Being able to share information on working and living in Japan is one of the big perks of having the ability to blog. And when you surf the net, you’ll find a lot of sites are aimed at members of JET and other English teaching program participants. Why? Well, simply put, it’s because JET is one of the main causes for the unceremonious dropping of clueless foreigners into the middle of Japan. There are certainly information sessions and lessons on culture shock, but until you’re actually there, you never quite know what’s coming your way. That being said, even for people who don’t participate in JET, blogs out there intended to help these English teachers can be excellent resources for anyone else venturing into the land of the rising sun.
Take the Ishikawa JET blog, for example. Here, JET Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) and Coordinators for International Relations (CIRs) in Ishikawa prefecture have done a great job in not only keeping people up to date on local events such as the Fire and Violence Festival (who doesn’t want to go to this??) and important updates on Japanese international flight liquid restrictions, but they also give lots of helpful tips for everyday life, such as important vocabulary needed for keeping kosher and avoiding allergens.
For those interested in food, there’s restaurant reviews for local places in case you end up taking a trip out there, and I can’t recommend highly enough any of the recipes by Leah, such as these kabocha cookies or her apple nut cake in a rice cooker (!). Personally, I’d like to start making my own umeshu 梅酒 (plum wine)… For someone who wants to start eating healthy and planning their meals efficiently, there’s also a nifty guide to bento.
Of course, no blog on Japan would be complete without tips for study, and if you check out the Japanese study section of the categories, you’ll find numerous links related to study resources and information. Whether you’re learning keigo with manga, playing with helpful browser add-ons, or trying to figure out the changes to the 2010 JLPT, you’ll probably find something helpful for the future.
Ishikawa is not the only area with a blog, of course. Kyoto JETs also have their own webzine, the Ganbatte Times, and Hiroshima also has the Wide Island View. All of them are worth checking out, and are valuable tools for living and traveling in Japan. Happy browsing!