Digging through my hard drive during a backup and lookee what I found:

Application for “JET” Program, 2006
Personal Statement
November, 2005
Personal Statement
To Accompany the Application for the 2006 “JET” Program

At the age of ten, I took my first trip to Japan. It was a ten-day exchange program through my elementary school that was intended for older kids. I talked my way into it, as the youngest participant on record, by virtue of an enthusiasm that has only grown with time. 4th grade was my introduction to Japanese language and culture, which may have influenced my sudden desire to travel, but ultimately I cannot truly remember what spark it was that made me want to go. Quite vivid, however, are the many experiences that made me return for three longer visits, host exchange students in my home, and devote years of study to the country and the language. I don’t have space here to go into these details, unfortunately, but they are among my fondest memories, and by the time I was living in Shikoku and attending local high school in the summer of 2000, I was absolutely certain that this is where I wanted to be. It was here that I encountered my first JET. Hers sounded like a dream job to me, and ever since, I have planned on applying to the JET program. Six years later, my goals remain the same. JET seems a perfect combination of my passions and my training. I had always excelled in language arts and literature, while sweating my way laboriously through things like chemistry and calculus. In college, I took classes that came to me as natural interests, and they always involved Japanese and English studies. For me, diligence is easily come by when engaged in an activity that I am passionate about. An English degree encompassed my love of language and my love of literary arts, and by extension, I always saw teaching as my field, as the opportunity to pass on that love of learning and excitement for language and literature.
Not only am I well acquainted with Japanese culture, history and customs, I also have a total of eight years of formal language education, not to mention the invaluable time I spent immersed in Japanese during my visits to the country. I have hosted Japanese friends in the states, participated in leadership and exchange programs, and have always sought to further my own studies while fostering greater cultural understanding. While at Reed, because they do not offer Japanese language courses, I have applied the same ethic to Spanish and Hispanic literature.
In sum, my case for my selection is this: I am a person who has always felt at home abroad, always found endless fascination in foreign cultures, particularly that of Japan, and furthermore, I have the tools and the training of a lifetime of education in this field. As a college graduate, I want to start building a resume that will allow me to begin a lifetime of teaching, while continuing to expand my experience with Japan, fostering strong inter-cultural relationships and partnerships, providing me with skills that I can apply anywhere in the world while adding my own perspective, my skills and experience to the Japanese community. I have been accepted to a CELTA certified teacher-training course as part of my commitment to this goal. For six years this program has been all I wanted to do, my plan for getting started in the post-baccalaureate world. Japan has always felt like a home to me, and as the cost of college and my commitment to Reed has prevented me from continuing my travels to Japan and my Japanese studies, I look forward to this opportunity to resume them with great anticipation.

Ed Thanhouser

….my god… its just DRIPPING with arrogance, post-private-school nonchalance, snickering elitism… it’s so strange to see yourself from this faraway. They say hindsight is 20/20. Well, get me a better prescription, cause I don’t recognize the brat who wrote this ceremonious pile of self-aggrandizing poo.

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  1. November 11, 2008

    Heh, you shouldn’t worry about it too much. I figure pretty much all JET essays are “ceremonious pile of self-aggrandizing poo”. At least, I know for sure that mine was 😉 When I wrote my essay, my interest in teaching was not only waning, the thought of my unpcoming internship was enough to make me puke. Yet, I prattled on about how much I looooved teaching and kids and how this would be a great opportunity to practice before I started a full fledged career back home. So yeah, not only was mine pompous, it was also basically a total lie. But I didn’t think “I wanna go to Japan because my life has no direction and I have no clue what I want to do with it even thought I just finished 4 years of university.” would’ve been a winning statement…

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