Honestly, I was super surprised to see on ITIL that placements were starting to come out. Looking at the JET timeline on the official website, it says Late May/Early June as the tentative placement date. I know last year, they were released around the 16th of May which is ridiculously early, so I wasn’t expecting to have results until then at least. You can imagine my shock to hear that they were being distributed already. My placement was given to me on the 13th; I was a wreck at work because I heard about the placements being given out in the early morning hours, but didn’t receive placement until late afternoon.
And the results were: Hamamatsu-shi in Shizuoka-ken!
I was literally running around my office telling everyone. Most of my office were aware I was moving to Japan, but for those who didn’t, now they do!
As a refresher, I originally asked for the Aichi, Gifu and Shiga prefectures as my preferences, but I’m really happy with my placement! As you can see above, Shizuoka is right next door to Aichi, which is where I’ve spent most of my time while in Japan. Though I will probably visit Nagoya and Gifu often (that’s where I worked last Spring) I am really excited to get to know my new city.There’s lots to do there from what I’ve read; I’ve updated my Bucket List page with a list specific to the Shizuoka.
Hamamatsu-shi is along the coastline of Japan and has a population of about 500,000 people. Yeah, a lot more than Juneau, Alaska for sure. According to some of the sites I’ve looked at so far, Hamamatsu is home to nearly 20,000 foreigners, most of which are from Brazil. There’s even a Samba festival in the summer! I think that would be so cool to see! Shizuoka is also where Mt. Fuji is and can be seen from Hamamatsu-shi on sunny days!I’ve only really seen Mt. Fuji in passing on my way to Tokyo from Nagoya, so being able to see it on a regular basis is awesome!
Hamamatsu-shi is in a pretty nice location; only a couple of hours via local trains to Nagoya and Tokyo, though since it’s right in the middle I’ll probably use the Shinkansen or Night Bus to Tokyo (weekend trips to Disneyland are so promising now). In terms of weather, it sounds like the summers are like summers all over Japan; hot and humid. But who’s surprised? Not me. I expect it nowadays; I figure I need to get used to it if anything. Winter’s are super mild compared to Alaska, but there is a rarther famous wind that blows across Hamamatsu-shi from Lake Hamana; it’s super cold and dry, so I’m sure it will feel as cold Alaska with that factored into the temperature.
Since I was contracted with the city and not prefecture, I will most likely be teaching elementary and junior high school students. Though I can have the occasional preschool or high school thrown in just to keep me on my toes. With how much I love teaching children, I really hope I have a few elementary schools! I actually think I’ll get quite a few schools because I’m in a large city, but I could be wrong! I won’t really know until I get my contract later this summer. I thought that I might have to get a car if I got an inaka (country) placement, but I’m in a pretty urban area, so it might not even be necessary! I don’t know exactly where I will be living (like which ward or section of the city), but the main train lines are easy to access! I’ll also have to get used to using the bus it seems…and possibly buy a bicycle.
Now that I have my placement, I’m quite content and satisfied. I was getting the “where are you going?” question about three times a day and it was getting tiring saying “I don’t know yet!” So, I’m super happy I can finally answer! Shortly after saying “Hamamatsu City”, I follow-up quickly with “The place where Mt. Fuji is.” It seems to be working 😀
I probably won’t hear from my CO (contracting organization) until Late June or even Early July; it’s a little nerve-wracking, but hey! I know where I’m living and working for the next year or so 🙂