■ Job Type：CIR（Coordinator for International Relations）
■ Prefecture：Shizuoka ■ Years on Programme：2008-2013
“You were accepted to the JET Programme, for Iwata City, Shizuoka Prefecture” said the e-mail sent by the Consulate General of Japan in Curitiba, Brazil, on 19 February, 2008. It is no exaggeration to say that at that time I felt I had won the lottery. I had been given the chance to be part of such a far-reaching exchange programme, and my life on the JET Programme has been one of the most, if not the most, fulfilling experiences ever.
Iwata City is located in the west of Shizuoka Prefecture and is known for being the hometown of Jubilo Iwata – a Japanese league soccer team – and the headquarters of Yamaha Motors. It has a population of about 173,000 people, including about 4,000 Brazilians.
This is my fifth and final year as a CIR. My main duties involve not only translation and interpretation, but also activities for the promotion of local internationalisation by doing presentations about Brazil and its culture at elementary and junior high schools, neighbourhood associations, elderly clubs, etc. There is not a single day I do not learn something new, and even better, I get to meet new people during each visit.
Hearing comments like, “thank you,” and “I enjoyed learning about Brazil,” I feel how rewarding it is to work as a CIR, especially because I get to speak about Brazil not only to Japanese people, but also to young Brazilians who were born in Japan and still do not know much about their parents’ country.
For these and many other reasons, the JET Programme has without a doubt changed my life and the way I see things, in addition to giving me the opportunities to improve my language skills, learn about Japanese culture, and visit different and amazing places.
It will be something I will cherish forever and for that I am eternally grateful to the JET Programme and also to the people of Iwata City.