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  • Eccentric Expat Brit thinks aloud.

    I've been in Japan coming up to twenty years. I've lived most of that time on a small island south of Kagoshima.

    I have run my own school and whilst the others have fizzled-out, mine's still running. I've also been working using electronics I design and build myself.

    I'm a dabbler in all sorts of things and amongst the things I can mention in polite company are making pencil drawings and welding-up and fitting electric vehicles.

    I'm 48 but I haven't grown up yet. And I haven't really travelled away from this little paradise for over ten years and the only time I did was to take a look at Osaka to do some shopping and I was only too glad to get back here.

    But recently I have been mulling the idea about heading to the big smoke somewhere, landing a job and seeing what doors open in my journey through life.

    I see that there are plenty of jobs advertised, and I am qualified to apply for most of them. As I can speak Japanese and don't have to worry about a visa I expect I'm one of rather rare breed of gaijin with blond hair and blue eyes.

    I've tended to be my own boss mostly because I can do it I suppose, and I don't take kindly to following orders I don't agree with. I suppose I'm unemployable unless I really make an effort to tolerate things I have eradicated here in my own world.

    I was thinking of perhaps being an English instructor for a good hotel or a large business. I am able to organise my own lessons as long as I know the objectives. But I want to know what the REAL situation is like, so I am posting this.

    As I said, it's been a while since I have ventured into the fast lane, so I expect things have changed. Can one normally live well on the salaries paid for jobs like teaching for foreigners? Even old-hands who know the ropes?

    A few foreigners have come here with the aim of running their own schools, but so far they all fail in a short space of time. I'd say their main problem is that they rely on natives to get them set up, who stab them in the back. And of course the fact that they are often incompetent and unstable and unable to speak Japanese or have a problem with visas.

    If for example I got a job in Tokyo or Osaka teaching English in a school, what would the others doing the same job with me be like? I hear many stories of how native English teachers are hard to get and Chinese (Americans) and the like have become more common. Are there still blonds with blue eyes teaching in large numbers?

    I'm jumping over my own shadow to go to Tokyo maybe late next month because I need to find some new textbooks and buy some electronics testing equipment. I have a nasty feeling I'm going to be keen to get on the return flight so I can continue my life here. But maybe the cities are worth another look at.

  • #2
    Hmmm!

    So as I suspected - it looks like I'd better stay where I am.

    I was hoping maybe I could score a nice teaching job with reasonably behaved students which paid enough for me to live in a modest-sized apartment and save 50 - 100,000 a month.

    Looks like I'll go back to contract killings.

    Comment


    • #3
      mael - pM

      Hi Mael -

      check you PM mate

      Comment


      • #4
        I dunno! I've just got itchy feet I suppose.

        Living here has meant I could get myself a bit sorted-out and I've been able to build a pretty good set of tools and I enjoy making things. Plenty of women as well!

        Trouble is that the folks here haven't got much money and it's getting worse quickly. I expect the cities are the same with downsizing and all that.

        The cost of things doesn't worry me much because I basically do everything myself and I've got most of what I require. - have to pay rent tho' and there's no way around that as far as I can see for the foreseeable future.

        My wife is from here and she'd be OK at least for a while without me - Seems we can have a higher income with the school, but in reality it really only pays for itself and apart from the convenience of the school being very large and housing my gadgets and tools there isn't really much financial sense in continuing this. I don't see things as improving economically and these poor people will be even less able to pay for English lessons as the weeks and months go by.

        My alternative would be to score a well-paying job with some rich corporation or hotel and try to save money. But I suspect I'd just go crazy because of those loonies on unmuffled bikes keeping me awake at night and try to make things more comfortable by having too many girlfriends (as usual) and then getting trapped.

        Plan 'B' has always been to swim out to one of the tiny islands around the coast here and dig out a cave and sit on a rock contemplating philosophy all day. But I wasn't planning to do that for another ten years at least.

        * I'll respond to your pm in a day or so.

        Comment


        • #5
          backward englishman thinks

          Gee whizz (or should i say Cor Blimey) we seem to have a racist limey on these threads.

          Originally posted by mael View Post
          I hear many stories of how native English teachers are hard to get and Chinese (Americans) and the like have become more common. Are there still blonds with blue eyes teaching in large numbers?
          Having blonde hair and blue eyes does not give one a monopoly over the English language. Your remarks about the implied inferiority of Chinese Americans is a little offensive, even if you don't think so yourself. I know Chinese Americans "and the like" who speak excellent English. The world is a changing place. The US President and the head of NASA don't have blue yes and blond hair. To perpetuate the myth of your superiority just because you are blonde and have blue eyes is way out of fashion. It's backward, rude, arrogant.

          Originally posted by mael View Post
          I'm 48 but I haven't grown up yet.
          Well you got that part right. You are in Japan because back in merrie ole England your kind would be flipping burgers and creating problems at soccer matches. What's your problem son? Its a wonder that you are leaving your island idyll given that you are doing so well already (or so you tell us....you succeed where others fail right?).

          You may be too blind to see why your arrogant and racist post caused offence. You can take your blond hair and blue eyes and shove it pal.
          Last edited by newhigh; 2009-09-26, 05:49 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            cool. what sorts of gadgets? have you thought about marketing any of them? maybe you don't have to leave.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by newhigh View Post
              Gee whizz (or should i say Cor Blimey) we seem to have a racist limey on these threads.
              * Cor blimey (or should I say Gee Whizz) We seem to have an emotionally unstable Yank on these threads.

              Having blonde hair and blue eyes does not give one a monopoly over the English language.
              * Ahhh! Then I gather you have neither blond hair nor blue eyes.

              Your remarks about the implied inferiority of Chinese Americans is a little offensive, even if you don't think so yourself.
              * The implication of inferiority is your emotional assumption. It is nothing more.

              I know Chinese Americans "and the like" who speak excellent English.
              * Well I'm very happy for you. Congratulations on your discoveries.

              The world is a changing place.
              * You are doing very well. Yes, that's right. The world is a changing place. But I don't think you'll stray far from your mom's basement so you'll have to imagine the parts your spoonfed news fails to occupy. But I'm backing you! You can rise up out of your mom's basement and actually do something like have a civil conversation with someone at some time in your life. And even if you are unable to rise to the challenge no one will ever notice or care.

              The US President and the head of NASA don't have blue yes and blond hair.
              * Oh really? That is fascinating. I really mean that! You must be a fascinating person when you are not being boring and predictable.

              To perpetuate the myth of your superiority just because you are blonde and have blue eyes is way out of fashion. It's backward, rude, arrogant.
              * Well you're off my invitation list for tea for a start. With you everything would be seen as using code-words to be racist and I'd make myself ill laughing at you.

              Well you got that part right.
              * (About me being 48 and not gwowed-up). I usually get things right. I'm doing just fine.

              You are in Japan because back in merrie ole England your kind would be flipping burgers and creating problems at soccer matches.
              * No. I'm here because I like it here. It suits me. I have travelled most of the planet over the past twenty years and lived over half my life away from the UK. Maybe you should do some travelling and get out of your mom's basement. It might help to give you an idea of how to conduct yourself when communicating with others. You'd learn the hard way of course.

              What's your problem son?
              * ??? And who are you to call me 'son?' Are you in your sixties or seventies or something?

              Its a wonder that you are leaving your island idyll given that you are doing so well already (or so you tell us....you succeed where others fail right?).
              * Lern 2 rede. ... I'm just looking for a change. My family's here and this is my base.

              You may be too blind to see why your arrogant and racist post caused offence. You can take your blond hair and blue eyes and shove it pal.
              * I knew some nimrod like you would find it.

              LMAO
              Last edited by wasDOUGLAS; 2009-09-26, 10:56 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by wasDOUGLAS
                Tell me about where you live. Beaches?
                Very nice. One side of Amami is the Pacific ocean and the other is just plain ol' sea. Amami's North side basically points to the Korean peninsula. So one side gets good surf and the other side is for swimming.

                All sorts of coast here - Rocky and dangerous to white sands looking out to turquoise sea - with all the tropical-type vegetation you can imagine. (Good picture-postcard stuff).

                Many people come here from the cities and charter a boat to catch big fish.

                - I've been here a while and I don't go to the beaches much these days - but they are usually clean and picturesque. Every year unfortunately someone seems to drown here. The coral is very pretty to look at but it can trap you if you catch the current and hold you under. Lots of pretty little fish and many dangerous varieties.

                No winter?
                Here there are really only two seasons, and spring and autumn are just figments of the imagination. It swings from hot and humid to cool/cold and dry. Summer temps are around 30 - 35 and winter hovers between 14 and 18 usually.

                It's between summer and winter now and the weather is quite comfortable. I suppose you could say this is autumn, as even if the days are still hot and muggy, the nights are cool and I don't need to run a fan right now - but I still need a towel around my neck.

                Nice hiking and onsen?
                * No onsens to speak of.

                Hiking is good if you like the wild life (like me). All you have to do is wander off the main road and you'll soon find untouched wilderness. But the insects can be ferocious and you need to watch for snakes.

                Can you grow fruit and veggies all-year-round with ease? Because that is exactly where I would like to live.
                Well ..................... yes. But it isn't as easy as it might seem. The soil isn't particularly good, and the climate doesn't suit a lot of plants which grow well on the mainlands. Actually good topsoil is very rare and expensive and people trade in it from accounts I hear. So if one feels lucky because they've got permission to use a piece of land for growing things, one may well find that the stuff on top came from the waste after a tunnel was built. - Unless you are prepared to work and work for years and spend a lot of time, effort and money then the soil isn't going to be able to support anything you'd want to brag about. (Painful experience there).

                But it isn't impossible. If you want to grow rice then I think the local council will actually give you a grant to do it. But I'm sure the rice farmers here use a lot of chemicals.

                I wanted to do a herb garden and my wife wants to grow spuds and onions. We could start one at any time, but it would be a difficult balancing act to keep the bills paid because a garden would take a lot of time.

                If you are rich then you could construct a greenhouse (glasshouse) and line it and cover the floor with pure compost and you'd do well I think. But I don't have that sort of cash and my experience with borrowing people's land has always ended up badly - with them coming up with some excuse to take it back after I've invested money and time in it. I'm wise to it now, so I'd warn others of it.

                lots of people seem to want to leave the big-smoke and start a garden/farm here. But almost no one becomes self-sufficient or successful unless they have contacts. The locals here don't really like outsiders by the look of things and newcomers unfamiliar with growing conditions here just seem to eventually give up. - But there's plenty of land not being used. Just be prepared to have to give it all up at a month's notice when you've fixed-it up for them.

                Some large and wealthy companies grow veggies and fruit for rich customers in Tokyo and such places. Amami people can't normally afford the stuff they grow.

                Of course, we will have another oil crunch soon so prices will rise and island living will likely get harder.
                * One of the main reasons I came here is because I'm a survivor and to survive I require wilderness. I also suspect energy costs will once again be used to milk the masses of more cash in preparation for their likely future of overt slavery and complete dependance on the 'system.' I don't normally speak of my concerns, but there are a lot worse places to be than this place if things get really bad. At least you can suffer in comfort here.

                Is there a bridge to your island?
                No. Ferry to Kag takes 10 hours and a flight to osaka might be an hour and a half. If you don't like flying or rolling about on the ocean then once you're here you are trapped! There is no escape!

                Anyway, to your OP. I think you can save 50-100 but privates will help you do that.
                As I thought ................ contacts! Hmmm!

                You're married I take it?
                Yeah! But it doesn't really have any bearing on the matter of my considering working elsewhere. I'm a free man in ways most married men aren't, and I don't need anyone for a visa. Me and my better half have a good 'working' relationship and we are best friends. We don't need to have the other on a string.

                We needed to boost our income up past 65 clear a month for wife and child in order to save decent money.
                That's a lot! I got that here a few years back but these days it isn't so easy. Good job I can make or repair what we need or we wouldn't survive financially.

                If you're on your own and you get the standard 25@a month, then you would need at least another 20,000 a week in privates to save something well past the PO a month mark. But, if you take a little time, there's no reason you cannot get there.
                Yes! Build it up. I've been there. Well I know the market is tight here and even if it's tight in the cities I reckon there's a chance for someone who makes an effort - like I like to do.

                Of course, getting back to island life....well...would you really want to bust your butt in the big smoke ? Are you thinking a couple of years to accrue some savings?
                Well seeing as you put it like that, I'd have to be either mad or tempted by a very good job with high pay and lots of perks.

                I don't really want savings, I just want cash to get some things I want now.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by newhigh View Post
                  Gee whizz (or should i say Cor Blimey) we seem to have a racist limey on these threads.



                  Having blonde hair and blue eyes does not give one a monopoly over the English language. Your remarks about the implied inferiority of Chinese Americans is a little offensive, even if you don't think so yourself. I know Chinese Americans "and the like" who speak excellent English. The world is a changing place. The US President and the head of NASA don't have blue yes and blond hair. To perpetuate the myth of your superiority just because you are blonde and have blue eyes is way out of fashion. It's backward, rude, arrogant.


                  Well you got that part right. You are in Japan because back in merrie ole England your kind would be flipping burgers and creating problems at soccer matches. What's your problem son? Its a wonder that you are leaving your island idyll given that you are doing so well already (or so you tell us....you succeed where others fail right?).

                  You may be too blind to see why your arrogant and racist post caused offence. You can take your blond hair and blue eyes and shove it pal.
                  See my poll about favorite Gaijin Schmaijin.

                  Give this man a break - he is an Engrish Jin after all - when Engrish Jin travel, Engrish Jin think he is special.

                  And Engrish Jin thinks whole world revolve around ____ stained Marble Arch and Tescos.

                  Be Kind and Sorrowful to Engrish Jin.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WillKill4Rice View Post
                    See my poll about favorite Gaijin Schmaijin.
                    Give this man a break - he is an Engrish Jin after all - when Engrish Jin travel, Engrish Jin think he is special.
                    And Engrish Jin thinks whole world revolve around ____ stained Marble Arch and Tescos.
                    Be Kind and Sorrowful to Engrish Jin.
                    This chap is probably a nice enough bloke and probably doesn't understand the offence he creates by speaking as he does. Ignorance can't go unchecked. He could do the gentlemanly thing and apologize but the inner Tory in him won't allow it. We have many of the same kind here in Australia. Nice enough people who don't realize the racism they perpetuate in their everyday actions. For them, saying sorry would be too hard.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by newhigh View Post
                      This chap is probably a nice enough bloke and probably doesn't understand the offence he creates by speaking as he does.
                      * Well, I like me.

                      * I understand perfectly well how individuals such as Newhigh like to be the champion of all they feel is second-best. As for me, I take people as they come.

                      Ignorance can't go unchecked.
                      * You won't find much of that here.

                      He could do the gentlemanly thing and apologize but the inner Tory in him won't allow it.
                      * If you were non-Japanese living in Japan I'd apologise to them because I am foreign as well. I'd say:- "On behalf of the foreign community I sincerely apologise for Newhigh. But he can't help it, he's just been lobotomised by the media."

                      We have many of the same kind here in Australia.
                      * But gradually you and your sorority are gaining numbers.

                      * Good to hear there is still hope in that once-great country of yours despite you being there.

                      Nice enough people who don't realize the racism they perpetuate in their everyday actions. For them, saying sorry would be too hard.
                      * Completely unnecessary.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by newhigh View Post
                        This chap is probably a nice enough bloke and probably doesn't understand the offence he creates by speaking as he does. Ignorance can't go unchecked. He could do the gentlemanly thing and apologize but the inner Tory in him won't allow it. We have many of the same kind here in Australia. Nice enough people who don't realize the racism they perpetuate in their everyday actions. For them, saying sorry would be too hard.
                        While I'm not an English teacher, it is pretty commonly known that having a Western appearance is very useful in teaching English over here... both the punters and school owners feel comfortable. You might not like it, I might not like it but the fact is that appearance is relevant and hence this is why the OP mentioned it.

                        I really fear for your plans on making big capital gains when you clearly don't have a clue how things work in Japan, and parade your ignorance for all to see.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sieg Heil

                          If dunce students want blond haired, blue eyed teutonic types like Mael as teachers, so be it. Make the most of it Mael, teaching beats flipping burgers in Birmingham.

                          Originally posted by wasDOUGLAS
                          Mael is an interesting poster who is pondering a big transition in his life and seems well aware of some obvious advantages he has in a tight job market.
                          And the tight job market isn't helped by all those slanty eyed Chinese Americans that Mael referred to. I sincerely hope his blonde hair and blue eyes give him an advantage with luddite students who won't know better.
                          Last edited by newhigh; 2009-09-28, 12:06 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by newhigh View Post
                            Sieg Heil

                            If dunce students want blond haired, blue eyed teutonic types like Mael as teachers, so be it. Make the most of it Mael, teaching beats flipping burgers in Birmingham.



                            And the tight job market isn't helped by all those slanty eyed Chinese Americans that Mael referred to. I sincerely hope his blonde hair and blue eyes give him an advantage with luddite students who won't know better.
                            I'm sure mael is waiting for your apology, as you called him a racist and ignorant, the first of which is a pretty nasty insult.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mael View Post
                              I've been in Japan coming up to twenty years. I've lived most of that time on a small island south of Kagoshima.

                              I have run my own school and whilst the others have fizzled-out, mine's still running. I've also been working using electronics I design and build myself.

                              I'm a dabbler in all sorts of things and amongst the things I can mention in polite company are making pencil drawings and welding-up and fitting electric vehicles.

                              I'm 48 but I haven't grown up yet. And I haven't really travelled away from this little paradise for over ten years and the only time I did was to take a look at Osaka to do some shopping and I was only too glad to get back here.

                              But recently I have been mulling the idea about heading to the big smoke somewhere, landing a job and seeing what doors open in my journey through life.

                              I see that there are plenty of jobs advertised, and I am qualified to apply for most of them. As I can speak Japanese and don't have to worry about a visa I expect I'm one of rather rare breed of gaijin with blond hair and blue eyes.

                              I've tended to be my own boss mostly because I can do it I suppose, and I don't take kindly to following orders I don't agree with. I suppose I'm unemployable unless I really make an effort to tolerate things I have eradicated here in my own world.

                              I was thinking of perhaps being an English instructor for a good hotel or a large business. I am able to organise my own lessons as long as I know the objectives. But I want to know what the REAL situation is like, so I am posting this.

                              As I said, it's been a while since I have ventured into the fast lane, so I expect things have changed. Can one normally live well on the salaries paid for jobs like teaching for foreigners? Even old-hands who know the ropes?

                              A few foreigners have come here with the aim of running their own schools, but so far they all fail in a short space of time. I'd say their main problem is that they rely on natives to get them set up, who stab them in the back. And of course the fact that they are often incompetent and unstable and unable to speak Japanese or have a problem with visas.

                              If for example I got a job in Tokyo or Osaka teaching English in a school, what would the others doing the same job with me be like? I hear many stories of how native English teachers are hard to get and Chinese (Americans) and the like have become more common. Are there still blonds with blue eyes teaching in large numbers?

                              I'm jumping over my own shadow to go to Tokyo maybe late next month because I need to find some new textbooks and buy some electronics testing equipment. I have a nasty feeling I'm going to be keen to get on the return flight so I can continue my life here. But maybe the cities are worth another look at.

                              I believe in the twenty years that you have been teaching English in Japan, the overall attractiveness of that sector has deteriorated into the "McJob of Asia" as indicated in this recent Metropolis editorial ( see http://metropolis.co.jp/features/the...mcjob-of-asia/ )

                              While the article seems to most make reference to jobs in the dispatch arena, based on what I have read in the press and the boards, the same discounting factors seem to apply to the engrish teaching sector all around.

                              While I am certain there are plenty of exceptions, the more lucrative positions teaching at colleges and universities now often require some advanced certificates in teaching TOEFL/ESL and/or a Masters degree.

                              By all means, take a look yourself, but unless it's a hard and concerted effort, you may not find anything at all.

                              You also have to consider your Plan B. If you ended up failing in Osaka or Tokyo, would you be able to easily return to your island paradise? Or, end up like some of the miserable characters on LOST?

                              Comment

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