2007 JET Podcast
Some helpful hints from folks already on the JET Programme. It covers all of those very specific things that you really need to know but may have forgotten to ask or that you just couldn't find answers to. Click here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lots More Information

Heard even more information from my predecessor. I will not be moving into her apartment, but the new place will be furnished by her stuff. I kind of feel bad having to have them move all of her stuff to my place, but they (whoever 'they' are) seem to be very willing to do it. She even said it would be easier for me to take her stuff.

Granted, I haven't seen any of this stuff so it could all very well be crap, but I have requested pictures of the stuff she actually wants to sell me like her bed and a rice cooker. The rice cooker is only thirty bucks, so I'm not really worried about it, but her bed is 3 years old and she wants to sell it for $400.

From her description of the floor plan, the place sounds pretty big. 2 tatami rooms and a living room (which I assume also houses the kitchen) all totaling at about 94m (squared). I took a look at similar apartments available for rent in Tokyo and they are thousands of US dollars (hundreds of thousands of yen) per month! I feel lucky.

But not too lucky yet. I still haven't seen the "quality" of the place yet.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

It's In the Mail

Finally got all of my paperwork off. Signed contract, visa application (with accompanying passport), and lengthy medical import forms are all on their way to their intended destinations.

And a word about those medical import forms: they are lengthy as HELL. They want to know exactly what you're bringing in (medical name and all), the exact amount, the manufacturer, the country of origin, AND it's intended purpose. There are many medicines that are pretty standard here in the States that are absolutely outlawed in Japan (like Sudafed). I guess they don't want methheads cooking up batches of dangerous narcotics, but too bad for whoever needs those drugs (or anything like them) to feel better. Fortunately for me, I grew out of my sinus allergies when I went to college, though, I still do get some wicked sinus infections every now and again.

So, now, the only thing I'm really waiting on is hearing more information about my housing situation. I'm really anxious about that, because, after all, your home is where you sleep, eat, and live. I'm a firm believer that everything else around you can be falling apart, but as long as you're comfortable where you rest your head, you can make it through just about anything.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Jury Duty

It sucks and rocks at the same time.

It sucks because it makes you really realize why you would never want to be God, judging every living thing. Just judging one human being is very hard (at least it was for me). Handing down a verdict of guilty is even harder. Fortunately though, the law makes it easy for you by being very clear. There is very little wiggle room with the law and, in my opinion for the cases I sat on, it's very fair.

Jury duty rocks because, while you may have learned a lot about the judicial system from school, nothing can compare to actually being in the court room and seeing how things are run. I suggest that, for those of you thinking of an excuse not to go, actually submit to the summons. You won't regret it.

Well maybe you will if you have other things to do that really are more important money or time wise. Cause they don't pay you much. And it does take all day. And a lot of it can be sitting around in a room with no cell phone or computer with a hundred plus other people bored out of your mind.

Charleston Revisited

So, Aisha and I went to Charleston two weekend ago and had a BLAST! It's so much different going there with her than it is going there with daddy. We did a lot more things and just hung out mainly.

We went to the Aquarium (kind of lame), Folley Beach, good eating places, Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms, and the covered (former slave) market.

It was a welcome vacation and there are many, many pictures. Just wait for me to post them.

Go, Go Tomakomai!

That's where I'll be folks, and considering that I was afraid of being cast to the northernest regions of this most northern prefecture, I am pleasantly surprised to find myself placed not only in a city, but in a southern port city.

Tomakomai-shi is fairly large (about 171,000+ people) and only a short train ride away from the much larger Sapporo.

I have talked to several JETs living there already who rave about the place. My predecessor has also contacted me and given me some great info.

I will apparently NOT need a car and I'm glad for that, because I didn't want to worry about the costs. I'm still waiting to hear more info about what my housing might cost, but the Board of Education told me that I will definitely receive a heater, fridge, and stove in my apartment.

I've heard of people having to get all of these things installed and having to pay for them AS SOON AS THEY GOT THERE which would blow. Who knows, maybe they'll even throw in some furniture and whatnot too. At any rate, I suppose I can buy those things off of my predecessor.

So yeah, I'm psyched to be going to the big, bad Hokk.

A Good, Long Time

Yup, it's been a good, long time since I updated this blog, but I have good reason.

1. I've been out of town almost every weekend except the one that just passed. Doing adventuresome things and hanging out with 1 very special and cool chick.

2. I had jury duty last week -- for the whole week (except Friday) in which I was picked for 2 serious criminal trials. (We found them both guilty). More about that later.

3. I had finals for 3 classes, two of which consisted of very in-depth, time-consuming projects. The remaining class was linear programming, of which I am unbelievably limited in my abilities.

So, all of that came to a head this week/weekend and I almost lost my mind, but now, it is finally over and I can focus on other things like learning Japanese, getting my luggage together, and writing.

I'll post on each of those earlier points separately.

Anyway, I have found out my exact placement finally and received my employment contract in the mail. Go Japan!