These are some of the illustrations for an English Language text book for Japanese readers. I drew them many years ago while I was working and living in Japan.
In the early months, my income was mainly from Teaching English, so freelance illustration jobs were a welcome distraction from my limitations as an English Language teacher…. I didn’t teach at a school (if you can call what I was doing “teaching” at all) instead, I put on a tie and an ill-fitting suit (bought from a shady tailor in Bangkok) and went to teach on-site at several businesses around Tokyo (including National Electronics and Toshiba) that had conversational English classes as part of the training program for their employees. I spent a lot of time travelling around Tokyo by train, going from job to job. Using Google Earth and WikiMapia I was recently able to figure out where some of my old teaching posts were.
This was part of a long period in my life where I rarely participated in a fluent conversation. In the evenings, my students mangled my own language (under my earnest direction) and the for the rest of the day I mangled theirs, as I tried to learn Japanese. Though I was a language-teacher at night, in the mornings I was a language-student myself, attending Japanese language classes. I am sad to say that I never got very fluent, despite my very best efforts (a Japanese friend tells me that I speak Japanese like a little girl) but I managed to pick up enough “survival” Japanese to get around, order food and have limited conversations with anyone patient enough to listen to me shred the verb conjugations of their language.
Thankfully, both for me and the well-being of my English-language students, I soon found a job that I was better qualified for; working in animation (at TOEI Studios, on a Superman TV series) and so I quit being an English teacher. Though the full-time job meant that I unfortunately had to give up my morning Japanese classes, it was a relief to be able to take off the baggy suit and neck-tie and draw all day. I continued to do freelance illustration jobs, in addition to the animation work, right up until I left Japan.