ELT News and Daily Yomiuri columnist Mike Guest misrepresents not only the record, but also his own academic credentials


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Hi Blog.  There is a person out there (one of many, no doubt) who takes a dim view of what we do here at Debito.org.  To the point of saying things in a published column we did not say.  Have a read of this.  Comment from me follows.


EFL News, October 29, 2010

The Uni-Files
A candid look at EFL life and lessons from a university teacher’s perspective.
By Mike Guest, Miyazaki University


An “interview” with controversial human rights activist Orudo Debiru
Categories:  Amusement/Fiction foreigners in Japan

Today- a Uni-files interview with the controversial activist and newspaper columnist Orudo Debiru

(For those who don’t know, Orudo Debiru is a naturalized Japanese citizen, originally from the U.S. His main claim to fame is his activism for human rights, especially the rights of non-Japanese in Japan. He is also wholly fictional and if he happens to resemble some actual person from say, Hokkaido, that’s because you, dear reader, made an unwarranted connection. Today he joins us with one of his most ardent, and equally fictional, supporters- Jay Newbie).

Uni-files: Debiru, in a recent newspaper article you argued that even non-Japanese living outside Japan, including those who have never set foot in Japan, should have the right to vote in Japanese elections. You also argued that they should be eligible for all the public and social services offered by the Japanese government, including pensions and welfare benefits. This seems to be a bit radical don’t you think?

Debiru: No. Otherwise you’re discriminating between Japanese people and non-residents. Why should only Japanese have access to the benefits of ‘Team Japan’?

Newbie: Japan owes something to the world. It can’t just always be take, take, take. Japan has to give in return.

Debiru: Japan is the only ‘developed’ county that doesn’t provide the vote for it’s non-citizens who live elsewhere.

Uni-files: Really? No country in the EU does that, nor do Canada, U.S., or Australia.

Debiru: What other countries do is irrelevant! What’s right is right! Are you saying that it is right for Japan to be discriminatory?

Uni-files: Debiru, you and your supporters often mention that some attitudes, policies, or states of affairs occur ‘only in Japan’ among developed countries. It seems that you buy into notions of Japanese uniqueness or exclusivity. Do you?

Debiru: Not at all! The notion of Japanese uniqueness is a nationalist myth!

Newbie: Of all developed countries, only the Japanese think of themselves as being unique. It seems to be part of the Japanese mentality. They believe whatever the government tells them. You won’t find this type of belief in Western countries anymore, only in Japan.

Uni-files: Ok. Let’s move on. You’ve also blogged about “how the Japanese authorities plan to incarcerate all foreign residents as a precaution against the foreign criminals”. I haven’t come across any such policy statements. Can you ground this?

Debiru: Well, I was scouring the internet looking for anything that might prove my preconceptions about the ulterior motives of the Japanese authorities when I came across another blogger who talked about how his upholsterer in Inaka Prefecture thought he had overheard a conversation at a vegetable stand about the local district council becoming more vigilant about registering foreigners for social services and helping them with securing housing. And I can substantiate it too- with a link to the blog. Anyway, to me, being told to ‘stay in your house’ in this manner is equivalent to incarceration. And the registration is clearly a way of rounding up the foreigners- just like a crminal [sic] dragnet.

Newbie: In any civilized country this would cause mass rioting in the streets. But because the Japanese are such compliant sheep, not to mention the blatant racism here, no one will stand up for us. The Japanese just pretend that foreigners don’t exist. They stare at us like we’re from another planet.

Uni-files: That must be tough for them to do, both ignoring your existence and staring at you at the same time!

Debiru: This is just the start of the whole racist process. Next thing you know, your pension is declared null and void and your ‘ha-fu’ kids are kicked out of school for not being Japanese enough.

Newbie: Wow, Debiru. That was your best answer yet!

Uni-files: Let me ask about these racism charges a bit. For example, I know that you oppose the fingerprinting of non-Japanese at airports but can this really be called racist? After all, it is based upon citizenship, right? For example, Debiru, you are racially Caucasian but, as a Japanese citizen, you don’t have to be fingerprinted. And someone who is racially ‘Japanese’- although Japanese isn’t even a racial category- but doesn’t hold a Japanese passport still has to be fingerprinted. So while it may be other things, how can you say it is ‘racist’?

Debiru: Don’t feed the troll, Newbie. Don’t feed the troll.

Uni-files: Ok, nect [sic] question. Regarding a specific recent blog entry of yours… You recently criticized the city of Sonzainashi for exploiting non-Japanese. Apparently, the city authorities had developed a ‘Welcome Foreign Guests’ plan in which selected hotels, hot springs, eateries, bars and so on offered English information and services and had started a promotional campaign that actively encouraged non-Japanese to visit. So, what was the thrust of your criticism?

Debiru: When they carry out this facile, deceitful put-on for non-Japanese they’re only doing it because they want their business. “Let’s take the foreigner’s money away from them” is the real motivation. ‘Yohkoso Japan!’- Yeah, right!

Newbie: I consider it a form of robbery; another way of victimizing us, the weakest members of this society.

Uni-files: You guys seem to be very negative about anything to do with Japan, even when Japan scores an apparent success.

Newbie: That’s because Japan places everyone into an us and them paradigm. They do it all the time. They have institutionalized the formula. They use it to justify oppressive policies. We would never do that in the U.S. We have laws that forbid it and an education system that teaches us not to do so.

Uni-files:So, given that Debiru is Japanese, would you put him among that number?

Newbie: Well, I mean, he’s not really a Japanese in the same way they are. (Debiru stares at Newbie). Well I mean, like, he’s not exactly Japanese like them. So to speak. He’s a different Japanese from all the other Japanese. (Debiru continues staring at him). Well, of course he’s just the same as them in that he’s a Japanese citizen. But Debiru is more…ummm… progressive. (Debiru smiles).

Uni-files: OK. Back to the point. Wouldn’t you at least agree that public order and efficiency here is quite excellent?

Debiru: Japanese public order is maintained by coercion and implicit threat. It’s fifty years behind most other countries in this regard.

Uni-files: OK. How about robotics? Or even toilet technology?

Newbie: Robotics here is 36 years behind every other country in the world. And Japan is 23 years behind as far as toilets go.

Uni-files: On what basis can you make such bold claims?

Newbie: Three months ago in the U.S., before I came to Japan, I visited another state for the first time. And their toilets were better than here. Not as xenophobic.

Uni-files: Ok. How about manga and animation? Surely Japan’s ranking in these…

Newbie: You sound like a Japan apologist, acting as if racism never occurs here. Like nothing ever happened in Nanjing!

Debiru: Speaking of which, China has overtaken Japan as the world’s #2 power so Japan can’t possibly be leaders in those fields and therefore must be on the decline in all catgories.[sic] And it is this frustration at being a washed up, has-been society that it causing Japanese to lash out at foreigners.

Uni-files: Really? How so?

Debiru: It happens all the time. Read my blog.

Uni-files: I don’t doubt that there are individual cases but I don’t see it as systemic.

Debiru: If it isn’t systemic, why would I have so many blog posts? That’s all the proof you need! Anyway, just on our way over to this interview the taxi driver spat at us, called us ‘Dirty foreigners’ and told us to ‘Get out!”.

Uni-files: Wow! In twenty years in Japan I have never even come close to experiencing anything remotely like that. Can you elaborate? He spat at you?!

Debiru: Well, he was making disgusting sucking sounds with his teeth so that you could hear the saliva washing around. To me that’s spitting.

Uni-files: I wouldn’t call that spitting…

Debiru: Stay on topic! The point is he would never have done that if the passenger was visibly Japanese.

Uni-files: I see. And he called you a ‘dirty foreigner’?

Debiru: Well he called us “gaikokujin no kata”.

Uni-files: But that’s a very polite way of just saying ‘foreigner’! Where’s the ‘dirty’ part?

Newbie: Well we already know that the Japanese are racist and xenophobic so we can safely assume what he must have been thinking.

Uni-files: And the ‘Get out!’ part?

Newbie: He asked us where we wanted to “get out”. (awkward silence). It’s semantics.

Debiru: Not only that but I am not a foreigner. I’m a Japanese citizen. (starts sniffling) I was… racially profiled!

Newbie: (patting Debiru’s slumping shoulders) There, there. Now you are a racial profiling survivor!

Debiru (brightening up): If Japan had an anti-discrimination law with any teeth he’d have his ass hauled off to jail.

Newbie: Exactly. And you know what, you’ll never see the weak-kneed Japanese media or the history textbooks pick up on stories like this either. They don’t want to hear about these high-octane truths.

Debiru: This is precisely why we need laws against racism, xenophobia, being opposed to immigration, questioning multiculturalism, and other wrong and hateful thoughts.

Uni-files: So you’re in favor of more state authority and policing over what people think?

Debiru: Are you kidding? The police and judiciary here are totally inept and corrupt. They should stay out of people’s lives… ummm…except for the lives of those people who hold unhealthy views.

Uni-files: One more thing about this case. You say that you were racially profiled because the taxi driver believed that you were a foreigner, which by the way, is a mistake that most non-Japanese would probably make as well. But how do you know that the driver was in fact Japanese. Couldn’t he have been ethnically Korean or Chinese? In other words, didn’t you profile him equally?

Debiru: (closes his eyes) Don’t feed the troll, don’t feed the troll.

Uni-files: Ok. Last question. I’m wondering how you chose your Japanese name.

Debiru: It’s the closest phonetic approximation to my previous name. In fact, I asked to have a different, more suitable name first but was refused by the [iyami deleted] Japanese authorities.

Uni-files: And what name was that?

Debiru: Martin Luther King.

Leave a comment (47)



Author’s Profile at ELT News
Mike Guest is Associate Professor of English in the School of Medicine at the University of Miyazaki. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, he has been living, working, and researching in Japan (not to mention lounging in the professors-jacuzzi and taking lengthy, fully-funded research trips to 5-star beach resorts in Bora-Bora) for almost twenty years.


COMMENT:  What a card.  Well, for those unfamiliar with Mr Guest, he is a columnist at ELT News and the Daily Yomiuri (I even wrote about one of his DY columns here at Debito.org, favorably).  However, what inspired a column of this caliber and tone in the ELT News (under the heading of “a candid look at EFL life and lessons from a university teacher’s perspective”) is a bit beyond me.  Its fallacious attributions (these statements are not quotes from me; if Mr Guest had critiqued actual quotes — and lordy knows there are years of my words online he could have referred to — that would have been better, no?  Better yet, why not just interview me?), the presumption that people who support or comment at Debito.org must be malinformed Newbies, the general mean-spiritedness of it all, et cetera — are quite unbecoming for a person aiming to be a respected opinionist by taking puerile pot-shots at people on professional educational fora.

Especially in the Comments section where, amongst other obnoxious ripostes, he had this to say:

Alright, since Mr Guest decided to compare academic credentials, I decided to research his.  Here’s what I found at his university website, where he has a one-year contract as an English teacher:

This looks okay, until you do some research.  Aston University is a distance learning school in Birmingham UK that does indeed offer his degree (probably this one here).  Fine.

However, Regent College is NOT the University of British Columbia, one of Canada’s top universities.  Regent College is a Christian Studies school next door to UBC.  As was confirmed with Regent College the other day:

Subject: RE: Degree
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2010
From: Regent College Admissions

Thanks for your email. Regent College is a completely separate institution from UBC. We have some partnerships/affiliations with UBC, but a degree awarded from Regent College is solely from Regent and unrelated to UBC entirely. [emphasis added]

I hope this helps – please don’t hesitate to ask if you have further questions! If you are interested in receiving information about our MDiv degree, I’d be happy to send you our MDiv materials.

Amy Petroelje, Inquiries and Housing Coordinator
Regent College
5800 University Blvd Vancouver, BC V6T 2E4

phone 604.224.3245 toll.free 800.663.8664 fax 604.224.3097

email ends

So when I asked Mr Guest about his qualifications last week after his presentation at JALT Nagoya, here’s what he claimed:

SOUND FILE:  mikeguestUBC112010

Reconfirmed.  No possible misunderstanding about (putting UBC in parentheses) on his school katagaki.  He says UBC only, no mention of Regent College.  He has misrepresented his educational background.

Now, some might say that this might just be a form of shorthand, for an audience that might not know what Regent College is — as Mr Guest argued shortly afterwards:

SOUND FILE:  doctorguest112010

but as even his alma mater acknowledges, a degree from Regent College is not a degree from UBC.  It’s like saying somebody who graduated from Ithaca College, or Cornell College for that matter, graduated from Cornell University.  Not an ethical thing for an educational professional to do, especially when he wishes to establish himself as a credible critiquer of educational matters.

So if Mr Guest wants to scrutinize others, I hope he will accept the same public scrutiny.  Sadly, I’m not sure he will.  The following, written shortly after our first meeting at JALT Nagoya on a site called “Tepido.org” (an interesting choice of venue; it’s a website devoted *solely* to trashing me personally and people who contribute to Debito.org, run by blogger Mr Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson and toy store employee Mr Lance Braman), indicates that Mr Guest’s antagonism, dismissiveness, defensiveness, and blame-shifting continue unabated:


Mike Guest Says:
November 21st, 2010 at 7:51 am


It’s funny that this discussion about credentials should come up here now. Yesterday, Debito attended my presentation at the JALT Conference in Nagoya and confronted me afterwards. I wasn’t really surprised. First, during the Q and A session, he asked what my credentials were. A left-field question to be sure and I knew that he was up to something. Later he came to the front as I was packing up, with a bit of a manic gleam in his eye, a voice recorder in his hand, looking like an intrepid young reporter who’s ‘gonna take yer ass downtown’, and began a prepared spiel, trying very hard to be intimidating (but looking me to me a bit more like a caricature).

He said (among other things) that I was a fraud because I had misrepresented my academic credentials (I imagine this will be up on his site soon if not already). For the record, the crux was this: I have a BA from Simon Fraser Univ. (Canada) in Philosophy, an MSc in Applied Linguistics from Aston U. (U.K.) and a Masters in Theology from the graduate theological seminary on the UBC campus, Regent College. Regent issues its own independent degrees because of its religious affiliation, despite sharing the UBC campus and facilities, some teaching staff, plus several credits and classes (many of which I took for classical languages and linguistics). I also did an ESL teaching certificate course at UBC but whatever….

Anyway, when I mentioned a ‘Master’s from UBC’ in answer to his credentials question, Debito reacted like he had just found a photo of me in a compromising situation with a goat, thererafter harping upon my misrepresenting myself as having graduated from UBC.

Of course, way back when the personnel at my current university wanted to know my academic background I naturally went into detail about the relationship between Regent (the theological seminary) and UBC. Why hide anything? But when some guy asks you this from a crowd at an ESL presentation you’re not going to go into great detail. People don’t know what the theological school at UBC’s name is. It’s like if someone abroad asks where you live in Japan- you live in Chiba but you work in Tokyo. So you say Tokyo. No one expects the interlocutor to start suddenly playing prosecutor.

Debito also added that “we” (who?) had contacted Regent in Canada to find out about its relation to UBC and had also checked out my U of Miyazaki database in advance. So this underscores what I wrote in my parody, about his habit of scouring about in search of ways to find any potential striking point in any perceived adversary and then blowing the results out of proportion as if this credentials quibble constituted a weighty riposte to my earlier criticisms of him.

The upshot of this seems to be that Debito took umbrage at a comment I made here on Tepido about us having the same credentials. My comment had been in response to someone on his site saying that Mike Guest is in an isolated university bubble (or words to that effect), arguing that if someone wants to devalue my opinion based upon the claim of being an out-of-touch egghead, the same must apply to Debito. Instead, Debito seemed to take this as an invitation to an academic pissing match, and when confronting me in Nagoya, duly informed of his Ivy League school pedigree, which apparently trumps all: “So, we don’t have the same credentials do we, Mike?”

Well, I guess that’s true in a sense. For example I have two masters degrees whereas… oh, wait a second. None of this has any bearing on the validity or non-validity of my original criticisms of Debito does it? It’s just a sad attempt at rank pulling- arguing from assumed authority. I don’t know where Regent ranks in terms of thological seminaries, but even if my education was limited to Uncle Peter showing me how to bait a hook, my criticisms of Debito remain. Fishing for quibbles in how I answer an awkward question on-the-spot from the audience at an ESL presentation is rather pathetic But you know he’s going to do stuff like this.

I tried to talk with him after this, seeing if he might pull out of Debito mode but what followed was basically stonewalling on his behalf (plus a few choice words aimed in my direction) and eventually I gave up. I just look at it this way- it’s Debito being Debito. I expected a reaction from him at some point- after all, I took a shot at him and he’s trying to take one back- but the fact is that I just lose interest in these kind of one-dimensional people. I’ve already spent too much time writing about him…


(NB:  I might add that Mr Guest suggested I “switch to decaf” during those four allegedly unantagonistic and disinterested attempts to talk with me.  Again, what a card.)

Clearly, Mr Guest doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of what he’s done.  I have no truck with someone’s right to hold opinions about someone and express them in public.  But there are limits, of course — as in, are those opinions accurate?  If not, there should be scrutiny to make those inaccuracies clear.  However, it’s hard to scrutinize someone hiding behind “parody” to claim somebody said something he never said (it absolves Mr Guest of the responsibility of providing evidence or doing verifiable research). Makes one question the professionality of the ELT editors, who should be offering better safeguards to preserve the integrity of their forum.

However, scrutinizing someone’s alleged professional background is much simpler.  You don’t say you graduated from a place you did not graduate from and expect to be treated as an honest professional.

And you don’t pick on people like this (misrepresentation of the record is definitely a pattern in Mr Guest’s world) without expecting some scrutiny yourself.  Now face the scrutiny.  Like an adult.

That’s why I decided to go ahead with this expose on Debito.org.  People can make their own decisions about what kind of future relationship they wish to maintain with Mr Guest as a columnist, scholar, and professional.  Arudou Debito



The deceptions continue.  Mr Guest writes:

“Regent is a Theology School located on the UBC Endowment Lands. Many facilities are shared. If you want to do a Master’s degree in Theology you go to Regent, because UBC can’t offer Theology courses. Several credits I took as part of this Master’s I took at regular UBC classes (mostly linguistics) since some courses are cross-transferable. I also did an EFL teacher training course at UBC.”


“Regardless, if you want to do a Graduate degree in Theology at UBC you have to attend Regent or Vancouver School of Theology. Both are on the campus but are required to issue their own degrees as religious institutions. At both you can take classes and get cross credits from the standard UBC curricula and have full access to all UBC facilities. I used this to take linguistics courses- which were not offered at Regent. I also did a further ESL certification course at UBC.”


COMMENT:  Let’s cut through the fog.  Nowhere on your degree from Regent College, the one you cite as part of your academic credentials, does it say “University of British Columbia”.  They are not the same institution.  Claiming UBC on your employer’s website and at JALT, and insinuating as such online, does not change that.

53 comments on “ELT News and Daily Yomiuri columnist Mike Guest misrepresents not only the record, but also his own academic credentials

Comment navigation

  • His online parody isn’t very “nice,” but this is the internet, and that was relatively tame. Most long-term foreigners in Osaka that I know have an opinion of you, Debito, and sometimes it’s quite negative. Can’t you deal with that? You know, this was actually kind of funny! And you don’t look any better for having posted this diatribe.

  • Good for you for posting this Debito!

    What a fraud, a bully and not to mention an idiot too – posting his CV with false credentials for all to see! and comparing his activities to you in a public academic forum!

    Mr. Guest is not an ethical academic as he sees nothing wrong about lying about his credentials. Not to mention he thinks he sure has fooled the powers that be when he says ” I didn’t think anyone would know where Reagents College is… thus I tell them a “bigger better university”!!!

    Works too because UBC is a well known reputable school! He clearly thinks its an advantage, since he doesn’t use his most recent degree!

    Wow – I’m thinking if I had hired him at Miyazaki – I might want to reconsider his contract for next year!

    And shame on ELT news for posting this kind of silly non – academic and offensive fluff, clearly they don’t check credentials either.

  • Well, jeez. The comments made by the “Newbie” sound just like me! Well, in the same voice of parody that he put you in, but regardless, that is most likely where he got that MLK “joke” from. Here is what I don’t get: there are true cases of discrimination within Japan(Housing is a large example). Why are there so many foreigners living in Japan who want it to stay that way? Are these people masochists or something? Liking the idea of being a second-class citizen? Seriously, what is going on their minds when they are told “We don’t let foreigners in” or read the “Japanese Only” signs? I realize that Japan isn’t some giant pool of racism, that there are open-minded japanese out there who don’t like this situation either, so its not like I’ve been brainwashed into thinking “OMG JAPAN IS A WHOLE NATION OF RACISTS” or any of that crap. Unlike these people, I do not put Japan on a pedestal. I subject it to the same standards I put on every country. I apologize for being responsible for this parody, Debito, but like you I am not going to stand down from my views.

  • Man this is better than reading the Onion!

    Mr. Guest clearly has no idea how the academic world works. You write papers using sources and facts and when these papers are published and reviewed by peers you may gain some creditability depending on how much you right about your topic. So, Debito asking about his credentials isn’t really that strange, because in the academic world you would sooner believe a person who wrote a paper from Harvard than you would believe a paper from xyz technical college, because Harvard has be reputation and more creditability for producing better academic papers.

    With that said, clearly Mr. Guest also suffers from paranoia because why would anyone instantly suspect that someone is out to get them before they have even talked for the first time?

    Mr. Guest is definitely good for a laugh, but if this is any indication of his academic ability then he is clearly a hack!

  • A little parody here and there can be fun, but what struck me was the sheer length of Mike Guest’s work. It reeks of obsession. As I read it I just imagine him sitting down for hours, pouring over ever line and gleefully giggling with every little jab. Simply creepy.

    That said, hearing his explanation, I think he’s on good enough ground on putting UCB in parenthesis. It’s a little misleading, but no more so than when Debito uses to “we” on the blog to refer to things I suspect he did all on his own.

    — The scale of this omission is not comparable. And anyway, I didn’t do this research all on my own. There are plenty of helpful people out there (thanks) who chipped in, as they don’t think what Mr Guest is doing is ethical.

    At least render the university being referred to correctly. Poor research is one of the points being raised here.

  • I don’t really mean to defend Guest, and I’m a big supporter of what you do, but his little line of “Debito also added that “we” (who?) had contacted Regent in Canada” got a chuckle out of me, because I’m often reading this blog where Debito refers to “we” and I’m left asking myself “Debito and… who?” If it wasn’t you who got that email from Regent from example, maybe you should mention who did. If as I assume you received it, I think it’s more transparent to say that “I” contacted Regent in Canada.

    “UCB” it not poor research, it’s a typo on a comment on the internet. Happens to the best of us. I’ll be more careful.

  • My eyes glazed over halfway through his attempts at humor, though I did find “Dont feed the troll” quite amusing. The Newbie actually sounds a bit like me too, except I aint no newbie and I ve got more of a long term link (say, 20 years) than Mr Guest’s (pun not intended) one year revolving door Engrish Preaching contract.

    This bit got my goat though as you’d never say this:
    “Debiru: What other countries do is irrelevant! What’s right is right! Are you saying that it is right for Japan to be discriminatory?”

    This is more like what the Right Wingers in Japan say, when they justify not following international standards, ie. “why should Japan do what other countries do, look at the mess they re in with immigration, etc.”

    All in all, a pretty harmless, irrelevant piece that will soon be forgotten, if it was even noticed in the first place.


  • i just find the whole thing ridiculous..
    if these people dont like your methods -fine..why dont they do things in a different way to improve
    foreigners rights? but thats obviously too much hassle for them,so what do they do?
    set up a separate website just to rubbish you, and this guy writes this pathetic article-whats the point?
    you are trying to improve things for foreigners here ,and what are they doing?
    just trying to negate your efforts ,rather than doing something themselves-it really is pathetic.
    it really does seem that they are desperate to keep in place the racism that foreigners are subjected to every day-why?
    on a side note,if you bother to read the comments under the nonsense article above,he is desperately claiming that the suicide of the filipino girl recently had nothing to do with racism!the logic is so bizarre its incredible..
    at the end of the day ,you just have to ignore these sort of people,they are just looking for attn,and as they cant be bothered to do anything positive,they have to do stuff like this..

  • David, Good job challenging this guy. His reply states he wasn’t surprised that you spoke to him in person. Judging from the audio, he sounded quite surprised, stammering, probably perspiring and looking for the nearest exit. Also, his “parody” is poorly written. I don’t get it. He needs to go back to university – whichever branch he prefers – and take some writing lessons.

  • the sad bit is that as other posters say,the only way to deal with this nonsense is to ignore it..
    guest and the gang never get any attn from anyone as they dont do anything positive which would deserve such.
    attacking those trying to improve things for all is the only way they can get attn…thus sadly they will be very happy that you have responded to their rubbish and will see it as a big victory

    — No doubt. But there’s also the tactic of shining light on dark places. Hard to say which is better sometimes. This time I thought it better.

  • Debito, I respect what you do but this tit for tat really is unbecoming. It was a parody. Get over it and get back to work. 😉

  • In the few run-ins I’ve had with the guy on the internet, I’ve always found the guy incredibly insecure.
    His articles in the Yomi are often badly written with no acknowledgement of sources and often peppered with the nihonjinron educational agenda (Japanese are unique students with their unique problems of 2nd language learning, whose solutions can only be found within these hallowed shores and from no one or no where else)of the Yomi’s editorial board.

    I now have a first degree from Cambridge university. Well Essex actually, but it’s a mere 30 miles down the road from Cambridge and if Mike can do it, why can’t I?

    Thanks Mike.

  • Debito: I wrote this comment and posted to: http://www.eltnews.com/columns/uni_files/2010/10/today_a_unifiles_interview_wit.html – but I doubt he will print it. I do not care if you print this or not, it is purely FYI.
    *** *** *** ***

    Wow – a whole parody devoted to that opinionated guy in Hokkaido!!! He must be soooo flattered!

    Mike – I just found this thread today. This is the first time I have read your blog, or this site, and I am awestruck.

    Unlike the majority of the Japanese people that you live among, you have taken pointed offense at debito.org. I cannot help but wonder why? You admit that most of his transgressions are against “them” (Japanese people and institutions), yet you have unilaterally taken it upon yourself to represent all the parties involved, and give Arudou a taste of his own medicine – how is that working out for you?

    What I get from debito.org is that there should be a level playing field. That laws should be applied evenly, not based on race. I looked for anti-Japanese sentiment on debito.org, but failed to find any. Could you point out where it is?

    What I get from your site and this parody is that debito.org is flawed, incorrect, racist, it fosters fear and worsens the NJ-J relationship. WOW!!! I have met people like you many times, in many countries – you have a good thing going, you are comfortable, and you do not want anyone to rock the boat… you REALLY should get out and meet some of the less advantaged NJ – the Filipina bar girls, Brazilian factory workers, etc. to see how they are treated. THEY NEED someone fighting for their rights, and debito is doing just that.

    In your response to Mike (November 16, 2010 12:14 PM you say:
    “Take the Narita example: someone needs to sit down with government ministers from the police or/and tourist agencies and make it perfectly clear to them that getting stopped right after exiting immigration leaves a bad taste in visitors’ mouths, and demand statistics on how many people get stopped, what they do with the recorded info, how much is being spent, and whether they have ever actually detected any crime; see the UK and Section 44 – 100K stops, zero arrests. Individually whinging to the police officer or writing to Narita Airport is obviously not getting us anywhere, and screaming “racial profiling” I would guess just alienates certain gaijins and Japanese, and I feel that kind of ineffective response to complaints fosters the anti-Japan hatred that often bubbles up on debito.org.”
    – Are you going to contact the gov. ministers & police and have this talk? If not, why? You eagerly point out where debito is lacking, but you fail to step up and be the leader – so what, really, is your point?

    One of the pages on Tepido.org is a rant against debito’s “Japanese Only” signs. Hmm. How many of these signs would you say are acceptable? Is it ok for these signs to be on establishments that you do not want to enter? What if they are “No Brazilians Allowed” signs? Are these ok, since you are American??? By your condescending tone, it seems that you think that these signs are not worthy of mention.

    I realize I probably do not fit your target demographic, but a response would be much appreciated.


  • He’s just a guest in this country, and wants to be treated like one. Let him. But while he’s tooling around by himself he should be reminded to stay out of the deep end of the pool where the grownups are.

    And yes, he lied about his credentials.

  • It’s interesting, but the religious community have a habit of misrepresenting their academic qualifications. Look at Kent Hovind and Carl Baugh, to name just two.

    — Need links to sources on these two.

    Anyway, I don’t think Mr Guest is a member of the religious community. One of my friends — who is — was aghast at his behavior, and would like to know the name of his ordaining authority if he is in fact ordained. For if he is, this misrepresentation of his credentials violates sacred oaths he would have to have taken and would get him in plenty of trouble with them if notified.

    Me, I kinda think being called a “devil” by someone who has actual religious training in what devils are is fascinating. But does it again fall under the self-exonerating circumstances of “parody”, I wonder.

  • Yeah, I saw this a few days ago, but thought it was old, so didn’t bother to raise it.

    Frankly I thought it was just a pile of crap anwyay, it just fails on every level, probably another drunk post.

    To attempt a poisonous parody on this scale shows deep-seated bitterness, utterly pathetic. For someone to think they could get away with posting this and still hold any respect from the wider public – they must be incredibly arrogant.

    If Mike Guest and his cronies really have a serious issue with some aspect of Debito’s activism why don’t they debate those issues like adults, attempting to make an attack like this shows noting less than a kind of childish jealousy.

  • Debito, I wanted to say something about that website you mentioned, and what it was doing, on my own blog, but I decided against it.

    I had checked it out on their link to me–I think it had to do with the Japan health insurance issue and “Free Choice”. But when I discovered that the site was really just a slam piece for what goes on on this website and comment board, the website just went off my list.

    Had they decided to pick up issues from here and do a counterpoint that was not focused on personal attacks, it would have been an interesting contrast. But it became very clear that the focus was on personal attacks, and not content.

    I had somebody slam me personally at a self-described Japan-expat blog review website a couple months ago, so I know how you feel. There is no going around trying to fix the internet.

    Take it from the source it came. As–my guess–the premier blogger in Japan for expat and non-Japanese equal protection issues, you are going to attract a share of the crazies and people about whom, you really wonder, what their motivation is.

    — Thanks. I know. Their motivation is trashing people for sport. And they are basically avatars who have been booted off this blog for trashing people here for sport. Mr Guest is in good company.

  • You know, after reading this, I am glad we have HO around here. Sure he can be a little annoying at times, but at least he is willing to debate like an adult why he feels the way he does with proper citing and the like. I’d much prefer him over these guys. Thank you HO for not being a [nasty moniker] like Mr. Guest is being right now.

  • you mention someone called lance who works in a toy shop.
    does he sell a debito plush toy?

    — I’m sure he’d like to sell debito punching bags or dart boards.

  • Debito, when you are lampooned, you know you ve really made it. You re a star (really, I m not being ironic here).

    So its a kind of compliment (even if Guestworker didnt mean it as one).

    — I can take it that way. (In fact, I’ve enjoyed other lampoons of me, such as this one in 2008 that Tepido.org quite lamely tries to use as a slight in its very title; given that by his photo, founder Ken Yasumoto-Nicolson strikes me as the pallid Class Dork turned “Bully’s Little Pal” to survive school in Scotland, I don’t think he has developed the social skills to be maturely creative and funny on his own.)

    What I don’t like is when the lampoon doesn’t try to get to the heart of the character or issue being lampooned, by quoting or paraphrasing accurately (which is the essence of the best political satire and lampooning, such as Jon Stewart’s Daily Show). All I could see in Mr Guest’s nasty column was the attempt of a wee man (which I noticed when I finally met him in person; he’s tiny, making up for it with a big mouth) trying to attract attention to himself by bashing and trashing others. That deserves critique right back.

  • Well, maybe I’m the only one without sense of humor here, but I feel offended by the way someone who sympatises to Debito’s work and cause and follow his blog, one like me, is ridiculed. I have 2 Masters , which can be confirmed should anyone bother to call the universities issued them.I’ve spent 8years of my life in Japan. I do not deserve to be ridiculed by someone like MGuest.
    I seriously intend to send a letter of complaint to his university.

  • I don’t think Mike Guest is funny at all. I’m a terrible writer, but I think his weak attempt at humor could have been better written by a child.
    And not only is it humor-less, I think he is misrepresenting your stand on issues.

  • Right on, Debito.

    You handed this guy his butt on a platter, and he deserved it.

    Mike Guest lied about his credentials, plain and simple. The only reason he mentioned UBC was to deceive and make it look like he got his degree from UBC. In other words, he lied to give himself more credibility by trying to make it look like he went to a different institution.

    His lame “parody” tries to attribute things to you that anyone who has followed you even slightly would know you never said.

    I’m not sure what the point of his parody was, but I am suspicious of his motives considering his proven lack of ethics and integrity.

  • However….. to give this discussion a semblence of balance, I have noticed from my own posts that Debito only seems to post those posts which follow his agenda.

    Japan does that to people. It gives them a sense of importance where other opinions are always wrong or misguided.

    Enough rope to hang themselves.. some need less rope than others.. Mike has always hit me as one of them…. Debito also suffers from the same ailment, some times.

    — I don’t believe this is true. Counterarguments and constructive criticisms are posted here (as you can see in this very blog entry; not all posts agree with me) if they are counterarguments, not attacks (i.e. only aiming to vilify or wind people up unconstructively). I also delete posts that apparently “agree with my agenda”, as you might put it, if they are poorly written or unconstructive. If anything, I’m told by people whom I trust that I should be MORE strict with the delete key.

    Those posters who have resorted to Tepido.org can’t tell the difference between a criticism and an attack, as can be evidenced by their posts there. It’s not an agenda issue. It’s a tone issue.

  • Like it or not he is not misrepresenting his academic credentials. Regent College is affiliated with UBC. You can read it here: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=6,234,612,0

    — Er, when even a representative of Regent College itself says, as per forwarded email above, “We have some partnerships/affiliations with UBC, but a degree awarded from Regent College is solely from Regent and unrelated to UBC entirely”, I’ll take that over a website that says that merely “affiliated”. Clearly you don’t know how the world of academic credentials works.

    Y’see, these are the comments I would otherwise delete, @Scipio. You want I should approve poorly-researched and argued wind-up comments like these? Sorry, no. Approving this one only to make a point about editorial policy.

  • Mr. Debito and Mr. Guest need hugs! lol
    It’s a real shame that two influential ex-pats get into a mudslinging fest (at a JALT conference, at that). We other ex-pats look to your opinions of this country, and don’t need to read this kind of irrelevant swaggering of ego. Make a page together, why not?

  • Well, I have to say that Chukie took the words right out of my mouth.

    Actually I was looking at the original mock interview and I was thinking something on the lines of well if Debito is upsetting people with a vested interest in the status quo then he must be doing some good (look, a very simple position, but hey, there are worse, right?!)

    I must say the more I looked the more disappointed I became.
    Much of the stuff is adolescent at best. Very poor. Some Professor.

  • I think Debito did the right thing when he confronted this (what is it, exactly?) and called him out on his accusations. I mean, I dont see where Debito has a dedicated blog to attacking anybody. When your being followed around and every move critiqued, that can get creepy. I dont see it as tit for tat, if you ignore it, then it continues to satisfy the creeps appetite, if you call it out, you can squash it, Aint no easy way about it.

  • For what it’s worth, I was terribly disappointed by Mike Guest’s poor choice of article fodder. He clearly has a grudge, and chose an incredibly inappropriate arena in which to air it. He comes off as a grown man with a frat-boy mentality, as well as an amateur at his craft (which is supposedly writing thoughtful and insightful articles, isn’t it?)

    I have read his uni-files in the past, and, had I not known the author of this particular piece, I would have never imagined the same person was responsible for both. The uni files are, for the most part, informative, well-written pieces devoted to English language teaching in Japan. The drivel he prepared as “parody” belongs (if anywhere) on the back page of Japanzine as filler for lost advertising.

    I have also posted my disappointment on the uni files site. He may have stopped comments as they were getting off-topic, but I do hope that the sheer number of negative responses he’s receiving will deter him from going down the “comedy” path again. He should stick with what he’s good at and leave attempts at humour to the professionals.

    Thanks for all you do, Debito.

    Sarah Mulvey

  • its very odd indeed-to have a blog dedicated to this is just so ridiculous..
    why dont they do something positive like debito is doing ,rather than just wasting their times with this.i spose it should be seen as a compliment,but its a backhanded one..
    as for the guest thing,absolutely pathetic.man seems to be a compulsive liar as well

  • Well Debito, I hope you have the honesty to print this, there is an area in which you could use a little self-kaizen:

    I have you noticed you sometimes delete facts which you don’t like simply because they are embarrassing.

    Case in point: I had read somewhere here on my favorite site, that the Japanese Police Agency’s own data showed that when we compare 100,000 Japanese nationals living in Japan to 100,000 Non-Japanese nationals living in Japan, the Japanese are convicted of more crimes than Non-Japanese.

    I asked about that here http://www.debito.org/?p=7781#comment-210539
    and you kindly gave this link http://www.debito.org/crimestats.html

    I followed the link, and was truly disappointed to learn that according to the Japanese Police Agency’s data (for 2004, when we compare 100,000 Japanese nationals living in Japan to 100,000 Non-Japanese nationals living in Japan, and even when we keep the Visa violations out of the calculations) Non-Japanese nationals were convicted of more crimes than Japanese nationals. D’oh!

    This is not the truth I was hoping for, this is not the fact I wanted to waive in racists’ faces, but Debito brother: we can’t just hide and censor the truth when the facts are embarrassing.

    I posted this embarrassing fact back to that crime thread, I wrote:

    “Thanks for that old link Debito.

    So it turns out that:
    285 out of 100,000 Japanese nationals were convicted in 2005.
    390 out of 100,000 Non-Japanese nationals were convicted in 2005.
    And that’s even with the overstay-violations being subtracted out.

    D’oh! That’s not what I was hoping to find.
    Isn’t there some more recent data,
    released by the police themselves,
    that was posted in some thread here,
    I’m pretty sure it was during the past year,
    that shows Japanese Citizens are now being convicted
    of much MORE crime per 100,000 relative to Non-Japanese? :-)”

    But Debito, c’mon man, be honest here, the truth is you CENSORED the embarrassing statistics out of my post (and simply inserted “…”) http://www.debito.org/?p=7781#comment-210632

    I think the honest thing to do would be to let the post be seen clearly, WITHOUT CENSORING THE EMBARRASSING NUMBERS, and then after that you can add your usual note at the bottom, giving your opinion of the numbers.

    For example, you could have (and should have) posted my post without censoring the numbers, and then written under my post, “Yeah Steve, those numbers for 2004 are embarrassing: but let’s keep in mind that those numbers are affected by the police’s systematic racial profiling, meaning, just because a relatively higher percent of Non-Japanese were convicted of crimes in Japan in 2004 DOESN’T necessarily prove that a relatively higher percent of Non-Japanese committed crimes in Japan in 2004.”

    Anyway, Debito, I would appreciate it, for the record, if you would please post the original uncensored numbers which I posted, thanks. 🙂

    PS – None of us humans are perfect. We ALL could (and should) implement a little more honest-introspection and self-improvement, everyday. 🙂

    — Y’know, you’re quite right. I barely remember that comment (I think my comment under it indicates that I was in a rush). If embers of memory serve, I believe I removed those numbers because I guess I thought at the time they were out of date, and irrelevant to current discussion. I provided the original crimestats.html site so you would have a template of analytical tools to use for your critique of more recent data, and thought you were just recycling old data. Looks like I read too quickly. My bad.

    For the record, I have reinstated your original old comment in full (thanks for keeping a record) at the link you provided above, and print your comment in full now here as acknowledgment of my editorial mistake. Deep apologies.

  • Not a big deal, I myself went to religious college, but have the “respected” uni’s name on my certificate without ever having stepped a foot in the place.

    Grow up Debito, it’s funny.

    — Okay. But you’re offering yourself as an educational standard? I can see why it’s not a big deal for you.

  • Wow Debito, I totally respect your reply to my complaint. Thank you.

    Man, again and again I am surprised by the amount of integrity you show.

    And since this is the internet, let me be clear, I’m NOT being sarcastic.

    Thank you for showing us how mistakes should be handled: swiftly admitted & corrected.

    PS – I see I mistakenly wrote 2005 twice, where I meant to write 2003. Oops!

    PPS – I often make such mistakes when posting, both grammatical and factual. We all do. 🙂


    The deceptions continue.  Mr Guest writes:

    “Regent is a Theology School located on the UBC Endowment Lands. Many facilities are shared. If you want to do a Master’s degree in Theology you go to Regent, because UBC can’t offer Theology courses. Several credits I took as part of this Master’s I took at regular UBC classes (mostly linguistics) since some courses are cross-transferable. I also did an EFL teacher training course at UBC.”


    “Regardless, if you want to do a Graduate degree in Theology at UBC you have to attend Regent or Vancouver School of Theology. Both are on the campus but are required to issue their own degrees as religious institutions. At both you can take classes and get cross credits from the standard UBC curricula and have full access to all UBC facilities. I used this to take linguistics courses- which were not offered at Regent. I also did a further ESL certification course at UBC.”


    COMMENT:  Let’s cut through the fog.  Nowhere on your degree from Regent College, the one you cite as part of your academic credentials, does it say “University of British Columbia”.  They are not the same institution.  Claiming UBC on your employer’s website and at JALT, and insinuating as such online, does not change that.

  • — Speaking of research. A friend just sent me a link to Mr Guest’s ELT Column of April 9, 2010, where he talks smugly (and not a little “biting-the-hand-that-feeds-you”-ly) about receiving a pile of research money as Kakenhi from MEXT. Here is the column. I wonder if MEXT would also similarly appreciate his tone towards them after doling out the dosh. I look forward to seeing what he actually creates from the funding.

    Kaken-hi: The perils of getting what you wish for
    By Mike Guest. ELT News April 09, 2010

    http://www.eltnews.com/columns/uni_files/university/publications_and_research/ (page down awhile)

    Congratulations to me. I think.

    To tell the truth I’m a little shell-shocked. You see, I was just informed that I received the equivalent of $200,000 in the form of a 2-year research grant. Most readers have probably heard of kakenhi, a grant-in-aid for scientific research, doled out by the Japanese MoE through the university system. But if you haven’t, here’s the lowdown:

    Kakenhi are what keeps departmental budgets (and to a certain extent, jobs) afloat and are a fundamental feature of working in a Japanese university. Fundamental because you are expected to at least apply for a grant if you are a full-time teacher. Fundamental because any specialized programs you participate in will likely have resulted from somebody’s kakenhi cache. Fundamental because the number of kakenhis your department receives is often (and unfortunately) considered to be the primary indicator of your departmental worth. Fundamental because any score founded upon your database ‘gyoseki’ (academic achievements) will rise exponentially if you have one.

    As a result, I have carried out the copious kakenhi application procedures (10 pages plus) 4 times now. To be frank, I have never put too much thought into the actual content of the research proposal because I have never needed the money (or more accurarely, the various fiscal and bureaucratic responsibilities that come with it). In other words, I was just going through the application procedures because it was expected of me (making no attempt at all looks bad on your database), without any actual hope or expectation that I would get huge sums of cash thrown my way.

    But the other day- congratulations, Guest sensei. You got a kakenhi.

    The plan is to research, develop, and produce a viable English corpus for our nursing faculty. To be perfectly honest, the idea was actually suggested to me by a colleague who is doing Doctoral research in the field and who thought that a combined proposal, written in English, would aid her chances. But now, as the ‘principal researcher’ the fiscal research ball is in my workplace court. (Was that a sloppy attempt at a metaphor or what?)

    Anyway, here are my suggestions for those who hope to reap one of these babies (and it would be nice to hear further suggestions from those of you who’ve been successful in securing kakenhi dough):

    1. Write it in English. Because you can and… because you can. The competition will be lesser and although the decision-making committee will have someone or two proficient in English on board, there will never be the same degree of scrutiny that meets a Japanese proposal. And it just seems more ‘international’ somehow.

    2. Focus upon the notion of collaborative research. Especially if it is cross-cultural or trans-national. Be sure to mention how you plan to carry out investigations with the highly-respected Dr. Schlong at MIT as well as the eminent Prof. Gakuryoku from Kyoto Univ. (I’m not at all suggesting that you be facetious or try duping the committee with false names- your research WILL be investigated and followed-up on and fraudulence can ruin careers and land you in jail).

    3. Since they are officially SCIENTIFIC grants you should employ a scientific research outline in your proposal. This doesn’t necessarily mean statistical sophistry but it does mean having clear, palpable targets and research goals. A lot of EFL-based research is, IMO, pseudo-scientific at best (and that is NOT a criticism) but you will have to use the format and terminology to make the right heads nod.

    4. Have a clearly stated fiscal budget laid out. State directly that you wil need 500,000 Yen to go to Dublin to research the effect that Guinness has upon the discourse involving the local variety of English. State outright that you require 300,000 to visit Bali in order to take first-hand field notes on the types of English strategies required in the upmarket resort industry.

    5. Involve research partners who can share the burden. Some ‘buntan-sha’ are listed only in name in order to make an impression but having a buntan-sha or two who will actually be heavily involved (and is good with computer graphics, making resports, and reading/writing kanji, dealing with bureaucratic paperwork) will be best.

    6. You must produce something tangible and this must be stated from the beginning. Big, fat reports that no one reads are commonly doled out to fulfil this condition but if you don’t want to bore yourself to death, or dupe the tax-paying public, you should produce a viable book or piece of software that other people will WANT to use, something that gets you cited, noted and most importantly, gets your name on that extended work contract.

  • —-I wonder if MEXT would also similarly appreciate his tone towards them after doling out the dosh.—-

    Are you planning to bring what he wrote to their attention?

    Personally, I don’t understand why you simply didn’t ignore the parody article written by Guest in the first place. All this drama was really unnecessary.

  • Yeah I agree with Hoofin, pay it no heed, nor respond to any of it here. Your blog material seems defensive these days, aka they are trying to hijack it and get to you. Those fools aint worth it, aint nothing on their site even worth reading. Seem more like a very self hating/self loathsome/low self esteem bunch to me. Plenty of that in the U.S., dont need to revisit that scene in Japan.

  • I dunno. As a taxpayer here in Japan, I hate to see my hard-earned cash go to waste. Although pissing away tax revenue is a national sport here, it irks me that this guy has made it clear he has no idea what to do with it except waste it. Indeed, he’s encouraging others to get in on the racket.

  • Debito, I respect the work and overall contributions that both you and Mike Guest have made. Mike has often used parody and dialog format in his articles, so his readers are familiar with the style. I thought at first that the article could have been a bit more constructive than biting, but that’s the nature of the genre. If you can get past the fact that you’ve been parodied, though, actually listening to some of his criticisms might be helpful. And as we’ve seen, the article has brought about a good amount of significant discussion.

    As a fan of both of you, I think he has some valid points. Like, for example, how you counterattacked and blew the whole academic credentials thing out of proportion. It seems like a case where your strengths can be your weaknesses. I think you think you’re trying to do sharp research and critical analysis, but it appears to me that in this public forum you’re just trying to dig up dirt on him because your feelings were hurt. Simplifying and lying are very different and context is important, too. So is the benefit of the doubt in logic and reasoning. And, for another example, it’s quite interesting how some of the commentary right here is pretty much in line with the Newbie, as in Gosh, Debito, you really got him good! He’s a complete fraud, a compulsive liar, and a moron as well! Really, now. In that sense, the parody was spot on.

    — Okay. But if he’s willing to lie about himself, think about how much he’s willing to lie about others. Difference is, I’m not trying to mask it behind “parody”. As an attempt to raise his own status by putting down others. Moreover, after this debate, it’s clear he can can dish it out, but can’t take the same scrutiny himself (citing a real record of quotes and qualifications, not a fabricated one).

  • “You graduated from Regent College which is not affiliated with UBC…”

    From the Regent College website:

    “Regent College was granted formal affiliation with the University in 1973, having met the criteria for affiliation established by the UBC Senate. This, however, does not imply any scrutiny or need for approval for any of the Regent College curriculum by UBC.”


    Some clerk at Regent College made an error in their email to you. Both UBC and Regent College recognize the affiliation that you deny. It therefore seems reasonable to place UBC in parentheses after Regent College if you have a degree from the latter. I think you owe somebody an apology.

    — Nope. It’s not the same place. Nowhere on Mr. Guest’s degree from Regents does it say “University of British Columbia”. He admits as such himself here:

    “But yes, indeed as Mr. Arudou says, the Master’s degree issued by Regent does not actually say ‘UBC’. So, I will duly ask that the parenthetical reference on my workplace data page… be deleted.”

    Accept the facts of the case, already. Mike lied about his credentials. The end. Case closed. On with life.

  • Yeah Debito, just leave it. I read some of the crap they post over there, what a load. I come here to get information, and so far youve done really good work. When you start doing what dumb and dumber are doing, then your blog will become less attractive. Its tempting to strike, but step back and look at it for what it is, its dumbshit. Let the dummies do their dumbshit, and keep the real info coming.


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