First off: 31 days and counting until Japan!
WHAT THE WHAT.
Alright, here’s an update about what’s been going down since I received my placement!
After panicking my FBI check would be delayed or denied, it arrived at the Anchorage Consular this week! And my IRS forms showing I don’t have to pay income tax in Japan for two years also came in as well! Had a minor scare that my proof of graduation went missing, but it was found and all is going smoothly. The only thing left to turn in to the office is my visa application, previous visa cancellation form and my passport photos! It’s coming down to the wire!
Even though I’ve read the online copy of the “General Information Handbook “(GIH) like, dozens of times, I got the official hardcopy in the mail a couple weeks into June, along with a copy of “Japanese for JETs”. I like having a hard copy because now I can scribble notes in it. And I guess we have to bring a hard copy to the Post Arrival Orientation in Tokyo. It’s also fun to look at the Japanese page and see if I can manage to recognize a few words or kanji. Getting them made it feel a little more official that I’m going back to Japan. I’ve been going through bursts of emotion since hearing my placement. Some days I’m really antsy, watching the clock tick seconds closer to Japan, but most days I’m sitting back at work thinking about what I feel like cooking for dinner…if I feel like cooking at all. Knowing that I’m going back over is really all I needed to know and now it’s just another (less nerve wracking) waiting game.
I had an informational session with a JET Alum, L (I won’t be using full names of JET participants or JET Alum on this blog unless I get their permission), on May 23rd. She had been placed in Okinawa when she went, but it was so much fun to talk with someone who has the same passion and love for Japan that I do. It was also nice to hear first-hand what JET is like; her picture books were amazing and got me pumped to get started! She gave awesome tips about everyday situations, both at home and at work, and encouraged me to get an International Driver’s License, even if I don’t plan on driving. I guess she was like me; she didn’t think she’d need to get a car, but ended up buying one after she spent a couple months without one. Granted, she was in Okinawa and they don’t have a train system there, just a monorail in the main city. However, Hamamatsu-shi is a major stop on the JR and Shinkansen lines and even has its own train within the city; I believe it’s called the Red Line, but I could be wrong. Just to be on the safe side though, I plan on getting my IDL.
I’ve joined the Shizuoka AJET and the Incoming 2015 JETs Facebook pages (as well as many others) and I’m so excited to meet everyone! They sound like a great bunch of people. Everyone on the page who live in Shizuoka currently are really helpful and give fantastic tips regarding money, what to pack (cause the weather in Hamamatsu-shi is SO different than Alaska, but no surprise there right?), what not to pack, transportation around the city and so forth. It’s really great to have so much support and I’m not even over there yet!
So far I’ve spoken with…four incoming JETs who have been placed in Hamamatsu-shi as well; most of the others I’ve seen on the page have been placed in Shizuoka-shi , a smaller city/town within the prefecture or are prefectural JETs and don’t know the exact city they’ll be going to. One girl I’ve been speaking with, K, came up with this fantastic idea. Since we’re so close to Tokyo…why not get a season pass (or Disney Passport) to Tokyo Disneyland? BRILLIANT! So now the two of us are planning on hopping a train to Maihama after our second day of Tokyo Orientation (on first day we have the Welcome Reception) and buying some Disney Passports J they will pay for themselves in the first few uses! I’ve been to Tokyo Disneyland twice before, but with it being so close, I can’t help myself! Easy day trips on the weekends! She also found a really neat horse stable that you can pay to ride horses! We plan to check that out too. I’ve accumulated a huge list of things I’d like to do in Hamamatsu/Shizuoka alone and I hope I can make the most of my holidays and weekends.
I have in fact been in contact with both my BoE and my predecessor, but this post is already really long, so I’ll make another one in a few days once I pick his brain a little longer.