What to do to prepare yourself to leave Japan icon

What to do to prepare yourself to leave Japan

What to do to prepare yourself to leave Japan...


Okay, there are many things that every single person has to undergo to get ready to embark on their next adventure.  So, bear with us.  First, best to make a checklist as everyone has different things that pertain to their situation. 

Making the Best of your Time Here Now


Here are some things that you could partake in to help you enjoy yourself more and this amazing place around you:

-Go onsen hopping

-Go to kareoke bars and sing all the J-pop songs your voice will let you

-Spend time with friends, Japanese, ALT, CIR, whoever

-Go to the cities that you have wanted to visit (Hiroshima...etc)

-Go to all the festivals you can

-Do Japanese culture stuff, take a tea ceremony class, calligraphy, learn how to put on a kimono...etc.

-Eat as much sushi, sashimi, Jpn food because not only is it authentic, but so darn CHEAP here ! (and yummy)

The list goes on : but make it your own, even if you put on it " I want to go to a rabu hotel in Tokyo...just once =) )

Here is a list of 101 things you can do! http://www.genkienglish.net/101coolthings.htm

^ Packing

Decide what to pack

Figure out what it is that you want/need to take home with you.  Sorting through piles and piles of stuff that has accumulated in your apartments may be tough after 1-3 years on JET.  Check out http://www.jetsetjapan.com/infozone-leav-take.shtml  for more information about electronic gadgets.

Sell it!

Send to the TNB or try the classifieds

The Daily Yomiuri (0120)43-1159

The Japan Times (0120)036-242

Asahi Evening News (0120)456-371

There are more…

Donate to charity

Remember, that what ever you don't want you can donate to the charity show, which they can use for the show itself or try to sell at the Toyama Market that is held on the first Sunday of every month. 

^ Japan Relief Clothing Center (JRCC) 066-271-4021, 22-2 Fukaehanmacho, Higashinada-ku, Kobe,658-0023

Amnesty Group Kobe 078-575-2608, Miyohokeinnai 4-5-8 Eizawacho, Hyogo-ku, Kobe 652-0816

Packing tips

1) Inventory everything

2) Sort packaging- fragile stuff packed towards the middle...clearly label FRAGILE and waremonochuui 割物注意on it!

3) Computer- park and lock systems put it in a safety zone with the program shipdisk.exe.  It will be un-parked once you turn it back on.  Remove ink cartridges from laser printers.


After you have figured out what it is that you would like to keep, the next step is to ship it all home, which is no fun. 


1) Start packing now! International shipping companies prefer two or three months notice, one being the minimum. The company needs to gauge the volume of the move and quote a price.

2) Post office

a) best to leave boxes unsealed until the post office inspects them

b) fill out the international parcel label witch is a combo invoice, custom declaration, and address label

c)SAL will get things faster.

d) dimensions- for up to 20kg, sum must not exceed three meters. If more than 20kg, the sum of all dimensions must not exceed two meters. Length must not exceed 1.05 meters.

e) send 10 or more parcels at a time you get a 10 % discount...50 or more = 20%


3) Price shopping- air is more expensive, obviously. Sea freight prices vary depending on departure and destination points, type of service company offers, and extra services such as packing, et cetera. Basic shipping unit is a cubic meter, which is about seven large suitcases. See attached paper for some companies

4) What option to choose-

a) Heavy stuff- Sea freight shipping price is usually calculated by volume and not weight, so send heavier things in small boxes by freight.

b) Fragile stuff- shipping companies are better than post

c)light stuff- by post.

d) books- discounts for books available

Price shopping

There is information out there on how to do it for the mass of situations.  Look in your JET Diary for information and/or go to the site :   http://www.jetsetjapan.com/infozone-leav-ship.shtml. For the extra adventurous U.S. Citizens or U.S. bound people, check out sending stuff from Guam.

Also, this information is in Japanese, so may be a little hard to get through, but provides more information about shipping things - go to  http://www.you-pack.jp  and check it out. Here is the English website for the post office http://www.post.japanpost.jp/english/index.html

Get a post office guide…supposedly, it is excellent


Call the English help line (Kansai) 066-944-6245

^ Getting out of your Apartment!

Continuing to the next step - make a check list of the things that you need to shut off before you leave.  You can/should have your supervisor help you in sorting this out.

Pay-television service

Cleaning service
Milk delivery service

Closed out your bank account

Notified the post office of your move and new address

Changed your driver's license to an international license

Notified credit card companies of your new address

Notified the ward or city office of your move and your new address

Go to  http://www.jetsetjapan.com/infozone-leav-check.shtml for an overview.  It also talks about pension reimbursement, but that topic will also be discussed in greater detail at the next regional meeting in April - so no sweat.  In this time, think of a Sponsor, a Japanese person, probably your supervisor in whom you can in trust helping you with your reimbursement...just think about it.

^ And now a word for you and your successor:

Now that things are winding down at school, you have fewer classes to teach and you have put some of your life in order, now is the time to start thinking about the person that will come to replace you.

Start thinking about what it is that you are leaving and think about its value, if you are going to sell it, how much for?

Write them a letter about your job, the place you live in (apartment, monthly mansion etc.), the city that you live in, what is it like, your school (s), your kids, your teachers, etc. 

Also, you may want to send them some pictures of anything that you intend on selling, of your apartment in general, etc.

A nice idea, too, is to write down the garbage schedule, explain utility bills (water in my building is different, plus there are community fees), and maybe directions on how to use some of the gadgets in your place (the washing machine was a little strange

at first, for example). Too, help them out with a phone and internet...because that is what most of us want right away when we get here.  Tell them how they can do it (Yahoo BB is super easy and inexpensive.) Of course they will/would figure all of this out in

time, but it will help their transition to be a bit smoother to Toyama.  Plus it will give you something to do instead of sitting at your desk and staring at the wall!

A project that you can work on in school with your kids is to have them write welcome letters to the new ALT, of course you want to include their name, so start posing the lesson plan to your JTE so you will be able to do it later.  What a nice way to start a

new job in a mysterious place like Japan!

^ Now what?


Getting home.  The thing that we are thinking about.  How are we going to do it and hopefully it won't be a hassle...Don't worry it doesn't have to be!  There are many options that you can take for actually getting home.  After all that preparation, no doubt you will be tired, maybe in need of a vacation?  So, if you have time and a little bit of money, you could always travel on your way back home, what better way to see some more of the world?  Go to  http://www.jetsetjapan.com/infozone-leav-Ingwy.shtml to check some information about that.  You can backpack it, tour it, in a group or by yourself.  For most of us, this is the best opportunity that we have to travel, I mean, come on, when is the next time that you plan to be situated like this in the world?  Take advantage. 



Another option, or add on is to teach English in a foreign country or just study abroad.  You never stop learning, so why not enter into a classroom and study a foreign language?  There are so many programs and places out there that it is really hard to choose from.  So if this is something that you are interested in, be wary and research extensively.  You can always ask them to ship a brochure to your apartment in Japan, and they will do it - I have a stack!  And there are so many languages to choose from :








The list goes on and on.  Ever in doubt, just google.com it!


Study Japanese or about Japan!

1) Use the Jet program resources!

Here is a summary care of Joshua Davis about the Clair Linguistics Course:


Here is a sample page he scanned


And here is something written by a past participant:


2) Get an MA through distance learning. The Sheffield Advanced Course in particular is one of the most highly regarded Japanese courses in the world


3) Study Japanese in Japan DUH!

a) Yamasa Institute in Aichi Ken www.gol.com/yamasa/gengo

b)KAI Japanese School in Shinjuku has a three week summer school http://www.kaij.co.jp/e/

c) ARC Academy (Tokyo, Yokohama) http://www.arc-academy.net/nihongo/Eindex.asp

d) Academy of Language arts (Shinjuku) http://www.ala-japan.com/about-ala.html

e) Japanese Language Schools http://www.murasakishikibu.co.jp/jls/

f) More Japanese Language Schools http://www.studyabroadlinks.com/search/Japan/Learn_Japanese/

4) Study in a University- Recommended programs

a) Sheffield University, England http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/academic/D-H/eas/

b) FALCON program at Cornell University, U.S.http://lrc.cornell.edu/falcon/japanese.html

5) ^ Monbukagakusho (formerly Monbusho) Scholarships

¨       Monbukagakusho (Japanese Studies) Scholarship (undergraduate)

~ Should be at least 3rd year level or above in language study

¨       Monbukagakusho (Research Student) Scholarship (graduate)

¨     Monbukagakusho (Senshu Gakko) Scholarship (Community College)

Look here for some info: http://www.chicago.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jic/monbusho.html

6) Other scholarships/services

a) Japan Student Services Organization http://www.jasso.go.jp/ojlec/index_e.html

¨  ^ AIEJ - Short-term Student Exchange Promotion Program (Inbound) Scholarship

~ Period of study: 6 months - 1 year

~ Undergraduate / Graduate students

~ Contact: University of Hawaii at Manoa
                           Office of International Affairs
                             tel: (808)956-6940

Hawaii Pacific University

Dr. William Zanella, International Programs, phone 544-1171

* Sister school in Japan must set up program with AIEJ and then

inform the university in Hawaii.

¨   ^ AIEJ - Short-term Student Exchange Promotion Program (Inbound) Peace and  Friendship Scholarships

~ Period of study: 10 months - 1 year

~ Undergraduate / Graduate students

~ Contact: Same as above!

b) If you see yourself working for a company based in Japan or China, or for a company with strong ties to Japan or China doing business in the United States, the partnership of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa College of Business and JAIMS (Japan-America Institute of Management Science)

~ Several $10,000 scholarships awarded to Japan-focused MBA/China-focused MBA students

~ U.S. citizens as well as non-U.S. citizens can apply

~ Contact: Japan America Institute of Management Science (JAIMS)

     phone  395-2314, e-mail  info@jaims.org 

Look here for scholarships for the program, including one especially for former JETs


c) Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship Foundation- U of H!


d)Fulbright Scholars


e) Grants

- Japan Foundation for Global Partnership http://www.jpf.go.jp/

- Japan Language Institute http://www.jpf.go.jp/e/kansai/

- Commemorative Association for the Japan World Exposition (1970) Grants

~ Projects contributing to international exchange and enhancement

~ Application period: September 1 - October 1

~ For more information contact: Operation Division, Fund Department, Commemorative Assoc. for the Japan World Exposition, 1-1, Senri Banpaku-Koen , Suita, Osaka 565-0826, tel: (81-6)6876-2675

TEFL Certification

TEFL Qualifications:  so many places to check out.  A couple of sites are:




Here are schools that recruit TEFL certified peeps

British Council www.britcoun.org

United States Information Agency in Washington, D.C.,(205)485-2869

International House, London http://www.ihlondon.com/

Wall Street Institute International http://www.wallstreetinstitute.com/

TOSOL Inc, places its members in schools tesol@tosoel.edu

 Volunteering in and around Japan


There are many things that a JET can do to give back to the community once they have completed their contract.  If you are interested in volunteering, take a look at 




There is a long list of things that is sure to cover most interests of those who would like to volunteer!


There is also the Peace Boat.  It sets sail for three month twice a year and stops at many different countries.  Go to http://www.ajet.net and look at the right hand side of the page under "After JET"


Write a Book




Become a millionaire.
JET. Freetime. Millionaire. You do the math.

Get a….JOB!

Be Prepared

In the time that you have now, it might not be a bad idea to do the following tedious things:


  1. Make a list of every address that you have ever lived at

  2. Make a list of every school with the address that you have attended

  3. Make a list of every job that you have worked with the accompanying address

  4. Make a list of references with their addresses, numbers and best times to contact

  5. Also, another thing that you could/should think about doing in your time before you leave is to make a scrap book.  It will be the best souvenir that you will ever have of your experience of Japan because it will hold them all.

  6. Make a portfolio of some of your work that you have done at school, the activities and worksheets you have done, projects that you underwent, newspaper clippings of you in front of your class, take pictures of your students and the school... for one, this will be a kind of closer for some, for others it will be good to have to show the next employer who is interested it what you did in Japan, be it a teaching job all the way to everything else. 

Yes, you did acquire skills here!

  1. Japanese language ability

  2. Understanding of Japanese culture

  3. Sensitivity to cultural differences in general

  4. Teaching/presentation experience

  5. Public relations/writing experience

  6. Leadership experience(especially if you were involved in AJET, or organizing anything)

  7. You can think of more…look at your contract at the list of responsibilities and you can think of more

These skills look good!

Once you've defined the skills/experience that you've gained, you need to think carefully about three things:

  1. Which of these skills/experiences do I want to leverage in my future career? In other words, what do I enjoy doing and what type of work will make me happy? Also, in terms of my total skill set and overall interests, how central are the ones from the Japan Experience in the overall picture?

  2. What career options are available that utilize key skills/experiences from the Japan Experience?

  3. Do I want to go to graduate school?

  4. When looking for a job, recruiters will look at the JET program highly, if they know about it that is. You were selected out of thousands of worldwide applicants, lived and worked in a multicultural setting with not only Japanese, but people from other countries.


Job Ideas

Keep teaching English, go into academia, teach Japanese(http://cheno.com/job/career/teach_jp_sfo.html), translator/interpreter(http://cheno.com/job/career/JE_Trans.html), PR, work for a Japanese company(Administrative assistant, sales, human resources), get a Business MBA, Law, cross cultural specialist (www.sietarinternational.org)

Read Rochelle Kopp’s article here for more detailed suggestions http://cheno.com/job/career/options.html

The Job Search General

Least effective methods

  1. mailing out huge piles of resumes

  2. answering ads in the newspaper

  3. going to a job placement agency

Best ways

  1. apply directly at the employer

  2. ask friends for job leads

  3. ask relatives for jobs leads

General tips


  1. Clean paper..haha… uncrumpled paper is a must!

  2. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope with it(No matter how kechi you are, and this is hard for me to say, cause I’m the kechiest!, don’t send reused envelopes)

Post Resume

  1. Sound like you have been excepting the call from the employer when they call you back.

  2. Keep a pen and paper by the phone


  1. Look professional and don’t fidget…but don’t worry so much about fidgeting that you start fidgeting

  2. Be confident, but don’t over do it

  1. Research the company before you get there. Some guy made me draw a map of the Middle East in a job interview once!

  2. Have intelligent, pertinent questions prepared.

  3. Don’t forget that you have value!

Recommended reading:

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, When Corporations Rule the World, Who’s Hiring Who? How to Find That Job Fast, The Damn Good Resume Guide, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume, The Complete Idiots Guide to Getting the Job You Want, Electronic Resumes: A Complete Guide to Putting Your Resume On Line.

  2. Highly recommended Job hunting book ^ What Color is Your Parachute book by Richard Bolles for tips for job hunting! Check out supplementary website…very cool http://www.jobhuntersbible.com/index.php

  3. More resume and interview tips http://cheno.com/job/career/afterjet.html and http://cheno.com/job/career/jetresume.html

  1. Networking http://cheno.com/job/career/stratnet.html

Links and stuff for Jobs in and out of Japan in no particular order(sorry)

  1. Jet Alumni International http://www.jetalumni.org/

  2. Links for job stuff. Very good! http://cheno.com/job/links/

  3. Bilingual Jobs- www.bilinual-jobs.com

  4. Japan Jobs- www.japanesejobs.com

  5. Asianet www.asianet.com

  6. Quintessential Careers- General stuff http://www.quintcareers.com/

  7. DISCO-bilingual jobs(Japanese and Chinese) http://www.discointer.co.uk/

  8. Metropolis- Tokyo Classified http://metropolis.japantoday.com/

  9. Eeeeexxxxtensive list of sites for finding jobs in Japan : http://japanese.about.com/od/jobsinjapan/

  10. Teaching jobs in Japan www.121sensei.com

  11. Teaching jobs in Asia http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/articles/workinasia.shtml

  12. Career City www.careercity.com

  13. Wall Street Journal http://www.careerjournal.com/

  14. U.S. Jobs www.careerbuilder.com

  15. Monster www.monster.com

  16. Australia Jobs http://www.careersonline.com.au/

  17. Top Jobs- jobs in UK http://www.topjobs.co.uk/

  18. Riley Guide-tips for finding jobs anywhere http://www.rileyguide.com/

  19. Hot jobs http://hotjobs.yahoo.com/

  20. Jobs on line – New Zealand http://www.jobs-on-line.co.nz/

  21. Escapeartist- NZ jobs www.escapeartist.com/nzjobs/nzjobs

  22. Canada Jobs http://www.canada.plusjobs.com/

  23. All Canada Jobs http://www.allcanadianjobs.com/

  24. Ireland Jobs http://www.irishjobs.ie/

  25. UK Jobs- www.workthing.com

  26. Total Jobs- UK http://www.totaljobs.com/jobseekers/totaljobs.asp

  27. Jobs in General related to Japanese http://www.us-japan.org/resources/jobbank.html

  28. Jobs in Chicago related to Japanese http://www.jobschicago.com/index.htm Japanese translator network http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~urade/yokocho-e.htm

  29. Career quizzes, et cetera http://www.allthetests.com/career.php3 , www.testcafe.com, http://www.quizilla.com/

Stay in Japan

Just because you stay in Japan an extra year, doesn’t mean that you are a lifer! But if you are a lifer, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It could actually be a good choice for you!

Things to think about….

1) Loss of support group.

2) Here are some books: ^ Survival Kit for Overseas Living, Women’s Guide to Overseas Living, Cross-Cultural Dialogues: 74 Brief Encounters with Cultural Difference

3) Be honest about why you are staying. Why do you want to stay?  What do you like and dislike about Japan? Are the good points worth putting up with?  How many of good points were tied up with the JET program?

4) Be organized and patient. Prepare for things to take longer than it should

Getting a Visa

  1. you need a guarantor who will take legal and financial responsibility for you

  2. you need to be working or studying

  3. if you want a student or cultural visa, you need somebody to prove in writing that they hav3 2-3 million yen set aside for you

  4. apply before June and July…that is the busiest application season

  5. if you change your visa status, you have to leave Japan to get the visa changed

  6. immigration will call all the people you have couched for in your visa application

  7. Extending your work visa-

    1. Submit passport, alien registration card, contract, tax payment certificate, a letter of guarantee, and a statement from your employer (guarantor) about why you are needed for the job.

    2. Two forms to fill out and you will lose 4000 yen and 4 hours of your life

    3. Fax the Immigration Bureau fax service (03)3216-3333 for information about necessary documents

  8. Types of visas besides work visas-

    1. Working holiday visa- you must apply from your home country. Criteria varies from consulate to consulate

    2. Cultural Activities Visa (bunka katsu do)- for people who want to devote at least 20 hrs per week to studying something cultural. You must be sponsored by an organization

    3. Student Visa- must study at least 20 hours per week at a Japanese language school or a Japanese post-secondary institution

Getting a job in Japan

General tips

  1. Write out your CV on a rirekisho, don’t type it in Japan!

  2. Don’t worry about your Japanese ability, unless, well, you want to be a translator. You can find a job! Look at general section for ideas


  4. Some links

    1. Japan External Trade Organization www.jetro.go.jp

    2. Japan Internet Communications Service www.jics.com

  5. Employment agencies/ services

    1. Jobs in Japan http://www.tokyoconnections.com/

    2. Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners http://www.tfemploy.go.jp/en/coun/cont_1.html

    3. For those who cannot understand Japanese, there are ‘Foreigner’s Employment Service Corners’ (gaikokujin koyo service corners) which provide information on job vacancies and job introductions for foreign students and foreigners who have special skills.
      Tokyo Foreigner’s Employment Service Center 03-3586-8609
      (Tokyo Gaikokujin Koyo Service Center)
      Osaka Foreigners Employment Service Center 06-6241-5606
      (Osaka Gaikokujin Koyo Service Center)
      Industrial Employment Center, Tokyo Office (Nikkei’s Tokyo) 03-3836-1090
      (Sangyo Koyo Antei Center, Tokyo Jimusho (Nikkei’s Tokyo)
      Industrial Employment Center, Osaka Office (Nikkei’s Osaka) 06-6947-7950
      (Sangyo Koyo Antei Center, Osaka Jimusho (Nikkei’s Osaka)

    4. Largest agency that usually finds jobs for English speakers who can speak Japanese: Woorgman Human Development Institute Ltd, Daisan Taihei Bldg, 1-25-3 Higashi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo (03) 2983-4897

    5. Agency that helps ex-JETS http://www.interplace-agency.com/Tokyo.html

^ English teacher(refer to job links above!)

a) A lot of it is word of mouth...get talking

b) Look out for nemawashi- unofficial testing the response to an idea without exposing or endangering anyone before making a commitment to pursue the idea

c) Be friendly, available, and flexible...sell yourself

d) Schools like to line up their English teachers in December but look all year

e) Don’t let a lack of master's degree deter you...apply anyways

f) If you really want a job, but a nice pic on it and translate it into Japanese



RE: Letter of Recommendation, Ms Josie E. Trainer

I am pleased to write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Josie. Josie was a participant on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program for three years and was employed by the Shizuoka Prefectural Board of Education. She worked as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) at Joyful English Senior High School and I was her supervisor/principal during that time.

In her role as an ALT, Josie was responsible for teaching and planning the Oral Communication courses. This involved working closely with her fellow Japanese Teachers of English (JTEs) producing resources to suit lessons, preparing and marking end of term exams and general classroom duties. Josie always produced work of a good/high/excellent standard and her classes were always greatly enjoyed by students. Her enthusiasm extended to outside the classroom where Josie often participated in club activities alongside students. Her ability to mix with students and meet them on their level further strengthened the relationships she had already fostered in the classroom. She was popular amongst students and teachers alike.

Josie always conducted herself in a professional manner. She was punctual, flexible, trustworthy, willing to listen and well organised. She often offered to take on extra-curricular activities such as leading the English club/joining cleaning. In addition, as the JET program has a high turnover rate it is imperative that teachers share their experiences and resources. Josie did so by submitting lesson plans to the prefectural annual ESL team-teaching magazine, It Takes Two/volunteering to help with teaching seminars/actively participating in the teaching seminars.

Josie’s ability to adjust and adapt is obvious as she fully committed herself to learning Japanese and studying the culture during her time in Japan. She was also able to demonstrate this in the classroom, often making changes to lessons to meet the interests and abilities of the students.

Given Josie’s personality and strong work ethic, I have no hesitation in recommending her for any position within your company. She would be an asset to any team.

If you require more information please contact me on the numbers below.

^ Settling in at Home

Re-entry shock- difficulties encountered upon repatriation, usually worse than initial culture shock. worse because you have expectations-personally, had no expectation of Japan, so not much culture shock.  people don’t know how to ask you about your experiences because they haven’t done it...maybe you wont feel special anymore


Peak and dip model- Douglas W. Jack,

1) euphoria, shock, irritation, hostility, and then gradual adjustment. may feel more Japanese than western

 How to get rid of it:

1) take the initiative to show your family and friends pictures, art, cultural stuff, funny stories



4) Get involved with the international community...you can even work for the jet program...use your knowledge to validate yourself

  a) make Japanese friends or join a Japanese culture club

b) join jet alumni group

c) memorize location of all karaoke bars

d) nothing wrong with feeling sad

e) visit Japan again...bring friends...

f)travel after jet

g) live off of your parents

h)if you can indulge

i) if possible keep studying Japanese

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