Kay Dunkley – Rising Author

Kay Dunkley's interview with JETAA Jamaica

Q: When (how long) and where were you in Japan?

A: I was in Japan from July 2000 to July 2003. That was before JETs could stay longer than 3 years.

Q: How was your time in Japan?

A: My time in Japan in the beginning was difficult. I had days that I felt like a human tape recorder and days that were just “blah”. But as I adjusted and accepted Japan and my community I changed my perspective and really did my best to immerse myself in Japan. My community was awesome and I really got to experience Japan intimately. I really enjoyed all of the experiences and the friendships made. Some of my friendships last till now.

Q: Give us a synopsis of your book.

A: My book, “Island Stories”, talks about episodes about my stay in Japan. The book is autobiographical in nature. The book represents “the good, the bad and the ugly” of being a black female JET. I was the first JET at my school and in my community. With that came certain experiences, some of which I can look back on with a smile, while others are still thought-provoking.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

A: I have always enjoyed reading about the experiences of others and I hope that my book will open the eyes of a reader to the beauty of Japan and the possibility of being a JET.

Q: What has the response been like?

A: The response has been good. I have sold more than 200 copies. I hope to improve sales by publishing on Amazon before the end of 2019.

Q: Do you have any plans for writing any other books?

A: Yes I do. I would like to write and publish another set of stories about Japan. I would also like to write and publish a text book for learning another language (that one is still in my head).

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in going to Japan on the JET Programme?

A: My advice to anyone going on the JET Programme is to really examine your reason for participating in the programme before you go. If it’s about making money, this programme may not be for you. If it is about giving of yourself as an ambassador / spokesperson and learning another culture and way of life (good and bad), start researching and asking questions about the programme. As a Jamaican JET your way has been paved but if you go for the wrong reason you may be faced with many, many challenges.

Q: What advice would you give to someone about to return or who has recently to Jamaica from Japan?

A: I would say be gentle with yourself. Resettling in Jamaica can be difficult especially because the day to day concerns of Jamaica are more than the day to day concerns in Japan. Be gentle with Jamaicans because now your perspective is wider than most persons you will interface with.

Q: Would you return to live in Japan? Why or why not?

A: Japan is one of my comfort zones. When I go back (last visit was 2015) I get to visit my old school and meet my friends and teachers. I am not sure I would live there though as my career path is a lot different now. But, I am already planning my next trip there. 


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