A new dating term I learned

I might teach English but I’m also constantly learning new words and there’s been a recent trend for new words on the topic of dating. This was one I learned about today and to be honest, I felt like this through my entire relationship or whatever it was last year. Mind you, I don’t think he has any friends he could have introduced me to anyway! 🙂

Read about the word, ‘stashed,’ here.

 

 

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English teaching in Japan: no sugarcoating

I know I’m going to get shit for posting this from someone who doesn’t agree with me, but since when has that ever stopped me? 😉

Everything I say, of course there are exceptions, but they are not the norm. What I’m going to say is the norm and so I’m going to just come straight out and say it:

English teaching in Japan (and many other foreign countries) is not a proper job.

There are a number of reasons people (including me) chose or have chosen at some point, to do it. These are in no particular order.

  1. They want a gap year (either before or after high school or university).
  2. They have no idea what they want to do with their lives (and that’s PERFECTLY okay!)
  3. They’re running away from something or someone in their home country (and yes, I once met and made friends with a guy I later discovered was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, so I’m not making this shit up!)
  4. They love the foreign country they’re in so much and hate or don’t want to return to their home country, so they’ll do anything to stay.
  5. They’re scared of getting a proper job back home.
  6. They did an Arts Degree at university in something useless and couldn’t get a real job (I speak from personal experience!)
  7. They want a boyfriend or girlfriend in that country.

There are a rare few of us who are actually qualified teachers, but even then we are seriously over-qualified, under-utilised and majorly under-paid.

This pisses me off because we’re lumped in with the young, male, white dickheads who come here to get shit-faced at the foreigner bars and fuck pussy. I’m not sugarcoating this; I’m being real and using language I’ve heard more than once from men here. And yes, this is a male problem; women here don’t act like that.

Apart from the seven reasons I mentioned above, there are also the men (and the very, very occasional woman) who end up getting married to a local and who simply settle for teaching English despite their amazing qualifications in other fields. They give up their dreams and settle for far less than they’re worth.

Japan is notorious for assuming that just because you speak English that must mean you can also teach. Even if you can do other things and often times speak fluent Japanese, you will rarely be permitted to infiltrate Japanese society. You are only good enough to teach English because you’re a foreigner and you will never understand or be a part of the culture and society no matter how long you live here or how hard you try to fit in. Honestly, don’t bother. You need to know your place and not disturb the harmony and peace. This is what I’ve not only been told, but read and experienced.

I don’t want to be a 40-year-old single female teaching English in Japan. That is not, has not and will not ever be my destiny. The 40-year-old women I do know here are still teaching English despite being highly qualified and speaking fluent Japanese. And yes, all but one are single. And she is dating a foreign man, not a Japanese one.

I’m not being a pessimist; I’m painting a picture of reality. Google it and see how many other foreign females have a story identical to what I’ve just said.

All I can say is thank fuck I’m not a white man here. They fall into two main categories: drunk/alcoholic singles or unhappily married to someone who refuses to have sex with them after marriage and/or children or are divorced and bitter. And, trapped in the country because they have kids.

I realise this post has morphed into being about multiple issues, not just English teaching, but that’s because it’s all connected.

Anyway, that’s just my opinion and experience of it here. Some people aren’t going to like what I’ve written simply because I shattered their illusion. I’m not apologising for that. Japan (and every other country in the world!) is not perfect and the longer you live here, the more you see. Some people see it though, but refuse to believe the facts. I will never sugarcoat something in order to make someone more comfortable with the lies they are being fed to believe. If you don’t like what I’ve written, that’s fine, but if you choose to come to Japan or to work in another country as an English teacher, do not cry if you discover that what I said was actually true.

English teaching is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The funny things kids say

Okay, this post is long overdue. I’ve been working at my new job, an international kindergarten where all students are Japanese, for the past few months. During this time, I’ve learned a lot.

Firstly, I’ve discovered that kids are wonderful. I mean, I was the person who used to say I didn’t like them. That wasn’t technically true, but I wasn’t sure if I knew how to handle them. It turns out, neither do some parents. Sometimes I have to admit that the physical act of having a child does not make you a good mother (or father if we’re not talking physical). Truth be told, most parents have no idea what they’re doing when they first start out. There isn’t a manual on how to ‘operate’ a child and thus, most people just make it up as they go along. Life is similar; just a collection of trial and error moments.

Anyway, tangent aside, I realised that not only am I actually a natural with kids this age, but I relate to them in a way I never have with adults. They’re honest. Brutally so sometimes. Somewhere along the way kids are told to stop being like that.

“It’s rude to say that,” they’re told.

“You can’t say that,” they’re told.

“You shouldn’t feel that way,” they’re told.

Fuck adults, I say.

The second thing I’ve learned is that you are utterly exhausted after a day with them. I come home most days now and fall asleep on my floor before dinner, wake up, eat and then crawl into my futon which I’ve barely been able to set up.

Perhaps the best thing though is that I’ve learned kids are hilarious. I mean, laugh out loud kind of stuff. Hence, this post.

Here is a collection of anecdotes I’ve been compiling since I started.

 

 

  • Friday is Snack Day. The kids get a snack if they’ve done good work and have been well behaved that week. Like a reward. Anyway, the other day I sat them down and said, “Why do we get snacks?” One little boy looked at me like I’d asked the dumbest thing ever (he might be right) and replied, “Because it’s Friday?” That wasn’t the response I was looking for, but yeah, he had a point…

 

  • I wear my glasses all the time and the other day I stopped to take them off to rub my eye. One boy started yelling, “Put your glasses back on!” I did because I wanted to stop him from yelling but was surprised when he said, “You’re not Jade without them.” His response was exactly what I wished some adult men and women I know need to hear. I have been told by some stupid people, “Oh, you have such beautiful eyes! You shouldn’t wear your glasses.” And the best one (by a stupid woman AND family friend I might add!): “Men would be more attracted to you if you didn’t wear your glasses.” Since I’m a contrary shit, that just made me wear them more often. Plus, A. Why would I want to attract a man who was that superficial? And B. I wouldn’t be able to see him anyway without my glasses. J

 

  • Ah yes, swimming. That brings up a whole new topic of conversation with the kids. I was telling my mum the other day that I have now seen more penises than I need (or want) to see in my lifetime. Four-year-old boys are obsessed with theirs and as I told the manager of the school, it gets worse as they get older. Anyway, the first week one boy jumped in front and me and said in Japanese, “Jade, look at my chin-chin!” Chin-chin is a slang word for penis. The thing was though, he used the honorific term with ‘o’ in front of it. Thus, he was basically saying, “Look at my magnificent penis!” That alone made me laugh and so I had to explain not to refer to his own as magnificent but that it was perfectly acceptable to say it to someone else. I may have scarred this boy for life… Dear God.

 

  • Second swimming penis story… The next one involves a different boy who decided to jump in front of me totally naked whilst I was supervising them getting changed and yelling, “Jade, look at my penis!” At this point I was so sick of them saying it that my response was, “You know what? I don’t care. Every week I see it and every week you want to show me and every week it looks the same. I’m not impressed.” He gave me a very adult male look that said I’d clearly hurt his ego and then tucked it back into his swimmers and said, “Ah okay, fine.”

 

  • The next swimming story involves a boy and a girl. The kids were changing after swimming and I turned around to find one of the boy’s eyes literally a few centimetres away from one of the girl’s pubic region. I yelled at him, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” He stood up, puzzled look on his face and asked, “Jade, why don’t girls have chin-chins?” In the two seconds I searched for an answer I found myself saying, “Because they’re girls.” It satisfied him and he said, “Hmm, okay,” and wandered off to continue changing.

 

  • We have a song and dance activity during the week where all classes sing and dance together in a circle with the songs they’re learning that month. One of the songs involves the words, “Baby shark, mommy shark, daddy shark,” etc. The other day during play time in the morning one of the boys told me he was daddy shark. Another little girl piped up she was mommy shark. I said, “I’m baby shark.” The boy shook his head. “No, you’re not. You’re grandma shark.” Shut down.

 

  • The last story happened just last week when the weather was getting hotter and the kids needed their hat to go outside. He was walking out of the classroom to line up with the others when I called him back to get his hat. He said, “Jade, it’s partly cloudy today, I don’t need my hat.” WHERE THE HELL DID YOU LEARN THAT LANGUAGE?! I thought to myself. Turns out he actually does listen and reads the weather chart we do each day. It was such an adult thing to say I had to laugh. And yes, I made him take his hat.

There’s no place like home 

When I left on that plane back in 2014 I knew it was for good. I knew I wouldn’t be moving back to my hometown again. 

All the other times I’d left it had been with a heavy heart and carrying a burden, i.e. running away from something. This was different. 

I was free and knew in my heart and deep down in my soul that it was the right decision. 

In five days I’m going back for a holiday and not once have I referred to it as going home. I’ve started to think about how I will feel and whether I’ll have reverse culture shock. 

It’s not a worry that’s hanging over my head; it’s just a kind of detached observation I’ve made. 

My entire time here in Japan I haven’t once wished I was back in Australia. God knows I’ve had many times I thought I would because there have been many low, low times, but my friends who I consider family here, have made me feel I am home and are always here for me. 

Japan is of course at times very, very different, but I’ve never experienced culture shock in my travels or life here. 

I guess my adaptable nature and my ability to fit in anywhere has helped but I think I just accept that cultures are different and that is that. 

I’m not saying I agree or support everything that happens here, but I feel the same way about things in Australia too. 

Someone asked me the other day if it was possible and laws changed here in Japan, would I give up my Australian citizenship to become a Japanese citizen. 

I didn’t even think about it.

Absolutely not, I replied. 

To me, Australia and being Australian represents the ultimate in freedom. The values and characteristics that are at the very core of my identity are a product of being born and raised as an Australian. I may adopt new habits (values, ways of thinking etc.) and drop old ones, but who I am, on that deeper level, will always remain. I wouldn’t change that for anyone. 

I guess you could say I’m fiercely patriotic, yet for numerous reasons I choose to live in Japan. That doesn’t make me any less Australian.

Just the other day I accidentally said sorry in English to a Japanese woman. I followed it immediately in Japanese. I can tell though that it’s going to happen a lot in Australia (using Japanese first I mean). 

I know two years ago when I went to Taiwan that I was desperately homesick for Japan. 

The overwhelming feeling of what can only be considered camaraderie was very obvious as I stood in line for the plane grinning stupidly at the Japanese businessmen around me. 

Ah, I thought, a beautiful, musical language I can understand (sometimes!)

Stepping off the bus back at Hiroshima Station I felt a sense of comfort, security and familiarity I haven’t experienced anywhere else in the world. 

And as I nodded in acknowledgment to a man I knew from my favourite bar, I thought, yep Hiroshima, I’m back, I’m home. 

I wonder if I’ll be homesick in Australia? 

And they pay me to teach English?! 

I’m sorry but I have to post this first and explain what I was trying to do because it’s just so funny. I will post the translation and then the original because you really won’t be able to understand what I was trying to say without being able to read exactly what I WAS trying to say. 

Since my computer died in October last year I’ve been without one and simply using my phone. That means the typing is tedious and so I’ve been using the microphone to dictate what I want to say. 

Unfortunately it fucks up. 

So here is what my microphone thought I said:

I don’t like the new Kinko Palow they’ve put in your poop LOL it’s so shiny and new and clean. I like the old Junko Pollis faded and a little rougher on the edges.

I am hell of all loving the new company that’s opened because as you all know I am a company junkie.

In reality, what I actually said was as follows:

I don’t like the new pachinko parlor they’ve built in Yokogawa. It’s so shiny and new and clean. I like the old pachinko parlor; faded and a little rough around the edges. 

I am, however, loving the new konbini that’s opened because as you know, I am a konbini junkie!

So this goes to show that despite being a native English speaker this microphone cannot pick up what I’m saying. It does, however, think my Japanese is perfect. 

And that my friends is a lie. 

For a little bit of humour…

On this cold and rainy Saturday morning here in Hiroshima and after posting that earlier depressing piece, I thought this was appropriate.

My students have been talking about this for days and it is funny, especially if you teach English here and you’re used to random people coming up to you with the only English phrase they know and saying, “This is a pen.” Yes, yes it is.

Click here for the full story. I apologise in advance for the catchy song that will be sure to get stuck in your head! Eek!