Teaching Christmas in the Japanese Countryside

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Winter at one of my schools.

Many people often ask me what the most difficult part of teaching in Japan was.  The JET Program had a mandatory, two day orientation to teach us about the long, English teaching road ahead. They rattled on and on about isolation, language barriers, and cultural clashes.

Yet they forgot the most important thing of all:

Actually instructing us on how to teach English.

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Never showed this face to my students, but man did I feel like this many-a-time (especially during blizzards)

The most difficult part of JET for me was standing in front of 40 middle school students and entertaining educating them for one hour.  I was a journalism and Japanese major–I knew absolutely nothing about education. read more

Spending Christmas in a Japanese Buddhist Temple

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Spending Christmas abroad is tough business.  I don’t really know how to put it into words, but something is just missing in the air.  Maybe it’s the commercialism.  Maybe it’s the exchange of presents, the Christmas parties, or even the cheesy songs on the radio.

Probably, it’s just the plain and simple fact that no one gives a crap about Christmas in Asia.

As I often mention on here, my life in Niigata was different from the typical foreigner.  I was extremely isolated.  Due to various falling outs with other foreigners, I was all alone.  I had no one to share Christmas with. read more

5 Reasons Christmas is Different in Japan

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Japan has this strange tendency to take western holidays and slightly alter them.  I mean, look at Valentine’s Day–girls, not guys, give the chocolate and flowers–wha?

While China just plain doesn’t celebrate Christmas, the Japanese have, much like Valentine’s Day, adopted Christmas and celebrate it in their own special way.  Japanese Christmas traditions are so strange and bizarre, most Americans are stumped–or frankly, borderline offended at the perception and celebration of this Christian holiday in the land of the rising sun. read more