Jul 17, 2018

I'm More Than a Free English Lesson

One of the things that drives me the most crazy living in Japan is people trying to talk to me in attempts to get a free English teacher.

Let me rewind to a few months ago. I started my second study abroad at a university in the city. (I had a study abroad before that in the countryside and I never had any problems there to clarify.) I was in a new school, in a new area, all I wanted to do was make some friends. I was trying to get involved on campus, etc., but the same situation happened over and over again. Someone would approach me, be friendly, then invite me to lunch, or something similar. I was always very excited. More often than not, I would sit down with my lunch and without saying any formalities or talking at all, the other person would whip out an English textbook.

I try to give the benefit of the doubt, but after they have made me teach for 10 to 20 minutes I start to get frustrated. Every time, it is clear that they are only trying to suck a free English lesson out of me. They don't want to be friends, they don't care about me, they only want a free teacher. It made me so frustrated. I wanted to scream that I am a person, with feelings!

I don't know what changed at this new university, but it was awful. I understand when Japanese students want a friend that speaks English, but these people never even had a normal conversation with me in English or Japanese. They never asked anything about me other than where I was from.

These people made me stop wanting to talk to new people. (It was not just one or two experiences, but more like 10-15...) I hated it. Luckily, I had friends from my last study abroad. I surrounded myself with my old friends. I no longer attend that university and I am back to living in the countryside, but I am still bitter about all of those experiences.

My friends from my first study abroad! 

Have you had an experience like this?



Teacher, Student, and Traveler
Currently living in Aichi
I love Japan, cats, food, and fashion!


  • edthethe

    on Jul 18

    This happens all the time. It happened in study abroad, once I started working here, and even now. Now, I just quote them a price. The worst was random older mean in supermarkets stopping me to ask to teach them English.

  • ReishiiTravels

    on Jul 18

    @edthethe That's a good idea! I think I will just do the same. I am really bad at confrontation so now I just exchange LINE and block them when I get home or pretend I am busy.

  • edthethe

    on Jul 18

    @ReishiiTravels I can be pretty blunt when people irk me. I have stopped someone halfway through lunch and told them that if they only want English lessons then I am going to just go and they can pay for the lunch. It was actually a good idea because that person didn't really realize what they were doing, apologized and we became friends.

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