“I’m a big believer that life changes as much as you want it to.”– Martin Freeman
My placement has been dubbed one of the sweetest and rarest placements the JET program can place an ALT, and I have yet to meet another ALT with so many perks as I have. Not only do I have a two-story house all to myself (rent-free), I also get a new rental car every year (two years with my current one; which happens to also be rent-free), and 60 litres of gas per month. Unfortunately, it seems as though I may be the last person to experience all of these amazing benefits, as the upcoming changes to English education in Japan shifts.
Although people only see the perks of my placement, they don’t often see the challenges incorporated with it. Things like the inconvenience of commuting to-and-from the grocery store by car takes 20 minutes (if I rush), working for two municipalities and school districts, as well as adjusting lesson plans in order to teach a class with one or two students in-total. Although my first year I only taught about 17 classes a week, and I have different schools to attend, everyday, the upcoming changes will increase the number of classes I teach so-much-so that it will be best for me to work for only one school district instead of two.
With that said, I have decided to continue working for my primary contract organization; which is the Higashiyoshino Village Board of Education. Unfortunately, I currently live in a house in Kawakami-village, which means that I will need to move in order to make room for the new ALT that the village must hire in order to replace me. This, of course, doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but that also means I need to sell a lot of the things that happened to be passed down from ALT-to-ALT. My BOE is also (currently) looking for a place for me to live, and it seems like the village has no extra and/or adequate lodging for me just-yet, so I have taken the initiative and starting looking at apartments in the cities nearby. This means that my commute which is about 15-20 minutes will be changing to 30-45 minutes – which isn’t entirely a big deal. This also means that I will most-probably have rent and petrol that I will have to pay for.
A lot of factors are still unknown, however. Such as, where I’ll be moving, when I will be moving, the gas and car situation, etc… Granted, I get paid enough that it’s not really a huge problem, but I am already feeling anxious. The sooner I can find out, the better, but I think it really depends on whether I will be staying with my current Board of Education longer than 5 years. Should they want to keep me for more than 5 years, I think I would prefer to live in the city and commute to work. If they don’t want to keep me for more than 5 years, I think I would rather live wherever they want to place me and then move once my final contract is finished.
You see, moving in Japan is rather expensive. Most (nice) places cost about $2,000 USD just to get the keys to your new place. Not only that, but many people move around in March/April so I would much-rather move before that scramble/rush begins, as well. If you’d like more details, please feel free to check out this video that talks a lot about moving in Japan.
Surely, I will update everyone on more details as I come to know more.