Reviews of Lifer

Thanks to all who have read and commented on this blog. The story is now out as an ebook on Amazon. If you are new here and haven’t yet read the book, it’s quite cheap! If you buy it, you can go to bed pleased that you have managed to make a bald man happy.

Here’s what some of the people who read it and don’t even know me have said:

‘Loved this…thanks for keeping me up to 2 a.m. on a Sunday night.’

‘Read this all in one sitting, amazing! I genuinely laughed out loud a few times, and your perspective was very refreshing….Terrific writing, thanks a lot!’

‘As a balding English man living in Tokyo I enjoyed this a lot.’

‘Thanks for the wonderful story…The best of luck with your work and, once again, thanks for a brilliant, insightful and hilarious read.’

‘Thank you for taking the time to write that out. I felt like you were describing much of my life in parts…I am at the point of being sick to death of working for a dead-end dead-beat big eikaiwa company, but love teaching the kids and shaping their lives. So about to pull the trigger as it were, and start my own place…not easy to take the first step, but you have helped.’

‘Thank you so much. This is the funniest stuff I’ve read in ages.’

‘I’m hooked. Your book is brilliant! Can’t stop reading.’

‘I really enjoyed reading this, so much so that I read it twice in fact!’

‘I’ve just spent a couple of enjoyable hours reading this, you should definitely put it out as an ebook! Any chance of an update chapter?’

‘Thank you for writing this, I really enjoyed reading it! I have just begun my career in Japan…A lot of the things you have said have given me hope since and my soon-to-be wife and are thinking of starting our own school. Thanks again and best of luck!’

‘Loving this so far. I can definitely relate to the convenience store story. My list of establishments I stay away from through sheer embarrassment gets longer every year…’

‘Fantastic stuff. It’s like reading my life from a slightly skewed perspective. Enjoyed every minute of this and you really should publish it as ‘proper’ book or ebook.’

‘Dude, this is some funny stuff. Well done!’

‘You write really well. It’s been a pleasure reading this book!’

‘Loved this story. Very inspiring.’

‘Thank you very much for writing this. It was entertaining, insightful and has given me much food for thought concerning my own career. I was happy to read a positive perspective on the eikaiwa industry…’

‘Really enjoyed the book. Laughed out loud a lot. I think many foreigners in Japan have shared similar experiences but very few have put them together so well on paper/pc. You’re a much better writer than you think you are. Well done!’

‘This was such a great blog, I was reading some of the chapters during my sports law lecture and laughter kept escaping me, I couldn’t hold it in, I was getting some really strange looks so I had to stop reading!’

‘It’s so well-written and really resonates with me as someone who’s been here a while, is in his 30′s and is going bald working at an eikaiwa.’

‘I read your hilarious book about being an eikiawa lifer, bravo! What a great read. Like the others I too found myself laughing audibly and frequently. Great comedic sensibility and timing. Reminded me a bit of David Sedaris’ short story novellas in that way. Thoroughly enjoyed it… kudos on your eminently readable book. You’re a talented raconteur.’

‘…you are a terrific writer. I am not sure if it was your goal, but some of your scenarios had me heartily laughing.’

‘I love this book!

I am not exactly very well-read, but the only time I’ve laughed out loud so much when reading a book is about 25 years ago when I read “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole” (a lad who I now realise would’ve done very well in Japan if he’d ever made it here, what with being a complete dork and all). 

I do not recommend reading this book in public, especially if you are an English teacher in Japan! You’ll be laughing, sighing, nodding, and shaking your head in equal measure. The people around you will think you’ve lost your mind, and you won’t have the heart to explain that your mind fled in horror years ago. 

Anyway, thank you!’

From Goodreads:

‘I bought this book because it kind of fits in with an area I’m researching, and I wasn’t prepared to like this book as much as I did. I found it pretty well written and on the whole, quite enjoyable. Japan needs more eikaiwa teachers like Carl Brotherstone.’

‘Anyone who has had a similar teaching experience in Japan will find a lot to laugh at in this book. I genuinely laughed at parts of this when I remembered the exact thing happening or being said to me. Around 200 pages, this is a quick read, but still has a lot to it to help the reader understand a little bit about life as a foreign English teacher in Japan.’

From Amazon:

‘Carl, like Bill Bryson or Dave Barry, writes truth that is also hilariously funny.’

‘Captures the essence of the expat life in Japan, from a gaijin who takes his eikaiwa work seriously, loves the country and ends up a lifer.’

‘This book will be of interest to anyone who has spent time in Japan, anyone who is thinking of spending time in Japan, as well as anyone else who fancies a good read. If you do not walk away from this book having had several laughs (some even out loud), having been highly entertained and gained quite some insight into the ex-pat experience in a strange and beautiful country then I will eat my hat.’

‘I enjoyed the book, I’ve lived in Japan 3 times but work in business, I’ve known many Eikaiwa teachers but never really appreciated what they do. The book helped me appreciate their world more.’

‘Enjoyed this, especially since my son taught English in Tokyo for several years and I could relate and laugh about the various incidents.’

‘A must-read for anybody who has either lived in Japan as an English teacher, is currently living in Japan as an English teacher, or is planning to do so in the future. “Lifer” takes us on an honest and incredibly entertaining ride as a man who didn’t necessarily plan to come to Japan, or own a small business here, but somehow ended up that way … and is not at all unhappy about the way things turned out!

Newbies/wannabees to Japan will gain a lot of information about the way the ESL industry and public English education system works here, and veterans like me will smile, shake their heads nostalgically and think “yep, those were the days!”

I thoroughly enjoyed it. Five stars.’

‘Terrific look into what it’s like to live and try and make a living in another country. Thoroughly enjoyable, sometime humorous, entertaining read.’

‘There’s much to admire in this honest memoir of an accidental eikaiwa teacher. Speaking as one myself, the whole book rings true and there are frequent moments where I really did laugh out loud. It offers a little practical advice on living the life of an English conversation teacher in Japan, but a lot more about finding meaning and enjoyment in a profession often looked down on by folk with “proper” skills. But then I doubt they could write such a self-effacing, David-Sedaris-funny book. Lovely.’


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