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hello,
Hope you are all well. I would be grateful for some advice.

I am planning to go to Japan next year for 3-6monthe and was hoping to get some short term teaching position there. However when I looked they all seem to require at least a 1 year contract.

For background;
I am 32 years old and a practicing doctor in london. I am British and I am married to a Japanese man who lives in london with me. We got married in Japan this year so I believe I can get a spouse visa. My Japanese is unfortunately basic and I was hoping my time in Japan would improve this. I initially wanted to do some Locum medical-related jobs but realised quickly that this is highly unlikely so I'm happy to teach English or do any other jobs really! I haven't got any teaching experience but I will to take TEFL course if needed.

My main objective is really to go to Japan to study Japanese and hopefully have some short term job to find myself.

I would be grateful if you could please advise me!

Thank you in advance!
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Glenski

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You are correct in stating that most contracts are for at least a year. Please realize that the teaching market here is very crowded as well. No teaching experience and no language skills don't help your chances at all, I'm sure you realize. There really isn't much I can suggest. A spousal visa (which you don't have yet) will allow you to teach, but since you don't plan to stay longer than 6 months, that type of visa can't be used to suggest to employers that you are a better risk of staying here longer than a tourist. You will be a tourist.

"Finding yourself" by struggling through teaching is not something I'd recommend for the sake of your students, no matter what their ages. Take the language courses and enjoy your time here in other ways, then return to your medical practice.

"so I'm happy to teach English or do any other jobs really!"
Gee, thanks for that lovely yet indirect description of teaching as a lowly job. Some of us who teach actually take their jobs seriously.
 

Mike Cash

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You could learn far more Japanese in three to six months in the comfort of your own living room than most English teachers in Japan typically learn in three to six years. If your goal is to learn Japanese, doing so while teaching English is probably historically the least likely way of accomplishing it.

I would suggest you attend a reputable language school as a full-time student. You may engage in some part-time work while a student if you wish.

Should you decide to attend a language school, I would like to suggest that you include the Yamasa Institute among the ones you research when choosing a school. Study Japanese in Japan at a Japanese language school - The Yamasa Institute

You will also find that a spousal visa is for the purpose of allowing you to live in Japan with your Japanese spouse. If he will be remaining in dear old Blighty during your absence the application would likely not go well.
 
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Hello!

Thank you for your replies.

Sorry it was a typo on my phone, that was supposed to read 'fund myself'! I think I'm too old to be finding myself really!

No offence intended at all to people dedicated to teaching. Some of my family are also involved in education. It was simply because it seems to be the only available job I have heard of to people who don't speak Japanese well that I could find on Gaijinpots. Im really looking for a way to finance my stay in Japan and not spend all my life saving there. I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

My husband and I are also open to the idea of living there 1 day as his family is there. That is also a reason why I would like to try and live there for a time to see if I will be okay.

I have seen some posts for English teachers that are paid hourly/part time. What are your opinions on this?

Many thanks in advance
 

KyushuWoozy

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Hello!

Thank you for your replies.

Sorry it was a typo on my phone, that was supposed to read 'fund myself'! I think I'm too old to be finding myself
Thanks, that gave me my first good laugh of the day

If you want to teach English here I suggest at least you get yourself a TEFL cert before coming. It'll give you something to show prospective employers. When I first started teaching here I just stumbled off a plane with no kind of certificate at all and without a clue and easily got a job. But that was around 25 years ago and I guess things have changed a lot now.

As you mentioned, most contracts are for a year. But you never know you might get lucky if you put yourself around a lot and happen to walk into a school where one of the teachers has just unexpectedly walked out.

Good luck.

Oh yes, by the way, if you do take a TEFL cert make sure you get one of the reputable ones and not one of the dodgy online ones.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Do you have expertise in something really interesting?

What city will you be in?

I might be able to connect you with someone who can help you do something worth regards to medical depending on the above answers .
 

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Do you have expertise in something really interesting?

What city will you be in?

I might be able to connect you with someone who can help you do something worth regards to medical depending on the above answers .
Thank you very much for your reply.
I haven't chosen my specialty yet and am still rotating through different things, but my previous background was in neuroscience and I am interested in neurology/psychiatry and have done some research in the past in stroke. In terms of medical specialties, I've worked as a doctor in rheumatology, general medicine, general surgery, urology and psychiatry.

My husbands family is in Osaka and I would like to be near them if possible but I'm flexible and equally happy to be away!

Sorry that was quite vague!

Thank you again for your reply
 

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Thanks, that gave me my first good laugh of the day

If you want to teach English here I suggest at least you get yourself a TEFL cert before coming. It'll give you something to show prospective employers. When I first started teaching here I just stumbled off a plane with no kind of certificate at all and without a clue and easily got a job. But that was around 25 years ago and I guess things have changed a lot now.

As you mentioned, most contracts are for a year. But you never know you might get lucky if you put yourself around a lot and happen to walk into a school where one of the teachers has just unexpectedly walked out.

Good luck.

Oh yes, by the way, if you do take a TEFL cert make sure you get one of the reputable ones and not one of the dodgy online ones.
Haha I'm glad you had a good laugh!

Thank you for the reply. Yes I'm definitely thinking about taking a course for TEFL. I'll make sure to sign up to a proper one.

Thanks again
 

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You could learn far more Japanese in three to six months in the comfort of your own living room than most English teachers in Japan typically learn in three to six years. If your goal is to learn Japanese, doing so while teaching English is probably historically the least likely way of accomplishing it.

I would suggest you attend a reputable language school as a full-time student. You may engage in some part-time work while a student if you wish.

Should you decide to attend a language school, I would like to suggest that you include the Yamasa Institute among the ones you research when choosing a school. Study Japanese in Japan at a Japanese language school - The Yamasa Institute

You will also find that a spousal visa is for the purpose of allowing you to live in Japan with your Japanese spouse. If he will be remaining in dear old Blighty during your absence the application would likely not go well.
Thank you for the suggestion. I'll have a look. When I looked for courses it was a bit overwhelming because there are so many so I'm glad for the suggestion.

Thanks again
 

Glenski

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Im really looking for a way to finance my stay in Japan and not spend all my life saving there.
You're a doctor, but you are concerned about having enough money for a vacation here? I'm sorry, but I am confused.

Look into WWOOFing.
Hourly teaching is something to avoid. Most of those employers are not all that reputable.
Face facts: you're a medical doctor planning to spend a few months abroad, and you have no background in teaching. People here may not always be serious students, but do them the courtesy of providing the best teaching service you can muster. HOWEVER, since you plan to be here only a short time, I still have to question getting into it at all. I don't know you or how well you might potentially be as a language teacher, but the way you type here doesn't give me a lot of confidence. (You might respond with "Hey, it's a mere discussion forum!", but that doesn't cut it with me.

Since you don't speak/read/write Japanese, but you have a Japanese husband (presumably from Japan, not a foreign-born person merely with Japanese ancestry), I'm guessing you met while he was there and that you may not have visited Japan much if at all. Would you mind clearing that up? I ask because it seems that you might do far better just paying for the student visa and language school, and spend your off hours either studying or sightseeing instead of struggling to find and teach students. Trust me about students who want just an hourly lesson from a random foreigner: they are crap at it, and you will waste a lot of your time and energy as well as their money and time. You may not even get the same student more than once, so each lesson will be starting over from scratch, and even for veteran teachers that is enormously frustrating.

I wouldn't bother paying for a TEFL cert if you are only here for that short time. You're wasting money, which you seem to want to avoid.
 

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Once you know where you are going to be, it will be worth getting in touch with your ward office, which will have a department for foreign residents, which may offer cheap/free Japanese lessons run by volunteers (I used to attend some in Tokyo that were well run and only cost 500 yen a month).
I would be thinking about volunteering and also get in touch with any large local hospitals, particularly university ones where there will be English speaking doctors doing research work. It may be professionally interesting to spend some time working in a hospital environment even if you are unable to practice as a doctor. Meeting people may also lead to work or English lessons. On that subject, while I agree with Glenski that hourly students can be a real pain and there's the ethical issue of providing a service that you've had little training or experience in, when I worked for an English conversation school, some of the most satisfied students were those with reasonable language ability who had lived abroad, had had a bellyful of being taught and just wanted to chat for an hour. Keep your eye out for such students.
 

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You're a doctor, but you are concerned about having enough money for a vacation here? I'm sorry, but I am confused.

Look into WWOOFing.
Hourly teaching is something to avoid. Most of those employers are not all that reputable.
Face facts: you're a medical doctor planning to spend a few months abroad, and you have no background in teaching. People here may not always be serious students, but do them the courtesy of providing the best teaching service you can muster. HOWEVER, since you plan to be here only a short time, I still have to question getting into it at all. I don't know you or how well you might potentially be as a language teacher, but the way you type here doesn't give me a lot of confidence. (You might respond with "Hey, it's a mere discussion forum!", but that doesn't cut it with me.

Since you don't speak/read/write Japanese, but you have a Japanese husband (presumably from Japan, not a foreign-born person merely with Japanese ancestry), I'm guessing you met while he was there and that you may not have visited Japan much if at all. Would you mind clearing that up? I ask because it seems that you might do far better just paying for the student visa and language school, and spend your off hours either studying or sightseeing instead of struggling to find and teach students. Trust me about students who want just an hourly lesson from a random foreigner: they are crap at it, and you will waste a lot of your time and energy as well as their money and time. You may not even get the same student more than once, so each lesson will be starting over from scratch, and even for veteran teachers that is enormously frustrating.

I wouldn't bother paying for a TEFL cert if you are only here for that short time. You're wasting money, which you seem to want to avoid.
Dear Glenski,

Thank you for your reply.

I think you are making a presumption that all doctors are rich and loaded with cash? Regrettably this is not true. I cannot just live in Japan for half a year without working. I envy you if you have this privilege.

I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but the way you write and use your language comes across as quite aggressive and hostile. I'm sure you're just trying to help but perhaps it would be helpful to be mindful of this?

I do not have a background in teaching English, but I teach medical students regularly at work. And if I do teach I will of course take it seriously. That is also one of the reasons why I am hoping to study for TEFL/ get training. Everyone starts somewhere, is this not true?

Points dully taken about hourly teaching jobs. Thank you. ideally I wouldn't want to do this either. However, I don't know whether it is possible and/or what are the consequences of terminating a contract mid point if I sign up to a 1 year contract. The jobs that I found provide training which seems ideal.

I can speak/read basic Japanese. I have been attending courses for about 2 years. I am still a beginner which is why I would describe it as basic. Yes I met my husband in England in our undergraduate course 12 years ago. We have been together since. I have visited Japan almost yearly and have been there approximately 10 times. I love Japan very much. I'm not really interested in just sightseeing, but would like to improve my Japanese so I can communicate better with my in laws and to see if I can possibly live there in the future.

Thank you for suggesting the website. It looks interesting and I will look at it properly later.
 

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Once you know where you are going to be, it will be worth getting in touch with your ward office, which will have a department for foreign residents, which may offer cheap/free Japanese lessons run by volunteers (I used to attend some in Tokyo that were well run and only cost 500 yen a month).
I would be thinking about volunteering and also get in touch with any large local hospitals, particularly university ones where there will be English speaking doctors doing research work. It may be professionally interesting to spend some time working in a hospital environment even if you are unable to practice as a doctor. Meeting people may also lead to work or English lessons. On that subject, while I agree with Glenski that hourly students can be a real pain and there's the ethical issue of providing a service that you've had little training or experience in, when I worked for an English conversation school, some of the most satisfied students were those with reasonable language ability who had lived abroad, had had a bellyful of being taught and just wanted to chat for an hour. Keep your eye out for such students.
Dear Lothor,

Thank you for your reply. That is a good suggestion and I haven't thought about it as I didn't think it was possible.

Regarding teaching, if I do teach, I would ideally like to do it properly. So points taken about the hourly classes. When I looked on Gaijinpots there were quite a few teaching jobs being advertised that didn't require a previous experience as they provide you with training. I thought that these would be great but unfortunately they were mostly for 1 year. Have you heard of any with more flexible contracts? And do you by any chance know what happens/ or is it is possible to terminate the contract early? No worries if not.

Thank you very much again
 

Glenski

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when I worked for an English conversation school, some of the most satisfied students were those with reasonable language ability who had lived abroad
I'd just like to point out how rare this is.
I cannot just live in Japan for half a year without working. I envy you if you have this privilege.
Far from it.

I'm not sure if you are aware of this, but the way you write and use your language comes across as quite aggressive and hostile. I'm sure you're just trying to help but perhaps it would be helpful to be mindful of this?
Yes, I'm aware of it. Can't be helped. Just read over any apparent (key word: apparent) hostility. I try to write factually and it may come across the way you saw it.

I do not have a background in teaching English, but I teach medical students regularly at work. And if I do teach I will of course take it seriously. That is also one of the reasons why I am hoping to study for TEFL/ get training. Everyone starts somewhere, is this not true?
Quite true. However...
1. teaching med students is a far cry from trying to give Japanese any sort of language lesson. Far, far, far cry! I've seen people over the last 2 decades trying to equate teaching Japanese with their other backgrounds (scuba teacher was the worst example), and I have to point out there is only a smidgen of similarity.
2. I started out as a change in careers here, so I know the bottom rung and without a spousal visa at the time. I still took it seriously and moved up steadily from eikaiwa to private HS to university, and have done private lessons with individuals, groups, and business people along the way, plus continued to do scientific proofreading. My chief objection to your proposal is that you're going to be here only a short time.

Points dully taken about hourly teaching jobs. Thank you. ideally I wouldn't want to do this either.
Then aside from taking in some private lessons, there isn't much you can legally do. If you need the income to survive, I'd suggest a lot of more serious planning and stockpiling of money. Despite your many visits here (thanks for that knowledge), you probably don't know what people have to go through to get started in teaching jobs, and as I think I mentioned earlier, there is a glut of teachers here. Some still have the warped notion that jobs are easy to get and salaries are like they were in the pre-bubble days. It's good that you have some experience being here occasionally, but it has not been to job hunt or to work.

I'm not really interested in just sightseeing, but would like to improve my Japanese so I can communicate better with my in laws and to see if I can possibly live there in the future.
Then I suggest that you focus on learning the language far more seriously. I can only imagine a doctor's work schedule, but I also wonder how you can take off 3-6 months! As asked previously, are you going to be here with your husband? Where are you planning to be? What sort of housing arrangements are you considering? Did you look into any language schools yet (to learn, not to work)? How much do you figure you'll need to make to stay afloat? Lots of vital questions to be answered here in addition to the ones related to helping you make money. With bare bones language skills and limited time on your hands (3-6 mo.), you have quite the challenge!
 

Lothor

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Dear Lothor,

Thank you for your reply. That is a good suggestion and I haven't thought about it as I didn't think it was possible.

Regarding teaching, if I do teach, I would ideally like to do it properly. So points taken about the hourly classes. When I looked on Gaijinpots there were quite a few teaching jobs being advertised that didn't require a previous experience as they provide you with training. I thought that these would be great but unfortunately they were mostly for 1 year. Have you heard of any with more flexible contracts? And do you by any chance know what happens/ or is it is possible to terminate the contract early? No worries if not.

Thank you very much again
The only one I've heard with more flexible contracts is GABA, which works out for some people but there are a lot of negative comments on them on the internet, proceed with caution. It's been 10 years since I taught English so I'm a bit out of the loop regarding information.
Glenski - such students were relatively common where I was, probably due to often teaching in central Tokyo.
 

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I'd just like to point out how rare this is.
Far from it.

Yes, I'm aware of it. Can't be helped. Just read over any apparent (key word: apparent) hostility. I try to write factually and it may come across the way you saw it.

Quite true. However...
1. teaching med students is a far cry from trying to give Japanese any sort of language lesson. Far, far, far cry! I've seen people over the last 2 decades trying to equate teaching Japanese with their other backgrounds (scuba teacher was the worst example), and I have to point out there is only a smidgen of similarity.
2. I started out as a change in careers here, so I know the bottom rung and without a spousal visa at the time. I still took it seriously and moved up steadily from eikaiwa to private HS to university, and have done private lessons with individuals, groups, and business people along the way, plus continued to do scientific proofreading. My chief objection to your proposal is that you're going to be here only a short time.

Then aside from taking in some private lessons, there isn't much you can legally do. If you need the income to survive, I'd suggest a lot of more serious planning and stockpiling of money. Despite your many visits here (thanks for that knowledge), you probably don't know what people have to go through to get started in teaching jobs, and as I think I mentioned earlier, there is a glut of teachers here. Some still have the warped notion that jobs are easy to get and salaries are like they were in the pre-bubble days. It's good that you have some experience being here occasionally, but it has not been to job hunt or to work.

Then I suggest that you focus on learning the language far more seriously. I can only imagine a doctor's work schedule, but I also wonder how you can take off 3-6 months! As asked previously, are you going to be here with your husband? Where are you planning to be? What sort of housing arrangements are you considering? Did you look into any language schools yet (to learn, not to work)? How much do you figure you'll need to make to stay afloat? Lots of vital questions to be answered here in addition to the ones related to helping you make money. With bare bones language skills and limited time on your hands (3-6 mo.), you have quite the challenge!
Thank you Glenski for your reply.
I'm sorry if I leave bits out, I can't quite figure out how you qouted only some sentences.

The reason I can take time off is because I am currently a trainee on a 2nd year of foundation programme (I think it's equivilent to residency in US) which is finishing next year. I am not planning on applying for any specialty training yet as I really want to take time out and travel to Japan. I can go to Japan next year basically because I will be without any employment and how long I spend there is actually quite flexible (providing I can fund myself).

I am going alone as my husband is behind me in training and will still be in his foundation year.

I am happy to live anywhere in Japan depending on what is available, but I ideally I would like to be close to Osaka as that is where my husband's family is. If all else fails, I can live there also. Ideally I would prefer not to be in Tokyo.

I agree I have absolutely no experience in hunting for a job in Japan. I was hoping that this forum can advise me!

I agree that my short time there is the main problem and that's the reason why I posted here to find out what might be available. When I looked on Gaijinpot, a few of the jobs were listed as 'contract' but it wasn't clear exactly how long these were for so I assumed they were for 1 year, as most were. I was also trying to find out whether it is possible to have a shorter contract, or leave the contract early etc.

I completely understand your point about the teaching market being very crowded. I can imagine not being able to get a teaching job that is why initially I mentioned I am opened to suggestions about any other jobs which might be opened to someone like me.

Thanks again!
 

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The only one I've heard with more flexible contracts is GABA, which works out for some people but there are a lot of negative comments on them on the internet, proceed with caution. It's been 10 years since I taught English so I'm a bit out of the loop regarding information.
Glenski - such students were relatively common where I was, probably due to often teaching in central Tokyo.
Dear Lothor,

Thank you for your suggestion. I'll have a read about GABA. Thank you also for the warning!
 

Mike Cash

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Your husband is also training to be a physician? Does hew come from a family with a medical background? Do either or both of his parents operate their own clinic?
 

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Thank you very much for your reply.
I haven't chosen my specialty yet and am still rotating through different things, but my previous background was in neuroscience and I am interested in neurology/psychiatry and have done some research in the past in stroke. In terms of medical specialties, I've worked as a doctor in rheumatology, general medicine, general surgery, urology and psychiatry.

My husbands family is in Osaka and I would like to be near them if possible but I'm flexible and equally happy to be away!

Sorry that was quite vague!

Thank you again for your reply
Sorry , if you were an established specialist I might have some ideas, but not much I can offer to someone still in their residency.
 

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.......... or leave the contract early etc.
Thanks again!
The law is, as I understand it you need to give two weeks notice before leaving a job. Generally, it's a month if you want to avoid complications. If you want to be completely mercenary, sign up with one of the big chain English conversation schools, (ECC, etc) or Interac/Altia if you want to try working in public schools as an ALT. When you've had enough, just give notice and start packing. These jobs have a high turnover and no one should be put out or offended if you give proper notice. One common trick is the company will hang on to your 1st months salary and start paying you after the 2nd month is up. You get April's salary at the end of May and so on. That does give them leverage if they want to play hardball. But with the big companies, teachers going home early to take care of family affairs or whatever is routine business.
And here is a link to a recent thread on GABA you might find informative.
Job Discussion Forums :: View topic - Specific questions about teaching at GABA in Japan
 

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Your husband is also training to be a physician? Does hew come from a family with a medical background? Do either or both of his parents operate their own clinic?
Hello Mike,

Unfortunately, they're not medical at all and have no medical links either.
 

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Sorry , if you were an established specialist I might have some ideas, but not much I can offer to someone still in their residency.
Help Wonkothesane,

That's ok. I thought that might be the case as I am in an awkward phase in my medical career as well. Thanks for considering anyway.

But please let me know if you hear of anyone who might want a hand either in medicine or research.

Thank you :)
 

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The law is, as I understand it you need to give two weeks notice before leaving a job. Generally, it's a month if you want to avoid complications. If you want to be completely mercenary, sign up with one of the big chain English conversation schools, (ECC, etc) or Interac/Altia if you want to try working in public schools as an ALT. When you've had enough, just give notice and start packing. These jobs have a high turnover and no one should be put out or offended if you give proper notice. One common trick is the company will hang on to your 1st months salary and start paying you after the 2nd month is up. You get April's salary at the end of May and so on. That does give them leverage if they want to play hardball. But with the big companies, teachers going home early to take care of family affairs or whatever is routine business.
And here is a link to a recent thread on GABA you might find informative.
Job Discussion Forums :: View topic - Specific questions about teaching at GABA in Japan
Hello,
Thank you for your reply.

That was very helpful. I'll have a look at the link and the companies you've suggested.
 

Glenski

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The law is, as I understand it you need to give two weeks notice before leaving a job.
That applies only after you have worked a year.

Generally, it's a month if you want to avoid complications.
Yes, and some employers complicate things even further by stipulating 2-4 months' advance notice in their contracts, despite the fact that they are obligated by law to give only one month.

If you want to be completely mercenary, sign up with one of the big chain English conversation schools, (ECC, etc) or Interac/Altia if you want to try working in public schools as an ALT. When you've had enough, just give notice and start packing. These jobs have a high turnover and no one should be put out or offended if you give proper notice.
I strongly disagree.
1. You will offend the management.
2. You will offend the students who have grown accustomed to you.
3. You will offend many foreigners because the repercussions from offended management sometimes are to raise the level of legalese and number of clauses/restrictions in the contracts.

But with the big companies, teachers going home early to take care of family affairs or whatever is routine business.
See #3 above. My remarks apply to them, too. Legitimate reasons (not excuses) can't be helped, but too many have made a midnight run and put the rest of us in a darker light.
 

Glenski

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I'm sorry if I leave bits out, I can't quite figure out how you qouted only some sentences.
It's pretty simple. Copy/paste what you want to respond to. Surround it by "quote" and "/quote" (no quotation marks) and around those words use square brackets [ ].
 
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