My interview/seminar location was in Dallas. I live near Kansas City. That, my friends, is an 8 hour drive. So that was how I spent the day before my interview. Luckily, I like driving, and it gave me time to collect my thoughts and prepare a little more. Once I got to the Dallas area, I stayed with a friend of mine who lives there (much cheaper than a hotel).

The seminar is supposed to start at 9am, and we have to be there by 8:50, so I aim for about 8:40. Friends's house is about 45 minutes away, possibly and hour and ten minutes with traffic, according to the interwebs. It's Saturday morning, so we don't think there will be any traffic, but I play it safe and leave around 7:30. Another miracle occurs and I don't get lost on the way to the hotel where it's being held and I arrive around 8:15. I wait in my car, going over my introduction and trying to relax until about 8:40, then I go on in.

I find my little group in the lobby. And by little, I mean a grand total of FIVE of us. When I heard seminar, I though there would be like, 30-50 of us. But no. FIVE. Three guys, two girls: the girl is a fresh grad like me, and the guys are a bit older, but still probably mid to late twenties. The recruiter is there, too, and we all kind of chat for a bit while we wait for everyone to show up. We're all nervous, but everyone seems really cool and really nice. It's a pretty casual atmosphere.

At 9:00, we head up to a conference room and get started, keeping that fairly casual mood. First, we introduce ourselves, telling where we're from, why we picked Interac and how we got into Japan/Japanese, and the craziest jobs we've had. Everyone has been to Japan and speaks some Japanese. Everyone seems extremely qualified. And when it's my turn, the recruiter lists off my credentials and is like, "Well, you are just perfectly geared for this job." And I'm embarrassed and joke, "Yeah, what else am I going to do with those?" I'm such a dork.

Also, the BYU and LDS thing came up rather quickly, and I was impressed with how he handled everything. I never straight-up said I was LDS, because I didn't want to influence his judgement in anyway, but being a BYU grad, it's kind of assumed. But he when out of his way to tell everyone what a great school BYU is for languages and how it's one of the top in the nation (which it is - 110 languages, baby). He also mentioned how the company isn't an LDS company, though the president and vice-president both are. But I really appreciated how he always said LDS instead of Mormon, and was very respectful overall. He also made some comments later about how I could make accommodations - like ordering a sprite at enkais (parties) and it'll look like a gin and tonic. I laughed.

So after that he talked to us about the company, what the job entails, the paperwork, and pretty much everything. This went on for about 2 1/2 hours with a short break, and it was a bit of an information overload, but we got papers and I'll be very glad about that later. Also, we had a short quiz on the info, which I totally got a gold star on for answering a question that was only answerable if you read the FAQ beforehand. :) Bonus points for me!

We take another short break and then come back to take the grammar test, which had some really simple sentences where you pick the correct tense, a section on passive/active voice, a section on spelling, and I think that was it. We were also given a personal test to work on when we finished, but as soon as everyone finished the grammar bits, we moved on to the most daunting part.

This next part was recorded so that it could be sent to the Japanese side. (Oh, and we had our pictures taken earlier, because Japanese resumes require pics.) We were told in advance about this, but not a WHOLE lot. There were three tasks: greet/warm-up a class, a self-introduction, and a 3 minute lesson/drill/activity. After each person went, the recruiter told them how they did, and what went well. I was the third person to go. The greeting was a simple "hello, class" and questions like, "what is the weather today" or "what day is today" type things to get them in english mode. The self intro was how we would introduce ourselves to our new co-workers, and we were encouraged to use Japanese if possible. (This is what I was freaking out about the other day - I was trying to do the whole thing in Japanese and I was just too rusty.) I totally fumbled a bit, but the recruiter was nodding a lot, so I think that went alright overall. Then the lesson. I was doing colors, and the recruiter heckled me, thanks to my background, but he said I handled him perfectly. So yay that.

Finally we were ready for the last part - individual interviews. We scheduled out half hour blocks for each of us, and I was fourth, so I had some time to kill. But by this time, it was about 1:00 (? maybe 1:30?) and the other girl was wanting to get some food. She didn't have a car, so I offered to go with her, and we drove around the corner to a McDonald's. She seemed really nice. Everyone, really, was so nice. We all chatted a lot and wished each other luck and really, any of them would be great for the company. However, Only about 1 in 3 are hired, so MAYBE 2 out of the 5 of us. Which is sad.

So my individual interview started out VERY well. He basically just looked at me and said I had a very good chance of being hired. Assuming my references turn out and the Japanese side likes me, I'm in. I've already contacted all my references, so they know to be on the look-out (assuming the stupid site doesn't screw up). Most of the questions he asked were straight-forward, easy, or had been so drilled into me at school that my response was all but automatic. He asked where I'd like to be placed and I said Kansai or Kanto regions, or Central/Southern Japan. Nooo more long winters for me. He mentioned earlier in the informational part that most offices had a Westerner to act as a buffer, but the Southern places often didn't, and if that would still be ok with me. I put on my brave face and said yes. He's thinking of recommending me for Hiroshima, where the office branch leader is Japanese, but also LDS and would take good care of me.

And this part really impressed me. He said they would do what they could to put me someplace where I would still be close to a church. I really didn't expect that. I wasn't going to bring it up at all and fend for myself, so I thought that was really cool.

And then that was pretty much it. He asked me if I would accept if they offered me a spot right now, and I said most likely, which lead into a discussion about JET and how he'll have to call them and tell them to not upgrade me, because he doesn't want to lose me to them.

Now Part Three, the references and the waiting.

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