Abe Administration Flings More Money At English Education

Japanese politicians are blabbing once again about internationalization, something they know nothing at all about.

The plan? Just as bone-headed as all past plans – double the number of ALTs in Japanese schools and switch from one useless test to another useless test. The net effect will be zero and in a couple of years, they’ll decide it was a waste, cut the number of ALTs, etc. And then in a few years after that, talk about internationalization again, and so on, and still nobody graduating from a Japanese school can answer the question, ‘How are you today?’ Continue reading

Gaijin Is a Racist Word

This is a topic I’ve never wanted to write about but now it seems like the time is right. If you live in Japan, people will call you gaijin. I’ve always accepted it and not cared much about it. I knew it had racial overtones and wasn’t a polite word, but I actually like my outsider status and I’m happy to be a non-Japanese.

The problem is that my kids get called gaijin. This is going to be a problem their whole lives and in a society where bullying is epidemic, it worries me a bit.

So, is the word gaijin a racist word? The answer is: Yes. Continue reading

The Longer You Teach in Japan, the Better It Gets

I just ran into a guy the other night that I used to work with many years ago at a crappy eikaiwa school. It was weird because I’d totally forgotten about that place, and just seeing him brought back all of this crazy trauma. It reminded me of an alien abduction movie I saw where the abductee has a flashback and curls up under a table at a party and sits there in a fetal position shaking.

I was like that guy under the table.

The eikaiwa was run by a madwoman who suffered from acute paranoia and thought everyone was stealing from her. She made my life a living hell for a good six months before I had enough and quit. Continue reading

Radioactive Food Is Good for Children According to Kawasaki Mayor

If your kids go to school in Kawasaki City, you might want to consider home schooling. When high levels of radioactive cesium were found in the city’s school lunches, Mayor Takao Abe said it was there for educational purposes.

Since April 2012, Kawasaki, Japan’s 8th largest city, has been feeding its kids frozen oranges from Kanagawa that show a cesium level of 9.1 Bq/Kg. From September, it’s giving them canned apples from Aomori with 1.6 Bq/Kg.

At a press conference on September 4th, Abe said it’s important for kids to understand Continue reading

6 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Japan

I was sitting in a hotel dining room in Marshall, Missouri, kidding myself that I was working (working on watching YouTube videos, more likes!). Two of the hotel staff were cleaning up the continental breakfast fixings and having an ‘I’m gonna quit this town’ conversation. One of the ladies asked the other, ‘Where do you want to go?’

‘I dunno,’ the other said, ‘Some other country maybe, like… Japan.’

‘Japan? Well, that guy over there with the computer lives in Japan.’ Continue reading