21 May 2007

Placement (plus)!

I've received word about my placement in Japan! It's in Ota city, in the Gunma prefecture (kinda like a state), which puts me around 1.5 hours outside of Tokyo by train. (See Wikipedia and the town's official site for more information, if you're curious.)

In essence, this is all perfect for me. The town is by no means small - my hometown is just around a tenth of Ota's size - but it's certainly smaller than Tokyo! There are a bunch of schools, so it's likely that I'll be teaching at a couple of them; that's exciting, because I'm becoming more and more excited about that aspect of the program. And there are going to be a few other JETs in the prefecture, so if I'm really needing someone to understand what I'm going through, I've got a couple within a short distance. So, hurray!

I've graduated, which is frightening, to say the least. All of last week, I felt as if I would explode if I had to suffer through another "oh, how we love the Class of 2007!" event. Now... well, it's more that I'm starting to realize just how unlikely it is I will run into some of the wonderful people I got to know at WashU. I had to cancel plans I had with Jeff yesterday because I was sobbing in my room because I don't know that I will ever get to live with hannah again. There won't be that boost to my self esteem I would get from seeing someone I know in Whispers nearly every time I go there. To quote King Mongkut, "Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera." It's enough to make a girl cry, and damn it, I inherited my crying genes from my mother (who is infamous for having cried at a McDonald's commercial).

But hey, whatever, 'cause it's an inevitable part of life. I did it for GHP (granted, it was 6 weeks instead of 4 years), and I'll do it again for Japan, not to mention the other things I do in my life. And hey, at least I've got das Internet to keep me in touch with these people.

(That is, if any of them read my blog. :P)

11 May 2007

"Snarky" is a fun word.

One thing for which I'm thankful from this semester is the amount of walking I've done. Due to a combination of laziness in several arenas and the rising price of gas, I've been walking as much as possible, and I think this will put me in good stead for being in Japan and walking/riding a bike a lot.

Random segue.

I'm starting to dislike many of the other JETs I'm getting to know via the email groups I am on. When a question has been answered several times, in several different places, stop asking the question. Someone recently asked when we were going to hear about placements - we've been told "late May" for months. The man in charge of the Chicago-area JETs, which includes me, made the absolute best response to this worthless question (it almost made me want to drive to Chicago to give him a hug):
"Hopefully within the next few weeks.
I haven't finished making up the
'Placement Dartboard' yet, in which I
attach slips of paper with your names
on them to darts and then throw them
at a wall-map of Japan. I always aim
at Kyoto and Tokyo, but I also drink
more and more beer as I go down the
list, so it's not unheard of for late
upgraded alternates to end up with
placements on buoys in the middle of
the Sea of Japan or, like last year, in
(Gotta love people with snarky senses of humor.)

My new laptop was ordered on Monday and is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. It's a Mac, which makes me feel unclean in a way that soap and water won't solve. That being said, I'm still very excited at the prospect of getting a new shiny with which to play. I'm in the process of shopping for accessories (laptop bag, external hard drive, etc) - always fun.

I've joined a rewards program in an effort to not spend money on accessories for my shiny, and it's a pretty nice deal. You write reviews for restaurants, stores, and the like, and then get points for said reviews. The points then can be redeemed for gift cards to restaurants, stores, or prizes. Plus, the points-to-dollars conversion is pretty high; it's about a dollar per review.
AKA: Let me know if you're interested in joining, and I'll send you an email for it. :D

01 May 2007

The Latest

I submitted my acceptance of the JET position on Saturday. In short, it's official - barring horrible circumstance in the next three months, I'm going to Japan. Huzzah! Now all I have to do is buy a new laptop, buy a bunch of books, read a bunch of books, graduate, learn hirigana and katakana, compress my life into two suitcases, and somehow manage to not die in the process. @_@

Introduction and F.A.Q.s

This blog is dedicated to the one I love the year, possibly more, that I will be spending in Japan through the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.

Since my LiveJournal is friends only, I thought I would make a more accessible journal for those not of the LJ persuasion - granted, that does mean it will be (somewhat) edited for mass consumption. [Read: fewer touchy-feely moments.] Also, I'll be cross-posting all of these to my LJ, for all of those who enjoy the "friends page" way of reading posts.


Here are the answers to a few questions I keep hearing as of late.

Where will you be in Japan?
I don't know yet. (RAWRZ.) I'll find out sometime in late May, but I'm expecting to be placed in a small town out in the middle of nowhere. Huzzah!

What are you doing, again?
The position title is "Assistant Language Teacher;" in short, I'm there to be a "native expert" in English and help my partner teacher as much as he/she feels is needed.
Read: Anything goes.

What age range will you be teaching?
Yet another thing I don't know! :D I'll get that info along with my placement in late May.

Do you know any Japanese?
Not really. Most of my Japanese is from Anime. What that means is that, should I need to tell someone to die in the command form, I'm set; if I need to get milk in the grocery store, I'm kind of screwed. So the first few months will be fun.