a merkypie in japan

The first thing that comes to someone’s mind when you say, ” Are you prepared “, is probably, ” Do I have everything? ”

It’s natural. When we’re going someplace, we’re always worried about what we physically have. Did we forget our keys? License? Passport? Did we forget to pack a towel? Clothes? Personal care items? Did we make sure to lock the house?

Are we prepared?

On the exterior, yes. You are prepared. But are you “prepared”?

Wait, why am I asking this again? Well, because, it’s important. Are you prepared? Are you mentally prepared?

As I continue my pre-departure adventure, I’ve noticed so many fellow shortlisted JETs get caught up on the exterior aspect of being prepared and not on the interior part of being prepared. The skills needed to survive. The know-how on getting around without a support system. The self reliance on one’s self and not having to depend on others. Independence. Survival. Stability.

Being prepared.

Like I mentioned in an entry a few days ago, a large percentage of all participants on this program are recent college graduates. Majority of whom have never left their parent’s wings. Yes, they may have stayed at a dorm while away in school, but, they never left the support system that ties them to their parents. If anything went wrong, mommy and daddy were just a call away. Not saying for all JETs, but for most this is the case. So, when this group of individuals are shipped off over seas without their support system nearby, what will they do? How will they survive? How will they learn to be independent? What will keep them stable and not freak out three months later?

Reading the official forums always makes me worried. So many people focus too much on the exterior and not on the interior. They depend on others to find the answers for them. They don’t take the effort in trying to be self sufficient, to try to find their own answers… to be independent. When you’re the only English speaking individual in town, there will be no forum with you when you’re running into an issue at the post office or bank. So how will these people learn how to be self sufficient? To finally be adults?

I don’t know.

This period between now and departure is crucial. We have to learn crucial skills to survive on our own without our family and yet try to spend as much time with our family because we will not see them for a year or more. We have to mentally prepare ourselves to be self sufficient and to not depend on anyone to do the work for us. We must calm down, not be frazzled, and try to look at all the avenues before freaking out. Once the freakout happens in Japan, there will be no one to catch you.

Every day, people go about their business and find the answers on their own because the moment requires it. It’s not anyone else’s responsibility but our own to make sure that our situation is right and together. So when someone asks, ” Are you prepared “, it is important to remember that it doesn’t only mean if you made sure you packed three work shirts, but rather, are you prepared to enter a situation where you will have no one to rely on but yourself.

And on a completely light hearted note, have a youtube

  • Lurky

    I hope you know you are really annoying. It isn’t your job to preach to others.

    • Merkypie

      <3 trolls

    • nicoleai

      Lurky: I hope you know you’re an asshat. If you’re one of the whiners from the forums who specifically came here to troll, you must live a very boring existence if this is what you like doing with your time.

      Merkypie: I agree with what you said, sometimes people are too concentrated on making sure they packed everything for something as big as this to have prepared themselves mentally.

  • ajisai

    great post! I heartily agree, living on your own for the first time and in a foreign country can really catch people off guard sometimes. I guess it’s a lot easier to decide what dress shirts to pack then to really sit down and think about the “what ifs.”
    what is I am the only English speaker in my inaka mura?
    How will I deal with things that are out of my control/comfort level?