(If you missed Day 1, click here!)
Day 2 started bright and early – and sweaty – at 9am. It was already at least 30 degrees C outside and we had trouble getting campus security to turn on the air conditioner in our room. We
melted in our seats “embraced the sweat” for several hours while covering topics such as how to deal with culture shock, omiyage, team teaching, the basics of a lesson plan, difficulties we might encounter on the Programme, and our self-intro lesson . A busy morning, but it was all vital information that I’m so glad I received! We then relaxed over a pre-prepared bento box (sooo tasty!) and listened to stories while watching a slideshow of the JETAA member’s pictures. Before long, we were whisked off campus for the “unique cultural event” – which turned out to be getting to watch part of a Japanese tea ceremony performed in an authentic tatami room (!!!!). Needless to say, this was the highlight of my weekend.
Two hours later, we went back to our (air conditioned!) room on campus to finish the orientation. We spoke briefly about the “reality check” that we should be prepared for in Japan, different relationship spheres, and women-specific issues, before concluding the orientation with a janken tournament for various prizes. I won lots of stickers, playing cards, and a Canada-themed puzzle – awesome!
Day 2 finished around 6pm and we were famished! I met up with a Halifax JET and her roommate; we attempted to go out for supper on the waterfront, but were foiled by restaurants being closed either because it was Sunday (is that even possible?!), they were running out of food (seriously), or they didn’t have any power (ugh). We finally gave up and ate at a fish & chips shack. We got to eat outside and on the waterfront, at least?! And I also got my Beavertail!
In conclusion, if you can afford going to any pre-Pre-Departure Orientations your local Embassy/Consulate may host: GO! The wealth of information and the support from the Programme Coordinator and JET Alum that we received during this orientation was incredible, and I got to network and connect with my fellow Atlantic JETs. No matter what happens in Japan, I’m going to know four other wonderful girls who will probably go through the same things as me; having a friendly e-mail from someone will be nice in those first few weeks. :)
One thing I will recommend to Aspiring/Current JETs who have not yet departed: if you haven’t already, read the official JET Programme Forums! If you can get past some of the more snarky posts, you will find a wealth of information that will help you prepare for your journey, whether it be through the JET Application or in Japan itself. IMO, in-person Orientations and your Consulate/Embassy will always be the best place to get information, but the Forums are definitely an excellent start!
25 days ’til Japan!