Gaijin Smash

A Straw Most Final

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on June 14, 2007

I know I said this before, but I really mean it this time: I am no longer a Japanese school teacher.
I took the new teaching job in September. I didn’t particularly want to do it, but my visa was on the verge of expiring, and I had no other options. I was to fill in for a guy who’d decided to leave mid-year. As his contract was scheduled to end in March, I figured I would work until then. Hopefully, I would have found something better by March, and if not, I could at least save money to help get by until I did. And while that was a wonderful theory, in reality, I handed in my walking papers in November, to quit by December.
What made me crack, you may ask?
The ALT business is by no means a career path. You’re pretty much an outsider in the school ranks, with no chance of advancement. After a few years, you’ve pretty much done everything you can do within the job–even if you wanted to become an instructor (which I don’t), continuing for years on end is little more than just spinning your wheels. I’d gotten tired of the job at my last posting–while those schools weren’t perfect, I still feel that they were one of the better postings a Gaijin could hope to get.
That’s not to mention that there are massive problems with both English teaching theory, and the entire junior high school system as a whole in Japan. To fix these problems, you’d need groundbreaking, fundamental change…and we all know how much Japan loathes change. I don’t see improvements for the better happening anytime soon, and even if they did, I don’t care enough about the field to be a part of it. Getting into what the problems are would require a whole ‘nother editorial–but anyone who’s actually done the job, or anyone who’s been reading along and is perceptive enough–could probably figure it out.
Regarding my specific situation, the schools themselves were not at all good. Unmotivated, rude, and sometimes violent students were a problem of course, but more than that I was annoyed by the teachers. I hated getting little to no time to plan lessons, and I didn’t like that they were having me basically do all their work for them. Again, it’s not that I’m opposed to working–I just don’t like getting taken advantage of. Having the licensed teacher relaxing in the back of the classroom, while unlicensed me tries to explain English grammar points I don’t fully understand in a language that’s not my native tongue…well…that didn’t exactly seem like a fair situation.
Despite my distaste for the entire situation, I thought I could at least suck it up until March. Just let the contract end, and then I’d be free to my own devices. It was only a few months–surely, I could do at least that. That’s what I’d thought, but that all changed thanks to one incident.


At the school I hated most (with the violent kids, the lazy teachers, and the prodding VP), they usually gave me my class schedule months in advance. While that was a nice idea, by the time we actually got to a particular week, there had been so many changes that my copy of the schedule was worth little more than to fold up and use to dig out dirt from under my fingernails. The teachers never bothered actually telling me of these changes either, so times I *thought* I had a break time I didn’t, and vice versa. It sort of became like playing the lottery. “Let’s see here…it says I have a class next period…but do I? Stay tuned to find out…”
Their method of making the schedule was to just write down EVERYTHING, and then circle the classes or events I was expected to attend.
Anyhow, one Monday after work, I got a fairly important business call. I don’t really want to go into details about it, but I’ll just say that it turns out, when you receive a company’s service, most of the time they kinda want you to pay for it. Anyway, I was gong to have to come in in person and settle things, and they wanted me to come in as soon as possible. I’d already left the school, so I couldn’t ask any of the teachers in person, but hey–I had my schedule! I know, unreliable as hell, but hey, at least its something…right? I check the schedule…Tuesday looked like it was going to be full with classes. Tuesday was no good. But Wednesday afternoon seemed reasonable. It didn’t look like there were any classes after fourth period. There was something written down in the afternoon as “Recitation Contest,” but it wasn’t circled, and no one had said anything to me about it. Earlier that morning, I’d been talking with the Japanese language teacher, and she’d told me that her students were nervous about a recitation contest they had to do in Japanese. So for all I knew, “Recitation Contest” didn’t even apply to English. Anyway, I promised that I would come in on Wednesday afternoon to take care of business.
At the school Tuesday morning, I had a day full of classes. As I went with various different English teachers, I mentioned my business on Wednesday afternoon and asked if it would be all right to return to Kyoto for a few hours. All of them gave me a very carefree, “Sure, go ahead!” During one of my few breaks in the afternoon, as I was sitting next to the Jolly Green Giant, I told her as well. We didn’t have any classes scheduled together or anything, but I thought it best to just tell her anyway. However, unlike everyone else so far, her response was a bit different–“Oh, but we have the English Recitation Contest tomorrow. I’m pretty sure that they want you to go to that….Hasn’t anyone told you?”
…Nope.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, at least 3 or 4 PM, and this is the first I’ve ever heard of it. Jolly Green is very worried. “I personally don’t mind if you don’t go to the Contest…but maybe some other teachers will look at it as you not performing your duties.” Jolly Green spent the next half hour trying to find ways that I could both do my business and attend this recitation contest. However, unless she could somehow bestow upon me the power of Japanese teleportation, it wasn’t possible. My last class ended at 12:30 PM. The recitation contest was scheduled to start at 2 PM. I had to be in Kyoto before 3 PM and traveling took an hour. There was just no way to do both. Jolly Green frets over this quite a bit before giving in and accepting that unless I had Doraemon’s “dokodemo door” or Goku’s Instantaneous Movement, it was just impossible.
However, still worried, she now goes with me and asks the other teachers if it would be okay if I missed the contest on Wednesday–most of these teachers I’d already asked before. They repeated the same carefree, “Go ahead” they’d given me earlier in the day. Still worrying, Jolly Green takes me to the nagging VP. I explain in the most polite and honorable Japanese I can muster that I have important, pressing business to take care of, and although it meant I wouldn’t be able to attend the Recitation Contest, could I maybe please go so that I wouldn’t be thrown in a Japanese jail or deported or something? VP gives his consent with the same no problem attitude the other teachers have shown–his exact words are, “Sure, that’s completely fine.” Well then, it seems like Jolly Green was just making mountains out of molehills. Everything seemed to be all right.
Turns out though, that Jolly Green was right.
Wednesday morning, I was sitting in the teachers room during homeroom period. The VP was there, along with several other teachers who didn’t have a homeroom class. The teachers room is, for the most part, quiet. After a few minutes, VP comes out from behind his desk to have a chat with some of the other teachers. Although I’m not sitting in the same area, I am most certainly within earshot and visual range.
The conversation went a little something like this.
VP: You know, we have the English Recitation Contest today…but our foreign teacher isn’t even going to go!
Other Teachers: Oh, really? Why?
VP: Says he’s got business to take care of.
Other Teachers: So, you mean only the regular Japanese faculty will be there?
VP: Yep. He’s not going at all.
Other Teachers: Oh, the poor kids! They’ll be so disappointed.
VP: Tell me about it! What’s the point of having an English Recitation Contest and not having the foreign teacher be there!
Other Teachers: It’s the worst situation.
VP: Ah, I’m done, I’ve given up (on trying to make him do work).
I don’t know if they expected me to have the hearing range of a block of cheese, or the Japanese comprehension level of a Lincoln Log or what, but again, – I was sitting right there. And now, I was quite pissed off. Nobody tells me about this thing that they expect me to go to, so I mistakenly commit to important business during that time. And when I ask about it, everyone is all smiles and carefree and “sure, go ahead,” but then to talk behind my back…no, you can’t even call that back-talking, can you? That was shit-talking, not even right to my face, but to the general area where I just happened to exist. So yeah, pissed. Right then and there, I opened up an email to the contracting organization informing them of my decision to quit.
Again, this incident wasn’t the primary reason why I quit. It was just a bad situation as a whole–this particular incident was the last straw. I hated being there, and the sooner I could get out, the better. The contracting organization met with me, listened to why I was unhappy, and tried to talk me out of quitting by promising to talk with the VP and the other teachers, but my mind had been made up. I was done.
For the record, had I been able to go to the Recitation Contest, my role would have been to sit there for an hour and listen to a handful of kids recite the same speech over and over again, and then at the end stand up and give a two minute speech on how well they did and how nice their pronunciation was, keep ganbatte!-ing in English, kids. And that’s it.
This incident happened in early to mid-November, and it was decided that my last day of work would be November 30th. In typical Japanese fashion, the contracting organization failed to tell either of the schools. I didn’t say anything either–I would have been perfectly content with just not showing up to work one day. I did end up telling the aforementioned Japanese language teacher, and Jolly Green. They both told me that the VP had done something similar to them as well–accused them of being lazy and not doing work, but having done so through an indirect conversation with other people in the teachers’ room. The Japanese language teacher assured me that the VP was quite an asshole, and generally hated within the school. Upon hearing about my decision to quit, Jolly Green simply paused for a moment, and said, “But, I think you’re getting out at just the right time. The English teachers had a meeting last week, and they decided to start having you do everything now–making worksheets and other lesson materials, doing the whole plan for the class, teaching the class by yourself, grading papers, everything.” She also told me about how many, if not most of the other teachers flat-out hated each other, and that it was just a bad school to be at in general. She’d been making plans for her own escape herself, and was poised to leave in December, only a week or so after my departure (although she later changed the date to November 30th to match mine). I came to find out that, if nothing else, Jolly Green had been one of my strongest allies.
November 30th was a Thursday. The school didn’t find out I was leaving until Wednesday, November 29th. I would have preferred they not know at all. I exaggerated a story about being concerned about my mother’s health, allowing everyone to Japanesely save face. On Thursday, I had a few ichinensei classes. The teacher mentioned it would be my last, and the ichinensei seemed for the most part unfazed. After all, I was already their second Gaijin teacher in their eight month career as junior high school students, with #3 soon to come. With the teachers’ room quiet in the early hours of the evening, I calmly slipped out, took my indoor slippers with me, and left never looking back, neither on the school, or the profession of English teaching in Japan as a whole.
Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that English teaching in Japan for foreigners is necessary work, and there is a lot of good that can be done within the field. However, I also feel that it’s plagued with problems, and I simply just don’t want to deal with them anymore. It was time, once again, to find new work.

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57 Responses

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  1. David said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Congratulations on getting out! It sounds like that school was leading to bad places. Hope you have success in future endeavors!

  2. Dan93 said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:34 am

    Hope things have worked out well for you since then. You’ve given all you can, and it sounds like you’re burned out. I hope that you’re enjoying your new profession.

  3. Brad said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:42 am

    NEXT WEEK ON GAIJIN SMASH
    [peppy music up] Azrael here! [Az mugging] I may be out of work, but not out of luck! [Az looking up at a storefront] It seems the local reataurant has a job open for a ramen taster! [Az slupring ramen from a bowl] What could be better than a job that pays you to eat, right? [Az exaggeratedly spitting out ramen] Be sure to watch next week’s Gaijin Smash! [Az holding his head in his hands]
    PLEASE LOOK FORWARD TO IT

  4. Gordon said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Wow, just… wow. What a bunch of dicks.
    I hope things have worked out and you’re going well with whatever it is you’ve decided to do since then.

  5. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Guess that’s Japan for you hey? If it wasn’t for you and your blog I’d be like everyone else thinking Japan is all about the sumo and sushi!
    If you still wanna stay in Japan I hope you find another job there because your blog about how crazy these Japanese people are is (literally) the funniest stuff I have ever read! I tell all my friends to check out your site but warn them that I’m not liable if they rupture their guts from laughing too hard!

  6. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 12:57 am

    Guess that’s Japan for you hey? If it wasn’t for you and your blog I’d be like everyone else thinking Japan is all about the sumo and sushi!
    If you still wanna stay in Japan I hope you find another job there because your blog about how crazy these Japanese people are is (literally) the funniest stuff I have ever read! I tell all my friends to check out your site but warn them that I’m not liable if they rupture their guts from laughing too hard!

  7. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Damn, so much for my JET post-graduation plans.

  8. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:05 am

    Damn, so much for my JET post-graduation plans.

  9. Ciceus said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:06 am

    It,s always a special thing to read a blog where things are blogged about 6 months (or later) after the fact XD XD

  10. LoR said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:09 am

    So was this article written in December, then? or earlier this year?

  11. Tone said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:29 am

    …sounds like the begginning to an old school 80’s movie to me. Y’know, one of the ones where the slacker uses his wits to skyrocket up the corporate ladder in a fortune 500 company…
    After this, did you by chance start in the mailroom of a fortune 500 company and fake being the vice president and sleep with the CEO’s daughter or wife?
    or….did you meet an uptight, stiff lawyer who needs help getting in touch with his blackness and getting in the pants of Hallie Berry? Maybe that was Strictly Business….then there’s always the innocent mannequin that comes to life…

  12. Robert said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:51 am

    Well… huh, I wrote my comments the other day because I thought these latest articles were real time. Anyways…
    Neither good, nor bad, but a common experience. I had a similar experience when I was doing the professional ALT thing because I was reading a book in the teacher’s room. Now, get this, I was reading the book after I had checked my kids work, done the lesson planning, had it confirmed, and met with the teachers, and on top of that the book was loaned to me by one of the JP teachers. Yet I get a call from the firm saying that they complained that I was doing no work, just sitting and reading.
    Again.. two extremes. In JET, they don’t complain because they can’t really do anything about getting you in trouble. In the professional ALT world they do because they can and expect to get changes.
    One of the best conversations I ever had was with a teacher here in Tokyo, who was a great guy, and we talked quite a bit about the subject. Overall the quality of the “ALT” has dropped in the last 15 years as the need for “English” teachers has risen, thusly now anyone can be an “ALT” as long as they are a somewhat native speaker of English. Most schools recognize this, and know that they aren’t getting what they used to, but for the education world, even if you don’t have the degree, you’re expected to be able to do basic planning, and all things that come with the territory, including contests, activities and what not. In a way it’s harder for those who come from JET to a professional firm because you’re used to the lax responsibilities of JET.
    Anyways.. as you said, JET/ALT is not a career, that’s for sure, especially for JET unless you’re in that 1% who get the dream location and move onto Claire. If you’re interested in staying in Japan, the best advice would be to follow your major. For example, I did business and landed a management job far far away from the English Industry. In your case, follow up with the writing. Editorials, apply to the Japan Times or local English newspapers/magazines. Unfortunately I don’t recall many local English ‘papers from my college time in Osaka, but in Tokyo there’s Metropolis, the Weekender, and so on. Internet editorial blogging is also a go.
    The point is though, you gotta be happy with what your doing, and it sounds like you’ve had more then enough of the double standard Japanese English industry. I highly agree with you in that English is a need, but unfortunately, until they tear down the system and start over, it’s not going to be fixed.
    Anyways, I would assume you’re doing well now in Kyoto, since the quitting occurred over six months ago…

  13. Ihmhi said, on June 14, 2007 at 1:53 am

    How come you did not just take a stand, tell them to cut the bullshit, and set everything straight?
    You are an ALT, not a full time teacher. It is not your job to be teaching the classes. Besides, isn’t that ILLEGAL in Japan, what with you not being a licensed teacher?
    Why not complain to the PTA? Wouldn’t they have liked to know about all of the English teachers not doing work? Japanese PTAs are like the frickin’ mafia, what with their ability to strike fear.
    All of this stuff aside though, is the Japanese culture really this innately passive-aggressive?

  14. Marek said, on June 14, 2007 at 2:29 am

    Lhmhi: It’s not about making stands or proclaiming independency. You would need to actually change the people involved, thei very nature, and people are people – you can’t change them with a simple word. To take upon changing a group of people is an exhausting work, even more if you don’t have authority over them. I can fully understand Az, quitting the nest was the least-casualties way. Can’t expect him to be a martyr-preacher of truth to Japan, it isn’t as easy as just saying what you think aloud.

  15. Azrael said, on June 14, 2007 at 2:34 am

    I didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. Even if the school had been ideal, I was tired of the work. Having the school be shitty only made things infinitely worse. It simply wasn’t worth it to kick up a storm.
    Also, I don’t know how many times I’ve explained that these events took place several months ago.
    “Though having to wade through the old archives must have been excruciating, even if I had stayed on Outpost Nine it’s doubtful I could have come up with any new material for awhile. Life was kinda crazy from July until, well, now. A lot of stuff happened. I finished my time on JET. I moved from the countryside into the city. I took another job, quit it after only a few months, and then spent some time as an umemployed bum.”
    http://www.gaijinsmash.net/archives/and_now_back_to_our_show.phtml

  16. anton said, on June 14, 2007 at 2:35 am

    Haha! unlicensed.. illegal? none of the english teachers on my school have a license. Why should they?
    Az: this is the time when you need a big GaijinSmash(tm). Go out and do something that gives you the feeling of pissing on Japan.

  17. Robert said, on June 14, 2007 at 3:14 am

    As for the events, I think most people are aware that JET was a while ago, but assumed that the new ALT position in Osaka was current events.
    Az: I burned out on it two, and only after one year of JET and one as private ALT, so I respect you Az for going 3 and a half years.

  18. Colin said, on June 14, 2007 at 3:39 am

    I think you really have started to become Japanese, because my guess is that a few years ago, if you’d been stuck in a situation like this, you wouldn’t have just calmly walked out the door. I’d have thought there would’ve been some bridge burning on the way out, at least as far as the VP was concerned. Or maybe you would have never done anything like that; maybe that’s just something I’d do, and I’m projecting.

  19. inurl said, on June 14, 2007 at 4:00 am

    Well I`m happy that you`re finaly on the way to doing what you realy enjoy. Still I`m gonna miss the school editorials.
    I`m looking forward to whatever comes next on GaijinSmash. Keep going 🙂

  20. applejax said, on June 14, 2007 at 4:22 am

    so Azreal, if you don’t mind me asking, are you still working (if you are, are you enjoying that type of job?) or are you still unemployed?

  21. Kyle E said, on June 14, 2007 at 4:40 am

    man now I’m all curious. Whats goin on now… we are 6 months in the past.

  22. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 6:36 am

    You guys obviously don’t pay close enough attention to the editorials – Az MENTIONED he took this job for a few months.
    I’ve been looking forward to the write-ups on this job for a long time, Az. Great stuff.

  23. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 6:36 am

    You guys obviously don’t pay close enough attention to the editorials – Az MENTIONED he took this job for a few months.
    I’ve been looking forward to the write-ups on this job for a long time, Az. Great stuff.

  24. Kohaku said, on June 14, 2007 at 6:58 am

    Damn Az…it WAS bad wasnt it? At least you’ve escaped and gotten another job (which although DOES still have you taking the train in the AM) is INFINTELY preferable to suffering through the tar pit we call teaching English in Japan. (I’m still stuck, but by choice…for now) but smaller private schools are better. You are a good one though, I’d be pretty ready to get up and knock the living sh*t out of the VP. (I’d want to, but I’d never do it at school…gotta do it later..in the dark…) lol. Rejoice! You’re free!!!

  25. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:14 am

    It always amazes me what a wide range of experiences JETs have at their schools. I’m a JET in a small town, and my situation is not nearly as weird and draining as yours. Not as interesting either, but I wouldn’t want my life to be as “interesting” as yours.
    My board of education and junior high school are generally very organized. I am usually able to plan my lessons a few days ahead of time, and the English teachers almost always tell me about important events and when classes are cancelled (it took me a while to train them to do this). I am neither overworked nor underworked. More than that, I’m just generally treated very well and not screwed around with.
    I sort of worry when I see people deciding not to go to Japan based on what they read on your blog (or on BigDaikon). I just want to point out that most JETs are pretty happy here, even knowing the problems in the system. The dissatisfied voices are the loudest–as they should be, really. If I had a school like the one you described in this editorial, I’d be walking away too.

  26. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:14 am

    It always amazes me what a wide range of experiences JETs have at their schools. I’m a JET in a small town, and my situation is not nearly as weird and draining as yours. Not as interesting either, but I wouldn’t want my life to be as “interesting” as yours.
    My board of education and junior high school are generally very organized. I am usually able to plan my lessons a few days ahead of time, and the English teachers almost always tell me about important events and when classes are cancelled (it took me a while to train them to do this). I am neither overworked nor underworked. More than that, I’m just generally treated very well and not screwed around with.
    I sort of worry when I see people deciding not to go to Japan based on what they read on your blog (or on BigDaikon). I just want to point out that most JETs are pretty happy here, even knowing the problems in the system. The dissatisfied voices are the loudest–as they should be, really. If I had a school like the one you described in this editorial, I’d be walking away too.

  27. Mayhem said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:30 am

    Indeed… what has been happening for the last six months? Obviously something good enough allowing Az to eat and keep his net connection to post to everyone here hanging on his diatribes! Tune in next time for Az on the new job hunt (I guess!)…

  28. kylara said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:58 am

    I would like to say, wow, that really sucks. But for the person who asked if Japan was really that passive-aggressive …
    Perhaps only American girls are like this, but speaking as one, no one is more passive-aggressive than a group of teenage girls. Except maybe a group of middle-aged women, *maybe*.

  29. Jimu said, on June 14, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Hey Az!
    Maybe you should contact Niall Murtagh over att OM-consulting for job-opportunities.
    Visit http://www.om-c.biz
    Good luck to ya and keep posting! ^_^

  30. Jonci said, on June 14, 2007 at 10:45 am

    You have to put the fear of Gaijin into them! If they try to use you, turn green and smash them….I have no idea where I’m going with this.
    Good luck on the job search.

  31. Kyle E said, on June 14, 2007 at 11:03 am

    “You guys obviously don’t pay close enough attention to the editorials – Az MENTIONED he took this job for a few months.”
    No, I payed attention. I just thought that whole sentence about being a bum for a while was before this job and that he quit some other like 3 week job that wasn’t worth mentioning.

  32. GringoDownSouth said, on June 14, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t blame you for leaving, it is just sad to see the end of an era. No more high-school hijinks, no more kids following you with fingers Kancho-ready, and we’ll never hear about youngsters watching you piss…..or will we?
    I have a strong feeling this blog is about to get even better, there is still plenty of crazy left in Japan to write about!

  33. Prodigal Priest said, on June 14, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Nice timing, Padawan! -_^ That situation, as you put it succinctly, was bad through and through.
    Good luck with getting re-employed or whatever you’ve planned out.

  34. Joshmac said, on June 14, 2007 at 5:32 pm

    Holy Crap Az, you a better man than me, At that point I wud of got up and made that I heard them talking quite clear and just what my opinion on the matter was! That is a disgusting way to be treated, I’m not joking just reading that got me so angry I have no idea how you must have felt at the time. Good luck with new work

  35. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Ok one. When dude was shit talking about you, you should have stood up gotten very close to him and instructed him on why your someone with whom not to fuck. Instead you sat there. You have always sat there and let the situation control you. All your editorials show the same basic behavior of being victimized by students,teachers,the system instead of being proactive.And i don’t want to hear your weak ass excuses of why you simply cannot do that in japan. Of course you can you just refuse to stand up for yourself because your scared of them.
    Two: You should have been honest about why your leaving. What would the harm be to you? And at the very least you get some small measure of revenge by letting the VP know hes a pushy nosey disrespectful jackass. Do you think he was worried about saving face for you when he was talking shit to the other teachers about you? Hell no. And why didn’t you mention the schedule issues months ago? Scared of offending your hosts? But no you smile and lie and try to save them face and play the good jap. What the fuck man your an american or at least your supposed to be. Get your ass out of that country before your balls drop right the fuck off. Good reading isn’t worth watching your continuing emasculation. Drop the girl jump a plane and get your ass back here and eat some red meat or something. No amount of yellow pussy is worth this. I know this post probably wont see the light of day but i hope you at least read it and regain some perspective.

  36. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    Ok one. When dude was shit talking about you, you should have stood up gotten very close to him and instructed him on why your someone with whom not to fuck. Instead you sat there. You have always sat there and let the situation control you. All your editorials show the same basic behavior of being victimized by students,teachers,the system instead of being proactive.And i don’t want to hear your weak ass excuses of why you simply cannot do that in japan. Of course you can you just refuse to stand up for yourself because your scared of them.
    Two: You should have been honest about why your leaving. What would the harm be to you? And at the very least you get some small measure of revenge by letting the VP know hes a pushy nosey disrespectful jackass. Do you think he was worried about saving face for you when he was talking shit to the other teachers about you? Hell no. And why didn’t you mention the schedule issues months ago? Scared of offending your hosts? But no you smile and lie and try to save them face and play the good jap. What the fuck man your an american or at least your supposed to be. Get your ass out of that country before your balls drop right the fuck off. Good reading isn’t worth watching your continuing emasculation. Drop the girl jump a plane and get your ass back here and eat some red meat or something. No amount of yellow pussy is worth this. I know this post probably wont see the light of day but i hope you at least read it and regain some perspective.

  37. Anonymous said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    damn dude, did you move back to the states since all this?
    is this the end of Gaijin Smash (cept the other entries still to come i hope?)?
    thanks for the truth about japan, between you and masamania.com i’ve gotten a good eye-opener.

  38. Shinkada said, on June 14, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Well, judging from your phrasing I guess you already have another job by now, so I won’t bother wishing you luck in finding one. XD But I hope things are going well.

  39. DunnDeegan said, on June 14, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    I’m happy to see you’ve left that school. I had the worst possible co-t imaginable here in Korea for a solid year after having the sweetest lady in the world for my first 6 months. Talk about depressing when your work life goes down the shitter. Schools filled with head cases and politics are never fun.
    Thankfully we are both in much better situations now, and I’ll even be back in Canada in a few, short months!
    Good luck in the future! even though it may not be in a school or blog worthy, we all want to hear about it.
    to the guy up top who said “Damn, so much for my JET post-graduation plans,” please keep in mind not all schoos are like this and i can almost gauruntee you would have a much better experience than this in japan. Don’t change your mind over one persons bad experience. many people have bad experiences within this industry, but many people also have a good one. Any job teaching english in a foreign country is benificial regardless of the headaches you have to put up with. You can become a much better person as a whole through experiencing a different culture and lifestyle. Do it!

  40. C said, on June 14, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    I see what happened here.. It’s the Asian way. It’s “impolite” to tell you right out you can’t go anywhere.. But it’s a-okay to talk shit about you sort of behind your back..
    Congratz on getting out! I’m sure with your language skills you’ll find work elsewhere.. I’m thinking about applying for JET.. I hope I can handle all of this if I get in..

  41. LeeGuy said, on June 14, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Don’t you guys remember. In a previous post, Az said he was working for Navibird, as a translator I think?
    (It would really help most readers, myself included, if you noted in each editorial what date, or around what month and year the post refers to. This was the first time in all your postings where I got chronologically confused.)

  42. Chela said, on June 14, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    Long time reader, first time…poster(?). I’ve LOVED reading all your posts. While reading your posts I’ve literally laughed to the point of hyperventilation.
    I just wanted to say that I’m glad you left. Life is too short to work at a job that is making you feel so miserable. And you don’t even want to be a teacher so good for you for getting out. You are definitely a better person than me. If I had overheard the VP saying that shit about me, lord only knows what I would’ve said and/or done to his ass.
    I’m glad you’ve found a job and I hope it’s one that you enjoy. Please continue writing more about your experiences.

  43. NT said, on June 15, 2007 at 12:11 am

    This country needs poverty for them to change. I’ve posted something similar to this and I believed I said something like “They won’t change because they’re contented with what they are”. Come on, its JAPAN, one of the technology giants in the world, and the source of ever-popular japanimations. They won’t simply adjust to the world just because the current system degrades moral values.
    “I know this post probably wont see the light of day but i hope you at least read it and regain some perspective.”
    You’re right about that. He can fight back if he may, but considering japanese people based on “Az’s Adventures”, he’ll be lucky if his ex-co-workers will ONLY leave him alone or do more shit talking after he fights back with his “gaijin powers”.
    That’s why when I go to Japan, I want to go there as a tourist rather than a worker (as if I can make it to Japan).

  44. Anonymous said, on June 15, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Guess you know why the other teacher left mid term.

  45. Anonymous said, on June 15, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Guess you know why the other teacher left mid term.

  46. Thomas in Japan said, on June 16, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Glad you got out Az! As I mentioned in a post response to your “Dark Moon Rising” entry, I too am currently stuck at a large JHwith a dickhead VP and several difficult and unfriendly teachers. And I am only through 3 months :-\ Lasting another 9 months is going to be a challenge…but every other 2 weeks I get to teach at Elementary schools, where the teachers, staff, and students are wonderful, so hopefully that can keep me going.
    And for all these people who keep posting “man, you should have confronted him, told everyone off, stand up for yourself, go off on them!”….ignore these twerps. They have *NO* clue whatsoever about how things work in Japan. That type of approach, while it may work on the streets or at whatever jobs (if any) they hold back in the States, would get them no where here. That is the worst thing you can do here.
    If you did indeed land a non-teaching job, I look forward to those posts as well. For I too have ambitions to eventually escape the teaching industry. I am studying Japanese and someone mentioned that you might be working as a translator now? That is something I might be interested in down the road.
    And for those showing discouragement about teaching in Japan….hey, just do it! Despite the job sucking sometimes, just experiencing this fascinating land and culture is worth it. And it sure beats alot of deadend, mundane entry level jobs back in the states right now. And teaching is a good way to get your foot in the door here and eventually move on to better things.

  47. Corey said, on June 16, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    HAH! NICE.
    If they’re gonna make the ALT’s do completely everything while the certifieds do nothing what-so-ever then I’m goin back to becoming a translator. I’m also not really lazy or anything but I’m not letting a certified English teacher sit on their ass all day while I try to teach each and every class using a language I will probably suck pretty bad at (especially if I’m gonna be learning others at the same time I’ll be learning Japanese).
    You go AZ!!!

  48. Anonymous said, on June 17, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Hey there, Az… I am glad that you got out of the school, and I have to tell you that it’s a decision I’m making as well. I won’t teach again because I am tired of the passive aggressive attitude.
    I’m in Korea, and I had a similair encounter here, which led to a stress attack that put me out for three days and felt like a heart attack. It was the scariest thing I had ever encountered in my life, and I never, ever, want to go through it again. Things went downhill at the private school I was working in even after I started being more direct, where it finally degenerated to the point where the boss told me I had been the big, stupid, scary teacher for the last seven months I had been there.
    That hurt me a lot, because I had made sure to ask questions, to see if anything was wrong, and I still ended up being screwed over in the end. Combined with the health problems that came with living in Korea’s polluted environment, and my own overwhelming feelings of homesickness, and I just don’t want to do this anymore.
    So good luck to you, and to the others doing this, I hope you land work at the GOOD schools.

  49. Anonymous said, on June 17, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Hey there, Az… I am glad that you got out of the school, and I have to tell you that it’s a decision I’m making as well. I won’t teach again because I am tired of the passive aggressive attitude.
    I’m in Korea, and I had a similair encounter here, which led to a stress attack that put me out for three days and felt like a heart attack. It was the scariest thing I had ever encountered in my life, and I never, ever, want to go through it again. Things went downhill at the private school I was working in even after I started being more direct, where it finally degenerated to the point where the boss told me I had been the big, stupid, scary teacher for the last seven months I had been there.
    That hurt me a lot, because I had made sure to ask questions, to see if anything was wrong, and I still ended up being screwed over in the end. Combined with the health problems that came with living in Korea’s polluted environment, and my own overwhelming feelings of homesickness, and I just don’t want to do this anymore.
    So good luck to you, and to the others doing this, I hope you land work at the GOOD schools.

  50. Gomez said, on June 18, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Wow, just wow…
    I think the most unbelievable thing is that all the teachers got together behind your back and decided that you were the one who should do all the work. Man talk about slacking off.
    I think it was a nice thing for you to do to let them save face, but what’s going to happen if they ever see you again at your new job in Japan if you were going on about your mother’s health?
    I imagine either much shuffling of the feet or rather just a complete lack of acknowledgement of the other party’s existence is the expected thing to do though…

  51. Wrath said, on June 19, 2007 at 9:52 am

    i’d have pushed for an Office Space fix to your problems at work, too bad reality doesn’t usually afford us that luxury. but i’m glad to see you had an ally in that school, she seems like a nice person. i’ve never been to japan, i’m not a college grad (yet), and i havent walked your career path. although from the looks of things, i’d suggest getting a full-time (erm, not ALT…) job as a teacher in writing somewhere. you have the experience in teaching, the ability to write, and you’ve been in japan long enough to converse well with others. i’m not saying english-writing necessarily, but there is a form to proper writing across languages, and you know it quite well enough to teach. plus rather than being assigned you could try your hand at choosing. good luck on finding new work if you haven’t already, whatever it may be.

  52. Jamie said, on June 19, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    It wasn’t that the VP didn’t expect you to hear what he was saying to the other teachers about you. Rather, he DID expect you to hear exactly what he was saying. His plan was either that 1) you would hear what he said and feel guilty about leaving early, and therefore decide to change your plans and stay behind, or 2) you would at least be shamed and humiliated in front of your co-workers and never ever ask to leave early again. Maybe he was planning both simultaneously, even.
    Anyway, that is such a typical Japanese way of “confronting” a problem — trash someone out when you know they’re sitting three feet away, but not directly to their face, oh no! Instead you act like everything is just fine and then ostracize them for daring to defy conventions, even when they got permission to actually (gasp!) break the rules.
    What’s really funny about this is that I recently advised someone to use this exact same technique against a Japanese co-worker who purposely disclosed personal information about this girl to her other Japanese co-workers after being specifically asked to keep it a secret. And your story above is how I know that this method will work, lol. When you need to defend yourself you have to use the same tactics that Japanese people use on you against them!!

  53. Nate said, on June 27, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I believe Goku’s Instantaneous Movement is called “instant transmission” ^.^

  54. Gaijin of Goi said, on June 30, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Catching up after a while of no internets, but thank you, thank you, thank you for voicing most of my frustrations with ALTing.

  55. Newbia said, on July 14, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    So why are you still living in Japan at all, and not going back to America?

  56. Anonymous said, on January 15, 2008 at 2:54 am

    China is the same. kudos to you. I am getting out of teaching after 1.5 years. Sick of people not caring about what education really means. Love your blog, congratulations on the marriage.

  57. Anonymous said, on January 15, 2008 at 2:54 am

    China is the same. kudos to you. I am getting out of teaching after 1.5 years. Sick of people not caring about what education really means. Love your blog, congratulations on the marriage.


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