Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Few More Thoughts on Japanese and JET

I seem to have a lot of posts on Japanese lately.  Well, here's another.

I sat down yesterday and added 20 more kanji to my SRS.  That brings me up to 80.  For those of you confused on what an SRS is, it's a Spaced Repetition System.  You enter the equivalent of the front of a flashcard, the back, and click add.  Once you've practiced with the flashcard, you judge how well you knew the answer.  If you had no idea, it pops up again that same day.  If you aced it, it may pop up again in six days. If you ace it six days later, it'll pop up again in three weeks.  The better you do with a card, the longer it takes to pop up again, just to make sure you still know it.  An SRS is highly recommended for those who have to memorize things like state capitals and definitions.  Or JET Program interview questions.  :-)

I also ordered a few more things in Japanese.  I mentioned about a month ago how a single book from cost $10 with about $50 shipping.  It turns out it was $40, and that is a flat fee.  If I order a bunch of things at once, it's still $40, which is one of the better shipping options, after all.  So I went ahead and ordered the first seasons of West Wing, Stargate SG-1, and House.  These are some of the cheaper shows I can find that I can enjoy.  One issue with TV shows, though, is that many seasons are broken into multiple volumes; you can easily pay twice as much as you would in the US.  As a bonus, though, many of them play in both English and Japanese. 

I also thought a bit more about the JET Program.  No, I'm not changing my mind; I'm still going to do it.  I was thinking about which role I would want to take up and what I could do to increase my chances.  Again, the choices are teaching, ALT, or more of a business/government/teaching role, CIR.  The biggest difference between the two is that the CIR position requires that I be fluent in Japanese.  I'd also think that they would want someone a bit more mature in the CIR role, as I would be in an office much of the time. 

The age limit for JET is 40.  However, they tend to take younger applicants, such as those who just graduated from university.  If I apply to join them for 2013, I'll be 32 when I apply and 33 when I get there.  They will take that into account.  Being older, working in an office setting might be better for me, for getting in, doing the actual work, and how much it will help when I return to the US.  That said, I still need to stack the deck in my favor.  This winter, I'm going to work on TEFL certification with two additional certs, one for teaching young children and the other for teaching "business English".  With this, my professional background, my slight teaching background, my fluency, my small international travel experience, my maturity (stop laughing), my wide variety of interests, my leadership positions, and my interest in all things Japan, I think I stand a good chance.


  1. So you're getting into drilling software eh? Remember when you told me it isn't the right way to learn? :)

    Of course doing math grad school I probably am not all that likely to implement my drilling software ideas.

  2. I somewhat remember it. I might have said that it was a less effective method, and typically not preferable. With pure memorization, though, such as with kanji, I would say that it's really the only way.

  3. What you were saying was that drilling software like I was working on wasn't the right way to go in terms of innovation. Which might be right or might be wrong. I still think there are interesting problems to be solved in the intelligent drilling area.

  4. True. No field is completely tapped out for innovation. Even intelligent flash cards. :-) I would definitely check out spaced repetition systems, though. I have to insert all of the thousands of kanji one at a time, but that just aids retention.