Fried Chicken and Sushi 318 Manga Karl can relate to

So Karl gets a manga about an English teacher working in Japan and it turns out to be about making fun of the English teacher working in Japan.  It's a good thing Tanuki could translate to make everything clear! Right?  Or, maybe it would have been better for Karl to think it was a comic similar to his situation.  Oh, well!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 285 The eye of J's Tiger

Merry Christmas to all of you out there that celebrate it!  Even if you don't, go out on a date with your girl and eat some Christmas cake.  That's what most Japanese people do!  I think J's Christmas present is getting noticed for doing great work on his job.  Way to go, J!  It's still tough to balance it all because Beverly is getting left behind.  Maybe J should focus on her during meditation!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 251 Working as a black man in Japan

Looks like working in Japan can have its perks too!  Yes, it can be frustrating at times but teaching English as a foreigner can mean that people expect less from you.  I remember feeling like I had so much time during the day at school.  I would come up with things to do at my desk like reading, drawing and occasionally grading papers.  What do you do to kill time in-between classes in Japan?

Fried Chicken and Sushi 231 The way to communicate at a compa

Maybe if Karl would get with the program and start drinking just enough to loosen up and enjoy Japanese parties, he might have more fun.  Not too much, just enough.  It's a fine art he will have to learn in order to get to know people.  If you're a long time reader, you know that Karl is sensitive to liquour.  If you're new, perhaps you should read the comic where he last went a little too far at a party HERE.  Enjoy!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 220 Hachiro is crazy for an English menu!

There are certain things that Japanese people say that can really make you feel like you don't fit in.  Even though most Americans are loved there, people have a way of making you upset by their little comments.  "Oh, you use chopsticks so well!" or "You speak Japanese so well!" they say even though you've been using chopsticks all your life and you only said one word to them in Japanese.  Compliments can easily become insults depending on the situation.  If you're living in Japan, you have to learn to get used to this...

Fried Chicken and Sushi 206 The E.L.F. Meeting is underway!

If any of you out there are teaching in Japan or have in the past, there should be at least one thing in this comic strip that you can relate to!  I was always surprised at all of the colorful characters that end up teaching there.  It can be a wild experience or even a negative one like Nelly's. ;)

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Back to Shimamoto! (Pictures Below)

This past summer I decided to take a quick trip up to the town I lived in while teaching English in Japan.  Yep, it has the same name as Karl's town, Shimamoto cho.  It felt good to go back after six years and I didn't tell anyone I was going so I could walk around relatively unnoticed.  However, I think a few people were a little shocked to see a big black man strolling around their town taking pictures.  Check out some of the photos below. I've been trying to re-create some of these locations in the comic.  Enjoy!


Here we are at Minase station off of the Hankyu railway line. 

Hey, you can look up my nose!  The building behind me is where I used to live.  Right under the number 2.

I walked past #1 Junior High School where I used to work.  Pretty much all Junior High Schools in Japan look like this.

Here's the long road up to #2 Junior High School.  The bus would take me up this way if I was too tired to ride a bike.  The smaller white building on the left is where the Board of Education office is.

I was trying to remember this map outside of the train station when I drew the strip about taking the bus up to school.  I think I got it right...somewhat.

Let's take it back to when I was teaching there!  I remember it well, walking around while the students take an English quiz.  Makin' 'em nervous!