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Thread: Recontract?

  1. #1
    Member Cake's Avatar
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    Default Recontract?

    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?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.
    Last edited by mothy; November 4th, 2014 at 15:43.
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  3. #3
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    The more time you spend here, the fewer new things there will be to distract yourself with. Something to keep in mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  4. #4
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.

  6. #6
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.

  7. #7
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    The settled in problem comes from people believing that shit that you can't travel and listening to excuses. Just do it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    It's really not.
    550127-dan-brizzi-selina-knight-and-kids.jpg

    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.
    Last edited by greyjoy; November 4th, 2014 at 19:39.

  9. #9
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  10. #10
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    What? Spoons?

    ... What?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    pm me for more info

  12. #12
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    Oh, hey Roflcopter.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Old Snow wouldn't have said that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are like the secret boss battle they only advertised back when the game was being developed.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Recontract?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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.
    13,000 posts and doesn't do O-ramas

  14. #14
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by pumarito View Post
    Exactly. Nobody wants to be identified as a sex tourist, at least 25 year olds can hide that.
    word
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  15. #15
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.

  16. #16
    Senior Member kurisu's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cake View Post
    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.
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  17. #17
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.

  19. #19
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    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.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  20. #20
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recontract?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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?

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