Every year thousands of Americans pack their bags and move to Japan. They go in hopes of making it big in one of Japan's most lucrative industries... English. Desperate to learn the language, Japanese schools, businesses and government agencies offer small fortunes to just about anyone who can help teach English. No experience necessary. The Americans who flock to Japan each year make up one of the more eclectic if not strange and often comical subcultures of our nation's social landscape. While many are well-educated with the best intentions, a large number are complete misfits drawn to Japan by the low qualifications and high pay of the English teaching industry. Our documentary profiles this unique subculture and explores the surreal world that surrounds them in Japan.
Big in Japan was produced by Rob Hilton. The editor was Gemma Hooley. "Kevin" returned to
the US several of years ago and has since been a substitute teacher by day and an ESL
instructor by night. Mr. Nakagawa is a teacher now and no longer supervises AETs. He says
he's much happier back in the classroom. "Tracey" is now mother to a five-year old
daughter and lives back in Scotland. Special thanks to Steve Lickteig, Melinda
Weir, Laura Wexler, Seiji Saito and Yuko Saito.
And to WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia. This program was funded in part by the National
Endowment for the Arts.
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