Last week was the first week back at school after summer break…and a lengthy six weeks off. After the freedom of such a leisurely lifestyle, the start of school was probably more dreaded by ALTs than students (who pretty much still have to go to school every day  in that time). When school went back, Facebook became the soapbox from which ALTs could moan about the misery of hot classrooms, hours of sports day practice and early starts once again.

I on the other hand (surprisingly), was pretty excited about my first week back at school. I had actually missed the kids (well…not all of them) and was looking forward to catching up with my teachers after my ‘Soba Up‘ experience. With all this anticipation I must have been exuding some good vibes, because in my first week back, I have been rewarded with some interesting and amusing back chat both in and out of school…

First day, first lesson back…

Me: ‘How was your summer vacation?’

Student: ‘It was great!’

Me: ‘What did you do?’

Student: ‘I did sex!’

In the teachers’ room…

Me (in Japanese): ‘Excuse me, T Sensei? (who I haven’t spoken to since my bike had a puncture two months ago) I have a favour to ask you…’

T Sensei: ‘Yes, what is it?’

Me: ‘Well, umm, it seems as though my bike has a puncture again…and well…you look really busy…but I was just wondering…if you could…maybe…?’

T Sensei: Shaking his head and laughing, ‘You want me to fix it again?’

Me: ‘Yes, I’m really sorry! You don’t have to do it now, just whenever you have time is ok.’

K Sensei (who was listening in to the entire exchange decides to offer his two sents worth in English): ‘Carla Sensei, no problem!’ Pointing to T Sensei, ‘Professional!!!’ Laughing.

T Sensei: Gives K Sensei a death stare and immediately goes and fixes the puncture on my bike.

I felt so bad about T Sensei that I left this ‘thank you’ present on his desk the next day…

At the grocery store after school, a little old man sidles up next to me as I’m bagging my groceries…

LOM: ‘Konnichiwa!‘ Smiling broadly at me.

Me: ‘Konnichiwa’ Smiling back.

LOM: ‘Chikaku (Do you live nearby)?’

Me: ‘Hai, chikaku ni sunde imasu (Yes, I live nearby).’

LOM: ‘Aparto (In an apartment)?’

Me: ‘Hai, aparto desu (Yes, in an apartment).’

LOM: ‘Sayonara!’ Walks away smiling.

In class with my third year students…

O Sensei: ‘Ms.Carla, what did you do during summer vacation?’

Me: ‘I went to Morioka and did the Wanko Soba Challenge. I ate 60 bowls of soba.’

36 students simultaneously move their eyes from my face to my stomach.

At the teachers’ drinking party with the second year social science teacher (who may have a slight thing for me)…

SS Sensei: ‘If I could take you on a date, first we’d go for a walk in the park. Then we’d go and eat spaghetti. Then I’d take you to karaoke and sing ‘Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma, c’mooooooon Caaaaaarlaaaa.’

Lunch with Class 3-1…sitting next to Ayumi…

Ayumi: ‘Summer vacation. Australia.’

Me: ‘You went to Australia in summer vacation?’

Ayumi: ‘Yes, yes!’ Screwing up her face, ‘Hamburger, on, red vegetable…NO LIKE!!!’

Me: Giggling, ‘Ahh, you don’t like beetroot?!’

Ayumi: ‘Yes, yes! NO LIKE!!!’

In the third year hallway between classes…

Female Student: Pointing to male student, ‘Up, up!’

Me: ‘What? He got taller over summer?’

Female Student: Looking disgusted, ‘Noooooooo! Dick up!’

On the sports field practicing for sports day with Kazuki…

Kazuki: Grinning upon seeing me, ‘Ms.Carla, Ms.Carla!!!’

Me: ‘Hi, Kazuki!’

Kazuki: Looking very excited and gesturing a lasso above his head, ‘Ms.Carla. Cowboy game, c’mon!’ Dragging me out to the middle of the sports field.

Me: ‘Ok, Kazuki…teach me. What do I do?’

Kazuki: ‘Ball, guruguru’ Repeating his lasso gesture with a rope and ball in hand, ‘Hit!’ Pointing to a road cone sitting on a desk about four metres away.

I complete the task, knocking the cone off the desk on my first attempt. I turn around to be greeted to applause from the entire second grade…they had been watching the whole time.

At the teachers’ drinking party…schmoozing with the big guys…

Sports Sensei: ‘Carla, you’re drinking red wine tonight?’

Me: ‘Well, I was drinking beer, but now I’m drinking red wine. I prefer red wine.’

Vice Principal: ‘Yes, Carla is a strong drinker!’

During English class with 3-4…

Me: ‘Yudai, you have to write your name in English on your worksheet.’

Yudai: Gives me a blank look (Yudai is a jock and a low level student who is notorious for distracting the whole class).

Me: ‘Kengo, can you please show Yudai how to write his name in English?’

Kengo: ‘Sure!’ Writes ‘Youdie’ and grins at me proudly.

It’s now the second week back at school and as the heat continues I hope this back chat does too…

Sh#t Gaijin Say

‘Talk about culture shock…’

‘I live in a bubble’

‘I’ve been here too long’

‘I need off this island’

‘Just pretend you don’t understand’

‘I don’t understand’

‘I don’t know’

‘I don’t get it’

‘No idea’


‘Are you staying another year?’

‘What are you doing this summer?’

‘Did you get a single or multiple re-entry permit?’

‘Have you climbed Fuji?’

‘You’re climbing Fuji again?!’

‘How good is your Japanese?’

‘Are you taking the JLPT?’

‘What does ~ mean?’

‘Can you read this?’

‘I need a drink’

‘I need some onigiri’

‘I need to hit up a combini’


‘Can we stop at a vending machine?’

‘I miss Mexican food’

‘I miss Italian food’

‘I miss normal food’

‘I miss my mum’s cooking’

‘I’m SO over rice’

‘I’ve gotten fat’

‘This tastes weird’

‘Whadda ya reckon this is?’

‘What the hell IS this?!’

‘I hate driving in this country’

‘Man, Japanese drivers…’

‘Did you see that?!’

‘I just got out of a speeding ticket’

‘I have to do some J study’

‘Is he dating a J girl?’

‘J pop sucks’

‘I can’t, I’ve got no money’

‘I can’t, I’m saving money’

‘I’m broke’

‘Ask me again after pay day’

‘When is pay day?’

‘Why are there so many forms?!’

‘How do you flush the toilet?!’

‘What are all those buttons for?’

‘What’s with all the free tissues?’

‘Why do they always ask my blood type?’

‘Is it safe to plug this in here?’

‘Why did they make me pee in a cup?

‘I can’t get shoes here’

‘What shoe size are you?’

‘Good luck getting shoes here’

‘Size 30? Forget it’

‘Do you know how to get there?’

‘I need to go to Tokyo’

‘Let’s ikimasu’

‘You wanna meet at Starbucks?’

‘Meet you at the station?’

‘I’m gonna Shink it’

‘Why Japan? Why?’

‘Seriously Japan?’

‘Oh, Japan’


‘F#cking Japan’

‘It’s freezing!’

‘My apartment is freezing

‘Why is there no central heating/double glazing/insulation here?’


‘English is hard’

‘I can’t speak English any more’

‘Check out this Engrish’

‘Did you feel that earthquake today?’

‘That was a big one’

‘I don’t like those big ones’

‘Yeah, that one woke me up too’

‘Was that an earthquake?’

‘I’d be lost without my iPhone. Literally.’

‘Do you have an iPhone?’

‘You should get an iPhone’

‘You’ve got an iPhone, Google it’

‘Can you send me a pin?’

‘Where can I find ~?’

‘Have you seen ~ anywhere?’

‘If only I could get ~’

‘Who do we know with a Costco card?’

‘I hate sitting seiza’

‘I hate wearing a mask’

‘I hate Tokyo Station’

‘I hate katakana’

‘I hate pit toilets’

‘Don’t worry, I’ve done that too’

‘Yeah, I’m a ‘large’ here too’

‘Get used to the stares’

‘You’ll get used to it’

‘Nah, you’ll never get used to that’


‘This sh#t just got real’



‘I Gaijin Smashed it’

‘Did you Gaijin Smash it?’

‘Let’s Gaijin Smash it’

‘Gaijin Smash it?’