Janet Cerna (senior) conducted the following interview of Mr. Yuji Okamura.
Q: What did you use to do before coming to Life Academy?
A: I was an English teacher in Japan for three years and then a banker is the Bay Area for three years and a half years.
Q: How has been your experience at Life Academy so far?
A: So far things have been great. The students are really good to work with. The staff is really cool to collaborate with. But this year has been harder than last year. I seem to have more work this year than last year.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
A: I like to discover new taco trucks at Fruitvale. That is fun! I also like to surf. I have been surfing for about six years now. I also like to practice Brazilian Jin-Jitzu – for three or four years now.
Q: What college did you go to? And, what were your majors?
A: I went to UC Davis, and I majored in Economics and Anthropology.
Q: What is the most challenging part of teaching so far?
A: Grading takes a lot of my time – about five to six hours. It always takes a long time to grade.
Q: What has been your craziest day of teaching so far?
A: I will say it was the digital immigration project that I did with the juniors. I was in school for thirteen and a half hours.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of teaching so far?
A: I get to make fun of teenagers!
Q: How were your high school years?
A: I thought that my high school years were boring. I slept all the time.
Q: Have you ever been in a fight in your life?
A: It was not really a fight…but when I was in high school, I was a goalkeeper people tried to rush me, so I used to punch them.
Q: Why did you decide to be a high school teacher?
A: I wanted to come back and teach teenagers and make it more fun for them.
Q: How was college?
A: It was fun! I was able to take the classes I wanted, and it was more real. And, I also made a lot of new friends.
Q: What jobs did you have in college?
A: I had a lot of jobs. I was a truck driver in a grocery store. I also worked in a bookstore. I also worked in a restaurant as a waiter. And a writing tutor.
Q: Where have you traveled?
A: I have gone to a lot of places: Japan for three years – I lived there, Pakistan, [and] I when I went to Europe: Ireland, England, France, Netherlands, and Chez Republic. I also have traveled to Mexico, Colombia, Eastern China and Western China, also to South Korea, Tokyo, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.
Q: What have been the craziest things you have eaten?
A: I ate chapulinez in Oaxaca. And, in Laos, I ate crickets.
Edited By: Eva Oliver, Digital Journalism Teacher