View Full Version : Is this a possiblity?
2002-09-16, 11:58 AM
I am a 28 year old Canadian guy, looking to come to Japan on a working holiday.
now I have several questions.
I have heard some bad things about the working holiday and i am looking to have my fears put to rest.
In addition, is it possible to get sponsored for a work visa while there even if I don't have a university degree? I know it may be unlikely but I need to know where I stand.
Plus I speak japanese at a level 4 proficiency....is this gonna be trouble or a boon? (I imagine more of a boon but you never know!)
thank you for your responses!
what have you heard about the working holiday that is so bad? (what can be so bad about being about to spend a year in japan without needing a degree or teaching experience? Unfortunately you can not renew the working holiday visa after a year is up (as thats what it is- a holiday and a chance to travel within Japan, not a licence to work semi-permanently here).
Sorry to burst your bubble but you need a three year university degree (from a Canadian university that is) to get a sponsored work visa. You have to submit a copy of your degree to immigration when you apply (and they are onto diploma mill degrees and fake diplomas)
With no degree the only way you can work in japan is on a culture or student visa(part time) , or if you get married to a Japanese national (spouse visa)
2002-09-17, 11:01 AM
i have heard that the employment can be a little to demanding to be of use to a person holidaying in japan. my friend did it and said that he spent most time working and not enough time playing.
maybe i will have to go to uni (seeing as how i only have a college certificate in computer animation for one year.) becasue even tho i belive in a quick way i don't belive in the easy way (ie: fake diplomas) i will just have to work my butt off.
so what is life like there? how long have you been in japan? i want to live there not just holiday. so any info would be great!
I have not been on the working holiday visa myself but seeing as I have been a resident here for over 15 years, I can tell you that japan is an extremely expensive country to travel and work in, but well worth it if you can land a good paying position (which will take a degree, experience and contacts to get) , geta job with fewer hours; if you can make the effort to learn the language and learn about the culture rather than do nothing but work etc. In order to get by in Japan most people just arriving will get a job working at NOVA or whereever, work 40 hours (26-27 hours of that actually teaching) a week and will find that they can make ends meet financially but do not save very much unless they are quite frugal, or manage to find time to actually get out and see the country because of their work schedules. If you have the money to tide yourself over ( you will need about US$3000-4000 in your first month here for accomodation, food, meals etc) before you see a paycheck. You can get by on what they pay but only just, hence the demand to find a good paying job as quickly as possible. There are hundreds of people posting on boards wanting to know how they can work in japan without a degree and and money etc but IMO you have very little chance of success or making a decent living if you can not even get a work visa, or unless you get jobs that pay more than the minimum wages offered by the language schools. Just my two cents worth.
If you want to get an idea of actually how expensive it is here you may want to take a look at this site.
http;//www.pricecheckintokyo.com which lists current consumer prices in Tokyo.
A lot will depend on the rent you pay, wher you live, your lifestyle and social life (do you eat out every other night, and like to party? ) etc, that will determine how and if you save anything.
As to your last question about what life is like here I could write a book about it and if you ask different people you will get different answers- it really depends on the person and each person has their own unique situation and reason for being here etc. I am a permanent resident here and married with kids so my lifestyle and perspective on things would be quite different than someone arriving for the first time. I could tell you about my experiences but someone may tell you something different e.g from a JET teacher or an eikaiwa teacher point of view etc. There are several excellent books already written about the "real" Japan that the tourist books dont tell you but it would depend on what you are after.
Sorry that URL should read
(Email me if you want more info- I will gladly answer any questions you have but I would prefer if you were as specific in your questions as possible, and if you cant find the answers elsewhere)
2002-09-17, 04:14 PM
Good summary Paul - and I should add that living away from your home country can make you see things very differently, and even help you grow up, while the degree that you immerse yourself into the local culture will determine your comfort level; integrate and adapt, BUT never sell your soul.
Keep an open mind, just because something is done differently does not mean it is wrong or stupid. Do not expect too much; Tokyo and Osaka might well be technologically advanced cities, at least in some aspects, but Japan has shot from the farming age to the high technology age very quickly, and there are many remnants of the feudal system and behaviour present, not least in the political, administrative and bureaucratic worlds, and certainly many of the country towns and villages could be elsewhere in Asia.
Remember not to start sentences or thoughts with the dreaded words, "Back home....." You are here now and everything must be dealt with here.
There is a lot of rubbish written about Japan in the popular media and on the net, by the corporate expats and 2 day Ginza Hotel tourists, or the so-called tarentos (TV personalities) and politicians and you wonder did they actually get out of their hotel room or taxi, office and apartment, and see the place.
Lifestyle and enjoyment are personal, but wherever you are, LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. If you find yourself complaining a lot, this place may not be for you, so time to go somewhere else.
Remember Japan is one of the more xenophobic countries in the world; you can read about their isolation in any history book, and you are not expected to stay here. You are a tolerated, honoured guest, and often the more you know the less you are respected - wrt to language, culture, business behavior (otsukiai), etc. Sometimes it is to your advantage not to speak much Japanese, at other times it helps immensely.
Just enjoy yourself, and make the most out of the privilege of living here.
Trip Hop (Ms.)
Just thought I would add a little post from a site that has info on teaching in Japan.
To add a little to the post I wrote before- most people come to Japan with the view of experiencing theculture and learning the language and they do to a certain extent, before they get caught up in the need to make a living or supporting their lifestyle and make ends meet in the most expensive country in the world. ( I have a wife, daughter in international school, graduate study underway, new car bought last year and if you saw what I spend every month to simply stay afloat it would make your hair stand on end)
Nextto the 'tourists' there are those who end up like me who ends up never leaving. I enjoy living here and have done quite well, but at the same time have had to make psychological and mental adjustments with living here and in the long run it has paid dividends. There are a lot of opportunities to make money here, especially for people from English speaking countries, as the demand for English is so great here; they have a college education and are reasonably presentable and can construct a grammatical sentence.. Like I said if you pay out in sweat and tears by acquiring the degree, maybe TEFL qualifications or even a Masters, a lot more doors will open up to you but again it depends on what YOU are looking for and what YOUR goals are.
Japan is also a great country to explore if you can escape the 9-5 grind and office politics and clutches of the eikaiwa- there are millions of nooks and crannies and festivals going on everywhere- I have seen most of the western half of Japan (hitchhiked most of it) but was fortunate as I had jobs which allowed me the time to go off and travel as well as earn enough to live on, but you will likely need to have a work visa of some kind and a steady job with good hours before you will be able to do that.
As the degree is required by immigration it is the only thing that holds many back, as well as having to make a decision about long term residency and whether they can handle living in the culture for any length of time. I kind of hold the opinion that there are two kinds of foreigners- those that are here for a year or two on JET for a good time or work at a language school- a few end up coming back or going backwards and forwards between their home country and Japan, and those that end up becoming the 'Lifers': the ones who get permanent resident visas, marry the locals and build businesses here. there doesnt seem to be much in between. People either love Japan or hate it (or simply endure for a while) and soon decide whether its the kind of place they want to be for any length of time. ( I came for a year in 1987 initially on the way to Europe and have now spent over a 1/3 of my life here.)
As TH said- if you like Japan, speak the langauge and can get around it can be very satisfying but at the same time it can be very stressful, as the customs and ways of doing things are so different. You always stand out as a foreigner here- it takes some getting used to but you can also use it to your advantage as the 'honored' gaijin guest. Other times you wish people would leave you alone and you could be 'normal' like you feel in your own country.
It is easy to get a bit stir crazy after a while. Being here for a year or two is one thing just to party and have fun, but if you want to make long term plans you have to decide if its really what you want for yourself or if you are cut out for it ( eg if you decide to get engaged or married and have to deal with parents in law etc) and being treated differently etc.
Going on the WH for a year with few restrictions (except perhaps moneywise) will give you a good feel for the place and the people and the culture, and you will see if you can adapt to living here. In six months you will have a much better idea about your long term goals etc , before sinking money into a degree and or getting TESL-qualified. On a WH visa you also are not tied to one sponsor or employer, and can move around if you feel you are getting a raw deal. You can quit sponsored work contracts etc but it just involves a lot of mental anguish and BS from employers which most people here could do without.
(From the Teaching in japan site)
There are a number of Forums on the Web where prospective English teachers ask specific questions related to aquiring teaching employment in Japan. Below you will find a number of the most commonly asked questions with specific answers that are based on the experiences of a number of teachers who are currently working in Japan.
1. What do I need to get a Work Visa for teaching in Japan?
In order to get a Work Visa to teach in Japan, one needs to have a BA or BS degree from a US; UK; Australian; NZ; or other western post-secondary institution. One must submit an ORIGINAL degree to Japanese Immigration in order to get the required Certificate of Eligibility.
2. What do I need to DO to get my Work Visa?
There are basically two ways to get a work Visa to teach in Japan:
a) The first option is to arrange employment from your home country. The Japanese employer will then handle the arrangements for you. The new teacher will send their ORIGINAL college degree to the Japanese employer who will, in turn, take it to the local Immigration Office in Japan. A Certificate of Eligibility will then be sent to the foreign recruit in her home country; she then presents (either in-person or by certified delivery)her Passport and this Certificate to the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in her home country. The Work Visa will be stamped in the new teacher's Passport. This writer has undertaken this process twice and each time it has taken about four or five weeks to complete though I have been told by reputable sources that this period can be considerably shorter as well as somewhat longer.
b) The second option is to come to Japan on a Tourist Visa in order to search for employment. If a teacher secures a job offer while in Japan on a Tourist Visa, the new teacher MUST leave the country in order to secure a Work Visa. Most teachers go to Korea as this is usually the cheapest and quickest option. Obviously, if one has a Working Holiday, Spouse, or Student Visa, there are other issues involved; this page is intended for teachers who are thinking about coming to teach in Japan full-time over a longer term. Coming to Japan to search for employment is obviously a much more expensive option than securing employment from abroad. Living in Japan as a "job-hunting" tourist can be a very expensive undertaking, and this writer would not come over here to look for a job with much less than 4-5,000 US dollars and a valid credit card, but, of course, there are others who've arrived in Japan with less. For more information, check out the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Online Visa Section
3. Where can I find the companies that recruit foreign teachers from abroad?
Like the answer given to the question above, there are basically two options concerning the TYPES of employers who hire English teachers from abroad.
a) The private language schools: The big three in this arena are AEON; GEOS; and NOVA though there are hundreds of smaller operations in Japan. These organizations are FOR-PROFIT businesses, and, as such, they operate from the same premise that literally millions of other businesses operate from: Decisions in these businesses are made with an eye on the bottom line, so if you decide to work in this arena, just be aware that the institutional culture will reflect the fact that these "schools" are, in fact, large for-profit Japanese corporations. This answer is in no means meant to criticize these organizations one way or another but hopes to inform young teachers about the reality of the EFL work environment in Japan.
b) The Japanese Public School System: This option also has a large player: The JET Program-- though there are similar, smaller programs operated by individual cities and prefectures in Japan. When a teacher is accepted into the JET Program, she is assigned to work as an "Assistant English Teacher" in the Japanese Public School System. These teachers work the same schedules and at the same schools as Japanese teachers; therefore; one is placed within the education bureaucracy which has its own set of unique issues that are different in kind from the "business-related" issues mentioned above. The JET Program recruits a large number of teachers, and I have been told that the lead time is longer for JET than for the private language schools, but I can not state this with certainty. JET teachers do observe national holidays as they work the school calander. I have personally spoken with JET teachers who have been placed away from the urban centers, so this is a real possiblity.
4. Where should I work?
First, make sure to read the answers to the questions above before reading the answer to this question. There are as many opinions about NOVA, GEOS, AEON, and JET as there are English teachers who have passed through the revolving doors in Japan over the last two decades or so. This writer had a bad first experience in Japan because he did not ASK APPROPRIATE questions PRIOR to taking a job. I was excited to get abroad and start working, so I allowed myself to take a job too hastily. (I have since worked in three countries, and I am now happily employed in Japan, so I hope that I have learned a lesson in here somewhere). Many teachers, especially young ones, say the same things over and over again--if only I had realized. . . . . . . . Hence, there is a HUGE turnover in foreign teachers here--in some companies I've been told that the average "new" teacher stays on the job for about six months. Obviously, there are some issues with both employers and employees if this is indeed the case. Some simple advice (what I wish someone had told me). Make a simple list of things that are important to you in your everyday life--maybe put them in order of importance--and find out EXACTLY how these issues will be affected by your prospective job BEFORE you relocate 10-15,000 miles/km around the world. For example, I would have placed "vacation time"; the ability to see cultural things in Japan; the ability to meet Japanese people and many other things on my list (many put $ close to the top). Now, once you have written your list , TAKE THE TIME to carefully prepare questions for the recruiter so that you will know how issues that you find important in your life will fit in with your new job. DO NOT MOVE half-way around the world unless you feel that you've been given some satisfactory answers to questions which YOU DEEM IMPORTANT!
im canadian in Jp with a working holiday visa,
mail me if you have any question feel free !