Category Archives: SOCIETY

Accentuate the Positive: Using Different Styles of English in the Classroom

Source: Gaijin Pot
Accentuate the Positive: Using Different Styles of English in the Classroom

The term “native English speaker” certainly gives room for plenty of interpretation.

While most would think it refers exclusively to those born and raised in countries where English is one of the primary languages — such as the U.S., the U.K., Canada and so on — the term really covers much more than that.

Most teaching companies in Japan these days will define it as “anyone who has attended a minimum of 12 years of education in an English speaking country where English was the primary language of instruction.” Suddenly, pretty much anyone could pass this definition if they went to the right school.

Recently in Japan, the diversity of nationalities and language backgrounds among English teachers has certainly increased. In particular, the number of teachers coming here from elsewhere in Asia has shown a sharp rise in numbers. This has naturally led to students in Japanese high schools, colleges and universities hearing a greater diversity of intonations and manners of speaking than ever before.

There does, however, remain something of a prejudice among certain employers in Japan when it comes to accents. Earlier this year, shortly before I accepted my current job, I interviewed with a multitude of different schools, boards of education and eikaiwa (English conversation schools).

Boards of education seemed to welcome diversity (indeed my current employer counts four different nationalities among its six assistant language teachers). Eikaiwa on the other hand, in many (but not all) cases, expressed a strong preference for neutral, North American accents.

Personally, I think this is sad as they are depriving themselves and their students of a great learning opportunity.

Being from Glasgow, I also have something of an accent. In time, I have learned to see this as a tool that I can use to enhance the lessons I give my students. An important …continue reading


11 Life Changing New Movie Releases To Watch In Japan This Year

It’s 2018 and it sometimes feels like the world is falling apart. (Kind of, right?) But the movie theater is here to help. Not only can we escape into a world of beautiful and yet tragic realities, we can also witness the influence of the chaotic outside world on our contemporary screens in an elegant storyline. So take a moment to excuse yourself from the rumble and tumble of the realities in your own life and step briefly into the lives of the following movies. Refreshing, heartbreaking, exciting — these new releases will give you some inspiration, some food for thought, a lot of laughter, and maybe even, a new direction in life. Enjoy!

1. Ocean’s 8

Fashioned in the same universe as Hollywood’s favorite men-who-look-cool-stealing-things series, Ocean’s 8 makes a fresh entrance with a brave and funny female cast. A parallel story where Sandra Bullock leads the way as Debbie Ocean, the leader of a team of specialized crooks all prepared to make a huge heist at NYC’s annual met gala after getting out of prison. Think fashion. Glamour. And thrill. Think, Anne Hathaway ironically and humorously filling the role that the public gave her a few years back as a people-pleasing beauty until…plot twist. Prepare for laughs and excitement with a cast whose chemistry will have you wondering which badass heist member you’d be.

Now playing at: Shinjuku Piccadilly, Toho Cinemas, Movix, Aeon Cinema and other theaters across Japan.
Watch with: Your boss lady coworkers or best friends — just to feel even more BA.
Japanese title:オーシャンズ8(エイト)』(Ocean’s eight)

2. Tully

A funny, honest, and empathetic look at a modern family who’s about to embark on the journey of having their third child. Made in collaboration with the same directors as Juno, this film …continue reading


Things You Need to Know About Geishas

There is a certain quaint and mysterious about the geishas of Japan. They are like the glistening moon in the heavens; they contain a flicker of enigma that is never really understood by all. Their mystifying presence invokes nostalgia from the traditional era of Japan.

There had been a lot of misconceptions about geishas, especially among non-Japanese folks. Geishas are highly skilled entertainers that usually appear during formal gatherings like dinners and other high-end events. Despite the rumors and the pop culture portrayal, gesihas are not women who offer their bodies in exchange for fee. These ladies have trained for years and perfected their art of entertaining an audience.

If you are interested in actually witnessing a geisha perform, look no further! Kyoto is the place to be! Kyoto is considered to be the center of Japan’s geisha world. Young ladies between the ages 15-20 are rigorously trained for 5 years to master the art of entertaining others. They live in a house called okiya.

During the period of training, a geisha is called a maiko. On the other hand, a geiko is the fully realized geisha. Geikos usually wear elaborately designed kimono. Also, their kimonos are long-sleeved and more vibrant. Plus, they wear extravagant hairpins. While maikos wear simpler kimonos and austere accessories.

Needless to say, a night with a geisha can be a quite expensive. And even if you have the monetary requirement, you cannot just request for a geisha to keep you entertained for the evening.

Before you can actually request for a geisha, you need to be referred first by an existing client. There are travel agencies in Tokyo that can help you with the referral.

When you have successfully requested a geisha, you will be treated to a night of entertainment and company. You can converse …continue reading


Beams and Ziploc team up for series of upcycled wearable plastic fashion items

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

Leading Japanese fashion brand has launched one of the most unusual collaboration ranges of the year with the Ziploc x Beams Couture lineup.

Yes, that Ziploc. The Ziploc of the plastic storage pouches you use to carry sandwiches and the like. The Ziploc of everyday kitchen functionality.

But in the hands of Beams (and specifically, its Beams Couture label that remakes items from past seasons lying dormant in the Beams warehouse), Ziploc’s containers become hats, bags, pouches, an umbrella, and even an apron…. There are nine items in total here that are as transparent as you’d expect. All the upcycled products are branded with the Ziploc logo.

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

ziploc beams couture plastic fashion

When announced last week, the web seemed to explode around the world, with many decrying the collaboration as ridiculous (“wacky functionality” and “certifiably bonkers,” according to The Fader). Some, however, saw innovation at work here, such as Design Boom, which said “the brand treats Ziploc plastic products as if they were forgotten favorites in the bottom of the drawer, and transforms them into fresh, wearable characters of their own.”

This is not a joke and the marketing campaign alone shows that Beams is investing serious money in this project. It hired popular actress Mei Nagano (currently appearing in the 2018 NHK Asadora morning drama series) to promote the new range but is nonetheless aware that the products are treading a fine line between novelty and absurdity. Perhaps that’s why its main promotional material is a video with Nagano and Satoru Matsuo that pretends to be an over-the-top shopping channel.

<iframe width="620" …continue reading


TJ on “Doing a Debito”: Gaijin Carded at Nagoya Airport and Airport Comfort Inn


Submitter TJ: I’m an American married to a Japanese, and we’re on an adventure doing standby flights from Japan to overseas. However, unluckily we got bumped at Nagoya Airport. So we checked into a Comfort Inn at the airport in my (Japanese) spouse’s name. He filled out the card for our twin room. But the receptionist looked at me and said that she needed to photocopy my passport. But I know from that she doesn’t have the legal obligation to photocopy my passport, or even see any ID, when I have a Japanese address as a Japanese resident, and I told her so. So she said she needed to copy my “Gaijin Card”, or Zairyuu Residence Card.

I gave her a chotto matte kudasai… and dug out that nifty Japanese paper you posted on years ago and I held it up to her to read, showing her the letter of the law that says that ID is only required for tourists, not for residents of Japan, including foreign residents. Another receptionist came over to investigate, and I repeated that I live in Japan permanently. Basically, the other woman’s attitude was since my Japanese spouse was with me, I didn’t have to hand any ID to be photocopied. Because I’m “one of the good ones”. Not a win, but I don’t think she expected me to stand my ground the way I did. Thanks to But then I got carded again by Nagoya Airport Security for sitting in the airport lobby while foreign… …continue reading