Last Saturday was a rather important-ish day. Most of the Izumi JETs (aka the group I’m in) were invited to be an interview assistant for aspiring English teachers. When we got to the building where the interviews were being held, we saw a few other JETs lounging around. We were then informed that the job offer was initially for the Osaka-shi (Osaka City) jobs but no one wanted to do it. Then it was offered to another group, who also declined. Finally, they decided to give it to the new JETS. Awesome. I saw some veterans there though, so I’m guessing they actually volunteered in order to look professional. After a 2 hour orientation, we split up to separate rooms.
I was in charge of assisting interviews for high school English teachers. The format of the interview was split up into two parts: reading and group discussion. During the reading part, people had to read a paragraph about a topic aloud to us. After everyone did that part on their own, we brought all the interviewees into the room to do a group discussion about a certain topic, which I would moderate. The title interview assistant was bullshit because I was basically handling the entire interview myself while the judges made the scores. I had 3 groups of people to interview and everyone looked tense and nervous under their awesome suits. I mostly saw young women and a few guys. Even though i wasn’t scoring their interviews, I was their lifeline since during the group interviews, it was up to me to lead the discussion and have everyone talk. If I didn’t let someone talk for very long, they wouldn’t have a chance to show their skills to the judges, thus leading to their downfall. The other problem was actually getting people to speak; everyone was dead quiet after they gave their initial thoughts on the topic and it was up to me to make up questions on the fly for them to answer.
Overall, it didn’t really feel like a group discussion but rather a group Q&A. There were a few times where the interviewees asked each other questions and clarification, which was nice. The first group of people were okay, the second group was AWESOME and really fluent in English and the third group was not okay, but they had the passion. I really wish they did grade it somewhat on their passion because I would be asking questions to a certain guy and while his English wasn’t the best, you could tell he was really talking from the heart. The judges were pretty harsh as most people got 2’s and 3’s out of 5. Only the second group had a bunch of 4’s and 5’s. They also liked to make small remarks after the interviewee left the room and I’m not sure if they knew that I understood them. For example, after a young lady would leave, they would be saying “Wow, she was really cute.” “How pretty, and she spoke good English too.” “Why can’t the men study harder?” The girls were definitely cute, but they were super nervous compared to the men. I had a few choke up and I did the best job I could to get them back in the game. Overall, it was an interesting experience. One of the veterans told me: “Making and breaking dreams–just another day in Japan.” Haha. Afterward, I went to Namba with Paddy and got me some good, cheap futsal shoes for futsal practice and he introduced me to a really nice library which has a lot of study materials for the JLPT. I plan on taking level 4 this winter. We then hung out with the group of JETs that went to the Osaka Aquarium that day and ate a ton of food, drank lots of beer and sang a lot of karaoke. Just another night out 🙂 I almost missed my last train as we were on the opposite side of town but thanks to a friend’s Japanese skills, we figured our way around and took a subway to reach my line and literally ran the entire time. I got there with 15 minutes to spare. I really hate the last train thing but I guess it’s a good way to make yourself not go too crazy each night. Some people do all-nighters which I don’t think I will ever have the energy to do.
Last Sunday was more mellow; I hung out with Andrew and he helped me try to join a gym and dry clean my suit. I couldn’t join the gym because it was closing in October. It sucks because it was a decent price compared to the average Japanese gym–some go for 80-100 dollars a month. Yeah, it’s pricey. I might have to fork out the extra cash though because I feel really bad for not working out for a month and I have gained a couple of pounds. I’m not too worry about money–I just got paid and it was insane to see how much I earn each month.
Afterward we went to a bar where one of Andrew’s co-workers was playing in a local band:
The band was not bad. My favorite part of the night though was right when were about to leave, we saw a band in which the frontman is a middle-aged, slightly overweight guy dressed up as a vampire, white mascara, cape and all:
He started singing American oldies as we were leaving such as Queen and Deep Purple. Here’s a video of him singing Queen:
As much as I loved the guy, I was ready to go as the next day all the new Osaka JETs were going to Rinku Town for a Japanese intensive course for 3 days! Many shenanigans were had, but I’ll save that for next time.