I first came to Japan in 1991 as an English instructor with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program and ended up staying twice as long as I originally planned. Here are some recollections from that period.

Today I mailed in my application to the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program -- better known as JET -- to teach English to kids in the Japanese countryside for a year. My real dream is to become a journalist, but everybody knows you can't make a living as a writer -- especially right out of college. So a job with the Japanese government will do me good until I grow up and develop a plan.

I'm confident I stand a good chance of getting into JET. I've been studying Japanese on and off for half my life, and the Japanese-language course I'm taking here at school is one of the best in the world. I also study karate in Manhattan with a very traditional Japanese teacher. I've dreamt of going to Japan since I was a kid. JET must be dying for candidates like me!