One of the benefits of being a JET participant as opposed to other teaching programs is the vast support network that is provided. The Akita JET Program has had a support structure in place since 1991 that has continued to this day.
Prefectural Advisors (PAs)
The first and most versatile tool that JETs have at their disposal are Prefectural Advisors (PAs). PAs are fellow JET program participants who have either been designated or chosen to provide support and leadership for the Akita JET community. PAs serve a vital role in improving the communication between and liaising JET participants, their respective contracting organizations (COs), and the government.
Any information shared with PAs will be kept confidential (unless you pose a danger to yourself or others), but PAs are not licensed counselors. They can provide advice and resources, but should you require professional assistance, they will direct you to a wide range of counseling services instead.
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 vast area with very few large cities. It can thus be difficult for the PAs to provide up-to-date, detailed information for JETs in various situations. The Block System was created to mitigate this, and provide local support for JETs in Akita's many rural areas.
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.