Teaching in Japan: A Memoir

This is the second in a series of summer blog posts where the author discusses her experiences teaching Japanese high schoolers. You can find the first blog post here. I officially finished my first week of training for Toshin English Camp in Tokyo, Japan. Next week, we begin working with high school students, helping them develop speaking skills and discover their “life mission.” I am incredibly excited. One aspect of training involved understanding the Japanese education system. Americans tend to perceive Japanese students as hyper-focused on academics. The widespread existence of cram schools doesn’t do much to help this perception. …






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How to be Yourself: Japanese Edition

This summer, I will be, as I like to describe it, teaching Japanese students how to “be themselves.” If this sounds like the type of hippie spiritual journey that a 50 year-old suburban mom takes after her emotionally taxing first divorce, let me explain. Beginning in early July, I will be an instructor at Toshin High School in Tokyo, Japan, as part of the Come On Out Japan program. Toshin High School is the largest preparatory school network for university entrance examinations in Japan, enrolling approximately 120,000 students in 1,000 branch schools. It is juku—also known as cram school—which is …






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