August 25, 2015

My first month in Japan as a JET

Hello! My name is Laurence Dubé. I'm a first year JET programme participant working at Seiritsu Gakuen and these are the things I did during my first month in Japan.

First, let's talk about accommodations. Personally, I got to stay at a weekly mansion for two weeks and then did a home stay for the reminder of the month, but some JETs just did homestay. Either way, there are a few things I had to learn to do during my first week.
-How to get to my school, how basic transportation here works and how to get a suica or a pasmo card (to pay for transportation).
-How to introduce myself properly in Japanese (I already knew the basics but that isn't the case for all JETs)
-How the appliances (washing machine, toilet, shower/bath panel) work
-How and where to get cheap food near me (I'm talking about actual $4 and less meals here), including learning about the frequent questions people at the konbini or restaurant might be asking you
-How trash sorting works here.

Then once you got that out of the way, congratulations! You can now basically function as a human being in Japan! But of course, that's only the beginning. There are a lot more things you need to do in the first month, including…
-Registering at your local town office
-Look for an apartment (with relocation Japan's help, in my case)
-Get a hanko (personal stamp)
-Open a bank account
-Get a phone and a phone plan
-Join as many Facebook groups relevant to your JET situation as you can. These will give you access to tons of useful information, as well as a way support and answers to any questions you might have.
-Look for furniture. I recommend Japanese Craigslist and second hand/recycle shops (Off House is a good one) and arrange for delivery.

Finally, there are also work related matters to attend to even though you probably arrived during summer break. We're here to work after all! Personally, I had to…
-Do some readings about my school (history, clubs etc.)
-Read through some of the books the teachers use to teach at my school
-Start learning the teacher's names
-Write some JET/School related blog posts (like this one ;P)
-Record some short, educational videos about differences between Westerners and Japanese people.
-Learn where all the important locations were in my school.
-Work on my self introduction and start coming up with ideas for lessons and activities.
Annnnd that's pretty much how it went! That sounds like a lot, right? That's because it is, but don't worry—you're not alone. There are most probably tons of JETs in similar situations as you are in right now and there are many people around you who can help, including other ALTs, your supervisor and your coworkers, so your transition in your new life goes as smoothly as possible. Just remember to take some time to relax, eat well and never hesitate to ask for help.


Good luck!!

August 25, 2015

"The More You Know" - A Public Announcement From a JET

Hi everyone! It's Teresa again.

In one week, it's going to be officially one month since I landed in Narita International Airport and started my JET adventures with Seiritsu Gakuen.


In one concise sentence, things have been proceeding extremely well! I moved into my apartment last week and it's a beautiful 2DK that I initially thought was a tiny living area for me and my fiancé. After settling down with my suitcases and my furniture though, I am in love with my space. I actually find it quite large as it is a 45 m2 apartment. Most of my JET friends have an apartment that is around 20 m2. I feel blessed to have found such a beautiful apartment that is not too far from Seiritsu Gakuen.

For those thinking about an international move, specifically a move to Tokyo, Japan, I have a few tips for what to do before your flight:
a) start researching whether your phone is compatible to the LTE bands in Japan
b) start researching phone plans you desire
⁃ (I started researching the summer before arriving and found a monthly plan for \1,600.)
c) start researching areas you would like to live in
d) start contacting real estate agencies on Gaijin Pot, for example, for apartments in areas you want to live in
⁃ (Some agencies do not have fees!)
e) contact your supervisor if possible!
Read Laurence's post for tips that apply to your first month in Japan.

These are the few simple tips that would save you money! It is so important to research. Knowledge is key!

I am quite happy and proud to have researched because I saved about \6,000 from only my monthly phone bills. I saved much more by finding a large and amazing apartment in a nice area with a low rental fee. You can save too if you research and network and learn from others. C:


August 13, 2015

Team Canada visit

This week we had some special guests!

Richard, and a group of Canadian karate athletes who will be competing at the JKF Wadokai World Cup this coming weekend, spent a few mornings training at our karate dojo.


It was really nice to get a chance to meet up with Richard.


A few of our karate athletes had the chance to train with the team members as well.

We wish you all the best of luck at the event! 頑張れ!

August 12, 2015

Bonjour! I'm Laurence!

Hello! My name is Laurence Dubé and I'm one of the new JET Programme ALTs (assistant language teacher) at Seiritsu Gakuen. Pleased to meet you~


I'm a translation major from the province of Québec in Canada. I've lived in Quebec City for the past seven years, but I originally come from a very small town in the countryside called La Pocatière. I also took Japanese classes in college, and I've been studying the language by myself for a few years. My first language is actually French, but I learned English at school and through personal study and practice times at home.

This is my first time in Japan and also my first long-term trip, so I'm a little nervous, but also very excited to be here. Japan is very different from Canada (especially the weather), but so far everything is going well and I hope I can adapt quickly.

I love languages and I hope I will be able to make you love them too. To me, learning a language is also about learning about a country's culture and its people and overall, a wonderful way to broaden your horizons. Let's have fun and learn English together!

August 12, 2015

Hello, I'm Teresa

Nice to meet you! My name is Teresa Fong, and I'm going to be one of your new JET Programme assistant language teachers (ALT). I hail from the Fijian Islands, but moved to Boston, Massachusetts in the Eastern coast of America when I was eight years old. Please call me Teresa and don't be shy to say hi to me if you see me around the school.


Even though I lived in Tokyo last year as part of my study abroad program, I still stumble and lack in many ways when it comes to living in Japan. One of the main challenges include surviving the heat and humidity along with the millions of other residents! Let's hope I find some cooling tips and remember to drink enough water to avoid heat sickness. Despite the challenges I may face, I am more than ready to tackle them with all my might.


I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to teach and learn English with the students and teachers of Seiritsu Gakuen. Let's use English everyday and jump to new levels!

August 10, 2015

Seiritsu gets two new JET teachers!

In 2014, the Tokyo government brought in about 100 JETs, joining their counterparts spread throughout Japan. JET stands for “Japan Exchange and Teaching” and is a programme to promote grass-roots international exchange. You can learn more about the programme at the following links:

Then, starting this year, they added another 100 participants to help out in Tokyo at private institutions like Seiritsu Gakuen, bringing the number of Tokyo JETs to 200. We learned on April 29th that we would be fortunate to have two teachers placed with us.

With only three months to prepare, we have spent a lot of extra time behind the scenes researching what is needed and what is often done to meet the needs of the incoming ALTs.

After all the build up, we finally got to meet in person on Wednesday August 5th in Shinjuku at a special orientation put together for the JETs and the host schools. Nogami Sensei, Kawaguchi Sensei and Brent took part and then brought the JETs to Seiritsu and then their short term accommodations. Vice-principal Fukuda Sensei took a picture and made a blog post for the Seiritsu family column. You can see it here:

We are going to spend most of August helping the two new teaches get settled into their lives here in Tokyo. Please join us in giving them a warm welcome!

We are confident they will enjoy their time with us her at Seiritsu!



about Seiritsu

Seiritsu Gakuen is a private co-educational high school created in 1925 and it is located in Tokyo, Japan.

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