Tagged: JET Program

My First Week in Japan


HOLY GUACAMOLE.  It’s been almost a week since I set off and started my journey to Japan and it has been nothing short of amazing.  I’ve been working for two days and it’s been so overwhelming.  I first had orientation in Tokyo, where we went to workshops to help us transition into language teachers and living in Japan.  Lets just say it was exhausting, but I met so many great people from all over the world.  The orientation was in Shinjuku, so I mainly stayed around that area when we went out at night.  I could only be out for an hour or two because I was so exhausted from jet lag and sitting at orientation all day.  I will definitely be making a trip back to Tokyo in the near future!  It’s such a huge city and there’s so much to do.


Honestly, it felt like I was in LA the entire time since I was stuck in the hotel.  I didn’t actually look outside a window until the middle of Monday (we got there on Sunday night) and I didn’t step outside the hotel until Monday night.  Once I stepped outside, it hit me.  This wasn’t LA.  I’m more than 5,000 miles away from LA.  OMG I’M IN JAPAN BREATHING THE SAME AIR AS MIURA HARUMA!!!!!  The whole time we were there, it felt like I was on some sort of vacation.  I was going home in a couple weeks (actually it still feels like that…) and I’ll be back at home with my kitty and waayyyy cooler weather.


I’m living in Mie Prefecture, about four hours south of Tokyo.  I think my town is super cute and everyone I’ve met so far is extremely nice.  Even though I barely know any Japanese, they still try to talk to me.  We basically exchange one word and a lot of smiling and laughing.  I’m so thankful the other JET I work with knows Japanese, so she has been translating for me.  I feel bad that she has to do it, so I will study extra hard to get as conversational as I can!


We took the shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Nagoya and I had to take another train to Mie.  It took about 4 hours in total, which is not bad!  I’m so happy that I’m pretty close to most of the major cities: Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and Tokyo in the nearish distance.  The bullet train reaches up to speeds of 200 mph which is pretty awesome… and fast.  This is my second time riding it, that I haven’t had to pay for, so I was definitely savoring the moment.  The tickets to ride the shinkansen are pretty expensive.

Tokyo Station


I’ve already made some mistakes.  Ah!  But I’m glad that I’ve been able to laugh them off.  When I first got to my city, literally ran around everywhere trying to get things done.  I saw my apartment, I went to the town hall, the market, and back to the town hall to meet the mayor.  I introduced myself so many different times in super beginner Japanese (blkajr;ekaj;ekfjae).  I accidentally handed over $300 for my groceries when they costed about $24, I was smiling awkwardly at the mayor when he was super serious, and there are so many other things that have happened, and I’ve only been living here for two days.  HOLY MOLY.


My apartment is bigger than I expected it to be.  I have a ton of space which is really nice.  There are three different rooms: my bedroom, the TV area, some kind of laundry/closet thing, plus the kitchen and bathroom.  I love it.  I was expecting to have one giant room, like a studio apartment, but having separate rooms is nice!  I don’t always have to been in the same place all the time.  Once I make it a little more homey with more pictures and belongings, I think this place will feel like home.  But the bathroom kind of creeps me out…

Japanese apartment

Japanese apartment

Japanese apartment

I’m so excited for the days to come!  This is just the beginning.  There are so many new experiences and adventures to come.  I’ve barely gone out and explored my city, but hopefully I’ll have the chance really soon, just to walk around.

This Summer: Goodbye America, Hello…

I’ve been thinking over and over again, how to write this post, because it’s basically the post that will jump start where I want my blog to go.  If you’ve been reading our posts or are following us on Twitter, we’ve dropped a ton of hints.  Mark even mentioned what was going to happen in his recent post.  I think it’s about time I mention it!  This summer, I will be doing on of the biggest things I’ve ever done in my life.  This could possibly be THE biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life: I’m moving to Japan.  

The picture above is one of a few pictures that I can find right now from my Japan trip back in 2008.  I think that’s my dad’s head at the bottom of the picture.  He always gets in the way of my pictures!

Back in November, I applied to the JET Program.  I’ve known for a year or two that this was my number one choice after I graduated from college.  I wanted nothing more than to go to Japan and teach English.  Not only do I love Japan and travelling, it would be a great experience teaching since one of my future goals is to become an elementary school teacher.  Actually one of my bucket list goals was to live in another country for at least a year.  This was the perfect opportunity to travel, teach, and live in another country!

After turning in the application, we had to wait a long three months to hear if we got an interview.  I was walking home from school when I got the email and I was so excited!  A few weeks later was the interview.  I will do a separate post about my interview experience, but lets just say, it was not good.  Lets just say, it ended with me crying in my car.  I was devastated, because when you want something so much and you think you screw it up, you just feel defeated.

At that point, I wasn’t expecting too much since I didn’t think my interview went well.  At the end of April, I was sitting on my bed at home by myself when my phone chimed.  I looked at it and saw that JET had emailed me: JET Program Results.  OMG.  I put my phone down as quickly as I could.  I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t look at the email.  I had already prepared myself for the worst, but it was real.  The email was finally there.  I took a deep breath and opened it.

I got in.  

I couldn’t feel any emotions because so many emotions where running through my body.  Was I happy?  Excited?  Shocked?  I had no idea!  I felt all of those things and more at the same time.  I literally reread the email like 8 times, before I confirmed, this is totally real.  I then proceeded to spazz text everyone that knew I was waiting for the email.  I GOT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  I’m actually going to be moving to Japan and teach English!

Even after I got the email, it didn’t hit me that it was actually going to happen.  Even know as I type this, I still think this is all a dream.  However, as I get more and more emails from the program, it gets more and more real.  I now know what grades I will be teaching and where I will be living.  I’m will be leaving at the end of July.  A new adventure.  A new life.  New experiences everyday.  I can’t wait to explore my city, all the other cities, the country, everything.

Now, there is one huge downside to this.  One that rips a hole in my heart every time I think about it.  That is, Mark and I will have to be apart for a year.  He also wants to teach in Japan, but he won’t be able to go this year.  Every time I think about the fact that he won’t be there to comfort me when I’m sad, calm me when I’m stressed, or make funny faces with me makes me sad.  This will be the biggest challenge, because we’ve never been apart for more than a month.  Even when we were apart, we were at least in the same time zone.  We could call, text, or skype each other whenever we wanted.  I will be over 5,000 miles away, living in the future.  With every passing day, I cherish every second that I have with him.  (I started crying as I wrote this post at this point…).  I’m going to try not to think these thoughts right now!

Going back to happier thoughts, but yes!  This will be the beginning of my new adventures.  You will be seeing different types of posts, pictures, and thoughts, once I move to Japan!  I’m so excited that my blog will also be incorporating more travel!  It’s something that I’ve always wanted to write about and showcase.

Stay tuned for more stories!  If you’re interested, I plan on tweeting a lot about my adventures.  You can follow and connect with me @_sweetsmores!  I love tweeting.