Special Update: The “What’s Your Story?” Page is Complete…Finally

Without a Doubt One of my favorite pictures with my siblings Derrick, Nicky, and Erica.

I have been writing this blog for a good minute now and for some reason I just kept putting off Your Story Page over, and over, and over again. But I am happy to report that I finally finished it and you can check it out by clicking the “What’s Your Story” tab in the “Welcome” box on the right hand side of the The Japan Guy home page. Hopefully by reading it, you can learn a little bit more about me and some of the experiences that have resulted in me being right here, right now making this very blog.


Donald Ash

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  • devin

    I read all 7 pages and I must say your biography has had more hills and valleys, trials and tribulations than I would have imagined. I’m glad you are no longer cocky like your pre-college days or depressed like you were for a bit during and after college. You’ve finally matured and really got things together during the last three years in Japan and I’m glad that you managed to find some stability in your life. You’ve also had a lot of wonderful teachers, friends, family, and coworkers and bosses that have touched your life and for that you must be grateful.

    Living in Germany, learning French, taking Martial arts, and writing have really shaped your life and made you the person who you are today. I’m sorry that you have had to deal with some unkind people in your life and I’m glad you have kindly shown them the door. And not holding grudges is very big of you…and healthy for your spirit too.

    I do have one question for you though. How did you get a teaching job by taking an exam? That threw me for a loop! Doesn’t one need a Bachelor of Education from a recognised university?

    On a technical note,I I should mention that “page 5″ has links to “page 4″ and “page 5″ so I was caught in an infinite loop! (As a former math teacher you must understand that! :P) The “page 5″ link should obviously be “page 6″.

    Keep on trucking, Donald!

    • Donald Ash

      WOW! Devin, you are like a Japan Guy Super-Reader! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my articles, watch the videos, and even leave comments.

      I like to think that the hard times have made me into a better person. I know there will be other hard times, but if I learn from my mistakes, maybe the valleys won’t be quite so low.

      As far as the teaching job goes, I had my Bacherlor’s in Business Administration. I had to take that exam to get a provisional teaching certificate. If you get a Bachelor’s of Education and go through an official teaching program, you get a full-certification and slightly higher starting pay. That provisional certificate did allow to teach as any normal teacher would, but it limited my income (starting pay and yearly pay-raises).

      P.S.-Thanks for the technical heads up ;) ! It should be fixed now.

      • devin

        Hey you write interesting material Donald so the compliment goes right back to you! I love reading biographies of regular people and by regular I am talking about people who are not celebrities or Paris Hilton! :P

        The hard times have without doubt made you a better person. The cliche “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is little comfort to hear but there is more than a grain of truth in it. You survived through some hard times and came out whole and sane in the end and that speaks volume for your character so kudos to you! :)

        Holy moly…I’ve never heard of a “provisional certificate” before…I’m from Canada though so maybe the system is different? Or maybe it is decided on a state by state basis. Interesting. I really want to be a math teacher in Canada and I’m pretty sure I have to go back and get a Bachelor of Education first. It takes about a year since I already have a Computer Science degree. Anyway it is not cool that you got paid less but the most important aspect is your overall happiness and you definitely were not happy in your role so it made sense that you left.

        As for not taking the job at JP Morgan some people would ask why? I’m kind of proud you turned them down to be honest. I know a little about the banking system and Mr. Morgan did some pretty bad stuff if you read your history. It’s really sad that teachers who actually perform a vital role are undervalued. (At least in the US and Canada)

        And no problem about the technical heads up! Details matter!

  • Ryan McGuinness

    It always gets me how I think my life has way to many ups and downs for me to ever get comfortable. However, your life has really opened my eyes that maybe comfortability is a difficult thing for anyone to achieve in life. I didn’t realize we shared a passion for science. :)

    We also share the same discouragement from science at a higher level. I’m in a similar boat; I choose science as what I wanted to because I enjoyed it and I felt it was one of my stronger subjects. However, now I study science everyday (Albeit different topics every day) I really am not absorbing a lot of the information and I’m just scraping by with a ‘C’ at the minute.

    Thankfully though I’ve ruined my chance of doing somethings at University, I can still do a topic I want to do. “Asia Pacific Studies” However, I’d be in a similar circumstance to you again; Only 2 Universities in England actually do the topic. One of them is 30 Minutes down the road from me and isn’t the nicest surrounding area. The other’s grade criteria I don’t meet. I don’t want to throw all my Eggs in to one basket; but if I have to then I will.

    I’ll give you a link in case you want to check out the course. I’d love to know your feelings on the topics taught. http://www.uclan.ac.uk/information/courses/ba_hons_asia_pacific_studies.php

    Best of look with the future Donaldo ;)

    • Donald Ash

      Hey Ryan!

      Thanks for posting, man. I definitely thought science was interesting. But I guess being interested and performing well didn’t quite match up for me. In the end though, I’m not complaining. If the hard times hadn’t happened exactly the way they did, I might have never ended up here in Japan, and right now, I can’t even fathom that. I am overjoyed that I stuck with my decision to come here (earthquakes and all).

      I checked out the link that you sent. It looks pretty cool. Being able to have a choice of studying in China or Japan (even for a short time) is a wonderful way to expand your horizons. That’s awesome!

      Thanks Ryan :)

    • Donald Ash

      Hey Ryan, for some reason I just remembered that you mentioned milk supplements and completely forgot. What exactly did you mean by milk supplements? And what questions did you have about them? I’m not sure if I’ll be able to answer your question, but I you know I’ll do my best :)

  • Ryan McGuinness

    I was hoping you could do an article or something on the whole situation of Dairy in Japan? I’ve heard a large number of the population are Lactose intolerant (Is this true?) I was wondering if you could discuss how the Japanese get around this with things in daily life: Cereal, Pizza, Coffee/Tea etc. What do they use instead? Also, as a westerner: are there western dairy products available in Japan?

    Thanks. :)

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