No matter how well adjusted you are or even how much you enjoy your life in Japan, there will be times when you are frustrated. Please know that if you have a problem at work, are having a bad communication day, need help finding a doctor, or just want to have a normal English conversation, there are people you can call.
Your Host Institution
Your first point of contact is your supervisor or other people in your contracting organization. Hopefully, there will be someone there who will assist you with various daily matters (shopping, rent, etc.) and work-related problems. However, if communication with these people is difficult, or if the problem lies with them, all is not lost! There are other people you can call.
The next step in support are you Prefectural Advisors (PAs). Within each prefecture there are 3 PAs: an ALT PA, CIR PA, and Japanese PA. Each one works with the Board of Education to help solve work related problems for JETs. PAs help send out information like monthly newsletters and support JETs from the Prefectural level.
Several former JETs work as Programme Coordinators at CLAIR and are knowledgeable about both the Programme as well as Japan in general.
CLAIR JET Line: (03) 5213-1729 (Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:45pm)
Other Useful Numbers:
1. Tokyo English Life Line (TELL): (03) 5774-0992 (9 am to 11 pm)
2. AJET Peer Support Group (PSG) Line: 0120-43-7725 (8 pm to 7 am)
AJET PSG Skype: AJETPSG
1. International Medical Information Center: East Japan/Tokyo Tel: 03-5285-8088
West Japan: 06-4395-0555
If you feel that you need professional counseling or therapy, be aware that more than likely your therapist will not speak perfect English. Finding someone to talk to could be a challenge depending on how picky you are. There is one English language therapist working in Hiroshima. Her name is Carol Agrimson, and while she mostly specializes in family and marriage counseling, she is also willing to see clients for individual therapy. For more information you can contact your PAs. There are also foreign counselors working in Japan, mainly in the Tokyo and Osaka areas, but many offer counseling over the phone. Pricing is around the 10,000 yen mark for each therapy session. Dr Jim McRae in Tokyo, for example, has a special rate for JETs of 9,000 yen per 50-minute session.
The International Mental Health Professionals Japan website (www.imhpj.org) has a list of therapists including Dr. McRae and Ms. Agrimson, which can be accessed from the home page by hovering over “Find a Therapist” and then selecting “Clinical Members” or “Associate Clinical Members”. Alternately, you can ask your PA to refer you directly.
For more local support, please contact your Block Leader. The Hiroshima prefecture is divided into 6 major blocks. Each of these regions has a JET Block Leader there for local support. Click here to find this year’s Block Leaders.