Smith's Kyobashi: Winter Party 2006

Every year in December Smith's Kyobashi hosts a school Christmas party. It's that time of year. We love it. We've come to expect students and teachers alike enjoying each others company. What better way to encourage that than a Christmas party at a local restaurant? It's a great opportunity to get all the teachers together over a drink and a good mood. What's more, we can all get together with students at the same time. The question of English teachers fraternizing with the students of English schools being taboo in Japan is an old one. We think it's great. Perhaps because as owners of our own franchise English schools we don't feel the need to burden ourselves with rules meant to protect from immature behavior. Teaching English in Japan is not just about coaching our students on how to put that English knowledge to use. It's about sharing our culture, and giving them a window into a world they might not get a chance to see face to face otherwise. We build relationships with our students. Those relationships are important to all humans. These students really try hard for us in the classroom so we love to give something back other than teaching. We give our time; our friendship. We have been studying together all year and it's time to just relax and have some fun.

The red carpet was rolled out with the help of a local restaurant, who we've been friends with for some time, and was kind enough to reserve their nicest room during the busiest time of the year. The food was delicious, students enjoyed musical performances by teachers and Franchise owners, and party games had everyone jumping out of their seats and cheering.

If we needed to sum up the whole night and limited it to only one word we might say: Fun. If we allowed ourselves the luxury of two words we'd say: Warm feeling. Students who hadn't had the chance to meet yet were making new friends. Everyone enjoyed getting to know each other not just in a classroom setting, but on a personal level. The company doesn't run these as profits nights. Parties like this are organized by the company and run at cost as a way to say thank to our students.

This year our founder came along to the Kyobashi party and offered a few words explaining to students that Christmas is not just like Halloween, Valentines Day, or some of the other foreign holidays that have come to be well known in Japan. It is very special to us. A time for us to understand each other, love our families, remember loved ones who are far away. A time for taking out old photos and thinking "I remember those times". It is a time of love and fellowship. Students were encouraged to "go home take out those old photos and give that friend you haven't seen in so long a call". Maybe they are friends who you fell out with but can't remember why anymore. Fix that. Life is short and friends and family members are precious.

From all of us here at Smith's: happy Christmas and a prosperous new year. Come on and join our next party.

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