Yesterday was the prefectural meeting for JETs going back to their home country. There was already a conference in March that I went to, which dealt mostly with possible career choices. This one was about what you should make sure to do in the months (actually now less than two) running up to your departure. The most important aspect of the leaving procedure (at least from my point of view) is the return of the pension payments that are automatically taken from our monthly salaries. If you ask someone to be your tax representative before you leave, you can claim the full amount (20% is taken as tax if you don't do this). I was expecting to maybe get a months' salary all tolled, but it's actually more like three. Jackpot! Suddenly I realise I'm going to have a lot more money that I'd expected to have when I go home.
The other thing that I needed to sort out was my flight. I'm more or less set on going back on the 29th of July, which is the day my Alien Registration Card expires. If I were to stay beyond that date I would have to change my status to that of a tourist so I could stay up to another three months. But I don't really want to be around when all the new people are here and the atmosphere is exciting and fresh. I think I'll just feel depressed.
Anyway, I went to a couple of travel agents, and aside from the ridiculous difference in price between the two, and how illogically expensive a one-way ticket is compared to a return, another frustrating fact presented itself. Flying with crappy KLM (okay, they're not AWFUL, but they're not particularly great) from Kansai - the nearest big international airport - costs TWICE what it would cost to fly British Airways (usually a more expensive airline) from Narita, which is on the other side of the country. In an ideal world I could fly from Tokushima to Tokyo Haneda, then get the limosine bus to Narita. However, the one flight a day Tokushima does to Tokyo would arrive too late to catch the BA flight.
I must fess up that it's not the price I care about so much as getting a good airline and reducing waiting time. This is because I don't ultimately have to pay for it - my contracting organisation foots the bill.