Before leaving for Akita

Financial matters

  • Think about setting up a joint account with someone you trust at home or giving someone you trust power of attorney so they can do your banking for you.
  • When you send money home from Japan via snail mail you cannot send it to yourself, so send it to the person who is doing your banking and have them put it in your account. You can also send the money directly to your bank. Another option is to use Go Remit remittance.
  • Make sure your bank at home has a website you can use (for free).
  • This may sound excessive, but bring LOTS of money. CLAIR recommends at least 200,000 yen, because many JETs will have to pay advanced rent, apartment fees, and fire insurance. You also will not get paid for at least a month after arriving. Your predecessor is the person who should be able to give you the most accurate advice about how much to bring.

Learning about Japan

If you want to find out more about Japan, or what your experience here will be like, please consider the following materials:

  • "Importing Diversity: Inside Japan's JET Programme" (2000) by David L. McConnell. This book examines the evolution of the JET Programme since its inception in 1987.
  • Read "Learning to Bow," by Bruce Feiler. This was the first book written about a JET participant's experience in Japan and on the JET Program(me). Still very relevant even after 20 years. Other useful reading by former JETs includes, "Importing Diversity", "Getting Both Feet Wet" and "My Mother is Tractor". The latter two were written by JETs from the nearby prefectures of Nagano and Niigata respectively.
  • "Dave Barry Does Japan," is a very funny read and looks at Japan through the eyes of a humour columnist travelling through Japan for three weeks in the early 1990's.
  • A Japan guidebook (such as Lonely Planet, Rough Guide or Fodors) is a good idea, and you can use it starting from the Tokyo orientation.
  • CLAIR sends language studying material before you leave for Japan. The General Information Handbook can be downloaded here.
  • There are tons of great blogs and websites (like this one) devoted to sharing information about Japan and learning Japanese. Check out the Unofficial JET Programme Guide for more samples.
Entering JET Checklist
Before Arrival Preparing for Akita Checklist • What to pack? • Financial and Language • Doctor/Dentist Information
After Arrival Culture Shock • Working life