☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life

Living Tall in Japan, part 46

☆ To see all of the parts in this series, click here

This part is less about fangirl, and more about work. My new job, that is!

As you know, I quit NOVA and was hired at another company. In my new company, I would be assigned a short list of elementary schools and given a schedule. On the assigned days, I would go to the said elementary school, and lead classes in English.

I had basically no training, and almost no idea of what to do, but I took to it right away nonetheless! Especially the little kids. The first graders would mob me, and have a blast playing all sorts of simple games in English like Fruit Basket, which I had never played before, but is sort of like a free-for-all version of musical chairs.

It was surreal to be in a Japanese school. To a Japanese kid, there was probably nothing special or magical about it. It’s just school, after all. But to me, it was like stepping onto the living, breathing set of an anime or manga. I’d been fascinated with shoujo manga, especially school stories, and now to be in one…

I can’t describe the awe that I felt.

Plus, all of the boys seemed like they were gay. I loved it.

I’m loving my new job. It’s tiring, or it’s just me adjusting to so many changes at once, but I still love it. It’s fun to play with the kids, and they’re all SO ADORABLE! (and um….. 6th grade boys love climbing all over each other and swatting each other on the butt and then shouting “hentai!!” or changing my english words into “sukebe” (pervert, lecher) during the telephone game.. XD Too amusing!). I nearly got myself mauled today playing a ‘touch the color’ game with 1st graders and the special ed kids. XD;;;;; I was wearing a pink shirt, and I said “okay, touch pink……. GO!” I think the entire 2 combined classes headed for me and grabbed onto my shirt! XD;;;;;;;; Too cute! But I was being mobbed and one teacher was filming it. XD;;;; Just wait, it’ll appear on a school website one day. ^_^;; They did it when I said “touch brown” too, since I was wearing brown pants.. XD;;

School lunches = good! I like them so far! It’s been really hard communicating with the students, but they seem to like me since they try really really hard. Tomorrow I’m in a new school, and I don’t think that I’ll be back to Dai-ni Ojima for a few weeks. Sad. T__T But it should be interesting! The rest of this week should be a bit longer since I have Japanese classes starting up again on Thursday night and an inter-school teacher’s meeting on Friday afternoon…. oooo…..

It was in these schools that I started to pick up Japanese really fast. Nobody spoke English, including the teachers most of the time, so I constantly heard Japanese around me.

The first phrase that I learned?

“Dekai…………….!” (“Huge……..!) At 6’1”, I  must have looked like a monster to some of the kids. XD

I picked up colors, numbers, vegetables, and the like very quickly, too, since most of the time the kids would respond in Japanese instead of the English they were supposed to. At first, it was great, and hilarious. It did get old after a while, though. But lucky for me, I still had a while to go before I felt that way. 🙂

Look at this (crappy) old video that I took back then. Aren’t they adorable?

All of these kids are grown up now. All but the youngest would have graduated high school now, or be really close to it. Wow, was it that long ago??

This drawing is supposed to be me. It says “Jamie Chamie sensei.”

Oh, there was one thing, though. I mainly owned jeans, and jeans, I was told, were too casual for school. Instead, the teachers usually wore track pants and sweats.

……. yeah.

I couldn’t figure that one out, either.

Hehe. I’ll see you guys tomorrow, hopefully with some GREAT news!! *^__^*

(754 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.


  • zoomingjapan

    Actually I’m surprised you decided to go for another English teaching job after you had noticed that teaching is not for you. *g*

    Your students were so adorable. ^^
    It’s really rewarding when you stay with them for a long time – like YEARS. But it’s so hard when you have to say goodbye after such a long time. :/

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      I just wanted out of NOVA, and I didn’t even know that there were other types of jobs available. As long as I could stay in JApan and it was a simple job that I didn’t have to expend a lot of brainpower on (so that it would eat into my off hours), then I was happy to take it. Now, I’d never go back to it unless it was teaching art. I wouldn’t mind teaching art. It’s not teaching that I hate, it’s how boring it was for me, and how I wasn’t interested in it at all.

        • Jamie Lynn Lano

          Part of it was that I felt like a cog in a wheel, but most of it was how mind-numbingly boring it was. It’s where I taught myself how to yawn without opening my mouth– a skill that has come in quite handy since then! 😀 There was little creativity, I felt like I was making little to no difference, and conversational English had to have been one of the most boring subjects ever. I’d much rather have taught math, science, or history!

  • Jamie Lynn Lano

    Yeah, it’s so weird!! Jeans are approrpiate for a date at a nice restaurant, but they’re considered less dressy than track pants. It seems soooo backwards, lol.

    Yes, that’s the mindset that I have now! Back then, it was such a shock to me, but now I long to see that sort of regular affection between school boys in the US. Not because I want to imagine that they’re gay, but because that sort of camaraderie and close friendship should be encouraged like it is in Japan. I find it sad that it’s not.

  • haze

    OMG!! the Charm! then Brightness, the cuteness! hahaha, loved it. If there is one thing I would like to experience is teaching at a school I think I would enjoy that.

    So that explains why the sweat pants are so common on teachers in all those Mangas. Such A cliche, but there is the reason is either Formal/casual or sweat pants?

    Is school uniform only required for private schools? or junior high and high school only?Where I’m from is ALWAYS uniform until High School.

    I guess sweat pants conform to the PE class hence is allowed rather than jeans???? I’m not sure.

    Thanks again Jamie. I Enjoyed the read.

    • Jamie Lynn Lano

      Yeah, I think that’s the reason. I’d say that in my experience, about half the teachers wore suits, and the rest wore sweats or track suits.

      Public elementaries, some private middle/high school, and all colleges let you wear your own clothes. All of the others make you wear a uniform. It’s a little different than what you see in anime, though. Usually there are several options for shirts and sweater styles to choose from. The hair is far more strict than the uniform, which is also the opposite of anime. Not all, but many schools require only natural hair and you have to wear certain styles depending on length, also you can’t have longer or shorter than a given length. For example, some schools won’t let girls wear their hair longer than a bit over shoulder length, and many require you to braid your hair if it’s long. You can’t wear it free, etc.

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