Congratulations you lucky person! You’re about to have one of the best experiences of your life. It’s going to be a huge change, uprooting your life and moving to the other side of the world. It’s all a bit scary really!
But, the good news is that Shimane ROCKS. There are so many advantages to living here. The best part? We have one of the strongest JET communities in Japan. This might not seem important at first, but having friends here helps you enjoy the good times and get through the challenges. We’re a bunch of friendly people and everyone looks out for each other. We really love living here, and it’s common for Shimane JETs to stay much longer than they originally planned.
So why is Shimane so great? Well, like Goldilocks, it’s not too hot—though it can be humid!—and it’s not too cold. We have beautiful sandy beaches in the summer (rare in volcanic Japan) and big snowy mountains for winter sports. You can enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, camping, running, snorkelling, rowing, football (soccer) and lots more! And for when you need some neon, we’re close to big cities like Hiroshima, Okayama, Osaka and Fukuoka.
If you’re interested in Japanese culture, you’re in luck—Shimane is one of the most ancient cultural regions of Japan, and JETs can experience everything from tea ceremony to martial arts, explore ancient shrines and temples, relax in natural hot springs (where you might see a monkey or two!), plant rice in traditional costume, join a taiko drum team and perform at a fire festival on top of a mountain, or even partake in a local sumo tournament!
We also have a wonderful community of volunteer Shimane JETs, who run our very own Shimane Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching… Shimane AJET! They plan amazing events to bring the community together, raise funds to help local students study abroad, and are a great support resource as well. In case you haven’t checked them out already, feel free to say hello on the Shimane AJET Facebook page.
Make sure to check out the Cities and Towns page to get a feel for your new home! If you’ve received a placement of “Shimane Prefecture” (for senior high school ALTs and prefectural CIRs), and are still unsure of your town/city, I know the prospect of further waiting can be frustrating; however, rest-assured that no matter where you end up, you’ll have a great living situation in Shimane—have a look at some of the locations!
The Prefectural Advisors (PAs) will be emailing you various pieces of information in the run-up to your arrival in Japan. We will also meet you in Tokyo, and accompany you from the initial Tokyo Orientation to your new home in Shimane. You are more than welcome to add either of us on Facebook and/or email us with any questions or concerns—we’re here to make your JET Programme experience as problem-free as possible!
Although this video is already a few years old (we’re working on a new one!), definitely check it out to hear first-hand from JETs who have lived in Shimane:
The JET Programme is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and you will not be the same person when you leave Japan as when you arrive. The ‘E’ in JET stands for exchange, and is incredibly relevant to your adventure in Shimane. In sharing information about our own country while learning about Japan from our new neighbours and co-workers, you’ll be exchanging culture and language on a daily basis. Furthermore, Shimane JETs come from 19 countries around the world, so during your time here you will truly participate in 国際化 (kokusaika), or internationalization.
We know that this time can be a stressful and exciting one. If you are nervous right now, that’s OK. Other people are nervous too. If you are excited right now, great! Other people are excited too. We are all looking forward to meeting you over the coming weeks and months. Until then, we wish you all the best with your preparations. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns between now and arrival.
Welcome to the adventure!
– EJ & Oliver (Shimane JET-PAs)