A few weeks ago my supervisor handed me the documents regarding my decision to accept or decline reappointment on JET. I’d barely been here for two months and already I was having to start thinking about my future in Japan. But now that I’ve done exactly a quarter of my year-long contract, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to come to a decision about staying or leaving. I don’t have to decide until January at the very latest, so I still have some time to think, but I thought it’d be worth considering my experience so far and how it might change in the future. Last week I was 80% sure I wanted to stay, and since my parents have been visiting that’s gone down to 50%! Maybe they made me realise that I do miss home quite a lot (even if I don’t show it) and that there are other options I could choose instead of staying here another year.
Why I want to stay:
- Japan is so completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced and I love the challenge of living here.
- I’ve made some great friends already and I really love hanging out with the other ALTs. Next year I’d get to meet even more new Aomori JETs!
- I will never eat such amazing Japanese food for so little anywhere else.
- There hasn’t been one day where I’ve seriously questioned my happiness here.
- The job is not very demanding (see cons!)
- I worked hard to get on this programme and it was such a long (and expensive) process I feel like I should make the most of it by staying.
- I don’t want to go home, end up in a boring job and wish I hadn’t left Japan. I’m worried that I’ll feel really comfortable here and then have to leave when I’m still having a good time.
- I want to become a master of nihongo.
Why I want to leave:
- I miss my family and friends and dog. I know everyone I grew up with is moving on with their lives as well, but it’s hard knowing that it’s impossible for me to spend any time with them.
- The minority of my time is actually spent teaching, and even then I’m not always used to my full potential. While I enjoy the job, because I’m only an assistant I have little control over what is taught and how. 2 days a week in an office with no atmosphere is also fairly dull.
- Eventually I will have to move on and find a permanent job which I can grow in, so maybe the sooner the better?
- This year has been fun because everything’s been a new experience. Next year everything will seem normal and routine, which might make me lose my motivation.
- Living in the middle of nowhere has its drawbacks!
- Knowing this is only temporary makes it hard to settle in my apartment. I want to make it as ‘me’ as possible but I know I’ll have to abandon it soon!
- 5 months of living in an igloo.
So what do I do?? Someone decide for me please. If only there was an extra 6 months option instead. Honestly I’m kinda leaning towards leaving at the moment… but the main reason is because I don’t want to be bored next year and feel like I’m wasting my time. However I will (most likely) never get this opportunity again…
Hopefully I can come up with something by January!