Japanese Teachers Are Like Anime Characters

So far, I really love working at my school. Almost all of the teachers are relatively young, and the majority of them are in their mid to late twenties or early thirties. Thus I find I can get along with them very well since the generational gap isn`t very large.

There are a few teachers who are particularly memorable, and if my life was made into an anime or manga, I am sure they would play lead roles. In this post, I`ll introduce a few of them.

I`ve already mentioned my Kendo JTE, but I guess I`ll talk about her a bit more. It is said that Gunma Prefecture is known for two things – strong winds and strong women. Kendo-sensei definitely falls under the classification of “strong gunma woman”. She is a very nice person, but rules her classes with an iron fist, under implicit threat of grievous bodily harm. All the ichi-nensei kids fear and respect her. I really enjoy teaching with Kendo-sensei because she doesn`t mind when I improvise games to play with the students (to reinforce a lesson) off the top of my head during class.

Pooh-sensei is another of the JTE`s I teach with on a daily basis. I call her pooh-sensei because she has a lot of Winnie the pooh memorabilia strewn across her desk, and she sometimes lets me use one of her many Winnie the pooh stamps. Pooh-sensei is really tall and skinny (she kind of looks like she might break into half if she walks into something with enough momentum). She`s also a really sweet and cute person, but sometimes I run into difficulties communicating with her because her English isn`t as strong as I always think it is. The problem is, whenever I talk to her, she always just smiles really wide and nods to whatever I`m saying, regardless of if she understands me or not.

This leads to such comical (in retrospect) breakdowns in communication such as:

“Do you need me to bring the (heavy) screen and projector? (up 4 flights of stairs)” /smiles and nods

Can I erase the board now?” /smiles and nods…” NO NO NO! STOPPU! STOPPU!!”

“Can you tell Kyoutou-sensei (vice-principal) I have an appointment today?” /smiles and nods

/Apollo gets in trouble for leaving early

“How many photocopies should I make? 6 x 40? 240 copies (I assumed this was appropriate since there are 6 classes of 40 students each)?” /smiles and nods

“You only needed 10 copies…?” /Apollo face-palms 5 minutes later

I guess at this point I should only blame myself for always falling for the same cute smile and nod.

There`s also Model-sensei. Model-sensei comes once a week, and I call her Model-sensei because she`s a) quite pretty and b) to everyone`s great surprise, she actually modeled for a photobook recently.

What made the photobook incident particularly memorable was the publication that model-sensei decided to pose in.

Now before you stick your head in the gutter, Model-sensei is a very classy young lady. She was modestly clothed in the one picture she was in, and she was talking to a beetle.

Yes, there was a beetle in this picture; a huge one. Model-sensei was posing in a big picture book of…bugs. I have no idea how she roped herself into this particular endeavor, but there she was, pretty smile and all, in front of a big gross beetle. The rest of the photobook was filled with pictures of other interesting, strange, and disgusting insects. Models and bugs. It was the weirdest book ever. The juxtapositions that Japan manages to come up with blow my mind sometimes.

I wasn`t kidding!

There`s Droopy PE-sensei. Droopy PE-sensei is a really tall P.E. teacher. He`s got big droopy eyes that remind me of one of the 7 dwarves, from behind his thick, rimmed glasses.

For some reason, Droopy PE-sensei doesn`t have any classes at ALL this semester, so he is always either taking smoke breaks, or sitting in the teacher`s office. Sometimes we look at each other and give each other knowing nods. Because of my general lack of classes, we have lots of time to chat with each other. Unfortunately, my Japanese is as terrible as his English, so our chats boil down to lots of smiling and nodding, hoping the other party will throw in a word that we actually understand so we can make a guess about what the other person is talking about.

Hmm..I should probably give Pooh-sensei more credit..

There`s Gym-shorts-sensei. Gym-shorts-sensei is another PE teacher, and he enjoys wearing ridiculously, ridiculously short gym shorts, at all time, regardless of if the weather is appropriate for it. He`s got them in several different colours, but they are all of the same questionable length.

Sometimes when he`s talking to one of the other coworkers, He will prop his leg up on a nearby chair or ledge. He`s also got a wicked twirly mustache.

Oh my god I just realized Gym-shorts-sensei`s true identity.


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