JET tenure in Osaka prefecture. I am most definitely not the type of JET who came home jaded - in fact, my experience on the programme was so satisfying and my time in Japan so enriching that since returning I've had a tough time adapting to "normal" again!
I started studying Japanese about ten years ago. I've always loved languages, and at the time was aiming to complete a linguistics degree packed with more languages than you could shake a stick at. After getting interested in the local anime society, Japanese was a natural choice for my 4th language of study. However, once I started studying Japanese, I knew that this was the direction I wanted to go! (Suffice to say that whenever I try to speak French or Italian nowadays, Japanese is what always emerges.)
I was deliriously happy to be accepted on JET the year after graduation. By that point, I had abandoned linguistics and gone back to English, thinking I'd either teach or write - I had a lot of teaching and tutoring experience that boosted me through the tough application process and some pretty appalling answers in my interview. I was accepted, however, and even received my first choice of location - the coveted Osaka Prefecture in western Japan.
In Japan, I tried my hand at a lot of cultural pursuits - aikido, ikebana and yosakoi, just to name a few. I travelled all over the country, often via local train, and perfected the art of sleeping on night buses and in Internet cafes! I wrote a novel in my spare time, and loved visiting new places with my little netbook tucked into my purse, searching for inspiration. Cooking is another hobby, so my natural inclination was to learn to cook Japanese food, and adapt my favourite meals from home to prepare them while I was living abroad.
After returning to Canada (in retrospect, not a great idea to do so soon!) I've been focusing on volunteer work with study-abroad programs. My dream is to work in this field - encouraging young people to get out into the world and learn and explore!
I started this blog to help alleviate the reverse culture shock I was still feeling after returning home. Initially, I just wanted to share my photos and stories, but since then, I've started sharing more things specific to Toronto - I'm always tweeting about Japan-related events happening in the city, and my book reviews have been included in the JETAA Toronto newsletter. I hope to make Tadaimatte a resource not only for ex-expats but also Japan hopefuls.