Early Days: Arrival & Orientation

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Arrival and Orientation 

While preparation is of course a vital part of the leadup to your JET departure, preparation only goes so far without proper execution. In this article, we’ll be providing a general overview of the departure process, including the flight and Tokyo orientation.  


Before the Flight 

Depending on your situation, it may be worth staying at a hotel near the airport the night before your flight. Traffic around Dublin can get quite bad, and if you’re being accompanied by family or friends you don’t want a rushed goodbye. Hotels like the Radisson, Maldron and Clayton all offer 24 hour shuttle bus services. Taking a flight halfway around the world can be a tough experience, and directly after a three hour drive from Munster or Connacht will only make it harder.  

Take it as easy as you can: get a good rest and don’t eat too much. Lay off the minibar and get to bed early. There’ll be plenty of time to celebrate once you set down in Tokyo.  

You will likely be instructed to register with Visit Japan Web, the Japanese government’s entry procedure service within a few weeks of your flight. Register your flight to Japan with your visa details and other information to receive an immigration clearance QR code, which will speed up your entry process greatly. You are also able to fill out a customs form to get a similar QR code for your customs declaration. If you do not obtain these QR codes you will need to fill out paper forms on your flight to Japan. Immigration procedures are hard enough without being sleepless on a long-haul flight, so do yourself a favour and get registered. 


On the Day 

On the day of the flight, keep in mind that the weather in Japan is going to be much warmer than Dublin. With an average temperature of 31 degrees in August (and unfortunately trending higher) compounded by the humidity of a typical Japanese summer, showing up in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt will be a great way to find yourself extremely hot and bothered on arrival. If you’re concerned about looking professional or not, don’t worry: you don’t need to impress anyone getting off the plane. A polo shirt or even a t-shirt with light trousers or shorts will be plenty. Similarly, make sure you’ve easy-to-wear shoes.  

The Japanese Embassy’s JET Desk will be issuing you detailed instructions and the itinerary of the day. First things first, you will gather at your terminal, where JET staff will be waiting to assist you and say goodbye. You’ll then queue for baggage check-in. The queue can take some time depending on the day of your flight, so be ready to stand and wait for some time.  

Once you’ve checked in and received your boarding passes, you’ll move on to airport security. Make sure all your hand luggage is compliant with the latest security regulations from the airport, found here.  

After getting through security, it is best to make your way directly to the departure gate. While you may be tempted to buy omiyage in The Loop duty-free shopping center, you likely won’t have time. At most, grab a bottle of water from a vending machine to stay hydrated.  

There are no direct flights to Japan from Ireland. Instead, depending on JET, you will be flying to a continental European or Middle Eastern airport (common examples include Charles DeGaulle, Schipol and Doha). The layover will not be long, so as before make your way to your departure gate without getting sidetracked. Depending on your layover airport, you may already have been flying for some time now, so take it easy! Don’t rush unless you absolutely need to, and keep your wits about you, as well as an eye on your belongings.  

Once you’re on your flight to Tokyo, kick back and relax. Do try and get some sleep if you can, or at least close your eyes for a few hours. The time zone difference between Japan and Ireland can be a killer: you may find yourself waking up at about 4AM in the morning for your first week in Japan.  

You will also be handed out a disembarkation form and customs form by airline staff during the flight. If you did not fill out your details on Visit Japan Web (above) you will need to fill out these documents to gain entry in Japan. If you have your QR codes from Visit Japan Web, you have no need to fill these out.  



After disembarking, make your way through immigration. Airport and CLAIR staff will direct you through the airport to the immigration office. After your visa is checked, you will be brought to a side office at immigration to have your Residence Card (Zairyuu Card) issued. This card is proof of your right to live and work in Japan, and you must carry it at all times when going out.  

After a warm welcome to Japan, you can make your way to baggage claim and customs. After picking up your bags, just scan your customs QR code and pass through the x-ray gate and into Japan. Congratulations, you made it! 

CLAIR staff will rendezvous with you, and organise all present JETs to bring them to a hired bus that will take you to the orientation hotel. Don’t worry: the bus will be air-conditioned! 



The day after your arrival, your two-day orientation will begin. The contents will vary between CIRs and ALTs, but it is essentially general training designed to prepare you for a wide variety of situations, including event and lesson planning, material design, proposal design and disaster preparation. Follow CLAIR guidance and participate to the best of your ability, as this will give you some idea of what to expect in your position. 


Luggage and Travel to your Placement 

During the Tokyo orientation JETs must forward their suitcases via a forwarding service provided by the travel agency contracted with CLAIR. As the amount of luggage each JET brings is going to vary from person to person, this allows CLAIR to buy standard fares for travel to placements. Even the shinkansen has outsize luggage fees! Due to luggage weights varying from person to person, JETs are responsible to cover the cost of their luggage. One 20KG suitcase takes around 3-5000 yen.  

JETs are typically asked to forward any suitcases, and carry three days worth of clothes and belongings themselves to their placement in their backpack, duffel bag etc. The three days’s worth is mainly to prepare for the worst-case scenario: to our knowledge no luggage has ever been lost. The luggage is delivered to your workplace and is generally there either upon your arrival or the day after.  

Your contracting organisation will be in touch with you at this time and will be providing you guidance on the journey to your placement. They will have the most experience regarding travel between Tokyo and your placement, so follow their advice. Most COs will try to send staff to pick you up from Tokyo, but depending on the situation you may have to travel alone. 

CLAIR pays for your travel to your placement, but how exactly this is handled is a little complex. Due to laws regarding the use of public money, sometime after your arrival, you will receive an invoice for your travel to your placement, including shinkansen fees or any other modes of transport you took. You will need to pay this money via bank transfer to the travel agency used. DON’T PANIC! This is normal. Once you have paid it you will log your journey as a business trip with your office, and will then be reimbursed according to your workplace’s system. Sometimes you’ve got to spend money to save money, and it’s no different when it comes to Japanese travel. You will also be invoiced at this time for your luggage, but as this is considered a personal expense you won’t see that money back. Given that the alternative is being stiffed with an extra fine on the shinkansen or at the airport, it’s money well spent. 

There won’t be any time for exploring Tokyo station or elsewhere on your day of departure. Follow your organisation’s instructions and contact them if there’s an emergency, but don’t worry! Japanese public transport is punctual and regular: if you miss your connection by accident, there’ll be another train along soon. Don’t panic or stress as you embark on your journey, just be mindful of your surroundings. 



Once you arrive in your placement, your contact with CLAIR and JET will become greatly diminished. Barring annual training and events, you will rarely interact with CLAIR staff, and you will primarily be getting support from your workplace. While flying to Tokyo and then receiving orientation you will be under the care of JET and CLAIR, so do not worry unduly.  

If you are unclear on something, where to go or what to do, just speak up. Stay with your group when travelling, and follow CLAIR’s instructions. This is only the beginning of your time on JET, and once you arrive at your placement the real work will begin. Use your orientation to get acclimated to Japan and catch up on rest. Everything else will follow. 


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