For one of the classes I teach, I need to find news items in English about Japan (especially items that look at Japanese society from an unusual or non-Japanese point of view), and Japan Probe is a good source of such news. Japan Probe is a Japan news blog in English that focusses on general-interest news items, and sometimes usefully includes embedded video taken from Japanese TV. An item I found today, and bookmarked for my class, is Foreign tourists feel the pain as dollar/euro weaken against yen

The news class I teach is at a university, and, naturally, behind a firewall. Previously, some videos have been inaccessible to these students. If YouTube were blocked, that would kinda cramp things.

Another Japan news blog I subscribe to is Japan Today, which led me to this news item about Japanese public school teachers choosing demotion over the presumably high stress-levels of managerial positions.  I was interested in the ministry official’s statement,

‘‘Teachers in these positions tend to be saddled with heavy workloads and we will urge (schools) to improve their working conditions so that they do not get too much work,’’

and in one of the commenters who thought that the Education ministry

should provide more money for more teachers and fewer students per class rather than ‘urge’ schools to improve their working conditions.

If the teachers don’t like it, why don’t they negotiate for better conditions (fewer classes, for instance), or quit? Why do they need some higher power to fix things for them? What do you think?


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