Farewell! JETs Heading Home from Ishikawa This Summer

 

The end of July is getting closer every day, which means it’s time to begin saying our goodbyes to the JETs who will be leaving this year.  In honor of the “Leavers,” we at the Ishikawa JET Blog sent out a little survey so that we could spotlight some of the folks who’ll be heading on to a new chapter of their lives.  Here are some pearls of wisdom from those exiting the JET Program:

 

 

 

-Name: Natalie Boon

 

-Home Country: Singapore

-Began the JET Program: August 2013

-Why JET? I work for the Ministry of Education back home so after a few years I wanted a change or environment. Lucky for me I was able to apply for 1 year of leave to do the JET Program, and to return as a better teacher and person.

-How did you end up in Ishikawa? It chose me! But I’m really glad it did.

-Most memorable moment during JET: Too many! But I think just looking at the sheer amount of nature, especially flowers by the road and in people’s gardens always takes my breath away.

 

-Advice for incoming JETs: All wonderful experiences are mind-made… and be the person you would want to be friends with.

-The song that summarizes your time on JET: Climb Every Mountain….(I’ll have conquered all 3 sacred ones before I leave!)

-You have to teach one last class before you leave the JET Program, but all you have is a stick (no more than 12cm long), an empty bottle of soy sauce (any brand, but it hasn’t been rinsed yet so it still has a pungent odor), and whatever is in your pockets right now.  What lesson do you teach? First, I’d use my last wetwipe on the bottle cos I’m OCD that way. HAHA. I guess with the stick and bottle I would teach music beats, sorta like STOMP since clapping and snapping fingers and slapping thighs won’t require props.

 

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-Name: Liz

 

-Home Country: USA

 

-Began the JET Program: July 2011

 

-Why JET? Honestly, I like living in other countries. I had never been to Japan before I moved here and I was curious about this island. I like teaching kids and I adapt quickly.

 

-How did you end up in Ishikawa? I had zero control over where I went. I blindly put down Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka because they were (sadly) all I knew about Japan before I came. I am SO GLAD I didn’t get placed there and Ishikawa snatched me up! Didn’t realize the tub of butter I fell into when I accepted this post! Best Ken Fo-EVA!!

 

-Most memorable moment during JET: I remember driving around the Noto during my first year and just feeling completely free. My first recontracting reason was to see the cherry blossoms one more time, the second time I recontracted was to experience autumn one more time. Its just a beautiful country. Life is very good here.

 

-Advice for incoming JETs: Soak in Japan. Please don’t hurry through this experience, no matter how long you stay. Fun is on the other side of yes. I promise you will wake up at some point in this year and look around you at your friends or your school or your apartment and think “WHERE am I? How did I get here?” Relish that feeling. (unless its Prison. Then you are screwed)

 

Also—give yourself at least 3 months to unwind from moving to Japan. I was so stressed at the long to do lists before I came that I felt like a tornado when I got here. Japan is VERY different from your home country. But that’s what makes it overwhelmingly cool and frustrating and awesome and mind-boggling. Process all of this with patience.

 

-The song that summarizes your time on JET: One song? When you get here you are all like LA to Tokyo by Iggy Azalea (Fancy). Then you settle in and it feels like Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros. Around year two it feels like Rather Be by Clean Bandit, with a combo track of Brave by Sara Barillies. Finally, now as I write this, this resonates looking over the last three years: Without you by David Guetta (or These are the days by 10,000 Maniacs)

 

-You have to teach one last class before you leave the JET Program, but all you have is a stick (no more than 12cm long), an empty bottle of soy sauce (any brand, but it hasn’t been rinsed yet so it still has a pungent odor), and whatever is in your pockets right now.  What lesson do you teach? Totes Easy!! Present continuous using irregular verbs! Kids LOVE it!!! And I don’t even need this folded up book I found in my pocket!

 

 

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-Name: Melissa Cho

 

-Home Country: Australia

 

-Began the JET Program: April 2010

 

-Why JET? I studied Education and Japanese in university, and I wanted to do something that let me use both. That and I really wanted to get back to Japan after living here as an exchange student.

 

-How did you end up in Ishikawa?  It chose me – I found out 3 weeks after my interview, and only had 3 weeks to prepare. I had to do some fast research because I had no idea about it, but I have fallen in love with the place.

 

-Most memorable moment during JET: Arriving in Ishikawa and having my school wide Welcome Party the same night. It was a memorable way to kick off my life here.

 

-Advice for incoming JETs: Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it – there are always people out there who are willing to lend a hand. Also, Shirako is never tasty. Just don’t do it.

 

-The song that summarizes your time on JET: Dumbo – When I see an elephant fly

 

-You have to teach one last class before you leave the JET Program, but all you have is a stick (no more than 12cm long), an empty bottle of soy sauce (any brand, but it hasn’t been rinsed yet so it still has a pungent odor), and whatever is in your pockets right now.  What lesson do you teach? If Macgyver isn’t part of the school curriculum – then I would go all out on a Infomercial lesson or a creative writing lesson “Why?/What happened?”  You could even be a bit ridiculous and have the kids debate which of the two is more useful in life/in an emergency.  Simpler lessons could be done by having students think of words related to the grammar point you are focusing on – brainstorming vocab about kitchens/ adjectives related to the items. If they do it in pairs, you could swap lists with another group, and they have to make sentences using as many of the words on the list as they can…

 

 

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-Name: Jon-Mark Overvold

 

-Home country: USA

 

-Began JET Program: August 2009

 

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-Why JET? I liked Japanese movies and had done a summer internship in Tokyo, but mostly I wanted something very different from my life in school. JET was plan B. Plan A was to join the military but I discovered that I’m ineligible. If I didn’t get into JET, plan C was to live at home, work the register at a big box retailer, and try to create from sadness. Plan D was to go to South Asian mountains, find a monastery, fake amnesia so they have to let me stay(?), and become a Marvel superhero/villain/sad man.

-How did you end up in Ishikawa? It chose me! I asked for “rural.”

-Most memorable moment during JET: Best not said.

-Advice for incoming JETs: Be open, be aware, and find the balance between you and your environment that gives both the respect they deserve. Or, it’s not all about you, but sometimes it really is about you.

-The song that summarizes your time on JET: “Midas Touch” by THE PROOFS, since this was song was…specifically made to summarize this time. (http://theproofs.bandcamp.com/track/midas-touch)

-You have to teach one last class before you leave the JET Program, but all you have is a stick (no more than 12cm long), an empty bottle of soy sauce (any brand, but it hasn’t been rinsed yet so it still has a pungent odor), and whatever is in your pockets right now.  What lesson do you teach? “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” improv class

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So there you have it.  Make sure to say your farewells to those who’ll be leaving this summer, and don’t forget about Sobetsu-Prom on the 28th of June, for one last night dancing and revlery with our friends!
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