There has been a number of books written by JET's or ex-JET's.

Sam Baldwin, For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan 2011

For Fukui's Sake: Two years in rural Japan

Exploring Japan’s culture and cuisine, as well as its wild places and wildlife, For Fukui’s Sake is an adventurous, humorous and sometimes poignant insight into the frustrations and fascinations that face an outsider living in small town, backcountry Japan.

Nicholas Klar, My Mother is a Tractor: A Life in Rural Japan 2006

David L. McConnell, Importing Diversity: Inside Japan's JET Program 2000

Bruce Feiler, Learning to Bow 1991

This book is the standard text for anybody thinking of taking part in the JET Programme. While sometimes it does read like an academic thesis and can be a bit heavy going, it covers the the inception of the programme and it's early evolution very thoroughly. It presents both sides of the story from JETs themselves and their Japanese colleagues, although it does tend to focus on the negative experiences more than the positive, simply because they make more interesting reading. A very enjoyable read. The only downside is that the book is now a bit old. The programme has changed in many ways since it was written, but the core experience probably hasn't. - Andrew Hancock, ALT in Hita, Oita Prefecture 2005-2007 {C}


Having read all three of the above books they all come with blessings and curses and each will appeal to different readers. I read Importing Diversity and Learning to Bow as I prepared to come on JET. I found both of them useful and providing a good insight as to what to expect. Feiler has gone on to a successful writing career but I did find his style a bit grating at times (just me, others may not), as well as a bit dated. However it still seems the best known - probably in part due it's position as the first book on the JET experience. As stated above by Andrew I also thought McConnell's book was worthwhile but dry and, if possible, it could now do with an updating - particularly on the increasing 'privatization' of the JET Program. The standard of writing in My Mother is a Tractor is a bit disparate - part blog, part social commentary, part MDN wai wai but, despite flipping between the three constantly, comes out as a balanced read. I read this one after my return from JET and found myself feeling all natsukashii in some places, laughing out loud at others, but sometimes cringing too when recognising myself or friends in the same likenesses of Klar's motley crew. - 'Sara Turvey', Ehime ALT, 2003-2005

Please feel free to add more titles to this list. If you've read one of these books, why not write a short review?


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