Woke up early feeling a little sad today. I wasn’t sure why, but I was sure I didn’t want to feel sad for the rest of the day, so I quietly snuck out as *Twinkle* slept, and wandered the surrounding streets, camera in hand.

Here’s a few of the shots, interspersed with tales from today.

Home grown aubergines outside our door

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This evening I had an interview for an agency that’s recruiting teachers for the ex-NOVA schools that were bought up by C-communication. I didn’t know this until I reached the office – it had been difficult to ascertain exactly what the deal was when arranging the interview via email. It was all conducted in Japanese, and I really enjoyed it once I realised that it paid far too little for me to consider. CELTA was once again highlighted by the interviewers as one of the main reasons they’d contacted me in the first place – it’s good to know that it has an impact in the real world recruitment.

I’ll email them tomorrow to let them know that whilst I can’t teach for them, I’m more than happy to be a proofreader – boy could their website do with it!


Made another beautiful loaf of wok-baked bread today, even if I do say so myself. We recently found 6 brand new jars of jam that were two years out of date in a friend’s fridge and offered to eat them – they really are yummy yummy.


Tonight had a bit of a cooking conundrum – how to get the lid off a saucepan? Two years ago we invested in a set of proper saucepans that should outlive us. They have an amazing ability to keep moisture in (means you can cook most vegees with just a few drops of water, boil an egg just by placing it on a piece of dampened kitchen paper – I thought that was a joke until I did it myself), but as soon as the temperature in the pan drops a vacuum is created, clamping the lid down.

It’s not normally a big problem: the lid will come off without much effort. But tonight I’d put too much rice into the pan, and for some scientific reason this made the vacuum extra-extra strong once I’d switched the gas off.

We battled for no less than 20 minutes to lift the lid off the pan! The vacuum was so strong there was no way it would shift. Banging it from the side as hard as I could made no impression on it, and pouring boiling water over it didn’t help either. In the end we had to put it back on the cooker for a further 10 mins, and only then did it shift. Still, I thought it was a good advert for the pan’s airlock feature.

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I bought a beautiful Guatemalan wallet today in the little hippy shop in Shibuya. Ooh it is so lovely. Made me so happy.

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After that we met up with our homeless friend who sells the Big Issue outside Shibuya Station. *Twinkle* befriended him a few months ago, and we often stop to chat with him. He’s a really nice chap, used to own his own company. There’s quite a large community of people that are trying to help him get back in his feet; we’ll all meet up at the weekend to get to know one another.


Anyway, best get on. Got another trial lesson tomorrow, which I hope won’t turn into a counselling session. I’ve been feeling a bit ‘used’ by doing these trial lessons, and am considering changing my part-time employment strategy.

Ho hum, tatta.


3 Responses

  1. When you say they turn into “counseling sessions”, do you mean that the students end up complaining to you about problems, discussing their personal issues, etc.? If you have some time, I’d be curious if you could expand on this either in comments or a post.

    In my personal experience, this is pretty typical of English teaching one-to-one because students often feel freer to talk about things in English than Japanese. It’s a rare chance for them to let it all out without repercussions. I always see it as part of the job. 😉

  2. I would agree that a part of the teacher role is being a ‘counsellor’, and it’s an aspect that I have enjoyed in my teaching in the past.

    I’ve found it a little frustrating however when giving free trial lessons, when the student shows very little interest in studying English, but instead just wants to talk about their issues, and then makes it pretty clear that they won’t be taking any paid classes after that. Makes me feel a bit used, and like I’m running a Samaritans drop-in centre, which is all very well and good, but not really where I want to be putting my energy at the moment.

    I think by marketing myself through websites like NativeSensei I’m bound to run into more of these types than if I was working through an agency, or at a school.

    (Whilst the students I teach at the private school do talk about their issues, they are also put quite a bit of effort into learning, and this makes it feel like a worthwhile exercise …as does being paid for my time!)

  3. Hmm, are you teaching these demo lessons for free? I didn’t quite pick up on that.

    I must say, I’d never go for that. I’ve had enough freebie hounds pass my way to know that there are people who will troll for free lessons and never take paid lessons (knowing there are infinite possibilities for more freebies). I get paid for the demos I do (same fee as a regular lesson). I think the referral agency gets shafted though.