Since 1998

And then I went to Japan.

Yesterday I wrote about how I first came to Asia, 15 years ago, and the post ended with me explaining how I made my way to Japan. After finishing the required credits for that East-Asian Studies certificate — with my wife’s first experience living in Canada seeing her endure North American Ice Storm of 1998 (remember, we were in Montreal) — we moved to Tokyo in early May. She would return to her studies, and I would search for a job.

The idea was to find a job teaching English — remember, I was fresh out of school with no work experience — and it’s funny to me when I get asked how one should go about doing that, because it’s obviously changed a lot. I remember that the thing to do back in those days was to check The Japan Times on one particular day — I think it was Monday or Tuesday — which was the day that job listings appeared.

If I remember correctly, I only went to two job interviews, and ended up working for the second school. It was called Shufu-no-Tomo Little Land, and it was part of Shufu-no-Tomo, a very old publishing company. The job was to teach children aged 3 to 12 — although I did teach 2-year-old for one year, which I didn’t much like. I did enjoy teaching kids though — I play a mean game of bingo and tic-tac-toe — and during my time teaching English in this country, it’s the only company I worked for.

Although I came here 14 years ago, I can only say that I have lived here 13 years, because I did go back to Canada in 2000. When I first moved to Tokyo, the plan was to stay for a couple of years, the time it would take for my wife to finish her Bachelors. But the return to Canada (to my hometown) didn’t exactly work out — for the both of us — and so in 2001, in February, we moved back to Tokyo. My wife was going to start her Masters in April, and I went back to teaching English at the same company, something I would do for a few more years.

How does all of that relate to what I do now? Tune in tomorrow.

By Jean Snow

Production Services Manager at Ubisoft Shanghai. Before that, half a life spent in Tokyo.