Posted by: wesleysensei | January 19, 2009


It’s January and for JETs like myself that means it’s time for Self-Evaluation. I was approached in mid-December with the notion of having to fill out a self-evaluation form and turn it in to my superiors. I knew the evaluation was this month but I wasn’t sure when. My JTE came up to me this week and handed me the form and said I needed to fill it out…in Japanese.

Self-evaluation is a healthy thing and helps you to improve yourself. Now, capturing it in words can be a challenge even  in your own language especially if it’s for your boss;  the task is even harder when you have to write your thoughts in Japanese. I took this as a challenge and got out my dictionary. About twenty minutes later I had about twelve sentences that even had kanji in them.

Needless to say, I was quite proud that I had been able to express my short comings, strengths, and goals by using elementary Japanese. When I showed my JTE the form she acted Japanese and said it was really good and how she was impressed I did it. …..then she started picking it apart and correcting it. I was thankful for the help, but a little distraught by one of her comments: “Umm, a little more detail would be good.”

WHAT! I had enough trouble looking up Japanese words, kanji, and using correct grammar for simple sentences!

This is what I thought at least. I think I agreed but said it was hard to do in Japanese. She ran off to class and I was left with a copy of the form with red ink all over it; I felt like I was in Latin 101 all over again.

I erased the mistakes and added the corrections and when my JTE came back I made sure it was ok. It was.

I then found my kocho-sensei (principle) to turn in the form. I handed it to him expecting a “wow, you can’t even speak Japanese but you wrote the whole form in Japanese!” Nope. He put his hand in the air and made a writing action accompanied by the word “pen.”

Yes, I wrote the whole thing again in pen.

If anything, the self-evaluation taught me one thing: I need to improve my Japanese.



  1. wes,

    good to see all is well. hit me up sometime, i forgot what your new email is and couldn’t find it in my contacts. happy new year.


  2. wesley先生

    So sorry to write down my comment suddenly.
    My name is Jungo living in Saitama prefecture.
    And work as Web director in Tokyo.
    I started to read your blog from few weeks ago.
    Actually I like to go to foreign country and talk with people living there.
    So I want to keep studing English at least.
    Reading blog written by native speaker is one of best ways for me to study English.
    So when I read your blog, I always use my dictionary to check a meaning of phrase.

    Your blog is really interesting.
    Especially I’m interested in how you feel about Japanese culture.
    It’s valuable to know your opinion about our country.
    Anyhow if possible, Please let me read your blog and write down my comment.
    My best regards.


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