Oh boy, it’s been a fast two days! I’m posting both days in one post, so I hope this isn’t too long!
I crashed at 10 on Sunday (the day we came in) and managed to stay asleep until 5:30 or so. Even though I couldn’t fall back asleep, I enjoyed the comfy bed! J and I had plans to meet up with a few other Alaska JETs at 7:30 for breakfast. We got dressed in our suits and I must say, I felt super fancy. I don’t wear suits often so it was cool to wear one all day today. We all trekked downstairs to where Breakfast was being held and dug in! The tables had quite the variety! Potatoes, eggs, salad, toast and rolls, juice and lots of fruit! The eggs I didn’t really agree with because it had a really odd consistency. I probably won’t go for them again.
Here is what our first day looked like:
9:00-9:20 Opening Ceremony
Exactly as it sounds; a large ceremony welcoming us to the Program
9:20-9:45 JET Programme Essential Information
Just some tid bits we needed to know
10:00-11:00 Expectations of a JET ALT
Again, exactly as it sounds
11:15-12:00 Foreign Language Education in Japan
This one was interesting because recently, the hours spent learning foreign languages has increased and it’s been made compulsory in 5th an 6th grade levels, but the classes isn’t graded until JHS
Has some tasty penne pasta with a veggie red sauce
1:15-2:25 Useful Information for ALTs
A great presentation from a current JET about what to expect and tips for getting by in the public school system
At this point in the day, we all had to separate to different rooms based off of what our nametags said. I was in Class 4. We also had to use Attendance Cards to prove we went to these workshops because apparently people in the past skipped out on lots of the workshops even though we’re being paid to go. It’s not too bad really, but I kept forgetting to turn in my card and would have to fight against the crowd of JETs to turn it in.
2:45-3:25 Team Teaching Demo and Effective Lesson Planning in Junior High School Part One
This was so much fun! Got great ideas for my self intro lesson and got a better understanding of Team Teaching
3:40-4:30 Team Teaching Demo and Effective Lesson Planning in Junior High School Part Two
Just a continuation of the previous workshop, but it focused on lesson planning and forming relationships with your teachers
4:40-5:15 Japanese Self Study Intermediate/Advanced Class
This workshop was nice in the essence that I got a list of more apps to use and how to keep myself motivated while learning Japanese
6:30-8:00 Welcome Reception
Big buffet dinner in the main room and we were all split up by prefecture and designated city. I stood with Shizuoka Prefecture, Shizuoka City, Hamamatsu City, and Aichi Prefecture. It was nice to finally meet some fellow Shizuoka and Hamamatsu JETs! I’ll see them all again at the prefecture specific orientation on Day Two.
After the kampai, I lingered for a bit, but didn’t have the patience to stick around to get food. So, I left in search of my fellow Alaska JETs and ran into them in the main hotel tower. We decided to make a spontaneous trip to Shibuya! And I’m so glad we did, because it was so much fun! We did some window shopping, geeked out at the small Disney Store, had some awesome ramen, died in Book Off and enjoyed the night life!
There weren’t many things different from this day of training other than the panel of current JETs and more workshops. At this point, my adrenaline and energy were pretty low, so personally I found it hard to pay attention. But I did my best!
9:00-10:30 Elementary and Junior High School ALT Panel Discussion
This was probably my favorite event of the day. It was great to hear from current JETs about their experiences on the program and I have a somewhat better idea of what to expect on my first couple weeks
10:45-11:35 Speaking for JHS Class Four
Had some demonstrations about good techniques to use with Speaking in the JHS environment
12:50-1:40 Grammar for JHS Class Four
How to use grammar without technically teaching it on your own; kinda confusing and honestly I spaced out most of this workshop.
1:55-2:45 Writing for JHS Class Four
This workshop was the best by far and was pretty much along the lines of the previous two; using writing in class but making it fun (like using Social Media)
3:00-3:50 Vocabulary for JHS Class Four
Again, same as the other three workshops; making vocabulary practice fun in the class without excessive repetition
4:05-4:55 Host Prefecture/Designated City Meeting (Hamamasu City)
The other activity I was most looking forward to! We found out the schedule for Wednesday (arrival in Hamamatsu City) and how we’re getting there! We’re going to be taking the Shinkansen to Hamamatsu City from Tokyo Station. And then we’ll be bustled around all day filling out paperwork and registering various things. I’m excited to see where I’m living for the next year!
4:55-8:00 Survey Turn In and Luggage Collection
Turn in a survey regarding the Orientation and have your luggage taken to be sent ahead to your prefecture. I didn’t have to do this because I only brought a small suitcase and backpack, but after repacking, I’m beginning to wish I had.
And that was the two day orientation in Tokyo! After freshening up and changing into casual clothes, J, J2, A and I all made our way to Harajuku! I’ve been there before many times, but the shops are always changing, it’s so much fun to keep exploring! We had dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant and then topped it off with delicious crepes! After some window shopping and raiding of Closet Child, we hit up Liz Lisa and bought some new purses! I love mine! We found a purikura store below a store and spent about a half hour there doing some! I love purikura!
Since we all had to be up early for our respective departures, we decided to head back around 8:30; Harajuku starts to shut down around that time anyway so even if we had stayed there wouldn’t have been much to do. I’ve repacked about five times and I can’t wait to see my new home! I don’t know when I’ll have internet access in my apartment or when I’ll be able to make it to a Starbucks to post, but I will do by best!