Photo: author

1. Weeks it took to get your TEFL certification: 2
2. Weeks of training to teach English at your English Conversation School: 2
3. Schools taught at per week: 5
4. Hours worked a week: 29.5
5. Hours worked a week at your job back home for roughly the same pay: 40
6. Minutes you’re expected to arrive before a shift: 10-15
7. Punch-in time: 14:25
8. Delicious-smelling meters between school and a Coco Ichiban Curry House location: 50
9. Scheduled meal breaks: 0
10. Maximum number of children taught per day: 40
11. 3 year-old nose pickers: 2
12. 5 year-old toe suckers: 2
13. Exquisitely adorable toddlers who like to climb into your lap: 5
14. Students who steal your shoes: 2
15. Maximum number of reward stickers a student may earn during a lesson: 3
16. Times the Japanese word for “poo” is shouted in a single class: 35
17. Blinks of shock when you’re first told about “kancho” – a Japanese schoolchild “game” involving their pointed index fingers and someone’s backside: 5
18. Times fellow teachers are kancho’d before the blessed event happens to you: 5
19. Tries it takes for the child to hit the bullseye that is your unsuspecting backside: 2
20. Number of reward stickers you deduct for a kancho attack: 1
21. Times you have to tell your friends back home, “Kancho is real and it happened to me” before they believe you: 25
22. Maximum number of adults you teach per day: 16
23. College students who say rap inspired them to learn English: 5
24. Businessmen who think you’re a hostess: 1
25. Cool, collected homemakers whose exhausting schedules humble your 29.5 hour workweek to the point of shame: 5
26. Gorgeous grandmothers who surprise you with a fan with which to accessorize your yukata on Gion Matsuri: 1
27. Times you must remind your adult students: “’Go shopping’, not ‘Go to shopping”: 4
28. Times you must show a student how to make the “L” sound: 15
29. Photos taken with students who’ve passed a Level Up exam: 3 – yatta!
30. Students reached that day: 5, maybe 6
31. Punch-out time: 20:25
32.Yen spent on a plate of CocoIchiban curry rice three minutes after punching out: 700
33. Cans of beer enjoyed on the train home: 1