View Poll Results: JET or potentially better paying job?

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Thread: stuck between a cushy job and JET =O

  1. #1
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    Default stuck between a cushy job and JET =O

    uoh, so last year, JET seemed peachy - great way to increase skills, get teaching experience, etc. - so applied and now on the short-list.

    This year, short-list, but now boss at the job wants to see what he can do to really bump up my pay (to $70k+), but no guarentees right now because even he can't predict the future. But his word means he will really, really try, so maybe even a 50/50 chance of this, if not better.

    That said, for those that have gone, and everyone else reading, what do you think? Go or no go? Is JET worth the $$, esp. if I can go to Japan on vacations instead? Strategic and tactical opinions from everyone re: the best ways to proceed would be appreciated, esp. given the three months left to departure, and it would be best to tell one or the other ASAP as a courtesy.

  2. #2
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    There are many good things about JET in terms of life experience.

    That said, the chance for promotion into a career you want is not to be sniffed at.

    I would go for the JOB if it is a real possibility.

    KN
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  3. #3
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    I say don't go. If you're not 100% sure you want to go, then don't go with JET, there are a LOT of people on the alternates list who want to go a whole lot more than a lot of the people who got sort listed and would gladly take your spot in a second. But if you really can't decide, just flip a coin and leave it up to chance.
    Everything i say is a lie....except that.....and that...and that..and that..and that, and that, and that, and that....... and that.....

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    Is the job in a field that you absolutely love? Or is the major temptation the money? If you love the field, want to do it the rest of your life, stay with the job. Otherwise, do JET. You're only young once, and you have your whole life ahead of you to get stuck in a boring job, even if it does pay quite nicely. Live it up while you can. Enjoy yourself. Watch Dead Poets Society.

  5. #5
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    As an alternate, I say don't go and give some well deserving alternates a chance.

    Someone like me who wants to go for the experience not necessarily the money are the right candidates in my mind. If I offended anybody, I'm sorry but that is how I feel about it.

  6. #6
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    Another way to look at it: ask yourself how you'd feel if you turned down JET yet still did not get a raise. Are you going to be kicking yourself, or can you live with that?

    I don't think it's such a bad thing to have second thoughts about JET if the only thing that's causing you to second guess youself is $$. We'd all pass up JET for the right price, even some of these alternates chomping at the bit, so to speak. 70k sounds about right to me, especially if it were in a field I really enjoyed.

    By the way, if you do love the field, you could also consider taking a long-term leave of absence (if that's possible at your place of employment). This is what I've decided to do. The down side is that I will only be able to do JET for one year. The up side is that I won't have post-JET stress about finding a job. I guess it's a fair trade.

  7. #7
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    I agree with the are you going to regret not coming to japan and then not getting the raise. be award though that unless they will hold your job for you and let you have a year in Japan, Jet isn't going to get u that promotion and when u go back you'll be just where you were before or worse off.

    If comfort in a satisfying career is important then don't come on JET. many times it's not satisfying. but however it's always good to challenge yourself!
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: stuck between a cushy job and JET =O

    Quote Originally Posted by adorable
    uoh, so last year, JET seemed peachy - great way to increase skills, get teaching experience, etc. - so applied and now on the short-list.

    This year, short-list, but now boss at the job wants to see what he can do to really bump up my pay (to $70k+), but no guarentees right now because even he can't predict the future. But his word means he will really, really try, so maybe even a 50/50 chance of this, if not better.

    That said, for those that have gone, and everyone else reading, what do you think? Go or no go? Is JET worth the $$, esp. if I can go to Japan on vacations instead? Strategic and tactical opinions from everyone re: the best ways to proceed would be appreciated, esp. given the three months left to departure, and it would be best to tell one or the other ASAP as a courtesy.
    Once you have a nice job...you'll never have the opportunity to travel or live overseas for the same length of time.

    If your boss really appreciates you, there will be a job open when you come back.

    My vote...

    JET

  9. #9
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    Default Re: stuck between a cushy job and JET =O

    Quote Originally Posted by pegcityone

    Once you have a nice job...you'll never have the opportunity to travel or live overseas for the same length of time.
    If you're regional manager of a supermarket or something but there are plenty of "nice" jobs that allow you the opportunity to live abroad for a number of years.

    Take the job, leave JET to the drop outs and losers

  10. #10
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    I say take the job. As an alternate, I think that if you're not that excited, you should give the opportunity to someone who is. But that's my own self-interest.

    I would also say to keep the job, because JET is not necessarily the once in a lifetime opportunity that many people believe it to be. There are tons of people here and on BD who bitch constantly about how they don't really do anything, live somewhere they hate, and are generally unhappy. I'm sure that most of these people were extremely excited and enthusiastic about JET on their way in-- if you're not, how miserable is your life going to be if you get stuck in inaka in a crappy situation, and you pass up a solid, well-paying job? There's lots of ways to get to Japan, and JET is one of them. If you're excited about it, and ready to give it your all, then ignore me, and go for it. But if you have strong doubts before you go, then I would bet that you would be unhappy at JET once you get here.

    I know its a tough decision, and good luck with it--but ultimately I would look at where you want to be in 5 years. Which one (JET or the Job) is more likely to get you where you want? Either way, I hope you're happy with your decision!

  11. #11
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    This isn't a fair fight on papar between the job you have and JET. Are there extenuating circumstances that make you want to leave your job? Or is it simply the money that makes your job cushy?

    On JET, you may end up with a kickass placement, or you may not. You could get a lot of teaching experience (if thats where your interests lie) or you may not.

    At your job, do you like who you work with and what you do? If you leave this job, can you come back? Will they wait for you?

    Honestly, if you are doing something you like and want to stay with, stay with it.

    If you are burnt on your job and are only staying for the money.. well.. there are deeper problems there..
    It is a solidly built word of just four letters, bracketed by rock-hard consonants. It ... explodes into space from a gate formed by the upper incisors and the lower lip. Then it slams to a dramatic glottal cough.

  12. #12
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    I say take JET if you feel its something you can benefit from, either financially or (more importantly) as a person. Someone else has already mentioned the possibility that once you settle into that job you are much less likely to ever have a chance to experience what you will experience with JET.

    Furthermore, you won't be any less qualified to do what you're doing now after JET. While your specific position may not be available when you come back, I imagine you would still have a good chance of getting a similar position with similar pay with your current employer or with another. And, you would have added a year of huge life experience you would never get in a year of staying in that job. Perhaps in that time you would even learn that you are called to another vocation.

    That being said, we all are obviously completely unacquainted with the details of your situation, and therefore not qualified to make definite conclusions as to what you should do. To me, it seems you could spend a year on JET and not be too hard pressed to find a job paying $70k in the states when you come back.

    Beware of doing anything just for the money!

  13. #13
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    Default more background info

    Good points! I especially like the reasoning "don't go if you don't really want it! give it to another alt alt!"

    ---

    Surprisingly, both are strong and have been strong interests forever. Job is in computers, so I've been playing with them in the wee hours, getting up just to tweak them from when I was little. JET puts me in Japan, a country I've been interested in since I saw anime when I was little.

    JET:

    Already been to Japan twice on vacation, so I know what long term living there entails (heck, already been there enough weeks once, I started bemoaning the fact I couldn't buy a new clothes washer for the ryokan I was in just so it would be more convenient to wash clothes every week! And that was next to the fact those condo flyers advertising new ones in the area started looking really juicy!)

    So unlike many, I know what I'm getting myself into either way.

    Teaching & kids, no problem - always been interested in learning, etc. for the longest time. (Yep, I even imagine myself in the 'horror' stories here about bad kids and I'm still smiling and ready to go.) It'll actualy be fun! =O and kids are a peach no matter what. Who cares about holidays when you can teach and teach and teach, plan new lessons during the wee hours, volunteer like mad, etc? Seriously focused here if I go. (think of me as that school kid who's always working a week ahead in problems out of the book by himself in math class, and then has everything prepared days in advance.) We're talkinga bout having kids over

    Crazy hours - been there, done that in my computer job. JET will be a walk in the park vs. the nuttiest hours I've done already.

    Crazy kids & japanese - yawn! next!

    Talking for hours - did I say I talk a lot? next!

    Japanese language - already learned a year, so basics - enough to get me around the locals and chat with them a bit right off the plane. (Personally, I think most JET should have at least a year before they go - it helps a lot in getting to know everyone vs. just being clueless. And bring an electronic japanese dictionary once you know enough to find unknown words quickly.) Going is actually a great way to learn more Japanese like a native =)

    Culture - And have been studying and reading about the culture on my own forever, so many things are 'natural' not surprising (but I'd still prefer a nice hot shower to a nice hot bath anyday!). Going is yet another way to learn to be Japanese like a native =)
    But, plus is knowing how the seasons and people change over the full year in Japan - something you can't pick up anywhere else - as well as the cultural context of jokes, etc.

    Food - already tried just about everything Japanese, so no surprises here. (and I already know that the stuff they have in Japan, yep, tastes better =( heck, even the cheap-ass Yoshinoya beef bowls taste better there!)
    Can't say that about some of the toothpaste they have however And yeah for corn butter ramen! =) oooishiii!

    Culture shock - already been there on vacation. Second time around, it was like 'boring' adjusting to Japan - like coming back to a home away from home rather than a shiny new city never been to before! It really was like, oh, all those poor travellers looking at the railway maps, trying to figure out how everything works ... oh well, automatically drop a few coins into the ticket machine, grab and go. Even got into the Japanese habit of 'zoning' out on a train =O and realizing the first stop in the visit is the bathroom, the second is the money change, and the third most important is the cell phone rental shop at the airport =O =O

    Photobug - Trips! - I'm sure school or vacation time will get me on a trip or two, and those lovely trips = lots of photo opportunities for this shutter bug! Probably will have to buy another hard drive just to put all of the photos I take during the year =] And pretty countrysides as well - drop dead gorgeous panoramics, and yes! getting up for school early = break of dawn gorgeous landscape shots on the way to school!!! Early light, early light!

    Medicine and illness - nothing like Kaigen-Ace cold medicine to get you going. SERIOUSLY! this stuff works well, acts fast, doesn't give you too much sleepy-head, and IMO, works better than the usual contax, niquil and other common cold medicines in the US. I'm still fearing the day I run out of it here =o Anyways, for those going, if you get a really bad cold/flu, it's worth trying - really keeps the symptoms in check w/o making your day seem like a walk through hell while you recover.

    Okay, probably gone over the blab limit already - but you get it - more than ready to go, more than willing to teach like mad, already culture shocked and game for yucky ume (blah, it's still one of the icky foods), and you know you're ready when you've already started thinking, before you go, "How the heck can I get all of the teaching lessons and plans from the home room teacher, the former JET, and school before I arrive so I can start planning my lessons and prepare for that before I arrive in Tokyo? I mean shoot, gonna sit on a plane for 13 hours watching TV? No way!" and "Hmmm, maybe I should hold after hours lessons for the kids that want more lessons and really want to accelerate?"

    I'm probably an exception - rare to find someone who's already experienced Japan, knows what he's getting into, and itching to get a head start on teaching.
    (Loved my best teachers in school, so that's why I like teaching - loved learning.)
    And free as a bird, so no SO's to worry about on dependent status.

    ---

    JOB:
    Last year, it was $39k vs. JET $36k-ish per year after tax. So a tie basically when the $3k difference = gas to feed my automobile here. Money-wise, JET wasn't going to make a difference, and I could go either way. This year, we're talking about possibly bumping up to $70k+ (and higher over the years) this year pre tax. But that's maybe a 50/50 chance because nothing's in writing, but boss is really, really pushing for it to go through with the higher ups. Add to that, now he knows I can go, and even adds "Maybe get you a MBA while you work and we'll adjust the work schedule if you stay?" =O

    People - known them for years, a total peach. Nothing at all like the horror stories some JET placements have. Always going out for outings and meals after work. (and movies! MI3 next friday!) Fun!

    Location - impossibly close to home, just a few miles away, not even a commute.

    Lifestyle - And honestly, living in the USA is usually a big step up from what you'll have in Japan (unless you've got a great placement in a modern apartment with modern everything) - facilities, rooms, heating/cooling, ATM to buy everything, etc - just far, far more convenient in the USA vs. Japan. And after visiting 15+ countries, I can say for sure, I like the USA more (if I had to pick a country to live in forever and ever vs. visiting or having a summer/second home in). Honestly, it's just far easier to grab a Coke, jump in the car, crank up the volume, blast to the peeps, and check out the latest flicks, do the beach scene, etc. vs. Japan (where you're either far from everything, or gotta wait in huge city lines for everything).

    Culture - might I add, money gets you far here. You can tip an extra $100 and you can usually get it your way anyday. Want mayo on the fries? Sure, no problem (wierdo!, but not that I do - just an example)! Want Japanese lessons on the beach? Sure! Can you take my car and fill it up with gas for me? Make that a double-double with extra cheese, hold the pickles, add extra onions, easy ketchup, etc. Sure! Try "Corn Butter Ramen, extra butter, more corn, and a few more slices of beef" and you'll get more stares and dame! in Japan (but this also depends on the location and owner - smaller shops okay, bigger city ones, forget it unless they know you). Money is a big leverage here and it works easier - ATM just about anything, anywhere (vs. pocketful of cash in Japan, and then the tedious trips to the bank/post office for withdrawls). Not just that, it =hurts= when you buy a $11 Kentucky Fried Chicken meal with chicken smaller than the bisquit, and then you have to buy two meals just to fill full! (not to mention the sodas are like kid's size and in two or three slurps it'll be gone!)

    (Then again, if you even try to ask for Ketchup, more than a single pack, in Berlin, those girls really, really, really wonder what's up with the crazy standing in front of them. Like hello? don't you know nobody puts ketchup on fries!)

    Add to that - gaijin factor. If you are looking for an example, try Tokyo Station and hailing a cab with a backpack after 9pm. Honestly, you'd be surprised how many cabbies suddenly 1) can't understand you (yeah, not even the map you're waving), 2) suddenly are off duty 3) won't even open the door for you. (yes, you'll get that here as well, but I don't think it's as often or as blatent - discrimination happens hard and fast in Japan, easier to encounter in bigger cities. You'll know what I mean when you get that cold, hard stare.)

    Job - playing with computers, buying the latest goodies, surfing the net, okay, so going to BestBuy to research stuff is nowhere close to Yodabashi Akiba, but it's like being in playschool with computers all year round. =] (and honestly, I still like BicCamera Marunouchi better - "(jingle in store) biku biku biku kamura") You =know= I love computers when I'm singing that silly jingle going into a Bic Camera shop =O (nerd alert!!) Even worse when I can explain, spec, and tell you exactly how to use each and every one of the bazillion gadgets, items, computer parts, etc. in the whole dang store (Yodabashi Akiba that is). (serious nerd alert!! and we're talking all the way down to the parts here, like oh, the difference between the Epson Piezo print head and the Canon Bubblejet and the HP Thermal are as follows.....)

    (For those that need to know, Piezo vibrates a crystal that pushes ink out the nozzle w/o applying heat, Bubblejet and HP use similar thermal heating methods to create a bubble to push ink out the nozzle, but the location of the bubble making is different.)

    Toughest questions I can get are like, oh, dear, should I buy that $$ Canon 5D or the $$$ Canon 1Ds Mk II camera, beccause like I really can't decide between the two top of the line cameras. So I get to research and come back with a reply. Much like personal shopping =]

    Hours - a total peach. We're talking flex time in at 11am, out at 5pm and life goes on! Flextime to the max! Sometimes, I wonder if there is really a job God! Vacation and sick time like mad, so a month off for vacation isn't hard to pull at all. bonus being that work comes and goes, so it's not always busy. lots of time for two hour lunches.

    ---

    (Hmmm, it took me a long time to think of a NEW reason I hadn't thought of before for going, but just realized - even though I have the peach job of the year, it's all about Me. JET would force me to focus on others, the kids. I am getting closer to a decision....just wonder how much more I'll have to consider...)

    ---

    Side business - But, if I do go, my language teaching educational products side-idea-business will go on the wayside - no more extra money to pay for the artist, translator, printing to get these published. (so no, not a total geek here - already have been creating learning products on the side though they haven't been finished and published yet)

    (you guys want a good way to get picked, come up with some teaching products before you apply!)

    Then again, I could start something in Japan for the year I'm there (won't make ANY money at all while I'm there of course! just the moment I'm off JET =) Already have a great idea in mind! or 2! Hm, actually there are a few really good ones I can get away with! =) =) =)

    (seriously, nothing like a good web page, PayPal, and no bank tracks to worry about when doing online business! Thank goodness my other online business can be done anywhere I've got a post office box even if I go!

    peeps! you do know you can make $ off a webpage, right? look into it!)

    Yummy Panoramics of Japan = sales!

    Future - Possible that I can get a MBA on the job =O =) and enough money in the bank to buy bank~! So it's quite possible another way to go to Japan is the cushy ride - MBA over to Tokyo at a multinational finance/accounting/IT company in a few years. (And dang those bilingual IT jobs are nice in Tokyo! =) Not to mention executive first-class flights so I've heard. Or living next to a nice Bic Camera *o* ) I wonder what most 1-3 year JET alumnis get after?

    But again, just a possibility right now - have to see if I can negotiate for all of this before I make a decision one way or the other (or be forced to by the deadline).

    So really, it's like deciding between a cushy dream job and a great dream vacation (not to say each are that simple or that JET is a vacation, but you know what I mean - I'm the type, maybe workaholic even, that'll say teaching kids for 80 hours a week is a vacation only because it's different from what i've done before and I know I'm in Japan for a short time while having lots of fun. The challenge of teaching well is a big draw, the vacation is the experience of it all.). Not at all like a rock and a hard place. (hm, getting hungry, like a nice burger and corn butter ramen....)

  14. #14
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    Default Re: more background info

    We're talkinga bout having kids over
    Martin Bashir just phoned, he wants to make a documentary about you.

    Your reply was too long to read, but I got the general gist. For me it would come down to this: are you ready to settle down? If so, pursue your job. If you still feel like living an uncertain and carefree life, do JET.

  15. #15
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    :smt009
    blown away...
    you like cash?
    stay away...
    better conditions in the states?
    please stay there...
    wayyyy too long of a story...

  16. #16
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    What is up with your obsession with peaches? :?: If it helps at all with your decision, I believe that there are indeed peaches in Japan.

    I think what it all boils down to is money vs. life in another country. JET certainly won't make you a wealthy man, but it does offer you a chance to experience new things (something that a couple vacations there won't give you) and meet some cool people. But if money and career are more important to you then by all means stay home and stick with the $70K.
    the spiderman is having you for dinner tonight.

  17. #17
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    Default just peachy

    peachy - American slang for nice, very well, perfect, good. Used in the context when you mean life is good and there's nothing wrong with the situation, or if it's actually going to be better than one thought and you wouldn't want to change a thing.

    ---

    Anyways, that's the funny part! Either way, I do win! Go to JET and I'll be poor for a few years, then rich off the Tokyo bilingual IT scene; stay, and I'll be rich soon this year, and be able to jet-set to Tokyo later. Either way, I'll be making $$ later.

    In that sense, perhaps I'm asking something that requires a flip of the coin - like which route would I like the most to the top of Mt. Fuji? all will get me there, but is there any real way to know which has the more satisfying climb up looking back w/o just picking one....or going up twice?

    Or picking between a nice Ferrari and Lamborghini.

    Maybe both if my side-business in language education takes off - maybe I'll be able to combine everything? Living in Japan part of the year, business, money, lifestyle, education, teaching kids, developing language skills, etc.... I'll have to sleep on this some more.

    ---

    Everyone already read: http://allisonthejet.blogspot.com

    I found it during my searches and it's a pretty even-heeled discription on one JET in Japan. All of the things you'll encounter, ups and downs, and the possible experiences you'll find yourself in as a gaijin. Fun to read.

  18. #18

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    age 35
    only a 50/50 chance of 70k USD/38k GBP/8million yen/92 AUD/78 CAD?

    Wow you're really making the big bucks.......

    if you had started in Mcdonolds at 16 by the time you were 35 you could have worked your way up to area manager and been on that amount. If you are going to brag amount your potential salary on the internet at least try and come up with a figure that isnt embarrasing.

  19. #19
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    at the same job that is. I can easily get $20k more elsewhere today, but it'll require 'real' hard work. current job is a cushy one remember? ie. coming in at 10am, yawn, lunch, surf, side business, chat with friends, study Japanese, read books, go home. easy job that pays a lot for doing little so to speak. If I were the motivated A type, when it comes to just money alone, I'd make a lot more by now, but it's more of a enough to be comfy thing for me.

    There are A types, and there's everyone else.....

    In the past, when I've told my friends what I do (vs. what they do) for work, and asked them if they'd leave my job, they all said no -it's such a dream job vs. the stressed out lifestyle they have. It's still true, so unless they're all dumb or 'grass is greener...' types, there are pluses to having an brain-dead-easy, decent/well paying job.

    some people work jobs where they wish they could go golfing during the day... I can...

    Even my sister, who runs a $100k+ year business herself can only give me the pluses and minuses of each, not a clear cut advantage of one choice vs. the other given the situation I have.

    anyways, very good replies from everyone today - it is true that the JET program does make you aware of yourself, and I do see my pluses and minuses as a person better.

    Still, I'm not asking for people to 'hand me a solution', but rather, pluses and minuses and suggestions to I can see better where I should go next. I'm good at what I do, but not brilliant otherwise.

    I do listen to advice, but it does take me time to decide because I always take time to think things through because I'm careful undertaking anything new (after all, I also wouldn't want to disappoint my potential students either). In that way, I'm like the glacial Japanese decision making system - it can take seemingly forever to do so. A clean choice one way or the other would also let me perform to my best -- no nagging doubts or afterthoughts to take energy and time away from my students and lessons, for example.

    (for example, one good tip was to learn a little bit of Japanese before going to Japan - having been there already, it is true - everything from ordering tickets and ramen, order books, ask for directions, to staying at a hotel, finding your way, buying things, etc. all become super-easy once you know about 1 year of college level Japanese. The harder stuff, conversation and "what do you do/like/believe/etc?" questions are tougher and may be out of your reach w/o lots of help from a dictionary, but it is quite easy to make yourself understood to the locals, everyone from the corner pharmacist to the obachan who owns the food store in your area. A very happy situation when you're in the land of Kanji.)

    Anyways, will have to talk to the parents this week to get their advice. We'll see what happens! =)

  20. #20
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    Just one thing: Coming here on holiday is absolutely nothing like doing JET. There is a side to Japan you cannot experience unless you live here. It has its good bits, and its bad bits.

    You're so psycho for Japan, you should definitely come and find out the truth for yourself. However, JET might not be the best way. The chances of you living 2 hours from the nearest tech shop are pretty high. You could end up in some remote villiage, with dial-up internet, mukade and old women for company. JET is the flip side to Tokyo, and its well known that JET is mostly a rural program. If what you love about Japan is Akihabara, then JET is probably not worth choosing over a job you like that could well take you to Japan anyway.

    On the other hand, JET could be the only chance you get to explore the non-Akihabara side of Japan, you just need to decide if you want to see "real Japan" enough to damage your career.

    Matt

    PS. Normally JET doesnt damage your career, but turning down a nice job like you are considering will surely be a set-back.
    Mabushiii!!!

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