What was the best item you packed

By Joel Brooks,2014-06-17 06:35
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What was the best item you packed ...

    Pre-Departure Handbook


    (Version 3.3 June 30, 2003)


    Introduction 1 Top 10 Tips 2 Who‟s Who and What‟s What 3 Glossary of Commonly Used Terms 3 Useful Web Sites 5 Recommended Reading 8 Japanese Lessons in NYC 10 Japanese Culture in the Area 10 Japanese Book & Media Stores in NY 11 Japanese Food & Gift Stores in NY 12 Shipping Things to Japan 13 Advice What should new JETs do to prepare? 14 Advice What is the best part about living in Japan? 15 Advice What is the worst part about living in Japan? 18 Advice What was the best item you packed? 19 Advice What was the worst item you packed? 20 Advice What did you wish you had packed? 21 Advice What was the best omiyage you brought? 22 Advice What was the worst omiyage you brought? 24 Advice What was the best teaching supply you brought? 25 Advice What teaching supplies did you find useless? 26 Advice What is the best thing about your job? 26 Advice What is the worst thing about your job? 28 Advice Any other advice? 30


Welcome to the JET Program! I hope you all have a stress-free month getting

    ready for your trip!

I know, I know, FAT CHANCE! But the CGJ staff, the good folks at the Japan

    Local Government Center and JET alumni are doing their best to take off some

    of the stress and help you all feel more confident about your adventure.

With volumes of materials written for the JET Program, guidebooks, phrase

    books and 1000 other bits of information being thrown at you, you might wonder

    what this collection of photocopied sheets brings to the party. This handbook

    was prepared by New York alumni for people in this area and to provide some

    first-hand, practical and casual advice for new JETs. Hopefully it will answer

    some of your questions and more importantly let you know about some things

    you might not have thought to ask about. I do apologize for the strong New York

    City bias, especially since we serve all of NY State, as well as parts of

    Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you know of good places outside

    of NYC please let us know and well add them. In order to keep this clear, Ive

    tried avoid Japanese words, when their use is necessary they are written in

    italics and should all be explained in the glossary.

Since we are volunteers and do not work the Consulate, we have no information

    about your departure, your contracts or your visas. That information will be

    coming to you from the consulate. In the coming weeks youll be getting a lot of

    important materials from them so please read everything they mail to you.

    Really. There‟s important stuff there.

Special thanks to the Japan Local Government Center, the Consulate and to the

    dozens of alums who took time to write hints and tips.


Alexander McLaren

Please send any questions, objections, suggestions or miscellaneous comments

    to me at

Please post any questions for the alums on our message board at:


    TOP 10 TIPS!

    Whew… this thing gets bigger every year. And none of the advice is bad, it‟s just

    hard to sort through it all, especially when you don‟t know what will happen to


    So here are my Top 10 Tips:

1. Read. Get a general guidebook for Japan and one book specific to your

    own interests and read them both. Read everything the consulate sends

    you, they‟ve been preparing people for years now and do a great job at it.

    2. Question. Ask your predecessor and your new employer specific

    questions about what clothes you‟ll need, prices, working conditions and

    other details the general information cannot cover.

    3. Look. Check websites for expatriates in Japan, listen to war stories from

    ex-JETs because there will be problems and situations you might never

    expect. Talking to people who have been in Japan prepares you for the

    things you would never ask about.

    4. That being said, know your limits. It‟s impossible to be ready for

    EVERYTHING and the surprises and new experiences are one of the best

    parts of living overseas. Don‟t kill yourself trying to prepare for every

    possible situation.

    5. Remember that Japan is a country and the Japanese are people, as

    diverse as Americans or anyone else (despite the best efforts of their

    school system ?). There are assholes and angels, xenophobes and

    xenophiles and xenoindifferents. Remember that every generalization is

    just that, don‟t expect them to be 100% true. 6. Learn Japanese, if you have the time, start now with classes or tutoring.

    If not, start the day you arrive at your new job. Seriously, NOTHING will

    improve your social, professional and personal life as much as becoming

    (at least) conversational in Japanese.

    7. On to the practical stuff…don’t overpack, there is little you can‟t get in

    Japan and nearly all of that can be gotten by buying on-line.

    8. Bring a laptop or buy a computer in Japan. The internet has changed

    everything about going overseas. Unless you‟re deliberately seeking a

    total immersion experience, a computer is vital. Even if you don‟t want e-

    mail and the web, it‟s still a vital teaching tool. 9. Subscribe to a magazine or two you like. Regular news from home and

    reading material make life a lot better. Plus you dont have to pack them! 10. And finally, don’t panic. Thousands of people have done the JET

    Program and enjoyed it. Only a statistically insignificant number have

    been sacrificed to the Volcano Gods ?



    Administration of the program is pretty complicated </