Dear potential JETs,
It has come to my attention that one of my posts was recently cited in your message boards as a cause for concern. It never occurred to me that some of the stuff I spout would be a cause for concern (except, of course, with relation to my sanity). Granted yes, it was only one person who showed concern, and had such person been a little more in touch, they probably would have realized that when I mentioned Secretaries being groomed as potential wives at the Kaisha, that it did not it any way whatsoever, apply to her situation as a potential English teacher in Japan. As a JET participant, who exactly would you be groomed for anyway? The male science teacher? The kids?!
Said person stated, "I also know that applying for jobs in Japan always involves submitting marital status and a photo, so your looks DO count." I believe they are asking for your marital status in the way the government would during a Census year, not because they are only looking for single women to pair off with whatever single males happen to be lying around the office. I find the photo thing reprehensible as it's just not done in Canada, but to the best of my knowledge it is fairly common in some other Commonwealth countries. Again however, this does not mean they are doing a "hot or not" competition while sifting through the piles of applications they receive every year. Despite what any company may argue to the contrary, I believe that including a photo definitely affects one's initial impression of applicants but if JET (or any other organization/company for that matter) did not hire "average-looking" people, there would be very few English teachers in Japan. And before your knee jerks so hard you find a bruise tomorrow, I am not saying that JETs or English teachers here are fugly on the whole, but take any group of people (excepting perhaps models) and there is going to be a huge range of looks and body sizes.
It's the same in Japan. All these foreign guys with Asian fever fail to understand is that the percentage of hot women here is not abnormally high compared to other countries, it's just that women here tend to dress up more and spend more time looking pleasing and feminine than other places. Effort aside however, an average Japanese girl in a prim skirt with ribbons and bows is just that, she doesn't suddenly get hotter. I think women here are over-hyped. There are some real hot ones and some real not ones, just as there are everywhere else in the world. They do tend to be smaller, and more compact, but you can't really go back in time and come back as an Asian woman now can you?
If you are female and come on the JET program, you should come with a healthy body image. If you have any problems with how you look, particularly when it comes to weight, you will probably end up trash-talking Japanese women for being petite bitches and complaining that there are no stores with your size. This is a reality and why there is a such a thing as shopping on the internet with plastic.
If you like yourself and have confidence, you shouldn't have trouble avoiding the aforementioned pitfalls, nor should you have trouble finding a bf, be it Japanese or foreign. Keep in mind though ladies, that there is a much smaller pool of foreign guys to choose from and an even smaller pool if you take out all those who have come down with a bad case of Asian fever. So unless you pull that stick out of your ass and consider dating Japanese boys and learning Japanese, you should resign yourself to waiting around for one of those gaijin boys who want to date you to materialize. They do exist, and frankly if gaijin guys here cross you off their list just for being similarly gaijin, they aren't worth pursuing in the first place. I've dated foreign guys here and it was generally a positive experience; if you are attractive (inside, outside, wherever), it will translate.
Why did I make the snarky stick out of ass comment? Because I am sick of hearing lonely foreign girls complain about there being no nice gaijin boys here. Did they not come through the same immigration gates that I did? The ones that were clearly marked, Welcome to Japan in several languages? This is Japan and because of that, there are funnily enough, a plethora of hot Japanese guys, some of who will date foreign girls. Glorious day!
In short ladies (and gents for that matter too), come to Japan, learn Japanese and make an effort in the morning to look nice. You can glean a lot from how someone dresses, and while it may not be fair, you will probably be treated with more respect here if you care about your looks and avoid dressing like a tourist or an English-teaching bum. I'm not saying these things to scare you, but one of the biggest complaints I hear about Japanese girls is that they are a) small and b) well put together. In coming to Japan, you may learn to have a new-found respect for your straight teeth, curly hair, or ski-jump nose. I have never thought of my nose as a source of compliments but coming to Japan changed all that. Over the last 3 years I have received stares of amazement followed by shrieks of jealousy over my nose and big eyes. You'd think I was little red riding hood's fucking grandmother or something. Apparently it is quite the party trick when you can't see over your nose when looking sideways. Go figure.
I digress, as usual, and while I don't have experience officially teaching English in Japan, I hardly think you need to worry about JET feeling like you work for a Japanese company. They are not grooming you for marriage, they just want your Native English Skills. The only time you will have to worry is if you find yourself at a Japanese company as the lone white girl, among a sea of perky, fake-smiling, shiny haired, snaggle-toothed Secretaries, wondering just how exactly, you got there.