How I Met Your Adventure: Sweet Smores

24 October 2013

How I Met Your Adventure is a series of posts featuring you, my readers! Whether it's that time you almost got arrested in Rome or a heartwarming story about finding love in Tokyo, I want to hear your unique travel story.

Mallory is the blogger behind Sweet Smores, a collection of thoughts about life, love, and travel.  She's currently an expat in Japan, teaching English to elementary and junior high school students.  When she's not traveling or teaching, she loves to relax with a cup of tea and immerse herself in the world of Japanese dramas and Korean pop or dreaming about her next trip. 

The Jet Program is a highly selective program! What do you think helped you get noticed among the hundreds of applicants?
I honestly have no idea what they look for!  I tried reading up on the qualifications that the program looks for in their applicants, but I either couldn't find much information or if I did find something, they were conflicting opinions.  I just wanted to let the application readers and interviewers know how passionate I am about Japan and teaching.  I fell in love with the country after I visited the first time and always looked for ways to come back.  This program allowed me to combine two things I love (traveling and teaching), which is something I was aiming to show the program representatives.  

Do you have any tips for someone who wants to teach English in Japan?
A tip I would have is to have some interest in teaching, rather than just using the program to be able to make money and travel.  Teaching English abroad does have the perks of making pretty good money and having the opportunities of traveling, but you have to remember that your priority is to teach students.  People are depending on you to give their children an education.  If you don't have the slightest interest in teaching, you may have a difficult time adjusting to your job.  Remember: the other things are just a bonus!  

How has it been adjusting to your new life abroad? Any challenges?
Adjusting to life in another country has had its highs and lows, but I'm happy to say that the highs definitely outweigh the lows.   The biggest challenge for me is the language barrier.  I took Japanese for only a year during university and it has been a struggle to communicate with many of my co-workers.  Most of the time I'm using every bit of energy to understand what people are saying, but end up nodding my head and saying yes.  I'm pretty sure I've said yes to questions that I probably shouldn't have said yes to...  

Your boyfriend is still stateside- what are your tips for maintaining a long distance relationship?
We recently co-wrote a post about long distance relationships! While it's been really difficult being apart, we've learned so much in the past couple months.  One of the biggest things for us is knowing what our goals are, as a couple and as individuals.  We know what we're working towards and we use our love for each other to motivate ourselves to do better each day.  Another thing is to be understanding.  When you're apart, there's a bigger chance of miscommunication since you're not always there to experience what they're experiencing or you may not always be able to video chat.  You have to be open to your new methods of communication and also the new experiences that both of you will have without the other.  

You've mentioned that experiencing the culture of Japan was a major goal of yours. What's been your favorite cultural experience so far?
I loved my town's Obon Festival. My co-workers helped me get dressed in a yukata, with a hand-tied bow.  Many women nowadays don't know how to tie an obi (the bow), so it was such an honor for me to be able to be dressed by someone who knows how to tie the obi.  At the festival, I danced the traditional dances with many of the other citizens and ate a lot of delicious food.  It was a moment when felt like I was really apart of the community.  

Share a secret- what's one of your favorite places that you've visited that tourists don't know about?
I loved Sekijuku. This was a stop on the Tokaido Road which connected Tokyo to Kyoto.  This is the only city along that road that still has about 200 of the original buildings from the Edo Period.  It was such a quaint town and I loved seeing the traditional architecture.  It was especially enjoyable since it wasn't swarming with tourists.  

Are there any touristy things in Japan that you think are a bit overrated?
I haven't come across anything that I thought was overrated, but if I do ever come across anything, I will let you all know!  

What's been your biggest adventure so far?
I would have to say moving to Japan.  I'm in my third month of living in another country and to date, that's the longest I've ever been in a foreign country.  I studied abroad in Seoul for two months, but I felt that it was a lot easier to live since I was a student and didn't have to worry about "adult" things.  The "adult" part of living here is also another thing I had to adjust to since this is my first real job.  I haven't had to worry about bills coming out of my own paycheck and budgeting until now.  It was weird and difficult in the beginning, but I'm getting used to it.  Moving halfway across the world was so nerve wrecking and exciting at the same time, but this is definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I was open to this new experience because it was one of my goals to live in another country.  I can't wait for all the exciting adventures to come! 

Want more of Mallory? Check out her blog, Sweet Smores or follow her on twitter!

Want to be a part of How I Met Your Adventure? Email me ( for an interview!

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  1. Thank you so much for featuring me! It was a lot of fun :)

    1. Thanks so much for doing the interview!