Big Questions

Miraculously I’ve learned enough Japanese in the past year to survive in Japan and do adult things by myself, like get gas and buy train tickets . In order to force myself to study, I found a private tutor who I meet with twice a week. Our  one-hour lessons consist of grammar practice and explanations, and we also enjoy…

Some delightful moments

For the past 10 months, I’ve been an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher)  at two junior high schools in rural Japan. My bigger school has 380 students and is surrounded by rice paddies and rolling green hills. My visiting school is in a mountain valley that is famous for watermelon, and only has 40 students. I’m the only foreigner at both schools,…

Running with students

My sometimes boring job as an English teacher in Japan is punctuated with extreme moments of joy and fulfillment. Its like a reflection of my life and personality; ups are skyrocketing elation, and lows feel like earth-shattering despair. One student with the same disposition asked me recently how to put this into easier words, and here’s what I said:…

Speech Contest for Second-Years

Last month I participated in our annual ni-nensei (second-year) speech contest. The topic, ‘My Favorite Thing,’ was broad enough to elicit a myriad of ideas. Topics ranged from ‘My Clarinet’ to ‘Minecraft’ to ‘Watching the News.’ I was particularly petrified, because my superior asked me to make a speech in Japanese to open the contest. After all,…

Interview Test

Last week, I interviewed my entire school. There are about 400 students, and I had 2 minutes with each of them. Two minutes to get a sense of their personalities. Two minutes to realize their potential. I love interview tests. I told my supervisor this a few months ago, and that I wanted to do…