After receiving the thick brown envelope containing my JET placement offer and info pack, I was eager to sit down and start a blog - as much for myself as anyone else - to record an experience I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do, but one I feel I've been waiting for for most of my life.
Fast forward a few months and I realised that i) I hadn't started a blog yet, and ii) I had no idea how to start recording what is to be a life-changing experience. The odd thing is, I didn't quite realise what I have here now in the UK to miss - my best mates, my band, my family, my former workmates (although I won't miss the job, I'll miss the faces) - and now I'm less than 5 weeks from moving to the other side of the planet. I suppose that's the first thing I can thank JET for, making me realise just what I already have.
As I said, less than 5 weeks to go. A million things are going through my mind, and unable to concentrate on them all, I've resigned to sitting back and let them wash by in a mental torrent. The same burning question keeps floating to the surface though: How do I bag my life? Of course it's not an easy one. I've never lived away from home for a start, so I've never had the experience of prioritising clothes and possessions, never had to rely on my own cooking, never had to clean a house, never had to think in the long long-term. Again, I suppose that's something else I can thank JET for.
But right there is how my experience seems to have started, worrying about the domestic aspects of life. The language and cultural obstacles are furthest from my mind right now. Hopefully culture shock won't hit me quite so hard (at least not from a visually perspective) as it might others, as I've already spent a couple of weeks in Japan. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't read signs then and I probably couldn't read them now, even after spending some time learning basic Japanese, but at least I'm already aware I'm not going to be able to read them. That might seem like a really obvious thing to say, but I imagine it's that kind of everyday ability that can shock the most when a JET first arrives in Japan. At least in other countries you can recognise the latin alphabet, even if you can't read or understand the meanings.
Anyway, I've been buying things to take initially, nothing fancy, mainly a small assortment of clothes for the 4 individual seasons Japan is fortunate to receive; a dvd wallet for a large portion of my collection; a new ipod touch for my music collection... etc etc. I think I'll start making a list this week of everything I should be taking, I don't want to be caught out if my brain misfires nearer the time.
Infact I think I'll leave it there for my first post, although I doubt many people will have read this before I leave for Japan. When I give out this blog address a few days before I go, it might make for some back story... or it'll bore the pants off the lot of you.