Mickey Acorn Talks About Getting Published In Japan

My buddy Mickey Acorn has just published an ESL textbook here in Japan and I couldn’t be happier for him.  Aside from being an English teacher, a fiction writer, and a fellow Japan-lover, he’s also a great songwriter and does a bang-up rendition of Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl.’  I was psyched to hear about his book and thought it would be cool to interview him about publishing in Japan.

Greg: First of all, Mickey, please introduce yourself and tell us how long you’ve been in Japan.

Mickey: I’m Mickey Acorn, I’m from Prince Edward Island in Canada (known for the story “Anne of Green Gables” –> 赤毛のアン). I came to Japan for one year on a Working Holiday visa and decided to stay once I realized how amazing the quality of life was in Japan. I’ve been here for just over three and a half years and I don’t intend to leave anytime soon.

Greg: What’s the book all about? What makes it unique?

Mickey: The book is special. Most textbooks like it have used previously published materials to test the reading comprehension of Japanese students. The content is usually pretty boring. Topics such as Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King and cultural differences between the West and Japan are very popular.

Yasukochi Tetsuya wanted to created a textbook used for the same reason, but with original content that was both fresh and interesting to the reader. After reading a story I wrote he became very excited to use it as a way to help people not only improve their reading skills but also let them enjoy English. The book is my short story translated and annotated.
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Living In Japan Without Teaching English

Last night at 2:30 AM, another of my gaijin friends left Japan.  What can I do to keep them here?  He got on a plane with his family back to New Zealand where he will open a convenience store (what I guess they call a ‘dairy’).  He figures that it will be more fulfilling than a career as an eikaiwa teacher.

There were serious reasons why he quit actually.  There was a ridiculous complaint that was totally unrelated to teaching leveled at him by an unsatisfied customer (oops… I mean student) and his superiors stuck up for him.  Kind of.  Well, they defended him, reassured the complainer that he’s a good teacher, and then put him on The List. Continue reading

How To Tell If You Paid The Wrong Amount At A Japanese Convenience Store

Here is how you can find out if you’ve given the wrong amount of money to a disheveled septuagenarian convenience store clerk in Japan.

First, she spreads the coins out on the little mat so that they’re all visible.  Once this is done, she counts them very slowly six times. 

That should tip you off.  They usually only count the money three or four times.  If she counts more times than that and the counting slows down slightly each time, this means something is wrong. Continue reading