Hey Tokyo


Today I went to the annual JALT conference (Japan Association of Language Teachers). I’d never been before but felt compelled to go for some reason this year. It was interesting. For one thing, it’s weird to be around so many foreigners. For another, everyone seems to take themselves really fuxxing seriously, which I suppose is OK but it doesn’t seem like a lot of them really mean it. But I hesitate to judge because I haven’t done anything. I’m grateful that I could get a sense of what I should (or shouldn’t) try to emulate if and when I take the stage.

But the whole experience left kind of a funny taste in my mouth. I’m not comfortable being around these people who all seem hell-bent on proving…something. The whole scene seemed to lack sincerity, like everyone was just going through the motions so they could put a JALT presentation on their resume.

And nearly every presentation I attended had some tweaker in it that got on my nerves, who in the guise of asking a question ended up talking all about themselves for much longer than anyone cared, or totally ruined the presenter’s rhythm or otherwise detracted from the matter at hand with random comments/questions/hostility.

But I did see some learn some interesting things, especially regarding raising bilingual/bicultural children, the shocker being that I actually gained some confidence in the Japanese education system.

And then it was back to the airport, where I fell off the wagon slightly and then had to sit on my plane for 2 hours until the wind changed direction and we could take off. In the end a very long day for not a lot of gratification, but not totally without merit.



7 thoughts on “Hey Tokyo

  1. I agree about the falseness of a lot of these conferences. I don’t think it is just in Japan either. My mother is a university lecturer and she talks a lot about the things people do to get up the ladder and it is all very false too…. definitely lots of things done just to put it on their CV. I’m glad you got a little bit out of the experience though – even if it was more “what I don’t want to do in the future” experience!

    1. thanks for the comment jo…there are some good people doing interesting things at these conferences, just need to weed them out from the hundreds of presentations that go on there…

    1. the only person i encountered that really bothered me was an older professor from sapporo who took my umbrella thinking it was his, and then got all indignant and accusatory when i took it back, until i pointed out that his umbrella was still sitting exactly where he had left it…i’m sure he thought i was some young, inconsiderate punk and he definitely took that attitude towards me…pissed me off…pay attention old man!

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