Why I Want(ed) to Live and Work in Japan

Several years ago, I tried to submit applications to different schools in Asian countries. My goal was to use my pathetic English degree to teach the language abroad. None of that panned out, but this was my favorite submission letter to a Japanese outfit. (No, these images were NOT included in the original query letter.)

My fascination with “the rising sun” began in the spring of 1983. An unassuming precocious child, I channel-surfed Saturday morning cartoons like a pro. Perhaps it was a short attention span, or a reflex, but nothing ever caught my eye. That is, until I ran across anime for the first time.

The channel surfing stopped.

Fast-forward a few years later - by this time, a 9th grader - and introduced to the likes of Akira, thus solidifying my genre preference for all time. But not only that, I had to learn more about the culture that spawned such a dynamic art form. The bookworm in me took over.

Like any teenage male, the first word in the search key was “ninja”. That led to “samurai”, followed closely by “daimyo”, and lastly to “Amaterasu.” Film directors such as Shintaro Katsu, Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki and Takeshi Kitano breathed imagery into my textual inquiries. However, I was still distanced from experiencing the culture firsthand.

Then came college.

Most would assume a dorm boss to be a beleaguered, tired-looking post-grad student. Mine was the exact opposite - a bright-eyed, smiling, and downright hilarious guy by the name of Hiro. He and I grew to be fast friends and embarked on weekly sushi outings. (Usually impromptu, it being college and all.)

As with all things, though, college ended and we returned to our prospective homes. Too bad his was across an imposing ocean. I heard from him on and off over the years, his same statement being, “When’re you coming to Japan?”

To which, I would shrug and say, “When I have money.”

In passing years, I also developed a palate for refined green teas, gyokuro and matcha specifically. This further fueled my desire to one day cross overseas. I wanted to smell a fresh cup of loose leaf green tea from the source, not just from some secondhand distributor. A need for authenticity barraged me.

Aside from the need to experience a culture on its own soil, another desire needed to be sated; that being, putting use to my English degree. To put it mildly, it had been vestigial at best. No job I retained over the years was anywhere near related to my field of study. Granted, I wrote fiction on the side, but what good was that to anyone? I suppose I had a drive to teach.

Having tutored in the past, I can safely say it was rewarding. Seeing someone beam with delight once they finally understood material, well, there’s no greater high in the world. What’s the point finding joy if one doesn’t share joy.

I suppose that’s what brings me to [insert language school here]. The opportunity to live and learn away from the comfort of home is an alluring prospect to say the least. Traveling is in my blood, and so is teaching. It seems only natural that both be adhered too, and with a wonderful company, no less. I appreciate to opportunity for consideration.

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Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 Steep Stories

4 Comments to Why I Want(ed) to Live and Work in Japan

  1. I wouldn’t want to work for a place called “Insert Language School Here”. Besides, I can get all the Gyokura and Matcha I want anywhere.

  2. Robert Godden (The Devotea) on September 25th, 2013
  3. You could have quoted A.A. Gill at them to impress them with your knowledge of both current literature and Japan:
    “Kabuki theatre is only just preferable to amateur root-canal work. The three-stringed guitar is a sad waste of cat. Japanese flower-arranging is just arranging flowers. Their architecture is Chinese, as are their clothes, chopsticks, writing, etc. The samurai were thugs in frocks with stupid haircuts, and haiku poems are limericks that don’t make you laugh. Indeed, they are so aesthetically difficult, one haiku master managed to compose only 23,000 in 24 hours, including gems like: “The ancient pond, A frog leaps, The sound of the water.” Marvellous.”

  4. Robert Godden (The Devotea) on September 25th, 2013
  5. Don’t know who A.A. Gill is. All arguments to the contrary, some day I still want to go there.

  6. Geoffrey F. Norman on September 25th, 2013
  7. A.A. Gill is the travel writer for one of the bigger UK papers. His book “A.A. Gill is away” is sensational, one of the funniest, most informative and in some ways scariest things I’ve read. He really didn’t like Japan, though, as you may have divined from the quote above. He also said:
    “You don’t have to go to Japan to have an inkling that the Japanese are not as the rest of us are. In fact, they’re decidedly weird. If you take the conventional gamut of human possibility as running, say, from Canadians to Brazilians, after 10 minutes in the land of the rising sun, you realise the Japs are off the map, out of the game, on another planet. It’s not that they’re aliens, but they are the people that aliens might be if they’d learnt Human by correspondence course and wanted to slip in unnoticed.”

  8. Robert Godden (The Devotea) on September 26th, 2013

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