You’re a JET all the way

Posted: February 8, 2013 in Photography
Tags: , , , , , ,

Barring the hour-each-way commute each morning and evening, I just spent the most wonderful and nostalgic week working at the Japanese Consulate in Edinburgh. I was there to assist with this year’s crop of JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme hopefuls – a group I happened to be a part of the last time I visited the consulate in 2007. Not for nothing, it was also the first time I’d worn a shirt and tie since I left Japan.

The JET interview process is actually a hotly-debated topic each year, with entire forums and Facebook groups dedicated to exchanging information (and, more often, misinformation) about its mysteries, so it was a fascinating experience this year for me to see what actually goes on behind the scenes. (I think the majority of conspiracy theorists would be disappointed by how startlingly obvious the selection process actually is.) I also had the opportunity to exercise my rusty but happily-not-forgotten Japanese skills, particularly with the lovely gentleman who gave me the cup of Jagariko potato sticks I’m eating in this very picture.

I have no end of good things to say about my time on JET, and feel certain that those chosen from the nervous, excited and hopeful bunch I met this week are in for the time of their lives – “Not farewell but fare forward, voyagers.”

I actually had to hand in all of my electronics at the front desk every day, so the rest of these are just a few pictures I grabbed on my phone during the week.

Look, ma – no piercings! I felt so naked.

Konnichiwa, Edinburgh! I took the most circumlocutory route to the consulate the day I went to talk to them about the position. In my defence, I hadn’t been back in 6 years.

The only thing more frustrating than requiring a passport-sized photo for my 7-day train ticket was knowing I had a spare hiding in my belongings somewhere. I chose to ignore the fact that I had to gut the house to find it and declared this a victory.

After finally getting the ticket sorted, the only thing I had to contend with was the steadily-worsening chest infection I got from standing outside the Sharon Needles gig in the freezing cold, and losing my voice in the one week I’d been specifically hired to talk to people. We had bottled water out for the candidates which I ended up drinking so much of that I had to stop offering it by the end of the week.

My only other trial was finding ways to occupy myself during the 2-hour commute every day. What this largely amounted to was me watching Adventure Time on the train like an adult.

Do you have some sort of businesswoman special? You know, some places have, like, a lunch special. For businesswomen.

Girl gets an iFull at Asda. Oh, Glasgow.

The weather was pretty miserable the whole time I was there, so of course the only day I took an umbrella was the day it looked like this. My frustration was, however, tempered by the fact that I could conduct the last day of interviews with my head – and hair – held high.

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