Tuesday, July 3, 2012

JET in the 1990s

Showa Retro soft drinks Japan
Showa Retro soft drinks

I'll admit that I'm a fan of all things retro, and I love learning about 1960s/70s/80s/90s culture even here at home. That's probably why I so enjoy comparing it to those decades in Japan. Max Danger is a favourite because it is so very bubble-economy 80s in its presentation, and I love that. I've also done my fair share of watching/reading about the 1964 Summer Olympics and the evolution of Tokyo street fashion.

Beppu Oita Kyushu Japan
Beppu, Oita
It's easy to find clinical, historical information about Japan in that time period, if you know the right places to look. Much more difficult to find  are realistic, personal accounts of those years, written not by businessmen or historians but by real people who lived and worked in the Japan outside of Tokyo. One such goldmine I have come across is nipponDAZE, the blog of two JETs living in Oita, Kyushu from 1989-1991. (The JET Programme officially began in 1987.) They worked at a local school and one brought her son to Japan - it's pretty rare for JETs to come with children nowadays, so I thought that was interesting and great. I found the blog by chance while looking for Oita information, as I had the good fortune to visit and fall in love with Beppu in 2010. The photos and stories of these JETs, who took the effort to upload their journals from that time, are a fantastic window into what it was like to be a JET in the earliest days of the programme.