Shimane PA Resources

The Official Shimane JET Website


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Navigating the Japanese Banking system

Now, I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of culture shocks in Japan. But having worked in banking back home, I don’t think even the Delorean itself could have quite prepared me for the Back to the Future experience of the Japanese Banking system.

ATMs that close on weekends(especially difficult in Oki without a Conbini in sight), Banks that close at 3 and Kanji, Kanji everywhere. However, after a while I didn’t quite get my Hoverboard but I came up with some ways of working the system.  This is sharing some tips that have helped me during my time in Japan. Disclaimer; The following is what has worked for me and I can’t guarantee that all information is 100% accurate and it has what has worked for my own situation.

Shinsei Bank

Now, I think it’s about time I got a commission from this company for how much I’ve plugged their services during my time on JET but they are probably the best bank I’ve come across in Japan. They still won’t offer you a credit or debit card but have Internet Banking  available in English, free withdrawals from JP Post and Conbini ATMs, Overseas ATM withdrawals and a 24/7 English helpline. The best part is you can sign up without ever entering a branch; sign-up online, receive the forms; inkan and photocopy your ID and post it back. They also have a free online transfer per month. This means if you sign up with TransferWise (see below) you can transfer money home without leaving your kotatsu in the winter months.

Transferring money  home

Many JETs can be quite evangelical when it comes to there choice of remittance provider. I’m no exception. Regardless of the method you choose, make sure you are intimate with any fees that your bank in Japan charges, that the remittance agent charges and any fees your bank in your home country may charge. Also, remember the fundamental truth; If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.It’s important to understand that almost all providers effectively charge you two fees; their advertised fee and their cut on the market exchange rate. Many remittance agents say they charge ‘zero fees’ but in reality they will make up the difference (and then some) by offering a much lower exchange rate than the market exchange rate.

The three most common remittance methods that JETs use are; JP Post, Go Remit, TransferWise and Paypal. I’ll go over them one-by-one.

JP Post

JP Post, has slightly worse exchange rates of the three mentioned above(as they don’t advertise their information online). But, unlike GoRemit and TransferWise you don’t need to sign up beforehand and can show up at the Post Office and send your money the same day. Make sure to bring the following with you;

-2,000-2,500 yen transfer fee(Note: May vary slightly from country to country)+ transfer amount in cash.

-ID; MyNumber notification paper and Residence Card/Passport.

You will need to fill out a bi-lingual form and have all your bank details from your home country(including the SWIFT/IBAN code and your Branch Address and number etc.)

To use GoRemit and TransferWise you’ll need to do a Furikomi. You can take this into a branch yourself or via an ATM(see this English guide here) and ask to do a 振込・ふりこみ。Furikomi or electronic transfer. Note; Your bank will charge you a fee(unless you use Shinsei, see above), San-In Godo the bank that most JETs use charges about 500 yen.

GoRemit

GoRemit, is owned by Shinsei bank. And the application process is identical. You sign up online(all in English), receive the forms and then post back with photocopies of your ID, your bank information back home, proof of address(a recent utility bill) and your inkan. Later in the mail you’ll receive a bilingual letter with GoRemit’s bank details on it, to transfer via furikomi. The transfer is done automatically and should take 1-3 business days to reach your account back home. GoRemit take a flat 2,000 yen fee deduction and your bank back home as well as intermediary  banks may also take a deduction. Contact your bank in your home country for information about incoming telegraphic transfer fees.

Transferwise

Transferwise is the new kid on the block. They have a sliding fee scale depending on how much you’re sending. Often their fees may appear more expensive than their competitors BUT they offer market exchange rates making them more competitive(see the table below). To sign up, you can do it entirely online using your webcam or phone to take photos of your identity information(Residence card, My number notification card etc.). After that it’s just a few days until you get your notification card in the mail, enter this information online and you’re ready to go. Just write down the information and transfer the funds to TransferWise via Furikomi. Like GoRemit, you may have to pay a transfer fee to your Japanese Bank. However, unlike GoRemit the money is recieved in your home country from a domestic bank account(ie. A Canadian will receive the amount from an Canadian bank account etc.) this means in most circumstances(unlike GoRemit) you will not pay a fee to your bank in your home country for receiving funds.

TransferWise also offer a generous referral system, that gives you a credit on your first transfer as well as a reward to whoever refers you. However, you must follow the referral link from the start. Ask an existing customer for a referral link if you wish to sign up.

Paypal

Paypal is not a remittance service however, it is often sited by some JETs as a good option because there are ‘zero fees’. However, that excludes the large chunk that PayPal often takes from the exchange rate.

Take a look at the comparison below. This does not include the fees you may pay for electronic transfers within Japan or what you will pay in your home country as this varies from situation to situation. But, this should give you an idea of how much you should expect to receive;

 

5th Aug 2016 Transfer Wise Go Remit PayPal
Amount 280,000 280,000 280,000
Fees 2,772 2,000 0
Rates(JPY per USD) 101.01 102.40 108.70
USD amount received $2,739.01 $2,714.84 $2575.00

 

 

5th Aug 2016 Transfer Wise Go Remit PayPal
Amount 280,000 280,000 280,000
Fees 2,772 2,000 0
Rates (JPY per NZD) 72.46 74.75 78.10
NZD amount received 3,812.86 3,719.06 $3584.90

 


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SDC 2016

2016 Shimane ALT & JTE Skill Development Conference
 The Shimane Skill Development Conference is an annual 2-day professional development seminar for ALTs, JTEs, and other Japanese educational professionals involved with English education in Shimane featuring presentations and workshops by JTE and ALTs, a lecture by Samuel Muller(a former Shimane-ALT), and a keynote speech by members of  the British Council.
When:  Thursday, November 10th & Friday, November 11th
Where:  Sun Lake Shimane Prefectural Youth Center, Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi

Sun Lake’s website (in Japanese):  http://www.pref.shimane.lg.jp/seishonennoie/
1. Transportation and Directions
2. Registration and Fees
3. Meals
4. Staying the Night
5. What to Bring

6.  Leaving Sun Lake


1. Transportation and Directions

The Sun Lake Shimane Prefecture Youth Center is located in Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi.  Please carpool as much as possible so that there is enough parking for all Sun Lake participants.  If there are multiple ALTs at the same BOE, please try to carpool together.  If you are coming from Matsue (Shinjiko Onsen station) or Izumo ,you can also use the Ichibata train line. (This does NOT leave from the JR station). Ichibataguchi (一畑口) is the closest train station to Sun Lake and it is under a 10 minute walk. Note; Due to the ferry schedule it’s best if Oki Islanders come to the mainland on Wednesday afternoon.

If you cannot get the Google Map to function and require more specific directions, please feel free to contact me.

Sun Lake’s address in Japanese:
〒691-0074
島根県出雲市小境町1991-2
島根県立青少年の家

Your contracting organisation will have its own policies regarding transportation to Sun Lake.  Please consult with your supervisor prior to leaving.  Transportation expenses and accommodation/meal expenses will be reimbursed at the discretion of your contracting organisation at a time determined by them.

2. Registration and Fees

  • Registration for Day 1 runs from 12:30-13:30 and is in the Main Hall.
  • Registration for Day 2 runs from 08:20-08:50 and is in the Main Hall.
  • For money owed, please bring the exact amount of money in an envelope We cannot provide you with change.  On the outside of the envelope, please write the following: A.)  Your name  B.)  Your Contracting Organization  C.)  The amount of money in the envelope
  • Lodging Fee (Including dinner and breakfast fees): 2160 円 –  Breakfast fee:  420円   Lunch fee:  580円 
  • You must register on both Day 1 and Day 2.
  • Monday, October 31st is the deadline for  deciding whether or not your will stay or eat at Sun Lake for the Skill Development Conference.  After this date, whether you stay at Sun Lake or not, your reservations cannot be changed and you will be charged accordingly.  Example:  If you have reservations for meals and/or lodging at Sun Lake and sometime after October 31st you decide you will not stay at Sun Lake for the SDC, you will still be required to pay for lodging and meals.

3. Meals

  • On day 1, lunch runs from 11:30-13:30.  If you’ve made a lunch reservation for Day 1, you may arrive before the 12:30 registration time and eat first.
  • Breakfast runs from 07:30-08:50, but please make sure you finish in time to register before 08:50 on Day 2.
  • Dinner runs from 17:30-19:00.
  • You are free to leave Sun Lake during lunch time only to buy and eat your food elsewhere, but please be sure to  return to Sun Lake on-time.  If you are staying overnight, it is expected that you not leave Sun Lake for dinner or at any point in the evening.
  • Day 2 lunch:  Since there will be an afternoon workshop, you are encouraged to purchase lunch at Sun Lake on day 2.  Lunch is from 11:35 – 12:50.

4. Staying the Night

If you decide to sign up to be an overnight guest at Sun Lake, please be aware of the following:

  • Bring your own toiletries: towel, soap, shampoo, hair dryer, etc.
  • Showers are available from 20:00-22:00, but the number of stalls is limited.
  • Baths are available from 20:00-22:00.  This is the most common option for guests at Sun Lake as it is the most accommodating.
  • Overnight guests will be placed together – 3 or 4 to a room.  Each room will have a Room Leader who will keep the key and be responsible for ensuring that the room is tidy in time for the morning inspection on Day 2.  Room Leaders must complete the room check with the Sun Lake staff first before leaving for breakfast.
  • On the morning of Day 2, after each room has been inspected, you must bring your bags to the Main Hall.  (If you have a car, you may take your bags out to it, too.)
  • There are no rubbish bins at Sun Lake, so please keep your trash and bring it home with you.
  • If you are an overnight guest, you are expected to not leave Sun Lake at any point during the night.
  • There are two sets of evening activities for overnight guests from 19:00-21:00.  In the Main Hall, you can join the annual SDC games organized by our great game masters.  Or, if you prefer sports, you may visit the gym and play basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.  Please be sure to bring indoor gym shoes if you plan on playing in the gym.  Unfortunately, evening activities are only for overnight guests at Sun Lake.  If you are not spending the night, you must leave Sun Lake by 17:00.

5. What to Bring

  • Business attire for the day (same attire as Shimane and Tokyo Orientation) and casual clothes for the evening
  • Money for accommodation and meals (in exact change)
  • A little extra fun money (there are vending machines at Sun Lake)
  • Shimane AJET Scholarship Fund donation (voluntary):  Each year SAJET pitch the “1万 (10,000 yen) Challenge.” They ask that everyone brings a suggested donation of 10,000 yen to the SDC and donates toward the Shimane English Education Fund. At the SDC they will be talking about how and where the money is spent.
  • Toiletries
  • Pens
  • Camera
  • Old books to donate to Shimane AJET
  • If possible, please leave anything valuable at home (iPod, jewelery, etc.).  Neither we nor the staff at Sun Lake can guarantee the safety of your belongings.

6. Shimane AJET Book Sale and Fundraising

On day 1 of the SDC, Shimane AJET will have a book sale in the Main Hall of Sun Lake.  So please bring your books to donate and some money to buy new (used) books!  All proceeds raised from the book sale will go directly to the Shimane English Education Fund (SEEF).  If the books you donate are not sold at the book sale, please take them back home with you.

7.  Leaving Sun Lake

At the end of Day 2 of the SDC, please immediately exit the main hall and lobby.

If there is anything you are unsure of and would like more information about or help with, please feel free to contact Alex Hart-Smith at shimane-altpa-advisor@shimanet.onmicrosoft.com or your supervisor.


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Taxes

Note; We are not tax experts and cannot take responsibility for any incorrect information contained below it is the responsibility of each individual JET to check their tax liability

 

As Benjamin Franklin infamously put it, there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. Luckily, we’ve got a pretty good track record in avoiding the former in Shimane and for a few of you can (legally) avoid the latter too.

 

First of all, lets talk about the different types of deductions/taxes in Japan.

Insurances. There are three insurances that are compulsory for all JET participants to pay. Unemployment Insurance, National Health Insurance and the Welfare Annuity/Pension.

Unemployment Insurance(失業保険 しつぎょうけん, Shitsugyohoken)

This is compulsory for all employees in Japan and is pretty self-explanatory. It is by far the cheapest deduction on your pay slip at around ~2,000円 a month.

National Health insurance (国民健康保険, こくみんけんこうけん, kokuminkenkohoken)

Note: This is a different insurance to the JET accident insurance which is paid by your contracting organization.

This is basically the payment for your blue card/hokensho health insurance which covers 70% of your eligible medical expenses.  This deduction is approximately ~15,000円 a month depending on which year you are on in JET.

*Note; Your JET accident insurance will refund the other 30% minus the 5,000 円 excess/deductible.*

Pension/Welfare annuity ( 厚生年金,こうせいねんきん, kouseinenkin)

This is by far the biggest deduction on your pay slip at ~25,000-30,000円 a month depending on which year you are on. But, the good news is most of it you do get back upon leaving Japan. See more info here.

Income Tax (所得税, しょとくぜい, shotokuzei)

Note; American ALTs(not CIRs) are tax exempt for both income and residence taxes for their first two years.

Income tax in Japan is progressive and is approximately ~7,000-9,000円 a month depending on your year on JET.

Residence Tax (住民税, じゅうみんぜい, Juminzei)

Residency Taxes in Japan are calculated based on income in each calendar year (January 1st to December 31st). The bill for these taxes is sent to the resident in June of the following calendar year. When paid, these taxes cover the current fiscal year (April 1st to March 31st).

The tax is 10% of your income earned in the previous calendar year. (This is comprised of 4% Prefectural Tax and 6% Municipal Tax for a total of 10%.)
*Each resident must also pay an additional \1,500 on their Residency Tax bill (\1,000 flat tax + \500 forestry and environment tax)

In most cases for Shimane JETs, this tax is not deducted from your salary and is a separate bill that arrives in June. The bill is usually comes in installments to pay over several months. For JETs that are not renewing their contract the due dates for these payments may come after you leave Japan however, you are still liable for these taxes. Picture

*credit to Oita JET for the above image.

This is a rough guide of how much you are expect to pay;

Picture

*credit to Niigata JET for the above image.


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The 2016 JET Opinion Exchange Meetings

Each year in January numerous ALTs gather in Hamada, Izumo, and Matsue to discuss their work, lives, and satisfaction with the JET Programme in Shimane. We consider this an important part of our yearly schedule and we encourage all ALTs, especially first years, to attend in order to provide us with your feedback.

The dates for the 2015 ALT Opinion Exchange Meetings have been set as follows:

Hamada

When: 13:30~15:30, Monday, January 25th, 2016
Where:
Hamada Joint Government Building (浜田市合同庁舎) Room 503.

Izumo

When: 13:30~15:30, Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
Where:
Izumo Joint Government Building (出雲市合同庁舎) Room 603.

Matsue

When: 9:30~11:30, Friday, January 29th, 2016
Where:
Meeting Hall, Shimane Prefectural Office Building (会議棟島根県庁) Room 2.

*Please meet Sondey/Callum in the 1st floor lobby of the main building at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

What should I bring?

You don’t have to come with anything, but bring a pen & paper if you would like to take some notes.

What should I wear?

Your regular clothing for school will be sufficient. Formal wear/a suit is not required.

What happens to the information?

Your opinions will be collected, collated, and translated into Japanese and distributed to BoEs and schools across the Prefecture, anonymously. We’ll let you know via the BB once it’s been sent out.  Please make sure that they read it! We also plan on sending a PDF version of the report (in English/Japanese) to all ALTs.

What about our supervisors?

Supervisors gather separately with the Japanese PAs at the same time and talk about their own opinions, problems, questions and concerns regarding the JET Programme. These are also part of the report that gets sent out to BoEs.

What about CIRs?

CIRs have their opinion exchange meeting during their mid-year conference in October.

What will we be talking about?

We will cover the following topics broadly. Feel free to bring up anything  that’s on your mind , with regards to the the JET Programme in Shimane, during each section.

Pre-Departure: Contact with your supervisor/predecessor, the Welcome Handbook, and contact with the PAs.

Arrival: Tokyo Orientation, initial contact with schools/supervisors, the Japanese language course in Matsue, Shimane Orientation.

Post-Arrival: Job/Life satisfaction, placements, workloads, problems/difficulties in the workplace, positive things about your job.

PA-related: The BB, the Event Calendar, ‘mass e-mails’, this website.

Reappointment: A general discussion regarding why people decided to staying or to leave.

Note: *As it is a large group discussion, we anticipate that certain personality types may dominate the conversation and we may ask people directly to share their opinions to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak.

*While this is a great time for open discussion about work, it is not a group therapy session and time is very limited so we may have to move on from a topic to ensure we cover everything. If you have any larger-scale concerns that cannot be covered in the time or framework of the Opinion Exchange Meeting you are welcome to contact Sondey or Callum at any time, before or after the meeting.

*This is a work function so please be professional, please refrain from private conversations and using your mobile phone.

Please let Sondey or I know if you have any questions about the sessions.

We Look forward to seeing all of you in the next couple of weeks!


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2015 Shimane ALT & JTE Skill Development Conference

2015 Shimane ALT & JTE Skill Development Conference
 The Shimane Skill Development Conference is an annual 2-day professional development seminar for ALTs, JTEs, and other Japanese educational professionals involved with English education in Shimane featuring presentations and workshops by JTE and ALTs, a lecture by CLAIR, and a keynote speech by members of  the British Council.
When:  Thursday, November 12th & Friday, November 13th
Where:  Sun Lake Shimane Prefectural Youth Center, Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi

Sun Lake’s website (in Japanese):  http://www.pref.shimane.lg.jp/seishonennoie/
1. Transportation and Directions
2. Registration and Fees
3. Meals
4. Staying the Night
5. What to Bring

6.  Leaving Sun Lake


1. Transportation and Directions

The Sun Lake Shimane Prefecture Youth Center is located in Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi.  Please carpool as much as possible so that there is enough parking for all Sun Lake participants.  If there are multiple ALTs at the same BOE, please try to carpool together.  If you are coming from Matsue or Izumo ,you can also use the Ichibata train line.  Ichibataguchi (一畑口) is the closest train station to Sun Lake and it is under a 10 minute walk.

If you cannot get the Google Map to function and require more specific directions, please feel free to contact me.

Sun Lake’s address in Japanese:
〒691-0074
島根県出雲市小境町1991-2
島根県立青少年の家

Your contracting organisation will have its own policies regarding transportation to Sun Lake.  Please consult with your supervisor prior to leaving.  Transportation expenses and accommodation/meal expenses will be reimbursed at the discretion of your contracting organisation at a time determined by them.

2. Registration and Fees

  • Registration for Day 1 runs from 12:30-13:30 and is in the Main Hall.
  • Registration for Day 2 runs from 08:20-08:50 and is in the Main Hall.
  • For money owed, please bring the exact amount of money in an envelope We cannot provide you with change.  On the outside of the envelope, please write the following: A.)  Your name  B.)  Your Contracting Organization  C.)  The amount of money in the envelope
  • Lodging Fee (Including dinner and breakfast fees): 2160 円 –  Breakfast fee:  420円   Lunch fee:  580円 
  • You must register on both Day 1 and Day 2.
  • Friday, October 30th is the deadline for  deciding whether or not your will stay at Sun Lake for the Skill Development Conference.  After this date, whether you stay at Sun Lake or not, your reservations cannot be changed and you will be charged accordingly.  Example:  If you have reservations for meals and/or lodging at Sun Lake and sometime after October 30th you decide you will not stay at Sun Lake for the SDC, you will still be required to pay for lodging and meals.

3. Meals

  • On day 1, lunch runs from 11:30-13:30.  If you’ve made a lunch reservation for Day 1, you may arrive before the 12:30 registration time and eat first.
  • Breakfast runs from 07:30-08:50, but please make sure you finish in time to register before 08:50 on Day 2.
  • Dinner runs from 17:30-19:00.
  • You are free to leave Sun Lake during lunch time only to buy food elsewhere, but please be sure to  return to Sun Lake on-time.  If you are staying overnight, it is expected that you not leave Sun Lake for dinner or at any point in the evening.
  • Day 2 lunch:  Since there will be an afternoon workshop, you are encouraged to purchase lunch at Sun Lake on day 2.  Lunch is from 11:35 – 12:50.

4. Staying the Night

If you decide to sign up to be an overnight guest at Sun Lake, please be aware of the following:

  • Bring your own toiletries: towel, soap, shampoo, hair dryer, etc.
  • Showers are available from 17:00-22:00, but the number of stalls is limited.
  • Baths are available from 17:00-22:00.  This is the most common option for guests at Sun Lake as it is the most accommodating.
  • Overnight guests will be placed together – 3 or 4 to a room.  Each room will have a Room Leader who will keep the key and be responsible for ensuring that the room is tidy in time for the morning inspection on Day 2.  Room Leaders must complete the room check with the Sun Lake staff first before leaving for breakfast.
  • On the morning of Day 2, after each room has been inspected, you must bring your bags to the Main Hall.  (If you have a car, you may take your bags out to it, too.)
  • There are no rubbish bins at Sun Lake, so please keep your trash and bring it home with you.
  • If you are an overnight guest, you are expected to not leave Sun Lake at any point during the night.
  • There are two sets of evening activities for overnight guests from 19:00-21:00.  In the Main Hall, you can join the annual SDC games which have been revamped by this year’s game masters.  Or, if you prefer sports, you may visit the gym and play basketball, tennis, volleyball, etc.  Please be sure to bring indoor gym shoes if you plan on playing in the gym.  Unfortunately, evening activities are only for overnight guests at Sun Lake.  If you are not spending the night, you must leave Sun Lake by 17:00.

5. What to Bring

  • Business attire for the day (same attire as Shimane and Tokyo Orientation) and casual clothes for the evening
  • Money for accommodation and meals (in exact change)
  • A little extra fun money (there are vending machines at Sun Lake)
  • Shimane AJET Scholarship Fund donation (voluntary):  Each year SAJET pitch the “1万 (10,000 yen) Challenge.” They ask that everyone brings a suggested donation of 10,000 yen to the SDC and donates toward the Shimane English Education Fund. At the SDC they will be talking about how and where the money is spent.
  • Toiletries
  • Pens
  • Camera
  • Old books to donate to Shimane AJET
  • If possible, please leave anything valuable at home (iPod, jewelery, etc.).  Neither we nor the staff at Sun Lake can guarantee the safety of your belongings.

6. Shimane AJET Book Sale and Fundraising

On day 1 of the SDC, Shimane AJET will have a book sale in the Main Hall of Sun Lake.  So please bring your books to donate and some money to buy new (used) books!  All proceeds raised from the book sale will go directly to the Shimane English Education Fund (SEEF).  If the books you donate are not sold at the book sale, please take them back home with you.

7.  Leaving Sun Lake

At the end of Day 2 of the SDC, please immediately exit the main hall and lobby.

If there is anything you are unsure of and would like more information about or help with, please feel free to contact Callum Johnston at shimane-altpa-advisor@shimanet.onmicrosoft.com or your supervisor.


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The 2015 ALT Opinion Exchange Meetings

Each year in January numerous ALTs gather in Hamada, Izumo, and Matsue to discuss their work, lives, and satisfaction with the JET Programme in Shimane. We consider this an important part of our yearly schedule and we encourage all ALTs, especially first years, to attend in order to provide us with your feedback.

The dates for the 2015 ALT Opinion Exchange Meetings have been set as follows:

Hamada

When: 13:30~15:30, Monday, January 19th, 2015
Where:
Hamada Joint Government Building (浜田市合同庁舎).

The room number will be posted at the main entrance on the day.

Izumo

When: 13:30~15:30, Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Where:
Izumo Joint Government Building (出雲市合同庁舎).

The room number will be posted at the main entrance on the day.

Matsue

When: 9:30~11:30, Friday, January 23rd, 2015
Where:
Meeting Hall, Shimane Prefectural Office Building (会議棟島根県庁)

*Please meet Sondey/Josh in the 1st floor lobby of the main building at least 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

What should I bring?

You don’t have to come with anything, but bring a pen & paper if you would like to take some notes.

What should I wear?

Your regular clothing for school will be sufficient. Formal wear/a suit is not required.

What questions will be asked?

Click here to access the questions for the Opinion Exchange Meetings.

What happens to the information?

Your opinions will be collected, collated, and translated into Japanese and distributed to BoEs and schools across the Prefecture, anonymously. We’ll let you know via the BB once it’s been sent out.  Please make sure that they read it! We also plan on sending a PDF version of the report (in English/Japanese) to all ALTs.

What about our supervisors?

Supervisors gather separately with the Japanese PAs at the same time and talk about their own opinions, problems, questions and concerns regarding the JET Programme. These are also part of the report that gets sent out to BoEs.

What about CIRs?

CIRs have their opinion exchange meeting during their mid-year conference in October.

What will we be talking about?

We will cover the following topics broadly. Feel free to bring up anything  that’s on your mind , with regards to the the JET Programme in Shimane, during each section.

Pre-Departure: Contact with your supervisor/predecessor, the Welcome Handbook, and contact with the PAs.

Arrival: Tokyo Orientation, initial contact with schools/supervisors, the Japanese language course in Matsue, Shimane Orientation.

Post-Arrival: Job/Life satisfaction, placements, workloads, problems/difficulties in the workplace, positive things about your job.

PA-related: The BB, the Event Calendar, ‘mass e-mails’, this website.

Reappointment: A general discussion regarding why people decided to staying or to leave.

Note: *As it is a large group discussion, we anticipate that certain personality types may dominate the conversation and we may ask people directly to share their opinions to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak.

*While this is a great time for open discussion about work, it is not a group therapy session and time is very limited so we may have to move on from a topic to ensure we cover everything. If you have any larger-scale concerns that cannot be covered in the time or framework of the Opinion Exchange Meeting you are welcome to contact Sondey or Josh at any time, before or after the meeting.

*This is a work function so please be professional, please refrain from private conversations and using your mobile phone.

Please let Sondey or I know if you have any questions about the sessions.

We Look forward to seeing all of you in the next few weeks!


Leave a comment

2014 Shimane ALT and JTE Skill Development Conference

2014 Shimane ALT & JTE Skill Development Conference
 The Shimane Skill Development Conference is an annual 2-day professional development seminar for ALTs, JTEs, and other Japanese educational professionals involved with English education in Shimane featuring presentations and workshops by JTEs, ALTs, and a keynote speech by members of  the British Council.
When:  Thursday, November 13th & Friday, November 14th
Where:  Sun Lake Shimane Prefectural Youth Center, Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi

Sun Lake’s website (in Japanese):  http://www.pref.shimane.lg.jp/seishonennoie/
1. Transportation and Directions
2. Registration and Fees
3. Meals
4. Staying the Night
5. What to Bring

6.  Leaving Sun Lake


1. Transportation and Directions

TheSun Lake Shimane Prefecture Youth Center is located in Hirata-cho, Izumo-shi.  Please carpool as much as possible so that there is enough parking for all Sun Lake participants.  If there are multiple ALTs at the same BOE, please try to carpool together.  If you are coming from Matsue or Izumo ,you can also use the Ichibata train line.  Ichibataguchi (一畑口) is the closest train station to Sun Lake and it is under a 10 minute walk.

If you cannot get the Google Map to function and require more specific directions, please feel free to contact me.

Sun Lake’s address in Japanese:
〒691-0074
島根県出雲市小境町1991-2
島根県立青少年の家

Your contracting organisation will have its own policies regarding transportation to Sun Lake.  Please consult with your supervisor prior to leaving.  Transportation expenses and accommodation/meal expenses will be reimbursed at the discretion of your contracting organisation at a time determined by them.

2. Registration and Fees

  • Registration for Day 1 runs from 12:30-13:30 and is in the Main Hall.
  • Registration for Day 2 runs from 08:20-08:50 and is in the Main Hall.
  • For money owed, please bring the exact amount of money in an envelope We cannot provide you with change.  On the outside of the envelope, please write the following: A.)  Your name  B.)  Your Contracting Organization  C.  The amount of money in the envelope
  • Lodging Fee (Including dinner and breakfast fees): 2160 円 –  Breakfast fee:  420円   Lunch fee:  580円 
  • You must register on both Day 1 and Day 2.
  • Friday, November 1st is the deadline for  deciding whether or not your will stay at Sun Lake for the Skill Development Conference.  After this date, whether you stay at Sun Lake or not, your reservations cannot be changed and you will be charged accordingly.  Example:  If you have reservations for meals and/or lodging at Sun Lake and sometime after November 1st you decide you will not stay at Sun Lake for the SDC, you will still be required to pay for lodging and meals.

3. Meals

  • On day 1, lunch runs from 11:30-13:30.  If you’ve made a lunch reservation for Day 1, you may arrive before the 12:30 registration time and eat first.
  • Breakfast runs from 07:30-09:00, but please make sure you finish in time to register before 08:50 on Day 2.
  • Dinner runs from 17:30-19:00.
  • You are free to leave Sun Lake during lunch time only to buy food elsewhere, but please be sure to  return to Sun Lake on-time.  If you are staying overnight, it is expected to not leave Sun Lake for dinner or at any point in the evening.
  • Day 2 lunch:  Since there will be an afternoon workshop, you are encouraged to purchase lunch at Sun Lake on day 2.  Lunch is from 12:00 – 13:00.

4. Staying the Night

If you decide to sign up to be an overnight guest at Sun Lake, please be aware of the following:

  • Bring your own toiletries: towel, soap, shampoo, hair dryer, etc.
  • Showers are available from 017:00-22:00, but the number of stalls is limited.
  • Baths are available from 17:00-22:00.  This is the most common option for guests at Sun Lake as it is the most accommodating.
  • Overnight guests will be placed together – 3 or 4 to a room.  Each room will have a Room Leaderwho will keep the key and be responsible for ensuring that the room is tidy in time for the morning inspection on Day 2.  Room Leaders must complete the room check with the Sun Lake staff first before leaving for breakfast.
  • On the morning of Day 2, after each room has been inspected, you must bring your bags to the Main Hall.  (If you have a car, you may bring your bags there too.)
  • There are no garbage cans at Sun Lake, so please keep your trash and bring it home with you.
  • If you are an overnight guest, you are expected to not leave Sun Lake at any point during the night.
  • There are two sets of evening activities for overnight guests from 19:00-21:00.  In the Main Hall, you can join a team and compete in the annual Black Taxi Pub Quiz – a evening of trivia with topics on Japan, World, Sports, and Entertainment.  Or, if you prefer sports, you may visit the gym and play basketball, tennis, and volleyball.  Please be sure to bring indoor gym shoes if you plan on playing in the gym.  Unfortunately, evening activities are only for overnight guests at Sun Lake.  If you are not spending the night, you must leave Sun Lake at 17:00.

5. What to Bring

  • Business attire for the day (same attire as Shimane and Tokyo Orientation) and casual clothes for the evening
  • Money for accommodation and meals (in exact change)
  • A little extra fun money ( there are vending machines at Sun Lake)
  • Shimane AJET Scholarship Fund donation (voluntary):  Each year SAJET pitch the “1万 (10,000 yen) Challenge.” They ask that everyone brings a suggested donation of 10,000 yen to the SDC and donates toward the Shimane English Education Fund. At the SDC they will be talking about how and where the money is spent.
  • Toiletries
  • Pens
  • Camera
  • Old books to donate to Shimane AJET
  • If possible, please leave anything valuable at home (iPod, jewelery, etc.).  Neither we nor the staff at Sun Lake can guarantee the safety of your belongings.

6. Shimane AJET Book Sale and Fundraising

On day 1 of the SDC, Shimane AJET will have a book sale in the Main Hall of Sun Lake.  So please bring your books to donate and some money to buy new (used) books!  All proceeds raised from the book sale will go directly to the Shimane English Education Fund (SEEF).  If the books you donate are not sold at the book sale, please take them back home with you.

7.  Leaving Sun Lake

At the end of Day 2 of the SDC, please immediately exit the main hall and lobby.

If there is anything you are unsure of and would like more information about or help with, please feel free to contact Josh Del Pino at shimaneadvisor@gmail.com or your supervisor.