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Sorcha
May 25th, 2004, 19:00
Got placed in Aomori - anyone else?

candy4juju
May 25th, 2004, 23:53
Hey Sorcha,

Great to hear somenone else is headed northwards :) : is Aomori where you wanted??

I think I'll be in Aomori city..... are you city or country bound??


mary

candy4juju
May 26th, 2004, 00:09
Here's some links for Aomori stuff for anyone heading that way...

prefecture site
http://www.pref.aomori.jp/home-e.html

city stuff
http://www.city.aomori.aomori.jp/english/idxeng.html


in the words of the honourable mayor....

'We are aiming for the realisation of a “comfortable city of blue forests where the people are beaming”,'

look forward to seeing some of you there :D

Sorcha
May 26th, 2004, 00:10
HI there - well I thought I put Hokkaido as my first preference, but now I think it may have been Tohoku...all seems like a long time ago and I am afraid I my memeory isn't serving well. But I am pretty happy - not looking forward to the cold but the snow and scenery should be great. My ex-jet friend told me everywhere in Japan is cold in winter so it doesn't really matter where you go - not sure if he was just being kind, but I took some solace from it! What about you - first preference?

candy4juju
May 26th, 2004, 00:20
Yup, it was where i wanted

I'm not really used to huge cities living between bath and edinburgh and don't cope well in heat! Plus i've been interested in Japanese archaeology and there's some nice stuff there

and its pretty looking!

only recently realised that they might not speak regular japanese which is a bit worrying as i wanted to get more fluent (long way off right now!) but still happy - time to start training for snowball fights :)

hkmercredi
May 26th, 2004, 05:10
Yay, more Aomori people!! Wish I knew what city I'm going to, but ah well. Candy, I love Japanese history and archaeology too; there are some nice Jomon sites in Aomori, and it's so close to Hokkaido, could probably go up there and meet some of the Ainu (although their numbers are few now). Also, as far as I know the only places with different languages are the islands around Okinawa (but that's basically a Japanese dialect) and in Hokkaido among the Ainu. The slang and the accents will certainly be different from a standard Japanese, but you'd probably find that anywhere.

-Abby

Jay
May 28th, 2004, 08:47
:)

Yep, I'm in Aomori too. Hokkaido was my first choice but I've been placed here "my third choice". I will be working in Aomori city.

Most of the Japanese people I've spoken too are very shocked to find out I'm happy to be in Aomori. They say why would you want to go there...
Anyways, there will be a very large festival when we arrive. It draws several million people a year. There are also many good onsens, nature activities etc. I'm sure we will all have a good time. Being a canuck I'm ready for the cold and snow. Minus ten beats minus 40...


here is a journal of someone who has worked as a CIR in Aomori.
http://www.namisato.org/journal/year-1/august2002.html

Jay
May 30th, 2004, 00:39
Must find more info on Aomori.... Anyone know of any additional websites.

candy4juju
May 30th, 2004, 03:01
there's not much else out there in English....

this site has quite a lot of info and links, haven't looked through much of it yet, but it does have a link for stuff on Tsugaru-ben, the Aomori dialect, that could be useful if it worked!
http://www.jomon.ne.jp/~kusumi/aomori/

this is a website by an Aomori JET, with links to lots of other Aomori JETs sites, with pictures, journals and stuff
http://www.avoidinglife.com/aboot.php

this is just about the festival...
http://www.nebuta.or.jp/english/index_e.htm

...and this introduces the Jomon site at Sannai Maruyama
http://sannaimaruyama.pref.aomori.jp/english/info.html

hope these help!

i want to hear from my pred now!!!!! has anyone else heard anything???

Jay
May 30th, 2004, 10:11
No, I haven't heard anything from my predecessor yet. Hopefully we will all find out additional information in the next few days or so. I'm quite anxious. Let me know when you hear from your pred.

hkmercredi
May 30th, 2004, 11:59
I haven't heard from my pred yet either; I haven't been told WHERE in Aomori-ken I'll be living/working, so I'm particularly anxious to hear about it!! Like you, Jay, I'm also used to cold and snow; I live in NY State, and went to college only about 1 1/2 hours drive from Ottawa. I wonder if Aomori's temp will even get below 0 F (but it will have lots of snow thanks to Siberian winds mixing with the water's warm air).

Looking forward to meeting you all!!

charliemac
May 30th, 2004, 15:20
I haven't heard from my predecessor either... however I'm not even sure if I have a predecessorin Kamikita. Thanks for you blog links candy4juju, I've been reading them for most of the day now. I am beginning to wonder if not requesting to have a driver's license was a mistake / is correctable :/ I would like not to have to use one however if I am in a place with a relatively decent concentration of JETs I would like to meet up every now and again...

As for temps in the aomori prefecture I think I've seen that it doesn't get much below -10 C at the lowest...which is still warmer than 0 F (I am guestimating) Either way, for the legendary snowfall they have I'm counting on it staying closer to 0 C for the most part. Of course this being said from a Nashvillian, it must be taken with a grain of salt...we don't see that kind of snowfall down here. :)

Jay
June 1st, 2004, 10:57
http://www.northern-tohoku.gr.jp/welcome/

Check it out.

hkmercredi
June 1st, 2004, 12:07
As long as you have an updated license, you can still get one in Japan. I did research on it in case I wanted to apply for one myself. There are certain things to know though:
-have to first get license translated into Japanese (I think the Japanese equivalent of the DMV can do that or give you a contact to do it, but it will cost money)
-if you're coming from the US you have to take certain tests to prove you know how to drive on the left hand side of the road
-the license is good for 2 years I believe
-there is a possibility of just getting a universal license, but I've heard conflicting accounts for how long those are good for; one person said 1 year, a book I read said 6 months.

After that comes all the fun of car buying, maintenance, taxes, renting space, paying for checkups, etc...

hkmercredi
June 4th, 2004, 12:05
I finally heard about where I've been assigned :o). I'm going to Ajigasawa-machi; it's on the western edge of Aomori and borders the sea to the north and the mountains to the end. It's the third largest city in Aomori (meaning the college in my old town was close to twice the size in population), but I'm pretty happy about it :o). Haven't heard from pred yet, but have been told who he is and that he will contact me next week. Oh, and he'll also be my supervisor... dunno that I've ever heard of that before, but it sounds cool.

hkmercredi
June 4th, 2004, 12:09
grrr, they always change my happy faces... I meant those faces to look like this : o ) only smushed together... guess I'll have to deal with :)

Jay
June 4th, 2004, 13:28
Here is a long email I received from a JET in Aomori prefecture. I asked her some questions and she was kind enough to answer.

1. In your experience, what have you found motivates your students?
* Some students are individually motivated and [most] others need me to motivate them (either by being genki, bringing foreigners or giving prizes). As I mentioned before, I work at an academic HS, so I hear that my students are more motivated than the average student. A lot of it depends on what kind of school you work at, what type of teacher you work with, your role in the classroom, and blood type (okay, maybe not blood type...but there are so many factors)

2. What types of omiyage did you bring with you to Japan. I plan to bring jams and things that are unique to where I live.
* Although people really 'stress' about omiyage, I didn't. Honestly, I had a whole bunch of other things going on to get stressed about omiyage. I will just paste in here what I wrote to someone a while ago about omiyage ::
You may be looked at as a foreigner, so some people will not expect that you
know anything about Japanese culture and will be thoroughly amazed that you
do. I have encountered that people are surprised about a lot of things that
I know. The fortunate part will be that b/c some will consider you a
foreigner, so they would be pleased that you made an effort to learn about
"their" culture. It is a difficult on to call. I would say bring omiyage.
It is the effort that counts. I must say that you should bring something
very small or low in cost. If it is expensive, they will feel obligated
(and pressured) o buy you a more expensive gift in return. If you are
visiting people as a group (like your office(s) at the school(s) where you work), then buy a group gift (box/package of something
they can't get in J). If visiting people individually, I would say give a small
individually wrapped something. Someone will eventually give you a gift
w/o your expecting it, so it's always nice to have a gift. I don't think
you should stress about it.
I am "foreign" in every sense of the word and I decided not to stress about
it. I bought omiyage for main people at my job. I didn't buy gifts for my
neighbors. I did make several attempts when I first moved, but they were never home and I got tired of spending my money on fruits to take over, that eventually went bad. My neighbors are teachers though AND all of them are younger, so you can make that call for yourself. Who knows if it made a difference in our relationship...i don't.
Some people I heard of (know) were really into the omiyage and went all
out, but like I said, if it's a major gift, they will feel obligated to give
you something large in return.
If you do bring gifts, I think that food, candy/snacks or knicknacks are
appropriate (alcohol always excites people too! I ought some at the airport for my principal and vice principal). They do not have to be
unique at all. You can give something that people can find any and
everywhere in the US (if that's where you live). I know someone who lived
in Maryland, so they got the small packets of old bay seasoning for all of
the omiyage. On the note, he/he just wrote in that it can be used for
fish/shrimp/crab (since crab can be expensive). That is very available in
many places, but not in Japan. So it can be anything really.

3. Tell me about your first introduction "first day of classes". What works, and what doesn't?
* For my initial self-introduction, I did a powerpoint presentation. It worked well, b/c I was able to use a lot of color, graphics and animations. It was also an easy way for me to add photos w/o have to cut/paste/pull from otehr places. I am only at one school, but if you get assigned to amany schools, you may be doing your self-introduction for every lesson while you are in Japan. It really just depends on your school assignment. I still do self introductions at my technical highschool (I go there once a week for a couple of months). You also will proabably do them when the new academic year begins in March for the first year students. My self-intro included: meaning of my name, pictures of my family, pictures of my undergrad and grad univ, little photos from teh net about my hobbies...it really can be whatever you want. I have had to do mini-self intros (2-5 min.) then I have also done self-intros for a whole 55-min class. In the longer class, it is good to leave time for 2questions and answers (w/ a back up in case they are too nervous to ask questions) and I also include a word-search puzzle about myself (puzzlemaker.com) or a question and answer sheet. I don't really use the powerpoint intro anymore. I just use the blackboard and draw pictures/maps/write words etc.

4. How do you get along with the staff.
* I get along okay w/the staff here. It varies though. Some teachers have never spoken directly to me, but most have (my school has 85+ teachers, though). You will find that you will have a teacher drunk and laid out on the floor next to you one night at a party, then they never speak to you at school. School and play are very separate (from mt experiences). I am also a woman too, so I believe my predecessor socialized more b/c he was male (like most of my teachers) and he played a lot of sports.

5. How often do you particpate with the staff in extra-curricular activities.
* I participate if I get invited. I am sure there are many things that I do not get invited to. My school takes out money from my pay every month for parties/staff activities, so when those things come up, I usually go to get my money's worth. But honestly, sometimes, I don't feel like it. And sometimes, I KNOW that people do not want me to be around b/c for them, it's an extra burden of having to try to speak English or deal with a foreigner.

6. In your area, what percentage of people smoke? "estimation"
* People everywhere smoke. I couldn't even begin to give you percentages. I am sure that whatever you are accustomed to, it will be significantly greater here. Smoking and food (I'm vegan) is a large reason why I find it dificult to socialize here. I can't deal with my eyes feeling like someone is rubbing them with a brillo pad.

7. How about drinking parties? I rarely drink so I'm curious about this.
* Drinking parties are always fun, and in many cases, you are expected to come (if they invite you). At my school, they automatiacally take YEN out per month for them, so they tell me about those. Sometimes, I am busy but most times, they let me know in advance. I am not of a drinking and if I do, I like mixed drinks. People here mostly drink beer and sake or shouchu. I basically told them that I do not drink, just so they don't begin to think that I want to chug down beers everytime I go out. I think they slowly began to understand my style (when it comes to drinking). Drinking is a lrage part of how people socialize here, so it is something that you wil be around more (unless you strongly object).

8. How much are you able to save each month?
* Right now, nothing! I send money to my home account every month to pay bills. Aomori is very far north and the next major city is Sendai (south) or Sapporo (north). Travel costs a lot in J, and I like to travel. So I haven't saved much, but I have been to 3 different countries since being here and I plan to travel more. It is VERY possible to save money, however you really cannot exactly estimate your expenses until you get here to see what you have to do and how (or until your Contracting Org sends you a letter w/ the living costs or you talk to your pred).

9. Tell me about the students in general.
* Very much like students in the US (and other countries) and at the same time, very different from students of other countries.

10. What did you find useful at the Tokyo orientation?
* The vegetarian session and the lesson planning workshop (geared towards Elem or JHS or HS)

11. Please... tell me they don't ask too many grammar questions...
* My students almost never ask grammar questions. I find that, unfortunately speaking, reading, writing and grammar are separated so much that you may may not get into it. In my classes, I make sure that the students understand the connection. Depending on your situation, you will also find that like most people, the JTEs know quite a bit about grammar. Even if I cannot understand the terminology, I still try to help them with grammar, so they can understand the usage 'in English'. Most English classes at my school (except the ones I teach) are taught in Japanese :(

12. Where are some good stores to shop at in Aomori city?
* Auga, Lovina (foreign food store on the bottom floor). I don't live in Aomori City, so it will be better to ask someone who lives there

burgoo
June 15th, 2004, 05:20
hi everyone,

I got placed in Tsuruta-machi. I don't really know the distance from Aomori City, but my town has the longest wooden bridge in Japan.

Has anyone been there or assigned there as well? I went to the Jet Alumni gathering this past weekend in Queens, NY, and didn't meet anyone placed in this vicinity. I know people said that I would freeze my ass off though.

I know that 3 other JETs will be in the same town.

Any thing to add, anyone?

candy4juju
June 28th, 2004, 02:29
I've heard from my pred that there are two other new JETs in Aomori City working for the BoE (supervisor Mr Yamaya) doing same (?) thing as me: school visits to around 30 junior high and elementary schools. Anyone else out there know if this is the kind of thing they're doing?

mary

Jay
June 28th, 2004, 12:25
Hi, I don't know anything. The only thing I know is that I will be working in Aomori city. However, I did receive an email from a CIR in Aomori. This is the email he sent me( just below). I certaintly hope I have a base school as teaching at that many schools would be a little difficult and I'm sure it will be much more difficult to get to know people and forge friendships. However, I'm just happy to be going to Japan and I will make the most of my situation. It's all in the way we think of thing, right? I'll be positive no matter what! Anyways, here is the email he sent me.

Hello again

I need to ask you how you pronounce your name. Our boss, Mr. Yamaya, needs
to know as he has lots of official forms on which he has to write your name
in katakana.

Jay
June 28th, 2004, 12:30
Mary, what else can you tell me about your situation? I'm eager for any information on Aomori City. I'm so excited, no matter what happens.

candy4juju
June 28th, 2004, 23:04
hey jay

My pred has told me that there are 3 ALTs in the office and one CIR, with an American ALT called Nate who's staying on. Altogether there are about 20 teachers and staff in the office, with Mr Tsukinaka as head of dept (kachou) and Mr Yamaya as the supervisor to the ALTs. I've got a base school (Koda JHS) but will only be there about 4 days a month, the rest of the time I'll be doing visits between about 30 schools, mostly JHS with elementary on Fridays, where it is more internationalisation than teaching.

As a result its not easy to get involved with club activities as these require extra paperwork and the teachers may feel that they have to take care of you and so be less keen for you to stay after scheduled time. More welcome at some events eg. sports days, speech contests, school festivals and these are best for getting to know teachers and students... Also, visits can range from being with classes or the whole school! 300 kids at once 8O !!!! I had hoped to be able to get to know the students pretty well, but it looks kinda tricky when I'm gonna be there for so little time - but I'm looking forward to it anyway!

The office rents out the accomodation, so no key money / deposits and there are all basic furnishings supplied (plus I'm buying loads from my pred) and all the ALTs in the office live on the same street, not far from office itself.

You might be doing simlar stuff, though there could be another Mr Yamaya... it's a bit strange that i'd have been told if you haven't but all the info I've got is from my pred, nothing from the BoE as yet, hope you hear more soon,

mary

Jay
June 29th, 2004, 01:14
Thanks Mary. It is possible that there is another Yamaya san, as that is a fairly common name in Japan. I guess there is only one way to find out. I will let you know more about my situation as it develops. Anyways, thank you so much for the info you provided. Take care, and I'll talk to you soon.

Jay
July 2nd, 2004, 01:07
Hey Mary. I haven't received any mail yet, but I should some shortly. Anyways, it looks like I will be working with you according to one of the CIRs in Aomori. So see you soon!

candy4juju
July 2nd, 2004, 06:46
see ya in August!

yabighoor
July 3rd, 2004, 01:00
hey i'm going to be in shizukuishi in iwate but i think it's pretty close to aomori. I suppose i'll see you guys at orientation

candy4juju
July 7th, 2004, 05:15
just got my contract through from Aomori BoE - at least that's one less thing to worry about!

angry_professor
June 12th, 2005, 14:04
Hey Peoples.

I'm going to be in Aomori next season, looking forward to it.
This forum is much more pleasant than BD, so I think I'll chill here during those long hours in the teacher's room instead.

Here's a question: Does Aomori have less of a problem with house pests because of the climate? Or can I expect to see my fair share of Mukade? Is it possible to get a snow monkey infestation rather than roaches cause that might be pretty hilarious.

yabighoor
June 13th, 2005, 11:38
I`m in Iwate just south of you and we don't get crazy creepy crawlies. No mukade or anything like that so you'll be grand. Have fun with the snow...it rocks!!!