I never need to look for work, it comes looking for me

A few months ago, two major companies in Japan announced that they would be holding all of their inhouse meetings in English – which the majority of their employees don’t speak – and that they would fire any workers who didn’t get their English language ability up to scratch within the next two years.  Several other major companies hinted that they would follow suit.  Most young and not-so-young Japanese are in a state of panic about this situation (imagine that your country had been peacefully invaded by China when you weren’t looking, and that now only fluent Chinese speakers are in line for promotion at any workplace, including your own children and their offspring).  Hence,  I am being absolutely swamped with requests for business English lessons.  I’m giving them seven days a week, in between my cram school lessons, my housewife lessons, my mums-and-babes-lessons, and those annoying JJs.  At the moment there’s a waiting list.  Recently my dentist’s mother asked for private English lessons, and I had to ask her to wait until March of 2011, when I’m pretty certain that there’ll be an opening on Saturday mornings.  And today, one of my young mums told me that her husband wants business English lessons from 7PM every Wednesday night.   Well, Wednesday night (4PM to 10PM) is my only holiday, not to mention my treasured bookclub night when I get to meet up with other expats to talk about how to stay sane and reasonable in this crazy country.  But in the interests of staying insane and unreasonable, I think I’ll just grab every opportunity as it comes, and make the most of it.  After all, it’s not every country in the world that pays me 50 bucks an hour just to sit, talk in English, and smile a lot. 

Only in Japan, right?


7 comments on “I never need to look for work, it comes looking for me

  1. Petra says:

    Lucky you, Miko, lucky you.

    Now, for something similar to happen in the US for German lessons… oh well, I should not even start dreaming…

  2. Miko says:

    Uh, don’t you mean “lucky Benjamin?”

    If you were in Japan, you’d be teaching German at a university full of well-bred young ladies, and giving private lessons on the side to elderly retired doctors and museum curators. You’d also be in charge of manning the bratwurst stand at any vaguely German cultural event. Lucky you!

  3. Petra says:

    Vaguely” seems to be the key word here! LOL

  4. Miko says:

    Hey, you’re one of the lucky ones! Apparently I’m vaguely Asian *and* vaguely European … I get it in the neck from both sides! I’d be thrilled if bratwurst was involved, but …

  5. karen1945 says:

    The thing about being self-employed is that there is no guarantee of income or work. So, I say, as long as you can stand the pace, rake in the yen, salt it away for when times aren’t so lucrative. Good for you!

  6. Miko says:

    That’s good advice. At present I’m squirrelling away 50% of my income, and living on the remainder. It’s not that difficult, because fortunately I have very frugal habits. For example, I make rice balls every morning and carry them to work with me so that I don’t have to spend money lunching out (this act alone saves me several hundred dollars a month, you’d be amazed!). I don’t own a cell phone, because I feel that ultimately they waste more time and money than they save (correct me if you think I’m wrong). I never bother subscribing to cable, or renting DVDs; instead I utilise YouTube and other free online video sources. And recently I’m experimenting with bartering English lessons for other services, although it’s been pretty hit-and-miss so far (do I really need a huge box of mandarin oranges that will probably go rotten before I get through them all?). Unfortunately I still haven’t figured out a way to offload my Two Biggest Expenses – you know who they are – but I’m sure it will come to me eventually, hopefully within my lifetime.

  7. Petra says:

    If I could make rice balls – I would be in hog’s heaven.

    Cell phone is a must – as a life line for clients to each me in emergencies.

    We scrapped TV-service last year and never looked back.

    We do do Netflix for DVDs and streaming.

    Unfortunately I can’t do barter – not even for mandarin oranges.

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