Goodbye, JET Program.

Our time on JET is at its end

So many things left to attend

But, let’s take some time to reminisce

a’bout all the things that we will miss

Cherry Blossoms, Spring at last

Underneath them, getting trashed

Summer Days: Bright, hot and and wet

Learning to live in our sweat

Watching the leaves in Autumn turn

The smell of rice fields when they burn

Not catching the Winter Flu

Nestled in a kotatsu

First or fifth year, one thing’s sure

JET has been an adventure

Riding cars, boats, bikes and planes

City trams and bullet trains

Getting lost, exploring towns

Culture Shock and Ups and Downs

Of course living here’s not always bliss

There are some things I will not miss

Massive bugs I have to squish

Natto and those pregnant fish

Workplaces that crush your soul

Rigid social gender roles

Raw fish cornucopia

Rampant xenophobia

No Central Heating or Insulation,

Is this not a first world nation?

And I swear I’ll lose all of my poise

If I hear that damn teeth-sucking noise


….one more time….

We’ve adapted to a life that’s new

And through it all, changed our world view

And now, here in our final days

We’re all preparing to part ways

Saying goodbye is no doubt rough

I’m really not good at this stuff

How do we explain our life here

To those back home who we hold dear?



To those who are not in the loop

It sounds just like alphabet soup

Then there are things photos can’t show

Of our life in Kumamoto

Hot drinks from vending machines

Adoration from pre-teens

Festivals, warmed toilet seats

So many delicious sweets

Cicadas in the early morn

Conbini store shelves lined with porn

Yakiniku nice and smoky

Long long nights of karaoke

Kakigouri stacked up high

Nomihoudai, mou ippai!

Shrines and temples that are sacred

Chilling in an onsen naked

Walking at night without hassle

Living by an ancient castle

The feeling of a seven year old

Taking your hand into her own

And strolling with you hand in hand

Not caring if you understand

What she’s saying, no translation

Just a simple conversation

The only thing to comprehend

 Is that she’s made a brand new friend

Times like these stick out to me

In my mind, clear as can be

Memories like this are just the start

of countless ones etched on my heart

A heart that’s heavy, beat by beat

with feelings that are bittersweet

So, the time has come to take our leave

And though we want to, shouldn’t grieve

 Because at the end of our contract

We’ll never quite know our impact

On the lives of those who we have met

Through our experiences on JET

And back in all our home countries

We’ll hold on to these memories

This southern land of fire and heat

and beloved black bear with red cheeks

We’ll look back one day years from now

And stop and marvel at just how

We spent time here and made great friends

on this beautiful, small island

And so, our time on JET is at its end

So many things left to attend

But as we go East, South, North and West

I wish all of you the very best

– Ian Cruz!


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