Thursday, March 30, 2006

ON WORKING IN JAPAN...

Received an email from a young Malaysian lady asking for advice about work in Japan.

She is planning on becoming an English teacher in Japan and I am quite impressed that tender as she is, she is already putting herself on track by gunning for the required qualifications...

Well, am not sure on how to 'advise' on this matter, except to yak about my mundane experiences as a teacher in the university...

One thing I can say is, foreigners probably need to be quite fluent in Japanese as well.

Perhaps becoming an English teacher in say, Australia is not so problematic because one can use English to converse with colleagues, in planning the work, etc...

But in Japan, even English teachers have to coordinate with Japanese colleagues in Japanese...

And we need to chat with our neighbors and shop for our milk in Nihongo too...

(Read the experience of auyongtc here...)

There are no two ways about this except to speak their tongue...

Incidentally, at Asia Pacific University the other day, a Singaporean academic curiously asked me about life in Japan.

My reflex answer was... life here is almost stress-free...

Japanese politics doesn't bog me down, and that is one big load off the shoulders...

(Still, I think Koizumi-san should pray at the peaceful Heian Shrine in Kyoto rather than at the contentious Yasukuni Shrine...)

Imagine if I were in Malaysia, I'd be gnashing and shortening my teeth (although I try not to) pretty frequently to hear those so-called 'honorable' politicians babbling statements that usually make little sense...

Of course there is discrimination and inconveniences (yes, even of the institutional type) here, but I don't lose sleep over those stuff...

I get respect, mutual that is, from the local community probably many times over from what I could ever dream of if I were to work as a faculty member in a Malaysian university...

For that, I normally get to snore away every night with a little smile on my contorting face...

Heeeeh...

By the way, the sakuras are still refusing to pop...

Chotto matte kudasai, neh...

Heeheeheee...