Tag Archives: work

Gave into my addictions

I’m not depressed.

Depression was what I had 3 years ago. When my uncle and grandmother passed away and I broke up with my girlfriend of two years.

This is an entirely different monster. I’m tired. Stressed. Lonely in Japan. I’m tired of this self induced isolation I’m feeling.

I’m working too much, but I need the money if I ever want to move successfully in March. But working more has come with its sacrifices. My time for myself. I work from Monday to Friday. 8 to 9. By the end of the day I just feel so drained and tired. I need a quick pick me up.

I’ve given into addictions. Smoking. Drinking. Masturbation.

Instead of dealing with my stress in a mature way. I’ve turned to instant gratification that just leaves me empty and dead inside. At first I didn’t mind. But now things are taking their toll. My self confidence is broken. I’m just realizing my habits and their negative effects. I’m starting to feel enough is enough.

On my way to work, I smoke. On my way to work at night, I smoke. At home, I smoke. One cigarette after another. My heart feels like shit after a while, and I’m tired of it. I have been smoking like this since July. When I get home on a Friday, I just come home and drink beer and masturbate. I’ve been doing this for a few years.

But I’m tired of it. I’m searching for something in the wrong things.

“Just a little more! When March comes, things will change. Right now it’s okay. Just wait till March and you won’t be doing these things any more.” I say this to myself.

But if I don’t choose to change now. Then I will never change. What I’m doing isn’t helping me. It isn’t giving me strength. It’s just draining.

I know if I delete my porn. Then everything will begin to change. But I’m afraid to make that step. Just like when I gave up my anime obsession nearly 5 years ago, I need the strength to quit. What I’m doing is blocking me from growing into a better person.

Closer to my best self.


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I hate seasonal company training

Well, it’s that time of the year again. If you don’t know, I live in Japan and I’m teaching English to Japanese students. Rather, saying I am a glorified native English voice box sounds a lot better, though. Anyway, every winter and summer we have company training. It’s the time of the year when many of us dread going. If you don’t go, you lose out on at least 100 dollars from your next paycheck. I don’t even think missing a day of normal work penalizes you for missing a day THAT BAD.

Training wouldn’t be so bad if it were actually of relevance and interest. Instead many of the supervisors focus on very trivial topics. I know they are trying their best, and they have to do this to show the boards of education we are continuously learning about how to teach English. But, I feel like many of the topics they cover should instead be covered in the weekly meetings hosted in each individual area. Lesson planning? Making English activities? That can be covered easier in the weekly smaller meetings. For example, many foreign English teachers don’t need to lesson plan because the other teacher does it, or the Japanese English teacher has their own activities they want to do. So, some of the teachers at the company training would feel bored because they can’t relate to what is being discussed. It’s a waste of time!

At these bigger company trainings, they should focus more on broader topics and more Japanese cultural related topics. Topics that are relevant to us living in a foreign culture. Things that can continuously be covered over but not get boring. Things like dealing with other teachers and students or what to even talk about with either of them. I know all of us face a lot of problems living in Japan. Japan is a difficult country to live in as a foreigner. A lot of us can help each other at these company meetings by discussing those kinds of issues. We would all benefit from that.

But then again everyone is basically just dicking around. I know and they know. Everyone does. It’s just something we have to do to please some higher ups. So, we all try to just tolerate it and get through the day. At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter anyway because Japanese can’t learn English with this current system. It isn’t working to help them learn. There is nothing we (foreign English teachers) can really do about it.

Another thing about these company meetings is it reminds me of my high school experience all over again. I just become so moody over the whole experience. My time is being wasted and on top of this I have to do it with people I don’t know all that well. The supervisors can be dicks too, and come up to you asking stupid questions. Much like the teachers I had in high school at times would. Everyone who attends pretty much pairs off into their own little cliques. They take part in small talk, and what not. That kind of stuff just doesn’t appeal to me at all. It never did. I don’t care what they have to say about their life or what they’ve done, and maybe that is why I am alone. But the thing is I want real conversations. In English and Japanese. So, much like high school I spend a lot of the time reading a book during the training. People just sort of leave me alone and I am content with that.

While I do have my problems with Japanese people, the thing I like about them is that their patterns and thinking are very predictable. But with foreigners, I just can’t read them. It’s very strange and I don’t want to get into the whole notion that I AM JAPANESE. But other foreigners just don’t put me at ease in the same way Japanese do.

Well it’s back to the grind soon. Living it up with the little time I have left.

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Working overtime in Japan

Despite living in Japan for close to four years now, I would say that not many things really get on my nerves. Actually I think if I wrote more about my culture shock and depression back in 2011, there might be more to complain about. Over the years, I just don’t sweat the things I have no control over. Complaining or stressing over other people faults isn’t the way to live life. The only thing a person can change is themselves and their future. I can’t change others or the past. If I can’t tolerate how a person is then I’ll just stop dealing with them. That’s how I’ve come to live my life. Sure there are people who say to me that I am too nice or something like that. I just think of it as stress reduction.

Although recently something has gotten on my nerves concerning overtime. In Japan, getting paid for overtime is unheard of, and despite this many Japanese will stay at work for long hours. I’m not entirely sure of the situation for Japanese though. And I don’t want to be quoted for giving misinformation. But I do now about my position, and I don’t get paid for overtime. This annoys me. Normally I do leave at my scheduled hours, but August through October requires me to stay an extra hour or two to help with English speeches. Honestly I like helping my students, and I want to see them do their best. But my time is of value to me as well.

I don’t get any money for working overtime or helping. I talked to my employer about this and they gave me a pretty standard answer. Basically, help out with the English speeches, but don’t let them take advantage of your time. Sorry we can’t pay you for this.

I would like to get paid but I am trying to look at the positive in this situation. I know as the foreign English teacher there are many times where I have nothing much to do. I can’t make activities or there are no classes to go to that day. Even though the Japanese English teachers are doing a lot of other things. So I guess I try to look at it as compensation for those times where I’m not doing a whole lot. I don’t know if the Japanese English teachers even think of it in this way.

But whatever helps me to rest easier at night.

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A Legitimate Complaint or False Entitlement?

I am looking forward to some time off. It has been a long year, but I am proud of it. Since I have improved as a person and as a role model. I was satisfied with my recent evaluation that I got back. On it I received 4’s and 5’s out of 6. Although, I did get only one 3 which is basically the baseline mark. The comment said that I have a great personality but I am a bit lacking in some skills.

Now, I will be honest here. I don’t know if what I have is a legitimate issue or if what I have is just a false sense of entitlement. Here is the story.

A few days ago, I recently checked my e-mail to find that I got one saying I must attend the training for the new employees the first week of my coming vacation time. The thing is the e-mail didn’t give me any concrete information, and didn’t address me personally. It only said in the e-mail that the I scores could use improvement on my evaluation. So I did send an e-mail and called them but they have yet to get back to me.

Now, I know I am entitled to my vacation, but I know I too have a responsibility to my job when they feel I am not up to their standard. Although, to be honest I don’t know what a low evaluation score is to them. I got average and above. Unless there is further information I am not aware of.

But my issue is with the amount of time they gave me. This is last minute. Poor management. My contract mentions nothing about having to do further training outside the months stated in it. Further stating that I would be notified a full month in advance of training dates. This is so others can rearrange their vacation and travel plans around training dates.

Now, I will be compensated that I don’t have to pay for my meals and rooms during the five day training. So I suppose this is there way of paying me for giving up my vacation days. …This is okay, I guess.

But my issue is not with having to go to further training outside the one day regular training. I am all for giving advice to new employees and working to improve. But I had made plans long before with my girlfriend. We have been looking forward to enjoying the nature and spring weather. We made these travel plans at least two whole weeks prior to this notification. If they would have given some kind of indication that they were thinking of doing this to some employees. Or even a heads up then I would have been slightly more accommodating.

So is my claim legitimate or am I just being a whiny bitch about it? The thing is I just don’t want to be a doormat. Thinking that they know what’s best or I have no say in the matter as an employee. I’m trying to be mature about it by not just blowing it off as something like I DON’T WANNA.

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Don’t work for the Wonderland chain in Korea

It’s nearly been two years since I was fired from a Wonderland chain in Korea. Despite this I continue to look on the Internet hoping to find other people’s complaints and problems. It’s been like a hobby. I should just move on from it. It’s hard because it was my first real job. It also had a tremendous negative effect. But to let the healing process begin, it’s time I shared my own experiences with the chain.

It was fall 2010 when I was hired. Of course I too my doubts about Wonderland. I may have been more wide eyed and naive back then but I wasn’t stupid. I checked the Internet and read the complaints. But I trusted my recruiter because I knew someone who got a job through them as well. They were enjoying their time in Korea. So I believed my recruiter when he said, “They’re not all the same.” and “People are more likely to report their negative experiences than their good ones on the Internet.” Maybe I’m being lenient when I say I don’t blame my recruiter. He has a respectable business that strives to find a good placement in Korea for potential ESL teachers. As I would later see my boss was very two-faced. It is possible he was just as fooled.

Two years ago I didn’t think working in Korea would be a horrible experience. I thought my experience wouldn’t be like those I had read about. But it sadly did. I hated working there so much by March and April. I called home every chance I got after a while. But it wasn’t bad at first. It wasn’t until around the fourth month mark for things to turn sour. Sure I could focus on the normal complaints you read everywhere. Long working hours without breaks or holidays, the wacky curriculum, and having to serve the children lunch to name a few. Maybe I will write about that in the future. But I want to focus in on my boss who made the experience a living hell. If not for her, I believe it could have been a better experience. I want to hold onto this belief.

This woman remains the worst boss I have ever had to work under. She was clearly not fit for this job. But she had the job because the manager knew no English and she was very good at it. She was such a bitch on some days. After the holidays and New Years, she started getting on my case about everything I did. I don’t know why because I am someone that likes to do my job correctly. I try to follow the policies and rules of my job. The problem was she was a control freak, and loved to micromanage everything. Things had to reach her standard of perfection. If it didn’t then it wasn’t good enough in her eyes. This caused tremendous stress because I was worried about not meeting her expectations. I’m sure my coworkers felt the same way. But there wasn’t any cohesion between us. We all did our own thing keeping our feelings to ourselves.

For being my supervisor, she was extremely unhelpful too. She would explode about the dumbest things. And give mixed signals about what should be done. One time when I was leaving work, I asked a question about the event that would happen the following day. We were going to be divided into two teams for the sports day. We all had to wear our team’s color. I wanted to just double check what color I was. But she exploded in front of all my coworkers. “I already told you!” She sighed. “You are on the white team!” She got upset over such a little question. In the end it didn’t even matter because all the teachers were told to put on animal costumes that day.

On another occasion during recess, she got angry because I wasn’t in class and on my cell phone. Even though it was recess period. There was another time at the start of the second semester where we were distributing out the new textbooks. Having learned not to ask questions, I just distributed them out accordingly. I figured if the number of books matched the number of students for that class then they must go to that class, right? Wrong. Apparently I got the two classes mixed up and my boss was angry about it. Why did they order more books than the amount of students? That made no sense.

There were also many things I was criticized for. But was never informed how I should handle the situation. Discipline was a big issue. My boss said it was entirely my problem and I had to handle it alone. When I did try to handle the situation myself, I was criticized for the methods I used. I didn’t understand what she was looking for. I was not a native teacher, and I didn’t know any Korean. There was no way I could discipline the students verbally. I was new to ESL teaching and given no assistance on how to improve. It left me feeling helpless. It only added to the stress each day. Many nights I would have nightmares where I imagined the kids running around my apartment. Making noise and I had to attend to them. I was burned out by that point.

When I was finally fired without notice, my boss actually expected I would continue working. I declined saying that I wanted to talk to the manager. When I went in that same day to discuss being fired, my boss said to me, “We need teachers who know what they are doing.” This was coming from the same woman who had said my first day there, “We were actually a little worried. From your photos you didn’t look very photogenic, but seeing you here I’m relieved.”

I was hired for my looks and not my credentials. To hell with her statement about not doing what I was never informed about. I received zero training or outline what should have been done in those kinds of situations. I hated my time working in Korea because of this woman. She made the entire work place a negative place to be. She was just as nasty to the children as well. From what I last heard she is no longer working there because of health problems. I breath a sigh of relief. I wonder how things are doing now? I don’t even if the place is still open today. They haven’t updated their personal blog since 2012, but from those photos it looks like it might have turned into a better place.

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Dislike about Japan 1 : Japanese drinking parties

I hate the Japanese nomikai. Nomikai means drinking party in Japanese. If you work in Japan, you will often be invited to such parties. Declining those invitations can have negative effect on your relationship with your coworkers. And not being invited to them usually reflects your standing within the business in a passive-agressive fashion. Japanese only have nomikai because they are so afraid of expressing themselves in public. So they need to release it with alcohol. Yeah, that isn’t very healthy. But this is seen as important for working relationships instead of being home with friends or family after a long work day.

Last year I wanted to be invited to them all the time when I was at my old school. Mostly because I wasn’t invited. So naturally, I felt like a subclass worker at the school. I wondered why I wasn’t invited. I knew they were doing things. Did they not want me to come? Did they realize it was ackward for both of us? I really didn’t know. I felt like I wasn’t a part of the team because of it.

Since the school I was at shut down at the end of the school year. I was soon placed at a new school. It’s better here and I get invited to each nomikai. They’ve been fun. I have been trying to adjust because it’s definitely something I get anxious over. Not only am I with a bunch of adults getting drunk. They’re my coworkers. On top of that, I hardly know what is being said. Not that I don’t understand. Instead, I don’t know the gossip the teachers are talking about. I am confused by their stories.

After the one on Friday, I can say that I hate the nomikai. First, I didn’t want to drink at all. I signed up saying I didn’t want to drink. Lately I’ve been trying to get into a habit of not drinking. I don’t drink as much as I used to just to get drunk. But I still tend to drink a few beers on a daily basis. I want to break this cycle. At the party, there were plenty of other teachers not drinking. So I wasn’t alone. But, I was coerced into drinking by the other drunk older male teachers. It was my own fault for not standing up for myself. I should have said no, but I just gave in. I need to recognize the power of saying, “No.”

Second, I was asked very personal questions. At the time I wasn’t bothered by it. I was drunk. I ignored them. But when I reflected on the night afterward, I totally had a very unsettling feeling. I brought up my girlfriend at the party because I wanted something to talk about. I didn’t want to just sit there and giggle over stories. Being asked by male coworkers if I had sex with my girlfriend yet, and other such questions is way out of line. This is the kind of relationship building that drinking parties are supposed to foster? At first I thought maybe this was culture shock, but I talked it over with my girlfriend. She said, “This isn’t Japanese culture. It wasn’t right of them. They were being perverted old men. They are scum for making you drink when you didn’t want to.”

Third, it’s generally very boring. I thought maybe it was boring because I was a foreigner with a bunch of Japanese. You know, cultural and language differences. But it seems like that isn’t the case. Many other young Japanese adults around my own age seem to feel the same way. They’re unsure of what to talk about with older coworkers, and find it hard to really get excited over the things being talked about. It’s a waste of time if you can’t enjoy talking and drinking with a crowd you like.

At the end of the nomikai on Friday, I found it hilarious just how fast everyone who wasn’t drinking bolted out of the restaurant. Makes you think.


Filed under Japan, Reflection