Interview by Chris Simmons
July marks Michael Jason Warren’s fourth year enjoying the countryside of Gonohe, with a fifth year rapidly approaching. Michael misses the diversity of L.A. and New York, but digs the food, tea, and music scene in Japan. He has learned a lot along the way and offers his advice, “If you need help recording some music, cleaning and rearranging your place, or figuring out how to eat healthier, I have lots of experience and want to share what I know. My place is always available if you’re looking to listen to records and eat an omelette – come on over!”
Why did you choose to join JET?
I chose to join JET because I was interested in teaching, and I’d spent the previous summer in Kyoto and was wanting to experience more of Japan. JET brought those two things together.
What do you hope to gain from JET?
I’ve already gained all that I could ever have hoped for. I’ve spent four years in Gonohe that have progressively gotten better (though there have been many bumps along the way). I’ve made many friends and have taught hundreds of unique students. For my last year here I’m focused on giving my students as much real world experience as possible. They’ll be writing praise or complaint letters to a company of their choice (thanks to Dave Herlich for the idea), and my whole junior high is putting together a time capsule, among other projects!
No definite plans right now. This spring and summer I’ll be taking a few trips to LA to record a full-length album that I recently secured the funding for via Kickstarter (thanks to many Aomori JETs for your support!). Perhaps I’ll form a big-band and travel the world? Or I might just go home and read.
List a few things you like about Japan:
I love the food, the tea culture. And the music!:
Do you have any interesting or embarrassing stories about adjusting to Japanese culture?
Nothing comes to mind. That probably means that everything was embarrassing and I’m still adjusting.