Yokohama was cool, not bitterly cool, but just fresh. The sun was out and the skies were blue but it was still definitely jacket weather. So if it wasn't the heat, then what could explain my uncomfortably sweaty pits?
I went to Yokohama for the Returners Conference, a JET run 3 day business conference for JETs who have come to their senses and realised that "teaching" a bunch of teenagers how to 'repeat after me' isn't the best way to spend their lives. Armed with this revelation JETs take paid holiday, hop on buses, planes and ferries and find themselves in one of the most populated cities in Japan.
'JETs are extremely employable, we just need to communicate this'.
At the conference we're treated to speeches by ex-JETs, recruiters, entrepreneurs and professional thinkers about the state of the employing world and our chances as ex-JETs in finding work out there.
To paraphrase the overarching message of the conference, 'JETs are extremely employable, we just need to communicate this'. I personally don't have a problem with this message, I believe that I would be an asset to any company I'd work for... so considering this staggering self belief then, why was I leaking like a sieve?
a job that is ostensibly only limited by the scope of your own imagination but in reality it is confined by the limits of other peoples
The world, the big wide world, it's an awe inspiring concept isn't it? Endless horizons, blue skies that go on forever, so many comings and so many goings. Yokohama, with it's tall buildings, it's globally influenced architecture, it's port that welcomed ships from the different continents of the planet, the people that walk past you and don't stare! In Yokohama, much like the rest of the world, you're are not special by virtue of the place you were born, the colour of your skin or the languages you speak.
It's exciting, it's amazing, and it's boundless. At the conference I realised how very hamstrung I had been. In a country where I didn't know the language, in a job that is ostensibly only limited by the scope of your own imagination but in reality it is confined by the limits of other peoples lack of imagination. I've learnt and grown a lot working in Japan, but it has been the cloud to my silver lining more often than not.
There are negatives, I suppose, to all aspects of life, but what Yokohama presented to me and what was making me all excited was that I now could see my power to change things, to navigate my own course and find a life that suits me. I felt dwarfed by it, overwhelmed somewhat, but still, as I stood in the shadows of so many skyscrapers, monuments to success, expansion and entrepreneurism, I felt that if one of them would collapse and fall over my head I could survive it. I mean, I had survived two years in Japan, I can do anything, take on all comers.
So, Yokohama was cool, but it ignited something in me. Positivity, self-belief, something... and I had my first interview yesterday and I have my second tomorrow. Let the job hunt begin!