Monday, November 06, 2006

Brain: Uncovered

I haven't had much time for a blog entry recently, but I decided a bad entry was better than no entry at all, so here we are. No jokes, no anecdotes, just info. To fill you in on the fun stuff first, the Halloween JET party was a blast. Best party ever. I think the main reason I loved it was because everyone loved my costume. I didn't know being a sumo was so much fun! And there I was thinking it was all high cholesterol and constipation, but no, being a sumo means dancing all night and winning a bottle of Jack Daniels for looking so cool. By the way, has anyone seen it? I can't remember where I put my "best male costume 2006" prize. Oh did I mention I won "best male costume 2006"? Well I guess I should mention it now. I won "best male costume 2006". For the sumo suit. Because it was ace (thanks mum!).

Anyway the late night was followed by an early morning and a School Festival, featuring bird on a stick, meat in a pot, japanese crepes, various robots and mechanical things, a quite good horror house, a terrible band and exploding sugar puffs. Hanging out with the students out side of class was great, the sun was shining and I was happy. It was nearly worth having no sleep for.

My excellent school band. But look, I go to a technical high school ok? I should have taken more pictures of all the actually impressive robots, but I didn't, I took a video of this. So just listen and shut up ok?

The weekend just passed was a long one. Thursday night was dinner with Jamie, entrepreneur, and Kumiko, his long suffering girlfriend, for her birthday. I find Jamie inspiring. While the rest of us ALTs (assistant language teachers) are out here just teaching English, he's setting up his own English school.

I think he's the only person out here who knows what he wants, and is doing something about getting it. As the winesoaked budda says in his blog, this Japan thing is just a kind of Neverland for the rest of us. But it's not that we don't want to grow up, it's that we don't know what to do now that we have.

It's nearly time to decide if I want to stay for another year. I've always said this was a two year gig for me, but with things going so well, it's making it hard to decide. Have a look at my list.

The Pros and Cons of staying one more year on JET.

  • International community of friends. Despite the homogeneous society surrounding me, I have friends from all around the world. Never underestimate diversity, there is a lot to be learned from people who have grown up in different conditions from yourself, and I'm learning a lot from them.
  • JET is the best organisation to be with for teaching English in Japan. Others exist, but they pay less and do not have the same social networks.
  • Time. I have it, and I'm using it constructively. I don't watch more than 2 hours of TV or films a week now. I'm either working, exercising, learning, reading or communicating. Maybe a little partying but that's important too.
  • Money. I have it. Not a lot, but one more year given the new budgeting skills I'm currently developing could see a lot go into my savings.
  • Fun Job. You get out what you put in.
  • What's better than JET? If I return, what is better? What would make me more happy or successful?
  • Still Learning. Everyday my hunger for knowledge is increasing, and I have the time to feed it. I want to learn more about money, politics, the environment, philosophy, economics etc. Why move when I'm still learning/able to learn about things here.
  • Japan is fun, cool, interesting and a good base for travelling round Asia. And it's where my girlfriend lives.
  • I don't have to be on JET to have international friends or to be in Japan. And on JET, you can't move to a big city if you fancy a change. There are other opportunities in Japan, I just have to find them.
  • Time is money. I could be learning useful skills in a different job or further education. Skills which could be converted into cold hard cash. This appeals to me. Property and real estate are beckoning. I wonder what's it's like being an estate agent?
  • Money. I want more.
  • Easy Job. You get out what you put in.
  • Procrastination. What difference is staying another year going to make. I would still have to make the same choices, but I would be a year behind on my path to success.
  • Life on hold. All those things I told myself I'd do when I got home, wouldn't be done for another year.
  • Losing touch with reality, and people. Three years away from home, and you can't really call it home any more. One might start to slip into a drifting mind set, not willing to settle down anywhere, with anyone, ever.
  • Stifling creativity. When you get comfortable, you stop thinking. My brother quit his job to realise his entrepreneurial dreams, so did Jamie. The fear helps you find new ways to make money.
So what is better than JET? If I stay for another year, will I bother to find out? I'm not going to work for a company for 40 years, that's for sure. Retire by the time I'm 40, that's the goal. That only gives me 15 years to become rich beyond my wildest dreams. Better get cracking then. Any ideas?

I started off this blog with the intention of filling you in on my weekends. It appears something more important was weighing on my subconscious mind.

It's time for your input. Feedback is so useful. Send me an email or leave a comment.


Blogger Winesoaked Buddha said...

first of all there's an "h" in Buddha.

Secondly, if we stay a 3rd year in rural Toyama we might become irreparably insane.

I suppose the question is: do we continue the insane we know, or roll the dice for the insane we don't?

7:18 am  
Anonymous Emily (from Yatsuo, remember?) said...

Idea number one: come home and build a Windy's next to where ever I am living. i miss it.
Number two: set up a school on how to be amazingly healty and have the ability to say, "I just dont feel like drinking tonight".
Number three:come home and set up a fancy dress shop or advice clinic.
i will think of some more...
hope you miss me terribly!
see you xxxx

8:48 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Thanks for the tips. How's uni going emily? That seems to be the most constructive thing a leaving JET can do. Further education is something I have seriously been thinking about.

1:15 pm  
Anonymous Jake said...

I think you should dedicate your time to becoming a writer.

This part of your last post....:

Still Learning. Everyday my hunger for knowledge is increasing, and I have the time to feed it. I want to learn more about money, politics, the environment, philosophy, economics etc. Why move when I'm still learning/able to learn about things here.

Japan is fun, cool, interesting and a good base for travelling round Asia. And it's where my girlfriend lives.

....not only inspired me to want to become a better person it also touched me deep inside.

Go on richard - get to work on your first novel!

2:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:53 am  
Blogger Sista K said...

if you don't get out now, you might never leave....take Nyuzen as an example! be careful! toyama is the bermuda triangle of japan. LEAVE!

or get sucked in! I mean, really, you got it pretty good! it doesn't get much better than this. little to no work, great pay, benefits, parties, travel, etc. STAY!

1:38 pm  
Blogger Michael said...

I believe that when faced with a decision I make it fairly quickly. What takes the time and anguish is trying to justify it (either to myself or others). Follow your gut instinct, it's usually right.

3:55 pm  
Blogger Mark said...

Life has been pretty difficult back here I have to say. But I thought a third year in Japan might well have sent me mad.
I agree with Michael go with the gut!

9:47 pm  
Anonymous Jamie said...

You aint going anywhere mate.

6:10 am  
Anonymous Crags said...


dressing up, dressing up and dressing up!!!! think the west end is calling, or try and rebuild britneys career!!

waitin to send u the ultimate picture email - spot it to win it!!!


9:05 pm  
Blogger Spencer said...

You can save money a lot more easily when you're on the JET Programme than after you come back. And you always seemed to be enjoying the life in Japan a bit mroe than I ever I don't see why you should stop just yet. I have a guy who sits oppose me at work who was on JET for 3 years. Compared to me who was on it for 1, we have the same salaries and same opportunities in the workplace - except he was taking level 1 on the JLPT at the weekend while I was taking level 3...there again, I'm three years younger than him...

So, there really is no answer. If you come back earlier, you'll be doing the same kind of things you'll always do when you come back, only you'll be younger. You could always push your retirement age to 41 couldn't you...?

From what I read on your blog you may as well stay because I think you'll have more fun that way.

4:16 pm  

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