UNO Fight at the Old Eikiawa School

International-gad-about, arms trader, drug king pin, war criminal, cattle rustler, eikaiwa teacher. What do all these swarthy characters have in common? They're all on the run and- for a fist full of noodles, they'll work for you.


I got off the train in Keisei Okubo and looked around. Another town. Another convenience store. Another eikaiwa school.


When I first came to Japan, I had to stay in a hotel because the teacher I was replacing hadn't yet moved on. After a week, it was finally time to move into my digs.

Some of my co-workers offered to help me move in. On our way to the apartment, someone said that Dan (the previous teacher) had a big goodbye party at the apartment the night before. At the mention of the party, people smiled quietly to themselves.

Horror in Hokkaido: EC Inc.

Guest post by John Russell

Thinking of teaching English in Hokkaido in Japan's most livable city, Sapporo? How about historic Hakodate or scenic Asahikawa with its large national park? Well, whatever you do, make sure that you make EC your absolute last choice for employment in Hokkaido.

Don't be confused by the name:
ECC: legitimate English school using professional materials

EC: a complete joke run by lunatic slave-masters that use so-called original lessons which are actually complete garbage.

The Wednesday Meeting

"Hey! Hey you!" the bus driver called.
Chris grabbed me by the collar and spun me around.
"You forgot to pay your fare. Pay the man."
"I did, I put a thousand yen in that box and got my change back."
Chris smiled. "It's just a change machine. It doesn't collect fares. You took your money and ran."
"Oh," I blushed, turning to the bus driver, "Sorry." Not 12 hours on the ground and my first newbie mistake in public.

Return Shock

The three of us were sitting in Kim's apartment sharing a pizza and drinking Kirin Lager. Well, I was drinking the Lager and the other two were sipping ice teas. The phone rang. It was Ann, Kim's friend.


Inheriting the Role

Background: One of my ex-students quit GEOS over a year ago and is still trying to get a refund on her unused group lessons. One night she called with the intention of leaning on the manager for a concrete answer but got Kaya, the senior teacher at the Odawara school. When my student asked for the manager, Kaya quipped that there wasn't one and that she was essentially running the school until GEOS could bring in a "permanent" manager.

Roppongi Nights

Everyone Comes to Festas

One hundred days into my eventual 1095 spent in Odawara and I was climbing the walls. My classroom had a view of the station. The sight of all those people boarding trains bound for locations other than Odawara drove me to depraved depths of jealousy. Somewhere someone was having fun. He or she was having fun in a way that wouldn't come back and bite them on the ass later. He or she was meeting new people, going to new places, doing the whole "life" thing. I lived in Odawara.


Return of the Native

I got into town about 3 in the afternoon. When the train pulled into the station my flesh was crawling. Here I was back in the old hometown, so to speak. Gad, what if I ran into a student? All the students were told that I had returned to Canada to begin my apprenticeship in the circus.

Crash-test Teacher

Guest post by Bob Perkins

Long cheap travel, humiliation and bloody mattresses; I've reached the zenith of education! Got Napster? Then "I'm Your Late Night Evening Prostitute" by Tom Waits goes well here.

Be Advised About Interac: Part II

In 1996, I was living in Tokyo. I was a teacher/trainer for Interac. The day was April 28, and it was 6:00am. My phone rang, and tearful, sobbing voice came on the phone. It was my sister Terry. "I don't know how to tell you this....Dad's dead." I tried to calm her down and get more information. Apparently he'd been in a business meeting when he suddenly collapsed from a heart attack. He was rushed to the hospital, but he never regained consciousness. I told her that I'd be back home as soon as I could. I immediately called my boss and explained the situation.


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