Eyebrows raised as “Mr Grammar” quits English Conversation School

The end of a successful power meeting, where big teaching moves were discussed.

Joel Di Venuto is, in his own words, the last of the great, old-fashioned, leather elbow-patch adorned, wry-humored English teachers.  He’s been a touch more impassive than the average Eikawa teacher.  He has chastised Sunshine English Academy management at almost every opportunity for its lack of respect and loyalty, and its apparent refusal to find a mutually agreeable solution.  And now, sadly, the struggle between employer and star employee has come to a disappointing end.  

“This morning I handed the student liaison clerk a final note stating that unless I heard from the owner by 11 o’clock that he was prepared at once to grant me a pay rise, a contract would no longer exist between us. I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received, and that consequently I am now officially between jobs. Sunshine may be a language school, but now it behaves more like a soulless corporate entity.

Deal done – the power brokers of the Eikawa industry.

“You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that my long struggle to get a better contract has failed. Yet, I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different that I could have done that would have been more successful.”

So, after all these years, Di Venuto is moving on after being offered a similar position at the Sunbeam English Academy.  “They seem like a good bunch, and the KFC opposite them has a nice, modern, eat-in area.  Only drug dealers use the KFC restaurant in my home town; it has a real ghetto vibe.  But, I think eating at this KFC will be a pleasant experience.”

The “Non-ghetto” KFC.

Adopting the tone of a person who overthinks just about everything,  the Portland native adds,  “This isn’t a decision that I’ve taken lightly.  I had to talk to my family, my girlfriends (sic), and a couple of guys in my international guest house.”

Despite living in the same place for 15 years, and working at the same company for just as long, Joel sees himself as a free spirit.  “People ask me the same questions all the time.  They want to know why I don’t commit to a normal relationship.  They want to know why I don’t open my own business.  But that’s not me, y’know.  I see myself as one of those characters in a Bob Dylan song; a gypsy man, or a travellin’ man.  A guy who’s free from borders and responsibility.  People also ask me why the hell I’m still living in a gaijin house.”

Some big league corporate language institutes prefer to crunch numbers in pleasant, relaxing surroundings, but don’t let that fool you; they can be just as ruthless as stuffy boardroom types.

A free spirit he may be, but there’s no compromising or deviation from the target language in the classroom.  “If you can’t handle present perfect and reported speech, you have no place in my advanced class,” explains Di Venuto.  “Pack your bags and go down the hall to the intermediate class or, better still, the beginner class.  Don’t waste my time.”

Di Venuto is philosophical about his move to a new school, and he’s doing his best to convince himself that he’s moving in the right direction.  “Every year the owner there has cherry picked the most promising and the hottest students.  I’d do the same if I were in his position.  It left me to work my magic on the second tier ladies.  Some were quite beautiful to look at, but they weren’t very shapely.  On the odd occasion when I overstepped the teacher/student boundary and entered into a physical relationship,  it was usually with a skinny woman.  How was it?  Well, have you ever tried to have sex with a deck chair?  It was like that.”  

The final click that would move Di Venuto on to the next chapter of his career

Realising that he was digressing, Di Venuto corrected himself,  “Can we… Can we talk about my professional career now?  I don’t want to talk about those battery chickens.  I have weathered the changes in the language industry, and I intend to shine at Sunbeam.  They’ve got a coffee machine and a refrigerator in their staff room, too.”

Whether they be American, French, or German, veteran language teachers in Tokyo get a bad rap.  People assume that they can’t speak or read Japanese, or can’t code or do anything that the labour market demands.  Indeed, they are seen as complete and utter chumps by some people.  But some, like Di Venuto, have language teaching in their veins.  “When I go home people ask me, `Hey Joel, why do you do it man? Are you some kinda classroom junkie?’ You know what I say? I don’t say a goddamn word. Why? They don’t understand. They don’t understand why we do it. They don’t understand that it’s about the vocab and the grammar in front of you, and that’s it. That’s all it is.”

Chiba woman concerned by husband’s lack of sympathy

“I always pictured the two of us sitting down to watch dramas on terrestrial tv once or twice a week, consuming the advertised products, before making love on the the odd occasion.  I saw him as a man of compassion, honour, and money.  But, I can see his true side coming to the fore, and I’m not entirely comfortable with what I’m seeing.”

Marika Shirinaka is referring to her husband Junta’s disinterest in the so-called human dramas of which she is an avid fan.  The latest hit drama, “God… Give Me Strength”, is a 13 episode series featuring a young woman with the world at her feet who then discovers that she has brain cancer.  That’s the first and second episode.  Then, for the rest of the series, she slowly dies.  

“He told me that he didn’t want to waste his time watching a depressing series full of tired old cliché.  Can you believe that!?” asked the 27 year old engineering assistant.  “This is such an emotionally enriching drama featuring some of Japan’s most talented actors.  You can see that in the way that they cry real tears and shout irrationally.  That’s really good acting when someone does that.  And yet, he can’t appreciate any of this.  He said he’d rather watch “F is for Family”, “Archer”, or paint dry.”

Disappointed by the her hard-working investment officer husband’s lack of caring, Marika has spent time contemplating how she can improve the current situation.  “I think there’s an emotional gulf opening up between us, so the only option I have to is to have an affair with someone who enjoys these kinds of programs.  I wouldn’t do anything brazen like jump into bed with just anyone though. 

“First, the handsome guy would have to treat me to a fancy dinner and then take me to a nice hotel, just like they do in the romantic dramas that I enjoy.  During dinner we’d talk about the drama and guess where the story was heading.  If he were to roll his eyes and say, “Well, obviously the main character is going to die,” that would be the end of it though.  I’d silently finish the dinner and then leave the posh restaurant alone.  I get enough sarcasm and black humour at home, thank you very much.”

Licking her lips at the thought of an exciting affair, Marika seems determined to dip her toes into the extra-marital pool and appears to have no second thoughts.  “If he (the man to with whom she recently vowed to spend her life while forsaking all others) can’t bring himself to care about a fictional character in a situation that we’ve all seen on tv a hundred times before, then how can I expect him to care for our very own child, or a cat, or two cats.”

The Cruelty of an Englishman

The contentment of an Englishman; Earl Grey with a dash of bit of lemon.

Kayo Hashimoto was just 24 years old when she fell in love with her English knight in shining armour.  “Roy was my English teacher at a run-of-the-mill school in Ichikawa.  The other teachers were dorks, but Roy wasn’t.  That was the magic with Roy; he wasn’t a dork.”

Roy Atkinson, the then 27 year old non-dork of the teaching staff, was able to read the air, take Kayo out to a British pub, and then get her back to his flat for wild sex.  So wild was the sex, that Kayo believed that she would have trouble anchoring Roy down when they married a year later.  

The expectations of an Englishman; the egg and the beans on the toast.

Little did she know, however, of the strict rules that would come with living with an Englishman.  “It started with his insistence that the scrambled eggs must be placed on the toast, and served up while piping hot.  He explained it all to me with an air of great urgency, like your mother telling you to wear fresh knickers every day.”

The strict breakfast regime wasn’t restricted to the plate, either.  “I put milk in my cup of Earl Grey tea, and that triggered him too.  He went on a rant telling me that only a slice of lemon could ever be added to Earl Grey.  This was all done in the manner of your mother telling you to wipe your bum after doing a poo.   He makes out that I’m the thick one, when he can’t cook a meal without over-boiling every single thing, and he mispronounces every other Japanese name and place with no sense of awareness.”

The acceptance of an Englishman; a plate so full that he overlooks the sight of the beans coming into direct contact with the plate.

Atkinson’s rules extend to just one seasonal tradition, but just by itself it shames the famed Japanese love of the four seasons.  “Every year from late November he turns into a Christian and tries to win arguments simply by reminding me that it’s almost Christmas and I should be more considerate.  Just the slightest micro-aggression will prompt him to go on and on about Christmas time being a time for caring about others. And, all he ever does for Christmas is buy me some saucy lingerie so that he can play out his Page 3 fantasies with me.”

Those fantasies usually require Hashimoto to dress up as a headmistress and then command Atkinson to “assume the position”.  After that various disciplinary acts must be carried out, much to the chagrin of Hashimoto.  “I’ve been told by many men that I look so sweet in my old high school uniform.  I iron the pleats regularly and have some knee-high socks ready to wear, but instead he wants me to behave like an older woman with authority.  Sometimes I think his ideal woman is that older woman in Harry Potter and Downton Abbey.”

The no-nonsense 80’s headmistress; the go-to fantasy for many an Englishman.

“The chocolate must be Cadbury’s,” continues Hashimoto.  “If J-League football is on television he has to observe that the standard is well below the Premier League, and the top three buttons on his shirts have to be done up when hanging them out to dry.  Then there are boobs.  He has to comment on every woman’s boobs when we watch a tv program.  This one has shapely boobs.  That one has enormous ones.  This one is obviously wearing a padded bra.  No pair of tits on tv can escape his critical eye.  I think he’s just watched too many Benny Hill re-runs.”

Despite their differences, Hashimoto concedes that they do have some common ground.  “As a couple, we’re only truly happy when we’re on an overseas holiday.  That’s when we can be as arrogant and as blinkered as each other.  You see, I waltz around referring to everyone as a gaijin, while he happily refers to everyone as a foreigner.”

Confessionanism!? Nagoya Teachers’ Conspiracy exposed

It has come to light that half a dozen bored English teachers have been telling students for years about a completely fake milestone that is “celebrated” in western countries.  The practice of teaching the made-up custom, called a “Confessionanism”, has been going on for years, and it was only through an investigation carried out by a humourless, by-the-book middle manager that the conspiracy was exposed.

According to a leaked paper, the teachers have taught hundreds of business students about the fictional custom after coming up with the idea during a long drinking session at a well-known British chain pub.  43 year old Sandy Coughlan, who bravely followed up on vague student comments related to the “custom”, said that it was a disgusting idea conceived by a bunch of immature men who should know better. She expressed concern over the damage that the practice has caused, as well as shedding light on the bizarre story.  

“The Confessionansism is supposed to be a custom where people who, upon turning 60 years of age, announce the names of ten people who they’ve thought about while pleasuring themselves,” explained a terse-faced Coughlan.  “They told students that it was largely, but not only, men who observed the custom.  They also said that the confessions were made at 60th birthday parties attended by family and friends, with each name being met with enthusiastic oohs and aahs from the revellers.  They peddled the idea that people generally applauded loudly after all ten names had been read out.  It was said that the advantage of revealing the lists at the age of 60 was that it would still be possible for the news to reach people like former Sunday School teachers, friends’ mothers, and local news readers while they were still alive.”  

Coughlan went on to reveal that some students had actually adopted the custom and announced their own lists of wank fantasies at their own 60th birthday parties.  “One impressionable man revealed stuff that was beyond humiliating.  He talked about dedicating loads to his sister and one of his aunties.  He went as far as to include the scenarios and the clothes that they were wearing.  If I recall correctly, he always thought about his sister in a skirt and knee-high boots, and his auntie in her yoga pants.  God only knows what went through their minds when they heard all of this come out at his Confessionanism.   And, yes, I do feel just a little dirty having to use this word.  I’m only saying it because I have to.”

One of the conspiracists, who would only talk on the condition that he be allowed to use the pseudonym “Raj” (although readers should take care not assume his background on the basis of that pseudonym), stated that it was all a bit of harmless fun which developed beyond their control.  “I think we should look at this as a guide to how much our students’ comprehension skills improved during their courses,” said the 37 year old JAV enthusiast.  “It should also serve as a guide as to how to get students engaged in their language studies.   Just look at our results; we’ve seen half a dozen marriages ruined due to these Confessionanisms.  How about that guy who gave a shout out to all his art teachers from elementary school, junior high school, high school, high school, and college!  The entire time he was only doing art in order to satisfy his fetish!  What a madlad!

“We covered our bases by agreeing on the origins of the custom too.  When the question was asked, we told students that the custom harkened back to Victorian England, when promiscuity wasn’t so prevalent.  There were women spinsters who died as virgins which was really sad.  Anyway, we told everyone that to cheer the lonely librarians and nurses up, men would confess to having beaten their bishops while thinking about them in their younger days.  We told everyone that that’s how the custom started. We also told everyone not to go looking on the Internet as it was so deep and spiritual that nobody wrote about it.

“As for the limit of ten names, we explained to students that some Confessionanisms had included up to forty or fifty names. In some cases, we explained, almost every woman in the village was being named. Nasty! Therefore, it became expedient and much less creepy to introduce a limit. That’s what we told hundreds of our students, and lots of them ate it up. It was all in good fun, and not that much harm was done. The people who got divorced probably would have got divorced for some other reason at some point.”

None of this impressed the indefatigable Coughlan, however. “It is clear that this perverted little game has had far-reaching repercussions, and I feel that it is my duty to make sure that the teachers responsible are duly punished.  I would not lose any sleep if they are disproportionately punished, to be honest.  Their behaviour has been appalling, and it could even harm the integrity of the English language teaching industry in Japan.”  Keen to make her own position clear on the matter, Coughlan made a pre-emptive strike on malicious gossip that could possibly greet the outrageous news.  “May I just add that, before any nasty rumours spread, I’m not getting all high and mighty and ranting about all of this just because none of these students have included me in their Top 10.”

Just the thought of a non-Japanese person asking her one simple question takes old lady out of her comfort zone

“I don’t drink coffee I take green tea, my dear.

Despite the vocab being able to be learnt by anyone with a pulse in one minute, and the context being easily understood by anyone who has ever lived in the civilised world at anytime since the Victorian era, 74 year old Masako Shiwahada refuses to get it.

I was doing work experience, for an article, in a rural tofu shop when I encountered Shiwahada. After personally trying to teach her the line, “Does this bus go to Tokyo?” along with the yes or no answer, I asked her bluntly in Japanese what her problem was.  “I can’t speak English.  It’s difficult,” said Masako, before asking, “Do you understand?  You’re not Japanese, so you can’t understand what I’m saying.  Oh…  Why…?  What should I do…?”

Totoro or a foreigner coming here, which would be scarier?

After reassuring the pathetic old woman that my self-assessed Level 3 Japanese skills were more than adequate to converse with her, I set about interviewing other greying locals to see if the whole town was similarly blinkered.  I chatted to six of them who all enthusiastically engaged in my impromptu English lesson.  It was during our chats that I politely enquired about Shiwahada’s problem.  

“Oh… That goose!?” giggled 83 year old Moe Mukashi.  “She’s the type who still finds oversized tennis raquets to be cutting edge humour.”  91 year old Takashi Mukai added, “Get this – she actually believes that World War II ended in a draw!  She lapped up all that stuff about Japan choosing to formally accept the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, as though there were other rational options available.”

A bus whisking the traveller away to the metropolis.

Eager to give Shiwahada an opportunity to get her point across, we sat down with a person who I’d roped in as an interpreter, as Shiwahada still doubted that I could indeed understand her.  Dabbing her face constantly with a handkerchief she faced the interpreter and explained why five words of English were beyond her.  “To be honest, I’ve got no idea when to use ha, ga, de, or ni when I speak Japanese. I just throw them in randomly. So, what hope do I have with another language? 

“I just want to live in traditional Japan adding miso and mirin to everything that I cook. I can also do without any outsiders messing with my wa, yet I’m happy leading a comfortable life thanks to our generous trade deal with America that none of their allies ever got.  Oh… I would, however, still like the Vienna Boys Choir to come here every year, because I still have the right to get sexually aroused in the way I desire.”

Staff at notorious Roppongi bar show that they care too

Will it be a night to remember or a night you’ll never recall?

After putting up with years of criticism and spiteful rumors about drink spiking, Bar Kingdom manager Shehu Abacha has come out to put the record straight. He wants people to know the truth about his bar, which is on the nose so much that not even marines on leave from stinking armpit hellholes will go near it.  

“All this talk about how we prey on unsuspecting foreigners by slipping rohypnol into their drinks and skimming their cards just gets everybody in the industry down.  I mean, it’s all true, but lately we’ve bought some pillows to pop under their heads so that they’re comfortable when they lose consciousness, but the media won’t tell you about that.


“We’ve got some reggae music playing sometimes, so unworldly people assume that I’m from the Caribbean.  Now, that’s really insulting to me.  Don’t mistake me for one of those cricket playing clowns with their posh English names,” says a clearly irked Abacha.  “I’m not royalty, but I come from a long line of regional strongmen.  Africa is in my soul.  It’s where I learnt morality, intimidation, and my sexual adventurousness, which in turn led to me getting out of town quick smart after being a little too sexually adventurous with a rival family’s daughter.  Nigeria’s loss is Japan’s gain though.  The white man gets the crazies here.  The black man gets the insatiable wild girls.  They’re too hot for the local guys to handle, so we perform a critical role in the community.”


The general MO of bars such as Bar Kingdom is to lure randy punters using women with large knockers.  Anybody who’s been in this industry for a while will tell you – big money follows big boobs.  Explains Abacha, “These women will chat to the lonely guy and recommend a cocktail that he’s never tried.  So, they’ll serve it up with a little disclaimer.  They’ll say something like, “Take it easy with this.  It’s got a little kick.”  That line makes the whole process legal.  By the end of the glass the customer will pass out and we’ll help ourselves to a not-insignificant amount from their account.  We serve them coffee when they wake up and tell them to drink more carefully in future.”

Roppongi can be a great night out for lovers of terrible music.

As the customer wakes up in a state of bewilderment, he’ll be grateful for any assistance from anyone.  “Over the years I’ve found that they’ve always said thanks for the coffee, but these days they thank us for the pillow too.  They appreciate that we care.”

A bar with style, attitude, and dark lighting.

Abacha usually knows who to target, but things can come unstuck on the odd occasion.  “Once we took a guy for over $1000 and he managed to put two and two together.  It turned out that he was a lefty lawyer from Chicago.  He wasn’t your average mug punter.  He was more clever than he had appeared.  It was an error on my part, and I look on it as a learning experience.  Anyway, he came back a couple of days later and told us how we were all evil and how we lacked all sense of humanity.  Well, I’d like to see his face now when I gently place a soft pillow under some poor schmuck’s head.  No compassion for my fellow man, huh!?  I think someone owes someone an apology.”

Australian Swims At Shonan Beach

The often criticised beach is still just as clean as the Cornwall coast after rain.

“I wasn’t sure exactly why I did that,” exclaims Katrina Parry on her mid-morning dip into the sea just to the south-west of Tokyo.  “I knew it wasn’t a patch on my hometown beach back in South Australia, but I’m glad I now have a definitive marker for the bottom end of my swimming experiences.”

Parry was speaking after spending twenty minutes in the water dodging plastic wrappers, cigarette stubs, and a variety of miscellaneous refuse.  The culture-shock continued back on the beach, however, where she found herself in the company of day-drinking smokers seemingly do their darndest to turn the beach into an inner-city slum.

It’s no surprise that most people prefer to stay on dry land at Shonan.

“I try to explore all parts of the places where I live, so I considered a swim here part of living in Tokyo,” she said while being ogled by an inebriated part-time construction worker, “I think twenty minutes of a definitely never to be repeated experience is quite enough though.”

Gently, but firmly, telling American military types to leave her alone as she hurriedly towels herself off, Parry observes that the beach is a hive of activity.  “It’s great that young people are free to come down here and relax in nature.  They need a chance to break away from the concrete jungle, although they do a good job of turning this beach into a jungle, one that has become overwhelmed by humankind complete with quite a few of the things that I hate about modern society.”

Even all that foam won’t be enough to clean that beach.

Parry readily admits that, as an Australian, she is a beach-snob with high standards.  She tries to be objective, reminding herself that it’s unfair to compare the beaches of Greater Tokyo with the beaches of Adelaide.  “At the end of the day, there’s a dead-set certainty that I’ll be grossed out by some filth brushing against my leg in the water here, while in Australia there’s a one-in-ten million chance that I’ll be eaten by a shark.  So, I need to be modest when making comparisons.”

Despite the general disappointment of her first big swim in Japan, Parry seems upbeat about the future of Shonan.  “I think that one day this beach could be on par with beaches of Australia.  All it would take would be a decade or two of a dozen new laws and city ordnance measures, a slight change in the attitudes of certain beachgoers, and… oh, who I am trying to kid!? We’ll be swimming on Mars before this place looks any good.”

Yakuza〜〜nnen! Brave new made-in-Japan but made-for-western TV series not to feature gangsters

Much of the buzz around the world amongst people who have nothing to talk about but the latest TV programs is likely to create false expectations.  The show, “Black Suits & White Wine”, promises to show Japan in an entirely new light, and that light may shine in a way that could confuse one or two fans who have been led to believe that everything about Japan is cool and amazing.

“This is a real game changer,” explained Executive Producer Bruno Scrota at the season launch at a downtown Los Angeles hotel.  “Thanks to this program, people are going to see Japan in a whole new light.”  

Not one to move away from a microphone hastily, Scrota went on to offer a tantalising glimpse into the show’s innovative angles.  Take, for example, news that not one of the main characters will be non-Japanese with a chip on their shoulder.  “Almost all the characters can trace their lineage back two hundred years, with neither Koreans or Chinese, nor butchers or hide tanners at all in the family trees.  The general understanding is that the characters’ ancestors are rice growers, warriors, and merchants.  Indeed, nobody’s family history is stained by so much as a great, great uncle handling dead animals.  The creators of the series have actually gone out of their way to make this clear.     

“There will be one foreigner, but that will be a white journalist who gets laughed out of gangster bar while trying to get down and dirty with a lawless crew.  He’s trying to write a book about the unknown side of Japanese gangs and the black economy.  However, his Japanese skills are so bad that they bully him into leaving.  He tries to suck up to the boss by bringing up a World War II anecdote, but then the boss asks him why he’s mentioning crap that happened so long ago that nobody gives a stuff about it.  It’s as refreshing as it is brutal.”

Scrota went on and on so much that I felt that a spoiler alert was called for, but I was too wrapped up in the revelations to care.  “The modern day set of friends, family, and aquaintances also features a beautiful young woman who moves to Tokyo, goes to a rough bar but leaves quickly, and soon gets a job at a nice office.  As a side story she then happens to have a healthy relationship with a banking loans officer who does absolutely everything by the book. Their soft and tame sex scenes are rumoured to take place at his apartment where neither uniforms,  ropes, or magic mirrors are used.”

No uniforms worn during sex doesn’t mean no uniforms at all, however.  In keeping with tradition, this drama will apparently include a character being whisked off to hospital, where there are competent hospital employees who have some basic idea of how to treat an accident victim without simply shouting their name in their face repeatedly.  And the reason for the emergency dash to hospital?  “I don’t want to give away too much, but somebody may happen to momentarily forget on which side of the road they should be riding their bicycle,” explained Scota. “Japan’s such an orderly society, so I thought it would be too unrealistic, but I was overruled by our Japanese creative team who insisted that we have that scenario.”

Excited at what I was hearing, I quickly signed a secrecy clause which allowed me to watch a five minute clip of the drama.  What I saw was indeed groundbreaking.  People were eating a variety of food, chewing it, swallowing it completely, and then speaking.  Sometimes the meals are even consumed with a knife and fork, with the regular globally popular sounds of Maroon 5, Taylor Swift, and Adele playing in the background.  Did I mention that everyone sits at a normal dinner table to eat?  There’s no tatami or low tables to be seen!  

Despite the great viewing opportunity, I found myself being constantly interrupted by the motormouthed Scota. “Do you know who I’m really excited about?  It’s Kumiko, a stay-at-home mom who disinfects her kitchen and bathroom twice a day.  Her quirkiness is bound to win over viewers far and wide.  Kumiko tends to spend her time with either busy work or daytime TV, something that I suspect is a throwback to thirty or forty years ago, and not at all related to modern Japan.  So too is Junichiro, a cop who never leaves his police box.  Together, they add a light comic touch to the series, reminding us that despite the snapshot of modern life in a major city, there are certain production indulgences to give us respite from the day-to-day grind.”

Pride trumps all when it comes to language teaching

Many a foreign teacher has been attracted by such bright advertising.

“I signed up because I wanted these children to grow into happy global-minded citizens,” says Jeff Jameson as he lightly taps his fingers on the table between us.  “So I pride myself on promoting a robust mutual understanding with the children.   I’ve created so many activities that appeal to students, and I’ve fostered a one-team mentality.”

Jameson represents the veteran contingent of language teachers in Japan, those who have stayed beyond the point at which they realised that the only sex they were getting was with a ever-decreasing circle of bunny-boilers, emotionally-underdeveloped drinkers, and passport hunters.  Ever the professional, the 49-year-old Vancouver-born Jameson still manages to vary his selection of songs and games to keep the little ones focused as he leads them into the world of English.

Hands off! Satomi Ishihara may advertise a language school, but she’s kept well away from the lowly-ranked foreign teaching staff.

“Purists will say that The Beatles don’t belong in the classroom.  They say that songs like “Hello Goodbye”, “All Together Now”, and “Yellow Submarine” should stay in the karaoke room.  I like to shake things up though.  I guess I’m similar to Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society in that regard.  I’m on the record saying that teaching isn’t about professors, psychologists, or large companies with their hands in various markets.  No, I tell you right now that teaching is all about the kids,” he says beaming.  “There.  I’ve said it.”

Jameson’s dreams occasionally hit obstacles.  One such occasion was last week when he was teaching little kids in a window-view room at a shopping centre in suburban Kanagawa.  After singing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees & Toes”, Jameson got down on all fours to introduce the next activity.  It was then that one of the little boys began to climb on his back and stuck some chewing gum in his hair.  From there an awkward situation developed with Jameson unsuccessfully trying to gently free himself of the scrum that threatened to overwhelm him.  “It became one big tangle with me and three kids,” recalls Jameson.  “I eventually got out of it and managed to get on my knees so that I was now able to control the situation.”

A window similar to the one used for slightly intrusive casual observation at the school located within the suburban shopping centre.

It was only then that Jameson noticed that he had an audience, two marines and their two attractive local girlfriends were observing his lesson whilst pointing at him and trading giggles.  “I’m a humble man, and I used to be in the military, so I gave them a self-conscious look and saluted.”  With his attention diverted for just a moment, Jameson was now defenceless, and the smallest and cheekiest of the students saw it as an opportunity to whack Jameson in the penis and testicles with astonishing force.  Jameson, now lying in the ground in the foetal position, gasped as the four cool twenty somethings howled with laughter from the other side of the glass.

“When I was 15 I was fooled into asking a hot girl at school if I could see her bearded clam, and then when I was 18 years old I came home to find my girlfriend making out with my father in the living room.  So, I’m no stranger to humiliation,” Jameson says wistfully.  “But that day being laughed at by the marines was the worst I’ve ever felt.  Those marines were dark-skinned, so I imagine they took the girls to a love hotel where they then indulged in Hennessy-fueled sex sessions while whispering cool street slang into the girls’ ears.

The wave from the bear makes it clear that all passers-by are welcome to view and freely comment on the teacher’s performance.

“In those moments I remind myself of my sworn commitment to know, value and care for each and every student.  That’s what drives me.  I believe teachers need to see every child’s glass as half full and that requires knowing each student as an individual and being tenacious in trying to discover and understand their unique potential. 

“Some teachers just come here for a year, bang some of the hot moms, and then go back home. They don’t even go to see a temple or wear out their welcome with the locals in a stand-up bar,” sighs the ageing veteran sadly. “Not me though.  It’s all a completely spiritual journey for a long-termer like me.  To be absolutely honest though, it would be nice to have an afternoon delight with a milf at a love hotel.  I have to hope that, even at my age, my turn is just around the corner.”

Professional to the last gasp.