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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Today I slept off the jet lag some more and then headed to Akihabara district which is the electronics district to get kanji translator software for my DS. I got lost on the Tokyo trains and wound up going to the same suburb three times, but I finally found my way. Managed to not talk Japanese to the electronics shop owner but still managed to get the thing I was looking for. Went to the combini and got what I thought was a chicken sandwich that turned out to be inedible and what I thought was mandarin oranges which also turned out to be inedible. On the plus side, I did get some white chocolate that turned out to be delicious. Attended my prefectural meeting to discover how I was going to get to Hokkaido. Went to bed.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Genghis, Sleep, and Sleepwalking

Just went through three days of “intensive” training at this really posh hotel. My training consisted mainly of sleeping off jet lag in my room. The first day I actually went to things like the opening ceremony and the first part of the day workshop. Oh, and lunch because it was free.

The Japanese are big on ceremonies and speeches by the way.

After the first quarter of the workshop, I found myself slipping off to sleep in the uncomfortable chair and so when we had a break, I trotted on back to my room.

Went to nomihodai that night which was food and all you can drink for 3000 yen (a little less than $30). Even though it was all you can drink I did not get drunk, just slightly buzzed. Tried over 5 different drinks on the menu though and that was interesting. Dinner was good. Something called Genghis Khan that has no relation to the Mongolians.

I came back like the nerd I am and did some homework (midterm actually). Then about 2 hours later some people came carrying my roommate into the room. She was sooooooooo drunk. She passed out for a bit and then I tried to go to bed as well, but she kept getting up in the middle of the night and sleepwalking out of the room and into the other corridor, trying to get into someone else’s room. I had to go get her twice. As amusing as it was, it left me kind of tired for the next day.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

In Tokyo

Arrival in Tokyo. Very tired. Very dirty. It’s amazing how grimy you can get just by sitting in a seat on a plane. I think the flight was about 15 hours though I may be exaggerating. I sat next to another JET and a Japanese businessman who lives in America. He was very chatty and I was glad because the flight was boring – even with a Nintendo DS and my Archos player.

NEVER EVER fly Northwest Airlines if you can help it. While the flight attendants were great, the plane was horribly cramped, the food was poor (but plentiful) and the amenities were nearly non-existent.

After getting to Narita airport, we had to go through customs which didn’t take very long. Turns out they didn’t give a crap about my bee sting medications or my prescription ibuprofen. So much for all that hassle from before.

We then shipped the majority of our bags to our homes as soon as we got out of the airport then got on a chartered bus and headed to Keio Plaza Hotel. Here I am now, tired as crap. Our handlers at CLAIR keep handing us more things – books, bags, tickets, papers…too much stuff.

No duh, everything is in Japanese (which I can’t read) but I am surprisingly not worried about it. What’s wrong with being illiterate?
I fall asleep on the way to Keio which is 1 1/2 hours away.
Keio turns out to be very, very swanky.
My first impressions of Japan: bright, foreign, busy. All in that order.

Friday, July 20, 2007

New hair color...

...for Japan!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Which of these do you think is better? Cause I did the one on the right.

Second to Last Day at Work

And I'm so happy. I even got up at 8 AM I'm so happy. I must say that I've been completely mentally checked out since last week, but it seems that the week is going by slower as the days go on. It seems almost mind-numbing.

The things I really want to do: see my girlfriend, write the second chapter of my dissertation, make headway on the vampire script, and party with my friends. Oh, and pack. All in that order.

Got some handy dandy business cards made up. These were a nightmare to bring into fruition. First, I wanted to have them printed up by vista print, who has done my cards in the past. But their print and ship times were too slow, because I needed the cards mainly for this week/weekend to give out to people I wouldn't see for a while.

So, then I design my own expertly in Photoshop and see what I can get printed at Kinko's, but they only do their own design...and it's expensive...and they charge even more for front and back cards like I wanted.

So, then I try printing them myself, but realize I can't actually print these cards from Photoshop, even with the business card stock I just bought at Office Depot. Microsoft Word's templates are pure crap and won't center up a picture of the card I made in Photoshop.

So, finally, I go to the website of the people that made my business card stock (Avery) and use their formatter software stuff and mock up a design that looks exactly like my Photoshop design and voila! I now have business cards! Simple, elegant, yet effective.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Aisha and Tiff at Edventure

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

New News from the Pred!

Just got pictures of some of the stuff I'm getting for free and buying off my predecessor. The bed looks to be in very good condition. Checked the price of buying a bed new from anyplace that would deliver to my location and found it to be much more expensive than the 40,000 yen that she's asking (about $327). Plus, it comes with the mattress, which, as some of you may know, can be as expensive as the bed itself.

Also included in the pictures was the very slick refrigerator, toaster oven, microwave, nearly brand new washing machine, and television. Debating whether or not to buy the DVD player off of her after seeing the television. I was really expecting some rinky dink little thing that I wouldn't watch anything on, but the television she's giving me (for free) is rather good sized. I may want to watch DVDs on it after all and give my poor notebook a rest. :)


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time Is Winding Down

It's getting closer and closer to that date (the day I leave). I'm trying desperately to wrap up everything, but there is so much to do.

Particularly, it's hard to spend enough time with all the people I care about and now I'm wishing I had started sooner. I guess this is the reality of leaving for a long time.

Maybe I'm a nerd, but I've started making lists of things to buy and lists of things to pack and in which suitcase to pack them in. The plan is to take three suitcases, a toiletries bag, my laptop backpack, and my guitar.

With the airline I'm flying on, you can take two checked bags of 50 lbs each, one small carry-on suitcase, a laptop bag or purse, and an instrument case. I'm planning on putting most of my clothes in the largest suitcase along with my Guitar Hero controller because it's so awkwardly shaped. I will then pack for Tokyo orientation in the medium sized bag inside of which I will also stuff the toiletries bag. These two bags will be the ones I check. I will then take my laptop backpack and put all of my electronics and shoes in the smallest suitcase and have these as carry-ons along with the guitar case.

I'm not sure how much my suitcases will weigh however, though I will try to keep what I bring down to a minimum.

In some ways I am really happy about this move. In others, I'm really stressed out and worried. Not for myself, mind you, because I know where ever I land, I'll be alright, but for the people I love and care for. For various reasons, this is stressing me out just a bit.