- English Teacher
- Shoei Joshi Gakuin
Date of birth: Aug, 17, 1944
Hometown: Lyme Regis, Dorset and Tokyo
Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 46 (as of February 2019)
I met a Japanese classical musician in London. We were both staying temporarily in the London Music Club; I was rooming with an American flutist, he in the room next door with a couple of European youths. Three years later, we had married and come to Tokyo, and I began my new and present life.
“I don’t believe in shoganai (it can’t be helped).” I don’t give up easily and I believe we are the pilots of our ship through life. I have felt distressed when people say “shoganai” and surrender their power and their responsibility so easily. Life is our responsibility, our gift and our privilege.
I am proud that after a fulfilling career at the BBC, I could change to a completely different role (when I was 18, I swore that of all things I would never be a teacher) and that I came to feel so happy and fulfilled. I’ve taught high school and university.
To enjoy my retirement as much as I have enjoyed my working life. I feel I span the world; one foot in England, one in Japan, and I love them both. I hope I can continue to travel from one to the other for as long as possible.
I would say, when you come to Japan you may go through a little of what I went through, (although life is much easier now) of thinking that everything you have learned and experienced up to that point is worthless in Japan. If you are anything like me (hopefully not) after the honeymoon period of loving Japan, you may feel threatened to your core and it may bring out the worst in you. Don’t worry. It may take a couple of years, but it will pass and you will be a different, humbler person. Just remember, our much-vaunted Western individualism actually isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.