Atsugi again places Halloween halt on payment for English lessons
On Tuesday, Japanese visitors to Naval Air Facility Atsugi can dress in crazy costumes, collect more candy than they might think possible and even eat pizza in the food court if there’s room left after the candy.
But there’s one thing they can’t do that day: pay for English lessons.
For the fourth year, the base is placing a moratorium on paid English lessons on Halloween, a rule designed to prevent inappropriate fee charging for base access. Each base family can sign in six visitors for the annual candy-grab, at no cost.
A few years ago, there were rumors that base residents were charging their English-language students a fee for trick-or-treating on base under the auspices of an English lesson. Even though the allegations were never substantiated, base leaders banned paid lessons on Halloween. Signs posted outside the gate in Japanese alert potential guests to the rule.
“We put a total stop to any lessons that day so there’s no question or ambiguity,” said Atsugi spokesman Brian Naranjo.
Base residents normally are welcome to give paid lessons in their quarters or public areas on base. And on Halloween they can still teach, they just can’t charge for it.
So far, Naranjo said, there’ve been no complaints.
“The base community, I think, is very understanding,” he said. “They understand why we did it.”
Other bases have had similar issues. In 2004, Yokosuka Naval Base banned overnight stays for Japanese English students after some residents charged immersion fees for the visit. Several other bases in the region have similar rules.
Halloween is a good opportunity to allow Japanese guests to experience American culture and practice speaking, Naranjo said, but it shouldn’t be an income generator.
“It’s in the spirit of friendship,” he said.