Archive for April, 2009

Arkansas climbing

Arkansas climbing

So, I condensed some of my videos from a roadtrip I took with my friend Scott this summer. I’ve been having some really f’ing annoying issues with editing videos lately, so low and behold the video is all tiny. But I give up!

We visited a flooded reservoir in Arkansas, hit up some local bar (a truly surreal experience), and spent a drunken weekend golfing in Nebraska. We also went to some cool rock climbing spots in the area, including Sam’s Throne, Arkansas and Keysinger Bluffs in Missouri.

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JET nearly gave me a nervous breakdown last week.

And I’d just like to state that I officially have the most patient and awesome boyfriend in the entire world. 本当にありがとう、ヒデ君!

When we interviewed in February, the people working at the consulate said that they would have the results out no later than April 10th. During the first week of April, I heard that all of the US consulates would submit the interview results at 5pm EST, Tuesday, April 7th. So I sat, glued to my computer, waiting…Waiting…WAITING. And nothing. On the JET forums, people were starting to post their results, but nothing from Boston! Then I heard from two of my friends that they had received their results (one waitlisted, one rejected). WHERE THE F**K WAS MY EMAIL?

Two days and a lot of lost sleep later, I find out that the server at the consulate crashed and only sent out 25% of the emails. I would have to wait for the post office to deliver my letter. I live on campus at a university. THIS TAKES A LOT OF TIME! By Monday, still no letter. I was driving Hide crazy and my only goal was to not burst into frustrated tears. After waiting so long, I had convinced myself that I had been rejected. The thing I’ve been wanting to do since I was twelve, denied! I called the consulate, but they wouldn’t tell me over the phone. Resigned to wait another day, I walk back to my computer and THERE WAS AN EMAIL! The server went back up! My results…SHORTLISTED!!

Soon I will be on my way to Tokyo for orientation…and then I will be shipped off to God-Knows-Where Japan to be the friendly pet foreigner for at least a year. YATTA~

So overall, what are my thoughts on the JET application process?
First off, it’s painfully long. I’m not certain if it’s absolutely necessary that the application process take 6 months (not including the paperwork you have to do after being accepted). But considering it’s operated by the Japanese government, the length of application period doesn’t surprise me. The Japanese government isn’t exactly the epitome of bureaucratic efficiency. Ha, bureaucratic efficiency, what an oxymoron.
However, even if the application process needs to be this lengthy, I’m not pleased about its very opaque nature. Ultimately, it seems no one knows why they pick the people they do. Sure, there is the laundry list of qualifications, but I’m already observed at least one PERFECT candidate be rejected. In short, its a black box. You put your application in, something happens to it inside, and then the results get spewed out the other end. JET does not publish how many people apply each year. They don’t publish how many get interviews or how many pass those interviews. They don’t publish how many people recontract. All they publish is the number of current JETs for each year and what country they come from. Hide says this is so they can express preferences (like ethnicity, age, etc) without the risk of getting sued for rascism/prejudice/etc. This makes sense. JET is a program about internationalization and cross-cultural exchange, but the Japanese schools want that exchange to be with a person who is obviously, if not stereotypically, American.
Don’t apply to JET of you need clarity or want to know some stats. They don’t give it to you. Everyone is frustrated by the end of the process. And that’s what makes getting accepted feel so good…because you’ve spent the last two months living in FEAR. That’s also why being waitlisted is ultimately worth it and still feels so good. The living-in-fear part has just been extended.

Now, I’ve got to get a physical, get fingerprinted, apply for an FBI background check, and IRS proof of residency, and a visa. But after all that, it’s NON STOP TO TOKYO ,BABY!

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