For those who have interviewed before, do I have much of a shot given that there are many others with more teaching (and Japanese) experience than I? Is it more about attitude or experience? Are there any tips that you can give that are useful for the interview process? How important is knowledge of Japanese in your overall score? Do you know of anyone who has been accepted with no prior knowledge?
1. You have as much chance as the next applicant
. I had very very limited teaching, and no Japanese experience and I got in.
2. I think its definitely about your attitude. I met a girl at my embassy who had a very slack attitude but her credientials were amazing. I can't say for sure, but I think what she wore, the way she spoke and her general attitude really let her down in her interview as I saw quite a few members of the embassy glance at her, embarrassed by her manners. Oh, a quick tip, whatever you do, wear a suit jacket! I know a girl who got onto the programme, but at the pre-departure orientation, was taken aside and spoken to about her clothing at interview...it transpired that she'd not worn her suit jacket!
3. There is no "winning" formula, so its difficult to give you any tips. The entire application process from the outside, seems a bit random. I have been told (at least at my embassy) the idea at interview is to make you feel a little uncomfortable, so things like the heating are slightly too high, and the interview rooms are a little bit smaller then you'd expect. I don't know if this is true, but it doesn't hurt to be aware, so you can calm yourself down. If you do get an interview, make sure you prepare
. I didn't prepare as well as I could have, and I only found this site the night before: http://internationalcenter.umich.edu/sw ... ttips.html
But everything is a bit hit and miss to be honest. I did get asked questions about what was going on in Japan on the day of my interview, so try and read the news in the morning if you can. Also be prepared to answer questions on anything that makes you unique. This is good!
For example, I am a vegetarian, and Japan is not big on vegetarian food, so I had to field a lot of questions on how I would avoid offending people and how to explain that I was vegetarian etc etc.
Try and be enthusiastic. Try and smile, and not fidget and remember that they interview thousands of people (at least my embassy did) so you want to stand out a bit when they sit down and review all the scores.
Not sure how useful this book is but it might be a good idea:http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~tc9w-ball/K ... eetWet.htm
(2002)http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~tc9w-ball/K ... ersity.htm
They're also a few years out of date unfortunately.
Here is a blog I discovered months after my interview which has a really good outline of how the application process (used to?) work(s):http://constantineintokyo.com/2010/04/1 ... selection/
But for all this advice, the best thing is just to be yourself and try your hardest.
4. From the above blog, this pie chart shows (roughly) how much Japanese ability is taken into account:http://constantineintokyo.files.wordpre ... ed-264.jpg
5. Finally, yes. I know me.
. Like I mentioned above, I had no previous experience of Japan, no Japanese ability, limited experience teaching and hadn't even graduated when I applied. I am probably one of the youngest participants in 2010 but they took a chance on me, and I am prepared to give everything I can back. But please take everything I have said with a pinch of salt, and just try, because you never know.