Story of how I got my first teaching job

This is probably the first crazy story I’ve experienced since coming to Japan over a year ago. I thought it’s just a nice story to share to illustrate how everyone you meet in Tokyo can be important. Be patient, it’s a long story but the journey is worth the laugh.

So first off, I should mention that when I arrived in Japan I was staying at a big share house with my next-door neighbour being this eccentric, outgoing, homosexual Frenchman. For a while he was definitely the guy to follow, because he had been to Japan a crazy amount of times. I mean like, once every year for the past several years.

Anyway, one night our squad were out at this dodgy club in the back streets of Roppongi, because one of us randomly got invited as a “special VIP” guest at another dodgy bar the previous day. Thinking about it now, it was pretty stupid to go into a club surrounded by huge black bodyguards, that looked part of some wannabe Yakuza, in this really far out part of Tokyo’s red light district. Inside there were only a few Japanese men dancing, the rest being these absolutely stunning model-esque ladies surrounded by more built black guys.

It was pretty intimidating. The “special VIP” guest status didn’t even get a cheaper entry, or anything cheaper actually. But but by this time we had already walked way out in the middle of nowhere and were keen to drink. But soon the night took a turn for the worse. The gay Frenchman I mentioned before had gotten really drunk and bored with all the straight people, so he decided to dance and hook up with some of the girls.

I was really impressed. He had game. He could dance well, and he somehow could convince these gorgeous ladies to get dirty on the floor. If only these ladies weren’t the club’s bought women. He got kicked out so fast, I was the only one to notice. He was in a foul mood, having to go to a straight club and getting embarrassingly kicked out, so I decided to cheer him up and take an adventure to the infamous gay district of Shinjuku-nichome (pronounced ni-chor-meh). I bet you’re wondering where the hell this story if going. Just hold on, it’s about to get good, I promise. This is where the “fun” began.

As soon as we enter the gay bar, a place named “Dragon” or “Dragon Men,” my French friend heads for the bathroom and leaves me holding his bag – it was one of those typical feminine man bags. He comes out and is stopped by this tall black guy and his friend. They stare at each other for a few seconds – apparently for gay people, that’s the sign that they’re ready to play – and start dancing real dirtily.

Meanwhile, I’m standing there with his man bag slowly creeping into the corner. Now look, I’m not a homophobe. This wasn’t even my first time to this bar. But I prefer to be with a friend because otherwise everyone is going to come up and try to “claim” you. I know that might sound really bad, and paint homosexuals in a certain way. I don’t want to do that; I’m not trying to offend anyone. But the people in “Dragon” are all fairly aggressive. When I came with my friend I was expecting us to meet some people and have a chat, not have him abandon me and expect to look after his bag and train card.

Anyway, I’d had a few and was feeling protective of myself. It took about 180 seconds before I was approached. That’s right, my theory is it takes 180 seconds for a homosexual man to scout you out, judge the hell out of your look, think of a plan of attack, and then come over to you. It’s probably less but they’re just playing it cool.

This guy was a half Brazilian, half Japanese, macho like Arnie guy. He walks over to me, then passes. A moment later he passes the other way. He does this three or four times, each time making eye contact with a sneaky smirk on his face. He looked really fabulous, so I don’t blame him for thinking he could have anyone he wanted. Too bad I wasn’t gay. The last time he passes me, he does a backtrack with a kinda dance like move. I chuckle. I couldn’t help it. Buuuuut he takes this as an okay sign to engage in flirty conversation.

The conversation was quite pleasant actually. We talked about gym, drinks we like, hobbies, where we’re from etc. The only thing was that he had “kabe-donned” me. For those that don’t know, “kabe-donn” is the clichéd anime move where a guy pushes a girl against a wall (kabe in Japanese) and slams his hand above her head (donn) and leans in really, really, close. And for this guy, he could almost lick my face he was that close. Maybe he wanted to hahaha. Basically I was trapped. His shoulders too broad to get past. His face too close to manoeuvre around without touching. If I was trapped any longer, hell, maybe I would’ve become gay. He was that fabulous.

Luckily, my knight in shining armour came to the rescue! And going with the theme of the night, this guy was also black. My dark knight! His guy was an older man, and was from the States. Whilst the young Brazilian had style and was fabulous, the American had this more eloquent style to him. He came over and the two had an argument over me. I was not sure how to react. Maybe I should’ve been flattered…? Eventually the young blood retreated and I was left with the old wolf. He bought me a few drinks and we had a nice chat at the bar – my French friend was now surrounded by several men having the time of his life, so I wasn’t worried.

Soon enough, it’s time for the first train of the day so I make my way to leave. The American gives me a kiss on the cheek and adds me on Facebook. But it wasn’t the last time I saw him. That’s right, he is the guy that gave me my first teaching gig. A month later I encounter him in Shinsei Bank while opening an account. We exchange greeting and part ways.

But then another week later, I’m getting my haircut in Shibuya with my friend when the American calls me. I pick up. He sounds like he’s in a panic. It goes like this:

“Where are you now?” he asks.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, Shibuya…… why?” *strange question to ask straight off the bat*

“Oh great. Perfect! WONDERFUL! I need you to cover for me!”

“Oh. I see. Okay. Wait, what do you do again?” *I have no idea what is going on*

“I have a small job tonight where I’m teaching English for two hours in Shibuya. It starts at 6. Can you substitute for me?”

“Yeah well, it’s 5:30 right now. So how am I supposed to do it? I don’t even know what to do….”

“Come on, help me out. Don’t worry about that. It’s pays 6,000 yen ($US60)”


For me that was a lot, enough for me to stop my haircut halfway, run through Shibuya crossing (the busiest in the world) and enter this English class to teach. I was ten minutes late with no prep time. Needless to say, I just winged it. But it went pretty well. I introduced myself and got each student to do the same. That wasted half the time. From there it was easy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got my first teaching job. Probably not what you were expecting. Hope I didn’t lose you with the beginning. I guess the lesson here is to always be nice to people wherever you are, especially in Tokyo. The city is so vast and full of opportunities for foreigners that the gay guy who hits on you at the bar may be key to your next job!

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