Yes, after two years of maintaining Blogspot blogs in two countries (I had a Japan blog and then a back-in-the-States blog), I’ve decided to officially move over to WordPress. I have a few different reasons for this that are all kind of boring and not good story fodder, so I’ll just move right along with my first proper post here at A Farther Room.
My plan for this blog is to keep it pretty focused on JET and Japan, so this summer the entries might be a little sparse. I will be chronicling my JET preparation, though, since it’s an interesting process that other people who want to get teaching jobs in Japan should probably at least have some idea of before they dive in. It’s not necessarily a difficult or painful process, but there’s a lot to it and it can be time-consuming.
So, to begin with, as of Monday (5/17) I have my placement and it was, as I’ve said to friends and family, unexpected. I requested three prefectures in central-to-northern Honshu (Saitama, Gunma, and Miyagi) because my study abroad was in Saitama and I have friends and a host family there. It’s the part of Japan that I’m most familiar with and I have a lot of reasons to want to go back. But JET is very upfront about the fact that they can’t guarantee that your requests will be granted and instead I’ve been placed in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture, on Shikoku, which is the smallest of Japan’s four islands.
If you aren’t up on your Japanese geography, I invite you to check out this lovely map of Japan, which shows you where my future home is located. Tokyo, to orient you, is a little less than halfway up Honshu, on the eastern coast. So I’m off to a totally new place I’ve never been, for a completely different Japan experience. I’m actually really psyched about it – Shikoku is beautiful and Matsuyama looks like a fabulous place to live. And it’s an urban placement, which is perfect for me. Honestly, the more I research the more excited I am about it. Matsuyama is across the bay from Hiroshima and southern Japan is really nice. It’ll be great.
And that’s what I know right now! I’m not yet in contact with my predecessor, and I haven’t received the paperwork and information about what comes next, so I don’t have any details. But JET is getting closer and I feel like I’m finally really in the preparation stage. I’m going to put a countdown ticker in my About page – departure is 7/24, so just a little over two months away!