Note: This was written in July 2017 right after my initial training. I'm posting it now, in 2021, because I no longer work at AEON. I'm leaving it as is to show you what I thought at the time.
You won't be reading this post until after my time at AEON has come to a close. Because of that, I can't guarantee that anything in this post will accurately reflect your own training if you come to work at AEON. This is even more true as I have been given the impression already that there can be a number of differences in training between regions. (I was in the Seibu region for reference.) That being said, I know I was anxious before I arrived in Japan, so I hope I can provide some information to set you at ease if you're going to work for AEON and are nervous about what to expect.
Friday: Arrival in JapanI arrived at Kansai International Airport on a Friday. (Note in March 2021: For some reason I didn't write about this, but to my recollection, I received my residence card while going through immigration at the airport as well, so that picture, which was taken right after getting off multiple international flights, was on my first residence card that lasted for three years, so be warned of that.)
After making it through immigration and customs, I had around a half hour to walk around the airport before an AEON staff member arrived to pick us up. He was friendly and immediately helped me ship my luggage to my branch school (as only my carry on would be going with me to training in Okayama).
Two other trainees arrived at the airport that day, but both were going to different regions from me. Because of this, the AEON staff member was going with them while I was given a ticket, taken to the train, and put on it by myself. After days of flying, I was exhausted but determined to stay awake for the entire trip out of fear that I would miss my stop.
When I got off that train, another AEON employee was waiting to get me from the regular train to the bullet train. It was on the bullet train that I really had to struggle against sleep. I think that I dozed of once or twice (which was much easier to do on the train than it had been the plane for some reason), but luckily, I didn't miss my stop, and I was greeted by one of the trainers at the station.
We met the one other trainee in my training group at the station as well, and we were taken back to the dormitories, which occupied a building around the corner from the training center itself.
We each had our own bedroom. (If there'd been more trainees, we'd have had roommates. There were two beds in each room.) There was a common room with a kitchen, ironing board, etc. There was also a washer and even a dryer (rare for Japan), though we were also given racks to air dry our clothes in our rooms.
Enough about the living conditions though, onto the training itself:
We had two trainers, and since there were only two of us trainees, there's a lot of focus on you individually. Both of our trainers were nice. (I've already heard some things about trainers in other regions not being as nice, so I'm thankful for that.)
Saturday: First Day of TrainingOn the Saturday after we arrived, our training lasted from 10 AM to 1 PM. After that, one of the trainers took us to lunch, with AEON footing the bill. After lunch, he gave us a bit of a tour of the area and then left us on our own. (We ended up walking to the castle, which was a sweaty experience to say the least, but the rain held off, so we were lucky in that sense.)
The Rest of TrainingSunday was a day off, but Monday was the only other day where we began at 10 AM. (Every day after we would being at 11 AM.) Each day lasted until 7 except for when we taught our lessons, which would go until 8 with feedback from the trainers afterward.
Each day was packed; there's no denying that. We had to learn a lot, including the entire structure of AEON's lessons which we then had to teach to students the next day. Without a doubt, make sure you are prepared to do reading every night and practice, practice, practice your lessons. You will, without a doubt, screw up. They don't actually expect you to have everything down 100% after having learned the lesson structure the day before (at least, our trainers didn't), but they are looking to see that your trying and that you are responding to what they tell you. (If, in practice, a trainer tells you that you need to start doing something, you should keep that in mind the next time you're teaching.)
I don't want to make it sound entirely daunting though. I also had a good time. Overall, it was a fun atmosphere, not an intimidating or scary one. (We did meet with the president of the company over Skype one day though, and that was a bit intimidating to say the least, though he was very nice.)
There's no way I could go through everything we covered in the training here, and I couldn't anyway as a lot of stuff about AEON's particular style of teaching is owned by them and isn't something I'm legally allowed to share. I will say, though, that it would have been nice to been given the lesson structure prior to training in order to prepare myself a bit. It might have lessened some of the pressure going into training. I, like many others, felt that I should have the lesson format memorized as soon as the next day (when you teach your first lesson), and while they're looking more for a good attempt at following the structure, I would have been more at ease if I'd had more time to prepare on my own somehow.
That being said, I enjoyed my training experience overall despite how tiring it was by the time it came to an end. I was lucky to have a great fellow trainee and also great trainers. If you're planning to join AEON, then I hope that you manage to have as great of a training experience as I did.