Teaching English in Odate, Japan [JET Program]

By: Carey Bibb

For the last three years and nine months, I have been an Assistant Language Teacher in the city of Odate, Japan.
In total, I have taught at four schools here, three junior high schools, and one elementary school. At the moment, I teach at two junior high schools, one that I began teaching at in Spring 2015 (my previous small school with 42 students had merged into a larger school in March, so I was given a different small school instead) and one school that I have been teaching at since I came to Japan in August, 2012. I have had many ups and downs with that original school, and it is that school that I will write about today: Odate Higashi Junior High School.

Experiencing the "Inaka" Life Teaching English in Odate, Japan

By Carey Bibb

When I found out that I was accepted into the JET Programme for teaching English in Japan I was thrilled! Even without any Japanese experience, I had been accepted into one of the most widely acclaimed companies for teaching English in Japan. But a month later, when I received news of my placement, I was told that I would be in “Odate-shi 大館市, which is located in Akita-ken 秋田県”. I had never heard of Odate before, and the only thing I knew about “Akita” (which at the time I still pronounced in the American style with the emphasis on the “ki” instead of the “A”, where the emphasis truly belongs) was that it was a type of dog. I immediately raced to Google, hoping that I could learn more about my future city, but with a scarce Wikipedia article, Google images consisting of maps, a large dome, and a statue of a dog, I still had no idea what I was getting into. However, I accepted the placement anyway, excited to move to a foreign country to teach English abroad.