Version 2.0 - Tokyo is coming soon. Please excuse the construction and let me know if you have any problems.

Picture of the Day - Father & Daughter III

Saturday, March 07, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (2)

Japanese Girl Shopping for Cards

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

Pictue of the Day

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

Dude, what are you doing with my girl friend?


Gaijin Part III

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (1)

This is the 3rd part in a series; please make sure you read Parts I & 2 before this one.

The 3rd reaction that foreigners get from Japanese people is not good. You are minding your business on the train look up and see someone giving you a look of disapproval. There are Japanese people, especially older ones that see no reason whatsoever for there to be foreigners in their country. They think that Westerns are corrupting the youth and have no respect for Japanese history and culture. For some reason I get the worst looks from older Japanese women. This group is in the minority but you can imagine why we remember them. When I get together with Western friends I often joke, “Oh no there are too many gaijin!”

Despite not appreciating the dirty looks I can see where they are coming from. Working in the public schools here I can tell you first hand that the children love Western styles. You see it in the way they dress (when not in their uniforms), the music they listen to and how they carry themselves. For older and more traditional Japanese people this is not appreciated. Even small things are not really small things. Traditionally for example Japanese people do not cross their legs when they sit. I had a teacher get upset that I would set with my legs crossed and the children could see. When I looked around a lot of other Japanese teachers and students were crossing their legs. This was one of those teachers that wanted me to observe all the traditional Japanese behaviors. I tried to make her happy but my job is to teacher the students English and western culture.

Please don't get the wrong idea here. If you visit Japan most people will be friendly, helpful and glad you are here.


Gaijin Part II

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (1)

Being a foreigner in Japan there are three main experiences you have with Japanese people.

(1) Nada. People look at you and have no change in expression; they are just looking around and happened to glance your way.

(2) Happy. This group is by far in the majority. Many Japanese people and especially the youth have a fascination with Western culture, style and music. A lot of people are thrilled to talk English with a native speaker. I get asked where I am from all the time and am people are curious about America. Everyone seems to know the phrase, “Yes, we can.”

People used to stare at me and I wasn’t sure why until I realized they wanted to see my blue eyes. Japan is a wonderful place to have blue eyes! Most of my experience has been with this group and it is a great ego boast! In addition to my eyes they seem to love my curly hair (I want straight hair) and the natural brownish color. I don’t think anyone in America ever told me my hair color was beautiful. Or that the way I speak English has a nice flow. Being special just for being myself is nice.


Goodbye Jonathan

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

When I first came to Japan I worked for an awful company (that soon went bankrupt) and Jonathan, a nice chap from England was a co-worker. I was confused and disoriented being in a strange new country and and starting a new job. Jonathan was always helpful and kind even when I asked the same question a dozen times.

We ran into each other at bars sometimes and we lived in the same apartment building. Jonathan returned to England on the 3rd and I will miss seeing him.


Picture of the Day - Cops

Wednesday, March 04, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

These cops were so small and cute it was a bit hard to take them seriously.


Gaijin Part I

Monday, March 02, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (1)

In previous posts I explained that the Japanese word gaijin means foreigner. It translates more closely to mean a person from outside the country. Japanese children often use the world gaijin to talk about foreigners. There is a sense of discrimination associated with the word gaijin in the minds of many Japanese people. This is a country after all where every so often you will see a restaurant, club or store with a sign saying, "No Gaijin Allowed." (I will explore this issue further in Part II.) Adults generally use the word gaikokujin (which means the same thing) but does not have a sense of discrimination to it.

A general note here to my loyal readers. My explanations come from my personal experiences, talking to other foreigners, and interacting with Japanese people everyday. Whenever possible I refrain from talking about the Japanese having one mindset although they often do. This is a culture that teaches its children that it is the nail that sticks up that gets hammered. On the flip side the Japanese have created some of the most creative and innovative products on the planet. In bars and in classes I have talked with many Japanese people that hold an array of different view points on any number of things. My views reflect the fact that I live in Nagoya and often visit and talk with friends from Tokyo. If I was writing a blog from say Hiroshima, I am sure my views would be different. And finally like everyone else I do make mistakes so feel free to comment or ask about anything.

My lovely friend Tomomi helped with this article.



Picture of the Day - Another Cute Japanese Child

Sunday, March 01, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (1)

Morning Shot - Looking for a Job

Sunday, March 01, 2009 / Posted by Zackary / comments (0)

Good Morning Everyone!

The time here in Nagoya, Japan is 6:09 a.m. and it is 10 (or 50) outside. At 6:23 the sun is supposed to rise but my red curtains are closed so I will miss it. Rain is forecast for the day so I won't be taking many pictures.

I am still on a silly schedule of sleeping during the day and awaking at night to look for a new job Teaching English. How does one look for a job in Japan? There are lots of websites in English that list jobs and employers. Applying for jobs is the same except in Japan they want a picture attached to your CV. In America you never attach a picture unless you are a model or actor. Most of these sites email you updates every day which is helpful. Another resource is the message board in my apartment building which has many foreigner English Teachers.

As in every other country networking is a key to success. My friends are on Facebook and know I am looking for a job. I have worked for several other companies and keep in touch with them via email. In another entry I will write about the Japanese economy but for now let me say it is ugly. Many companies and individual sare cutting back on expensive English programs.

For more exciting (and better paying jobs) you need to speak a decent level of Japanese. I do speak some Japanese but my level is still very low. If I spoke fluent Japanese I would be a paralegal in Tokyo as that was my profession in Chicago for seven years. When I see postings for paralegal I am able to check off any number of qualifications except for the language requirement.

I will keep you posted on my search and how things turn out. As always always, thank you for stopping by and spending time with me.