Going to Japan for the first or [insert number here] time can be a wonderful, exciting and joyous time. If you’re reading this post, you’re most likely new to the rodeo so Gina Bear is here to help answer your questions and make your transition to the Land of the Rising Sun easier. Like you, I was a green horn and completely clueless on what to expect. Every country on the planet is different but we don’t realize how different until we actually get there.
On the JET forums, I see these questions over and over. I’m sure some of them you’ve thought of and hopefully I can answer some here! If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment below!
What do I do about my airport luggage?
You will be allowed to ship whatever luggage you like to your contracting organization. Depending on the size, it will cost anywhere between 2,500-5,000 yen to ship it and can take 3-5 days to arrive at your destination. I had a duffel bag at Tokyo Orientation with enough clothes for about a week. Luckily, when I arrived in Okinawa, both my suitcases were there waiting.
Do I need an adapter?
If you come from a country that doesn’t have a standard 2 prong outlet, then yes, bring an adapter. The convenience stores will have them or the electronics stores out in Shinjuku or Shibuya will. If you’re not familiar with the Japanese language, you can always bring a Japanese proficient friend with you or bring your own adapter from home.
Related: Japan Thrival Guide
Will I have roommate at Tokyo Orientation?
Yes, you will have roommates and there will be three people to a room. These people are usually from your departing city and consulate. There will be a safe in the room to keep your money, documents, and passports. In the room there are 3 beds. One will be a pull out bed.
What should I bring to Tokyo Orientation?
In your carry on, pack enough clothes for 3 days. If you can interchange blazers and coordinate outfits. For men, business slacks, blazers, dress shirts and ties are appropriate. For the ladies, we have a little more leeway. You can wear business attire, but I’ve also seen women wear cute skirts and dressy tops with blazers at orientation. As long as you look professional and put-together, there should be no problem.
Obviously, bring your toiletries with you. This includes: deodorant, small perfume/cologne bottle, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Whatever you need to survive. Tokyo summers are hot and humid so check out my post on how to survive the summer in Japan, here.
You can also bring 3-4 days worth of casual wear as you don’t need to be in business attire after the workshops.
Note: Try to bring as little as you can. Don’t bring more than one pair of heels if you’re a woman and if you’re a guy, don’t bring more than your dress shoes and one pair of casual shoes. The more you can interchange your outfits, the better. Might I recommend bringing 1-2 pairs of shorts and 4 shirts to go with your outfits? The less you have to carry, the better. It’s not fun dragging a lot of shit with you in a hot, humid, Tokyo summer.
What will the Tokyo Orientation schedule look like?
For a detailed plan of pre-departure and post departure, click here for the official JET schedules. You will be given a bag at the Keio Plaza with pamphlets and information regarding the workshops and schedules. Tokyo Orientation usually starts from 9am and goes until 5pm. Tokyo Orientation consists of workshops ranging from keeping your classroom entertaining to cultural awareness. You may pick and choose which ones you would like to attend. After, if you’re not tired, you can go out in the evening.
Related: Advice for Moving to Japan
Will I have free time at Tokyo Orientation?
Yes, you will have free time. Depending on when you arrive, your arrival day is usually a free day as Tokyo Orientation will start the following day. After your workshops are finished for the day, you may go out and explore. May I recommend checking out Harajuku and visiting Hachi in Shibuya? I did. 😉
What should I bring to the workshops?
Definitely bring something to write with and a piece of paper. You will be given notes from the workshops that you can write on as well. You can bring your camera to take pictures during the opening ceremony and to write notes on. You don’t need to bring a tablet or laptop, but if you can’t to you can.
How hot will Tokyo be in the summer? Should I worry?
Yes, Tokyo will be super hot and humid. The average temperature during the day falls between 29-32 Celsius. Tokyo definitely cools down at night but it’s still humid. Don’t worry about your business clothes because the Keio Plaza hotel is well air-conditioned. You’ll sweat when you’re outside but most shops, trains, and buses have good climate control.
Related: How to Survive Summer in Japan
Advice from Gina Bear to You
Have fun at Tokyo Orientation! It’s a great opportunity to make friends from other prefectures and countries. I still have friends I made from orientation became TOAs with me in 2013. Sadly, there have been no TOAs since because CLAIR had a budget cut. Talk to people. Get out of your bubble and make connections. Some people even made business cards with their emails, Facebook, and LinkedIn information. Be yourself, be respectful, and have a great time! Good luck and congratulations to the Incoming JETs!