As discussed previously, I have been planning a cyber book tour for the release of my upcoming new book: Loco in Yokohama
Well, the tour has officially begun…with a bang!
The lovely and illustrious Jasmine of Zooming Japan and I had a very candid conversation about teaching, racism, bullying in Japan and other good stuff!!
Here’s a bit of the interview:
Zooming Japan: As a fellow English teacher I’m always very interested in hearing about the experience of others. I’ve always only taught at Eikaiwas (English conversation schools) and I noticed that your experience differs quite a bit from mine:
“Poor Takahashi. It was bad enough that she was being bullied by her colleagues, but now she had to figure out how to get a class of future nine-fingered yakuza, hostesses, and pachinko (Japanese Gambling) parlor employees to appreciate studying anything, especially something as utterly useless as English.”
We’ve all read the recent articles where kids (sometimes even teachers) commit suicide after being bullied. Would you say that bullying is a problem in Japanese schools?
Loco: I can’t speak for all schools, of course, but at the schools I have worked at, yes, it is. It was a problem back in the US, as well. There have always been bullies and will always be bullies. I think it’s part of the human experience … at all ages. Kids bully kids, adults bully adults, even nations bully nations. Hell, America bullied Japan out of its isolationist stance, didn’t it? I just think it’s our responsibility (as humans) to minimize it. How we manage the problem is the issue. Not so much the bullying itself. I have noticed a rather high tolerance of it here in Japan, though. I often see it ignored and I’ve rarely seen it addressed in any significant way. However, every time the students work on an art / school beautification project, Bullying and Racism seem to be the most prevalent themes in their art work. Hmmm … but without a doubt I think bullying is a very serious problem here, and though I don’t tackle it head-on — for I think it’s a much more complicated situation than I can fully appreciate…
For more of this interview please check out the post on Zooming Japan, and check out the rest of the site while you’re there. She has all kinds of good stuff, one of the most popular sites in the Japan blogosphere! And drop a comment while you’re there. Just click her banner below.
Big Thanks to Jasmine for an engaging and lively interview. You my dear, Rock! I hope we get to meet in person one of these days soon (-;
Don’t forget about the contest! You can win a FREE autographed COPY of Loco in Yokohama just for sharing a post about the book. See the book release contest announcement post here: Contest Rules