Namisuke wrote:8. Mentioning you are applying for a position with JET because of the salary or good reputation. This says nothing about you except that you are applying to the Programme because of what they can do for you.
I mentioned this in the interview and I got accepted. Of course, I also talked about how JET was an opportunity
to make in-roads into parts of the country that didn't typically see a lot of foreigners and learn about Japanese culture from a more intimate perspective, yadda yadda. I don't see how mentioning the salary or reputation could be so bad on the SoP. They're proud of the reputation they've built up around the JET Program, and I'm sure the salary is part of that pride as well. I agree that you do need other reasons, though, even if they're vague.
9. Stating what experience or education you don't have in your SOP. Only mention what you DO have in your SOP that will make you a good candidate. Don't give the readers ammo to not give you the interview.
I disagree. Being able to anticipate your reader's questions about your shortcomings, even admitting that you have them but still think you are a good candidate, sets up a chance to expound on why you are a good candidate in spite of
them. The bottom line is that you're not going to fool anybody by simply not talking about your, for example, lack of teaching experience. It's right there on your application and you can be sure that the person reviewing your application made a note of that. But if you address that shortcoming (briefly) and then explain (in convincing detail) why it's not a shortcoming, but rather a strength (i.e. I may not have much teaching experience, but on the other hand I'm still young; I'm far from being set in my ways; and I'm very open to learning about the Japanese way of teaching.), or why your other strengths make up for it (i.e. I may not have teaching experience, but I have a life-long interest in kendo, and speak Japanese flawlessly, which will surely help me form close relationships with my students and fellow teachers.), then you have a good chance of swaying your reader the direction you want. Remember an essay is a conversation between you and the reader. You've got to respect your reader, and that includes acknowledging at least their most obvious objections to what you say or what they think about you.
2. Story telling. By going on and on about how your passion of Japan came about, you are wasting space in your SOP where your skills can go. The SOP is short, so try to keep irrelevant stuff out of it. Your motivations for going to Japan are important, but make sure it reflects internationalization or something professional.
Agreed here. Nobody wants to read about how you watched the old Godzilla movies when you were 11 and have been interested in going to Japan ever since, although if you have a colorful anecdote about how your interest in Japan first came about, it couldn't hurt to waste a dozen words on it.