The Circle of (JET) Life

Written by: Kyle Belanger, ALT in Numazu

The year has made its way back to the sweltering summer of Japan. For Japan, this means the end of the first trimester of school, festivals everywhere, and their most beloved bug (the cicada) comes out to serenade you with its incessant buzzing. For JETs, this is often either the beginning or the end since something close to half of the active JETs across Japan end their contracts each year. Around now, the retiring veterans are finalizing their moving plans, and getting those last farewell parties in. Meanwhile the fresh, starry-eyed JETs are abuzz with anticipation for their new homes. This leaves those of us who opted to stick around (just one more year, I swear) sad to be losing some friends, but excited to show more people what they enjoy about Japan, and form new friendships.

Once you get out of the Tokyo Orientation, you will just start to be adjusted to the new time schedule when you are thrust into the working world of Japan. It can be rough, especially when you’ve only just arrived and have countless questions about how anything works. However, it’s important to know there are almost always other JETs nearby, and your school should have a solid support system for newcomers. By extension, it’s important for those of us still here to remember that while saying goodbye is never easy, we still have a chance to say “hello.”

JET is renowned as a contracting organization for numerous reasons, but perhaps one reason that is most often overlooked is how it supports its community, both during and after their time in the program. While we are in Japan, we have access to a well-knit community across the country. If you need some advice, someone will know what you’re going through, because they’ve gone through it themselves. If you are looking to get out of the house, there is always something to do, be it in a group or otherwise, and all you have to do is ask.

Photo courtesy of the JET Program.