How Much You Can Expect To Be Paid On The JET Program(me)

Now particularly with all the changes to the JET program compensation and introduction of the sliding pay-scale which began this year. There were many very worried prospective applicants this time last year (myself included) who would have done anything to get their hands on some solid information regarding how much we could expect to take home.
These are my last couple pay slips, which accurately reflect exactly how much a Kobe JET participant can hope to take home a month. Those in other prefectures can end up with slightly more or less but 20万円 (200,000¥) a month is a good ballpark figure.

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Now since we are quite fortunate in Kobe and get a couple bonus perks with our income ill break it down.
So for our first year we earn 3.36百万円 (3,360,000¥) or 28万円 (280,000¥) on a monthly basis. From this the deductions include:
1.5万円 (15,000¥) mandatory heath insurance
2.5万円 (25,000¥) average social security
6千円 (6,000¥) income tax (note: Americans are not subject to this for the first 2 years on the program due to a tax treaty)
3.9万円 (39,000¥) apartment rent (originally around 8万円 but half is paid for by the Kobe Board of Education)

This usually leaves me with around 19万円 take home money. However one of our perks living in Kobe is that we are refunded our transportation expenses, this amount is dependent on the route you must take to work, mine is 15,640¥ a month. However to complicate things depending on the month sometimes we are paid out for a month transport pass at a time and once a year a 6 month pass (which is why the pay for October is so much higher than November).

Soon as my second year rolls around (6 more months wew!) my pay will go up to 3600000¥ a year, in my third year it will again rise to 3900000¥ and if I so choose to the pay in the 4-5th years is 3960000¥.
Although I earn significantly less than many if my friends I haven’t really noticed any difference in our lifestyles as most people save quite a lot of money whilst on JET (I have many temptations here in Kobe but I imagine saving in the inaka is even easier!). The first few months money was quite tight I will admit, however once your apartment is furnished money is not such a problem as Japan can be quite the affordable country if you live sensibly.

Anyhow I hope this breakdown was somewhat helpful, as always feel free to hitt me up if you have any questions.

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Japanese Christmas Bauble Coke Bottles 2012

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I noticed these limited edition bauble shaped Christmas Coke bottles popping up in stores recently, coming in both regular and zero flavours. Only containing 350ml and priced at 118円 a bottle their a tad on the expensive side for beverages in Japan, considering you can usually get a 500ml bottle for around 98円.

Anyhow their meccha cute so I thought I’d invest in a bottle or 2 just for kicks, way to give into marketing huh (−_−;)

Sh*t ALTs Say

Staring the brightest up and coming talents from Kobe JET I present to you ‘Sh*t ALTs Say’ produced by the world renowned Luke & Rory production company!

I even cameo in a couple scenes 😉

Domo Arigatzz

Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社

During my parents visit to Japan a few weeks ago we visited Fushimi Inari Taisha 伏見稲荷大社 the head shrine of Inari, located in Fushimi -ku, Kyoto.

Famous for the thousands of torii 鳥居 (shinto archways) lining the paths up the mountain on which the shrine is located, all of which are donated to the temple by local families and corporations. The Inari kami 神 (deity) are one of the three main kami in the shinto faith, being the protectors of grains and rice. Companies often make offerings to Inari shrines by placing barrels of sake 酒 (rice wine) at the base of the mountain, however visitors can make small offerings by placing food in front of the kitsune statues (popular choices are sake and rice).

Kitsune themed decorations at Fushimi Inari station.
Omiyage stores leading up to the entrance to the shrine.

Kitsune 狐 (Fox) statues

Torii themed prayer boards

Genkii 元気 torii time

Parentals waking through the torii.
Mother in front of a small restaurant along the way.

We purchased a bag of Tsujiura Senbei 辻占煎餅 (fortune cookie) a speciality product of the area.Reading my O-mikuji 御御籤 (Fortune), I received a Dai-kichi 大吉 (Great blessing) and a Chū-kichi 中吉 (Middle blessing).

Popin’ Cookin’ – Curry Set (Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures: Part 2)

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I know it’s been a long while since I published the first installment of ‘Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures’ but every step of creating these posts is very time consuming so I have been subconsciously putting off creating Part 2, alas it is now complete so please enjoy. Popin’ Cookin’ – Curry Set (Meccha Oishii Japanese Candy Adventures: Part 2)

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In this kit we shall be making karē raisu カレーライス (curry rice) and accompanying Korokke コロッケ (croquettes) a popular dish in Japan. Keep in mind like the last entry where I made gyoza and ramen, similarly these tiny dishes are actually savoury.

First things first take your various bowls and cut them up accordingly, this will make things easier. If you like you can also trim around the round serving bowl to make it a tad more aesthetically pleasing.

First we will be making the rice so grab the blue packet ライス.

Pour the entire contents of the rice packet along with not one but TWO measures of water into the almost rectangular container and mix it until it becomes fluffy.

Once your done transfer your ‘rice’ to the serving bowl, covering 2/3rds of one side as I have done.

Next up were making the Korokke コロッケ so grab the orange pack labeled Poteto ポテト (Potato).

Once again pour the packet into the almost rectangular container along with ONE measure of water and mix until you can roll it into a doughy ball.

Spit the dough in half, transfer to a plate and mold them to whatever takes your fancy. I went with a star and heart, this can be a little tricky to do ebtirely with you fingers, so use the mixing spoon as it is flat.

Once your done, temporarily set them aside.

Take the bag of crispy balls and crush them to dust prior to opening them.

Once again pour the crushed balls into the almost rectangular container.

Then proceed to roll your potato shapes in the crispy coating until they are well covered.

Once again set them aside as they are all done!

For the final step grab the brown packet labeled カレー (curry) and pour it into the almost rectangle container.

Add ONE measure of water to the powder and mix thoroughly until it is a thick brown paste.

Transfer your finished curry to the serving bowl in the empty third alongside your rice and your done!

There you have it the finished dish カレーライス コロッケ セット(curry rice and croquette set meal) !

Score
Funness (楽しい) – 4/5
Tastiness (美味しい) – 3.5/5
Authenticness (正真正銘) – 4.5/5
Overall impression (全体の印象) – 4/5

Halloween 2012!!

After 2 weekend of Halloween parties in Kobe and Osaka it’s safe to say I’m Halloweened out! A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join a krew dressing as nigirizushi for Halloween.

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The Saturday prior to Halloween a couple dozen of us pilgrimaged to Amemura アメリカ村 (America Village) in Osaka the Friday following we did it all over again for the annual Kobe JET Halloween party at IZNT in Sannomiya.

Here’s a couple of photos from both!

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 7 – Ninja (Kusa) Dango 草餅

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Today I bring to the table The Mochi Diaries Chapter 7 – Ninja (Kusa) Dango 草餅

As a foreword this mochi doesn’t actually have anything to do with ninja, in fact rather than mochi todays review is on kusa dango 草団子 (grass dango). Dango whilst being almost identical to mochi is a separate type of wagashi, generally speaking the difference is that mochi is made by pounding glutinous rice into a dough where as dango is made by adding water to mochiko 餅粉 (glutinous rice flour) and boiling or grilling the resulting dough.

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Now the reason I suspect for the whole ninja packaging is due to the fact that kusa 草 the kanji for grass, though in modern Japanese it is now an archaic reading 草 was once  could be read to mean ‘ninja’, so it’s essentially a pun.

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Unlike any mochi 餅 or dango 団子 I have reviewed thus far, as opposed to the usual mochi outer layer filled with a sweet centre (usually azuki あずき) this kusa dango lies on a bed of anko 餡こ (sweetened red bean paste).

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Rather than just popping them in your mouth, a small a small spoon is provided to scoop the dango up with a little anko on the side.
Fair nomnomnom 3.5/5

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Now as a little bonus, if you have never seen one of these before its a kakigoori かき氷 (shaved ice) machine. During the summer I became somewhat addicted to these delicious treats as they are a great way to cool down. Popular matsuri 祭 (festival) snacks, they come in a wide array of flavours.

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Using the kusa dango I decided to make the traditional ujikintoki kakigori which is topped with sweetened red bean paste, dango and often capped with condensed milk.

Want to read more Mochi Diaries Posts?

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 6 – Goma Yatsuhashi 胡麻 八つ橋

<———– Last

The Mochi Diaries: Chapter 8 – Kuri Yatsuhashi 栗八つ橋

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