Blog Archives

The CIR Interview Perspective

First things first- you really need to prepare. The best thing that you can do to pass the interview is intelligently use the time that you have before the interview. With the interviews coming up really soon (maybe some of them already happened?) you’re going to want to already have at least a couple weeks of anticipating questions, and preparing and rehearsing your answers under your belt. In my case, I studied with my parents, my girlfriend, Japanese teachers at my university, my roommates and by myself for 3 weeks before my interview and I probably could have used another week or so. Read the rest of this entry

JET Application (Part 4): The Interview

JET int tips mem

Hi all, by now they should have announced (or will soon) who made it to the interview stage. Congratulations to those of you that made it to the next stage, and for those of you that did not,  don`t give up! Try again next year!  Now there are a few things to do before your interview, and the requirements could change, but what I remember is needing to have a passport photo attached to a sheet with my general information on it that you hand in upon arrival.  If you already have passport photos, but don`t like what they look like, retake them,and not the morning of the interview … like I did… that is one headache you don`t need! Read the rest of this entry

JET Application, the Wait!! (Part 3)

JET meme

There are two main times where you`re between steps and have nothing more to do until you hear back, I like to call this the “Dreadful Wait” stage.  This is the first and potentially hardest. Read the rest of this entry

Driving in Japan vs. the USA


In the USA, there are no Kei-cars(軽自動車). I had never seen a Kei-car until I moved to Japan and started driving one for work. Read the rest of this entry

JET application ( Step 2): Online Application (to then be printed and mailed)

After you have decided to apply for the JET Program, you have to actually do it…That may sound obvious, but so many people simply do not apply for the JET Program even though they would like to.

Life can throw a million mini unrelated hurdles at you that can make you stumble, get distracted and even forget to apply altogether.  As such, it can also be a bit daunting and takes some time to complete, so please give it the attention it needs and start as soon as possible.

That brings us to the Online Application (to then be printed and mailed upon completion.  Must arrive by the deadline, not mailed by the deadline.) Read the rest of this entry

JET application: Q & A Conversations with those interested in applying (Part 1)


  1. I know japan is relatively expensive and can you shed some light on what a salary like this would afford in japan in terms of lifestyle?

     The JET Program salary is standardized (excluding Tokyo placements) to receive 3,360,000 Yen for their first year, and to have a gradual light increase per year. at the current conversion rate that comes out to ~$28,025.70 for the first year. A critical piece to keep in mind is that if you are coming from the USA (and you will be an ALT), you will be applying for USA and Japan Tax exemption for at least the first 2 years once accepted.  This makes a massive difference as taxes usually take a hefty chunk out of your paycheck.  From there you will have to pay a few forms of insurance that you must enroll in, as well as Japanese social security (you can get back the JSS upon completion of the program!!).  I would estimate what you get per month at about 2,000 USD after any deductions. Read the rest of this entry

JET application ( Step 1): Deciding to apply, or not to


     If you have considered, or are considering, applying to the JET program then you have most likely considered the fact that it is a looooong application process (about 8-9 months).  Followed of course by: Is it worth the wait?  What will I be doing in almost a year from this point?  Will I still be interested?  Will I be qualified enough for the position? and everything else that pops up in your mind as you consider applying. Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 4] (IS 6)


About two weeks into the semester at Kansai Gaidai, I found myself enrolled in a Shorinji Kempo martial arts club.  The clubs in Japan are Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 3] (IS 5)

Once in Japan I was hit by culture shock in varying degrees depending on the situation.  I was also horribly nervous and could hardly say a few words to figure out where I was supposed to go to pick up my luggage, let alone have a conversation.  Within a week I was able to hold a shaky conversation and after a month, I was talking to everyone and anyone I could.  I had always been Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 2] (IS 4)

From there I entered college with a drive to learn and to push myself.  Having a desire to learn another language has become a driving force in my effort to learn Japanese and is incorporated into my major.  I started off not truly knowing how to study Japanese and I would often spend most of my time staring at the pages of my textbooks, trying to absorb the information that way.  This was horribly ineffective and after the first few chapters I started struggling.  Most of the grammatical structures, vocabulary, and conjugations would make some sense for a day or so and then I would forget them or make the same errors again and again.

I was lucky enough to meet several Japanese exchange students right around the time when I was struggling most.  They were very kind and started helping me practice my Japanese a few times a week.  They would quiz me over and over again on vocabulary until I knew what they were going to say just by the first syllables that left their tongues.  Once I was able to create my own sentences, not just repeat common phrases everyone had memorized, I would say anything and everything I could in Japanese to them, and I listened intently each time any of them spoke to me.  I still struggled in class and my skills were poor all around, but I was still passing my courses at a level to continue.  These people that helped me have become some of my best friends and I am still in contact with them today, driving me forward still.

I tried twice to go to Japan as an exchange student and had to cancel my application for abroad due to financial situations, caused by steep increases in the university’s fees up to $5,000 in one year.  I tried for a third time and was able to study abroad in the Fall of 2012 at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.  I was kept busy working throughout the summer, keeping me distracted for the most part from my studies, almost as if it was all a lie.  Once I had let it sink in that I was accepted and the initial exhilaration had worn off, I started worrying about the different regional dialects of Japan, especially Osaka, where I was headed.  I had heard from others that the dialect, known as a“-ben” in Japanese, in Osaka was particularly difficult and that words conjugated completely differently, nearly influencing a change in area of study.  Yet the area was perfectly located; the university was in the middle of a triangle of absolutely beautiful cities, Osaka City, Nara, and Kyoto, all within about an hour or so by train.  With this in mind, my motivation spiked once more and I set off for Japan.

kansai gaidai

kansai gaidai