Page 1 of 14 1234511 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 265

Thread: Shizuoka!

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default Shizuoka!

    Welcome to Shizuoka! You only have the absolute best placement in Japan, so feel blessed.

    I took information from the past two years on Big Daikon and condenced it into one nice little, well, enormous post. You current Shiz folks, feel free to pm me with changes.

    Enjoy and I am looking forward to meeting you and if you have any questions just post them or pm me! I'll meet you soon!

    Useful websites:

    www.shizuokajet.com

    http://www.pref.shizuoka.jp/a_foreig...ish/index.html

    http://www.pref.shizuoka.jp/kikaku/ki-20/english/

    http://www.shizuoka-guide.com/index.asp

    http://www2.wbs.ne.jp/~shizlife/

    General:shizuoka-shi and hamamatsu are the 2 centers of activity in shizuoka-ken, the cities are packed full with jets.

    most of us don't know our successors yet. it may be a while before we do. last year, I didn't get my school info until 2 weeks before departure. there are a lot of new jets coming this year to shiz, more than most years, so it's going to be a bit before they get everything sorted out. many of the jets here stay for 2-3 years, cause it's a convenient ken, at tokyo's backyard, midway to kyoto, with nagoya next door. a lot of those 2-3 years left this year.

    There is Kakegawa Orientation in mid-August that all the newbies have to go to. From what I have heard there are over 70 of you guys coming in. Not as much as the 80 when I came in, but still a lot of people. You get to go to the Asunaro center, stay there for two nights and go to seminars and hang out. It's in the inaka, kinda sorta. You get to know the Shiz people better

    tokyo is very close. 2 hours from Hamamatsu via Bullet Train. 1 hour from Mishima via Bullet Train. About 4-5 from Hamamatsu by local, and about 3 from Mishima by local.

    [Tokyo is] Very accessible; Shizuoka is in a very convenient location for travel across Honshu as it is midway between Kyoto and Tokyo.


    What the hell is going on with ken and shi and all that jazz?:


    Shizuoka-ken is the prefecture. Shizuoka-shi is the city. There's a lot of confusion in the city because of the new classification of "designated city". Even the Japanese bosses don't really know what's happening. If she said Shizuoka city, it would be my *assumption* that you're Shiz BOE. If she said Shizuoka-ken, then I'd assume you were a kencho JET (prefectural JET). But don't quote me on that, I'm just guessing.

    Shizuoka prefecture (ken) is one of the slowest to let people know which city (shi) they are going to be in.
    i found out i was in shizuoka Ken really earlier on but i didnt know what city or school i was going to be in until about 2 weeks the TOA meeting in tokyo.

    Your contract is probably with the prefectural board of education. And so you are most likely going to teach at a prefectural high school. These high schools are spread all over the ken. And most likely, they haven't decided which kencho (prefectural board of education) ALT will go where just yet. (Our BoE hasn't decided yet which Hama BoE ALT is going to which school and which apartment either.) So they can't tell you the city, because they probably don't know yet.

    No probs. If you are at a high school, you will most likely be with only one high school. I don't know of any prefectural ALTs who have two high schools. Though there are some high schools with two ALTs.

    There is a Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education. They deal with the entire ken. So ALTs employed by the Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education teach at Prefectural High Schools. I may be wrong on this one because I am not a kencho (pref. BoE) ALT. Now that I think about it, I think kencho ALTs might be employed by the high school they work at.

    Other JETs, otherwise known as Private Municipals, are employed by a city (aka Municipal) Board of Education. Or, in some circumstances, private schools. For example, Hamamatsu Municipal Board of Education and Shizuoka Municipal Board of Education (not to be mistaken with the Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education) employ ALTs. These ALTs are more likely to be going to junior high schools, as the Municipal Boards of Education have more junior high schools and one or two high schools.


    There are many High Schools in Shizuoka city itself that fall under Prefectural Administration.


    I don't think either municipal of prefectural ALTs get a better deal. You'll get sick of hearing the phrase 'every situation is different' but it really is true. Even in our office people have slightly different deals with contract, rent etc!!

    It really does depend on your school- and they vary. You'll have to wait for your pred to contact you, or until you know the name of your school, and then you can get info straight from the horses mouth.

    As a prefectural JET, yes you can still be placed in a main city, such as Shizuoka. There are loads of High Schools in the city. Equally you could be in a small town.

    The designated city status basically means that the city is separate from the prefecture (especially in terms of JET). So previously an ALT from the inaka could transfer to our office. Now they can't. If they want to move to the city they have to apply for a High School or to Hama BoE.
    From August there'll be a guy in our office basically doing the same job as the co-ordinator in Hama. So he'll act as a helper to our supervisor.

    Hamamatsu BOE:

    Heya to all those coming to Hamamatsu-shi! Welcome! You are coming to a great city. Heya to all those coming to Hamamatsu-shi! I'm a second year JET going on my third. <shameless plug> You might be interested in looking at my website: http://www.melsjetgazette.com. I have a mini-tour up right now if you want a quick look at this great city. </shameless plug>
    But seriously, if you know you are a private municipal ALT and you are going to be working for the Hamamatsu Municipal Board of Education, you'll be one of us. Muwahahaha. And you are coming to a fabulous BoE. There are 18 ALTs, 16 are on JET. We have a fabulous supervisor who is just so beyond fabulous. You'll be working at 2 junior high schools. And if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I'm going to be the new ALT coordinator at the BoE starting late July, right after Group A comes in.
    Yoroshiku.

    If you are Hamamatsu Municipal Board of Ed, you have an apartment set up for you already. I think most of the other Hamamatsu JETs have apartments too. As far as I know anyways...
    And not to freak you out more, but Hamamatsu's population is currently 600,000, but will become 800,000 after the merger in July. A big city in population as well as area. After the merger, Hamamatsu is going to reach aaaaallll the way up into total inaka areas. Urban, suburban and rural all in one huge city.

    As a Hama BoE ALT, you'll have two junior high schools, or maybe the one high school. You'll have an apartment provided for you at a very sweet subsidized rate, no key money, fridge, microwave, TV, futon, washing machine included, at one of the four buildings that ALTs live in. We're all near the center of town, everything is very conviniently located. It's all around a great city.

    There are 18 ALTs in the Hama BoE. 16 are JET and 2 are from a private company. We have 8 JETs leaving and, naturally, we have 8 JETs coming in. Now as to who your predecessor is, you'll have a predecessor at your two junior high schools (or maybe the one high school) and you'll have a predecessor as to whose apartment you're getting. They are rarely ever the same person. You might even be getting my schools because I am leaving my schools and going to work at the BoE office, but you won't be getting my apartment, since I'm still here on JET. To tell the truth, I don't think it has been decided yet which newbie will be going to which school and living in which apartment.

    Confused yet?

    I am not in the Hama BoE office just yet, so I do not know any information about the 8 newbies we are getting. Nothing specific anyways, just that there are 6 guys and 2 girls. (Which makes me happy because we've had a lack of guys. And you're cute too, huh? That's a bonus. ) And 6 Group A and 2 Group B. And that the 2 girls are American and are coming in Group A. I'll know soon enough (ie June) and if you are coming to the BoE, you will be getting a letter from me welcoming you to our fabulous city.

    All that info that I posted about apartments before will apply. No key money. Fridge, microwave, TV, washing machine and futon included. Near the center of town. And all that jazz.

    Our BoE is fantabulous. They are so supportive and nothing near anything that resembles the horror stories that you might find floating around BigDaikon. They rock. No other words for it.

    Hamamatsu has a different way of using its ALTs. I just realized I didn't mention this yet. Those coming into the Hama BoE, don't expect to be doing nothing for this job. You will definitely be working for your money. Hamamatsu decided a few years back to adopt an English conversation program into it's junior high school curriculum. These English conversation classes (Eikaiwa) are run by the ALT and you may or may not have a Japanese Teacher of English (JTE (Welcome to JET, the land of acronyms)) in the classroom with you. You'll have a teacher for sure, that's by law, but no gurantees. I teach 15 classes a week and I plan, prep and run all of them and I have a JTE in two of the 15. And even though I have near fluency in Japanese, I don't use a single word of it. And yet it works.

    Alrighties, days off. We get twenty days of nenkyu and twenty days of byokyu. Pretty fair in my opinion, but there are always people who complain about it.

    Contract-wise, you can take nenkyu whenever you want. In reality though, you need to get your kyoto-sensei (vice principal) at the school you are at for those days to approve. And then you tell our supervisor at the BoE. It's basically a matter of respect. Because our classes are taught by us, we are responsible for what our kids miss when we are gone. And it's just part of Japanese society to leave when you can and not just because you want to. I know I sound uptight about this, but our BoE takes such good care of us. And we've had ALTs take nenkyu because they felt like it before and that reflects very badly on the BoE and the image of having ALTs. It's just not fair to them. Anyways, bottomline, you get 20 days or rather 140 hours of nenkyu. At the end of the JET year, if you are recontracting, you can carry over 6 days worth of nenkyu to add to the new twenty you will get for your next year.

    And no, we are not lucky enough to automatically get the holidays between semesters off. You are totally free to take nenkyu when you don't have classes, but otherwise, you have to show up to your school or the BoE. During the breaks, the BoE normally has a few rooms set aside for us to hang out in. We've always been bored out of our minds or just chatting or some of the more productive ones out of us plan lessons. Some just show up for the morning 4 hours and take the afternoon 3 hours off. The BoE is very flexible about it.

    Byokyu, which I happen to be on right now, is taken when you are sick, obviously. In order to be able to claim byokyu, you need to go see a doctor and get a receipt as proof. I, along with other ALTs , find it ridiculous, because some of us will not take the day off until we are so sick we can't move. If we can't move, how the hell are we supposed to go to the doctor? I'm still not exactly sure how that works out. Everytime I'm sick, I go to the place around the corner from me. He speaks a bit of English and all the ALTs go to him. My own personal experience with him hasn't been all that great (he thinks I'm paranoid, I'll tell you the story later in person), but the BoE needs the receipt to let us have byokyu. Once you get that one day, I think you can stretch it out to three days on that one receipt. I've streched mine out to two before. Still felt sick the next morning that I just phoned up my supervisor and my kyoto and croaked out, "I'm still sick" and stayed home. I don't think byokyu is given in hours so you have to either take the whole day off or a half day with nenkyu. Byokyu can't be used for regular appointments like denists and stuff, but it can be used for things that need emergency attention.

    Since I'm on the subject of doctors, there are a good number of doctors around who speak English, if you can find them. Otherwise, the BoE is next to the Enshu Hospital which can always dig up an English speaker to help. Or I can help you out as well, since I'll be at the BoE. Funny thing with hospitals and big places, they only take first time patients in the morning. It's a bit of a pain in the butt.

    I hope that wasn't confusing.


    Currently, none of us have cars. There is no daily need for them. Lots of us have bikes. The bus system is great. Hamamatsu is a JR station, so access to other cities is also easy. It is actually difficult to find a spot to keep your car as well.

    I have seen the paperwork you have to go through to have a car and it is a pain in the butt. In the end, it might be worth it for you because there are some places that you can't go without a car in Japan. If you like road trips and such, I would say go for it. But the BoE offers little help. In fact, it will probably be me handling the paperwork, translating it and stuff. And if you really want it, sure, but I won't be much of a happy camper. Paperwork is some of the most boring stuff to translate.

    Teaching your own classes. Yes. Um. It means exactly that. How you go about it is your own choice. But the class is yours. Eikaiwa is a class separate from their regular English class. It is not graded. You pick what you want to teach, though there is now a curriculum being built by the BoE (namely, I'm compiling possible lessons under each topic) but what to do is up to you.

    There are varying degrees. I have one extreme where my JTEs at my schools do not tell me what they want me to teach and I teach most of my classes with a teacher who is not an English teacher and I teach no team-teaching classes (regular English classes, more like a normal ALT). There are other ALTs who have their JTEs by their side the whole way.

    But basically, yeah, you are on your own. I teach my classes with zero Japanese, even though my kids know I can speak it, and I have very little problem with it. Same with the other ALTs. If you need help and support, track down the teacher you will be with in the class and make sure they know what you are doing and where you might need help.

    It's not bad at all. I was freaked out when I first heard that I wasn't going to be a human tape recorder and I'd actually have to think, but it's fine. You get used to it. And there are 18 of us at the ALT. We help each other out. There is now a Resource Library at the BoE for ALTs to get ideas and check out lessons and props. The support is fabulous.

    We try. (Not to scare the pants off of you. Though figuring the way eikaiwa works, that might be easy.)

    I'll hit you with brutal truth.

    We try so hard to tell you what to expect in that first month you are here so you will be ready come September. But honestly, the whole jetlag + "Oooh I'm in Japan" feeling + "Who the hell are these people?" + "Ooh, I'm surrounded by Japanese people" just makes it really hard to take in anything you will be told. That goes for Tokyo Orientation and Kakegawa Orientation. (Many people get try to get over this with alcohol.)

    The recontractors will try to tell you stuff after our one or two years of experience and hope you understand. And most likely you will not. By the way, don't feel bad stopping any of us to ask for an explanation of any Japanese terms that come flying out of our mouths. Some of us don't even realize we are using Japanese words.

    And ESID is everywhere.

    You might have teachers who trust you, you might not. You might have English teachers with you, you might not. You might have the sweetest angels, you might get my kids, you might get the hell children. (Although I kinda like teaching problem children; I work better in chaos.) And they might not be shiny bright eager faces. Some of them might, but others will be more or less "So you're the new ALT."

    Back to the preparation for teaching.

    The BoE is currently establishing a curriculum for the eikaiwa program. For each month, you can look up what your kids are learning in their regular English class. And look at some of the past lessons made by fellow ALTs. At first it will be just soaking it all in and testing stuff out in class. After you get more used to teaching, you get used to tweaking lessons to fit. What kind of lessons you work well with, what kind of stuff your classes like.

    The first month or so is difficult. I won't kid you on that. You will be getting used to a new country, a new job, two schools and teaching junior high kids all at the same time. Best way to get through it, ask for help when you need it. I will do my best to make it so you can do your job on your own without my constant support. Not that you can't call me when you need help, but life is so much easier on this job when you learn how to take care of yourself.

    Don't worry. First month of teaching is self introduction and getting the kids to introduce themselves. Start from there. (^_^)

    As hard as it is and as much work as it is, it really is quite satisfying. It is a great BoE. We have a kickass supervisor. My schools have been fabulous to me. I love my kids. It's great.

    And as I am proving, it is hard to shove two years of experience into a neat, concise package that is helpful. You will most likely be getting a long letter from the current coordinator and an add on letter from me soon with the same kind of jam-packed information.

    Eikaiwa classes: Another case of ESID.

    By law, we are not allowed to be in the classrooms by ourselves. It's a matter of responsibility, should anything happen. It rarely does, but still. So in our eikaiwa class, there will be a teacher in the classroom regardless of whether or not they participate in your class....that might be confusing. Let me try again.

    Two types of classes: Eikaiwa and Team Teaching.

    Team Teaching: The typical ALT job.
    Junior high school students have three hours of English every week. The ALT joins the class with the English teacher (JTE) and might assist, might split the responsibilty with the JTE, might be a human tape recorder, or might just be standing there looking pretty. One way or another, team teaching is regular English with a JTE. You may have a load of TT classes, you might have zero.

    Eikaiwa (aka English Conversation): The typical Hama BoE ALT job
    In addition to the three hours of English, some students will have an hour of eikaiwa. (Depending on your school, this might be only one year level or this might be all three.) The planning of the class is 100% your responsibility but teaching might be split. Depending on the teacher you are with, you might be fully on your own teaching or you might be working with the teacher you are with. Some teachers love being in on the fun, some want to slink out the back. As I said before, this teacher might be a JTE and might not. Likewise, the teacher might speak English or might not.

    I hope that made sense.

    BOE Apartments:
    All of you Hama BoE newbies, this is your apartment situation. The Hama BoE ALTs live in one of four apartment buildings.

    Inari Bldg.
    My building. Location wise, it is about 10 minutes walking to the station and 3 minutes walking to the BoE. On a major street. On top of a MiniStop convinience store. The smallest of the apartments, it is a 6 tatami mat sized room (not tatami though, linoleum flooring) and a balcony over looking the street. The rest of the apartment is a hallway from the room to the door. The kitchen-ish area has a sink and one gas range. The toilet and the bathtub are separate rooms. And the washing machine is right next to the front door. It's really small, think dorm room, but it's enough. And you can't beat the location. Four ALTs live in this building. One newbie will be moving in.

    Aquamarine:
    About ten minutes from the station and five minutes from the BoE. Ever so slightly larger than the Inari apartments, there is an actual kitchen area and a room with the washing machine and the bathtub. Toilet is separate. The bedroom is the same size as Inari (6 tatami mat). Flooring is linoleum. And there is a cute balcony. Two ALTs live in this building. One newbie will be moving in.

    Mezon:
    Ten minutes from the station and ten minutes from the BoE. On a major street. Right next to one of the drinking areas of town, Yuraku-gai (aka Happy Street aka Cool Street). Bigger than Inari, smaller than Aquamarine (or in anycase feels like it). Same size bedroom. Same flooring. Bathtub and toilet are in the same area. Next to the washing machine. A small kitchen area. Small balcony. 5 ALTs live here and 3 newbies will be moving in.

    Ekinan Danchi:
    The biggest of the apartments and the oldest. And the farthest away from the station and the BoE. There is a 6-tatami-mat room that actually has tatami, plus a kitchen/ dining room. Plus a bedroom. Toilet. And bathtub and washing machine area. And a balcony. And a balcony. And pigeons. Evil pigeons. Five ALTs live here. Three newbies will be moving in. Whoever is at the Municipal High School will definitely be moving in here.

    All of the apartments come with a refridgerator, microwave, washing machine, TV, mini-closet thing, futon and sheets. You might want to bring a pillow if you don't like having one with beads inside. Or you might want to buy one on the first day you are here. A lot of people can't stand the pillow that is provided for us. I've gotten used to it.

    The rent is about 10,000yen give or take. Normal rent would probably be around 6-80,000 but the BoE subsidizes it for us. No key money needed.

    When the leavers get your info, they will contact you about what they have in the apartment that you might want to buy off of them. And you will work out that kind of stuff with your apartment predecessor directly. The info has not been passed out yet.

    BOE Dress code:
    To a certain degree it is esid, because each school is different. Out for the four junior schools I've been too, one I wouldn't think of wearing anything but my business casuals while another school I've worn my conservative, yet denim, skirt with nice shirt.

    I'll explain what the first months are like, then you can decide what you want to pack.

    First month: August. Humid, hot, hell. Just except that, and you'll be fine. For Tokyo Orientation, you'll need business-ish clothes, but you'll be indoors the whole time at the fabulous Keio Plaza. So don't worry about heat there. Your third day, and I will be repeating this in the letter I send you guys, wear business casual that can breathe. You will be getting on a bus from Tokyo and coming to Shizuoka. And at Shizuoka saying hi to all the supervisors and such. Then from kencho you will walk with all of your luggage to the train station, 10 minutes away, getting on a train to Hamamatsu, and then walking from the station 10 minutes to the BoE, again, with your luggage. Its hot. Make sure you have cotton. I didn't and it was hell. Have good shoes.

    Once you are in Hama, you will be either coming into the BoE or going and sitting at your school for one month. The first few days will be walking around the city applying for your alien registration card and your bank account.

    At school, for starters, wear business casual and check out what the other teachers are wearing. And adjust accordingly. Special occasion days, like the first day of school, you'll need nice clothes. Check with your schools when those are.

    Shoes: I recommend a nice but comfortable pair for to and from work. Then two pairs of slippers, one for each school. Some teachers wear sneakers, others wear indoor sandals. If you wear larger than 28cm shoes, you might want to bring your own. Or send them over. You won't really need them until September, unless you go to your schools in August.

    It'll stay hot for a while. Somewhere around October it will start to chill and then in December it will be cold. Very very cold. Not just me as a SoCal girl and weak, type cold. The Enshu karakaze (the local dry, strong, cold wind) is not to be underestimated. Plus Japanese houses and apartments are made to survive the summers so there is practically no insulation. When this happens. Just pile on the sweaters. The teachers do too.

    Start off business casual and then crank it down as you see fit.

    I think that might have been really disorientated. If you need any clarification, just ask me.

    I'm sorry, but I don't know when you will be contacting your predecessor. As I think I mentioned before, you will be talking to the predecessor of your apartment, not your school, though they will be able to tell you about teaching Eikaiwa classes




    Apartment:

    Hamamatsu BOE:
    My apartment is a dinky little thing. Enough for me, but small. A hallway from the front door that has doors to the bathtub/shower and the toilet and a kitchen-type area to the side, leading to a 6 jyo (6 tatami mat sized) room. And a balcony. That's it. Small, but enough for me. If I had bigger, who knows what I would buy and the hell it would be to move out. I'm scared enough as is.

    The other ALTs at the Hama BoE have about the same except for those in the danchi, they have it sweet, though they are a bit further away from the BoE and center of town. Kitchen and dining room, tatami room, bathroom, washing machine area, and bedroom.

    All of us pay around 10,000 a month for rent. Then add to that, water, gas, electricity, phone, internet, and keitai bills. It adds up to about another 20,000. But half of that is internet and keitai. For those of you in the States, I recommend YahooBB simply because it's high speed internet and the IP phone, that automatically comes with, lets you call the States for 2.5 yen a minute. It's fabulous. Don't know the rates to other countries, sorry!

    So that's the Hama BoE apartment situation. I know of people elsewhere who have two floor places provided for them. I don't think apartments can get smaller than mine, but my apartment is a 3 minute walk from the BoE, a 10 minute walk to the station, and on top of a MiniStop convinience store. Can't complain at all.

    Shizuoka shi:Just adding to the apartment info- for Shizuoka City.

    If you're central, then your apartment will be pretty small (what's called a 1K here). Basically it's just one room, with a small bathroom off to the side. Rent is usually about 60,000yen, some or all of which may be subsidised by your contracting organisation. It's enough for one person; I don't think couples are placed in this kind of accommodation.

    If you live further out of the city, like the Hama ALTs, you get a bigger place for about the same deal.

    If you're in the country, you may get a whole house!! (in teachers' housing).

    So the more central you are, generally the smaller your apartment is.
    It'll be all sorted out for you when you arrive though, and things like the fridge, washing machine, and stove should be included. If your predecessor had to buy some of those things themself then they may charge you.

    My rent is 60,000yen and the BofE pays half that. However, if I moved to a larger apartment with more rent, then the BoE would still only pay 30,000yen. Does that make sense??!!


    My rent is the equivalent of....$50. I get 2 rooms (6 tatami bedroom and 4.5 tatami living room), a decent sized kitchen (for Japan), a full refrigerator (rare in Japan), separate toilet and shower rooms, a balcony, and a view of Mt. Fuji from my living room and bedroom windows. Not too shabby I'd say.

    The reason it's so cheap is because it's not either Shizuoka or Shimizu city. It's inbetween. But I've got the Jusco shopping center next to me, and the nearest train station is a 3 minute walk from my door, so it's a snap to go into Shiz or Shimizu (15 minute ride to downtown Shiz, 5 minute ride to downtown Shimizu). I've very happy with my placement.

    I don't know anyone who has paid key money in Shizuoka. The actual cost of rent varies. A few people have newer apartments and pay about 50,000 yen per month, but most people pay under 20,000 per month and some don't pay anything.

    There isn't any "official" set-up fee. There are some monthly fees. Strange as it may seem, some people do pay a monthly fee for their tatami floors, some pay installments for new kitchens, and most apartment complexes do collect a monthly community fee (about 2,000 yen).

    Your predecessor may be willing to sell you some of their belongings (sofa, tv, bed, etc.) I guess you could consider it an optional set-up fee. It's a nice deal, as getting here and have a furnished apartment makes it stress-free!


    Sports and such:


    Gyms:
    In Shizuoka city there are several nice private gyms spread over the city. You'll have to ask your pred for details about the nearest one.
    Then, by Sumpu Park in the middle of the city, there's the public gym. It has a 25m pool, table tennis room, an open space gym that can be hired for various sports, and a training room which has free weights. It's really cheap there- 300 yen for the pool or training room.

    Schools, as far as I know, don't have gyms with weights or treadmills etc. Kids do after-school sports clubs, which they organise themselves. They usually consist of a warm-up and stretch, drills, and maybe a practice game or two. Joining clubs is a great way to interact with the kids, as they're much more chilled out than in class at this time.
    Usual clubs are: soccer/football, volleyball, track and field/athletics, basketball, badminton, 'soft' tennis, table tennis. Then there are Japanese sports such as judo, kendo and archery.
    In addition to sports clubs, there might be an English club (which you'll certainly be expected to help with), art club, calligraphy club, etc etc.
    Schools also have a 25m pool, which you should be able to use in summer. It's an outdoor one, so you can work on your tan at the same time!!

    Snow Boarding/Skiing
    You can board in Shiz but it's not that good. However...you're not far from Nagano prefecture (I would advise you get a car if you want to make regular trips) and there's wicked skiing and boarding there. Some of the skiing winter olympics were held there, so the black runs are still there. Then there are board parks, with all the jumps and pipes etc. So you can find stuff to suit every level.

    I reckon you should just send all your kit, as the snow season won't start for a while after you get here, and you're going to have enough to carry when you first get here!!!

    Snowboarding... both of us are avid boarders but unfortuately we didn't get any riding in this year... very, very sad about this but we spent a lot of time on beaches and diving so not too bad. Getting to places to ride may present some problems without a car as you'll have to train it which can get expensive. We did just fine this year without a car, and have really enjoyed being without. With that being said, a car is great to head out into the mountains or to get out of town... and to get to some powder. If you're replacing another couple there's a chance you'll have a car offered to you.
    With bringing a board, honestly assess how often you think you'll go. Shipping a board here and back can be a bit pricy (from what I've heard) and the cost to rent isn't too bad (again, what I've heard). You can also get some good deals on equipment here in Japan so it might be a nice excuse to buy a new board,etc.... I know there were a lot of threads on snowboarding in the past, you might find some good info there.

    Yoga:

    I don't think you'll have any problem locating a yoga place if you are in Hamamatsu or Shizuoka cities. There are at least two that I can think of here in Hama.

    As for yoga, if you're in a bigger city (Shiz and Hama) it's easy to find a place. If you're in a smaller city or the inaka it's a little more challenging, especially in terms of transportation. You may want to consider bringing one or two yoga DVDs, espeically if you're not planning on driving here. Mats, blocks and straps are very easy to find here.


    Biking:


    Plenty of places to bike in Shiz. The difficult part is getting to the place you want to bike.

    Didn't do much mountain biking... but think it is probably fairly hard to find... While Shiz has lots of mountains, the ones that arent already built up, tend to be pretty steep... making descents a little hairy... there are lots of good touring routes though...


    Beaches:


    Izu Peninsular also has really good diving and beaches...

    Ummm, well you probably don't want to go swimming in the ocean right next to the sand dunes. It's cold and the current is a bit strong. Although we did decide to play in the water at a Brazilian beach party two years ago. But that was more than a little influenced by the strong drinks.

    Better swimming is over at Bentenjima and other places on Lake Hamana. In Lake Hamana, every once in a while there are jellyfish. But they're not really poisonous. I've only gotten stung when I was at the beach all the way in Wakayama. Mosquitoes are worse.

    I haven't been to the beach since. I have more opportunities going to the rivers. Though you don't want to swim in the Tenryu river because the current will pull you under.

    Anyways, yes there are some critters, but I don't think they are too dangerous.

    Climbing the Fuji:

    My advice would be, that if you're larger than the average Japanese person, you should bring your own hiking/climbing gear. Things like gloves and sleeping bags you can buy here. But things like gortex jackets/pants, and hiking boots, I'd bring with you. It'll also be useful if you're planning to do a fair bit of hiking while you're here. The alps aren't that far, and with a car you could head off every weekend if you wanted to!!
    The last two years the AJET Fuji climb has been really bad weather-wise, with near typhoon conditions. It's the end of the Fuji climbing season, so the weather can be unpredictable. Last year I don't think anyone reached the top, and the year before only 2 or 3 people did. But they certainly didn't get a decent view at sunrise! Of course, you don't have to climb Mt Fuji with AJET, and there are certainly nicer routes up than the Fujinomiya which they've chosen the last 2 years.

    Kencho ALTs:

    so, here is a breakdown of the number of placements in the larger cities/towns as it stands now (many of these positions are high school ALTs, i.e. not BOE, so, if you're still waiting, don't stress out to much about inaka versus city). Shizuoka has about 130 JETs:

    Shizuoka city: 28
    Hamamatsu: 34
    Kakegawa: 5
    Shimizu: 5
    Numazu: 7
    Mishima: 2

    some of the other cities:

    cities near Hamamatsu;

    Tenryu
    Hosoe
    Miyakoda
    Hamakita
    Maisaka (where I live, 10 minutes from Hama)
    Mikkabi
    Toyoda
    Iwata
    Fukuroi

    cities near Kakegawa:
    Mori
    Toyooka
    Kikugawa
    Daito
    Hamaoka

    cities near Shizuoka:
    Shimada
    Kanaya
    Fujieda
    Yaizu
    Oigawa
    Yoshida


    cities near Mishima/Numazu:
    Yoshiwara
    Fuji
    Fujinomiya
    Nagaizumi
    Gotemba
    Susono
    Tagata

    Izu cities:
    Shuzenji
    Toi
    Atami
    Ito (Ito has 5 JETs)
    Shimoda (4 JETs)
    Higashi Izu

    Ok, I can try to answer, first as a prefectural ALT I was sent a welcome package from the Shizuoka Prefecture that had useful info etc, and let me know that they knew I existed. It did not however give me any infomation as to where i would be placed etc.

    I was first contacted by my pred via email, they can only contact you once they have been given your contact details, and that depends on the school office decides to give them to your pred.

    Re: pay

    Pay is on the 21st of the month, unless there's a holiday.

    If I were you I'd bring enough money to tide you over till then. Our office recommends 150,000 (15man). There'll most likely be a lot going on in that first month that you'll want to do.

    re: first paychecks.....when I first arrived in Japan, I didn't get paid until Sept 21st...and I arrived Aug 4th. I brought a lot of money with me, but I ultimately had to borrow from my friend. When I did get paid, it was a huge payment for both August and September's paychecks. They said they couldn't start the paperwork to pay me until I had my gaijin card, which took several weeks to process. I asked my predecessor about it and she said it was the same situation for her. She had to borrow money from friends until she was paid in Sept. That was back before my city merged with Shiz City, so hopefully the process will be faster for my successor.

    Anyways, I guess my point is to bring extra money with you. Not only might it take a while for you to get paid, but also, like bonkyubon said, there's a lot of events and activities and festivals happening in August when you guys arrive, and you'll find yourself with lots of opportunities to spend money when you first get here. Mainly social events, which are optional, but in my opinion are a good idea to go to in the beginning just to get to know people.

    Dress code (women):

    At school I dress rather conservatively. If I ever wear a sleeveless blouse I always wear a cardigan or something over it. I made the mistake of wearing a sleeveless top when I was a 1st year, and one of the JTEs had to tell me that it's "dame" to show my shoulders to the students in class. It's damn hot here in the summer, so in the teachers room I go sleeveless, and when I have class I put on something to cover my shoulders. But I gotta say, since then there was another female teacher who on a couple of occasions wore a sleeveless top to work. And she had a lot of clout in my school. Yay! Unfortunately, she was transferred last March. (And I don't *think* it had anything to do with it. )

    When dressing for work, I just make sure my skirts are knee length or lower, and my tops aren't too low cut, and my shoulders don't show, and never wear denim. But ESID...dress conservatively for the first few days and observe how the other female teachers dress and copy them.

    Oh, and I work in a conservative high school with a lot of old traditionalists. I know some ALTs who are allowed to wear jeans to work, and elementary school ALTs wear whatever they want. Actually, they're encouraged NOT to wear anything too nice because the kids will just ruin their clothes.

    In terms of clothes, its nearly been a year here and I`m starting an experiment to see how far I can push it in terms of what I can wear to school! Never jeans, I also never wear pantyhose or anything, I do wear sleveless shirts, but not the strappy sexy kind. I wear a lot of comfy cotton fitted tees, but it took me a long time to realise that because they were V neck, when I lean over to check the kids work I give the poor things an eyefull... but they are comfy so they just have to put up with it!

    Hamamatsu Living Situations:

    For anyone that still has their college ID, bring it with you to Japan. You can get a nice discount at the movie theatre and I promise you, when you see the prices of a movie here in Japan [$18] you will wish you had! With an I.D. you get get it down to about ($13).

    Quote:
    --Can you make any generalizations about our apts in Hamamatsu: futon or bed? tatami or carpet? 2-3 story building or high-rise?


    Umm, this one I will answer in more detail after work. But we live in four different buildings. Newbies are moving into all four. Three of the four are small and dinky with no tatami. But in the center of town. They are typical apartments. We get futons but your pred might have a couch/bed thing you can buy off of them. The other is the danchi, further south, but way way bigger and much older. Tatami room, actual kitchen and a bedroom. Which apartment you get is luck of the draw.

    Quote:
    --Why does there seem to be no online forum or website devoted to Shizuoka JETs? Is it super double top secret, or is there really nothin'?


    No Shiz JET has ever put in the effort to make one. I am in the planning stages for an ALT section on the Hama BoE website, but that all depends on how much time I have to work on it. The lack of one is the other reason I am on BigDaikon and pimping my website where I can.

    Quote:
    --What kind of nightlife is to be had in Hamamatsu?


    We have a night life. Not huge and crazy, but there is a line of izakayas and such that will keep you out drinking all night if you like. There are clubs, though I don't care for most of them. Depends on who you become friends with. There aren't many things to do other than drink and karaoke past 9pm. And there are a few places for live music, but I still haven't checked any out so I can't tell you anything about quality.

    Quote:
    --What other things do JETs find to do on weekends around there?


    Depends on how far you are willing to go, how much you're willing to spend and how early you are willing to wake up. There is stuff to do but everyone has their own faves. I'm happy with a nice quiet weekend or some movies (we do have a nice movie theater which is quite convinient though massively expensive) while others go out and hike and explore the city. Or go out to Nagoya for a bit more big city fun.

    Quote:
    --How about ethnic restaurants? I've heard there are a number of Brazilian and Indonesian eateries around. What else have you discovered?


    Again depends on what you want. There is a good amount of Thai and Indian and Chinese and Indonesian. There is a surprising complete lack of Mexican and Vietnamese which bothers me since those are two of my favorites. There's a Himalayan restaurant that a lot of people say is great (haven't been there yet) and they sell cilantro (which will come in handy for the next time I make pho, since I can't find a decent restaurant here.).

    Quote:
    --What would you expect to find in Hamamatsu that you can't find?


    Other than at least one good Mexican restaurant? I'll get back to you on this one, lunch time is running out.

    Oh yeah, everyone complains about the cheese here. You need to go to an import store for some decent cheese.

    Quote:
    --What have you found in Hamamatsu that you wouldn't expect?


    Kettle Chips. Ritz Crackers. A lot of snacks basically come to mind. I'll get back to this one as well.


    Ethnic food:
    For Mexican, I'd bring a bunch of those seasoning packets from home and make your own Mexican dinner. The Mexican place in Shiz is so expensive, and the serving sizes are miniscule. The chef and staff are friendly enough (he actually lived and trained in Mexico with one of my JTEs, who actually named the restaurant in Shiz), but that doesn't make up for the outrageous price IMO.

    There are 2 Mexican restaurants in Fujieda. One is the same people that run the one in Shiz, the other is this hole-in-the-wall tiny place near Fujieda station. This is the best one - yummy and CHEAP! But it's tiny as hell - only one table that seats 4 and maybe 2-3 seats at the bar.

    There used to be a Mexican restaurant in Hama, but I think it closed down (right lux?).

    Anyways, you can easily find all the ingredients for a Mexican dinner at the various foreign food stores. The only thing that I've found difficult to come by is refried beans. When they run out of refried beans it takes them a while to get more.

    And there's the skinny on Mexican food in Shiz. As for Vietnamese food, there's a restaurant in Shiz City that serves Pho. Not the greatest, but it'll do in a pinch if you're *really* craving. The other items on their menu are really tasty, in my opinion.

    As for Italian.....I gotta say, I can't wait to go to Little Italy in San Diego and get some yum yum yummy Italian food. Ravioli! Oh, how I miss it! Japan-ized Italian food just doesn't hit the spot. My opinion anyway.

    Not sure about Vietnamese food, but there are a few Mexican restaurants in the ken. There's at least one in Shizuoka and another in Fujieda (between Hama and Shiz). They're a little expensive, but it's worth it every once and a while.

    You'll also find many Italian restaurants and a few French restaurants which serve great food.

    In general, if you really want anything you'll find it if you try hard enough.

    I've thankfully found ricotta cheese in Shiz, so I'm now able to make my own lasanga at home. (Expensive tho! One small container is 950 yen!) And the Japanese just don't know what ravioli is. It doesn't exist here.



    Books:

    The bookstores in Shiz are on the expensive side (you'll pay at least 3 times the US list price).

    The ALTs in Shiz pass books around a lot. Just ask the people who live around you and I'm sure they'll be willing to pass on what they've already read. Chances are the people who have been here for a year or two have a box or two full of books. There have also been a couple of charity used book sales that are great for picking up books.

    If you're not already an avid reader there's a good chance you'll become one in Japan!

    Quote:
    --One of the 3 Shizuoka-ken websites I've found describes Shizuoka as a desert when it comes to finding bookstores with a decent selection in English. Do you agree?


    I personally do not agree. But I am a bookworm and have the ability to search out books. Shizuoka city has two bookstores that I can think of off hand that I have been to right dab in the middle of town with a decent selection of English books. Hamamatsu has one store that has a decent selection as well. Every bookstore has a cute section, but this one is pretty good. Recent books come in quite often. And there is a bookstore in Toyohashi, which is in the next ken but closer to us than Shiz, that is huge. They also have a decent selection of books. It depends if you are really nitpicky about your books or just want to get your hands on some reading material. If it's the first, you might just have to order stuff online. If it is the later, you'll have no problem and a lot of the ALTs here have a huge collection. (I'm one of them. Thinking about buying a huge bookcase for all of them since they are overflowing. As you can probably tell, I love books. (^_^))
    As for books.....there are English books to be had in Shiz, but like someone said, they're a lot more expensive than the regular price in the states. If I need something specific, I order online. Otherwise, I just borrow from other ALTs. My predecessor left me a box of books, and I'm leaving for my successor, with some books that I've added through the years. (In the storage unit so it's not taking up precious room in the apartment.)

    JHS dress code:

    For the first few days at school, I would advise wearing a suit, or smart separates. From then you can relax a bit more.
    For JHS I usually wear trousers/pants with either a reasonably smart cotton top, or a blouse/shirt.
    If I wear skirts I always wear sandals and no tights/pantyhose in summer, as it's just too hot. The other female teachers always wear socks or tights, but I think you get given a bit of leeway because you're foreign.

    At elementary school, which I do a lot of, I usually wear sports clothes. If not that, then trousers and t-shirt. Just something comfortable and easy to move round in.
    I've never worn jeans.

    i just wear some tidy clothes that look nice but not rough. never wear jeans. i was told off the only time i wore jeans and that was on cleaning day too, where everyone else was wearing track suits and shorts.


    Kawane-cho:


    Kawane-cho is a fantastic place to live. You're sort of really, really in the countryside but your school/BOE will probably provide you with a car (maybe insurance and gas too). There is a beautiful onsen in your town, you are on the steam train line, and the tea is delicious. It's a small town but you're close enough to bigger cities and you'll have a car.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Hey Celia, saw this really helpful post of yours in BD but didn't get around to thanking you. Thanks for putting it up here too

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aphryn
    Hey Celia, saw this really helpful post of yours in BD but didn't get around to thanking you. Thanks for putting it up here too
    Yay! Will you be coming to Shizuoka? Are you ken? You won't find out your exact placement if you're ken for a few weeks, but it should be soon!

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Yep, I'm going to Shizuoka and I'm a -ken so I'm still waiting for more news! Where exactly are you working at?

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aphryn
    Yep, I'm going to Shizuoka and I'm a -ken so I'm still waiting for more news! Where exactly are you working at?
    I am working in Sakuma currently, the most rural placement in the ken, but I love it, so you have nothing to worry about. I will be transferring to a city placement at the beginning of August, so it is possible I could be your pred. I don't know what school I have until everyone is placed, so I am getting very anxious waiting to hear about my placement as well!

    Anyway, when I hear news, as I most likely will before you, I'll let you know when you should expect to find out.

    Also, what orientation will you be coming in on? I'm assisting with Shizuoka prefecture in orientation B, so if you come in then, I'll meet you in Tokyo!

    Shizuoka is a beautiful place and our ken really takes care of the JETs. Congrats!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Please do let me know when you find out and I'll be in B group I think, that's for all Singaporeans so I'll see you in Tokyo! Glad to see that the place I'm going to is rather neat, the only thing that I've gotta figure out is what to bring and what not to - but that will be settled (hopefully) when my pred contacts me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    110

    Default

    z.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Prefectural ALTs should get their placements mid-June... thats sooooo soon!

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tenryu, Hamamatsu-shi
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Thanks for that Celia, I'm incoming with group B too.
    And cant wait to have a city/town to google into. On Wednesday I did a very quick visit to Shizuoka city (loved it, not too big not too small and ate some really good udon) and also visited Fuji-shi (hated hated it, I believe I may have gotten my yearly intake of smog from my 1/2 hour there. Or is Shin Fuji Eki not the real Fuji-shi... hmm...)

    C'mon placements!!!

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    yay for mail today!

    no word from my pred as of yet, but just a notification that I'm gonna be at Kakegawa-shi, teaching. would anyone happen to know anything about Kakegawa, besides me googling and getting a gist of how things seem there?

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tenryu, Hamamatsu-shi
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Oh how lucky! It is killing me not knowing and having to live out my JET excitement through friends' placement details!
    Kakegawa looks like a pretty awesome placement, on the JR line and you have a castle!
    Fingers crossed for me the rest of us now hearing soon!!!!

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Got my placement in the mail yesterday...I'll be in Iwata-shi! Not much info on the city, but from what I've found it seems great!

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tenryu, Hamamatsu-shi
    Posts
    97

    Default

    いいăȘぁ~ :smt086

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tenryu, Hamamatsu-shi
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Inasa High School, Hamamatsu-shi. Finally!

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    congrats to you two for getting notified

    crikey: http://www.jade.dti.ne.jp/~inasa/ this could be your school, methinks?

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tenryu, Hamamatsu-shi
    Posts
    97

    Default

    Thanks Aph, I found out yesterday where I'm going and then found that page and I think in that sort amount of time I have already memorised that website Thanks though

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Crikey, I know your pred. If you haven't been in contact yet send me a pm and I'll have her email you!

    aphryn, I think I know who your pred is, so same as above. I can get you in touch if its who I think it is.

    Nicole00517, yay! Iwata is a great city and so close to Hamamatsu! I think we have a mutual friend. :P We will all have to hang out together before she goes home!

  18. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    5

    Default

    i got my placment too. it's hamamatsu-shi!

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gator
    i got my placment too. it's hamamatsu-shi!
    That's where I'm transferring! Yay! I'm so stoked to meet everyone.

  20. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Singapore
    Posts
    18

    Default

    awesome for everyone who got news already

    Celia, I PM'd you, not sure if it got through because it's still clinging on to the outbox.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •