Year One on JET: A Summary

The Japanese countryside during summer

Today, August 3, marks one year since first arriving in Hyogo to start work on the JET Program. And while I won't say it's crazy how much I've done in that time (because really, a year is quite a bit of time), or that it's been life changing, I will say that it has been so much more than I ever could have imagined. I'll probably do a long, sappy post about my JET experience at the end of my second (and final) year, but for now, since I'm still in the midst of it and not feeling particularly nostalgic yet, here's a list.

In the last year, I've

  • Met countless incredibly kind people

  • Made friends I know I'll have for life

  • Got my Japanese license on the first(!) try

  • Had to dig out my car from a six-foot pile of snow three (3) times

  • Figured out the most efficient ways to get to Osaka and where to park

  • Traveled to Korea and Malaysia (and Hawaii, but that doesn't count)

  • Driven more than I had during the rest of my life, combined

  • Lived in a single place longer than any time during the previous five years

  • Questioned my command of the English language on a semi-daily basis

  • Begun to master the art of looking busy while actually doing nothing

  • Taught hula to four elementary schools (it was just the hukilau, guys. I can't actually hula)

  • Decreased my Japanese speaking ability while increasing my listening ability

  • Realized that I will forever be directionally challenged

  • Eaten hundreds - perhaps thousands - of fish bones. Intentionally

  • Fallen into the drainage pits on the sides of the roads (we call them gaijin traps) exactly zero times

  • Survived three earthquakes

  • Fulfilled my lifelong dream of harvesting rice

  • Doubted my decision to stay for another year only semi-seriously

(The top image is of my very first photo taken here!)