I teach at a middle-school on King Fuk Street in Kowloon. I took a picture of the road sign because like Takashita Road in Tokyo, it’s a memory worth saving.

My kids are a (surprisingly) pimple-free bunch of hormonally charged walking sticks, giraffes and rolly-pollies. Their frayed uniforms, eagerness and lack of hygiene are enough to make you melt and cringe at the same time.

As in Tokyo, I’m a bit of a celebrity with the kids. I’m from the U.S. and am neither white nor fat. I’m friendly, and God love ’em, they think I’m in my mid-twenties. We beaners preserve quite well when not made to pick citrus in the sun.

Unlike in Tokyo, I have more control over what I can do in my classroom. I can alter the curriculum as I see fit, adjust it to their level of ability. I can use things like magazines and newspapers to enhance the lesson. This means I get to teach. For real.

Yes, their English level is low. Yes, the curriculum I was handed is shit and does not at all reflect their interests or skill. Yes, it’s only a part-time job (for now) in the afternoon. And yes, it takes me longer to commute there and back than it does to actually teach my class. But I’m loving it. OK, liking it. For now. I’ve got to qualify things now because the shit hit the fan so quickly in Japan. And barring any flying turds, I’m in it for the long haul.

These kids are mine, and I’m going to do my best to make sure they leave my class knowing more, understanding more, and hopefully, speaking more.

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