We have been told that we will find out our placement in May. Basically, the government works with various contracting organizations to find best where to place you. On our applications we were asked to put three preferences, but they make no promises that you will actually get placed in one of the areas that you requested. Picking our three preferences turned out to be really informative. After hours and days of googling all of the different regions and prefectures of Japan, we were able to see which had geography, climate, foods, etc. which appealed to us the most. We finally decided on Miyazaki, Kochi, and Okayama Prefectures. They are all in the southern-ish part of Japan since we really don't want to have to deal with cold winters anymore. We also specified that we want to live in a rural community. We feel that living in a small town or village will force us to learn Japanese faster, allow us to experience more traditional Japanese culture, become part of the community, and have greater access to the outdoors. We will be anxiously waiting until sometime in May when they decide where to place us.
As of yet, we have no idea where we will be living in Japan. There are many aspects of applying for the JET Programme that require you to be an insanely patient and laid back person, and this is certainly one of them. Not many people I know would be excited about signing themselves and their family up for a life in an absolutely unknown location in a foreign country. Add to that the 7 month applications time and that you only have a rough guess of what your housing will be like is enough to turn most people off. Though we are certainly not the most patient of people, no one could accuse of not being laid back. The unknown just makes this all the more exciting.
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I see why you picked Miyazaki Pr. According to Wikipedia, "It is one of only two locations on Earth where the fungus Chorioactis geaster is found."
Oh that little tidbit didn't escape our notice either... in fact I was waiting to pull that little gem out in my interview if asked... sadly I was not.
Got your blog off my own blogs stats page! Looks sweet. Excited that your first pick is Miyazaki. Actually, everyone I know who ever first picked Miyazaki got it. As for us, we had to pull out an Atlas and see where the heck we would be spending the next few years of our lives. Incidentally, our first pick was Hokkaido...my husband loves to snowboard, but has taken up surfing instead :)
I think Miyazaki is a lovely place to raise a family, and there are definitely options in our prefecture for couples with kids...personally I think our town would be perfect for you...but only 1 JET is leaving out of the 8 of us here, so maybe it's a very long shot. Please keep us posted on your placement! I have a special place in my heart for people from Manitoba...or anyone that instinctively puts emergency blankets and candles in their car in case of a winter highway ditching.
It's great to hear that we might actually get Miyazaki. I must admit that I would be mildly disappointed if we got Hokkaido! We have been convincing ourselves that this was our last freezing, windy, and snowy winter for at least a few years.
Who knows maybe we will be neighbors, and if you have a boy, there will be all the benefits of hand me downs!
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