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wanderingtenshi
June 1st, 2004, 13:20
Hello, all. Recieve my placement as well--Hokkaido, Shizunai-cho. I've already been contacted by my predecessor and she was very helpful. Also told me where I'd be living. A house w/heating!! I was so excited b/c I know many JET's have apartments w/no heating. I'm inaka--2.5 hours from Sapporo. I'm with Group A so I'll see some of you in Tokyo!

Canuck
June 1st, 2004, 13:27
Hey wanderingtenshi, welcome to the Hokkaido club! Sounds like you got a sweet deal with your placement, way to go! (trying not to be jealous, ehehehe) I'm in group A, too, so I'm sure we'll get to meet each other at some point this summer!

~Amy~ ...still impatiently waiting for further placement info...

Manshonyagger
June 1st, 2004, 22:05
Wahey, another Hokkaido-bound ITIL JET person...!! :)

Am I the only Group B Hokkaido JET on this board??? :?:

Paper
June 3rd, 2004, 21:09
23,000 isn't anywhere near inaka! But anway, congratulations and hope you like it here! :)

wanderingtenshi
June 8th, 2004, 11:39
I agree that 23,000 isn't inaka but some of the big-city JET's seem to think so. :wink: Anyway, glad to see other Hokkaido people here. I can't wait to meet you all! Has anyone else recieved their airmail from their BOE? I just got mine today, complete w/a brochure about my town and a picture of my home. I'm sure it's sturdier than it looks.

Hope you got more info, Amy!

Mashonyagger, sorry about the new topic. I'm still getting used to this forum. This actually should be under the topic you posted. :oops: Hope to see you on the island. Maybe at an HAJET get together?

~Angel, still staring at her brochure

Dulcinea
June 9th, 2004, 07:45
copycat...

Paper
June 9th, 2004, 19:41
I'm sure it's sturdier than it looks.

Even though I haven't seen the pictures, I can safely say "No, it probably isn't sturdier" ;) But who cares, because it has heating! :)


Maybe at an HAJET get together?

Just a word of warning about HAJET. It's largely based around getting drunk and drugs. If that's your thing, or your type of crowd, then lucky you, I suppose. Also, someone ALWAYS gets hurt at the first HAJET party (the "welcome party"), usually requiring a hospital stay, and usually directly due to being drunk.

power_rose
June 10th, 2004, 15:44
Just a word of warning about HAJET. It's largely based around getting drunk and drugs.

Just a word of warning, Paper is largely about making gross, innacurate generalizations. Come, enjoy, make merry. Noone is going to rip off your top and make you drink a beer from a funnel, despite certain assertions.

Rose in Akan

Paper
June 10th, 2004, 22:02
Just a word of warning, Paper is largely about making gross, innacurate generalizations. Come, enjoy, make merry. Noone is going to rip off your top and make you drink a beer from a funnel, despite certain assertions.

hmm, I don't recall saying that HAJET forces anyone to do anything. I'm just stating that it's mostly there for drinking and drugs. Just about every publication/announcement that has come out has mentioned this in some fashion or another (I thought the one info sheet about an HAJET meeting was hilarious.. y'know, the one that was written in such a way that native Japanese people/BOE wouldn't understand a word of it..). The generalization is based on this and what I've seen of the JET gatherings. Bringing beer into the HAJET meeting is a clear indicator of what the HAJET meetings are really about. So, yes, they are generalizations, and no, they aren't inaccurate as they hold some truth to them.

Like I ALREADY said, if it's your thing, then great.. but if it's not, don't even bother going, because you will sorely be disappointed.

power_rose
June 11th, 2004, 08:58
HAJET meetings are what you make of them. Just because a lot of people choose to drink (and what is this drugs crap!?), doesn't mean that someone who doesn't won't have a great time. During the day people do activities or check out the town and at night there are a ton of things to do including dancing and karaoke and food. If you're talking about enkais, then I guess all of Japan is "about drinking" and if you're not interested in that you "shouldn't waste your time".
I know at least a dozen people who don't drink in HAJET and manage to have a great time and meet people. What's with the bitterness and slamming HAJET? Why not let people come and decide themselves?

Rose

Paper
June 11th, 2004, 10:42
During the day people do activities or check out the town and at night there are a ton of things to do including dancing and karaoke and food.

I've been to the dances and karaoke. They typically include JETs getting totally sloshed. Not my sort of thing. Talking to drunk people isn't fun unless you are drunk yourself.



If you're talking about enkais, then I guess all of Japan is "about drinking" and if you're not interested in that you "shouldn't waste your time".

The differences between a Japanese enkai and a JET enkai differ in many ways. I'm not going to list them since that would be a nice little essay/story in itself.



I know at least a dozen people who don't drink in HAJET and manage to have a great time and meet people.

I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying that I think the MAIN reason for HAJET meetings is to get sloshed with your fellow JETs. Some people can get along quite well with drunk JETs. Good for them. For me, it feels like a College Freshman drinking party.



What's with the bitterness and slamming HAJET? Why not let people come and decide themselves?

This site it about tips and suggestions. I'm providing some information that I feel is true with regards to HAJET and other related JET gatherings. Newbies should know by now you take everything here and on BD with a grain of salt.

I also think I have every right to 'slam' HAJET/JETs for allowing people to drink at their meetings, for creating that 'upcoming meeting' letter that was written in slang so that no BOE could read it, for turning their noses when people decide to try to create bongs out of PET bottles and accidently drop drugs into the tatami, for allowing JET parties to turn into a disgrace of people dancing on top of the BBQ pits. Obviosly, this isn't the right forum for my to be ranting, however, your posts suggested that you required me to back up my claims (by ranting :P).

The bitterness simply comes from HAJET not living up to my expectations of a good forum for talking to other JETs and hanging out with them, and also a result of the immature actions of some JETs when they gather. It's sort of like the bitterness some JETs feel for their BOEs/School/Job here.

power_rose
June 11th, 2004, 14:33
Your latest post is fine because for once you're saying "I". YOU don't enjoy HAJET meetings. That's fine. However, there are plenty of people, young and old, married and single, all sexual orientations and races, who have a good time at HAJET meetings whether they drink or not. I would say it’s a lot more about meeting and hanging out with other foreigners, especially if you spend most of your time in a small, isolated town.

Moreover, tell me how a HAJET meeting is different from an enkai? I've seen some incredibly obnoxious, unacceptable behavior at Japanese enkais. Japanese people tend to have a piss-up after school, on camping trips with kids, everywhere. Drunk people are drunk people, wherever.

You think HAJET is bad? I don't at all. I think thanks to our location in Hokkaido, we do a ton of outdoor things for one. People have actually brought their parents to meetings for another. What's a complete drunken orgy? How about the Tokyo Orientation and Recontracting Conference?

I have no idea why you would do JET or even come to Japan if you have a sanctimonious attitude towards drinking. This is the land of nomihodais and drunk salarymen passing out on you on the subway. I would HIGHLY doubt that the other prefectural organizations are "better behaved" at their meetings. I would highly doubt that any meeting of JETs or Japanese people wouldn't have drinking at night, other than some religious groups.

The few people drinking at the meetings and even the smaller amount of people smoking pot are quite easy to avoid. I party it up yet I have never seen people smoking at the meetings. What are you, the vice squad?

It just irritates me that you present yourself and your views as even remotely representative of the JET community at large. Present them as YOUR, singular person, views and let people decide for themselves. And I would warn people, if the sight of drinking, even binge drinking, offends you, do not come to Japan. At least there is no pressure to drink at a HAJET meeting...try saying that about your typical Japanese enkai!

Who are you anyway? If you're going to be the authority on HAJET, you could at least tell us your name...

Rose

NSboarderchic
June 11th, 2004, 15:42
Not to burst in on this on-going argument, but from the pictures I saw on the HAJET.org site, it does look like a lot of drunken parties (and no, I'm not complaining). :)

And since you're both here, I have a question for you 2: Does HAJET organize camping/hiking trips, and if so, should I bother to bring my backpacking (read:light) tent and/or sleeping bag? I've read all the stuff on BD saying not to bring a sleeping bag, but ESID right?

Paper
June 11th, 2004, 16:03
I don't want to sound like I'm picking on HAJET specifically. I have equal negative views towards the immaturaty that goes on at the Tokyo Orientation and Recontracting Conferences (although only via stories for the latter, since I have yet to attend a Recontracting Conference). I can't specifically comment on other prefectural AJET getogethers, as I've not gone to them or heard about them, although judging by the comments on the recontracting conference, I'd imagine they might be the same.

I also do not want to sound like I'm picking on individuals. At all the gatherings I've been to, talking to individuals has been pretty good.. just not worth the immaturaty of the whole group.

The Japanese enkais I've been to have been far more controlled. No one has ever thought of jumping up on a BBQ pit to dance, nor has there ever been any "chug! chug! chug!" yelling or mentality. Yes, the get plastered and goofy, but not to the extent of "College Freshmen". ESID, I suppose I've been lucky.


The few people drinking at the meetings and even the smaller amount of people smoking pot are quite easy to avoid.

The difference is that I think the majority of people at the meetings are drinking, and a good number of them to a beyond sloshed state where they have zero maturity. Not specifically at the meeting, but at the parties afterwards (or the night before). Nothing wrong with that. I don't even have a problem with people doing drugs as long as they are civil. But don't you think it's worth warning people of getogethers that primarily are for getting sloshed, so they don't have to waste their money and time going?

The vice squad comment is amusing, and treading on a personal attack. I would never "tattle" on anyone, if that's what you are insinuating. Everyone has their reasons for doing whatever they do. As long as it's not harming anyone, I could care less.


It just irritates me that you present yourself and your views as even remotely representative of the JET community at large.

I think my view that JET getogethers are about drinking is representative of what the JET community believes. If it weren't the case, why does so much literature inporportionately hilight the drinking end of the meetings and not the non-drinking end of the meetings? Everytime I ever hear someone talk about a JET meeting, it's almost always about the party (or where to party, if it's in the city). You can't honestly tell me that the majority of people think HAJET meetings aren't an excuse to get drunk, when so many people say that's the exact reason (Just read BD or the HAJET messageboard!)

My personal opinion on the value of such meetings are of course not representative of the JET community at large (or I'd be shocked if they were). Although I know several people who share similar views to myself. I'm sure there's more, but the biggest problem is that the people who disagree/dislike what JET meetings are, do not go to the JET meetings (after their first couple encounters), so one never has a chance to meet them.
The only way to break this bad perception (whether you believe it's unfounded or not) is to occasionally have getogethers that do not revolve around getting totally sloshed. Unfortunately that probably means no drinking for those getogethers. Sad, because I like to drink.

Anyway, I use "I" when appropriate, and when I know of other people who agree with me, I use generic.


Who are you anyway? If you're going to be the authority on HAJET, you could at least tell us your name

I never said I was an authority. What I wrote is an opinion based on what I've seen, and is backed at least partially by other JETs I know.
While I have no problems with attaching my name to what I say, I do have problems with immature people (NOT YOU! You've been civil as I explain my position) who think they have to "get back" at me for some reason or another. No, really, I'm not paranoid, you'd be surprised what people do, especially when they are totally sloshed. :P Also, I think this thread doesn't adequately represent me, just one facit of me that likes to whine, complain, and babble. It's probably not all that hard to find out who I am anyway, but who I am shouldn't matter.

Sorry OP for cluttering your post with my babbling

Paper
June 11th, 2004, 16:09
And since you're both here, I have a question for you 2: Does HAJET organize camping/hiking trips, and if so, should I bother to bring my backpacking (read:light) tent and/or sleeping bag? I've read all the stuff on BD saying not to bring a sleeping bag, but ESID right?

Sometimes there's hiking trips at the HAJET meetings (not during the meeting, of course!). As for bringing a sleeping bag, it depends on what the BDers were talking about. You can get a lot of hiking/tenting stuff in Japan, but if you have your favorite equipment, then you'd be much happier with it. Bringing a sleeping bag is always a good idea when going to HAJET getogethers that revolve around camping grounds. You'll be especially popular if you bring your tent and it's raining (even if it only fits one! ;) ). You probably won't need one for the getogethers revolving around a hotel stay (ie. most HAJET official meetings). Everytime there's a getogether, they usually say what's up.

power_rose
June 11th, 2004, 16:19
Does HAJET organize camping/hiking trips, and if so, should I bother to bring my backpacking (read:light) tent and/or sleeping bag? I've read all the stuff on BD saying not to bring a sleeping bag, but ESID right?

Um, if you have a fancy one and can send it to yourself, definately do it. The summer HAJET meeting is a camping trip and you could spend almost every summer weekend camping if you wanted. Its wonderful and gorgeous here in terms of scenery. So, I guess it depends how cool and valuable your stuff is (if its cost-efficient to send it or just buy it here. Runs around 15,000yen for a basic tent, for example).

I still think you are being way too judgemental, but probably not in real life (ah, the anonimity of the internet). I wouldn't say getting sloshed a couple times a year horribly immature, mostly because I'd be condemning a huge chunk of Japan. I also still say its more than easy to have a great time not drinking. I've never seen the sort of wet t-shirt, chug chug behavior of a college party in a hajet meeting. I would say that its incredibly laid-back, people hanging out and talking to each other. Unless its at a dance club, where most people look pretty bad, drunk or not;).

While I would agree that HAJET get-togethers are heavy on the drink, they're not remotely depndant on them. A get-together without drinking would...suck. Saying that, there are a lot of HAJET things that don't revolve around drinking: ECC, English camps, and other international events. Sure, there's a piss-up one or two nights after the kids go to bed, but I wouldn't say those revolve around drinking.

All I'm saying is: let people go and make their own judgements. I too would doubt that most people would feel the same as you. And it would suck for someone new in a small town to miss meeting new people, seeing new places, and talking to fellow JETs because they think the whole meeting is 48 hours of beer funnels and flashing.

Rose (who still says that if you won't even give a name to support your opinions, they're probably not that valid...)

Rugbyspark
July 9th, 2004, 15:34
For the adventurous types who are Hokkaido bound... You have just fallen from the sky, landed on a rainbow and are now speeding down the slope towards the pot of "ADVENTURE" gold that is "Ainu Moshir". You all have the raddest possible placement for outdoor activities of any prefecture in Japan, and I'm not exaggerating! Since I came here, I have white-water rafted, climbed muddy slopes with nothing more than a rope to hang on to for dear life, hiked to the "Kamuimitara" (Ainu word for "Rooftop Playground of the Gods) heights of Mount Kurodake, and climbed Akadake and Biei Fujiyama, cycled from the top of Mount Tokachidake to the oceanside town of Hamamasu, done an Adventure Race in Niseko, a triathlon in Tomakomai, and am set to do a half-marathon and a duathlon before I get on the plane to go back home... All in one year!

Without question, there is a ton of hiking and camping and other general outdoor debauchery to be had in Hokkaido. The hiking ranges from tame walks with no elevation gain/loss on wooden plank walkways beside the Five Lakes of the Shiretoko Peninsula, to the almost orgasmic experience of hiking Rishiri/Rebun which is a mountain island to the west of Hokkaido, to full-on, challenging hikes up to Hokkaido's highest peak of Mount Asahikdake which levels off at about 2290 meters and boasts some of the most spectacular panoramic views of Taisetsuzan National Park, Japan's largest National Park. Wildlife, what's left of the wild part of it, abounds - bears, deer, piping rabbits called "nakiusagi", red-crested cranes, foxes that are tame enough to come right up to your car while you are driving in hopes of begging some food - if you even like "shizen" (nature) a little bit, you are surely going to fall in love with the beauty of Japan's northern island. And since the summers are much milder and less rainy than the rest of Japan, the camping is prime. The bugs are smaller and fewer (although no less ferocious when it comes to bug bites, "buyou" or black flies are the worst, especially in the mountain areas and near rice paddy fields, which about covers the entire island). You can camp in style in little mushroom shaped huts made out of wood which are sometimes on stilts to further combat the moisture problem, or hiking huts, which dot pretty much every hiking trail in Hokkaido (just do a little research when you get here, you'll find there are plenty) to camping right out under the stars in your tent, or if the weather is great and you are really ambitious, just the sleeping bag alone. As a Canadian who truly loves her camping and hiking, I have felt right at home here with the summer life of Hokkaido. By god, I need to have something to reward myself for surviving the brutal snow here in the winter! :D

My advice, camping and hiking gear is a tad on the expensive side here, but easily purchased at any outdoor shop in any big center (Asahikawa, Obihiro, Sapporo etc.). So I guess you have to decide if you want to pay to have your gear from home shipped here or just buy some stuff when you arrive. If you ship the stuff via surface it will take 6 weeks, but you can ship quite a bit for relatively reasonable prices (this only makes sense for people sending really technical gear or expensive tents, campoing stuff, sports gear etc. that they are going to use often and for an extended period of time.

If you are into mountain biking there is some to be had here, but nothing like in the mountains of North America since bamboo grass covers a majority of the uninhabited land here. It grows thick and therefore there are no specific parks maintenance staff that maintain any downhill or cross country trails, as far as I know. However, some outdoor adventure companies like NAC in Niseko near Sapporo do guided trips in that area and may have some good advice about where to ride. But if you live in true "inaka" countryside you will likely find that the only rideable/runnable trails are logging roads with some gravel that are sometimes also a bit overgrown. If you like road biking at all, this is a much easier pastime as there is plenty of open road in the countryside areas.You can buy bikes in Japan although they are a bit expensive and difficult to find (mamacharis or big, heavy bikes with baskets on the front are the norm here), so you might want to bring yours on the plane or send it through airmail (also very expensive).

If anyone has any questions about cycling in Hokkaido, you can direct them to me if you like.  I’ve only been here a year, but I have done a lot in that year and might have some answers for your questions.

P.S.  Please don’t think for a minute that we are all a bunch of booze hounds that can’t pry our lips off the bottle long enough to enjoy this adventure paradise.I think, being that we are all college or university graduates, we are a  little bit more three-dimensional than that.  I for one have enjoyed both drinking to excess (after all, anonimity can be a glorious thing) and getting back on the excercise wagon, so just worry about getting here and settling in.  People who are your type will gravitate towards you naturally, and none of us are gonna force a bong or bottle to your mouth and make you partake.
:roll:
Kamikawa Amanda

NSboarderchic
July 10th, 2004, 04:09
Thanks Amanda! That actually answered a lot of questions I had.

Paper
July 13th, 2004, 10:32
If anyone has any questions about cycling in Hokkaido, you can direct them to me if you like

Excellent post. I have a question. :)

I do a bit of road cycling, which is really just riding on the sidewalks and the paved side roads. What usually happens is I'm riding on the sidewalk along a nice road with an abundance of traffic of the big variety (semis), and then, all of the sudden, the sidewalk stops. What the heck am I supposed to do?

Going on the farthest edge of the pavement makes me feel like a semi is going to smack off my bike handle, as well as my arm and leg. The only option I have is to go back and hopefully find a side road that will take me around the non-sidewalked area (which is usually only a small distance anyway..). Is that the only answer?

I used to, on rare occasions, make a mad dash while there's a lull in traffic, if I could see the sidewalk start up again further ahead. Invariably, a car would come by and serve a bit into the other lane as it went around me (even if it didn't have to). I don't want to imagine what would happen if there was a semi going the other direction at twice the speed limit. I stopped doing that.



On another note, in case I haven't made myself clear in my previous posts, I don't think _everyone_ is a bunch of booze hounds. Darn this internet and its lack of showing tone.