Unlearning British Manners

Politeness is a weird thing. I saw something about this a little while ago, in a discussion about the way people speak to store staff in their home countries/states. One person explained that, where they were from, people don’t exchange greetings of any sort with staff and just ask for what they want. To me this seems fairly rude….

Shook

Moving from the U.K. to Japan, one of the first things you might worry about is the likelihood of earthquakes. Having a country sitting on top of four tectonic plates tends to have that effect. In all my time in Nagoya though, I only experienced one earthquake, and even that was barely noticeable, at least for the people…

Elementary Dynamics

English teaching in elementary school here is focused mainly on the last two years: fifth and sixth grade. Intensive English learning and testing doesn’t really kick off until students move up to junior high school, where they have two English classes, one taught by their Japanese English teacher and one with an ALT. This is set to…

Sports Day Olympic Ceremony Style

When I returned to school after the summer break (way back in September ’16, with the worst of the summer heat abated, thank goodness), I found that my number of lessons had been cut in half at what was normally my busiest school. It turned out that this was to make time for the sports day preparations….

A Day in the Life: Mountain School 2

A while back I had a particularly eventful lunchtime at my second mountain school which I thought earned the time to type, which I did, and then promptly forgot to edit and post. Shocking. I get assigned to various classes for lunch time, to share around the ‘foreigner experience’ and to practice English in an informal…

Speeding towards Spring

The end of January rushed up unbelievably fast, and we were well into February before I could blink. For one of my schools I only have one day left before my contract finishes. Throughout January, it grew steadily colder. It was cold in a numbing, dry way – different from the wet cold of the U.K….

Good Days

There are some days when teaching elementary here is a struggle, like most jobs really. It can be hard to be motivated for the day, students can be difficult, lunch can sometimes be superbly unappealing…the list goes on. There are so many factors making the difference between a bad, mediocre or good day. Today was a good…

T-Shirt Tuesday

The strange messages that manage to find their way onto the kids’ T-shirts bring me no end of entertainment. Most lessons involve trying not to laugh at, or trying to work out what the person who chose the weird combination of words was aiming for. Most of them look like a dictionary has been sick…

Non-Apology of a Terrible Role Model

I’ve apologised a few times for not updating regularly, so I’ve found a solution. I’m going to try and do more regular little snippet posts in-between my longer ones from now on. So, to start: MS2: The other day I was assigned to eat lunch with the 1st graders. We were given sweet potato mochi (pictured) for dessert…

“The Brexit Blues” or “V for Vendetta: Origins”

It was part way through the first day at my last school (MS3) that I heard about the likelihood of Brexit. I didn’t have a phone yet, so it wasn’t until I was on the way home and bumped into Nelson that he confirmed it had happened. Everything that can be said about it has…

An Ode To How Much I Dislike Being Cooked Alive In My Own Clothes

For my first few weeks of teaching the very last of the spring weather held fair, but as the summer holidays (natsuyasumi) drew near, the summer heat hit with a fury. Even during my 7am commute the temperature was borderline unbearable, just getting to the station made me feel like I’d wandered into a sauna fully clothed….