My son applied to the JET Program this winter and much to his surprise he was accepted. He actually had an excellent interview, lots of laughs and conversation well past the time allotted for it. But at the end he was asked a question which he was convinced was the deal-breaker: Could you describe what a transitive verb is? He hemmed and hawed and gave the “Can I get back to you later on that?” reply. Since the JET Program is about teaching English in Japan, he thought he blew it.
Today he got his placement—Kagoshima prefecture, Satumasendai. It is located at the most southwestern point of Japan (about as far away from the Fukushima power plants as possible on mainland Japan). Some have called it the Naples of Japan because of its location on a beautiful bay. From reading about the weather, it sounds more like Miami Beach. It is only a 4 hour bullet train ride to Kyoto and a 7 hour bullet train ride to Tokyo. (And close to Nagasaki, Shanghai, and South Korea). He does not know yet what school(s) he will be at, or where precisely he will be living.
He does not speak Japanese and has immersed himself in learning it in classes and using Rosetta Stone. He wrote out some hirgana on a napkin tonight at the restaurant he is working at and where we were eating dinner, demonstrating his new handwriting skills. Because he is a theater person (majored in it in school), he is actually having a wonderful (and quite dramatic) time learning to speak it too.
He leaves in about 5 weeks, July 23 to be exact. He will be gone for at least a year. And yes, of course, we are going to visit. This is a major adventure for him. Though IB will take risks and fully enjoys the experiences which follow, he has never been one to throw himself at them without some trepidation. This is a big step for him and he is utterly excited.
And I am thrilled for him too…and a bit melancholy. Though with modern technology, like skype, the distance will be much reduced, still nothing can replace the real face to face time, the real physical interactions with ones we love. I will miss him a lot.
I remember some counsel given to me by IB when he was small (6 or 7 years old) when I was trying to decide whether to take a job at another school or not. He turned to me and said, “You know how it is with adventures, Mom. Sometimes you just have to go on ’em.” I can’t think of any better advice.
(By the way a transitive verb has two characteristics: first it is an action word [want, eat, take, make, grab] and second it takes a direct object, someone or something which receives the action.)