A year later: Bleeding Through

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about my life.

The Short Version: from 2010 to 2013, I lived in rural Japan. I taught English in local elementary and junior high schools. It was easily the most challenging, amazing, rewarding, frustrating and life-changing thing that has happened to me yet.

For this reason, I find myself still thinking about Japan quite often. I will talk about it to whoever will listen. I’m on the board of my city’s Japan-America Society. I try to practice my Japanese whenever I can. And I still keep up with and listen to a lot of Japanese music.

Whenever I find myself talking about Japan though, I can occasionally see something in my friends’ eyes for a split-second. An eye roll or a lift of the eyebrows that seems to say ‘oh jeez here he goes again’. As if I’m a veteran grandpa recounting his time in ‘Nam or something.

It just seems that I can’t let Japan go.

But…do I have to?

レリゴーレリゴー

レリゴーレリゴー

For me, living in Japan for three years was a serious life-changing event for many reasons: It was my first time living away from home, I was in a different country doing something that I had dreamed about doing for years. I was able to travel to several different countries as well as domestically in Japan. I also formed amazing relationships with my students, coworkers and other foreigners from all over the world. I was even featured on a radio program, a TV show and on the front page of a Kyushu-wide magazine!

These are extraordinary things to do in one’s early twenties and I recognize that I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to have the experience I had.

But now that I’m back, and as I look forward to the future, I find myself still wanting to hold on to my connection to Japan. It would be great to work someplace where I can use Japanese. I would love to go back and visit sometime – specifically Kumamoto. And I still want to practice the language as much as I can because, hey, I spent a lot of time learning it. I don’t want to forget it.

It’s difficult, however. I want to embrace and cherish the special relationship I have with this island country that’s seven thousand miles away. But at the same time, I don’t want to dwell on it so much that it turns in to this sort of conceived paradise that it never was – causing me to deem what I plan to do in the future as ‘not as cool as Japan’.

Even though I’ve been back in the US for almost a year. Things like dealing with reverse culture shock (which is a very real thing), shifting dynamics in friendships old and new, and the crumbling of a long-distance relationship have all been more challenging than I anticipated they would be.

These things caused me to reflect more fondly on the good times I had when I was living in Japan. Almost like an escape back in to the Good Old Days. I was even quite resentful for a short period after coming back to the states, feeling that I had plateaued in my life. I even began looking up ways to get back to Japan.

But this wouldn’t have solved anything.

A metaphor popped into my head the other day, though, that I feel aptly describes my feelings.

Imagine you have a blank journal. You write in said journal for a good number of years with pens of varying quality. Some of the pens may be blue or black or red. Some may have been running out of ink when you used them. Maybe you even wrote in pencil on a few occasions.

Then one day you obtain a new writing utensil: a marker. You continue to write with this marker for a good long while before you eventually lose it.

The next time you go to write in the journal again, you see that the words you’ve written on the previous pages have bled through to the next dozen pages or so. You can write over the splotchy words and exclamation marks that have bled through, but you’re still able to see them clearly.

 

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Japan was, for me, the time in my life that I wrote with the boldest, darkest marker I could. I painted the shit out of my journal with it. I doodled in all the margins, I took up every line on every page. I wrote so boldly that the ink bled through for pages and pages and pages.

Now, when I write more things in the journal of my life, it’s with the constant reminder of what I have done in the recent past. Instead of blank pages to start from, I’m forced to write over the inky shadows of exciting times that seemed like just yesterday.

It feels like the new words that I write are not eye-catching or impressive – especially when compared to the huge, fun strokes of what’s left over from before. It’s like they’re having to fight for space and attention on the page. Sometimes it almost feels too fresh to even attempt to write over.

What I’ve had to learn to do is to accept that these reminders of my time in Japan will always be there in my journal. They’re going to have bled through to a good number of pages. But as time goes on, the dark smudges and blotches will begin to lighten and fade as new pages are turned.

Part of me fears that I will never be able to recapture the gusto and passion from the time in my life that I wrote with that bold marker. But another part of me sees that as a challenge. Why wouldn’t I be able to have another experience like that? It’s up to me to make it happen.

Sometimes it’s definitely easier said than done, but I’m finding a nice balance now between my life that was and where I am currently. The wonderful thing about having a journal like this (or, life, as I call it) is that at any time, I can go back and relive all of these adventures. I can flip back a few years and lose myself in rumination about how great (or not so great) certain aspects were.

These moments are nostalgic and fun to look back on – especially with friends who were there too. But the truth is, there’s no hope of recreating them. And that is a painfully bittersweet thing to realize.

(noun) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

Hiraeth: (noun) A homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past.

 

I’ve seen discussions and articles from former JETs on ‘Breaking up with Japan’. I think this is a good way to put it, but it seems a bit…final. I guess for me, ’Archiving Japan’, is a better description of what I’m doing — writing about it, experiencing it again and storing it away in my memory.

And I know that every time I take it out and revisit it, I’ll see those bold-ass marker strokes and smile at what a great experience it was.

 

 For those ‘ex-expats’ who have left Japan (or anywhere) and have readjusted to their home countries, have you found you’ve gone through the same kind of challenge? Have you managed to strike a balance that’s put you at peace? Do you have any advice for others who are struggling? 

 

Tackling the JET Program (Part 7): Placements!

 

Hey new JETs, it’s that time of year again! After what feels like months of agonizing silence, you’ve finally gotten your placement!

I love this time because the internet explodes with curiosity, excitement and uncertainty. New friendships are formed as leaving JETs get in contact with their successors and vice-versa. The staying JET community is flooded with excited gossip about who’s coming next, where they’re from and what they look like (Yes, I’m serious. I dare anyone to argue with me about this).

This is a super exciting time as it means that you’re one step closer to moving to Japan! Having an assigned prefecture/city/town/island makes it all the more real. Ahhh!

Here are some tips that I found helped me when I first got my placement in the wonderful Kumamoto prefecture.

 

 

  •  Reserve your judgmenet about how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ your placement is

When I googled Yatsushiro City, the only thing that came up was the depressingly barren Wikipedia page. I actually don’t think it’s changed at all since I last checked it three years ago. I learned about a giant pommelo fruit (banpeiyu) that is grown there, a festival in November…and the main shopping area that is ‘in decline’.

To be honest, I was a bit bummed. Where was this strange place that I was going to? All my other friends who had been accepted to JET were rejoicing in their placements that were only a couple of hours from Tokyo or Osaka. I felt as if I had kind of been exiled to Kyushu – far away from my friends and the big cities that I associated with being ‘REAL JAPAN’.

When I actually arrived in my city, however, I found it to be so much more than I ever expected. There were two giant malls, a gorgeous mountain range to the east and a port to the west. There were ample hiking opportunities, I was super close to a train station and they were actually building a shinkansen (bullet train) stop that was to be completed within the next year.

My point is: don’t put full faith in whatever you happen to scrape together about your placement on the internet. There’s really no way to know how much you’re going to like or hate it until you are actually there. Don’t be discouraged! It’s far too early!! 

 

  • Don’t compare yourself to other JETs and their placements.

I touched on this briefly in the last bullet point, but it’s important. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Especially those who think they know all about their placement. I had people at Tokyo Orientation practically bragging to me about being placed in X Y Z prefecture and how they were going to be so close to A B C and how they were going to do D E F every weekend.

Coming to Japan is exciting, it really is. I think that some people get so caught up in the excitement of it, though, that they start to fantasize they’re already living the life they’re dreaming about. It might sound great to be located only three hours from Tokyo. The reality, though, might be having to drive/take a bus 50 minutes through the mountains to get to the nearest train station in order to hop one of two daily trains that head that direction. Not quite as glamorous as it sounds.

If you compare yourself to other new JETs who are bragging about their placements before even getting there, you might start to feel unnecessarily bad about your own awesome placement. Pay them no mind. Just nod politely, maybe give them the ‘wow, cool!’ that they so desire…and then forget about it.

 

  • Start connecting with people ASAP!

I am a very social person. As such, I immediately began to scour Facebook and other social media when I received my placement. I discovered the AJET page for Kumamoto, joined it and announced myself. I was met with an incredibly warm welcome and instantly found myself put in contact with other JETs in my city or nearby. I then got to ask them all of my noob questions and, in the process, became even more excited about going.

I found in my time in Japan that, as a whole, the JET community is amazingly supportive and welcoming. Take advantage of this social network. In my experience, JETs in your prefecture are just as excited to meet you as you are them. Trust me 🙂

 

  • Reevaluate your expectations.

Surely, if you’re moving to Japan, you’re prepared for things to be different. But knowing your placement can solidify things you had been wondering about. Maybe you’re going to have to get a car and you didn’t think you would need one. Maybe you’re going to be a high school ALT and you really really wanted junior high/elementary. Maybe you’re going to be the only person in a village of 3,000.

I think that, applying to JET, many of us have expectations about what it could be like. When you get your placement, however, these expectations could shift slightly or be totally obliterated. If you were planning on being super close to Hiroshima because you studied there once…only to be found out that you were placed in Northern Hokkaido, you might have to reevaluate your expectations.

Like I said before, don’t get discouraged because things turned out different than you had expected/wanted. It’s important to keep an open mind and roll with the punches. Not only is it required almost every day as a JET, it’s quite possible that you will grow to love your placement more than you ever thought you could.

 

And that’s about all the advice I can think of at the moment! As I said, this is an exciting time and it’s a step closer to the reality of moving to Japan! Enjoy the time you have left while you prepare for your adventure!

If you’re a JET, where are you headed? If there’s anything else that I could maybe help with, feel free to leave a comment! And, if you’re headed to Kumamoto, congratulations!! 😀 

Adventures in South Korea (Part 2)

Part 1 of this story is here, if you missed it!

After the six of us were shuffled off the boat and through customs and immigration, we exited the port and found ourselves in an exciting, new country! More specifically, a hot and  stuffy loading area where dozens of taxis were lined up. We fell in to line with the other people who had come off the boat with us and tried to act like we knew what we were doing.

“Hey, you want taxi? Where you going?” a short man in a black T-shirt suddenly appeared by us. His face was tanned and leathery and he was missing several teeth.

Now, my initial instinct when people approach me while traveling is that they want money. It’s perhaps not the best way to think of people, but having lived in Las Vegas for seven years, I’ve grown accustomed to ignoring people who approach me out of the blue. It’s still something I’m working on.

I pretended not to see the man who was clearly standing right next to our group. We all exchanged confused, wary glances with the same unspoken question: who was this guy and what did he want?

My friend Joe, a wonderfully innocent boy from rural Ohio, was the first to take the plunge.

“Hotel Phoenix,” he said with a smile. “Do you know where that is?”

The man stared at him. “Ah?”

“Hotel…Phoenix?” Joe repeated, suddenly uncertain of himself. “Phoenix Hotel?”

“Peenix?”

“Phoenix.” Joe produced the piece of paper that the travel agent had given us with the address in Korean.

The man took it and studied it briefly. He turned and rapped violently on the window of a nearby taxi. The driver rolled down the window and gave him a weary look. The two had a brief, angry-sounding conversation in Korean before the man in black turned back to us.

“He know Peenix. You go him.”

A collective wave of unease settled over the group. Was this guy really the head taxi operator?

“Er…there are six of us. Can we…”

Angry shouting and gesturing interrupted whatever Joe meant to say as the man in black motioned to the cab behind the one he had just yelled at.

“Three go him, three go him.” he said pointing to the respective taxis.

Hesitantly, we split into two groups. We approached the door to the taxi cab and peered in. The driver turned to look at us like we were crazy and, with a jerk of his thumb, motioned us to open the trunk and put our shit in.

In Japan, taxis feature automatic doors that open for you as you approach them. The drivers often leap out, dressed in their adorably professional outfits, and fall over themselves in order to load your luggage in to their trunk. If you try to do it yourself, they become visibly uncomfortable. The doors even open and close automatically for your convenience.

We were definitely not in Kansas anymore and it was refreshing. Laughing at how we were no longer pampered or special, we loaded our own bags in to the trunk and then got in the backseat of the cab.

Annyeong haseyo!” I said cheerfully, using the minimal Korean that I had learned before the trip.

Dark eyes stared back at me in the rearview mirror, clearly unamused.

“Er….Hotel Phoenix?” My friend Melinda said sweetly. She handed him the piece of paper with the address.

The driver took the paper and scanned it quickly. “Peenix?” he grunted.

Ne!” I said, eager to use as much Korean as I could. His eyes glared at me again in the mirror, I fell silent.

He rolled down the window and shouted to the man in the black t-shirt. They had, what sounded like, a heated argument over the apparently elusive Hotel Peenix before he threw the gear shift into first and we took off, following Olympia, Hermán and Joe’s taxi.

We exited the port, sped through a yellow light and immediately found ourselves in the city of Busan. Tall buildings rose all around us as the taxi zoomed forward and joined the congested traffic. The taxi that my friends were riding in disappeared into a sea of cars as it sped hastily through a red light. Five other cars followed behind it.

Ever played Crazy Taxi? Yep…

Hangul signs were everywhere with English words that seemed to be thrown in at random. I wanted to take it all in and marvel at this impressive, new city but I was too busy making leaky tire noises as our driver sped in and out of traffic.

The taxi, it seemed, only had two speeds: Stop and Breakneck. The driver would slam on the gas, propelling the car forward only to stop violently a few meters later. Behind us, our luggage tumbled back and forth like it was stuck in a spin cycle.

“Umm ummm….ummmmm” I muttered in terror as we breaknecked through a lane that a bus was merging in to. My foot thumped heavily on the floor as if I had an invisible emergency brake pedal.

The bus continued to pull in to the lane as if it didn’t care that the taxi was not stopping. It continued to merge while our driver continued to drive. It was a terrifyingly slow game of Chicken but we somehow managed to pass the bus without so much as a scratch.

Soon after, we screeched to a stop in front of a row of buildings. The driver looked at us again in the rearview mirror and pointed ahead of us to a simple looking building on the right.

“Hotel Peenix.” he grunted and then pointed to the meter. It read 5000 won.

We put our heads together quickly and tried to determine how much to give him. The entire ride only equalled about five dollars but I almost gave the man fifty. Korean money, it seemed, would take some getting used to. Whereas in Japan, I had grown accustomed to knocking off two zeros off of numbers, in Korea it seemed to be three zeros. 

Kam saham ni da!” I said once more as I exited the cab, still clinging to the hope that I could use some Korean in a real situation.

To my surprise, he smiled and muttered something back that I assumed was ‘you’re welcome’. I got out of the cab grinning like an idiot as I extracted my tumble-dried suitcase from the trunk.

Our group was reunited with each other inside the hotel. After checking in and throwing our luggage in our rooms, we headed back down to explore the city for a bit. Outside, people bustled by about their business while we stood on the stoop of the hotel. Our phones had been rendered all but useless so Fred and Hermán used the wifi to plan our next course of action.

Looking around, I saw that there was a small food cart right next to where we were standing. Excited to be in a new country with a plethora of unfamiliar foods at my fingertips, I strode over to see what the woman behind the cart was selling.

Annyeong Haseyo!” I said cheerfully as I approached.

The woman gave me a look that was similar to that of the taxi driver and continued to talk into the phone that was pressed to her ear. In front of her were two large vats of what I imagined to be soup of some sort. I was a bit disheartened to see that there were no pictures of what she was selling.

I stared at the handwritten lines and circles of Hangul on the menu before giving up. Catching her attention, I pointed to the vat on the right and held up my index finger – the universal way to order food in a language you don’t speak.

The woman said something to me that I didn’t understand. Seeing that she was dealing with a hopeless cause, she rolled her eyes and shifted the phone to rest between her shoulder and her ear. As she continued talking into it, she took a styrofoam bowl and swiftly ladled the contents of one of the vats into it.

Kam saham ni da!” I said as she handed me a steaming bowl of bright red soup. She paused as she handed me my change, gave the briefest of smiles and then sat back down and returned to her conversation.

I poked around the soup with a fork as I made my way back to the group. There were semi-long, thick tubes of rice cake in it along with a stray vegetable or two. It smelled great and the heat of the styrofoam bowl felt nice in my hands.

“What’s that?” Olympia asked, wrinkling her nose. “It’s practically glowing!”

“I don’t know!” I exclaimed with excitement. “It smells spicy, though!”

It looked like this, pretty much. Credit to http://thenomadcooks.blogspot.com !

I stabbed a rice tube (later I would find out that these are called toppoki) and pulled it out of the neon red soup. As soon as I put it in my mouth, I knew I was in trouble. A burst of spice exploded over my tongue and [the back of my throat crackled] tickled the back of my throat. I tried to continue to chew the sticky toppoki but I began coughing before I got very far. It was almost as if it were trying to glue my mouth shut.

My friends stared at me in confusion. Tears pooling in my eyes, I gave them a thumbs up sign to assure them that I was still okay. Inside, though, I did not feel okay. The inside of my mouth was on fire and my throat was smoldering. I had only eaten a single bite. Finally, I was able to get the chewy dynamite down my throat. I opened my mouth and stuck my tongue out unattractively to air it out.

“I’m cool…” I rasped with a smile. My voice was barely audible and the tears were now running slowly down my cheeks. “…s’just kinda….spicy…”

We ventured down in to the underground shopping center that was apparently directly below us. I tried another fire stick and had a similar experience. Although I mentally braced myself, it didn’t make it any better. After everyone denied my offer of the lava soup (“It’s not that bad, I swear! It’s just kinda really spicy!”), I was left with no choice but to throw the rest of it away.

The underground mall turned out to be miles of intersecting pathways and shops. Products of all kind were on display: everything from clothing and shoes to stylish phone cases and makeup. After a while, it began to get a bit claustrophobic for everyone so we found the nearest exit and climbed the stairs.

Kiss me hard before I go.

“Will you do that for me?” I asked him.

His answer was a small laugh. It was a scoff, but not a derisive one. He leaned forward and kissed me squarely on the lips. In private, we had exchanged hundreds of kisses. Thousands. Tens of thousands, surely throughout the duration of our two-year relationship.

I watched as he turned his attention back to the black and white manga that he held open expertly. His long fingers had seemingly evolved into perfect bookmarks.

“You know what I mean,” I said with a sad smile. “So?”

“Uunn,” he responded.

Throughout the two years, I had gotten used to these kinds of responses. ‘Un,’ short and sweet, was an affirmation. ’Uun,’ on the other hand, slightly longer and drawn out, was negative.

Occasionally, when being intentionally vague, he would murmur the third option that was harder to to discern: ‘Uunn’.

“You don’t want to kiss me at the airport?”

“No, I want.” he said in his adorable English. He patted my cheek, breaking away from whatever story he had been lost in. “But is hard…”

With a sigh, I stretched out comfortably on my futon next to his. The interlocking wooden cover pressed coolly into my back. I stretched out my leg and entangled it in his own outstretched one. Closing my eyes, I listened to the rhythmic whir of the small fan positioned next to us – the welcome gust of air passed over me once.

On its second trip across my body, I opened my eyes. I sat for a spell, staring at the bright, fluorescent light of his bedroom ceiling. It looked like a glowing marshmallow.

“I know,” I said quietly in Japanese. “But nobody will care.”

Being gay in Japan is a strange experience. Any kind of LGBTQ lifestyle is not very well understood. The only real exposure comes from atrociously camp celebrities on TV who exploit whatever stereotype they can for coveted airtime. Apart from this, it’s rarely even discussed at all.

My boyfriend was by no means ashamed of me when we were in public together, but he was always cautious. He would give me a playful nudge or poke in the stomach every so often. If we were out of eyeshot of others, he would even occasionally intertwine one of his fingers with mine. But it was always tinged with the unspoken fear that someone might see.

A favorite activity of ours was to take couples purikura and then decorate them afterwards. We would scrawl sparkly words like ‘Scandalous!’ and ‘Handsome guys!’ across pictures of us kissing or holding hands.

But this kind of carefree, normal expression of affection for one another seemed to be best left in photo booths that made our eyes enormous and in the company of our friends. In the real world, it seemed, it was just too uncomfortable and dangerous for him.

My last day in Japan, we headed to the airport at around six in the morning. We sat sleepily in uncomfortable airport seats, partially isolated from the rest of the empty waiting area. I let myself slump over and rested my head on his bony shoulder. He didn’t shift away awkwardly as I had (ashamedly) expected him to. Instead, he tilted his head to rest against mine as well.

We sat that way for a while, perfectly secluded in our subtle embrace. No photo booths, no friends or familiar faces around us. It felt right. And natural. And I felt my brain and heart give a kind of sigh. A shudder. Why didn’t we do this earlier? Why couldn’t we do this earlier?

Eventually the time came for us to say goodbye. I stood up, my limbs heavy in protest and my heart filled with dread. I willed myself to move toward the security gate – the rabbit hole I would disappear into, leaving this strange, wonderful country behind.

I turned to him. My boy. My rock that I had been fortunate enough to cling to for two years. His face was contorted into the stoic expression that the Japanese have perfected for times when they don’t want to cry.

“I’ll…see you later.” I said in Japanese, almost casually. “It’s not sayonara, it’s mata ne.”

He nodded and I saw his bottom lip begin to quiver. Mine quivered in response. We both wanted nothing more than to use our lips like we had grown accustomed to doing for the past two years. But we couldn’t. Not here.

Instead, I pulled him in to the biggest, tightest embrace I could.

As I passed through the metal detector and collected my things at the end of the conveyor belt, I cast a look back to where he was still standing. He waved sadly. I returned his wave and suddenly the tears burst from my eyes unannounced. I hurriedly gathered my things, tucked my head down and forced myself onward.

I was able to make it all the way to my gate before I devolved into a quiet, sobbing mess.

It hit me all at once and I cried for it all. I cried for the friends and relationships I was leaving behind. I cried for the country that I had grown to love. And of course, I cried for my first love.

But mostly I cried because I knew that nobody would ask me if I was okay.

I wanted to shout to all the people staring awkwardly at me that they were all bearing witness to heartbreak firsthand. I wanted to tell them all that I just left the man that I loved behind. To tell them that all I wanted was to run back and kiss him one last time.

“But…” my brain answered me in Japanese. “…nobody will care.”

Tackling the JET Program Application (Part 3)

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Hello hello! Sorry for the delay in posting, life has been busy and blah blah. Let’s look at the rest of the online application for the JET Program! I’ll try to give any tips I can think of.

For now, I’m going to skip Contact Information, Higher Education and Teaching Background. I mean, they’re pretty straight forward and I doubt I can give any tips on what you studied in uni, where you live etc. 😛

International Experience: With this section, I would just say to list as much as you can. Even if you think it’s insignificant. Did you travel to Canada once when you were in junior high school? Put it. Did you go to Mexico every year to visit relatives? Include it. People who have traveled and experienced different cultures are looked favorably on by JET. If you’ve studied in a foreign country for an extended period of time, you had better be sure to include the documentation of your study abroad course.

Employment History: For this, I’m not going to say much.  Give some thought to how you answer the final question, however. You probably won’t earn too many points by writing something like ‘Well I’d love to live in Japan for a while and then travel a lot’. Think of how Japan can benefit from you after you leave. 

 Japan Related Studies: Fill out all the Japanese study you’ve done – both formal AND informal. Rather than writing that you watched anime with English subtitles, you might just want to list it as ‘self study’.

For the Japanese language evaluation, BE HONEST. If you can’t speak a lick of Japanese, that’s okay. If you’re めちゃペラペラ, that’s okay too. I’ve heard people often debate that if your Japanese level is too high, JET won’t accept you. This is not true. Use the guidelines provided and be honest with your Japanese language proficiency, it’ll be easier on everyone.

Other information: Put all of the awards, volunteer, extracurricular activities that you can! In my opinion, this section looks good when it’s all full. Think of as many relevant activities that you’ve done that would fit here.

A new question that was not on my application was the ‘b. When did you first become interested in Japan?‘ and ‘What was the reason that you first became interested in Japan?’ 

I would say to just answer these questions honestly. Don’t worry about sounding like an otaku if you became interested in Japan by watching anime or playing videogames as a child. I know that as a child, DBZ, Sailor Moon and Pokemon were my JAMS. From there my interests branched out to solely Japanese pop music.

I’m willing to bet that a sizeable majority of people who apply (and have applied in the past) were introduced to Japanese culture in the same way. The JET people know this.

And finally, we come to the Self-Assessment Medical Form. The only advice I can give is to, once again, BE HONEST! I actually think that it’s much more important to be honest here than anywhere else in your application. If you have a condition of any type, let them know now. If not, it might come up later and cause delays and other headaches. Once again, JET accepts people of all kinds. So don’t worry that you won’t be accepted if you have a certain type of condition or affliction 🙂

And that’s it! I’ve given you all a rundown of the online application and any tips and thoughts I had. Hopefully I was able to provide some helpful advice for anyone applying this year! As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave me a comment!

Good luck with the online application! I’ll try to write another post about the SoP (Statement of Purpose) and references. And then interview process too!

頑張って、ね!