About My JET Time

I studied graphic design in college and after college, I did what any new graphic artist would do – flitted off to Japan to teach English. I was with the JET Program, and most likely you found this site searching for tips on the application, the interview, etc. If you did, you can go to my Japan/JET blog and ask away.

4 thoughts on “About My JET Time

  1. hey lauren, it’s so rare that i come across any JETs from Colorado. i justed got short-listed for the program so i’m in the mist of preparing myself for what to come. thanks for your blog. by the way, did you have to ship any boxes over to Japan when you went over? i’m looking for something reasonable but can’t seem to find anything.

  2. Thanks for your comments, Torry. Congrats on making it into the JET Program this year! I’m sure it was much stiffer competition than when I got it.
    I don’t know much about shipping except that it’s difficult to find someone that still does Surface Mail to Japan, and if you can find them, it can take up to 2 months for your boxes to arrive.
    I ordered a new laptop and it didn’t arrive until after I came to Japan, so I had my folks send it to me along with some winter clothes (my heavy jacket, some sweaters, and I think some shoes). They sent it through USPS and insured it, and I think the cost ended up being about $120. Yeah, I know, pretty expensive especially combined with all the other JET related things you have to pay for, so it’s up to you to determine how much you need it. Just pack as well as you can, and if you’re in doubt about anything you pack (in terms of how much you’ll use it) it’s probably best to leave it out.

  3. Hi Lauren! I’m reaching the end of my 2nd year in Japan and coming from a Art background too and on the brink of deciding whether I’d like that to be 3 yrs I hoping to hear what pursuits you’ve been on since JET. I guess I’m looking for a creative role model of sorts. Sorry if the question is too personal. Feel free to email me in private.

    1. Hey, Saph, thanks for your comment!
      Well as you may know, finding a creative job is hard enough in a normal economy, so you can imagine what it’s like in the current economic climate. My degree was in graphic design, and my graphic buddies from college are generally in a) not-so-great graphics jobs or b) in a different field entirely. I’ve personally been doing kind of odd jobs, some artsy, some not, though I just got a part-time job doing some TOEIC stuff.

      Anyway, I’m making it not sound great, but I also admit to not really having my act together as far as pursuing a graphics job goes. Whenever you come back, this year or the next, make sure you’re constantly working on developing and maintaining your art skills. Being in graphic art, I felt like I had to catch up a bit technology wise when I got back, so I invested in a new computer, new software, and am working on learning web design stuff. Keep your portfolio and resume current, and no matter the type of art you do, get an online portfolio going.
      Also, I think a part of the “reintegration” process when you get back is getting use to being outgoing and assertive again. Japanese culture is about being modest and indirect and some of that is bound to rub off of us foreigners, but it’s not going to get you a job back home. You gotta be your own biggest fan in interviews.

      Oh, and one last thing: Networking! You gotta know people, because that’s usually where you’re gonna learn about jobs. Keep in touch with your JET friends, get back in touch with college friends, go to networking events (and I recommend going to JETAA events if there’s a chapter near you). That old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, is pretty damn true.
      Good Luck to you!

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