Placement Information

My graduation trip in Japan ended yesterday, as I took a 7-hour flight overnight to touch down home at approximately 7AM. I have many feelings about the trip, but they’re not particularly relevant to this post.

I was checking my phone on the train to Roppongi from Shimokitazawa in the afternoon when I received news of my placement come August 4th.

Congratulations. I am writing to confirm that you have been selected as an ALT participant for this year’s JET Programme. You are assigned to Kobe-shi. Please be informed that the assigned placement cannot be changed.

Mixed feelings of relief and trepidation followed those few words – relief that I will be placed in a city, in one of the best placement positions possibly available, actually, but also trepidation because while my impression of Kobe included things like the ever-famous Kobe beef, castles, and it being Ueno Juri’s hometown (shoot me, I’m a fan), what loomed even bigger was the fact that it was where the main devastation occurred in the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake. Such feelings of uncertainty rumbled in my mind and collided with those about other matters closer to the heart, and it was with great relief that I collapsed asleep on a garden in Roppongi.

I have since made contact and done more research about Kobe, and it is now clear to me how incredibly lucky I am to have been placed there, with a huge network of fellow JETs to fall back on for support even as I leave the friends I’ve known for a decade, and family members I’ve had all my life. The excitement hasn’t really hit – I’m not the kind to be excited easily, I think. More of a worrywart and wet blanket as I mull over the difficulties I’ll face there and the challenges I may encounter, but this is tempered with a confidence I have in myself of being adaptable to new surroundings, and of being capable of taking care of myself. Taking care of myself well is a different matter altogether. Someone reminded me today that just because you’re in a new place with new friends doesn’t mean that you’ll become, or be able to become, a completely different person, and that it is important to understand the effects of what you do on the people around you.

This trial by fire into adulthood (dramatic, I know) is a good chance for me to change and grow up, to understand and push my limits, and perhaps to usher new people into my life who can show me things both wonderful and different to what I’ve known up to now.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Watch over me, support me, and see how I’m going to change.


3 thoughts on “Placement Information

  1. Hey! I saw you started following my blog, so I thought I’d check out yours!
    Welcome to Kobe (in advance)! I’m leaving in July, so I won’t get to welcome you personally, but feel free to use me as a resource before you arrive! Kobe really is a great place. We have so much support here, so if you have any questions or concerns, there usually will be people with answers!

    • Thank you for the welcome! 🙂 I was Googling around for resources and information on JET in Kobe, and happened to chance upon yours, which is quite enjoyable to read and a treasure trove of information so thank you for penning down your experiences! Right now, I’m still not sure what I should be worrying about (aside from getting a mobile phone and internet up and running) since I haven’t heard from the BoE or my predecessor yet. Thank you for the offer of help, though! 😀

      • I think we don’t find out who our successors are until at least June, so we’ll just have to sit tight for a while. Right now is sort of a black out time; although the Kobe BoE may have your name, they aren’t allowed to contact you until they know who all is really coming (versus those who withdraw for whatever reason). We were told, “Once all Reply Forms have been received, contracting organizations will have the OK to go ahead and contact new JETs.” It IS pretty torturous waiting, but they said it’s to avoid misunderstandings and accidentally contacting the wrong predecessor/successor. 🙂

        As for the phone, there are neighborhood advisors and Ward Leaders who will help with that when you get here. When I went to get my phone, we went in a huge group and ended up getting amazing discounts on our iPhones from Softbank. But of course if you don’t want Softbank, no one will force you to get one. But I believe that most of us use Softbank. I’ve never had coverage issues other than underground on the subway. 😉 Even when I traveled to Hokkaido and Okinawa, I was fine.

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