Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Take-over Wednesday: Gaijin in Japan

Yesterday I promised a visitor would be stopping by my blog and I wasn't lying. My brother, and soon to be co-author with me, Adam Smith is stopping by to share some of his experiences and adventures of a Gaijin (foreigner) living in Japan.

Hello, My name is Adam Smith and I'm currently living in Iwate, Japan where I teach English to elementary students.
Let me start at how I made it over here.
Five years ago I made a choice that changed my life. I wanted a challenge. I wanted to prove I could do something. Something difficult. So I chose to learn a language. Learning Japanese has been one of the most difficult, and rewarding, things I've ever done. It was a path that I have never regretted. A path that led inevitably to a life in the Land of the Rising Sun.

The first major hurdle I encountered was finding a suitable job. It was after many hopeful applications and scores of failed interviews before I found one that would have me. A job teaching English to Japanese school children. It wasn't easy. I'd never taught before and I didn't have a clue what to do, but it was my ticket in and I wasn't about to let anything stop me. So I packed my bags, hopped a plane, and set out for a new life in a distant land.

Right off the airplane I was hit by a critical difference. I'd left a land entering winter and emerged in a land at the height of spring. I was tired and boiling, and almost took a $200 cab ride from Narita to Tokyo because I wasn't able to process what the driver was telling me until the last second. This wasn't the first time my language skills failed me and it wouldn't be the last. I'd entered a land where I was an alien, a stranger, a Gaijin. Gaikokujin if you want to be polite.

I've had many adventures in my time here and my sister has asked me to share some of them here. So from time to time I will be sharing my experiences of a life lived in a land not my own, A life as a Gaijin in Japan.
Thank you Adam for sharing your story. Now let me ask everyone out there a question, have you ever had a misunderstanding with someone where something went wrong or you got something you didn't ask for (whether it was a $200 taxi drive or just the wrong meal at a restaurant)?


Crystal Collier said...

I love it. I'm not sure I'd be that brave, but I applaud those who are and can take the leap to a new adventure and land. We took off to NYC several years ago, and through our adventures I ended up working very closely with several woman who barely understood English and primarily spoke Spanish. I found my shoddy High School Spanish wanting in so many ways...but we got through it. I miss those ladies.

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