One of the benefits of participating on JET versus other teaching schemes is the vast support network that is provided. Akita has had a support structure in place since 1991 and continues today. Akita's is unique in that it is composed of several elements.
Prefectural Advisors (PAs)
The first and most versatile tool that JETs have at their disposal are Prefectural Advisors or PAs for short. PAs are fellow JET program participants who have been chosen to to assist JETs in many ways such as consultation, mediation, or information gathering.
Any information shared with PAs will be kept confidential (unless you pose a danger to yourself or others) and they can also direct you to a wide range of counseling services should you require them during your time on JET.
By land area, Akita is the 6th largest Prefecture in Japan with the 3rd lowest population density. This means that our community is spread over a large area with very few large cities. Because of this, it is difficult for the PAs to provide up to date, detailed information for JETs in certain cases. The Block system was created to provide local support for JETs in Akita's many rural areas. It is worth noting that Block Leaders are not counselors.
Local support is further provided by the Sempai kohai system. New JETs (Kohai) are assigned specific senior JETs (Sempai) in their area that they can ask specific questions. Need to know which train to take to get to Akita City? Ask a Sempai!
Another great perk of being on JET are the numerous chances throughout the year to improve yourself professionally at any number of conferences and seminars throughout Japan.
Don't be afraid to ask for help! There are loads of people and organizations outside of Akita as well who are waiting to help you if you encounter various kinds of problems during your time in Japan.