Japan Keeping Me Humble: #9


We were doing comparative adjectives and my JTE suggested the activity was:
CARLA is ___________ than *****-SENSEI.”
Bit of a risky one but I said it was OK.

After comparing palm span, foot size, arm length and height in front of the bairns she declares cheerfully:
“Wow everything is bigger than me!”

It’s a good thing I’m not sensitive.
Welcome to Japan: where I’m a giant at 5’4.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble #7


So last weekend I ordered a mojito in a bar and it rocked up as a bottle of VK.
Hamamatsu truly is the Sunderland* of Japan.

~ Carla

*Despite the name of this blog, I am neutral towards Mackemland – my alma mata is the University of Sunderland and therefore I’m allowed to make such jokes. So there.

JKMH · Teaching

Japan Keeping Me Humble #6

A little less conversation…

Last week we asked the third graders to think of a topic to have a three minute conversation with me in front of the rest of the class with my JTE grading them.
We suggested to keep it simple: hobbies, food, music, travel etc.

First student:
ME: Hello ____________, what is your topic?
STUDENT: Coronavirus.


Other topics included:
Star Wars, Baby Yoda, Japanese Youtubers, Shimazu Yoshihisa (an ancient Japanese warlord), Minecraft, Donald Trump, BTS, Super Smash Bros, Netflix and Avicii’s suicide.

And anyways the entire class fell about laughing when one guy was trying to tell me he wants to be a baker but pronounced it baka.”

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble: #4

WoopwoopThat’s the sound of da (fashion) police.

The junior high school’s chorus festival was a pretty fancy affair at a big concert hall, and knowing parents and the PTA were going I dressed in my best suit, my favourite handbag, wore my hair down and put on a bit of makeup.

A third grader came over, complimented me on my Kate Spade and advised:
“You look cute today Miss Carla, you should dress like that always.”


On the upside I told my friend Faith who found this hilarious and advised me to now announce myself as “いつも かわいい” / “itsumo kawaii!” (“always cute!”) which has somewhat become my catchphrase. It’s rude, so the bairns love it.

~ Carla


Japan Keeping Me Humble: #3

(If you don’t know what movie this is from we can’t be pals*)

Penne for your thoughts.

Recently at school I have been wearing my hair in it’s ‘usual style’ – down and flat ironed with a side fringe instead of the scraped-back high ponytail I’d been sporting since August.

However one student has told me that my hair looks like “spaghetti”, and a teacher asked if I am cold and using my hair as a scarf.

I think they’re hinting that I need to invest in a nice hair mask soon.

~ Carla

(*It’s from ‘The Princess Diaries’.)


Japan Keeping Me Humble: #1

This is going to be a series of bite-sized posts I’m calling JKMH (Japan Keeping Me Humble) documenting the hilarious things people say to me in Japan – from innocent faux pas and backhanded compliments to being downright rude.

I have a very self-deprecating sense of humour, so don’t worry – most of this isn’t stuff to cause me great offense. I’m mostly thick-skinned, and find it very easy to distinguish whether someone is being funny or just blatantly being a douche.

And so without further ado…

Japan Keeping Me Humble: #1

The Chair Necessities.

At my elementary school I have to sit with the bairns during lunchtime – this involves perching awkwardly on a tiny chair and squeezing behind an equally tiny desk. A small boy ran over to me enthusiastically and declared:
“Miss Carla big! Chair fall down!”
Thanks, kid.

~ Carla