Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh yeah

It seems I've conveniently forgot to mention.

A few days before the Q&A session, I received a wonderful package from my CO (Contracting Organization) in the town I will be working. The packet included, my contract in Japanese and English, Rules and Regulations in Japanese and English, and a very well written letter from my Predecessor about life in the town and the surrounding area. They also included a tourist map of the town, which was cool.

Then, a few days following the Q&A session, I received an e-mail from the CO. The E-mail was written in English (very well written I'd like to add) and was wondering if I had received the package and if it was ok to write me back in Japanese. He also included a few links about the town and a link to my new apartment. This was too cool. It gave me a floor plan, square footage... well in metrics... of the apartment and it included a picture of the outside of the apartment.

I have to say, I'm super stoked about my new, 2 story, 2 Bedroom apartment. Totally stoked about life in Japan.

OK, since I got that out of my system let me list a number of things I need to take care of before I go, and a number of things I've taken care of on that list.

Before I Go, I Need To:
- Get Clothes    -Done
- Get Gifts    
- Get International Driver's Permit     -Done
- Renew Florida Driver's License     
- Get a new Digital Camera
- Get an iPod Touch 64gig     -Prbably not happening, will get it in Japan
- Get a Bose SoundDock Portable     -Though, I work there still need to save money
- Pack my Bags     - Working on it
- The Lonely Island VLOG Ep.3 (Goodbye Florida)
- Send off IRS Forms     -Waiting for the IRS to send me the Forms
- Talk to the Bank     -already did, but never got called back... bastards haha
- Set up my IRA     -look at the previous item on the list
- Say bye to the fam and friends    -Not quite ready to do this, but I'll be back anyway.
- Save $2000     -ummm yeah... I have $1000... I'm working on it.
- Work my Last day at Bose      - July 16th my last day at by far the best Part Time Job I've had.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The JET Q&A plus The Lonely Island Ep.2

A Picture from the Consulate and a view of the streets below.

This weekend was quite interesting. I believe all consulates partaking in the JET program throughout the US, are holding something similar to what I experienced in Atlanta. The JETAA (JET Alumni Association) hosted this Q&A session for the JETS departing this year.

I actually had a wonderful time. It was quite a long event, but I feel it was quite beneficial. The Q&A was not mandatory, but it had it's good points. For me, the most beneficial part of the session was not necessarily the break out sessions or the information, but rather the interaction with the JETs you'll be departing with and the interaction with the former JETs. Also, understand the information provided was great and well prepared and could have been more helpful if I had not spent a lot of time on Forums on JET asking and getting answers to a number of my concerns or questions. Many of these questions I had prior to the Q&A were covered at the Q&A.

The Lobby of the Japanese Consulate offices where the JET Program Q&A Session occurred.

Topics Covered:
-Teaching in Japan
-Preparing for Life in Japan (packing, culture shock, and making the most of an international experience.)

Break out Session 1
             - Junior High School
             - Senior High School
             - Parents and Partners

Break out Session 2
             - Food and Etiquette
             - Community Involvement
             - Diversity

             - Travel

Break out Session 3
             - Food and Etiquette
             - Community Involvement
             - Rural

             - Female

-Budget and Finance

1- Teaching in Japan:
     They covered the Japanese Education System. Specifically they covered the number of years students are in Grade school. Elementary 6 years, Middle School 3 years, and High School 3 years.

     Teacher / Student relationship was covered and so was coworker relationships.

     A wonderful Proverb was also provided to help explain something we JETs will most likely encounter. "でるくいはうたれる" romanized "deru kui wa utareru." This roughly translates to "The Protruding Nail Gets Hit or Hammered"
     This was compared to the English Proverb, "The Squeaky Wheel gets the Oil." The difference between the two proverbs are quite significant. The English proverb refers to the idea that the one who is the loudest will get the attention. Where the Japanese Proverb refers more to the idea that one who goes against the grain will be put back into the status quo. This was explained to help JETs understand that all our ideas will not easily be assimilated into the curriculum and we may encounter a lot of resistance. This wasn't said to scare JETs but more to prepare us.

     A Teaching Technique called "TPR Storytelling" was introduced to help us in creating a lesson plan or understanding how to teach a foreign language. This was taught to us by a Former JET who participated in the program in the early 90s and is currently a teacher at an International School in Atlanta. She could only give us the basic introduction to the technique, so what I provide is not the best source.
     The Idea of the technique is that you use questions to check comprehension and input. You as the Teacher would use Yes / No questions, Either / Or Questions, and Who, What, When, Where, and Why Questions.
      Examples, based on the use of The Little Red Riding Hood Story. You would use these question techniques to check comprehension of the topic. Helping is allowed and whether the proper use of english was used is not necessarily important, but rather the comprehension of that question was accurate is important. You would adjust the difficulty of questions according to the skill of the students.

Please use these sites to get a better idea of the technique.

The Break Out Sessions I went to were "Senior High," "Community Involvement," and "Rural." These were great and it was good to hear some advice and also ask questions regarding the topics. For me, I've really done quite a bit of researching and asking questions on Forums, so these sessions were generally not that informative, but they were great to hear the former JETs experiences and advice.

The Main Room where the larger Sessions were held.

Then the Final Session was on Budget and Finance.
     This was actually very very informative. It covered anything from, Money to bring to Japan to Pay to Bills to Finances when you leave JET. Much of the information you could gather from the JET Handbook, but it was soo much better hearing it explained. 

At the beginning of the event, we were all given a packet that included a book called "Japan A Profile of a Nation." I read through much of it during my 6 hour drive back home and I learned quite a bit. This book was very informative and provided information on all aspects of Japan. Geographical, Topographical, Zoological, Historical, Political, Economic, Cultural, Religious, Sports, Societal, Art, and a bunch of other topics. One thing I realized is the book seemed quite outdated... It was published in 1994, so it doesn't include anything regarding the Bubble era... Also, the statistics are quite old, so I did have to take it with a grain of salt, but otherwise it was really great to read about the history of Japan and more specifically how the Government works.

At the end we all went to our "NIJIKAI" which would be the second gathering. This was held at a Bar near the consulate and some of the JETs and former JETs had an opportunity to talk and have fun.

This was taken at the Bar during the NIJIKAI. 
My New Friends and JETS that will be having a blast in Japan!!!

The Lonely Island VLOG Ep. 2

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Lonely Island Ep.1 - Hokkaido Video Blog

I've created a youtube account. TheLonelyIslandHAJET.

This is my Video Blog which will supplement this Blog. I will post the videos I upload on to this blog.

The Following is my first Video Blog... more of an experiment really. I never made one before, so I hope you all enjoy it.

It took me a couple hours to complete and I finally finished around 1 or 2 am... so it was a late night.