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.