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Best Cities for JET Teachers

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Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby ohemgee » Fri 04.15.2005 1:04 am

Hello. First-time poster and visitor to this site, and I am very thankful for the free kana lessons around here. I have 2 more years before I get my college degree, and I am seriously interested in joining the JET program. I've been doing a bit of research into the cities of Japan, and I was wondering which cities would be ideal for a JET teacher in terms of city size, accessibility, and culture. Tokyo, Kyoto, and the largest cities are definitely out of the picture (my local JET coordinator has said teachers will not be placed in Tokyo for sure; I wouldn't want to be placed in one anyways), and I certainly do not want to be placed in some rural, underdeveloped town.

Kitakyushu seems ideal to me, since it's large without being overwhelming (like Tokyo), staying maybe in Tobata-ku or Yahata Nishi-ku or Wakamatsu-ku. A regular sized town in Hokkaido, maybe some suburb near Sapporo, could be something I like, and the colder climate would be welcome, considering I live under the very hot sun of Texas. Takayama is appealing because it's very picturesque and very pretty, retaining some traditional touches, but I'm worried it may be a little small for me, and having lived in a smaller town for most of my life, I'd like to live in a larger town for a change.

If there are any JET alumni here, please post about where you stayed and what your experiences were. Thanks.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Spaztick » Fri 04.15.2005 12:23 pm

Well it sounds like you got it all figured out, you could ask Clay about it, he's bound to know.

Where you from in Texas? I live near Houston, but I'm moving to Arizona for college when summer comes.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Mukade » Fri 04.15.2005 9:03 pm

I've been to Kyushu and it's gorgeous. Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Beppu, Miyazaki and Kagoshima are all very nice.

Other major areas that aren't too city and aren't too rural:
Hiroshima
Wakayama (city - the rest of the prefecture is very rural)
Nagoya
Kamakura

Nara and Kobe are a little bigger, but nice towns.

If you're thinking of Hokkaido, realize that it's a beautiful place, but that you'll need to be prepared for bitterly cold, long winters with lots and lots of snow (it just snowed again up there last weekend and they're still hovering around 10 degrees celcius).

Also realize that JET does not guarantee placement in a particular area. You could say that you love the country and want to be in a rural area where very few people speak English, and you'll get placed in downtown, industrial Osaka.

In general, though, if you choose a place that's not too popular/well-known, you'll probably get put in that location. So don't choose "Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto" as your three cities of choice, because you won't get into any one of them. But if you choose something like "Wakayama, Miyazaki, Fukuoka," you'll have a good chance of getting into at least one of them.

Good luck!
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Mugen » Fri 04.15.2005 9:51 pm

Yay another texan here...lol... i thought about the jet program, havent looked into it completely yet. Mainly concentrating on getting my degree first. Good luck with everything if you go.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby ohemgee » Sat 04.16.2005 1:50 am

Representin' the Rio Grande Valley, otherwise known as the armpit of the US.

Thanks for the recommendations, they are appreciated.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Vengeance » Sat 04.16.2005 1:33 pm

I'm 100% sure I want to go on the JET program but first I have to get into uni and get my degree ^^. C ya Japan in 3/4 years...
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Kei » Sat 04.16.2005 3:26 pm

Is there an age limit for JET?
はじめまして ^_^;
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby ohemgee » Sat 04.16.2005 8:33 pm

The age limit is 40, I think. They might make exceptions though. The best thing you can do is to contact the JET coordinator in your nearest Japanese Consulate. I contacted mine, and she has been helpful in answering some of my questions.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Kei » Sat 04.16.2005 11:49 pm

Great I'm well within the age limit I thought it was something lower. But then yeah you have to be a college grad so it couldn't be that low.
はじめまして ^_^;
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Vengeance » Sun 04.17.2005 11:41 am

You can go on their site and see.

This is what I roughly remember from going to their site last week.

The age limit is 39.

You need a bacherlor's degree (sp?)

You can only go on the program once, cos it's a chance for new ppl to go other there.

Max is 3 years on the program, minimum is 1.

Um...there are like 2 positions.
- ALT = English teacher's assistant - what I'm aiming for.
- CIT (sp) = This is like a business position, so you need REALLY good japanese for this. It's for businessy stuff like translating convos, reports, and such.

Check their site for more details.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Mukade » Mon 04.18.2005 3:17 am

Actually, I think the age limit is closer to 35.

Most JETs are between 22 and 25, though. At 30, I felt like the old man of the group in Wakayama city. :(
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby Vengeance » Mon 04.18.2005 9:50 am

Well, that's probably because people tend to do it sooner and younger. It's not really for the old people ;p.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby KuraiShu » Mon 05.02.2005 3:39 am

It's all well and good that you're asking, but anyone involved in JET will tell you that your choice really doesn't matter at all. They put you where they have openings, and more and more ALTs are being provided not by JET but by private companies (Interac and the like).

Unless you have some sort of connection with a place, such as being from a sister-city of one in Japan, or *maybe* prior experience in an area (through a study-abroad program or something), you'll have very little control over where you end up.
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RE: Best Cities for JET Teachers

Postby clay » Mon 05.02.2005 9:42 am

I told my interviewers that I would love to be placed anywhere, just as long as it was in Japan. :D Every year some JETs can't take the pressure of living abroad and go home prematurely (break contract). That is a BIG no no. I believe the reason I was selected during the interview was because I stressed I would stick with it through thick and thin. I stayed the full 3 years and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it!

But IF your main goal is to learn the language, I highly recommend an inaka post (out in the country). Yes, you won't have all the conveniences of a large city, but trains are always available to take you anywhere. I was placed in Fukui-ken which has a very low foreigner population. Because of that, I managed to make mostly Japanese friends. Many JETs tend to flock together and *gasp* speak only English. Having a few English speaking friends can be a huge help, but my advice is to try to make Japanese friends as soon as you can. The best way to do this is in the inaka (fewer foreigners and fewer English speaking Japanese).

Mukade-san - Wakayama is a beautiful place! My cousin (who by coincidence was a JET at the same time as I) was placed there. :) I think Tendo Yoshimi is from there. 人生しみじみ。。。
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