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Welcome to My Journal!

    This is a daily journal of my first year in Sakugi while on the JET program. It's long, droll, whiny, and filled with a fair amount of silly extraneous information, but it is as accurate and amusing as I could make it and it does have pictures! I hope you enjoy my Sakugi experience as much as I did!

The kanji of Sakugi mean "Create Tree"

Where in the World is Sakugi?

    Sakugi village is a small mountainous town in the very north of Hiroshima prefecture. The population is 2000, yet is spread over a fairly large area. It boasts a couple post office branches, a gas station, one traffic light, one police car, and three small stores (that occasionally have milk and bread but always have rice, tofu, and alcohol) that are closed on Sundays. I usually head down to Miyoshi, which is 35 minutes away by car, to find enough to feed my gaijin appetite. Hiroshima (the city) is about an hour and a half south and buses and trains are available from Miyoshi. (From Sakugi you ask? Heh. I heard they come four times a day, on a good day.) The above picture is of the river that forms the western border of the village and the prefecture. It is called "Gou no kawa" and I live about two blocks from it. Find out more about the city and its people at the Sakugi Home Page (in Japanese, but there are PICTURES).

What is JET?

    JET stands for Japan Teaching and Exchange Program. It is sponsored by three Ministries in Japan, the Ministries of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Education (but not the Ministry of Magic, unfortunately for non-muggles). Basically, the government of Japan interviews thousands of college graduates from dozens of countries (mainly English-speaking like the U.S., Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Australia) and places the 40% of successful applicants alongside English teachers in middle and high schools. The idea is to bring about a familiarity with westerners to the Japanese population ('internationalization') while teaching other cultures about the Western way of life. It is also a chance for young Japanese to hear native English, the international language of commerce, and learn to converse in it, not just read it. It is also a chance for these foreigners to learn about and become sympathetic to Japan. It is not the only program for aspiring English teachers in Japan, but it is the biggest and the only government-sponsored one. See more at The JET Programme Home Page which has all the good stuff and Big Daikon which has all the "good" stuff.

Why the JET program?

    1. I love Japan and I love living in Japan
    2. JET is well-funded (and passes the funding on to you)
    3. I've known two other JETs who both recommended it
    4. Kids are the best!

Further Questions

    If you have any questions about my Japan experience or my JET experience, please email me at melissafedak athotmail dot com with the subject "JET" or "Japan" or "Webpage Question" or something un-spam-like.

My Contribution to JET

    Nearly one year into JET, I had to take the driver's test to get a Japanese license. The experience was sufficiently irritating that I decided to write a book detailing everything I learned so the next generation of JETs have a place to start. I uploaded it here: Driving in Japan and Passing the Japanese Driver's Test