...and no, I’m not talking about Iraq this time! I have two days left in my present job.

I’ve really enjoyed teaching at elementary school. Some of the children are frustrating, but most of them are lovely. The younger ones in particular are very curious, which makes it easy and fun to teach them. However, I think that they have taught me more about Japan and Japanese than I have taught them about English!

I’ve begun to realise that, despite being widely repeated, it’s something of a myth to say that all Japanese are middle class. Social deprivation exists here, too.

I’ve seen what Japanese children are like before the brainwashing education system has completed its work on them. It’s often said that the system encourages group behaviour over individuality. I’d have thought that it was just a false generalisation, but I’ve seen enough to make me believe that it might well be true. Little things: for example, making the children read out announcements in front of the class, in groups of two or three. Simultaneously. It sounds like one of those station public address systems where the echo makes it impossible to pick out individual words. There seems to be a big emphasis on social conditioning, perhaps more than on education. I can’t remember exactly what my schools were like at that age, but I have a feeling that it was different.

I’ve noticed the marked differences in behaviour between boys and girls, and wondered how much is nature, and how much nurture.

I’ve realised that, yes, some teachers are idiots.

I’ve been more exhausted than I’ve ever been before.

Two more days to go, and I can take a holiday. I think I’ve earned it.