Thoughts on teaching English in Japan

A cousin of mine recently went to Japan to teach English in some countryside elementary schools and he came back with some horror stories about the apathetic attitudes many of the student have. 

I gather based upon what I’ve heard that the situation is similar to the way America’s urban children are stuck in a generational rut, where it’s exceptionally difficult and requires a lot of bravery to strike out beyond the squallar and poverty of their own native community.  Japanese countrywide children are stuck being low level farmers or labor workers with little hope of "breaking out".  So they don’t care about learning much.

It reminded me of this one guy that called himself Azrael that wrote an online diary about teaching English in Japan.  He entitled his diary, "I am a Japanese School Teacher" and his writing was hilarious and it was really before the dawn of "blogging".

This was the first entry I ever read.  Go ahead.  Read it.  You’ll feel compelled to read more:

This guy is a laugh riot.  And here’s the funny part.  His blog was so popular, that a year or so ago, he got asked to join a network of bloggers where it sounds like he got paid.  The new site is at:

Even funnier?  He QUIT.  And not just a year ago or anything… he quit just a couple days ago. He decided that he couldn’t take teaching English in Japan any more and he just up and quit.  This is after 7 years or so of teaching English.  The timing is amazing… I visited his blog 7 years ago, and then didn’t come back until two days ago, and BAM.  He quit.

He has a lot of gripes but he doesn’t piss all over the experience.  For all his teeth knashing, Azrael’s quite grown up about the whole thing.  Impressive.  I can’t say definitively that I would have been as mature.  And I’m Japanese for god’s sake.

God bless you, Azrael, and thank you for making me laugh my ass off at least twice in my life.  You’re the kind of person I’d like to meet one day.

One Response to Thoughts on teaching English in Japan

  1. wes says:

    teaching English is big time biz in Japan which is why even NHK produce their own English language learning programs even though most are lousy – though some are more entertaining than educational 🙂

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