Every newbie teacher had to stay in a training apartment near the head office in order to complete two weeks' worth of education bootcamp. This bootcamp was notoriously strict, and almost every comment and blog post I read while researching the company had designated the bootcamp "...two weeks of unbelievable hell and torture."
"The training apartment will be kept pristine at all times," the manager told me sternly. He was sweating in a business shirt and tie as he heaved my broken suitcase up the three flights of steps. "It is your responsibility to maintain and clean all of the rooms. Any damages will come out of your first paycheck. Don't even think about having a party."
Before my departure to Japan, I bragged to anyone who would listen about my awaiting job. I wasn’t stupid - I had read the contract carefully, investigated online about the company well in advance of the interview, and braced myself for any slight mental tweaks I’d have to make in order to successfully adapt to Japanese culture.
Part 1: "Start packing your bags and brush up on your Japanese. I am 99% sure you will be perfect for our company."
The interviewer had shaken my hand promisingly with a wide grin as he said that to me.
I had politely smiled and returned the handshake with a firm grip like all the how-to guides on job applications had told me to, making sure my other hand was positioned over my pant’s broken zipper (the tape had burst apart that morning while I had hurriedly been getting ready for the interview). After muttering a few extra thank-yous and gently refusing to wait for the bus in his living-room, I was wandering the streets back towards the bus stop, silently congratulating myself on achieving the greatest goal of my twenty-one year old life.
Teaching in Japan.
Hiding from Japanese Ghosts
Ghost stories are the least frightening thing about Japan when facing culture clashes, mystery food, language barriers, and - scariest of all - marriage.