Getting accepted onto the JET Programme
Way back in 2009 I had applied for the 2010 JET Programme, where the Japanese government takes in applications from mostly English-speaking nations and sends participants, named JETs, all throughout Japan. This is how I originally came to Yamagata.
Even though I had extensive experience learning Japanese and even living in Japan, coupled with my TESOL and other English teaching experience, I wasn't accepted on the first round, nor the second, but I was chosen to be a reserve JET, meaning I would go if someone pulled out.
This really made me wonder what the criteria was for becoming a JET, I thought I would be perfect for the role and had worked towards this one goal over the past few years, but at least I was chosen as a reserve. After thinking about it for a while though, I thought that I would have been the perfect reserve anyway, judging on my own evaluation.
As it so happens, I got a call later in 2010 that I was accepted, and that I would be moving to Shonai Town in Yamagata. I remember googling the name and nothing coming up (I think I had added the 'u'), but that didn't actually bother me at all because I simply wanted to live in Japan.
As you can probably tell I'm really glad I did make the move as I have been in the Shonai region ever since. I love this place and I don't think I'll ever move, but you never know.
MOUNTAINS OF WISDOM
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