Humble Beginnings: Applying for the JET Program

Welcome to nihonomnom (日本おむのむ)
I’ve come to realize no one can pronounce this title until I write it as nihon-omnom then its like duh why didn’t i realized that before!!!
Regardless the purpose of this blog will be to chronicle my journey on the JET Program(me) from initial application through to the day I’m back on Australian soil.
So is this just another JET blog, well yes and no, its primary purposes will be for me to look back on one day and think damn I had an awesome time in my 20s and for all my family and friends back home to see what exactly I’m getting up to so they don’t miss me too much.
I am extremely fond of internet culture and meme’s so expect to be seeing a heap of them in the future!! So what can you expect besides the dribble of a madman in the Japanese countryside. I presume I’ll come up with some exciting little weekly segments to keep you all amused, something along the lines of Japanese Beer/Food/Candy/Product Reviews, local events/matusuri/adventures etc.
Anyhow I might give you a little overview of what exactly the program is all about before we get started.
The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme seeks to enhance internationalization in Japan by promoting mutual understanding between the people of Japan and those of other nations. The Programme aims to enhance foreign language education, and promote international exchange at the local level through the fostering of ties between Japanese youth and foreign youth alike.

The JET Programme started in 1987 with co-operation from participating country governments. In 2011, there were 4,330 participants in the Programme from 39 countries. So in 2012 the JET Program will be celebrating its 26th year.
There have been quite a few changes in the program this year, the first changes since its inception in fact.
For aspiring applicants the biggest difference would be in the introduction of a sliding pay scale. In previous years JET participants received 3,600,000 ¥ remuneration per year however as of 2012 the new system is as follows:
(Quoted from the 2012 application)
Remuneration per annum is approximately 3,360,000¥ in the first year of appointment, 3,600,000¥ in the second year, 3,900,000¥ in the third year, and, in case the contracting organisation reappoints a participant whose work ability is deemed excellent more than 2 times, 3,960,000¥ in both the fourth year and the fifth year.
This could in part be due to the great financial strain Japan has come under in recent years which was only worsened by the Great Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami which occurred earlier this year on 3/11 and of course the Nuclear disaster that has subsequently followed.
As this sliding scale will save BOE’s some money since now participants would need to stay 3 years to make the same total money and from what I understand most JETs do NOT stay past 2-3 years.
For Australian applicants the only other notable difference is that we now have to option to choose whether we would be willing to depart early in April (although the number who does this is minuscule) which I have selected I am willing to do.
So why Japan, well this is a question I have been pondering myself a great deal recently, basically I feel Japan is a part of me that I just can’t get in Australia (to quote the almighty Chris Green) and JET is really what I have been searching for to plug that gap in me. However my view of Japan is still immature, having only visited it twice in my mind Japan is a crazy world of Anime, Samurai and Technology. I realize this is hardly what Japan will actually be like, especially considering I will most likely find myself in the middle of nowhere and receive the ‘inaka placement’ but this too will be an experience I will be all too happy to embrace. At the end of the day I don’t really care where in Japan I’m going, I just want to go to Japan!!!
At this point do I even know if I will get in or not, well in fact we are well off the answer to that question as I am still working on my application (which I’m almost done with) but I thought starting this blog early would be good motivation to keep at it. がんばって!!!
note: I’m gona be whacking in a heap of hirigana and kanji here and there but I’ll do my best to provide translation of the new words I’m learning down the bottom of each post, also my English grammar is terrible so don’t judge me on my Japanese (well you can but if you do your a dick)
出願地獄 (application hell)
Is this a real thing?? Does the kanji even make sense……I dunno
I don’t know much but what I do know is the JET Program application is heaps painful, But that’s a story for another day
Well unless you’re reading this in….. THE FUTURE!!!
Then push next post ya dummy XD

11 thoughts on “Humble Beginnings: Applying for the JET Program

  1. Dude! I’m reading this from the future. Super fun being able to look back and see how it all started. I’m a Kiwi applying for the JET Programme for 2013. Excited!

      • Reading your blog gets me so excited and somewhat nervous (I know not to get my hopes up). Quick question: I’m tossing up whether I apply for Group A or Group B. What would ye recommend? I have Kobe, Yokohama and Nagoya as my options

      • Well your certainly welcome good sir!

        hmmmmmm unless things that have changed this year you don’t get to.
        Group A is something along the lines of Australia, Singapore and Jamaica.
        Group B is America, Canada and NZ.

        If your going to pick Kobe-shi, Hyogo is a good choice also as the reasons you can talk about are similar.

      • You are a star! Thanks. I just had a wee gander at the application form/deets, and it looks like us NZ’ers do get the early Group A option. Also, if you apply for Group A and are unsuccessful, they automatically put you up for candidacy in Group B. Were you all good with leaving early? I reckon i’ll be okay with it. I have sooo many questions I want to know about your experience in Japan so far.

      • Oh that’s interesting, i have never heard of it so might be new.
        When we got the new ALT intake we had welcoming dinners and as they came a week apart we had to have 2, i noted the nationalities of the new arrivals at each accordingly.

        Look my early departure was ‘special’ as im sure you have read, as i was given only a month to pack down my life before i had to leave.
        Usually you would get 6 weeks or so and its totally doable.
        the issue was not so much leaving early but arriving to be fair. I rocked up in Kobe at a very hectic time, having to teach 50% extra load to make up for lost time and with an empty apartment so it wasnt easy to say the least.

        The hardest part though was when i was just ariving there were 30 people leaving, week after week there were farewell parties for people i scarcely knew, nor did i want to, having just said goodbye to everybody in my life i was less than keen to do it all over again.

        Anyhow i found many people who although were excited to meet me at first had little time for me as the weeks went by as they were preoccupied with their friends leaving. furthermore the support system was simply not there for me either as the CIRs were preoccupied with leavers also.

        Was not all bad though, i arrived on the first day of summer and got to really love life for a few weeks before it all came crashing down.

        Would i do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT!

      • Wow, that sounds like an adventure in itself! You should find me on Facebook “Alexander D. Whitteker”. It’ll be cool to have a JET guru/go-to person to give me tips for application forms etc.

  2. Hi, Im also apply for JET 2013 from Jamaica.
    I also have a somewhat immature view of Japan, from animes, mangas and currently VERY addicted to the live actions.
    Ive never left home for any extended amount of time, and never been on my own.. so this is super scary and exciting for me.
    Found your blog via You Me and a Tanuki =)
    Trying to read up as much as I can about what to expect and whatnot, granted I know that everyones experience is different especially depending on where they get placed.

    I applied for Sapporo, Aomori and Chiba.,, Im not sure what im getting myself into cause the 1st 2 have very cold and snowy winters, which being a Jamaican, I have absolutely no experience with, and only seen snow once in my life for a 2 week period when I was younger and never had to deal with “living” in it. ^_^

    I look forward to reading the rest of your blog and get some much needed insight.

    Alex, if you see this, GAMBATTE NE!!!!

    • Mmmmm yeah you sound like you can bring a fair amount of genk to the table so that’s good. I wish you all the best in making it past the first stage your application.

      The interviews are a whole different animal so I highly recommend to begin preparing ASAP just in case.
      For the love of god though please from mentioning any interest in anything vaguely pop-culture. I know a couple 100 JETs and only a handful that watch anime, it’s deffs a thing only for children and ‘nerds’ (in a very bad way) over here. So play it cool and keep those interest on the down low like I do. you’ll learn fast soon as you get here!!

      Anyhow i try to present my life as honestly as possible, if you ever have any questions feel free to ask.


      • Lol Genk? Whats that?
        Thanks, Ill try to keep that side of me quiet then, ill just freak out on the inside when I see poster/ toys/ commercials etc.
        Though I should be safe cause Ive kinda drifted from animes, Im more into the dramas and the music.

        Is this the only medium Ill be able to ask you ques?

      • Oh its JET slang for Genki, as in ‘man i ain’t feelin the genk today yo’

        Look I can only tell you about the australian process as they all differ slightly, but talk about an ‘unhealthy’ (read anything but glancing) interest in japanese pop culture and your going to probs give them the impression you want to go for the wrong reasons regardless. So if they ask if your interested in anime or whatever act nonchallant and be like ‘oh yeah i have seem some ghibli stuff, i really enjoyed it’

        you can email me at, i am returning home for a couple weeks this afternoon so i might be a little slow to reply over the christmas/new years break

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