Scooter vs Japan

He’s alive. Alive! | April 21, 2015

Tesla coils rule

Hello from beyond the internet grave! I have returned!

When I attempted to start this blog in 2009, the internet was still in its infancy, or rather, thralls of teenage angst. It was budding and edgy, but it didn’t really know what it wanted to be, It’s funny. For someone who built computers for years, studied technical drafting and 3D animation, is the family’s go to tech guru, and worked in telecom and computer sales for years, I’m really quite technophobic. I first imagined doing this as an actual website, creating new pages every time I wanted to speak with friends and family. But then these new fangled blogs came out and I chose to do that, despite not knowing what a blog was or being pleased about using one. Hell, I JUST started using Twitter after getting forced into it at work.

But I attribute the initial failure of this blog to something else, and hope that my new situation will be different. See, when I attended Kansai Gaidai in 2009, half of the fun was finding things for yourself. with over 400 other exchange students every year, there is no shortage of information about Gaidai or Hirakata-shi. More, everyone ends up finding their own way anyways, eschewing advice and research within days.

So what’s different this time? Well, I’ve been shortlisted for the JET Programme, and will be returning to Japan in August. FOr those who aren’t aware, the JET Programme is a massive government hiring effort to place English native teachers in Japanese schools. The programme (yes, it’s spelled with two m’s and an e) is the cornerstone of ESL teaching in Japan, and is renown for it’s support systems. But even with the large number of participants every year and all of these supports, the reality is that much of Japan is still largely unknown outside of its borders. Sure, you can go down to any bookstore and buy a travel guide, but this only contains the tourism information on the most traveled areas. When researching placement options during the application process, I actually found very little information about different towns and cities, and only found topical discussions about what it’s like to live in Japan. For placement, I was basically throwing darts at a board.

Ok. Seriously. What’s different this time around? I’m hoping to provide more insider information about the JET Programme, ESL teaching, and general life in Japan (not that everyone and their dog hasn’t done this already). Whereas such info really wasn’t that essential to the Gaidai exchange, I’m hoping to create some documentation of my application and life as a JET, as well as more funny crap about Japan. I hope to document my town or city, classroom environment, and experiences for future teachers and travelers.

Another key difference is that, at Gaidai, I was very busy with school, play, and trying to get the most out of my trip. Although I had a lot of time to travel, I was studying, researching, and writing papers and exams for school. I was very busy at Gaidai, and really didn’t have the time or desire to write about my experiences when I was simply phoning home and telling people about them. As a JET, I may well be the only foreigner (or at least among a much smaller number) in the area, I anticipate having more free time to research at my own pace, experience things with more calm, and more opportunities and validity to share my experiences.

So here’s hoping that I fired enough electricity from all those Tesla coils into this dead husk of a blog, and that my deeper understanding of this internet thing, the increased and more relevant opportunities to share, and more time and desire to do so will keep this rag alive for a while.

And hey, if it works and I start blogging, I’d like to continue after my time as a JET as I progress in my career and continue my studies of this bizarre and fascinating land that keeps giving me work and opportunities.

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About author

Scooter is an ESL teacher and Japanese anthropologist. He hopes to document his thoughts of living in Japan, continued cultural studies, and to provide advice for others looking to hop the pond.

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