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Is studying Japanese at Uni, a stupid idea? non-worthwhile degree?

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  • Is studying Japanese at Uni, a stupid idea? non-worthwhile degree?

    Is a Japanese Language degree pointless?
    Do you have any suggestions on what I should study? My passions are culture, Japan, travel.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Elladuffy View Post
    Is a Japanese Language degree pointless?
    Do you have any suggestions on what I should study? My passions are culture, Japan, travel.
    Pray tell, what do you hope to do with your degree when you graduate?

    Save the passions for your hobbies because no one will pay you for indulging your hobbies.

    Comment


    • #3
      Learn a skill and study japanese in your freetime.

      Work for a japanese company in your homecountry and try getting transferred to the headquarters in Japan. Or work for a foreign company in Japan.

      Comment


      • #4
        Long post....

        If I could go back 12 years to when I was a 19-yr old deciding on my major, I'm still on the fence as to whether it was the right choice or not.

        Why did I choose Japanese? Definitely for the wrong reasons. Asian American, grew up doing Karate and grew up in an all-white town. 1st hot Asian gal I met was a Japanese exchange student at my college. You can guess the rest......

        Your college will do you a disservice if you graduate without speaking at least the JLPT 2 level. Language is the toughest thing to deal with because you're expected to be f*cking perfect after graduation. it's not like other majors where you can just get the basics and then learn on the job. You're expected to have mastered your craft before taking on the job. THEN on top of that you need to learn a whole new job and skillset at the same time.

        Because so many colleges churn out japanese majors who can't speak worth their life (believe me I had to recruit from these people for 6 years) many end up having to go teach English in Japan just so they can "learn Japanese". The problem is after going to Japan they get spoiled by 1. living in their dreamland, 2. getting a salary high enough to live and 3. Living in a dreamland...as an unnacountable foreigner. Many never come back, and when/if they do they're usually 26-31 yrs old and THEN having to start from scratch and getting real-world experience.

        In your home country it is usually damn easy to get a job in a Japanese company for bilingual positions. Even if you don't have qualifications if you speak Japanese they will train you and give you real-world job skills that you can transfer to higher-paying domestics later on. The majority of these jobs end up being usually outside sales and customer service jobs, but once in a while you can get into accounting, research and IT by just having the "passion", having good Japanese and having the right connections.

        If you don't go the all the way with the Japanese route you're pretty much screwed. Without experience domestics will look at you with puzzled faces when they see your major and ask you "Why aren't you doing a Japanese job?" If you don't speak Japanese well-enough after graduation recruiters and hiring managers will think you're another one of those asian fever guys who were dicking around and chasing j-girls all throughout college.

        Financially you will suffer at first. Japanese entry-level jobs with no prior skill requirements pay peanuts, even in foreign countries. Just imagine how hard it is for many ex-eikaiwas that return home, J-wife in tow and have to start from scratch because they have not developed their skillsets like their domestic peers have.

        Despite all the crap, if you play it right, you can have a very unique and fulfilling life in my opinion. The thing is, you better be going in 150%, no half-assed crap.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KansaiBen View Post
          Save the passions for your hobbies because no one will pay you for indulging your hobbies.
          I turned my hobby into a business and my career.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Effected After View Post
            I turned my hobby into a business and my career.
            Your hobby is software. Stop gloating in front of the regular people.

            mov 2, %l0
            mov $l0, %l1
            smul %l0, %l1, %i0
            ret
            return

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Effected After View Post
              I turned my hobby into a business and my career.

              Wanking away to pictures of Shiori Fujitani and Ryo Hitomi nows counts as a vocation????????????

              I should sue for royalties.................

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Genkii View Post
                Learn a skill and study japanese in your freetime.

                Work for a japanese company in your homecountry and try getting transferred to the headquarters in Japan. Or work for a foreign company in Japan.
                Transfers are generally for executive level staff (waving the corporate flag) or those with specialist skills.

                With the cost of supporting a foreigner, and the likelihood that they won't complete their contract, fewer and fewer companies transfer people over to Japan.

                OP could be waiting 20 years to get here...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by J Phater
                  It isn't pointless, but language skills are secondary skills. What else are you studying? If you are just studying Japanese and nothing else, then I would suggest rethinking that.
                  I think that Terry Lloyd, founder of Linc Japan and many other business ventures published an article many years ago in one of his magazines about the absolutely useless typical bilingual staff member, often a young person who had spent some time abroad, and how expensive there were for a company. Although they could speak 2 languages fluently, they knew nothing about business, communication, teamwork, even daily office management; and while some people admired them for being able to speak 2 languages, more despised them for being such as waste of the company's resources.

                  They frequently cost the company money, due to people misinterpreting their bilingual skills for competence in other fields, and many wound up in the backwater of corporate PR, as flunkeys to carry overseas visitors bags, explain about temples in Kamakura and pay for sushi and train tickets.

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                  • #10
                    I am constantly amazed how many people suggest to me I get a Corporate Job based solely on my bilingual skills.

                    I wouldn't know an inter-office memo from a sales report. Now, even allowing for how over-inflated and over-important most corporate job descriptions are relative to the mind numbing simplicity of most of the tasks involved, actually having a basic grounding in the area in which one is employed would seem a basic requirement for success.

                    Of course, my one liners of dubious humour would undoubtedly provide daily health chuckles for my co-workers.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                      Of course, my one liners of dubious humour would undoubtedly provide daily health chuckles for my co-workers.
                      Always the cunning linguist....

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Effected After View Post
                        I turned my hobby into a business and my career.
                        I was referring to people romanticising over their interest in anime and manga and somehow thinking they can make a decent living at it.

                        People pay for what you can DO and for what you can offer them. Japan already has millions of people who can already speak Japanese. Its the OTHER that most companies here are more concerned with.

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                        • #13
                          OP: What are your primary interests? There are a few avenues you can take with a Major in Japanese alone. Some of the better options are to use it alongside another degree where it would be more useful like a Bachelor's Degree in International Business. If you were moving to Latin America as an example, Japanese would not give any advantage. Whereas working for a company that has a branch in Japan could make good use of your skills. Just choose your degree/s and career wisely.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by trip_hop View Post
                            Always the cunning linguist....
                            Lip your stockings?????





                            Originally posted by J Phater
                            TH makes an interesting comment, and I agree.

                            At my previous company I saw some atrocious hiring decisions made by managers new to Japan, hiring people with good language skills, but not the skills to actually drive the business forward. Cleaning up after these people was a nightmare.

                            Do you think that such people tend to overestimate a candidate's intelligence and aptitude based mostly on the level of their language skills????
                            It does mirror Japanese perceptions, after all.


                            Given the culture shock accompanying their situation, it is understandable, but I have seen rather confused new foreign corporate types trying to hire English speaking Japanese I know to be as dumb as 2 bricks at places like The HUB.

                            And I am pretty sure they weren't using it as a ruse to get stinky with same.

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                            • #15
                              I think if you decide to study Japanese is best to go into it fully aware of what it will and won't do for your later career prospects. A lot of people have already pointed out the disadvantages. You should keep in mind that a reasonably determined person living in Japan could probably get to the same level of Japanese ability as most Japanese language graduates in a similar or shorter timescale without having to get into debt doing it. So going to university is not really the most time or cost efficient way to learn Japanese, if that is your main goal.

                              I'd say if you really want to be a Japan specialist then by all means study Japanese, but if you just like Japan and are interested in living there at some point then study something else and keep up your interest in Japan on the side.

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