Miyazaki Awaits

Miyazaki Awaits

Placement announcements for Melbourne finally arrived just in time for the weekend!
Come July, your big city, little vegemite will be living and working in Miyazaki-shi, a small city along the grand coast of Kyushu Island!

I won’t deny I was pretty daunted when I first typed Miyazaki into google maps, watching on as the pin kept dropping further and further south, almost to the bottom of Kyushu island. I’m not sure what I expected exactly but I definitely didn’t anticipate to be living in the tropics, so far away from Honshu and so unlike anywhere I have visited in Japan before! But after much research and endless googling, I can honestly say I feel incredibly blessed to have received such a beautiful placement. Afterall, I didn’t want a huge city like Tokyo, nor a deeply rural placement, and I didn’t want to be knee-deep in snow either, so really I’ve hit the jackpot with Miyazaki-shi!

This will be a huge change of pace from Melbourne, but I am really looking forward to venturing into the unknown and learning more about a place that I essentially know very little about. Oh, and the local cuisine, we can’t forget about that!

Miyazaki-shi Google Maps

Here are some little facts!

  • Miyazaki-shi 宮崎市 is the capital city of Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu
  • A popular resort tourist destination for Japanese locals
  • Is very tropical, hot and humid.
  • Has an estimated population of 365,311 and a population density of 612 persons per km²
  • Known for it’s excellent all-year round surfing
  • Looks like a Japan’s Hawaii!

Local Food Specialties

  • Ripe Mangoes (my favouriteeeee)
  • Charcoal Chicken
  • Chicken Nanban (battered fried chicken with a special sweet and sour nanban sauce)
  • Miyazaki Beef
  • Cheese Maju Dumpling
  • Hiyajiru (fish and miso soup poured over rice)

Miyazaki Mango AnimePalmTree

Beach life, here I come! (Just stay away from me mukade ok? Thanks)

 

Pinch Me

Pinch Me

I DID IT!

After all the hard work, anticipation, waiting…waiting… and more waiting, I am super excited to announce that I have been shortlisted to go to Japan as part of the JET Program!

I haven’t received my exact placement yet, so all I know so far is that I will be in Japan for at least a year as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), helping teach English to Japanese students and being a cultural ambassador for Australia.

I’ve been sitting on this news for about 5 days now and honestly it still hasn’t sunk in that in a few months time, I’m moving to Japan.

I’M MOVING TO JAPAN.

I’ve never even lived out of home.

This is insane. This is so insane!

How do you use a washing machine again?

Waiting and Baking

Waiting and Baking

I now truly understand the countless posts I’ve read about that ‘waiting game’ when it comes to the JET program. More specifically, the application process. April early departure results came and went with not a flutter of word sent my way- or it appears- any of my city’s applicants’ way, so I’ve come to the conclusion that we didn’t get offered any early placements this year. But still, there’s hope! Patience is key!

So I continue waiting.

We’re in the final countdown now with main results due out in a couple of weeks time, so to suppress my anxiety about results (and this tedious 7 month process finally coming to an end.. or beginning?) I’ve started baking! Guilt-free baking actually. Mainly to take my mind off JET but also because I’m trying to be healthy, flatten that ramen belly of mine, and satisfy my sweet tooth cravings because my gluten and dairy issues have been the bane of my life and existence and probably deserve another post altogether.

So today I made a coconut banana bread with coconut flour and LSA and I’m ecstatic to say that it turned out awesomely delicious and moist (what an awful yet relevant word HA) and tastes naughty but it really isn’t, which is exactly what makes me so super excited about healthy eating.

Guilt-free coconut banana bread

Oishi!

Interview Jitters

So I had my JET interview this week!

I felt pretty neutral coming out of it, I think it went pretty well overall but the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’ve started doubting, and now I’m not so sure if I’ve done enough to impress the judges.

I interviewed in Melbourne, Australia for the ALT position. I didn’t have to sign any disclaimer forms and nothing was mentioned about not being able to share my experience. So with that said, here’s how it went!

waiting-room-1024x778

 

THE WAITING ROOM

Walking into the consulate there was no such ‘waiting room’ to be found. I arrived about 30 minutes before my interview and walked literally 2 steps into the entrance, signed off with the security guard and sat on a tiny bench in front of his desk. At the time there was another applicant already sitting there who was super early (an hour early by the time I arrived!) and had her interview after mine. We chatted for most of my wait time and as more applicants arrived for the interview, the security guard had to keep fetching more chairs, so we were all just awkwardly sitting there in the walkway. There were no former JETs and no ‘undercover spies’- unless they had cast the security guard as one of their secret agents!

It definitely helped chatting to the other applicants and I felt relaxed going into my interview, however there were a couple of people who said they applied only because they didn’t know what else to do after graduating.  I’ll admit I sighed a little on the inside when I heard this- I just feel so passionate and invested in having this experience, and I have genuine reasons for applying!

interview-panel

THE PANEL

On my panel was a former CIR, a representative from the Japanese board of education and a Japanese lecturer from one of the local universities. The CIR was really lovely and was the one who ushered me in and asked a majority of the questions. None of the panel offered to shake my hand, nor did they stand up on my entrance, so I just walked in, handed over my phone and interview voucher and proceeded to sit down. While the CIR and the lecturer were really welcoming and smiled at my answers, the Japanese representative came off as very serious and nonchalant, so I felt as though maybe I wasn’t interesting enough or not saying the right things!

THE QUESTIONS

My interview felt extremely quick (20 minutes tops) and was pretty rushed. I wasn’t asked many questions at all. Even more surprising was that I wasn’t asked a single thing about my SOP, or anything related to my application apart from my past trips to Japan. I also didn’t have to give any sort of teaching demonstration, although I was pretty stoaked about that (phew!).

  1. Why the JET programme?
  2. You said you’ve been to Japan, where did you go?
  3. What things did you find about the rural areas?
  4. You may be placed somewhere rural, how would you deal with that?
  5. What places did you choose for your preferences and why?
  6. What would you bring to the programme to connect with your students?
  7. What grades would you like to teach?

I was then asked in Japanese if I knew Japanese, to which I answered ちょっと ですand one other question which I didn’t understand at the time. Of course it wasn’t until after I left that I realised exactly what they were asking me, so I’ve been kicking myself ever since!

After these questions the CIR asked if I had any queries for the panel so I took the opportunity to find out about her experience as a CIR and we had a good chat about what she found were the most effective teaching methods (she taught a few classes on the side) and what food-related activities or clubs there may be that I could be involved in.

I then thanked them for their time but it was a little bit awkward leaving because I was kind of just dismissed and no one apart from the CIR proceeded to stand up or walk me out so I pretty much just got up, thanked them again and left. And in my last attempt to be 元気, I gave them a big exaggerated wave.

94152-saki-phew

OVERALL

I prepared for over a month, brainstorming answers for any possible questions and scenarios, not to mention countless hours talking aloud to myself in the car to and from work. I didn’t expect my interview to be so generic though, so looking back I felt I probably over-prepared and was disappointed that I didn’t get to say a lot of what I had planned to. I’ve spoken with other applicants who interviewed at the same location and they had completely different experiences to mine, so it only shows that every situation really is different and you can only prepare so much. I didn’t make them laugh, I don’t think I was as genki as I would have liked to have been, and I probably rambled on and used my hands wayyy more than I should have. So I really have no clue as to what they thought about me. They definitely didn’t give anything away!

Ahhh I hope they liked me! Please like me!

I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Fingers Crossed.

Climbing up the ladder, careful not to fall

What a perfect and completely unexpected end to an otherwise ordinary day. Just as I was sitting at my desk at work, reflecting on how much I am already missing my incredibly amazing winter holiday in Japan, my brother sends me a text saying I have a letter from the Japanese Embassy waiting for me at home!

So I may have then taken procrastination to the extreme by then going out for dinner, getting home, showering, cleaning, reading and pacing aimlessly around the house- all in fear of rejection- BUT I did finally manage to sit myself down, calm my nerves, BREATHE and just open it.

Anddddd…

#INTERVIEWHEREICOME #NEXTSTAGE #FINGERSCROSSED