Welcome to your grand checklist and timeline for your move to the Tokyo JET program! Please thoroughly read the information provided here and let us know if you have any further questions!
DISCLAIMER: These materials are in no way officially associated with or endorsed by the JET Programme, CLAIR, MEXT or any Contracting Organizations.
Dates may vary.
Understanding Your Placement AnnouncementEdit
Dear Ms./Mr./Etc. Awesome Coolperson,
Congratulations on your placement in the 20XX-XX JET Program!
- Name: Awesome Coolperson
- JET ID Number: ##########
- Placement: 〇〇〇 (〇〇〇), 東京都 (Tokyo-to)
So you've gotten your placement email or letter! That's why you're at this Wiki, right? It probably looks something like the above. The "〇〇〇" part of the email is going to tell you who your Contracting Organization is.
- if it says "Tokyo-to", you're a public school JET with the Tokyo Board of Education
- if it says "Musashimurayama-shi", you're a public school JET with the Musashimurayama Board of Education
- if it says anything else, it's your school name (Google Maps that, yo!) and you're a Private School JET
- Unless you are a Private School JET, you do not know your school assignment yet and as such you do not know where in Tokyo you're going to live. Tokyo is kind of huge and we know you want to find out where you'll be calling home, but patience is key.
- The school announcements come rather late for Tokyo JETs. It's just a matter of their having to place us all at once. Musashimurayama JETs will be given special instructions on contacting their BOE. Tokyo BoE JETs will have to wait. It will keep you checking your email obsessively for the next couple months -- yeah, months. You can expect the email with School Information and Tokyo BOE Documents by early July.
May, June, JulyEdit
While it might seem like a waiting game at this point, there are still plenty of things to do to prepare for Japan. You'll have plenty of general information given to you from the JET Program and your consulate about this including information on your Pre-Departure Seminar, VISA application materials, and Pre-Departure Orientation. So to avoid rehashing those topics, here are a few more Tokyo-flavored ideas to think about.
- Although we're past the Japanese "bubble economy" of the 80s and 90s, which was characterized by intense inflation, Tokyo is still not a cheap place to live. Add on the fact that Tokyo JETs' rent is generally NOT SUBSIDIZED (unlike the vast majority of the JET program), and you're looking more at the cost of "Moving to Japan" rather than "Piggybacking a Gap Year Off of Japanese Taxpayers". Thus it stands to reason that you should be setting aside money. Er, now.
- Official JET materials recommend ¥200,000 for incoming JETs. Current Tokyo JETs have found that to be the lowest possible estimate. Please consider your spending habits and the fact that you will be paying deposits and insurances on your new apartment. Tokyo JETs recommend ¥250,000-¥300,000USD with a stress-free zone of ¥300,000-¥400,000. We'll talk about this more in depth on the apartments page later.
- (NOTE: Please do not worry if you do not have this money -- the JET Program and its affiliates will not leave you out in the cold and will work with you to find a solution in dire situations.)
Sell (or Store) Your StuffEdit
- Apartments in Tokyo are small and everything you may need for daily life you will be able to find here. So don't worry about weighing your suitcase down with things like hair driers or Roombas. Get yourself the extra cash instead.
Begin Researching ApartmentsEdit
- Probably the single most stressful thing you'll have to deal with upon arrival is apartment hunting. The COs each handle this differently, but regardless of your situation it will absolutely benefit you to begin learning about what to expect from Japanese apartments and have an idea of what you want far in advance. We'll give you some framework to begin your research on the apartments page.
To Omiyage, or not to Omiyage...Edit
- Gift-giving culture is powerful and important in Japan and "omiyage" are (usually edible) souvenirs given upon arrival at someone's house or after a trip. That having been said, do not stress about it. If you can think of a quick and easy (non-melting!) snack from your hometown, great!! If not, it will not cost you any brownie points. In fact, quite a few Tokyo JETs find themselves with a bag of unopened goodies shoved in their closet years into their stay.
- If you're still interested in bringing omiyage, consider limiting yourself to small gifts for:
- Your one-week homestay family (Tokyo BoE Public School JETs only)
- Your school principal
- Your school vice-principal
- Your staff room (a box of 20 individually wrapped somethings left on a table with a note is appropriate)
Pre-Departure Seminar(s) and OrientationEdit
- Your Japanese consulate will have various optional and mandatory social events and orientations during these months. Keep an eye on your emails for information from them.
Hear from your Contracting OrganizationEdit
- It’s difficult for us to say when the private schools can expect to hear from their COs, as each school is different. However, you should not worry -- even if you haven't heard from them by July.
- The Tokyo Board of Education for Public School JETs usually sends out emails in July. Their email includes:
- a welcome letter
- an extract of the terms of contract
- an accommodation request sheet for homestay
- your school’s email address and brief information about where you will be teaching
- Please note that Tokyo JETs are technically NOT allowed to contact their successors until given express permission by a supervisor. There are a number of reasons for this, including that last-minute assignment changes are not unheard of. Therefore, you may not hear from your predecessor in a timely manner -- or at all.
Incoming JETs 2018 Tokyo TimelineEdit
Here is a rough timeline for Incoming JETs 2018 (subject to change)
- 29th July Arrive in Tokyo
- 30th July Tokyo orientation and Welcome Dinner
- 31st July Tokyo orientation
- 1st August Private School JET Half Day orientation
- 1st August- 13th August Public School JET Orientation (4th-7th August and 9th August are free days to settle in Tokyo)
- 5th August Arrive in Tokyo
- 6th August Tokyo orientation and Welcome Dinner
- 7th August Tokyo orientation
- 8th August Private School JET Half day orientation
- 8th August- 20th August Public School JET Orientation (11th-14th August and 16th August are free days to settle in Tokyo)
Arrival Info (July/Aug) Edit
Day 0: FlightEdit
- Dress code: business casual - casual (consult your consulate)
Your flight is arranged by your consulate. Contact them if you have questions about your situation.
Day 1-3: Post-Arrival (Tokyo) Orientation (by CLAIR)Edit
- Dress code: business formal
Upon arrival at Narita airport you will be immediately bussed off to the Keio Plaza Hotel.
(And we mean immediately. There is no option to do any shopping or kiosk interactions at Narita so DO NOT order portable wifi or SIM cards there. If you pre-order these items, have them sent to the desk at Keio Plaza instead.)
| Luggage Note: As you board the bus you will be allowed to keep ONE bag and the rest will be shipped to your Contracting Organization who will give you instructions later.
PLEASE HAVE ALL OF YOUR NECESSARY BUSINESS FORMAL CLOTHES IN ONE SUITCASE WHICH YOU BRING TO KEIO PLAZA.
There, you will have the 2-day Tokyo Orientation with all incoming 20XX JETs hosted by Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Orientation includes teaching seminars, panels of JET alumni, networking and embassy events, etc. Participation in orientations is mandatory and attendance is taken.
- Dress code: None
In the evenings during Tokyo Orientation, TJET members and volunteers often come to loiter in Keio Plaza's lobby to meet new JETs. Often we'll take you out to dinner so you can begin to meet people in your area. These are, of course, completely optional events and there will be more formally structured meetups after the main orientation.
Day 3-X: Extended Tokyo Orientation (Contracting Organization)Edit
At the end of Tokyo Orientation with CLAIR, your new non-Tokyo friends will be shipped out to their respective prefectures and all Tokyo JETs will go with their respective Contracting Organizations.
Day 3-16/17: Public School (Tokyo Board of Education)Edit
- Dress code: business formal, suit jacket may be optional ("Cool Biz")
Tokyo BoE Public School JETs will be bussed to a second hotel where you will have an extended 1.5 week orientation. This orientation serves to fill in the gaps left in the CLAIR orientation regarding the unique Tokyo JET Program. It also aims to provide you with time to acclimate to the city, culture, and language prior to beginning work. The first night of Public School orientation will be spent in the second hotel. After Day 2 of orientation, you will be sent to a homestay family where you will live for 9 nights while attending orientation, searching for apartments, and setting up cell phone, bank, internet, etc.. (Either someone from your school or a TJET volunteer can help you with the latter.)
Please click here for the last years (2017) official detailed schedule: File:TokyoBOEJET2017 TrainingSchedule.pdf
|Luggage Note: Listen to the Board of Education's instructions regarding your remaining luggage. You will likely receive it at the second hotel (but don't quote us on that...).|
Day 3-13: HomestayEdit
During the rest of the extended orientation, JETs will participate in a mandatory homestay. (You will be asked via email prior to departure to fill out a survey to match you to a host family.) Designed to provide you with new local contacts in the city and foster the grassroots element of the JET Program, this week-long homestay will be a fantastic experience. Many JETs maintain contact with their host families throughout their time in Japan.
|Luggage Note: You will be allowed to take ONE bag to your homestay. You may have to reorganize your suitcases to include all of the work clothes necessary.|
Day 3: MusashimurayamaEdit
Musashimurayama JETs will be contacted by the Musashimurayama Board of Education with further details.
Day 3: Private SchoolEdit
- Dress code: business casual
Private School JETs will be taken to meet their co-JET (if applicable) and a few representatives from the school. This may include an English teacher, your supervisor, the (vice) principal, etc.. This brief orientation is a few hours long and includes introductory information about life in Tokyo and your work environment. From there, situations will differ based on school but you can reasonably expect to be escorted to your new school by the representatives with whom you will likely eat lunch.
|Luggage Note: Here you will be given your luggage from the airport which you will take to your short stay apartment.|
Day 3-X: Short Stay ApartmentEdit
After meeting your school representatives they will take you to a short stay hotel or apartment that they have arranged for you to stay in while you search for an apartment and set up cell phone, bank, internet, etc.. (Either someone from your school or a TJET volunteer can help you with the latter.) You will likely stay in this short stay apartment for a week to two weeks before moving into your new apartment.
Day 14: Move-in DayEdit
- Dress code: No formal dress code but for the love of all things, wear lightweight summer clothes!! You're going to be lugging heavy suitcases through the city in the middle of the ungodly humid Japanese summer. Water would also not be a bad idea.
Move-in can be stressful but exciting! The water and electricity should be handled by your real estate agent and turned on when you arrive -- gas will be turned on by appointment (made by your agent) usually on this day as well.
Your apartment will be completely empty so you might consider doing a tiny bit of shopping on this day as well (if you haven't already) to buy yourself the essentials for that first night:
|From a 100yen store (Daiso, 100Yen Meets, etc.)||From a home goods store (Nitori, Muji, etc.)|
Day 16/17: Begin WorkEdit
- Dress code: business formal
As explained above, private school JETs will have gone to their schools on day 3 and will have already begun going to work. Tokyo BoE Public School JETs will meet representatives from their school before lunch on the last day of extended Tokyo orientation. These representatives will be your supervisor and likely one other teacher or (vice)principal and will escort you to your new school.
The Remainder of August, Early SeptemberEdit
- Dress code: consult your supervisor (if you're unsure, go with business formal for a while and get a feel for what the other teachers are wearing)
Incoming JETs begin work before the fall semester begins. Classes usually begin in the last week of August or first week of September.
This summer time is to be considered preparation time for the next semester. Use it to:
- plan your self-introduction lesson
- read through the textbooks you will be using in class
- peruse the materials left by your predecessor
- memorize teacher/student names
- discuss your upcoming roles and responsibilities with your JTEs