Sarah Leck, Fourth Year Kobe Jet
Having wandered far and wide, scoured the furthest reaches of the Earth, Japan gives one very compelling reason for one to stay. The country teems with beautiful creatures, and it’s a privilege to simply breathe the same air as them.
(Should I try to be more politically correct? I’m talking about the ladies)
Why did I stay for another year? I really enjoy the network of people living nearby, both local and fellow foreigners. Both help with different parts of living daily life. They recommend new places to visit, or help with slightly difficult tasks like negotiating accommodation or event bookings.
Of course, knowing a little bit of the language helped ease the culture shock. I suggest to anyone living here to try and pick up as much Japanese as you can, and use it when out and about.
Finally, there are so many different kinds of places to visit without leaving the country! You can visit snowy mountains in Nagano, desert in Tottori, the seaside in Wakayama, the tropics in Okinawa, urban landscapes in Osaka, and much more in the 42 other prefectures. I’ve got so many more places I want to visit, so of course I had to stay another year!
Plus, where else in the world has easy access to so many Pokémon stores and events?!
I’m staying in Japan because Japan is a good fit for me. I speak a little Japanese, I’m familiar with the customs somewhat, it’s easy to travel around to different countries.
I tend to make friends pretty easily here. My responsibilities are quite low and I have a decent standard of living. I don’t intend to stay forever, but for now, Japan is just a good place for me to be.
I could only get a two year contract with Softbank and you have to pay a fee to cancel it.
It’s August now and for some people that means either a lot of travelling or a lot of boredom. This makes it a good time to think about the JET year coming up. Some people are thinking that this might be their last year. Or maybe they are thinking how they plan to make their next year even better.
For me, it wasn’t much of a debate whether I would stay this year or not. When I first came I was tentative about how long I would stick it out, but it wasn’t long before I was set on going for the full 5 years. The first 3 years seemed to go by way too fast and now, seeing some of my friends leaving, the next 2 years seem like they’ll be even faster. The most important reason I’m staying is that I love teaching. What’s the point in staying at a job if you hate it?
The school I’m in lets me make my own lessons, so I get plenty of freedom to flex my creativity. Also, I get to help students with thinks like the Eiken Exam and speech contests. I’ve never once hated staying late to do these things.
I plan on going into teaching when I return to Ireland, so every day I teach is just more experience that will help in the future. It’s then just a bonus that I get to explore Japan while I do that. Many of my friends who have left have always found that they are suddenly running out of time to do everything that they thought they’d do here. I say that, but I know I’ll be doing the same.
Even after 3 years I’m still happy and comfortable here and I still feel like I have lots I can and should do.