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Monday, February 6, 2012

Matthew And Andrew

Matthew Hall and myself were assistant English teachers on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme between 1990 - 1993. We were very well-received by the Japanese folk in Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan were we lived. We both taught junior high school - myself all seven of the schools there at that time (expansion - amalgamation of a few outer villages has taken it up to 12!), and Matthew taught at five schools outside the city... probably some of those schools that are now part of Ohtawara! 

Anyhow, people have been bugging me for a decent shot of my good friend Matthew Hall - mostly Matthew himself, but he is correct.

Most of the photographs taken of ourselves in Japan were taken while we were either drunk or on our way to being drunk.

As such, we looked fantastic at the time of the photograph, but amazingly when the photographs were developed, we did not look as good.

I kid. Matthew and I were always good sports and did whatever was asked of us by the people of Ohtawara and beyond and didn't mind at all looking goofy if it meant it would help break down cultural stigma.

I firmly believe that while we were  sent to Japan to help teach people how to speak English correctly, our chief goal was to break down the barriers of internationalization... that really, except for some social customs, people are the same all over the world.

We are both married with children, he living in Vermont, and me back in Toronto. Matthew was my best friend in Japan and remains one of my best friends today.

I'm unsure if there is any coincidence to the fact my middle name is Matthew, or his middle name is Joseph or that his youngest brother is named Andrew. Probably not, eh? 

As such, I am proud to present the above photograph of Matthew Hall (on the left) and myself, Andrew Joseph (on the right). It was taken with the mist of Niagara Falls in the background on April 14, 1997.

Niagara Falls is right at the border between Canada and the United States of America and is the longest undefended border in the world. It seemed like the perfect place to show off some internationalization.

Damn... we look good. And that's a completely unbiased opinion. I am unsure what unbiased means. :)

Andrew Joseph

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