Where were you in Japan as a JET and when?
I was in Nagasaki-ken from 2000-2004.
What sparked your interest in applying for the JET program?
I had taught English in Mexico and the US, and was interested in seeing a totally different part of the world. JET was an excellent way to do just that.
What are some of the things your prefecture is known for? Ex. food, hotspots, etc.
Nagasaki was the first place that the Dutch settled in Japan, just over 400 years ago. Even when the rest of Japan was closed off to foreigners, they were allowed to stay (albeit in limited capacity).
Did you pick up any of the regional dialects? What are some of your favorite words or phrases?
Not specifically, but I still remember the funny local dialect. For example, they would say "gumbarumba!!" instead of "ganmbarimashou".
If you were to return to live in Japan, would you choose to live in that same prefecture?
My first posting was in Hirado City, a beautiful island connected to the mainland by a Golden Gate-looking bridge. The people were very warm and welcoming. I loved it and would definitely enjoy living there again.
How has your connection in relation to Japan changed since living in Japan?
I returned to Japan in 2010, thanks to the fully-funded Rotary Peace Fellowship. I studied at the graduate school at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, which is one of the top private universities in Japan. It was a wonderful way to return to Japan six years later and in a much different capacity. I later worked at the Japan ICU Foundation in NYC for four years and am still very much involved in JETAA. Without my original experience on JET, I never would have lived in Japan once, much less twice, and never would have gone on to travel, work, or study in places like China, Thailand, Bangladesh, and so on.