The other day at Kapaa Jodo Mission, I really enjoyed meeting with their yardman.
Yardman: "Hi, you are so familiar. What's your name?"
Kosen: " My name is Kosen. I'm a minister. Nice to meet you!"
Yardman: "How do you spell?
Kosen: "K - O- S- E- N, Kosen. People call me sensei, too"
Yardman: "What? You are Sensei? No way!"
Kosen: " Yes, I am sensei.
Yardman " No, you cannot be."
Kosen: " Well, I'm a teacher of Jodo Buddhism and people call me Sensei."
Yardman " Wait, Sensei means teacher? I thought Sensei meant Ninja Master...."
Kosen: "You are right. Sensei means a lot....
According to a Japanese dictionary online, "Sensei" means
1. The person who teaches academic disciplines, studies, music, sports, art and technique. Especially, teachers at schools are called "Sensei." Also the person who can teach you something directly can be called "Sensei" as a meaning of master.
2. The person who can lead people is called Sensei....such as medical doctor, CPA, lawyers, politicians, priests, and teachers in general.
3. The person who are born before you. i.e., Older person
Last but not least, sometimes, Sensei is used when you want both respecting and teasing. For example, when I have something to ask my wife, I call her "Sensei!"
It may be interesting to read Sensei and similar words at Wikipedia.