All JETs keenly remember the moment when they realized their JET experience was not going to be exactly what they had envisioned: the cold apartments, the rural countryside, the plethora of food definitely NOT provided at your favorite Japanese restaurant back home… But there were amazing moments, too, such as making a breakthrough with a student, finally feeling like a useful member of your teaching staff, and realizing that your Japanese town or city would always have a place in your heart.
Toronto-based artist David Namisato has been delighting the JETAA community for years with his monthly “Life After the B.O.E” web comics, which perfectly capture the wonderfully bizarre range of emotions and situations JETs experience. And now they’re available in book form (and with several more brand new comics!).
Available at Amazon.com and CreateSpace, consider picking one up for yourself or for a fellow JET in your life!
A JET alumni named Sam Baldwin recently released a novel of his experiences as a JET in rural Japan. Please check out the blurb below and read more on his site ForFukuisSake.com.
For Fukui’s Sake: two years in rural Japan – by Sam Baldwin – ForFukuisSake.com
Far from the high-tech, high-rise of the super-cities, there lies another Japan.
A Japan where snakes slither down school corridors, where bears prowl dark forests and where Westerners are still regarded as curious creatures. Welcome to the world of the inaka – the Japanese countryside.
Unhappily employed in the UK, Sam Baldwin decides to make a big change. Saying sayonara to laboratory life, he takes a job as an English teacher in a small, rural Japanese town that no one – the Japanese included – has ever heard of.
Arriving in Fukui, where there’s ‘little reason to linger’ according to the guidebook, at first he wonders why he left England. But as he slowly settles in to his unfamiliar new home, Sam befriends a colourful cast of locals and begins to discover the secrets of this little known region.
Helped by headmasters, housewives and Himalayan mountain climbers, he immerses himself in a Japan still clutching its pastoral past and uncovers a landscape of lonely lakes, rice fields and lush mountain forests. Joining a master drummer’s taiko class, skiing over paddies and learning how to sharpen samurai swords, along the way Sam encounters farmers, fishermen and foreigners behaving badly.
Exploring Japan’s culture and cuisine, as well as its wild places and wildlife, For Fukui’s Sake is an adventurous, humorous and sometimes poignant insight into the frustrations and fascinations that face an outsider living in small town, backcountry Japan.
If you know of any other alumni projects that might be of interests to other JET alumni or current JET participants please comment below.