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Thread: I don't want to leave but...

  1. #1
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    Default I don't want to leave but...

    Hey everyone!
    I'm having trouble with the other JETs in my city. They have all formed a clique and have excluded me from everything. They constantly post photos and things online of things they've all done and places they've all gone as a group but they never ask me to join. I have no idea why they have shunned me. Even when I try to plan something to do and invite everyone to come along, no one does. It's gotten to the point where I can feel myself starting to become depressed and have recently had thoughts about not recontracting because I feel so lonely and outcast. I don't know what else to do. It's a rather small inaka town and any other JET lives over an hour away by car. I know I can always go do things by myself but where's the fun in that? I'm pretty use to being on my own but living in a foreign country with so much to do but no one to do it with is really starting to wear me down. I really don't want to go home but one of the reasons I was so excited to come to Japan was the opportunity to meet new friends, travel around, and make amazing memories but now its starting to seem like that will never happen. Has anyone else had this happen to them? What should I do?
    Any advice would be great and much appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Would you be able to give us a brief description of yourself and maybe your situation a bit more? Is there something about yourself that would make someone distance themselves from you? Really try to be objective with your self reflection. Unless the problem is just that they're all close to each other and that you're just too far away from them, then the only way you'll be friends with the JETs in your city is to find the root of as to why they would avoid your company.

    That aside, why does it seem like you've only limited yourself to being friends with JETs? If I were to give any sort of advice without considering any of your circumstances, I'd advise you to just give it time and roll with it. With time you should be able to learn more Japanese and befriend someone in your vicinity, such as a coworker. With time you can save up some money and visit a nearby city and meet some friends somehow. Maybe you might come into contact with the new batch of JETs if that's all you care about. But for the moment I'd recommend just focusing on yourself, like taking up hobbies in your spare time to make you more interesting and approachable. If you're not flexible and just think 'what's wrong with them, why won't they want to hang out with me?' or not willing to change, your situation isn't going to change and the best solution is to just go back home if you're so cripling lonely. Otherwise apply for another ALT position with a company that's willing to place you somewhere with more people and start from scratch.

  3. #3
    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Teddy's right. As the old adage goes "If it smells like shit everywhere you go, you should first check beneath your shoes."

    A few behaviours that can be off putting to other JETs (as I have seen people get isolated for these reasons in the past) are:

    -Being unnecessarily cheap (ie. refusing to pay for nomi/tabehodai bc you dont drink or are a vegetarian. That's a sure way to ensure you wont get invited to dinners or karaoke)
    -Being super loud and opinionated. Also, not having good manners towards Japanese people when out and about can be off-putting as it reflects badly on all of us. I know a few JETs who assume Japanese people can't understand them at all and after a few drinks will start (loudly) saying things like "I hate when Japanese people .....*insert idiotic microagression here*". Even if Japanese people cant understand exactly what youre criticizing, they can still understand the first part and its fucking rude.
    -Being too conservative. The new breed of JETs tend to be pretty liberal and don't wanna hear why you think BLM is a stupid movement.
    -Not wearing deodorant. THIS. IS. A. PROBLEM.
    -Being an emotional wreck. Some JETs take their work problems home with them and nobody likes the person who ends up sobbing in a corner bc of something their JTE said two weeks ago.
    -Being too dependant on others. Not having a car, I've learned to take buses everywhere I need to go. It's annoying to be the person always demanding rides and favors from others.

    Now, if you have read all that, and absolutely none of them apply to you, I am so sorry you are surrounded by JETs with the emotional maturity of middle school girls. Please feel free to message me and be my friend. I too also live an hour away by boat from any of the other JET, so I can understand your geographic isolation. I'm sorry if this post came off as rude in away way, and I sincerely hope you can find a solution to your problem!
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

  4. #4
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    JETs are a bunch of wankers, go make friends with normal people instead.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  5. #5

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by OatsCurrySummer View Post
    The new breed of JETs tend to be pretty liberal
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    JETs are a bunch of wankers
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    It could happen. 1/100.

  6. #6
    Looking for some chaw acpc2203's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by OatsCurrySummer View Post
    -Not wearing deodorant. THIS. IS. A. PROBLEM.
    Wow someone hates the French.

  7. #7
    Formerly the Hot One OatsCurrySummer's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by acpc2203 View Post
    Wow someone hates the French.
    I had to learn their stupid language for eight years, I can hate them as much as a please.

    (I don't know a lick of French, mind you. French education in Canada is as much of a sham as English education in Japan)
    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    That's the best thing about having books on your phone etc. You can read without having to be self-conscious of what you're reading
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    We're in a country where salarymen read doraemon on the train, I wouldn't worry either way.

  8. #8

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by OatsCurrySummer View Post
    Teddy's right. As the old adage goes "If it smells like shit everywhere you go, you should first check beneath your shoes."

    A few behaviours that can be off putting to other JETs (as I have seen people get isolated for these reasons in the past) are:

    -Being unnecessarily cheap (ie. refusing to pay for nomi/tabehodai bc you dont drink or are a vegetarian. That's a sure way to ensure you wont get invited to dinners or karaoke)
    -Being super loud and opinionated. Also, not having good manners towards Japanese people when out and about can be off-putting as it reflects badly on all of us. I know a few JETs who assume Japanese people can't understand them at all and after a few drinks will start (loudly) saying things like "I hate when Japanese people .....*insert idiotic microagression here*". Even if Japanese people cant understand exactly what youre criticizing, they can still understand the first part and its fucking rude.
    -Being too conservative. The new breed of JETs tend to be pretty liberal and don't wanna hear why you think BLM is a stupid movement.
    -Not wearing deodorant. THIS. IS. A. PROBLEM.
    -Being an emotional wreck. Some JETs take their work problems home with them and nobody likes the person who ends up sobbing in a corner bc of something their JTE said two weeks ago.
    -Being too dependant on others. Not having a car, I've learned to take buses everywhere I need to go. It's annoying to be the person always demanding rides and favors from others.

    Now, if you have read all that, and absolutely none of them apply to you, I am so sorry you are surrounded by JETs with the emotional maturity of middle school girls. Please feel free to message me and be my friend. I too also live an hour away by boat from any of the other JET, so I can understand your geographic isolation. I'm sorry if this post came off as rude in away way, and I sincerely hope you can find a solution to your problem!
    That's a solid list of horrible Jet traits but really describes the popular majority rather than the excluded minority. Being cheap, overly opinionated, emotionally damaged and insulting to the locals is actually a good way to find common ground with Jets.

    This might just be fallout from the high school mentality that many seem to revert to as soon as they arrive. Excluding others and having someone to bitch about makes them feel more secure about themselves and their place in the group.

  9. #9
    Professional Fun Killer hypatia's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    That really sucks. The posts above about introspection/the general shittiness of JETs are not wrong, however, I wanted to share an anecdote about an acquaintance of mine that had this same situation.

    He was placed somewhere in the Inaka in Shikoku. Basically the "leader" of the clique of the few JETs in his area decided they didn't like him and they were all being assholes and telling him things like he should fall asleep while driving (i.e. kill himself) or that he should go to the vet instead of a normal clinic in addition to the isolating behaviors you mentioned. He was feeling pretty miserable and ultimately decided not to recontract because of it. Of course, after he decided not to recontract the lead instigator flyjined in April because they hated being in Japan (somehow not surprisingly). Ultimately he got a job working at a private school in Hiroshima and is much happier.

    So, if the problem isn't you and you legitimately just got stuck with shitty people, sometimes moving to greener pastures is the better way to go.
    Last edited by hypatia; December 9th, 2016 at 22:00.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Really if the case you report is true, getting the other guy fired by reporting him for harassment is also an option. Japan isn't a third world country, people. You have some rights as a worker here. Learn them.

  11. #11

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    After reading countless threads and hearing about other people's experiences on youtube, the general consensus is that teaching in Japan is what you make of it. So when you treat the JET program as some sort of Contiki tour, even though you possibly aren't very social to begin with since you mentioned that you're used to being alone, you're probably not going to have a good time. Having the mindset that being a part of something entitles you to be friends with someone or that they're obligated to be friends with you is misguided. We all have the choice whether or not you want to be associated with someone or not in our personal lives. Of course there might be one individual in that group who probably doesn't really enjoy your company and influenced the others to exclude you, but ultimately it's their choice. They're not there to indulge your personal fantasy if they don't enjoy your company. Personally I've never once thought about making friends with other JETs, it was never a deciding factor to join the JET program or teach in Japan. Actually after seeing all the vloggers on youtube, there are only a handful of people who I think would be fun to hang out with and all the rest I'd want to avoid entirely. I'm highly likely to not have anything in common with someone that was the president of a chess club and also calls himself ninjagaijin, nor the otaku who was in my Japanese classes in uni who either shouted out the answer or put his hand up so high that his ass was hovering his seat cause he learnt that phrase from an anime, although he was wrong a lot of the time. Am I supposed to be friends with them cause they're fellow JETs? Am I supposed to hang out with them anyway out of pity? No way in hell. The reason why is cause I'm not there to babysit and there are millions of opportunities to meet other people. So move on from the thought of hanging out with them, make the effort to meet new people or make friends with the people around you. If no one identifies with you in Japan either change your personality/behaviour/appearance or go back home where you have people who identify with you. I believe it's as simple as that. If you thought there was an easy solution where you yourself aren't the problem and making some kind of gesture will make people who obviously want to do their own thing excluding you want to suddenly include you, then you're probably in denial. Seeing how she hasn't logged back in to reply, she probably is.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Saying something is what you make of it is a douchey way to say something sucks.

    So I agree. JET is what you make of it.

  13. #13
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    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.

  14. #14

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Teddy View Post
    Personally I've never once thought about making friends with other JETs, it was never a deciding factor to join the JET program or teach in Japan.
    Your age, attitude and naivety all suggest that you won't ever have to worry about befriending "other" Jets anyway. I wouldn't sweat it.

  15. #15
    Member Torinn88's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    I really don't want to go home but one of the reasons I was so excited to come to Japan was the opportunity to meet new friends, travel around, and make amazing memories but now its starting to seem like that will never happen. Has anyone else had this happen to them? What should I do?
    Any advice would be great and much appreciated! Thanks!
    Use this as an opportunity to make friends with locals, not the ALTs. Locals will always be there, but an ALT may up and leave at any moment and then you're back to square one.

    Some places to meet people:
    - Go to community Japanese, Chinese, or Korean lessons. Eventually you'll get to know them well enough to maybe recommend going to / get invited to a restaurant as a group (especially those New Years, Obon, Golden Week parties).
    - Doing volunteer work in/around your town. Not only will this look good for your school/BOE, you'll make a name for yourself, even if you can't express yourself at all.
    - Meetup.com
    - Japan-guide.com, italki.com, hi-native, Hello-talk apps. Use these to search for people within your area for language exchange/friendship.
    - Your school offices. Get chummy with the Japanese staff, and see if you can't circumvent the ALTs that may/may not be excluding you.

    Side-note: Try to think on why they might exclude you as other have pointed out. Additionally, if people can sense you're really depressed/on the fence of renewing they might see you as a lost cause.

    How long have you been at that school and how long have they been there? If you're fresh off the boat they may be apprehensive of dealing with newbies who may go home soon. If they are FoB, maybe they feel closer together because they came together and probably got to know each other in orientation.

  16. #16
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by IowaGirl51 View Post
    I'm having trouble with the other JETs in my city.
    Screw 'em.

    Quote Originally Posted by OatsCurrySummer View Post
    Also, not having good manners towards Japanese people
    Frequent boner many foreigners pop

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    JETs are a bunch of wankers, go make friends with normal people instead.
    Yeah. Why move half way around the world to make friends with people who moved from the same place?

    Quote Originally Posted by mothy View Post
    So I agree. JET is what you make of it.
    New mothy very agreeable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Torinn88 View Post
    Use this as an opportunity to make friends with locals, not the ALTs.
    Like... a stated goal of the JET Program.
    車庫 B1F

  17. #17
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    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    Quote Originally Posted by IowaGirl51 View Post
    Hey everyone!
    I'm having trouble with the other JETs in my city. They have all formed a clique and have excluded me from everything. They constantly post photos and things online of things they've all done and places they've all gone as a group but they never ask me to join. I have no idea why they have shunned me. Even when I try to plan something to do and invite everyone to come along, no one does. It's gotten to the point where I can feel myself starting to become depressed and have recently had thoughts about not recontracting because I feel so lonely and outcast. I don't know what else to do. It's a rather small inaka town and any other JET lives over an hour away by car. I know I can always go do things by myself but where's the fun in that? I'm pretty use to being on my own but living in a foreign country with so much to do but no one to do it with is really starting to wear me down. I really don't want to go home but one of the reasons I was so excited to come to Japan was the opportunity to meet new friends, travel around, and make amazing memories but now its starting to seem like that will never happen. Has anyone else had this happen to them? What should I do?
    Any advice would be great and much appreciated! Thanks!
    If I was you, I would embrace not being part of the clique. By keeping themselves in their own little group, they are missing the whole point of the JET Programme! What I recommend, like others have suggested, take up a hobby that will help you meet and befriend locals and also foreigners teaching at other language schools (if any in your town?). A few I could suggest are:

    - Gym: The universal language, meet new people and get fit. If Japan is anything like China and Thailand were for me, the locals love coming up and getting to know you in the gym and form friendships that way. Also foreigners work out too.
    - Clubs: Karate? running clubs? Ski clubs?
    - Couchsurfing: I have never used it, but I do have friends that do. They say everyday there is always some social get together or gathering going on (obviously depends on the size of your town etc)
    - Japanese Language classes: Probably more likely to meet foreigners than locals in these.
    - Dare I say it......Tinder......

    Those hobbies can keep you occupied whilst in a working routine, then for school holidays I am sure there is a JET Programme Facebook group? where you can reach out to other JETs in other towns, cities and prefectures that are not in school girl cliques and arrange to travel with them over the holidays.

    Either way hope it all works out for you.

  18. #18

    Default Re: I don't want to leave but...

    If you have thought long and hard and objectively can't think of any major reason you could have put people off you (like the ones listed above), it could simply be because of your location.

    I was also pretty out there far away from most other JETs. Aside from one other town near me that had a few JETs, most of whom had their own SOs/lives established, I was kind of on my own with the rest of the JETs concentrated on the other side of the prefecture. Luckily I ended up being friends with my successor as he stayed in Japan and in the area, and so those first few months when I would have otherwise been making an effort to meet up with other JETs more I kind of had my own group, and so I ended up out of it.

    Did you make a concerted effort at the beginning to be included? If not, as harsh as it sounds, they may simply just forget you are out there.

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