Visit a Local JET Open Day
On the JET website, there will be a link to see where there is a local open day close to you. The one I went to was in the library of a nearby university.
It was simply a past JET ALT stood at a stand and I asked her questions.
I was prepared to sit at a lecture and take notes and not essentially interview a person about their experience – so I advice to prepare some questions before you want to go.
Here is where I received great advice about finances and how much money to save to take with me. I was told around £2000-£3000, which was also a shared opinion of James from ALT Insider.
This is due to having enough money to enjoy the welcome week festivities, as well as to settle in to your new place.
She also told me about when you move in to your new home:
Your New Home
So when you move in you will be greeted by your predecessor who will help you settle in.
You predecessor may sell you items such as their car, bike or furniture.
They may also help you with figuring out things such as getting a phone contract and explaining recycling – Japanese recycling is pretty complicated.
The way of life is obviously quite foreign to us, so the open day is your chance to prepare any questions you might have and direct them towards a real-life experienced JET standing across from you.
When it comes to deciding where you wish to live in Japan if your application is successful, it is a question of whether you want a rural experience or a city one.
However, it is more than likely that you will get a rural placement as the city is a popular choice and there are limited spaces.
I believe the JET Programme favours the rural placements as these schools really are in need of your ambassadorial and English teaching skills.
Choosing Your 3 Choices of Where To Live
To make this decision, I started by looking through a Japan travel guide (which I will list in the Highly Recommended Resources section at the end of this guide).
Best Places To Teach English in Japan
I looked through all of the places I wished to visit, but then looked at all of the surrounding prefectures, as if you choose somewhere like say Osaka, then this is a popular choice, so finding close-by prefectures and then researching them made for interesting exploration. You could always travel to the points of interest easier if you select a prefecture near them.
So for example, I wished to go to Nara more than any other area, but I was informed by the ex-JET at the Open Day that it would be a popular choice. So my research of surrounding areas led me to discover Wakayama.
What interested me about Wakayama was its Onsen, or hot springs, and how close it was to Osaka and Nara.
So what is your main reasons for wanting to visit Japan? To see the deers of Nara? To experience the bright lights of Tokyo? Or kick back in a hot spring in the mountains?
Whatever it is, you will find the place that you can picture yourself living in Japan by digging around forums and Reddit. I even found a forum with other JETs currently living in Nara – which was a fantastic insight.
JET Program Placement
This is definitely something to research a lot. Where you are going to live for a year is going to make a big impact on your time in Japan.
Or if you simply want to roll the dice…put no choices and JET will allocate you a place.