Friday, August 12, 2016

Cash's Corner Goes to Japan

For the past 10 months I have been on a road toward moving to Japan. Now, in just days time I will be finally making the leap. 

When I returned from Morocco, settling back into life in Jackson was comfortable and safe. I loved being near family again, I made some incredible new friends, and had a wide range of personal and professional experience to add to my list. Though, something in me always wanted to go abroad again. There were times I thought more seriously about it and others that it seemed like a distant pipe dream. I knew there would be a perpetual voice within that would not quiet until I lived abroad again. Over time, I thought maybe it would diminish, but fear that it would not has been driving me down a path toward Japan. 

In October 2015 I officially applied for the JET Program. Standing for Japanese Exchange and Teaching this  30-year-old program brings native English speakers from 40 countries into Japan to live and work in public schools. They work as assistant language teachers, or ALTs, alongside Japanese born English teachers to teach students in a natural way. 

I will be living and working in a city called Kanazawa in the county or prefecture of Ishikawa. My students will be in high school aged and I am told I will be teaching 3-4 classes per day between the hours of 8:30 and 4:15. I am encouraged to participate in after school English club activities as well. Participants in the JET Program are extremely valued and treated with respect in Japan. I will be enjoying a comfortable lifestyle coupled with a rewarding job. 

Some other perks of the job:
-35 hour work week
-Salary of about $31,000 USD per year (paid in local currency)
-A fully furnished, beautiful apartment with rent subsidized in half by my employer
-Tax free status in Japan for up to 2 years
-Enrollment in nation wide health care plan and teacher pension program, money which may be withdrawn when I return to the US
-A supportive and respected network
-Chance to live without a vehicle again
-Ability to work with teens

I'm excited about the unique experiences that will be coming my way. My contract is for one year and may be renewed for up to five. I have no idea right now how long I will stay, it's only something I can decide once experiencing life in Japan. 

I've grown a lot in the past six months. This decision to go to Japan was not the easiest for me. Over the course of the 10 month waiting period I was put through a few tests that tested my patience, dedication, and commitment. Ultimately, I stuck it out and I think I will be rewarded for that. I had to come to a place that I would be going to Japan for the right reasons. Not to prove to anyone how cool I am, not even to prove something to myself. Really just to feed a desire in me that I would regret if I hadn't. I've been gifted a wonderful opportunity. Japan is a wonderful country and it can't be a bad way to spend a year. 

Be on the lookout for the numerous entries that will come out of Cash's Corner from Japan. Come one, come all, it's going to be an interesting ride! 

Please stay in contact!


Postal address in Japan:
Alex Cash
Grand Heights Yayoi #205
Yayoi 3-7-14
Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa-ken
Japan 921-8036