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Cake
November 4th, 2014, 14:43
I know we don't have to decide until January, but I'm kinda on the fence about whether or not I want to stay in Japan another year. I've only been here 3 months so I'll probably feel a lot differently about Japan in 6 months than I do now, but obviously by then decision time will have passed. Have any other first years made up their minds? What is making you want to stay/leave?

I guess the main reasons I want to stay are because I probably won't get this experience again, and I think I'll be more settled next year which would make teaching/living here easier for me. I'm actually really enjoying teaching and so far haven't had any crappy days, which makes me think I'm doing ok at least! I've become good friends with a lot of other ALTs so I'd be sad to go after a year if most of them end up staying, especially as I do waaay more travelling and doing fun stuff than I did at home.

Then I don't want to stay because some parts of this job are incredibly dull. I try and fill a lot of my free time at work by studying Japanese and doing things for the school, but I have 2 days a week at the BOE and the atmosphere drives me slightly insane. I've asked my supervisor if they would consider letting me go to another school for an extra day per week but that wouldn't happen until April, if it did happen. Also I don't necessarily want to be a teacher and I just wonder if I should use the next year working towards something that I do want to do.

So far my experience on JET has been really positive, but I'm just curious as to how that might change in another year. For those who recontracted, how did the next year(s) compare?

mothy
November 4th, 2014, 15:42
What are your career goals? If you're not planning on doing anything related to Japan or teaching you should go home. Staying past one year if it's not related to your chosen field is a waste of time.
If it is related to your future goals, how well is it advancing those goals?
My experience didn't change year one to two.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 4th, 2014, 15:44
The more time you spend here, the fewer new things there will be to distract yourself with. Something to keep in mind.

Gizmotech
November 4th, 2014, 16:36
I'm gonna agree with mothy, it doesn't generally change between year one and two, unless you're goal is teaching itself. Things get progressively more stale the longer you're here, so if you don't need to be here, bail out now. I re-contracted after year one, only because I needed the teaching experience, but if it hadn't been for that I woulda been outta here faster than a chinaman at a nationalists convention.

Also, I'm gonna tell you something very important. It's so important you probably haven't heard it from anyone in your generation before.

IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW OLD YOU ARE, YOU CAN ALWAYS TRAVEL.

The consequences only look less on this side of thirty because there's "more time", but frankly, it's just as useless to do it now as it is to do it at 45.

greyjoy
November 4th, 2014, 17:43
Yeah, but traveling to a different hemisphere is a huge hassle and expense. If you're in the East now, it's a much better idea to travel to all the places you want to see now, than to wait until you're 45 and start hopping back and forth, or go on a massive two month vacation to hit all the places you want to see. Besides, the reason that people look to travel when they're young is that they see a whole bunch of old farts settled in far too deeply to travel, and they realize that will be them soon enough. It's not like old people don't travel, just like it's not uncommon for people with kids or demanding careers to travel, but it's obviously more difficult than when you're twenty and have too much time off and money to know what to responsibly do with it.

Frankly I don't see what the big deal about "wasting time" is. We're all just wasting time until we die anyway, so what does it matter if we're doing it here or back home in our "real careers", or whatever it is that people need to rush home to get to? Also, depending on whatever non-teaching thing you want to do, you can probably do something here in your spare time to help further that goal.

I mean, if you're feeling bored, and don't think you can handle a boring job for another year and a half, then don't recontract. But don't get scared that some young 22 year old buck is going to dance circles around your decrepit 25 year old husk in an interview when you get back home, just because you spent a few extra years abroad.

therealwindycity
November 4th, 2014, 17:55
I disagree about year one and two - I thought my second year was better than my first, but a big part of that was getting to know my coworkers and feeling comfortable with them, and my Japanese also improved a lot my second year. I also felt like I understood my local area enough to branch out and explore nearby prefectures a bit. Having another school to teach at or even something outside of school (maybe they could have you do cultural events at the community center or something?) could make it a lot more enjoyable. If you're building good relationships with your coworkers and students, your Japanese is improving, and you wouldn't be going home to anything specific, I think staying could very well be worth it. Personally, my second year (of three) was my favorite.

Gizmotech
November 4th, 2014, 19:16
The settled in problem comes from people believing that shit that you can't travel and listening to excuses. Just do it.

greyjoy
November 4th, 2014, 19:38
It's really not.
4584

Humans strongly tend toward becoming functioning cogs in society. It's not some great delusion that is keeping the large majority of middle aged people from breaking free of their chains and doing what they want to do. It's that society pretty much demands that they don't, so they don't. If everybody could up and quit their jobs that they hate when they're 40 and go live in Hawai'i as a part owner of a tiki bar, then civilization would collapse.

Again, the argument isn't that it's impossible, or even necessarily uncommon. It's that life accumulates as years go by, and it does in truth get more difficult to do things for yourself. It's not an illusion that people need to dispel. There is, in fact, a spoon, and to bend it you need to use both hands.

Ini
November 4th, 2014, 20:08
But 45 year olds at full moon parties are just sad. Travel when you are young and can bang native girls without being called a sex tourist.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 4th, 2014, 20:52
What? Spoons?

... What?

greyjoy
November 4th, 2014, 22:29
pm me for more info

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 4th, 2014, 22:43
Oh, hey Roflcopter.

pumarito
November 5th, 2014, 11:04
What are your career goals? If you're not planning on doing anything related to Japan or teaching you should go home. Staying past one year if it's not related to your chosen field is a waste of time.
If it is related to your future goals, how well is it advancing those goals?
My experience didn't change year one to two.

I disagree...year one is a waste of time if it's not related to your future goals, so what difference does another year make, especially if things are going good? I'd wager going home after one year looks worse than staying for two, that looks like you couldn't hack it abroad and ran home...can't get a whole lot out of the experience when you're starting to tie things up as soon as you got settled in.


It's really not.

Humans strongly tend toward becoming functioning cogs in society. It's not some great delusion that is keeping the large majority of middle aged people from breaking free of their chains and doing what they want to do. It's that society pretty much demands that they don't, so they don't. If everybody could up and quit their jobs that they hate when they're 40 and go live in Hawai'i as a part owner of a tiki bar, then civilization would collapse.

Again, the argument isn't that it's impossible, or even necessarily uncommon. It's that life accumulates as years go by, and it does in truth get more difficult to do things for yourself. It's not an illusion that people need to dispel. There is, in fact, a spoon, and to bend it you need to use both hands.

This is true, life prevents you from up and going as much when you're older than when you're not. Two weeks off a year? Forget traveling much. Kids? Forget traveling for years. Travel while you can, and use Japan as a great jumping point to easily and cheaply go places that would burn every last day of your two weeks worth of vacation back home to even be marginally worthwhile to go to once you factor in jet lag both ways, travel time, and the fact you'd have zero time off the rest of the year.



But 45 year olds at full moon parties are just sad. Travel when you are young and can bang native girls without being called a sex tourist.

Exactly. Nobody wants to be identified as a sex tourist, at least 25 year olds can hide that.

word
November 5th, 2014, 11:13
But 45 year olds at full moon parties are just sad. Travel when you are young and can bang native girls without being called a sex tourist.


Exactly. Nobody wants to be identified as a sex tourist, at least 25 year olds can hide that.
word

ihatefall
November 5th, 2014, 13:15
While I agree with Gizmo, that the only thing really holding one back from doing these things is one's self. I do agree that traveling, living abroad, vacations, etc are much easier when you're younger.

Post JET, I had two weeks....however I couldn't take two weeks off in a row. I had a hard time taking 1 week off at a time. It really limited the travel I was able to do. Additionally, when you're out there in your "career", you tend to work longer hours, by the time you get home after work, you're too tired to plan anything. I ended up taking a few "staycations". Even though I am back in Japan, I wish I had 20 days of vacation and school vacations when I could just take time off no questions asked. So far this year I have only been able to use 3 of my vacation days.

I also second Windy in that my second year was better than my first. Co-workers started to come around, etc.

If you've met a solid group of JETs, that you get along with, who are mostly staying.......I would seriously consider staying. You'll see more of Japan / Asia, form live long bounds, and save more.
I saved more on JET than I did back home even though I made 50% more back home.
IMO, 2 years abroad looks much better on a resume than 1 does.

JET makes it very, very easy / cheap to travel (east asia).

Just remember for most people, December is worst month in regards to culture shock (Japan isn't shiny and new anymore, it gets cold, Christmas in Japan sucks, etc.) so it might be a bad time to make your decision.

This is shitty to say but....... you can always back out in spring.

These threads have been posted before, check the archives and talk to the 2nd year ALTS in your area (maybe your pred too). See what they have to say.

kurisu
November 5th, 2014, 14:23
but I have 2 days a week at the BOE and the atmosphere drives me slightly insane. I've asked my supervisor if they would consider letting me go to another school for an extra day per week but that wouldn't happen until April, if it did happen.

Just based off of this alone, I would probably go home. I know exactly what you mean by that BOE atmosphere (and man do I hate it too). I am very fortunate in my situation as I have ever really only had to work half days on BOE days (meaning from 8:30 to 11:30) and have had a private area with other ALTs to where we are pretty free on what we choose to do with the time. This year though, things have started to change with a much more strict supervisor. On top of that, within 2 years everyone will actually be in the actual city hall for entire days 8:30 - 4:40 in the same common areas as other city workers.

If it were the case now, I would have already quit. Wasting two days a week killing time in a boring office translates into a LOT of your life being spent wanting to gouge your own eyes out from sheer boredom. I wouldn't be able to deal with it personally.

Zolrak 22
November 5th, 2014, 14:30
What can you get away with?

Cause if you can mess around in your laptop to "study" , then it wouldn't be that bad.

I know I'd appreciate having time to catch up with a few online classes, waste time in this board and probably do the usual web surfing. Granted, I'm sure you'll get bored eventually, but it's a lot better than just looking at the walls all day.

nibbletbunny
November 5th, 2014, 14:34
This is my second time on JET. I have to tell you that the first time I was a JET I only stayed for one year. I was homesick, was constantly at-odds with my supervisor, and probably suffered from pretty bad culture shock. It was also my first time to live somewhere other than the state where I was born. However, after I went back to the U.S., I really regretted not re-contracting. By the end of that first year on the JET Program, I was finally feeling like I was settling in and really enjoying myself. I finally started to connect with a community of friends and get used to living in Japan. I tried JET again though a few years after being back in the states because I really missed a lot of things about living in Japan and realized that life was not the perfect rose-colored situation that I imagined it was. So, I decided to try it again because I realized that I survived the first time and I had the confidence that I could do it the second time. I also had learned a lot of survival skills during the first year that has made my second experience a lot easier! My attitude is much better this time too!

As far as keeping busy at work, this time around, I have gotten more responsibilities during my second year and I hope things will continue to get busier in my next year too. If nothing else, at least as others have mentioned, the staff at my schools have gotten more used to me so that has lead to my work being more enjoyable on the whole.

Also, things can change a lot in a year or two. That supervisor that I mentioned having troubles with-come to find out, that the person after me got a new supervisor on her second year, so I can't help but think if I had hung in there it would have gotten a lot better. In my current position the supervisors are changed every year, so your experience might change a lot when the personnel changes.

Though, I totally understand going insane with a lack of things to do at work. I even considered not re-contracting for year 3 this time around because of the same reason. However, I realized how many different opportunities outside of work that I get to enjoy that I would not get to do (at least not without more challenges and spending more money) in the U.S.. Also, life is not just about work. Actually, being in my 30s I have been so focused on my career that it is really challenging to not focus on getting a better job, a more lucrative job, advancing up the career ladder, etc... I feel though that this experience gives many people an opportunity to focus on a variety of different aspects of life other than just the job part. If you want to continue working towards future careers, some people even take classes or do professional development online so that you don't get stagnant. I am actually considering doing that this year because I do want to go back to my previous career once I return to the U.S.. Anyhow, I recommend taking advantage of all of the different opportunities you get here while you can; However, everyone is different and it is your life. I would just suggest making sure that no matter what choice you make, that you won't have any regrets. :)

Ini
November 5th, 2014, 15:02
the first 3 years seemed to go by pretty quick. year 4 and 5 were pretty crappy but you fall into a rut. leaving jet and doing something else for a while gives your japan life a good shot in the arm then after a few more years you realise you have lost your passport and its just easier to stay hidden in the countryside than go through all the hassle of getting a new one.

Zolrak 22
November 5th, 2014, 15:07
stay hidden in the countryside than go through all the hassle of getting a new one.
You are a far cry from the man you used to be?

Ini
November 5th, 2014, 15:10
I was never a man.

Cake
November 5th, 2014, 15:38
Yep, all very good points... I'm 21 so it's not like I feel pressured to go back home and look for a more permanent career. But yeah being deep in the inaka makes doing anything during the week fairly limited as there is nothing here and I'm not exactly close to any other ALTs.

By the end of that first year on the JET Program, I was finally feeling like I was settling in and really enjoying myself. I finally started to connect with a community of friends and get used to living in Japan.

As far as keeping busy at work, this time around, I have gotten more responsibilities during my second year and I hope things will continue to get busier in my next year too. If nothing else, at least as others have mentioned, the staff at my schools have gotten more used to me so that has lead to my work being more enjoyable on the whole.

This is why I don't really want to leave - I really like a lot of the ALTs in my prefecture and I don't wanna leave them all if I'm still having fun! I don't feel so comfortable with the people at the BOE just cos hardly anyone says anything to each other and I have no idea what to talk about with my limited Japanese and their very limited English, but I wanna take N3 in July so hopefully that should improve things. I probably will stay one more year but yeah there are some doubts in the back of my mind.

greyjoy
November 5th, 2014, 15:48
What is it with people who can't spend a few minutes alone with their own thoughts? If my job was literally to sit in the BOE all day five days a week, I'd recontract five years without skipping a beat. Who has time to be bored these days?

sourdoughsushi
November 5th, 2014, 22:22
What is it with people who can't spend a few minutes alone with their own thoughts? If my job was literally to sit in the BOE all day five days a week, I'd recontract five years without skipping a beat. Who has time to be bored these days?

I don't often have days with no classes, but when I do...there's such a huge battle inside my head over how busy I should make myself appear within the office. It's awful.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 5th, 2014, 22:29
My boss taught me the word for kicking your heels around because you have nothing to do. It gets used more often than I'd hope.

Cake
November 6th, 2014, 12:18
What is it with people who can't spend a few minutes alone with their own thoughts? If my job was literally to sit in the BOE all day five days a week, I'd recontract five years without skipping a beat. Who has time to be bored these days?

I thought this too when I heard I'd have 2 days a week just doing whatever, but the novelty doesn't take long to wear off!

uthinkimlost?
November 6th, 2014, 13:13
Everyone needs purpose to be happy. If you can't give it to yourself you need to be told what it is.

Zolrak 22
November 6th, 2014, 13:25
Eh, help your coworkers then.

I'm sure a few of them would appreciate it.

If not try setting up a project for a future class/school event.

Or you know, get a new hobby?

mothy
November 6th, 2014, 14:38
Or you know, get a new hobby?

Sadly my school frowned on my stripper hobby.

Zolrak 22
November 6th, 2014, 14:40
Sadly my school frowned on my stripper hobby.
Whatever happened to our credit business?

Don't let the dream die!
Your coworkers are our next clients.

sharpinthefang
November 6th, 2014, 18:09
My boss was on about making a line of t-shirts with the phrase '...because Japan' on them. I told him i had the perfect market for them.

Ini
November 6th, 2014, 18:36
antonath is your boss?

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 6th, 2014, 19:06
Busted.

sharpinthefang
November 6th, 2014, 21:55
Only if he works for Interac

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
November 7th, 2014, 06:54
Busted, and Dark Secret is revealed.

Antonath
November 7th, 2014, 06:58
I'd say the best market for "because Japan" t-shirts would be the Japanese. Irony and sarcasm are not among their strong points.

And no, I don't work for interac. I have too much respect for the average person to treat them like that. And seeing how little I respect the average person, that says a lot about interac.

Jiggit
November 7th, 2014, 08:32
Official statement from mods on the rampant discrimination against Interac ALTs on the site?

RoflCopter
November 10th, 2014, 02:14
Oh, hey Roflcopter.

The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!

I can see I've left a lasting impression. :D


EDIT:


Official statement from mods on the rampant discrimination against Interac ALTs on the site?
QQ out of life good sir! How's that for an official statement!?

hithere4
December 22nd, 2014, 07:18
While I agree with Gizmo, that the only thing really holding one back from doing these things is one's self. I do agree that traveling, living abroad, vacations, etc are much easier when you're younger.

Post JET, I had two weeks....however I couldn't take two weeks off in a row. I had a hard time taking 1 week off at a time. It really limited the travel I was able to do. Additionally, when you're out there in your "career", you tend to work longer hours, by the time you get home after work, you're too tired to plan anything. I ended up taking a few "staycations". Even though I am back in Japan, I wish I had 20 days of vacation and school vacations when I could just take time off no questions asked. So far this year I have only been able to use 3 of my vacation days.

I also second Windy in that my second year was better than my first. Co-workers started to come around, etc.

If you've met a solid group of JETs, that you get along with, who are mostly staying.......I would seriously consider staying. You'll see more of Japan / Asia, form live long bounds, and save more.
I saved more on JET than I did back home even though I made 50% more back home.
IMO, 2 years abroad looks much better on a resume than 1 does.

JET makes it very, very easy / cheap to travel (east asia).

Just remember for most people, December is worst month in regards to culture shock (Japan isn't shiny and new anymore, it gets cold, Christmas in Japan sucks, etc.) so it might be a bad time to make your decision.

This is shitty to say but....... you can always back out in spring.

These threads have been posted before, check the archives and talk to the 2nd year ALTS in your area (maybe your pred too). See what they have to say.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you do in Tokyo? I'm always interested to see what JETs end up doing after their time, especially ones who keep a connection with Japan...

Zolrak 22
December 22nd, 2014, 07:48
I can see I've left a lasting impression. :D


Who could forget about your "humble" feats and conquests? [emoji28]

sharpinthefang
December 22nd, 2014, 09:08
If you don't mind me asking, what do you do in Tokyo? I'm always interested to see what JETs end up doing after their time, especially ones who keep a connection with Japan...
Fall has not been around for a few months now, but when I met up with him in the summer he was working for a company that deals in mobile phones... (but then that might have been his girlfriends job.. can't remember now)

starfish
January 19th, 2015, 11:17
What is it with people who can't spend a few minutes alone with their own thoughts? If my job was literally to sit in the BOE all day five days a week, I'd recontract five years without skipping a beat. Who has time to be bored these days?

It's a "kids these days" situation...one of those things they won't understand until they've had a salaried position, started a family or been incarcerated. The possibilities of what one could do with two free days a week are endless to those who have ever had the other five taken from them.