currently lives in the apartment building I'm in..or to be in. To make matters worse, I wasn't planning to drive so I'm not exactly sure how I'd get around because I have 2 schools a mile away (no prob there), 2 others 4 miles away (aghhhh) and 2 others across the bridge (1.5 hr bus ride- RAWR). I was gonna ride a bike around because I thought I'd be in the "city" but 4 miles is a lot for someone who has no experience riding a bike. I've been trying to learn. I'm trying not to get depressed but I'm starting to get some serious second thoughts about this. Oh and my predecessor is staying in the program, but moving to another part of the "city" so he'll most likely take all his furniture with him, so I'm gonna have to seriously think about how I'd even haul any new purchases I make. I know there's home delivery and things like that but I don't know...

So things aren't how you expected them to turn out.....change of game plan dude. Even in you lived in one of the big cities out there, you would want a car, Shikoku is an amazingly beautiful place that you need a car to see.

If your pred is still around that is great because they can show you around. Also chances are your pred is moving into a place with furniture as well. If I was them, I would take the better pieces of each place and leave you with the grade B stuff, but I wouldn't leave you with a bare apartment either.
Talk to your pred instead of making assumptions and plan on getting a car to explore shinkoku.

word
July 13th, 2014, 09:08
Yeah, I'd highly recommend preparing to drive at this point. Riding a bicycle in the heat/humidity, rain, or other unpleasant weather is gonna be ridiculously miserable; you really probably don't want that to be your only option. Do you have a license?

Gizmotech
July 13th, 2014, 11:13
Ask yourself, do you still want to goto japan? If the answer isn't immediately yes, drop out now. If it's immediately yes, start making a plan b for while you're here cuz god only knows what life is gonna be like.

cantdecideforshit
July 14th, 2014, 17:26
Yep to that article..as much as I want to say no since that gives away a lot haha.

I was going to get an international driving permit but I can only go for a year, so after calculating all my expenses I discovered I can't afford a car if I planned to travel around Japan, unless I don't plan on saving any money at all which I need to due to school loans. I still really want to go to Japan but I'm starting to wonder if it's worth all the trouble and if I should just stay home at my current job (which pays about the same as JET after you take account health insurance in Japan and everything) and just save to go back to visit.

I honestly feel like if I wasn't on an island by myself, things would be so much more different and I wouldn't be feeling this way, but with a 3000yen round trip bridge toll I doubt I'd have much of a social life (which is hard for an extrovert like myself). My pred. told me there isn't many people our age (20-30s) on the island and although I do have older friends, I fear between the age gap and cultural differences it would be quite difficult to get close to anyone on the island.

coop52
July 14th, 2014, 20:13
Don't be afraid to make friends with the local old people. They give you fresh veggies and take you fishing and shit.

Jiggit
July 14th, 2014, 20:23
Also old people are so much easier to spend time with.

tealparadise
July 15th, 2014, 10:55
Past a certain point I really can't understand their Japanese though.

I'm sure I give them the same look Japanese people adopt when the Irish ALT speaks English.

therealwindycity
July 15th, 2014, 12:23
Just ask them to explain their dialect to you. I've yet to meet a Japanese person who doesn't love a good regional accents discussion.

BeckyJones
July 15th, 2014, 13:03
ya pretty much, they love talking about bla bla bla bla we say shit differently. cause it is all dying out

webstaa
July 16th, 2014, 08:39
Just ask them to explain their dialect to you. I've yet to meet a Japanese person who doesn't love a good regional accents discussion.

Get them drunk, then do it. It's hilarious when they turn bright red and start slurring their speech like little kids...

par92186
July 16th, 2014, 08:42
Sounds like a variety show..."Old drunk Japanese people say the darndest things..."

Gizmotech
July 16th, 2014, 09:13
Get them drunk, then do it. It's hilarious when they turn bright red and start slurring their speech like little kids...

They need to be drunk to do this?

windar
July 17th, 2014, 13:49
Yep to that article..as much as I want to say no since that gives away a lot haha.

I was going to get an international driving permit but I can only go for a year, so after calculating all my expenses I discovered I can't afford a car if I planned to travel around Japan, unless I don't plan on saving any money at all which I need to due to school loans. I still really want to go to Japan but I'm starting to wonder if it's worth all the trouble and if I should just stay home at my current job (which pays about the same as JET after you take account health insurance in Japan and everything) and just save to go back to visit.

I honestly feel like if I wasn't on an island by myself, things would be so much more different and I wouldn't be feeling this way, but with a 3000yen round trip bridge toll I doubt I'd have much of a social life (which is hard for an extrovert like myself). My pred. told me there isn't many people our age (20-30s) on the island and although I do have older friends, I fear between the age gap and cultural differences it would be quite difficult to get close to anyone on the island.

Do you mean that you're planning on only a year in Japan? That certainly works against you financially...

In my case, I was in a rural placement, bought a car for around 15-20 man, drove it for a year, turned it in at the end for some money back, saw tons of Japan, paid off loans... And, while there weren't "many" people in their 20s-30s where I was placed, there were enough to make friends. Chances are, if there are schools there, there are teachers, some of them young, and they will likely ask you out to do things.

When I lived rurally, apart from teachers, my best friends were all 50+ years old. It certainly helps if you like to drink.

P.S. The Bridge toll is only 1640 round trip with an ETC Card, and the ferry's only 400 yen each way.

Jiggit
July 17th, 2014, 14:48
they will likely ask you out to do things.


Hahahawut?

ihatefall
July 17th, 2014, 15:01
I pm'd this a second ago, but I am guessing the OP is watching this under a different username.

so I will just post it.

Read "For Fukui's Sake"
It's a good read and might put somethings into perspective for you.


You never know the way things are going to turn out. But if you gave me the option of A.) staying in the same place with the same job for a year or B.) moving abroad to live in a different culture and see parts of the country you will NEVER be able to see as a tourist.

I would pick B everyday of the week.

Also keep in mind that you'll work tax free for a year and when you move back you'll get a $1,500-2,500 tax refund.

When I was on JET, I was able to save a lot more than when I moved back to the states. Despite making 50% more in the states.

Coming to Japan, either makes or breaks a person and you'll find out a lot about yourself in the process.

If I was you, I would come. Its only a year, live up all 365 days of it. Even if you save a few thousand dollars less or more, you'll be richer from the experience. For best or worst.


.
Best of luck with your decision, man.

Ini
July 17th, 2014, 15:07
4100

windar
July 17th, 2014, 15:08
Hahahawut?

If you're not a complete suck, that is.

ihatefall
July 17th, 2014, 15:09
4100

4101

Jiggit
July 17th, 2014, 15:11
If you're not a complete suck, that is.

I've never seen a young Japanese teacher even drink at an enkai, so...

ihatefall
July 17th, 2014, 15:13
That is because the BOE has a watchdog on your internet traffic hahaha they are all scared.

windar
July 17th, 2014, 16:04
I've never seen a young Japanese teacher even drink at an enkai, so...

In Niigata and Yamagata -- I can't speak for the rest of Tohoku -- everyone was an alcoholic, except for the women, of course. In my village, a couple younger male teachers asked me out drinking and we went out (with women) to drink once or twice a month.

In my current position, near a larger city, and at a high school, all of the young teachers are suck-ups to the kyoto and kocho, and most are too overworked to take time out for a drink.

Sounds like your school sucks.