May 1998 – email9

This is an email from SANDRA, a soon to be AET in Asaka. She contacted me via email with loooooots of questions. I didn’t reply back to her because of the video that Philip and I made. Ya see, I didn’t want to answer the questions twice, so I figured I’d wait until she saw the video. I wonder what questions she has after the video. I think the list is gonna be a lot shortttter. We done’d good, Firipu and me’s. ciao cito From: Shinyoda

5/21/98 14:38
Subject: hi.
To: me

hey gary.

How’s it going?  I hope you are doing well.  I’m very glad to find that you have e-mail.  However, you may find this to be a disadvantage in this regard–b/c of my impatient need for a quicker gratification, I am e-mailing YOU b/c yours is the only e-mail address I found amongst the letters that I received from you, Phillip and Liz.   You lucky, lucky, guy you;)

First off, I was hoping you could do me a favor.  I’ve been trying to fax an affirmative response to Mr. Kenichi Watanabe for the last few days but I have been having much trouble.  I called earlier this evening (my time) but I spoke with two very friendly individuals who unfortunately, do not speak English very well; and I unfortunately, do not speak Japanese.  I received confirmation that the fax went through, but I do not feel comfortable that it has been received b/c I had so much trouble.  If it isn’t too much trouble, could you please let Mr. Watanabe know that I am thrilled to have been accepted into the JET program and that I look forward to meeting him in July and working for Asaka city?  Thanks, I really appreciate it.

I don’t know how much you know about me or if you guys have had a chance to read/see any blurbs about my bio; but I’ll give you a bit of info just in case you haven’t.  I’m 24 years old (gosh, that sounds really old) and I’ve been out of school for three years.  I worked in NYC as a legal assistant for my first two years out and have been working in Princeton as a legal assistant for the past year.  If it isn’t evident yet, my plans are to attend law school; this will probably be straight after JET.  I love running, photography and horseback riding.  I try to read like crazy, foreign languages are my passion (I speak Korean fluently, am conversant in Spanish and am a bit rusty on my French), I love to watch basketball and I love to cook.

Okay enough about me.  I’ve got a ton of questions and I hope you don’t mind filling me in…  I know that some of the questions may be better suited to Phillip b/c I’ll be taking over his place, but whatever you can answer would be great:)

– okay, they say the rent is about 36,500 yen.  Does that include utilities? If not, how much additional can I expect utilities to run per month?

-  do they subtract apartment rent and the health insurance before giving us our paychecks or do we actually receive paychecks in the amount of 300,000 yen each month?

– How much is it to take the train into Tokyo?  How far is the Asaka station from Phillip’s apartment?

-What is a typical workday like?  Do you teach classes literally all day long?

-Phillip’s apartment seems to include a lot of things like the tv, vcr, microwave, etc.  Did you guys have to buy beds, blankets and pillows or do they typically come with the apartments as well?  What can you advise to definitely bring or definitely wait and buy there?

-Are the restaurants and supermarkets generally expensive in Asaka city in comparison to the U.S.?  I heard the prices for meats and fruits are outrageous.  Could you give me a few comparisons?  Are there certain foods I should definitely send over– like coffee (I’m a coffee fiend) for example– does it taste like ours or does it taste funky?

-How do you guys travel to the different schools?  By bike, bus, car?  Do you guys teach at the same schools/time at all?

-Is Asaka city really a city or is it more like a suburb?

-Is it difficult and expensive to send over money to the states?  (I realize I’m asking a lot of money questions but I’ve got car payments, student loans, etc. to pay– so I’m worried about the “will I make it in Japan?” aspect as well as the burden of having to send money home more often than the typical JET participant.)

-How close/far apart do you guys live from one another?  How often do you guys see each other?  I suppose this depends on your friendship, but basically do JETs typically end up hanging out with other JETs most often?

-How much free time do you have typically on the weekend?

-Is this e-mail account something you had to arrange on your own or does the Board of Education have computers/e-mail capabilities of their own that we can use?  I love e-mail and I think it would be the most ideal way to keep in touch…  I really hope they offer it.

-B/c you guys travel to the different schools, are your offices/bases in City Hall?  If so, how often do you have to report there?  Or do you report straight to the schools all the time?

-What’s the dress code like?  Do you wear those slippers inside the schools or can you wear regular shoes?

-And finally, do you have any other tips or advice about any individuals, schools, customs, etc?  Anything I should watch out for?  Does Phillip like his landlord and neighbors, by the way?

I would imagine many of my questions will be answered in the video you guys are sending.  (What a really great idea… thanks so much for it. I can’t wait to see it.) But if you could provide whatever other info you can, whenever you have a chance, it would be really nice.  I’m sorry to bombard  you with so many questions, but if you clue me in on Phil’s and Liz’s e-mail addresses, I promise not to victimize you alone in the future:)

Anyway, I’m very sad to learn that I won’t get the chance to meet you before you leave…  (How come you’re not renewing?)  I hope we can keep in touch in the meanwhile and perhaps we’ll meet in the future as JET veterans.

Thanks for the Watanabe request and for reading this really long message;)

Hope to hear from you soon.


1 Comment

  1. I wanted to comment and thank the author, good stuff

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