Shea wrote:I agree, although I don't envy you the plane trip over (I find plane food to be particularly bad for motion sickness), once you get there it's not so bad. I've worked in Japan before, and although I'm not as bad as you with motion sickness, it can get fairly bad, especially on buses. I found the train system there to be fantastic though. I worked in a medium size city (about half a million people), and when I was surfing around YouTube for JET apartment videos, I found one of a JET in the same city I was! I was really surprised because I thought placements were more rural than that, and on average they probably are, or perhaps the JET's in the video were on the outskirts of the city. Anyways the thing is I was able to make do with a bike and trains my whole time I was there (mostly my bike, I had an awesome shiny green one which I completely loved!). Even though I do have a license (and will be getting my international certificate) I put on my application that I prefer not to drive because I was seriously worried about driving on the other side of the road lol (since then I've had many people assure me I'll be fine, and it's pretty easy). At least I have it in case I need to rent a car (I'm thinking more for day trips further away, and perhaps a shopping trip to a furniture store). I'm really looking forward to the whole experience if I get a job with JET (and a new shiny green bike!!).
Shea, just so you know. Half a million people is way more than a medium sized city... I mean it's not Sapporo or Osaka but... For a JET 500 000 is HUGE. Within most of the JET community anything over 100 000 is a medium-large city. 500 000 you're probably looking at the capital of a prefecture. The place all the other JETs go to go shopping to get the foreign food they want etc. Those placements do exist though.
You have a license but put you can't drive..? I don't know to me that's a little bit unfair. You might take a really good placement from someone who actually can't drive. They might also put you in a placement where you're not allowed
to drive at all even outside of work. I would think about that decision carefully before the interview. Driving on the other side of the road takes about 1 day or 2 to get used to. It's super easy and makes living in Japan, especially as a JET, much more convenient. You might send strange signals if you show up and they think you can't drive then you buy a car.
On the application it asks if you have a driver's license... BUT it also said to put 'no' if you have one but would prefer not to drive. I don't appreciate being attacked for my preferences, because I truly feel uncomfortable being forced to drive to work everyday if I don't feel confident doing so (they can't make you drive if you feel uncomfortable, and that's probably why they put in the subtext). Although since then I've had many people try to put my fears to rest, and now I would be willing to try out driving, but maybe for a day trip or something, but definitely not everyday for work. If it turns out I'm not allowed to drive, well then so be it, I don't mind (it was my decision to put 'no' on the application). Japan has a great transportation system. I am sure I'm not the first JET to prefer not to drive, and likely won't be the last.
I've also lived in a city with half a million people my whole life, and I live close to much larger cities with a million or more people, so half a million feels like a medium sized city to me. Although I do agree that some other people may think it is rather large if they are from a smaller city. I also know that JET usually places candidates in much smaller, and rural towns, I've read everything on the JET site like 10 times over.