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  • Korean Americans teaching in Japan?

    I am an Korean American male and I am considering spending a year in Japan to teach English.

    I've heard that only the really old Japanese people still hate Koreans, as the younger generation is more liberal and likes kpop. But if I wanted a job as an engineer or programmer, would it be harder to find a job than if I were a Japanese American? Would the office politics in those jobs be much tougher on Koreans? I ask this because I was wondering how tough it would be to have a long-term career and life in Japan after first starting out as an English teacher.

    Also, I can depart from the US as early as mid-May and want to start teaching in Japan asap. From my research, it sounds like working at a public school is better than an eikaiwa since I'll have more free time to learn Japanese. However, is it easier to make Japanese friends at an eikaiwa? If so, then I may re-consider. How hard will it be to get a job at this point?

    Also, Is the racism against Koreans much stronger in the rural areas than in Tokyo? If so, then I would have to work in an urban, not rural, area
    Last edited by LUOLDENG9; 2012-03-19, 12:43 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by LUOLDENG9 View Post
    I am an Korean American male and I am considering spending a year in Japan to teach English.

    I've heard that only the really old Japanese people still hate Koreans, as the younger generation is more liberal and likes kpop. But if I wanted a job as an engineer or programmer, would it be harder to find a job than if I were a Japanese American? Would the office politics in those jobs be much tougher on Koreans? I ask this because I was wondering how tough it would be to have a long-term career and life in Japan after first starting out as an English teacher.

    Also, I can depart from the US as early as mid-May and want to start teaching in Japan asap. From my research, it sounds like working at a public school is better than an eikaiwa since I'll have more free time to learn Japanese. However, is it easier to make Japanese friends at an eikaiwa? If so, then I may re-consider. How hard will it be to get a job at this point?

    Also, Is the racism against Koreans much stronger in the rural areas than in Tokyo? If so, then I would have to work in an urban, not rural, area
    Do you consider yourself an American or Korean? As a AsianCountryHere-American in Japan, I just say that I am an American not the hyphen in front of "American". Though it's not that bad as it might seem on the news. I have many friends from Korea who are living in Japan, and they seem to be doing just fine. Considering that it's late March now, not sure what your chances of finding a job and getting visas etc processed for a mid-May start would be, probably a bit late for that, plus the start of the new school year. You should be making friends outside of an Eikaiwa especially if the company has a policy where you should not be fraternizing with your clients.

    What are your qualifications? Why not just apply for engineering jobs or programming jobs first for Japan instead of going for a cheaper paid job as an English instructor? Not like having "English Instructor" on your resume is going to help you get a job as an Engineer.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by themoonrules View Post
      Do you consider yourself an American or Korean? As a AsianCountryHere-American in Japan, I just say that I am an American not the hyphen in front of "American". Though it's not that bad as it might seem on the news. I have many friends from Korea who are living in Japan, and they seem to be doing just fine. Considering that it's late March now, not sure what your chances of finding a job and getting visas etc processed for a mid-May start would be, probably a bit late for that, plus the start of the new school year. You should be making friends outside of an Eikaiwa especially if the company has a policy where you should not be fraternizing with your clients.

      What are your qualifications? Why not just apply for engineering jobs or programming jobs first for Japan instead of going for a cheaper paid job as an English instructor? Not like having "English Instructor" on your resume is going to help you get a job as an Engineer.
      I consider myself American. I just have a BS degree. Don't the engineering and programming jobs require me to know Japanese? They would considering hiring me even if I don't know any Japanese?

      Comment


      • #4
        Word of advice for any type of job you are interested in pursuing here:

        Do not refer to yourself with a hyphenated nationality. You are American. Period. Hyphenated names confuse people too much.

        Second, you can come only as early as midMay. Well, by then, the big peak in hiring English teachers will be over. Most jobs begin in April. There will be openings, but largely sloppy seconds, perhaps even jobs that people bailed out of because the realized how bad they really were, and most jobs will probably be in eikaiwa.

        Studying Japanese just takes time and discipline. If you only have the one job (either eikaiwa or ALT), you will work the same number of hours per week. Just different times of day and probably different days of the week. I don't think you will actually have more free hours as an ALT.

        Making friends is all up to you. Do you really want to socialize only with people who work with you?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Glenski View Post
          Word of advice for any type of job you are interested in pursuing here:

          Do not refer to yourself with a hyphenated nationality. You are American. Period. Hyphenated names confuse people too much.

          Second, you can come only as early as midMay. Well, by then, the big peak in hiring English teachers will be over. Most jobs begin in April. There will be openings, but largely sloppy seconds, perhaps even jobs that people bailed out of because the realized how bad they really were, and most jobs will probably be in eikaiwa.

          Studying Japanese just takes time and discipline. If you only have the one job (either eikaiwa or ALT), you will work the same number of hours per week. Just different times of day and probably different days of the week. I don't think you will actually have more free hours as an ALT.

          Making friends is all up to you. Do you really want to socialize only with people who work with you?


          most jobs will be filled by May? I guess I'll just have to look at another country...

          I don't care where I meet my Japanese friends. When I mentioned making Japanese friends, I meant that I want to focus on making friends with the Japanese, not foreigners, so that if things went well, I could consider staying in Japan for the long-term as opposed to just 1-2 years teaching English. I heard that its easier to make Japanese friends if you work at an eikaiwa because you can then be friends with your students.

          Comment


          • #6
            Many eikaiwas frown upon their teachers socializing with students and often have clauses in their contracts prohibiting it, because they fear the teachers are either out to bed the females or to steal away money by offering private lessons.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by LUOLDENG9 View Post
              I am an Korean American male and I am considering spending a year in Japan to teach English.

              I've heard that only the really old Japanese people still hate Koreans, as the younger generation is more liberal and likes kpop. But if I wanted a job as an engineer or programmer, would it be harder to find a job than if I were a Japanese American? Would the office politics in those jobs be much tougher on Koreans? I ask this because I was wondering how tough it would be to have a long-term career and life in Japan after first starting out as an English teacher.

              Also, I can depart from the US as early as mid-May and want to start teaching in Japan asap. From my research, it sounds like working at a public school is better than an eikaiwa since I'll have more free time to learn Japanese. However, is it easier to make Japanese friends at an eikaiwa? If so, then I may re-consider. How hard will it be to get a job at this point?

              Also, Is the racism against Koreans much stronger in the rural areas than in Tokyo? If so, then I would have to work in an urban, not rural, area
              This is good advice for you if you're willing to accept it - if you are a Japanese or westerner/African/South East Asian etc in Korea, you will have to put up with more open and not so open racist bullshiz/discrimination than you will ever get in Japan as a Korean American. Full stop.

              I've lived in Japan and Korea for considerable lengths of time and to this day I will say to people of Korean ethnicity - how would you feel if other nations' people continually ranted, harassed and shat on you for things that were done by a much older, in most cases deceased generation? Koreans' constant hate speech against Japanese people is a very unlikeable characteristic of life in Korea. I am not a Japanophile but I became fed up very quickly with the constant whingeing and often laced with violence speech of Koreans against Japanese - and to a lesser extent against Americans.

              Yes - Koreans generally will blame an individual from another national personally for any woes real or imaginary that they feel have been visited upon Korea. No - Japanese generally will not. Although they do not like too much reality with their WW2 history and the history of their colonialism, I have never met any American who was harassed by usual people (as opposed to ultraright wing people) because of the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. By contrast I saw white people including myself spat on and threatened with violence or actually punched and kicked by usual Koreans (not right wing ultranationalists) at their hysterical 'Anti Crazy Cow' rallies in Seoul when a few cases of Mad Cow disease were found in a few packets of beef.

              The constant 'I hate Japan' bullshiz in Korea cannot be justified by past Japanese colonialism as the problem lies in the Korean cultural inability to be able to rationally debate the past. Hating today's Japanese because of the Imperial war machine of the past is not the action of a developed people who are no longer under colonisation from Japan and haven't been for over 40 years.

              When you make a rational response to Koreans they respond with hysterical rants about how everybody wanted to invade Korea. Really? There were the Mongols who actually did - although apparently their genes magically did not mix with those of Koreans and did not invade the purity of Korean blood. Apparently. There were the Japanese who made invasionary excursions but never significantly made inroads until the 19th century - and even then the Koreans with the Mongols invaded Japan first. But don't tell Koreans that fact.

              How about the Europeans? The whole history of Europe is about constant invasion, how about England in Ireland? The Korean experience of colonisation is very limited compared to that but I don't find people from European countries and Ireland/Scotland/Wales fixated on a victim mentality and constant hating on the past invaders.

              There are right wing, ultra right wing nationalists in Japan and yes they say racist things against Koreans. There are also many Koreans in Japan who praise the evil regime of North Korea and are in effect a fifth column of potential traitors in Japan because of their Stalinist type hatred of non North Korean, non Communist systems. Yet they stay in Japan by choice. Nobody is forcing them to stay in Japan. Koreans also are noted for constantly accusing Japan of refusing to give them rights yet the reality legally is different and if they want to change their names etc they can become Japanese citizens. I too as a white man have to change my name if I want to become a Japanese citizen.

              So - you will be fine in Japan where the majority of people do not take out their views whatever they are on Korean Americans and Koreans. Sadly in Korea, ultra right/right wing nationalism is found among usual people. Reject this reality if you want but it won't change it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LUOLDENG9 View Post
                I am an Korean American male and I am considering spending a year in Japan to teach English.

                I've heard that only the really old Japanese people still hate Koreans, as the younger generation is more liberal and likes kpop. But if I wanted a job as an engineer or programmer, would it be harder to find a job than if I were a Japanese American? Would the office politics in those jobs be much tougher on Koreans? I ask this because I was wondering how tough it would be to have a long-term career and life in Japan after first starting out as an English teacher.

                Also, I can depart from the US as early as mid-May and want to start teaching in Japan asap. From my research, it sounds like working at a public school is better than an eikaiwa since I'll have more free time to learn Japanese. However, is it easier to make Japanese friends at an eikaiwa? If so, then I may re-consider. How hard will it be to get a job at this point?

                Also, Is the racism against Koreans much stronger in the rural areas than in Tokyo? If so, then I would have to work in an urban, not rural, area
                "Korean American"?
                "Japanese-American"?

                Why not just be an "American"?

                Only Americans do the hyphen thing anyway so Japanese people wont give it a second thought.

                Problem solved.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by caramellocap View Post
                  ...

                  The constant 'I hate Japan' bullshiz in Korea cannot be justified by past Japanese colonialism as the problem lies in the Korean cultural inability to be able to rationally debate the past. Hating today's Japanese because of the Imperial war machine of the past is not the action of a developed people who are no longer under colonisation from Japan and haven't been for over 40 years.....
                  Comedic treatments of this courtesy of JustKiddingFilms's Pak Yu & Pak Ing:

                  Japanese dinosaur kill peaceful Korean dinosaur and never say 'sorry'!:

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    On 'bean people' (Hispanics) and 'chocolate people' (blacks):

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bart is a Dirty Asian

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LUOLDENG9 View Post
                        I am an Korean American male and I am considering spending a year in Japan to teach English.

                        I've heard that only the really old Japanese people still hate Koreans, as the younger generation is more liberal and likes kpop. But if I wanted a job as an engineer or programmer, would it be harder to find a job than if I were a Japanese American? Would the office politics in those jobs be much tougher on Koreans? I ask this because I was wondering how tough it would be to have a long-term career and life in Japan after first starting out as an English teacher.

                        Also, I can depart from the US as early as mid-May and want to start teaching in Japan asap. From my research, it sounds like working at a public school is better than an eikaiwa since I'll have more free time to learn Japanese. However, is it easier to make Japanese friends at an eikaiwa? If so, then I may re-consider. How hard will it be to get a job at this point?

                        Also, Is the racism against Koreans much stronger in the rural areas than in Tokyo? If so, then I would have to work in an urban, not rural, area
                        Japan will probably be 'kinder' in many ways to you than your 'ancestral homeland' of Korea:

                        In Korea, you aren't "American", you're "kyopo" which is someone of Korean-descent. [In Japan, the equivalent term for those of Japanese descent is nikkei]. While kyopo get their own special visa, they also have jobs in the ESL market specifically for them designated for kyopo. Sound great? Maybe if you wholeheartedly accept the notion that since you're not a "real" American, your pay will also be lower.

                        Although this is a generalization, Japanese have nowhere near the same obsession with ethnicity as Koreans seem to have -especially with kyopo. A kyopo friend of mine specifically chose to teach English in Japan after college. He indicated that visiting Korea was highly annoying and frustrating for him with lecturing from relatives on how he needed to honor his Korean heritage by speaking Korean more fluently, how he was a Korean first and American second, etc. In Japan, he indicated he was allowed to be himself. The program he started in was the government-sponsored JET Programme; he also indicated in hindsight, he probably would have applied to become a CIR instead of an ALT; the pay is the same but responsibilities different.

                        Oh wait, here is something I posted a while ago on this subject of Asian Americans:

                        I've never taught but quite a few of my friends have. Based on their collective experiences, I would consider the following:

                        1. The JET Programme http://www.jetprogramme.org/
                        It has lost a lot of the luster from the days when freshly-minted college kids were sent to Japan on business-class tickets, and participants were treated literally as ambassadors (one friend told me how the mayor the small town gave him the symbolic keys to the town etc). As a government-sponsored organization you are probably likely to experience less of the hire by looks behavior that happens in many eikaiwa.

                        2. Teaching corporate English classes. Companies like:

                        TIME TI https://secure.znet.or.jp/corporate/jobs2/index.php
                        Phoenix http://www.phoenixassoc.com/pages/companyinfo_e.html
                        TCLC http://www.tclc-web.co.jp/english/employment/index.html

                        Where the corporate client is less likely to be concerned about the ethnicity of the instructor.

                        3. Eikaiwa ...

                        In situations where you have many individual paying students - sometimes it only takes one or two of them to indicate the school their disappointment that they were not assigned a "real American" - and since the customer is always right, any sort of visibly non-Arayan looking instructor is likely to lose out.

                        There are of course many examples of Asian Americans successfully teaching in eikaiwa who'll try and tell me they are doing fine and dandy. I am sure they are. However, the eikaiwa industry in Japan has more in common with modeling agencies than serious education.

                        Since you are of Korean descent, you should also investigate the situation in Korea. Based on my scant research, it appears that ethnic-Koreans ("kyopo") have their own assigned caste within the English teaching industry. Interesting enough - at least what I've been able to garner from the Internet boards - they don't seem to resent the fact that blue-eyed blond whites like me warrant a higher market value...




                        "Alpha children wear grey. They work much harder than we do, because they're so frightfully clever. I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They're too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly color. I'm so glad I'm a Beta."
                        - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Ch. 2

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