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…

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….

Karaoke Dreams

If you hadn’t heard (the name sort of gives it away) karaoke is sort of a big deal here. In Britain, where karaoke is mostly the province of the very bold and/or inebriated, it might be surprising to hear how common it is. Going out after school with friends? Karaoke. Work party? Karaoke. Missed the…

Gifu City

I am cringing over how old these drafted posts are. My bad, please forgive. My first weekend excursion took me to Gifu City with Nelson and Mai. We took our time getting there; after an exhausting week and the summer heat, on top of which Mai was fasting for Ramadan, we were in no rush!…