Monday, May 18, 2015

Tips When Attending a Yoga Class in Japan

If you're planning to attend yoga classes in Japan, the best tip I can give is learn Japanese. However, it may take you months and years to do that so let's do a shortcut.

If you're a foreigner with basic to zero Japanese level, there are two things you must have to enjoy the classes.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Pain Killers (and other Drugs) in Japan

It's not easy to get medicine in Japan.

First, there's the language problem. A lot of medicines don't have English labels. 

Next, drug stores in Japan are mostly-filled with Japanese medications. There are only a handful of well-known international medicine brand. 

Lastly, over-the-counter-drugs in Japan have lower dosages when compared to other countries. You have to see a doctor and ask for a prescription. That's another difficulty. 

I've been sick in Japan a couple of times. I tried going to the pharmacy and self-medicate but I still end up at the doctor's office asking for prescription. So, I suggest that when you're unwell and don't really know what Japanese medicine to take, do not self-medicate. Just go to the doctor's office. It will save you lots of time. 

But there's one medicine that I need to take almost every month. It's Ibuprofen. Simple language: Pain killers. I usually suffer from menstrual cramps. I can't use that as an excuse for missing work so pain killers it is.

Monday, May 11, 2015

An Overview of an ALT's Job

Most English-speaking foreigners I know are or were Assistant Language Teachers or ALT's. ALT's are foreign English teachers in Japanese public schools. This is the most common ticket of foreigners to live and work in Japan.

If you're planning to apply as an ALT in Japan, here are some truths about the job. Whether the following are good or bad is entirely up to your perspective.


An assistant's job in any field is to provide support to the main character. This is what basically being an ALT means. You have to provide support based on how the main teacher needs you. Some ALT's are needed to just repeat words in the classroom, like a tape recorder. Some ALT's are asked to come up with 5-10 minute warm-up or review games. Some ALT's are asked to think of games, make worksheets, sing songs and talk about their culture. Your task as an ALT depends largely on what the main teacher will ask you to do.

On my first weeks as an ALT, I had a hard time adjusting to the role of an assistant. Before coming to Japan, I was in control on my own classes. It took time for me to accept that I'm now just an assistant. I can make suggestions but it's the main teacher who will ultimately decide what I should do in the classroom.

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