JET, the program that sits foreigners in Japan behind an internet connection, and lets them blog away.

An update to a post of mine back in February, involving a JET [Japan Exchange Teacher] who frequently commented at this site who apparently got into a spat with fellow JETs over who was a bigger embarrassment to the JET Programme. Subsequently, that JET was attacked over an anonymous website (what I call slam blog), and there is now litigation.

My current portfolio of things that I have going on made me cut back my posting here, but it’s not that I don’t have tick-filed the whole mysterious slam blog project, for one(s) that have gone at myself. One on the list, you’ll recall, was “Billowy Kimono”. This was the one that had attacked me in August 2010, around the time that Ken Yasumoto-Nicholson began the (now defunct) Tepido website, and about a month before the more aggressive “Japan Blog Review” appeared.

“Billowy Kimono”, it appears, is no more.

Japan Blog Review hasn’t made an entry in over four months, and one has to wonder what the whole purpose of that website was, too. (I’m compared to Jack Nicholson in the Shining in that last post there.)

To the extent that JBR was connected to Billowy Kimono, and probably created at the start on someone’s JET time, I think the more interesting aspect of it all is how much spare time the participants in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program have on their hands.

Is it at all likely that these self-described cultural ambassadors sit around all day and make blogs? Do Facebook? Skype? Otherwise connect with their fellow English teachers throughout the program?

I think it’s more likely to have this happen in JET than with the generic ALTs, since I’m not sure the school districts in Japan that opt out of JET aren’t very cost conscious about what they are paying the itinerant foreigner to do.

I’d be curious how much of “Billowy Kimono” was put together via an internet link that was coming from the Board of Education in Minami Alps district. I’d be interested how much of Japan Blog Review is posted through a Tor anonymizer software link. But, as I say, that’s got to be tick-filed for now.

[Update 10/11/12: Why is this, about a program sponsored by the Japanese government, of any value to the average American? Well, the JET Program has been a farm system of sorts for the US State Department. Until recently, in fact, the State Department used to brag about the number of ex-JETs on the federal payroll in Japan.

This promotion declined, however, when it started being pointed out that the first for-pay job that these actual diplomats were working in (term used loosely), were in the pay of the Japanese—not us! So these juniors, if successful, basically learned to navigate the education system in Japan and see things Japan’s way. To make excuses for why Japan “is” the way it is.

Additionally, as I’ve said, part of the JET experience seems to be filling time over the internet. Then, castigate anyone who’s got something to offer as constructive criticism. In so far as these attacks go at Americans (fellow Americans, even), I guess that’s part of the State Department prep, maybe?

Where the program must have served some useful exchange during the late 1980s and early 1990s, all of these dispatch services have filled a gap with providing the light-resume foreigner to give the students that non-Japanese exposure. For several years, I’ve said that Japan should reform the program. Despite one or two noises along the way, like the jigyou shiwake, nothing seems to have changed.]