I’m Pretty But Tough, Like a Diamond…Or Beef Jerky in a Ballgown…


Updated the blog to seem more LEGIT.


For realsies, though, I added a sidebar with some social media links, a tag cloud, an Instagram feed thingie…

I’m turning into a BLOGGER.

Ahem, anyway.  Some updates in JET-land.  I have two weeks until Pre-Departure Oriententation, and, well, leaving.  I am trying not to freak out and to be excited and remember all of the reasons I want to go Japan, but sometimes I can’t help it.  The freak out creeps in around the edges like a shadow.  It comes to me at night before I go to sleep and makes me sad.

I think this is normal.  A lot of people go through this.  It’s a huge life change.  I think I’d be going through the same thing if I had to move to another state in America, which would have been my backup plan if I hadn’t gotten into JET.

My advice to current and future JETs is, if you start feeling this way, try to remember all of the awesome things you love about Japan.  I made a list this morning of everything I’ll be able to do and see and experience.  It was actually pretty helpful.

I talked to my pred, and she understands about not being able to afford her car.  I don’t think she’s happy about it (I guess I wouldn’t be, either), but she does understand.  It’s also harder on both of us that I’m not getting her apartment.  So if she wants to sell anything to me, she’ll have to move it to the new apartment.  She’s still up in the air about that.

I’ve bought pretty much everything I need to take with me to Japan.  Still have omiyage and a pair of indoor shoes to get, but otherwise, I’m good.

My state background check went through, so I’m cleared to go!

I actually got another email from my supervisor last night telling me I have an apartment in northern Hokuto (which I knew, thanks to Geneva) and that he was sending me a schedule for when I arrive in Hokuto.  An actual SCHEDULE.

According to the schedule, the first day, I’ll go get registered at City Hall and get my hanko (personal seal you use for paperwork, etc.), open my bank account, and get a cellphone.  Then it’s off to meet the Superintendent for the Board of Education.  Finally, I get to go to my apartment…but that’s it…so I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do for sleeping.  Hoping Geneva, who is my neighbor, friend, and official JET sempai will help me with that.  The next day, I’m supposed to visit my schools and probably meet the principals.

Geneva said she’s supposed to take me and the other new girl to some places around Yamanashi, so that’s exciting! I really want to see the sunflower field in Hokuto, walk the streets of Kiyosato, go hiking through the Beautiful Forest, and just see as much as possible.

14 days…

*breathes* I can do this…

Note to self: buy new flumpool single at Tower Records in Tokyo


Four Weeks and Counting…*starts hyperventilating*


Okay, so.

Oh my gosh.

I’ve got four weeks left.  I can’t even put a number on it right now. Any time I think about it, I start freaking out inside.  It’s only going to get worse.

I know things will be fine.  They will be fine.  But there’s so much to do, and I’m going to miss my bed and my parents and America (even if it is a crappy nation sometimes).

So I finally got pretty much all of my information now.  It’s always right after I get super stressed out about it that I finally hear stuff.  So yay, I guess?  My potential predecessor is actually my predecessor.  It’s confirmed that I’m taking over for her and have three schools–two elementary and one junior high school.  I know the names of the schools and also that one elementary school is right next to the junior high school.  It’ll be at least a half hour commute every day.

The apartment I thought I was getting next to my friend Sara, aka my pred’s apartment, will not actually be mine.  This isn’t confirmed, but my pred heard that the other JET coming in with me will have her apartment.  So I’ll probably get the empty apartment next to my friend Geneva, which is more north in Kiyosato.

I’m actually kind of excited about this.  Basically, I’ll be getting a new apartment that probably will be furnished with a fridge, washing machine, and stove.  So those won’t have to be bought.  Everything else will have to be bought.

My pred wants to sell all of her stuff, but I can’t afford it.  Plus, I don’t want to buy everything.  I want to get my own stuff and make the apartment my own.  That way it can feel more like home.  Geneva also said I could borrow some things until I get my own.

You know, when I first applied for JET, I wanted Saitama so I would be so near my friends and would have to be more independent.  But now I’m really glad I’m near them.  It’ll make the transition a lot easier.  Plus, Geneva and I are probably going to split Internet. BONUS!

I’m also talking to the English-speaking mechanic in Yamanashi about buying a car.  He’s been very helpful, and he sent me some car options in my price range.  There’s one that’s around $1100 and doesn’t need insurance renewal until next October.  It’s a smaller car, but it’ll be something I can get around in.  We’ll see what the options are when I get there.

Not much else to report on this end.  Started buying stickers for my students this weekend.  I’ve got to work on omiyage and the rest of the stuff I need before I leave.

Plus, I still haven’t finished subbing Algernon.  I’m such a procrastinator…

They Stole It From Us!


gollumThey stole it, Precious!

They stole my identity!

So back in December, my health insurance company, that I have through my current employer, was hacked.  My employer sent out lots of emails about the situation, but since I hadn’t noticed anything weird about my health insurance, I just ignored it.

Skip to about three weeks ago.  I received a letter from the IRS in the mail stating that they had received my tax return and that they had to look into some of the information I sent them before processing my refund.

Only problem was that I hadn’t filed my taxes yet.

That night, I tried to file online, only to be rejected because my taxes had “already been filed.”  But how could this be?! Why would someone want to file my taxes?

I also noticed there were two charges on my bank account to an online tax preparation service that I had never ever used before.  It took me a little digging, but I finally discovered the problem had come from the health insurance company hack.  Other people where I work had had similar problems and were unable to file their taxes.

Yesterday, I finally got through to the IRS Identity Theft division where a very nice lady talked me through what I needed to do by the tax deadline, which was today.  I had to send a packet of information with an Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS, but it might take four months of more for them to investigate my claim.  Basically, I have NO CLUE when I will be getting my tax refund.

And this SUCKS.  Because I did nothing wrong.

Also, this situation affects me more than it normally would because I’m preparing to go on JET in a few months.  I may not be able to get my tax exemption form because you have to give your tax information for 2014.  My coordinator, however, reassured me that people go on JET without the form and have it sent later.  Worst-case scenario, I’ll have to pay Japanese taxes that first year.  Not ideal, especially since I still have bills here to pay.

My tax refund was supposed to go into my savings account as JET Prep Money minus a few hundred to buy myself a new laptop.  So that’s complicated.

On the bright side, I will get my severance package from my employer, and I’ll be able to cash out all of those vacation days and sick days that I’ve accumulated over the past five years.  I just want enough money to take with me to get everything set up and buy house stuff and food until I start getting paid.

This is a nice segue into what I’m thinking about right now: JET APARTMENTS.

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos of people’s apartment tours and checking out blogs for pictures.  I can’t wait to find out my placement so I can talk to my predecessor and figure out what my housing situation will be like.

Maybe because I’ve had to live in one room with just a bathroom for five years that I’m super excited to be getting a place where I can have a bathroom with a tub and a kitchen.  Even if it’s a small kitchen, IT WILL STILL BE MY OWN KITCHEN.

Seriously, though.  I live in a residence hall, and we have a kitchen on the 4th floor.  Meaning if I want to cook, I have to schlep my stuff up two flights of stairs (I’m on the 2nd floor) and hope that no one else is using it.  It’s a pain if I forget something.  My room itself is somewhat bigger than a normal dorm room (we have super-tall ceilings, too), and I have my own bathroom that has a toilet and shower.  My sink is in my room itself and was made for roommates to share.  Overall, it’s not bad and has been okay since I started working there.  But I’m at the point in my life where I need a kitchen and preferably TWO rooms.

So, really, no matter what setup I get on JET, I’m going to be really excited.  I’m a person who, even if I don’t like a place at first, can make myself at home really quickly.

Other than this stuff, there’s not much on the JET front besides getting in my last paperwork before June.  I have a physical coming up (getting it in before I can’t use my work health insurance anymore), and I need to get started on getting an international driving permit.  I may wait until I hear about my placement, but it’s worth starting the process just in case.

Oh, and I’m working a new J-drama called Algernon ni Hanabata wo 2015. It’s a Japanese version of the story Flowers for Algernon.  I finished my first drama, Ouroboros, as a translator/subtitler just the other day.

At least this will keep me busy while I wait on JET…