Friday, March 19, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery Review: 2x07 "Light and Shadows"

This episode marks the first time we see Spock in Discovery outside of Michael's memories. Going into these episodes, I was curious what they'd do with him as a character, and even though Spock is limited in how much he interacts with the other characters in this episode (because of his mental state), the first time I watched this episode it made me even more curious about where the story was going.

At the start of the episode, Michael is granted leave to go to Vulcan, where she plans to speak to Amanda about Spock. She already suspects that Amanda knows something that she's not telling anyone, and once she gets to Vulcan, she's right. Honestly, I was surprised at how quickly Amanda gave in and showed Michael where Spock was. It shoes that they're close and that Amanda does ultimately trust Michael.

Amanda takes Michael to where she's keeping Spock hidden, and this is the first time we see him. He doesn't acknowledge Michael's or Amanda's presences and instead keeps muttering to himself. His muttering includes a set of numbers that Amanda says she can't find the significance of. It's a shocking first look at Spock. Despite only seeing episodes here and there from other Star Trek series, I know enough about him as a character for his demeanor in this scene to be jarring.

Sarek shows up as well, having followed them, and there's quite a bit of tension between him and Amanda over what to do about Spock. I like seeing their differences explored here. We also learn that Spock had a condition similar to dyslexia that he seems to have inherited from Amanda (i.e. his human side) which resulted in him being isolated as a kid. It's a sad story and makes me wonder if learning disorders just don't typically exist on Vulcan or if they have any that are different than those humans have. Either way, it's an interesting insight into Spock's past.

During his muttering, Spock starts quoting Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which Amanda read to both him and Michael as children. Sarek expresses disapproval over this because the absurdness of Wonderland conflicts with Vulcan culture and, in his view, hearing it as a child harmed Spock. There's a connection between the absurd nature of Wonderland and Spock's mental state that's interesting. Back when this season was first released, I remembered reading some stuff where people were complaining about it being Alice that Amanda read when it could be any book from history or in the galaxy, but I do get what they were going for with it, and it does make sense to me that Amanda would choose that book, both because she's human and because she was trying to counter the extreme focus on logic that Spock was getting from the Vulcans.

Sarek believes that taking Spock to Section 31 is the best course of action. He's convinced that Spock has information that the Federation needs and that, if Spock is innocent, he will be fine. Michael ends up taking Spock to Section 31. However, Georgiou reveals to Michael that Section 31 plans on removing Spock's memories and helps her escape with Spock. Georgiou/the Emperor and Michael's relationship is one of the most interesting on the show to me, so I love the dynamics we start to see where Georgiou actually wants to help Michael.

This episode also includes quite a bit of tension between Pike and Tyler. Pike still doesn't trust Tyler, which is understandable considering what information he has on him. The Discovery encounters temporal distortions, and Pike and Tyler wind up together on a shuttle only to then get lost inside a temporal distortion themselves. While there, their shuttle gets attacked by a probe that appears to have come from the future. It attacks their computer, though they're not sure why.

Once back on Discovery, they point out that the Red Angel and the probe have both come from the future and might be connected to each other. Airiam also begins acting strangely, and from the way the scenes are shot, it's made clear that this has something to do with the probe who attacked the ship's computer. It raises some interesting questions about both the Red Angel and what will happen to Airiam.

At the end of the episode, Georgiou also reveals that Leland is responsible for the death of Michael's parents. Because we've seen a few glimpses of Michael's parents recently too, it seems a little obvious that we're going to be learning more about them in upcoming episodes.

The episode ends with Michael figuring out that Spock's numbers are coordinates, and she starts heading for the planet.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Star Trek: Discovery Review: 2x06 "The Sound of Thunder"

There's a lot in this episode that I enjoy. This season of Discovery really did go into so many of the kinds of stories I most want to see, and that makes me really excited, even on a re-watch.

Culber is in the hospital having tests run on him after his body was reformed. The doctor confirms that, while his brain scans are normal, his entire body has been reassembled from his DNA. This is clearly distressing to him, and he doesn't feel like himself. It's an understandable reaction. It has to be jarring to suddenly be in a new body. He's even missing his scar that inspired him to be a doctor. That probably felt like a big identifier for him, so it would be a big shock for it to be gone.

This storyline raises a lot of interesting questions about what makes a person and how much is it tied to what makes you a person. If Culber's entire body has been reformed, then that means his brain has too. Even if his brain scans are normal for him, there's still a question there of if he is actually himself or is he more along the lines of a clone of his former self who is now dead.

What's strange to me is that no one else notices just how distressed he is by all of this. It's clearly written on his face in every scene he's in, yet people keep going on as if everything is perfect. On one hand, I understand this could be because they're so relieved to have him back that they can't imagine why he would be upset. That's especially true of Stamets, who I didn't find it surprising from, but it's just strange that no one clues in to just how upset he is. It's also strange to me that, despite their advanced medicine, no one thinks that going through something like having your body reformed would warrant a psychological evaluation immediately. (Yes, they performed brain scans, and we don't know everything those covered, but clearly, that wasn't enough.)

We also get a bit of information about Saru right off the bat in the episode: His fear response is being suppressed. Not long after, there's another signal from the Red Angel that just so happens to have come from Saru's homeworld Kaminar. The rest of the episode is heavily focused on Kaminar and the truth about the Kelpiens and Ba'ul.

This is one of my favorite subplots in this season. I find the history of Kaminar fascinating enough to warrant a whole season on it. The Ba'ul were almost wiped out yet managed to develop technology to both save themselves and oppress the Kelpiens. That story alone could be a whole show. The Ba'ul also appear to have lived in the water yet now live on space ships (or maybe some still live in oceans on Kaminar and we didn't get to see it) that has huge story potential too. There's so much there!

The way the Ba'ul are characterized is also interesting. Both their voice and bodies are clearly meant to be terrifying despite what we learn about them in this episode. They're characterized more as predators than prey even though their bodies appear rather frail from what we see of them. (Admittedly, the Kelpiens don't look like a typical portrayal of a "predator" either.)

Neither Kelpiens or Ba'ul fit neatly into "predator" or "prey" considering they've each been both at different times in history, but it was still an interesting choice to portray the Ba'ul the way they did visually.

Once the Discovery and Saru's sister, Siranna, learn the truth. They're committed to telling the Kelpiens the truth and creating a "new balance." This desire makes sense. Obviously, as Kelpiens, Saru and Siranna would want their people to know the truth, and I'm happy that they want to achieve peace instead of destroying the Ba'ul.

However, everyone seems quite convinced that, if the Kelpiens learn the truth, they will inevitably come to live in peace with the Ba'ul instead of the cycle of one destroying the other continuing. It's optimism to a degree that feels foolish. Personally, I'm sure it could be possible, especially in a fictional TV show, but it would be a huge struggle that would undoubtedly involve violence to a certain extent (which is kind of acknowledged), and it feels like the show just leans on "everything will work out great in the end" a little too much there.

When the Ba'ul try to destroy every Kelpien village, the Red Angel intervenes and saves the Kelpiens. Saru sees the Red Angel and reports back that it's "humanoid" (which is an interesting word choice considering what I've said before about it being a weird "coincidence" that so many sentient aliens look like humans) and has advanced technology. Time travel is mentioned for what I think is the first time this season. But the Red Angel's identity is really as much of a mystery as it was before.

The episode ends with Michael declaring that she needs to return to Vulcan, so we know exactly where we're going in the next episode.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

My Experience at AEON Initial Training

Note: This was written in July 2017 right after my initial training. I'm posting it now, in 2021, because I no longer work at AEON. I'm leaving it as is to show you what I thought at the time.

You won't be reading this post until after my time at AEON has come to a close. Because of that, I can't guarantee that anything in this post will accurately reflect your own training if you come to work at AEON. This is even more true as I have been given the impression already that there can be a number of differences in training between regions. (I was in the Seibu region for reference.) That being said, I know I was anxious before I arrived in Japan, so I hope I can provide some information to set you at ease if you're going to work for AEON and are nervous about what to expect.

Friday: Arrival in Japan

I arrived at Kansai International Airport on a Friday. (Note in March 2021: For some reason I didn't write about this, but to my recollection, I received my residence card while going through immigration at the airport as well, so that picture, which was taken right after getting off multiple international flights, was on my first residence card that lasted for three years, so be warned of that.)

After making it through immigration and customs, I had around a half hour to walk around the airport before an AEON staff member arrived to pick us up. He was friendly and immediately helped me ship my luggage to my branch school (as only my carry on would be going with me to training in Okayama).

Two other trainees arrived at the airport that day, but both were going to different regions from me. Because of this, the AEON staff member was going with them while I was given a ticket, taken to the train, and put on it by myself. After days of flying, I was exhausted but determined to stay awake for the entire trip out of fear that I would miss my stop.

When I got off that train, another AEON employee was waiting to get me from the regular train to the bullet train. It was on the bullet train that I really had to struggle against sleep. I think that I dozed of once or twice (which was much easier to do on the train than it had been the plane for some reason), but luckily, I didn't miss my stop, and I was greeted by one of the trainers at the station.

We met the one other trainee in my training group at the station as well, and we were taken back to the dormitories, which occupied a building around the corner from the training center itself.

We each had our own bedroom. (If there'd been more trainees, we'd have had roommates. There were two beds in each room.) There was a common room with a kitchen, ironing board, etc. There was also a washer and even a dryer (rare for Japan), though we were also given racks to air dry our clothes in our rooms.

Enough about the living conditions though, onto the training itself:

We had two trainers, and since there were only two of us trainees, there's a lot of focus on you individually. Both of our trainers were nice. (I've already heard some things about trainers in other regions not being as nice, so I'm thankful for that.)

Saturday: First Day of Training

On the Saturday after we arrived, our training lasted from 10 AM to 1 PM. After that, one of the trainers took us to lunch, with AEON footing the bill. After lunch, he gave us a bit of a tour of the area and then left us on our own. (We ended up walking to the castle, which was a sweaty experience to say the least, but the rain held off, so we were lucky in that sense.)

The Rest of Training

Sunday was a day off, but Monday was the only other day where we began at 10 AM. (Every day after we would being at 11 AM.) Each day lasted until 7 except for when we taught our lessons, which would go until 8 with feedback from the trainers afterward.

Each day was packed; there's no denying that. We had to learn a lot, including the entire structure of AEON's lessons which we then had to teach to students the next day. Without a doubt, make sure you are prepared to do reading every night and practice, practice, practice your lessons. You will, without a doubt, screw up. They don't actually expect you to have everything down 100% after having learned the lesson structure the day before (at least, our trainers didn't), but they are looking to see that your trying and that you are responding to what they tell you. (If, in practice, a trainer tells you that you need to start doing something, you should keep that in mind the next time you're teaching.)

I don't want to make it sound entirely daunting though. I also had a good time. Overall, it was a fun atmosphere, not an intimidating or scary one. (We did meet with the president of the company over Skype one day though, and that was a bit intimidating to say the least, though he was very nice.)

There's no way I could go through everything we covered in the training here, and I couldn't anyway as a lot of stuff about AEON's particular style of teaching is owned by them and isn't something I'm legally allowed to share. I will say, though, that it would have been nice to been given the lesson structure prior to training in order to prepare myself a bit. It might have lessened some of the pressure going into training. I, like many others, felt that I should have the lesson format memorized as soon as the next day (when you teach your first lesson), and while they're looking more for a good attempt at following the structure, I would have been more at ease if I'd had more time to prepare on my own somehow.

That being said, I enjoyed my training experience overall despite how tiring it was by the time it came to an end. I was lucky to have a great fellow trainee and also great trainers. If you're planning to join AEON, then I hope that you manage to have as great of a training experience as I did.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Life Post: Being Back in the US

 I'm currently trying to type this with a cat's tail swishing across the keyboard, so we'll see how it goes.

As of writing this, I've been back in the US for just over a month, and I haven't written one of these posts since leaving Japan. To be quite honest, it doesn't feel like much has happened all things considered. There is a pandemic after all, so it's not like I've been going many places.

I did chop off all my hair though, so there's that.

I've been at my sister's house for the last week and a half after staying with my parents for about a month. I'll be here for a little bit longer and then I think I'm going back to my parents' house.

Most of my time recently has been spent looking for jobs and also fleshing out a good writing portfolio to use while applying to said jobs. That's my big priority at the moment, but I don't want to go into detail about anything because I don't want to get my hopes up about certain things online and then those things not happen in the end.

Once things feel like they're progressing more, I'm sure I'll have another update here, but for now, I'm just focusing on adjusting back to being in the US.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

My Experience Interviewing with AEON Corporation

Note: This was written in March of 2017, four months before I went to Japan. I wound up working at AEON for three and a half years, and I decided to hold off on posting this until after I left so that I would feel free to express an entirely honest opinion. (That being said, working for AEON was a positive experience and something I would recommend.) So, this post comes from the prospective of not having started the job yet.

Recently, I announced that I'm moving to Japan. After that, I posted about interviewing for HESS, a chain of English schools in Taiwan. Clearly, I did not take the job with HESS. So who I am I working for in Japan? The answer is the AEON Corporation. Much like I did with HESS, here is what the interview process was like with AEON.

Initial Application

Unlike many other companies that hire foreign English teachers, AEON requires a face-to-face interview before they hire a teacher. They have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and anyone living near those cities is able to come in for interviews (to the best of my understanding) year round. For the rest of us, AEON has interviews at various cities throughout the year. (Note in March 2021: In-person interviews are currently suspended because of the pandemic, and interviews are instead being held entirely online. I can't speak to what that experience is like.)

The list of the upcoming cities where interviews will be held is on AEON's website. You apply by choosing the city whose interview you will be attending (if you get through the first two stages of the process). This part involves providing all of the typical information you'd provide when applying for a job and uploading your resume and an essay about why you want to work in Japan.

If you pass this stage, you will receive an email from the recruiters at the office that is in charge of the interview that you selected. (I interviewed in Nashville, which meant that the New York office was in charge of my interview.) They will set up a Skype interview with you. The stated purpose of this Skype interview is to make sure you realize what the job requires. They ask you to study the AEON website and tell you which parts to pay particularly close attention to.

Skype Interview

It is crucial that you do study the website. The recruiter will ask you questions about the information stated there. That truly is, as far as I can tell, one of the biggest parts of this stage of the interview. They want to know that you understand AEON, but they also want to see that you'll follow directions (and continue to do so throughout the entire interview process). The other thing I think they're looking for is your personality. The right personality for an AEON teacher is discussed during the in-person interview, and it basically narrows down to "someone who is bright and enthusiastic." Do your best to be that person during the Skype interview.

Make sure that you're following the AEON dress code during the Skype interview. Although this likely won't be mentioned to you at this stage, the dress code specifications are on their website where you will find them if you do your research. You will be asked to stand at the beginning of the Skype interview. This is supposedly to introduce yourself, but obviously, they're going to check what you're wearing when you stand as well. Definitely don't have pajama pants or anything like that on.

The Skype interview is conducted by only one recruiter and shouldn't take more than fifteen minutes. I was informed at the end of my interview that I had gotten a spot at the in-person interview. From what I can tell from reading other stories online, they seem to always tell you at the end of the interview if you are moving on in the process. Everyone who was told they would find out later seems to have been rejected, but this is largely conjecture based on secondhand information. (Note in March 2021: This is still just a guess. I cannot confirm if it's true or not.)

Preparing for the In-Person Interview

If you get through to the in-person interview, you will receive an email from AEON that you must reply to in order to confirm your spot at the interview. After this, you will receive information about the interview location and be given a set of tasks to complete before the interview. There will be documents you should bring to the interview as well as more information about AEON that they ask you to study, which you should definitely do.

I've seen older stories from people who applied to AEON saying that they were asked to plan a lesson ahead of time and bring it to the interview. We were not. (Note in March 2021: AEON's lesson steps are set in stone, so you can't plan an AEON lesson before you've learned the steps you'll need to follow. Having taught there, I can see that this step is pretty useless for determining if someone can do the job, so I can see why it was changed. You need to have the ability to follow the steps you're given, not plan your own lesson from scratch.)

When they tell you to take notes on certain information before the in-person interview, do it. They will not flip through your notebook, but they will do a more casual check to see if you have brought the notes with you. Plus, they do ask you about the information, and your far less likely to flounder with notes in front of you. This should go without saying that it pays to be prepared, but some people in my group weren't, so put yourself at an advantage.

While I got a head start on everything I was asked to do, I also made sure to go through the information much sooner to the date of the interview. I wanted it fresh in my mind.

In-Person Group Interview

The day of the interview, arrive fifteen minutes early. Fifteen minutes early in Japan is arriving on time, and that's what AEON expects. (Note in March 2021: Funnily enough, we were told to arrive fifteen minutes early to work too during my interview, but not long after I started, they changed the way they talked about this and started encouraging us to arrive later. Still, arriving early for the interview probably still helps give a good impression.)

You will also be held to Japanese business standards while working at AEON. While there's some leeway with this in the interview as they don't expect you to know all of the rules, I would recommend doing some research and being aware of at least the basics. (Note in March 2021: It's probably worth noting that there will be leeway with this throughout your time at AEON, not just during the interview. Yes, following Japanese business standards as much as possible is a good thing. You should show that you're trying, but people will understand that you're a foreigner and not expect you to get everything right all the time.)

Make sure you're following AEON's dress code at this interview as well. The information is on their website.

When we arrived, we had to sign in on a sheet of paper. The recruiter will greet you. (I've read other accounts of interviews where people mention there being more than one recruiter. We only had one, and it was the same recruiter who had interviewed me over Skype.) As they greet you, they will tell you where you can put your stuff down and then encourage you to introduce yourself to everyone and/or look over the AEON class materials that are set out.

While doing either of these is no doubt helpful, I recommend immediately introducing yourself to everyone. One of the responsibilities at AEON is what's called "lobby talk" where you're required to talk to your students in the lobby between classes. They want to see that you're capable of conversing with other people. (Note in March 2021: I support 2017 me wholeheartedly here: talk to the other applicants! Going over the materials is fine, but you'll have time to later. It's not actually that helpful to do it here. Showing that you're friendly and personable is more important. If anything, go over the materials with other applicants and discuss them with each other. But make sure to make conversation.)

If you're more introverted, this is likely one of the more nerve-wracking parts of the day. I was worried about it since I am extremely introverted and find conversation with people I know difficult, let alone strangers. The thing is, everyone else is also there because they want to teach in Japan. Your interest in Japan is already one thing you have in common, and that provides you with a conversation starter. Use it. Our group certainly did. I talked about why I wanted to teach in Japan to just about everyone. What saved me here, I think, was that everyone else knew they needed to socialize too, so we were equally eager to converse and be friendly. That made me less anxious about approaching strangers than I would usually be.

Also, don't worry about a competitive atmosphere. This may or may not be a problem in your group; it wasn't in ours. As your recruiter will remind you, they can hire everyone or no one in a group. You're not competing with each other for only one position. Helping each other look good helps you all in the end because it shows that you work well with others.

Everyone else in my group was incredibly friendly and happy to talk. I got the sense that I wasn't the only introvert in the group or the only one who was nervous and, therefore, especially struggling with trying to be talkative, but realizing we were in the same boat really helped. I found I had no problem maintaining conversations until the interview started.

The first part of the interview is the recruiter sharing information about the company with you. This will include information about the contract, expectations of you, the housing in Japan, and more. This is absolutely crucial: Take notes during this part. Not only does this make you look good, you'll need to know the information if you get the job, and you don't want to have to ask for it all again and show that you didn't pay attention.

This also leads into the section of the interview about what you took notes on before. Make sure you have those notes handy and that you answer the interviewer's questions. I made sure to volunteer each time the recruiter asked for answers even though it made me nervous, and the recruiter seemed to be trying to get everyone to answer equally. If people didn't volunteer, he would eventually call on them anyway. Try not to stay quiet until you're called on.

After the information session, you will have a break of about ten or fifteen minutes. Treat this break exactly like you treated the time before your interview. I did look over the AEON materials at this point as we were getting closer to having to actually teach an AEON lesson. (We had discussed the materials a bit during the information session.) However, I made sure that I still conversed with the others as well. Balance is key here I think. I wouldn't recommend spending the entire break with the AEON materials. Even while I was looking at them, I was talking to someone, and that conversation eventually prompted me to put it down entirely. (Note in March 2021: Looking over the materials is probably fine, but seriously prioritize being friendly and conversing. Looking over the materials briefly might help because it shows you're interested, but it's really not that important.)

Then the truly fun part of the interview begins. Your recruiter will demonstrate a kids' lesson for you, with you and your fellow interviewees as the kids. Make sure you participate even if you feel silly. Everyone's doing it, and you don't have to see these people again.

After running through a lesson as the students, you'll be divided into groups. (I was in a group of three.) You'll be given some time to prepare a kids' lesson with your group. Each person in the group is required to teach part of the lesson. (The lesson is already divided into four separate parts.) Be enthusiastic, even if it feels overly slow. Remember that this lesson is meant for kids, and don't worry about talking to the other interviewees as if they're small children. I'll admit this does feel weird at first though. (Note in March 2021: If you get hired, you'll do this in training and regular teachers' meetings too. It gets much less weird.)

We were all laughing by the end of this, so don't get too uptight or think that getting into this part is beneath you. I think it would show.

Then comes the adult lessons. Again, you will watch a demo lesson by the recruiter, with you acting as the students. Once again, participate.

After this, you will have to teach an adult lesson, and this time you'll be on your own. You're separated into groups. (Different groups this time.) You're given time to prepare by yourself and are encouraged to speak to yourself and act it out to be prepared. I didn't speak so much as whisper to myself, but I highly recommend acting it out to a certain extent. (Note in March 2021: If you get hired, you'll be expected to do this while preparing during training, and that carries over once you're working too.) My previous experience with lesson planning and teaching definitely helped here, but this isn't anything where that experience is crucial as long as you fully play it out in your head.

The lesson is already pretty much planned out. It's just how you present the material. You have to think ahead of time about how you're going to present each example, how you'll explain it, etc. It's also important to remember here that AEON wants a very high percentage of student speaking time during lessons, so it's crucial that you focus on that. A lot of what you're doing is encouraging the students to talk and providing them with opportunities to have conversations with both other students and yourself, the teacher. (Note in March 2021: This really is the most important part of AEON lessons. Prioritize interaction, not lecture.)

You will then take turns in your group teaching your lesson. Each lesson will be timed, and you absolutely cannot stop until your time is up. (Note in March 2021:This is actually great practice for after you're hired when you inevitably finish a lesson too quickly and have time to kill. Not that that ever happened to me...) This was definitely a struggle for some. I knew from my student teaching that the timing was guaranteed to not work out how I thought it would. Because of that, I had planned out how to extend the lesson to at least twice it's length if it would be necessary. As it turned out, my timing was good, and I finished the page I was given right on time without needing to go into any of the extensions I'd planned. (Not in March 2021: This wound up being something I was praised for during my training and once I was at my school because apparently I had better time management than most trainees. I attribute this entirely to my prior student teaching experience.)

Others there went far under the time limit though and seemed to fumble with how to expand on it. Definitely try to help in any way you can if this happens in your group. As a student, you can ask questions or carry on conversations that will help lengthen their time.

After teaching, we were given time to fill out a sheet of paper. This included information such as when we'd be able to move to Japan as well as a short grammar quiz. If you're confident with grammar, then this isn't difficult. If you're not, you might want to brush up both on commonly misspelled words and the differences between similar words.

We were given our envelopes right when we finished, but the envelopes were somewhat of a formality as our recruiter told us that our entire group would move on to one-on-one interviews. Mine was for two and a half hours or so later, so I went to eat a late lunch before it.

One-On-One In-Person Interview

The one-on-one interview was the most nerve-wracking part of the process for me. The group's presence had eased a lot of tension earlier in the day, but the tension returned full force once it was just me and the recruiter.

This interview took about forty minutes I believe and was a lot like your typical job interview. We talked about my skills and other such stereotypical things.

After teaching earlier, we had been told to write down what we thought we did well and what we could have done better. I discussed what I'd written with the recruiter before he asked me to teach again while keeping what I could do better in mind. He shared what he thought of my lesson and then demonstrated an AEON lesson one-on-one with me. He asked me to teach again, following what he'd done as close as possible.

In the moment, I thought I'd really messed up that lesson due to my nerves. (I even admitted as much after teaching because things like that tend to slip out of my mouth when I'm very nervous.) He did, however, tell me what he thought he'd seen me do well. (Note in March 2021: Showing that you can take feedback and use it to improve really is the most important thing here instead of teaching a perfect lesson right away.)

He checked to make sure I had a Bachelor's degree (a requirement for a Japanese work visa, not just AEON's requirement) and also that all of my information was correct.

At the end of the interview I was told that I'd be hearing from them within ten days but that it would probably be sooner. It was. My interview was on a Saturday, and I was called on Monday and told that they'd like to hire me.

My 2021 Perspective

I never worked as a recruiter, so part of this post are still just speculation about what they're looking for. However, having taught at AEON for three and a half years, most of my guesses about what they're looking for are probably right.

Considering that, these are the things I would consider most important:
  • Be excited about interacting with "students." A couple guys at the group interview openly admitted to me that they just wanted a "free" ticket to Japan. (AEON reimburses you for your plane ticket, and of course, you'll be paid.) He said this when the recruiter left the room, but I think the attitude came across through the whole interview. He was particularly unenthusiastic about the kids' lessons. You may or may not enjoy teaching, but even in the demo lessons, you should show an enthusiasm for interacting and making connections with people. This is also why making small talk with the other applicants is crucial.
  • Do your research. A guy in my group interview actually mispronounced 'AEON', which made me cringe considering the recruiter had already pronounced the name too. Show that you've put in effort in learning about the company and its expectations.
  • Show that you can take feedback. You don't need to be perfect, but you should be able to adapt and improve. Focus on what the recruiter tells you and do your best to show that you're using the feedback during the next demo.
Honestly, those are probably the three most crucial things aside from the absolute basics like 'dress appropriately.'

Working at AEON was a truly great experience. It's a job, and you should be prepared to work hard. (I also know that some schools have managers or other staff that can be hard to work with, so that part can be a bit of a gamble. I believe working in a big city, especially Tokyo, will be more stressful than a school in a more rural area.) But as long as you understand that you're being hired for a job and not just an extended vacation (which they will likely say to you straight up in the interview) then I very much recommend working with AEON.