Saturday, June 11, 2005

Welfare/unemployment for English speaking foreigners

That is what eikaiwa really is. For a variety of reasons, the Japanese are reluctant to hire non-native Japanese. This can be because of the fear that a non-native Japanese won't fit in, because of poor Japanese language skills, or because they simply don't want non-native Japanese in the company, or because some are born bigots and racists like Blinky Ishihara and do not believe a non-native Japanese (defined by "blood"--- a person of recent Korean ancestory is not considered native Japanese even if he/she were born here. In fact, the Tokyo government led by Blinky, prohibits non-Japanese citizens from being in a position to supervise the god-like Japanese) should work in many positions in Japan.

Thus, we have eikaiwa. When I first went to Bershitz, one guy who had been there for a while told me that I shouldn't take it as a job. It wasn't one. I finally figured out that he was right after 2 years there. I went to part time to enable myself to really teach elsewhere---or as close as one can come to teaching EFL in this country---and to give myself time for improving my Japanese and learning Chinese as well as personal time. Bershitz is simply welfare---a stable income which requires no work, thought, or effort. It is still hard to accept that it is not a job at times, but I am getting better at it. What about those who pay money for learning a language there? Well, buyer beware. There are good schools in this country, but learning requires effort and the majority are primarily interested in being entertained and perhaps magically becoming proficient in English. If anyone is that stupid, frankly they deserve what they get. I am ashamed to say that, but I have to adopt that attitude to continue my welfare program.

Unfortunately, like all welfare/unemployment programs, it can become addictive. Money for nothing is attractive, so one has to use that time to improve his/her skills and marketability. Most Bershitz welfare recipients don't do that---unless one considers getting drunk marketable outside of eikaiwa, but it's a free country.

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