Being an English Teacher in Japan (Part 2)

Language is a bridge as much as a barrier. It is the whole point of my job as an English teacher, but I myself suffer from an inability to communicate in many situations. Living in a foreign land has been both an eye opening and ear shutting experience at times.

Teaching is of the most positive importance. If my life had not lead me, meaning if God had not directed it so, to be an English teacher, I don’t know what would have happened to me. Teaching fits my optimistic side, it shows itself off in the belief that people can learn and act. We all remember the good teachers, and the bad ones too, don’t we?

So here in Japan teaching, as a profession, is enjoyable and dare I say lucrative. It supplies my needs. After 17 years it is still worth getting up in the morning for. There is still excitement in the effort, which is part of the awe of being able to do a job I think is fun!

Yes, I would like to be a writer someday. I would like to sail off in to the unknown while making funds by the bounty of works sold. Reality tells me though that teaching is where I belong right now, and will probably be for the next foreseeable future. It is what I feel comfortable doing and hopefully my students feel that way too!

Keep writing, and try teaching if you’re inclined.



After living here in Japan for 17 years some things have come back around to me. Last summer, in the heat of a Kanazawa morning, my niece and nephew and I were walking around the area I first lived in when I moved to the city. Walking to the place where my apartment was I stopped and gazed at a completely different scene. The apartment had been demolished and a new one built further down with a parking area.

I didn’t feel like crying, or depressed, I just shrugged my shoulders and thought about all the other things that have changed since I lived there. The next place I lived was a government apartment after I got married. That is gone now too, replaced with a neighborhood of houses. An improvement on the apartment, believe me there.

“Time waits for no man, and I am not man.”

original quote from Nathan A. Emery

But time doesn’t wait, thankfully so it would seem. It’s just the speed here in Japan that highlights the difference. Back in the States there are houses and buildings that were there when I was a kid, 30 years haven’t changed them. Here things might last 10 years and then they are replaced. It magnifies the transience of life.

Keep writing, and thinking too.

Better Get Out There

Went for a short hike on Monday and thankful to just be out and not in the house. Weather is a fickle thing here in Ishikawa, Japan. We get a lot of rain and that makes for less hiking so a sunny day is a chance to go-wait I have to work. I have to do business around town. I have to-

Life gets in the way of getting out into nature. If it isn’t rain it’s work. Oh, don’t get me wrong, we all have to work. I just mean that looking out the window and seeing the sun shine ought to propel me out there when the chance arises.

Japan is a much more natural place than you would probably expect. I live on the West coast which is much more forested with a smaller population. There are bear and wild boar and monkeys around. Poisonous snakes slither across muddy hiking paths. A confusion or insects hum through the forest. Of course this is where I would rather be than sitting teaching, though teaching is exciting and I am often not sitting! You don’t sit down in kids classes, let me type you.

To put a sharp point on this post my advice is to get out and enjoy your surroundings when you have the chance. Especially in the seasons that make your particular area come to life. Happy trails.

Keep writing.

The Trouble with North Korea Is-


From the Japanese position North Korea is more than a threat, it is a thief. Sitting here on the 85th anniversary of the Peoples Army in North Korea, wondering what they will do and praying they won’t, I consider the side of the picture many Japanese might be thinking about: the abducts.

During a period of 30 years people were abducted from the Japanese west coast and taken to North Korea to be used as teachers of the language and to gain information about Japan. As a person living in this region I find it frightening. It is an easy area to snatch a person from with its inlets and rocky shores mixed with hard packed sand beaches. People were taken, and might still be alive in North Korea today.

My dream would be for the two Koreas to become one, for the sake of the Korean people, not for military of strategic reasons. China doesn’t really want an American backed united Korea bordered right up to itself I am sure. Yet why should the Korean people be separated? They are a family and the line might be night and day between the two sides now, but they should be united once more.

So I come back to the Japanese view. United with their abducted relatives who were taken into the North and could get freedom once again, like the small group that was released back a decade ago to the shock and amazement of the world. Will Megumi Yakota ever see her parents before they pass on? That is what many people are wondering.

In all of the bluster and pomp there is great hunger for freedom. May freedom come, and swiftly.

Keep writing, and thinking about a better tomorrow.

You Stay Courageous Kid

A couple of weeks ago my kids student came to class wearing a sweatshirt with some interesting English across it. He wears this often and I happened to have my camera in the classroom and snapped a pic of it.


Yes, we all should be living a courageous life. Go, live yours!

Keep writing, and looking at what others have written.

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