■ JET Programme Send-off Reception 2016 - Message from Consul General
Have you ever heard of the JET Programme? JET stands for The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. It’s a Japanese government programme launched in 1987, on which young people from overseas are invited to Japan to promote international exchanges and foreign language education at the grass-roots level.
JETs will be placed all across Japan: one could be in the north while another could be in the south. Engaging with students who are like their younger brothers and sisters (they teach from primary to high school), the programme often becomes a life-changing experience for JETs.
In fact, since my arrival in Edinburgh, I have already met three JET alumni. First my secretary Jessica who went to Oita prefecture, then Rev. Robinson, who was in Miyazaki prefecture, and Chairman of the JET Alumni Association Scotland Mr Bauld, who spent his time in Iwate prefecture. All three of them were so keen to share their invaluable experiences with me. It seems often the case that they make life-long friends whilst in Japan.
The time to send off new JETs has come around again. On 26 July, the Consulate General of Japan held a pre-departure reception at my residence. The new JETs were so spirited and hopeful that I was deeply impressed. I was also touched to see the JET alumni sharing their wisdom with their juniors on how to make the most of JET experiences. The Chairman of the JET Alumni Association Scotland Mr Bauld, for example, advised them to record their “first impressions after landing in Japan when they still remain fresh.” “They will become a treasure for you later in your life”, he continued.
I also gave a piece of advice. I encouraged them to have one song always ready that they can sing whenever they are asked to do so because there will be so many such occasions in Japan. I sincerely hope that these Scottish youths would make the most of their life in Japan, and become a bridge between Japan and the UK as well as Japan and Scotland.