❤ ハイパーかわいいです！❤ While some schools offer kyushoku (prepared school lunches), my school is primarily bento-based – ie. the kids bring in their own packed lunch made by their parents that morning. These Japanese bentos are usually pretty healthy and super cute – with the kids all having little chopstick sets and table cloths featuring their favourite cartoon characters.
It’s been a week since I last wrote anything on here, but if you follow IKIMASHO! on Facebook you’ll have read that I’ve been super busy in work. Right now is ‘Summer School’ for our kindergarten students, a special programme where they do two full days of games and learning with us. This year’s theme is ‘Space Adventure’ and so we’re making rocket crafts, playing games featuring aliens and learning about stars, astronauts and other space-related stuff. It’s completely different from the normal […]
This was the last week of the school year in Japan. One of my four-year old kids drew me this. I had previously told her mum I was from Northern Ireland, and religious/political flag squabbles aside, fair play to her for even knowing what part of the world it is in. Coming from Northern Ireland, it’s always very difficult to explain to people about my country – some don’t even know it exists. And I’m not just talking about Japanese […]
Sayonara to the future dropouts and leaders of tomorrow. If there’s one thing my time in Japan has taught me, it’s this: graduation ceremonies in Japanese kindergartens are designed to do one thing, and one thing only – make you cry. From the very moment you set foot inside the gates, teachers are seemingly conspiring to make sure every one in the building is weeping by the end of the day. I’ve attended three over the years, and they are hard going. Kindergarten graduation ceremonies in Japan […]
Categories: Kindergarten Life • Tags: asia, becoming a kindergarten teacher in japan, blog, efl, english, esl, graduation ceremony, ikimasho, japan, japanese, justin egli, kindergarten, kindergarten teacher, teaching, tokyo, uk
For the last two months the kids at my school have been practicing for their annual ongakukai (music festival). Last year, one particular class blew everyone away by doing a rendition of the Jurassic Park theme tune. This, year each class seemed determined to top that in terms of difficulty, time signatures and overall performance. The school rented out a huge auditorium for the festival – and as each class performed their piece in turn, you would have been forgiven for forgetting […]
It’s a small world. Marching Performance at a Japanese kindergarten. Earlier in the year I posted about my class of five-year-olds performing the Jurassic Park theme tune for the ongakukai (Music Festival). Those particular kids have long since moved on to Elementary School, having been replaced with this year’s batch of nen-cho students. Not to be outdone by their predecessors, these new kids did a marching performance for our annual undōkai (Sports Day) that once again showed how amazingly talented these little guys and girls are.
Love it or hate it. Please read this before applying for a kindergarten job in Japan. Between monitoring stats, comments and emails, one of the most popular topics it seems for people who stumble across this site is information on how to become a kindergarten teacher in Japan and what it entails. So I thought I’d write a bunch of stuff here to give people an idea of what my life’s like on a daily basis. I really like my […]
Be a bad boy or girl and you’ll be stabbed, burned and cut into little pieces. Okay? “Excuse me. What does chinoike jigoku mean?” I ask one of my Japanese female colleagues at work. She can’t tell me in English so gets out her phone and translates. “Ahhh. It means Blood Pond Hell.” Hmm OK. What about katsu jigoku? “That”s Thirst-Hell, where red-hot iron pills are administered.” Hinokuruma? “A fiery chariot which carries the souls of sinners into hell.” What about Harinoyama? “Hell’s mountain […]
Categories: Bizarre/Unique, Kindergarten Life • Tags: asia, backpacking, bizarre, blog, book, buddhism, culture, devil, drawing, evil, hell, japan, japanese, jigoku, kids, kindergarten, surreal, tokyo, weird, Zen
“The children were crying with fear. It was a success.” These were the first words my coworker said to me as we took off our crudely made demon masks in a storeroom hidden in the back of the school. Half an hour before we had silently descended upon the kindergarten: bursting into classrooms and purposely trying to frighten the kids. This is Setsubun, a festival held the day before the beginning of Spring in Japan. It’s accompanied by a special ritual […]
I can’t remember what I was doing at school when I was five years old but it sure as hell wasn’t as good as this. Friday was the annual ongakukai, or music festival, at my school. Every class had to perform a piece – and just like for the happyokai (performance festival) and undokai (sports festival) the kids practiced every single day for about a month. On the day itself, the homeroom teachers were a mess of nerves, but the […]
A supersized Omochisuki: one of Japan’s favourite festivals just got BIGGER! I’ve had some amazing experiences since moving back to Japan nearly two years ago. Most have actually been related to my job as a kindergarten teacher here in Tokyo. My job is hard work, but it doesn’t feel like work. I guess that’s what being a parent feels like too. I’m very lucky in the sense that my school tries its best to teach not only the foundations for […]
Work hard. Play hard. A field trip to the airport – with schoolbags visible from space. My Japanese kindergarten doesn’t do things by halves. Right now the nen-chos are getting ready for their happyokai or ‘performance festival’: an all-day affair that will see each class perform a 30-minute play – in English. These kids are five and six years old. Some might say it’s a lot of pressure, and I guess it is – but moreso on all the teachers who […]
A superhero called ‘Take a Shit Man’ and little pieces of crap that want to escape… The books I find in my kindergarten keep getting weirder. Have you read… Unco the Unwanted Shit Taking a Shit in Japan: A Beginner’s Guide
Teaching purity and peace, for one day only. The Shinto shrine that shares its grounds with a kindergarten. On Tuesday I am the guy on call. If someone gets sick, I get a phonecall. On Monday night it came at 9pm, the apologetic voice of my boss asking (telling) me to go sub at a school Id never been to before the next day. After initially declaring him a bastard, I soon warmed to the idea when I realised it’d […]
April is a time of change in Japan. It’s the month that marks the start of the new school year, with many people changing jobs and others leaving the country for good. It’s been a very busy period for me: new schools, new responsibilities and new friends. But in between teaching, writing and drawing I’ve also managed to pack in so much stuff over the last few weeks in Tokyo.
Categories: Kindergarten Life, Tokyo Days • Tags: art, asia, backpacking, bar, Chim↑Pom, culture, exhibition, fashion, food, gaijin, harajuku, hello kitty, inaka, japan, kindergarten, louis vuitton, omotesando, saitama, shimokitazawa, south east asia, street, surreal, Taro Okamoto, teaching, tokyo, travel, urban, weird
Hello children. Once upon a time there was a little crap called Unco that came out of a dog’s ass. He was happy until his owner ran away. All alone, he tried to make some new friends. He tried to make friends with a mouse but the mouse ran away shouting “You stink!” He tried to make friends with a snake but the snake slithered away shouting “You stink!” He tried to make friends with a bunch of rabbits but […]
“The pair became known as the Double Riders who managed to put an end to Shocker with what remained of the group forming into Gel-Shocker.” If you want to know what the hell I’m talking about, read on… Being a kid in Japan must be tough. You basically start full-time education while still covered in placenta, and there is no such thing as the tooth fairy. That means you can’t go and buy sweets with the money you have just […]
Today is Tuesday. It was also Graduation Day at my Tokyo kindergarten. All day I was surrounded by beautiful girls in kimonos. The sakuras were in bloom. I saw Mount Fuji from my train in the morning, ate expensive sushi for lunch and delivered a speech to my colleagues, and friends, in Japanese to say goodbye. Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time? Of course it is. Today proved that. If there had been a […]