31 July 2011

Sixth Time’s the Charm

Posted by Roland under: JET; Personal .

Upon looking at my passport when I got it at the embassy in DC on Friday, it really hit home the fact that I’ve been to Japan a hell of a lot of times. I mean, this has been commented by many people, many times, but seeing the majority of my passport dedicated to Japanese immigration, it makes it pretty obvious which country has been getting a lot of my foreign attention.

Starting with Tsuru in 2005, every year except 2007 had me visiting Japan in some capacity.

That’s a lot of yen!

But it’s this time, in 2011, that’s quite special.

I guess it was inevitable that I would end up with the JET program. Learning about it early in my career at Berkeley (they visited my Japanese class in my freshman year), I always considered an option. And while it didn’t mesh too nicely with the Computer Science major, I would still apply for JET in Fall 2007. And guess what? I actually was able to get in. But I guess worry over my student loans won over at the time and I chose Deloitte then.

I don’t mean for this post to go into a diatribe about why I would leave Deloitte and such but at the very least, consulting wasn’t giving me what I needed. So in came the JET program again, serving as the test case for me to see if a career in teaching would be the right one for me. And hey, the working in Japan would be a great bonus as well.

So now I find myself in Tokyo, waiting to get oriented about what the heck I’m really getting myself into. I’ve sat through countless meetings stateside, now it’s time to hear some of the same stuff over again, but with the added conditions imposed by Japanese formality (ceremony, don’t drink before the boss does, bow, etc.) But still I’m excited to be here with around 800 of my fellow newbies. Almost to the point that I can’t wait to leave Tokyo just so I can get closer to my new home in Kumamoto and Amakusa!

But first things first, a few more days of meetings and learning, before I even get anywhere near a Japanese classroom.

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