We were up bright and early for orientation, all in full suits. There were 500+ of us, from all over the world, but mostly from the US, UK, and Australia. I met a lot of great people. We had a big opening ceremony with representatives from all of the different government agencies that administer the JET Program. It really made me feel like a part of something important. Then we broke up into smaller groups and had more focused sessions. My session focused on what to expect teaching in Senior High School. Jetlag is real, and I was struggling to fight it.
In the evening there was a big reception, with drinks and an official toast and a huge buffet spread. Some of the senpai (senior) JETs came to meet us at the hotel and take us out. I opted to go to sleep instead, as I physically could not stay awake. I have a whole year to explore Tokyo.
Day two of the orientation was better, in terms of both the content of the workshops, and my ability to function as a human. We had interactive workshops on the different elements of teaching English – on how to teach grammar, conversation, vocabulary, and writing. We had a sessions on disaster preparedness and Japanese Etiquette and customs, and I went to a session on private schools. Orientation was helpful, but so much of the information given did not really apply to my specific situation. The unofficial motto of the JET Program is “Every Situation is Different” (ESID). I’ve heard that phrase about a million times already, and I was eager to find out what my situation would be like.