How much do you want it?

I had an opportunity to apply for a one-week program in Japan organized by my high school, but I allowed fear to get in the way of me going for it. Five years later, as a college junior, I came across a summer study abroad opportunity in Japan. I was aware of other opportunities, butContinue reading “How much do you want it?”

Why just accept it?

During my first year as an undergraduate, I was determined to get as many general education requirements out of the way as possible. One of those requirements was in the wellness category. I had not done much yoga by that point, but a class in which I would do stretching and breath work rather thanContinue reading “Why just accept it?”

What’s your criteria?

In a conversation with a student about the arts, I talked about playing in my high school’s orchestra. It wasn’t just that I liked (and still like) classical music. My being there was part of a bigger, intentional effort. When I was applying for high schools, my top choice needed to fit three criteria: ItContinue reading “What’s your criteria?”

Living abroad: between gratitude and overwhelm

I’m coming up on 2 years since I moved to Japan (March 2019, to be exact). The vibrant photos and humorous anecdotes on your timeline make living abroad look exciting, and it certainly is. However, it’s not all adventure. It’s also monotony, frustration, and confusion. Living in Japan (or more broadly, living abroad) often findsContinue reading “Living abroad: between gratitude and overwhelm”

So you actually want to teach English: building ELT experience

A student asked me how I came to make teaching my career choice. Many people teach English in Japan, but not all of them necessarily want to, at least for very long. It’s certainly a low barrier to entry into Japan, as the JET Program and many language schools don’t require teaching experience. Participants getContinue reading “So you actually want to teach English: building ELT experience”

Language: Just use it

「まもなく帰ります。」(Mamonaku kaerimasu; I will humbly be returning home) I told my host mother over the phone. Even now, I still appreciate the repetition of train announcements for helping me pick up vocabulary words. But during my study abroad in Shizuoka, I didn’t quite have a handle on 敬語 (keigo; honorific language used with superiors/customers) toContinue reading “Language: Just use it”

If they want to speak to me in English, it’s fine

I stopped by a Lawson’s in Omotesando for a few items before I took the train home. The cashier welcomed me to his register with a “Good morning”, which caught me off guard, as my experience is cashiers have often consistently spoken in Japanese regardless of who was in front of them. I sensed thisContinue reading “If they want to speak to me in English, it’s fine”

Graham crackers, whipped cream, and my teaching philosophy

My first job after college was as a teaching assistant at summer enrichment program for elementary and middle school kids. Five days a week, I hopped around classrooms to assist different grades in English, Science, and Social Studies. In one of the classes I worked with, the teacher would give me about 20 minutes afterContinue reading “Graham crackers, whipped cream, and my teaching philosophy”

What my first tea ceremony taught me about being bold

“What did you do when you were learning a foreign language?”, one of my students asked me. One of my recommendations was to have experiences in the language you are learning: you get to interact with the language in an authentic way, plus it makes for a great memory. When I studied Japanese in highContinue reading “What my first tea ceremony taught me about being bold”