Working in Japan

When JET Rejects You

The Agony and the Ecstasy of the JET Hopeful 

You spent weeks putting together your application. You spent longer than that tracking down the perfect references, and even longer reminding them to actually send in their reference letters.

After spell-checking, grammar-checking, and paperclip-checking your application for the 30th time, you finally sent it to the consulate with a smile and a prayer.

“Phew. It’s out of my hands now. Hopefully an interview is in my future,” you said to yourself after the application package left your hand and dropped in the post.

And then, after a few nervous weeks of waiting, you got the happy news:

“We would like to extend an invitation for an interview for the 2018 JET Program.”

YES! You got the interview! You were officially one step closer to your dream of working in Japan!

“YESSSSSSS! I can’t wait for the interview to show them why they NEED me on that program!” You were already thinking of what you were going to wear on interview day.

After another period of anxiousness, you put on your Sunday best and sauntered into that interview with a smile on your face and answers in your brain. Walking out, you wished you had another shot at a few of the questions, but you remained confident.

However, your confidence didn’t help the next two months go by any faster, as you obsessively check your inbox every 4 minutes waiting for the results of your efforts.

And then, one day in late March, you open your email as usual and discover an unopened email with this in the title …


Your heart jumps. The fate of your next year (at least) rides on the contents of this email.

You take a deep breath and push open. Your eyes scan through the greeting of the email and jump to the first paragraph.

This year, the Japan Embassies and Consulate-Generals in the participating countries….

“Oh come on just get on with it!” you scream internally, heart still pumping.

Then you reach the third paragraph:

“As a result of our review, unfortunately you were not selected to be a candidate for the ALT position for the 2018 JET Program.”


All that work. All those dreams. All that JAPAN. Gone. No Japan for you, right?


The above is something many JET hopefuls think, but in reality it is 100% wrong.

There are many awesome ways to work in Japan, even if you don’t speak Japanese, have no teaching experience, and have no experience abroad. has 20+ jobs that can be filled from applicants abroad at the time of writing this post. That’s a lot of jobs waiting for your resume.

While the JET Program is generally thought of as the best way to get started working in Japan, there are many other awesome positions that will allow you to get that year-long experience you are looking for, and/or act as a stepping stone to other positions in the future.

To help prove a point, I will list just a few here that offer a position and compensation comparable to the JET Program:–Miyagi-Iwate-Prefecture.html

I know it hurts. When you work towards a goal for a long time and don’t reach it, it hurts. But that’s life.

If working in Japan is something you’re serious about doing, there any many avenues open to you. It’s up to you to take advantage of them.

As a wise man once said, don’t let your dreams be dreams. Find an awesome job in Japan!


I'm Charlie and I've been in Japan since 2012. I started Live Work Play Japan to help foreigners in Japan to find their own version of success. I also wrote "The Smart Guide to Teaching English in Japan" which you can get on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle book.

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