JET Programme and Japan Part II


Okay, I didn’t get it. But my other half did. So after graduating last May, I worked for a little while in London, before flying to Japan in September. It was the first time I had been back since my year abroad in second year of university. It felt great to be back, surrounded by Japanese signs, bowing shopkeepers, and delicious food.

Returning to Japan

We lived together in Kochi Prefecture for a few months, where I spent most of my time studying for the JLPT. It was a good life, living in a small coastal town in the countryside. We were quite far from the nearest city, about two hours by train, and even though Kochi City itself isn’t the busiest place in Shikoku, but we had plenty enough to do, and we were happy. 

tano river

I went for runs along the beach, and after the busy life I had just spent working in central London, I didn’t mind spending my days in peace and quiet in the house. For the two of us, it was quite spacious, with three tatami rooms, a big living room and even two balconies. I converted one of the rooms into my yoga/study room where I did my daily stretches by day, and read while snuggled under the kotatsu by night.


Then, in December, I was accepted for a position at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

I had applied on a whim, without seriously considering whether or not I would get it. It turned out that they thought my experience of working on energy and climate change in London would come in very handy, plus I could already speak Japanese. My interview was just two days before my JLPT exam, so I almost didn’t go. Not only that, but I didn’t feel confident that I would get it, so what was the point in going? To get to Tokyo from Kochi meant getting on a plane, which took a lot of time and money.

Nevertheless, I took the plunge in the end, and I was accepted. Somehow, I ended up with a second amazing job opportunity during what I had intended to be my year off. I guess the universe is telling me that it was about time to get off my ass.

So now, here I am, living in Shinjuku, central Tokyo. I call my partner in Kochi everyday, but I’m quite used to living on my own for now. I spend most of my time at work, or reading, or reluctantly studying for the next level of JLPT. Well, I say ‘reluctantly’, but I’ve been studying Japanese for five years now, I don’t know what else to do with my spare time. It was inevitable that I would go for JLPT N1 one day.

For me, a little bit of solitude is always accompanied with the need to write. I thought about this blog, which I started years ago, before I even went to Japan for the first time, and how little I knew back then.

I used to follow a whole bunch of blogs like this one, telling me about what life in Japan would be like. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, and I lately I’ve been thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to pay it forward?’