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Gaijin: An American Family in Japan

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In 1997 Kenneth and Lora Fenter left their comfortable home and teaching jobs in Springfield, Oregon to journey to the small town of Isahaya, in Nagasaki Prefecture, on the southernmost island Kyushu, Japan to teach English as a foreign language (ESL) at Chinzei Junior College and High School. They had been told that the students had studied English beginning with middle s In 1997 Kenneth and Lora Fenter left their comfortable home and teaching jobs in Springfield, Oregon to journey to the small town of Isahaya, in Nagasaki Prefecture, on the southernmost island Kyushu, Japan to teach English as a foreign language (ESL) at Chinzei Junior College and High School. They had been told that the students had studied English beginning with middle school. Therefore speaking English themselves was not a pre-requisite. Naively, they assumed they were given accurate information. What they learned when they reported was that the English the students studied was not for communication. The family settles in and learns to live in a community of 75000, that in the US would take up the same space of an average small town of 10 or 12 thousand. They are living in a proverbial gold fish bowl as four of the six non-oriental foreigners in town and the only family of Americans. In the course of the year, they make friends, learn the arts and crafts, experience heart-ache and joy. Each day is filled with a roller coaster of highs and lows that they later discover is shared with most travelers to a foreigners a foreign culture and sometimes called "Culture Shock." As the end of their one year contract draws near, they are faced with a decision: return to look for jobs in Springfield or re-new for a second year.


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In 1997 Kenneth and Lora Fenter left their comfortable home and teaching jobs in Springfield, Oregon to journey to the small town of Isahaya, in Nagasaki Prefecture, on the southernmost island Kyushu, Japan to teach English as a foreign language (ESL) at Chinzei Junior College and High School. They had been told that the students had studied English beginning with middle s In 1997 Kenneth and Lora Fenter left their comfortable home and teaching jobs in Springfield, Oregon to journey to the small town of Isahaya, in Nagasaki Prefecture, on the southernmost island Kyushu, Japan to teach English as a foreign language (ESL) at Chinzei Junior College and High School. They had been told that the students had studied English beginning with middle school. Therefore speaking English themselves was not a pre-requisite. Naively, they assumed they were given accurate information. What they learned when they reported was that the English the students studied was not for communication. The family settles in and learns to live in a community of 75000, that in the US would take up the same space of an average small town of 10 or 12 thousand. They are living in a proverbial gold fish bowl as four of the six non-oriental foreigners in town and the only family of Americans. In the course of the year, they make friends, learn the arts and crafts, experience heart-ache and joy. Each day is filled with a roller coaster of highs and lows that they later discover is shared with most travelers to a foreigners a foreign culture and sometimes called "Culture Shock." As the end of their one year contract draws near, they are faced with a decision: return to look for jobs in Springfield or re-new for a second year.

6 review for Gaijin: An American Family in Japan

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ronalee

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karl

  4. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth Fenter

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