Thursday, February 23, 2006

JET Interview

For weeks I had been preparing myself for the JET interview. Yesterday, Wednesday, I finally did it. Just as an example of how nervous I was, take this into consideration. I hate getting dressed. If I had my choice, and the weather permitted it, I would wear the towel I used after getting out of the shower to school every day. I really do not like clothing, or style. That said, on Tuesday night I spent an hour and a half trying to decide between two ties. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made, even though it was certainly the most trivial. But, at least it kept my mind off the the fact that this interview would be the deciding factor in getting this job which I really really really want and if I don't get it I have no back up plan or any direction what-so-ever in my life and I won't even have a place to live and I'm not even any good interviews and I really really really want to teach but I don't want to sign up with an unethical and poorly run English conversation school and what will I do if they ask me what I want to do with my life and I DONT KNOW and I say that and they say that I need to take sometime to figure out what I want and reapply next year but I know I want to do this job and I really want to work with children because they make me smile but I have no experience with children so I don't even know if I like children so it is basically just a hunch and what will I do if I get so stressed out that I faint again during the interview and they call the ambulance and it costs me $1000 and I don't get the job which I really really want...hhuuuuuhuuuuhuuuuuu...

You get the picture. So, faced with the choice of leaving my mind alone with itself or simply thinking "grey tie, blue tie, grey tie, blue tie..." the most trivial decision of my life doesn't seem like wasted time.

Amazingly, the next morning I woke up and felt like I could fight a bear. I dressed, got all my supplies in order and took this picture.
I walked outside, was attacked by a bear, and kicked its furry little ass. Well, not really. Actually, I drove over to Sung Eun's house to pick up Tazuko's little brother and his friend, who are visiting from Japan. I had asked Sung Eun if they wanted to come with me to San Francisco, and they agreed. I figured being a tour guide would keep me busy and keep my mind away from dangerous thoughts. Also, I would get to practice my Japanese, since neither of them spoke very much English. I met them outside the house and learned that their names were Takashi and Kembo. The drive to San Francisco was great. We were able to communicate, which was good. We arrived in Japantown 2 hours ahead of time, so we went to lunch. Here we are after lunch with Me on the left, Kembo in the center and Takashi on the right.
After lunch we walked around Japantown until it was time for my interview. At 1:00 I began to prepare. I bought a bottle of Poccari Sweat, chugged it, went to the bathroom and freaked out in the stall. At 1:20 exactly, cool as a cucumber (one that had just been dunked in liquid nitrogen, might I add) walked into the reception room. I was really excited. For half an hour I sat and watched a video about the JET program, which basically just got me more excited. Finally my time came. I was told to wait on the chair outside of room A. I waited on that chair for about 5 minutes and chatted with the girl who was about to go into room B. She was nice but way more stressed out than me, so I tried to encourage her. I hope she did OK.

Anyway, finally a harmless looking Japanese man opened the door and asked me to give him my ID. I entered the room. On one side of the room was a table with three people sitting at it. In the center of the room was a large table and a single chair. As I entered I was told to sit down. We all introduced ourselves, and the questions began.

Forgive me if I can't quite recall the questions or my answers to them. What I do remember is it was not that bad. One of the interviewers, the former JET, looked like she wanted to eat me. The Stanford professor looked like he was in love with me. And the Japanese fellow looked like nothing I said would make him show any emotion. The questions were easy, and I was pleased with my answers. Here is one example I do remember. Woman who wanted to eat me: "What is it that inspires you about Astronomy?" Me: "Well, I am from the island in Hawaii where the largest telescopes in the world are, so when I was in High School I had access to world class astronomers and a fantastic sky. But that isn't really what you asked is it. What inspires me about astronomy is the fact that a person can look up at the sky and realize how big it all is. The light we see could be millions or even billions of years old. And there is nothing humans can ever do to change it. It is the beauty of the sky that inspires me."

Overall, I thought the interview was a success. The only thing that I feel did not go like I would have wanted it to was the part where I was supposed to pretend that the panel was a class of students that spoke no English, and I was supposed to introduce myself to them. I did a mediocre job at that task. I used good hand gestures and spoke slowly, but I know I could have made it more interesting. Oh well.

When the interview was over the panel asked me if I had any questions. I replied that I did have questions, lots. However, time oly permitted two questions. So I asked if I would be able to add my TESL certificate to my application (yes) and if I could make my top choice for placement Kanagawa prefecture in the Kanto (yes). I gave them copies of my diploma from the TESL course and gave each of them a Meishi, bowed and left.

I left the building and freaked out again.

Then I met back up with Takashi and Kembo. A tour of San Francisco ensued. First Chinatown.
Then the Levi's store in Union Square.
The rest of Union Square.
We visited the Meteron, walked back to Chinatown, and drove to Fisherman's Wharf. We all ate clam chowder...
Gazed at the Golden Gate Bridge just after sunset...
Took a group photo...
And ate chocolate.
We drove over the Golden Gate at night, and were able to get this view of the city. Then I got lost in Marin County for half an hour.

finally, we retured to Davis, where Sung Eun was waiting for us. After dropping them off and thanking them for coming, I came home, took off my suit...

and freaked out.


Anonymous said...

I bet mom to make a comment

Anonymous said...

I meant to say beat her in making a comment

Anonymous said...

Your almost as funny as me but I am so funny

Mom said...

You made a stressful day sound comical. Nice answer on the interview question. And I loved the pictures, especially Levi Straus, Chinatown and the GG bridge. Nice tie, by the way.
I am sure you did fine in the interview. They'd be nuts not to take you.
Love, Mom

Zia said...

You are an amazing guy! They'd be absolutely crazy not to take you!!!!!! Who could be more original, inspiring, ernest, and kind hearted??? I love your Levi's photo. I really liked some others as well, but that one stuck out for me. You have a great eye. I'm jealous of you and Nick for that. I love to take photos, but I don't quite have what you guys have. Maybe with practice...
I know you have a crazy busy life, but maybe next time we are in Calistoga (coming soon...) you can come down with a few of your friends. You could take them to ride the roller coasters at Marine WOrld. That would be an experience I would be sure to miss! We also have a waterslide park in Windsor - don't know when it opens for the season, but might be fun too.
See you soon-

Trenton said...

Gosh, when the comments rain, they pour! Thanks guys. By the way, dad may be funnier than me, but I tie my own Ties.

Zia, that sounds like an awesome plan! I'll do it!