Category Archives: JAPANESE

4 Struggles of an ALT in Japan and How to Overcome Them

Source: Gaijin Pot
4 Struggles of an ALT in Japan and How to Overcome Them

In this edition of “ALT (A Little Training) for ALTs” we look at four struggles of being an ALT and how to overcome them by someone with firsthand experience in the classroom in Japanese schools.

My name is Alexander Eloi and I have been with Real Communication Solutions (RCS) for the last two years as an ALT in Saitama Prefecture. Before that I was an ALT with another dispatch company teaching junior and senior high school in Okayama Prefecture for two years. I hope my experience shows you that the most common complaints as an ALT can be dealt with — and that by going the extra mile, the position can be a truly rewarding experience.

1. Low income

The pay rate is one of the most common subjects of discussion when it comes to talking about being an ALT. To be honest though, I haven’t had a problem with it. I made ¥250,000 in my first company and now ¥230,000 in my current company. I took the latter position (and salary) in order to get closer to Tokyo — which is where I wanted to be. With deductions — rent, company car, health insurance, taxes, etc. — that money goes fast. However, in both situations I was able to do the things I wanted, pay bills back home and survive. To make up for the pay cut, I found additional part-time teaching positions in Tokyo that have given me great connections and beyond that — allowed me to make great friends. Also, RCS is constantly offering me extra work should I have the time and inclination to accept it. I still live frugally, but I can survive and still enjoy myself.

2. Overtime

In my former and current company, I was told that I wouldn’t be getting paid for staying later but that …continue reading


What does “Kinbun tenkan” mean?

“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” Frank Smith

Picture from Pixabay

Hi everyone. Hope everyone is having a great day!

It’s been raining here in Pacific Northwest for the past few weeks or so. Unfortunately, this is not my favorite time of the year as the weather is not normally so great. Hope you are having a better weather than mine out there.

This morning, one of the my friends called me, asking if I wanted to go play tennis with her during my lunch break. At first, I said no, but soon I realized I haven’t done much exercising these days as I have been cooped up inside due to the wet weather. I ended up going out to the indoor tennis, and I am so glad I did. It was such a nice Kibun tenkan (気分転換、きぶんてんかん)!

Have you heard of the Japanese word, Kibuntenkan(気分転換、きぶんてんかん)? This is a bit hard word to pronounce, but once you get it, you will find this vocabulary useful.

Kibun tenkan means “change of pace, or change of mood, or change of mind” in English.

“Kibun”(気分、きぶん) means pace, or mood, and “tenkan”(転換、てんかん) means change or switch.

You can use in a following situations, such as:

Kibun tenkan ni shopping de mo iko- yo.

Let’s go shopping for a change of pace.

気分転換 に ショッピング でも 行こうよ。

きぶん てんかん に しょっぴんぐ でも いこうよ。

Kibun tenkan ni Kyo soccer shite kimashita.

I played soccer today for a change of mood.

気分転換に 今日 サッカー して 来ました。

きぶん てんかんに きょう さっかー して きました。

Kibun tenkan mo taisetsu dayo.

Changing a pace is important sometimes.

気分転換 も 大切 だよ。

きぶん てんかん も たいせつ だよ。

Kibun tenkan ni soto de sanpo shite kurune.

I am going to take a walk for a change.

気分転換に 外で 散歩 してくるね。

きぶん てんかんに そとで さんぽ してくるね。

Kibuntenkan ni kami o kirimashita.

I cut my hair for a change of pace.

気分転換に 髪を 切りました。

きぶん てんかんに かみを きりました。

Hope you will get to do something for “Kibuntenkan” today!

…continue reading


Learning Negative Imperative Sentences in Japanese


When you want to just tell someone, “Don’t talk so loud, please”, how would you say that in Japanese? As a mom, I feel like I use the negative imperative forms all the time with my kids. I know it’s not good to talk to them so negatively, but some days, I just can’t help it! So, in my blog post today, I would like to cover some of the examples of negative imperatives in Japanese.

photo from subtle_3106 on

Don’t come here!

1) Kocchini konaide! こっちに来ないで!こっちに こないで!

2) Kocchini kuruna! こっちに来るな! こっちにくるな!

Just like the way I explained the imperative sentences the other day in my post (here), there are two ways of saying in negative imperative sentences as well.

The first one is pretty standard way of saying it. The second expression is much more manly and more authoritative. Most of the ladies will not use the second expression as they would be using the first expression.

Don’t be so loud!

1) Urusaku shinaide! うるさくしないで!

2) Urusaku suruna! うるさくするな!

Don’t run!

1) Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで!Hashiranai! はしらない!

2) Hashiruna!  走るな!

Moms will often tell children, “Don’t run!”, but this one will be translated as Hashiranai de! 走らないで!はしらないで! in Japanese. …continue reading