The Return of the Traveler

Well, well, well. It HAS been a while hasn’t it?

It’s been over two years since my last post; TWO YEARS! Since then, I have graduated from college, entered the work force, got certified online to teach English as a second language, and applied, and was accepted to, the JET Program! I just recently received the location I’ll be teaching in, but more on that later. First, a more detailed account of my actions in the past two years (in random order):

  • I had an amazing last year at the College of Charleston
  • I decided not to apply to JET so I could work and save up money for a year before applying
  • I moved back home (to save money)
  • I started working at a Jimmy Johns within walking distance of home (so I wouldn’t have to buy a car – can’t really save money when you have to maintain a car. Also, my little sister works at this Jimmy Johns, so I got to spend some quality time with her)
  • I got TESOL certified through ITTT. Not completely sure it prepared me, but it did open my brain to the complexities of my own language
  • I got engaged to my boyfriend of three years! He’s coming to visit me in Japan– it’s a requirement.
  • I started crossfit at a box in my area which was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made

So with that out of the way, let’s talk Japan! As I said before, I recently found out where I’ll be headed. Where?
Riiight here.



Well now, that’s kind of vague, isn’t it? Let’s zoom in.


Still too vague? Yeah, you’re right.


Almost there…..


Tadaaaaa!! Nagano-ken, Shinano-machi. A Wikipedia search doesn’t reveal much:

  • Population – under 9,000.
  • Education – ONE elementary/middle school and NO high school! Guess that’s where I’ll be teaching!
  • Average high in August – 81 F.
  • Average low in January – 26 F.
  • Average snowfall in January – 98 inches.
  • Average rainfall in July – 7 inches.

One thing I AM able to grasp from all of this: I need winter clothes. You’d think having a fiancé from Wisconsin would force you to buy things for cold weather, but so far all I have is a nice winter coat (which I will DEFINITELY be bringing). South Carolina has spoiled me with horrendously mild winters – seriously, I don’t think we had more than two weeks of “winter” here this year, certainly nothing that could be compared with what Shinano gets. I mean, come on; 98 INCHES OF SNOW?! I’m used to measuring snow in CENTIMETERS if we measure it at all. It’s usually not even worth trying to measure there’s so little.

Other than the impending winter panic that will probably happen, I couldn’t be happier with where I have been placed! I asked for rural and that’s what I got. I actually asked for the Kansai region or somewhere in Gifu prefecture, but this will do just fine. If you’re curious as to what Shinano looks like, by all means look at Google images; I was not disappointed. Mountains = hiking, hiking = happy Jayelon.

Moving on, this post means that changes are ahead, both with this blog and with myself as I prepare to leave. As I am no longer a student (having graduated a year ago), this is not a study abroad trip, and this will not be my first trip to Japan, the description is not quite appropriate anymore. It will now read, ‘tales of a young American woman as she travels back to her favorite place on Earth.’ Too long? I’ll work on it. As for the preparations part, there are still lots of things I need to buy and organize before I leave July 22. I plan to post at least once more before then, if anything just to give an update on things and maybe give a packing list if anyone is interested. Until next time!

Categories: JET ProgramTags: , , , ,


  1. Good luck and I will be looking for lots of photos!


  2. Congratulations on you upcoming adventure and you accomplishments so far. Sounds like you’ve done sound planning. Like Dixie said, I too will be looking for photos of your escapades. Lots of luck in all your endeavors!
    Love, Grandpa


  3. Congrats on getting an awesome placement! Nagano prefecture is beautiful and it sounds like you’re really happy to be placed there. Now that you know where you are going I am sure you are quite excited! Only 2 months left! 🙂


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