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The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

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  • The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

    Allright I'll try to sum it up - Recent Grad, with B.S. in Physics, Optics Option - studied Kanji on my own, can recognize about ~400. Have been interested in Japan since I was 5 years old, remembered everything I learned about Japan, made lots of friends with Japanese students over the years learned lots about the good and bad side of Japan, took 1/2 a year of Japanese Language and a culture class, the only formal study I have had - but I know stuff that they can't teach in the books. Very little about culture that friends have encountered when going over has suprised me because I learned alot from my Japanese friends and from my informal studies. I am prepared for the culture shock and am resolved to get over there to work. The 'Big 3' language agencies SUCK and there is much bias in how the choose their employees, and the N--- agency especially seems sucky b/c only one person interviews you and they took forever to get back to me with their 'thin envelope' rejection (when they said they would phone call but changed this when I called them and said they only got back to you by mail, no doubt they already learned they'd rejected me and were prompted to say this to me) - and a family friend who currently works for them says their office politics hella suck.

    I have 3 questions for the sage advice givers on this page:

    1) What are my chances of getting a job in Japan based on my profile and if they suck, let me know what options are open for me. If you need to know more about my profile let me know.

    2) Would it be better to for me to try and get a job in Japan on this end in America, snapping at opportunities where they provide visa sponsorship or save up money and live with a friend's family in Japan for 3 monthes and look for a job while in Japan and learn Japanese at the same time? - lots of opportunities are only for people currently in Japan, and it would seem more likely they would sponsor a working visa if you're already there.

    3) My last shot with one of the big 3 is with the G-word in SF in November. Cynically, I am convinced that all these companies are to some extent corrupt, but once you get chosen, the work visa is handed to you on a silver platter and once there you can try to change jobs and companies are more willing to renew a working visa than provide the initial work visa sponsorship! It seems to me that there is a system to getting hired by a big 3'er much like the system that allows people to do well on standardized test not by being smart but by learning how to take the test. Appearing to be easily manipulated might be one of these traits that they look for in hiring but what else? Any advice on that is welcome

    4) just a comment - it looks easier to get into Taiwan - I've gotten further with agencies there than in Japan.

  • #2
    Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

    Sorry, have to ignore the "I have always loved Japan" comments, they mean very little.

    Better to say what your goals and objectives are for coming here?
    Short term fun?
    Short term make money
    Medium-long term career move?

    If you look at other threads over the last few days, you'll see a general "it's not easy to get a job now" view. If you have followed Japan's current economic progress and outlook, you'll realise it is not good, and continuing further down.

    If you want a foot in the door, take your job from where you are with the big 3 - that'll get you here, get you a visa, and you can take it from there. You don't have the most useful of degrees for English teaching, and little useful work experience is mentioned. Any work you do will be teaching English, not talking to Japanese about their own country, and too much Japanese and knowledge of Japan could work against you.

    The companies are in business to make money, in whatever way the market allows. They suck? They are corrupt? Hmmmmm. Welcome to the corporate world.
    You are going to "teach English", yet have no formal qualifications or relevant experience. ??????? Hmmmmm.

    The other option of coming to Japan and looking for a job once here? Sure, but it is not easy. But again, too much Japanese will work against you. But suggest a little more tolerance towards your future employers.

    They do not need you as much as you need them.


    • #3
      Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

      First of all your attitude SUCKS and if you really want a job you should get on a plane overhere and once you enter the country on a 30 visitors visa, look for a job and a company that sponsors you for a visa. Afterwards you can make better choices with time and decide for yourself if this is right for you. Don't assume anything and if you are as educated as you say you are... there should be some job market in your country that may need you more than a teachers job that starts you off with about 1900 USD a month and the expenses of living here are outragous.


      • #4
        Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

        If I could just add a few comments to what TH had already mentioned- this is simply my take on the above posting.

        1. Knowing Japanese will not reallly help you that much for teaching EFl except that it will help you empathise with your students and you will understand how difficult it is to learn a foreign language. apart from that Japanese is used very rarely, if at all in the classroom. Some schools even ban the use of Japanese by foreign teachers, as you are being paid to teach and speak English. I can point you to ALTs in Osaka whose contracts with city high schools were not renewed because by speaking Japanese they werent considered 'foreign' enough or too 'Japanised' to teach English properly. Bt all means learn Japanese but it is not a big factor when hiring English teachers.

        2. I am not in a position to tell you whether you will get culture shock or how much but there is a big difference between having your friend tell you what happened to them and having it happen to yourself. A lot of culture shock occurs when you experience forms of behavior or thinking that are completely alien to your own and I daresay it would be difficult to imagine from the comfort of your university campus at home or sitting in your living room in sanFransisco or Colorado etc. For many of the new teachers working here they are straight out of college and a cruisy campus life, have very little money, dont speak the language and find themselves working long hours for relatively low pay with tyrannical superiors standing over them, not to mention being yanked out of their familiar surrounding not knowing anybody or knowing how where or how to look for things. You will see using the telephone in a whole new light, and you wil be away from your family and friends. Homesickness and cravings for homecooked food usually gets to most people within six months.

        Have you had experience working in foreign country where they speak a foreign language?
        How will you deal with homesickness? Working on Christmas day? Gropers on trains?
        When you find out that there is more to working in this profession than you thought there was? When you find your superior or trainer etc is less qualified than you are?

        To answer your questions (which TH put quite aptly too)
        I have 3 questions for the sage advice givers on this page:

        1) What are my chances of getting a job in Japan based on my profile and if they suck, let me know what options are open for me. If you need to know more about my profile let me know.

        With a degree you can get a visa, but this does not mean that you necessarily be any good at teaching. Until you get some training and find your sealegs and get some experience you will just be another blonge blued eyed gaijin with a BA with little else to offer people.

        Before you sniff your nose at NOVA and GEOS youd better make yourself more valuable to other employers or 'pay your dues' by getting qualified in TEFL, getting some experience etc. NOVA recruits in the US becuase they know they can find people, out every hundred people they choose 1/2 so they wont lose any sleep if you turn your nose up at them. Their teachers will be in working in Japan. You will be there, wondering why no one will hire you.

        Keep in mind also there are people here with degrees already and applying for NOVA etc in English Linguistics and TESOL that you are competing for jobs with. Like TH said, they dont need you as much as you need them. You are applying from a position of weakness IMO with a degree that is not related to the job you want to do, yet you think you are somehow too good for them.

        A lot will depend on your long and short term goals, how long you want to be in japan, where you see yourself in five years.
        My advice is:

        get some training in the field. Be prepared to spend upwards of a couple of thousand dollars on a teaching TEFL certificate. If you are not prepared to do that you are not really serious about teaching and TEFL. Myself, I spent $17,000 and 3 years to get a Masters in TEFL and I make around $70,000 a year teaching in Japan.

        get some experience. NOVA and GEOS are the front door, put your foot in the door, grit your teeth for a year. its not rocket science and you are not planning on making a career there. Most language schools are not better as they are simply for-profit business enterprises. if you want to get into 'real' etaching like a high school you will need experience, an EFL qualification and/or a Masters. None of those and you will be left stacking shelves at McNOVA.

        3. There is another post on here aout writing resumes. there are foreigners here in Japan looking for jobs but cant seem to find an English teaching jobs, even though they though employers would be falling over themselves to hire them. I would make sure you know how to present yourself, be able to write a CV and an opening letter. Otherwise you are just one in a stack of 50 they get every day. reading some posts form teachers here I can not believe the spelling mistakes (not typos, MISTAKES, often the same mistake is repeated) from EFL teachers, sloppy grammar, bad syntax. And these are native speakers with university degrees who wouldnt know a gerund or a participle if it walked up and slapped them in the face.

        2) Would it be better to for me to try and get a job in Japan on this end in America, snapping at opportunities where they provide visa sponsorship or save up money and live with a friend's family in Japan for 3 monthes and look for a job while in Japan and learn Japanese at the same time? - lots of opportunities are only for people currently in Japan, and it would seem more likely they would sponsor a working visa if you're already there.

        There are many different ways and different things work for different people. My guess is if you are over there and fire off a whole of resumes all over the place you may have little luck getting responses. most companies will want to meet you first for an interview and see if you are teaching material. if you are here it shows you are committed, you can start straight away and they dont have to worry you won't get on the plane.

        2. You could apply for a job there, accept, go through sponsorship and arranging accomodation- something comes up like a better offer or your grandfathers funeral and you never make it past the airport. You now have a class full of students in Japan with no teacher. Many teachers even line up job offers and reject when a better offer comes along. GEOS now charges applicants $200 when they apply, which they get back when they arrive in Japan. Once burned twice shy.

        If you come over here living with friends would be a great idea but keep in mind living in japan and setting up here is expensive. you will need at least $3000-4000 in the first month as salaries are paid monthly, you will be on probation salary probably for the first few months and in the meantime you have to buy clothes, get an apartment and a phone and pay key money etc. an apartment can cost you anything up to 5 months up front, and you dont want to outstay your welcome with your friends, either.

        Learning Japanese is a plus but in my experience it will take you at least a year to learn the basics and a good 2-3 years more to become functional in the language, where you can understand the TV, order meals in restaurants, fill out official forms (in Japanese) , and generally make yourself understood Working at the large language schools also, I would be very surprised if you found time at all to learn the language after working all day.

        Finally, I can see where you are at, but as TH you may need to learn how to eat some humble pie, and not come across as an angry young woman with an attitude and a chip on her shoulder for whom working at a language school is beneath her. Welcome to the real world- everyone starts that way, in cluding me and once you get here there is only one way but up, but you can not expect to have everything handed to you or think you are God's gift to teaching just because you are an American English native speaker. You and about 20,000 others here. Everything in japan has to be earned and fought for. There are opportunities for people who work hard , have the required qualifications to do the job the persistence to succeed and, basically have what employers here are seeking.


        • #5
          Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

          I agree with most of what TH and Paul wrote. Here's where I differ.

          You do not need years of language training to be fluent enough to survive in Japan. Yes, some languages training will help, and in my opinion is necessary for daily life. You can always have your employer or a student help you with some matters. It also depends on where you are posted. There is a lot of English used in the bigger cities, to the point where you don't really need Japanese at all. Bear in mind, too, that you will have precious little time to study on your own while you are here teaching.

          Your chances of getting a job are fairly slim without some kind of English teaching in your background. Yes, you have the minimum requirement for a work visa (the BS degree), but it's so far removed from teaching English that you should really establish some credibility in that field before you expect a school to take you on. What if the situation were reversed? As for me, I have a master's in microbiology, and at 41 decided to come to Japan to teach for a brief time. I wrote technical materials and felt pretty good about my ability to communicate in English on paper and through spoken language, and I'd been a formal trainer for many functions in my laboratory career. BUT, I didn't make any assumptions about my abilities to teach English as a foreign language, so I got a certificate (paid about what Paul cited) and felt much better about myself and my resume. I got hired by a language school that kept me for 3 1/2 years, then I moved on to a high school and private lessons. Bottom line...get some training.

          I have to question why a recent graduate in a field such as physics wants go jump ship so early and teach English. I've seen a lot of postings recently from people who complain, "Where are all the high paying jobs in Japan that I've heard of?" My question in return is, Where did you get that silly notion? That line of thought is very outdated, and I just have to wonder about the original poster's intentions.

          Would it be better to for me to try and get a job in Japan on this end in America, snapping at opportunities where they provide visa sponsorship or save up money and live with a friend's family in Japan for 3 months and look for a job while in Japan and learn Japanese at the same time? Well, you'd certainly be more available to pick and choose your opportunities instead of being in the group of people who can only apply to places that hire from abroad. My biggest advice is to choose the correct time to come over. April is when most schools start, and although language schools seem to hire almost any time, this is a relatively slow time of year.

          Regarding your final comment (just a comment - it looks easier to get into Taiwan - I've gotten further with agencies there than in Japan), think about what you wrote and how it pertains to your background. Why is it easier to get into Taiwan teaching English with an unrelated degree and no experience? Do they just accept people with lesser qualifications? What does that tell you about the quality of what they want to teach their students? If you are serious about teaching, get the training to do it right.


          • #6
            Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

            "studied Kanji on my own, can recognize about ~400. Have been interested in Japan since I was 5 years old, remembered everything I learned about Japan, made lots of friends with Japanese students over the years learned lots about the good and bad side of Japan, took 1/2 a year of Japanese Language and a culture class, the only formal study I have had - but I know stuff that they can't teach in the books. Very little about culture that friends have encountered when going over has suprised me because I learned alot from my Japanese friends and from my informal studies. I am prepared for the culture shock and am resolved to get over there to work. "

            Can't help thinking this will do a fat lot of good if you are chasing after jobs in Taiwan as well- although they are both neigboring Asian countries they are very different in their language, culture, political systems etc. Being a Japanophile to your bootstraps is not much use if you can not even get a job teaching here, and have to go looking in another country which has less stringent employment requirements.

            BTW do you know as much about Taiwan and what its like living there, as in many areas such as visas and work contracts it is very different to Japan. For example in Taiwan your employer owns your visa, you have to work for him until it finishes, and can legally deport you if you quit your job mid-stream You can not change employers like you can in Japan, where you own your own visa.

            BTW If you only know 400 Kanji that means there are about 1400 you havent learnt yet that are required to read a Japanese newspaper, so your comment that there is nothing left to teach you sounds a bit hollow to me. 1/2 a year of Japanese would probably only scratch the surface, you would learn a few stock phrases and some basic greetings, self-introductions. Most of the Japanese in language textbooks for foreigners is pretty watered down and simplified, lots of polite language, grammatically correct verb endings e.g. -imasu instead of "iru", "-masen" in stead of "-nai". This is not a reflection of your Japanese but simply that what you read in Japanese textbooks and what is spoken on the streets of Tokyo or Osaka or Kyoto may be two completely different things.

            Not only that, I have found most Japanese will not want you to tell them about their culture, as they already know about it. They will be more interested in finding out about yours e.g. why Americans carry guns, American customs etc. Would you be able to explain about your hometown, your background, origins of Halloween, in Japanese? They will be very happy if you can follow and observe their customs like taking your shoes off or taking a Japanese bath, but that does not really get you any closer to getting a paying job here IMO. Most Japanese will assume foreigners know nothing about Japanese until shown otherwise

            Maybe its just me but there is also an aspect of living in Japan that Japanese will only want to show you their best side and the good stuff about their culture- there are many things that Japanese will not tell you about, and they dont even talk about in Japanese among themselves. You have a whole army of people herewho try and explain Japan in English and tell foreigners what they think they want to hear, and not always what the truth is. For example in Japan at the moment there is abig hullabaloo about 5 Japanese who were kidnapped by north Korea 25 years ago who have just returned home and its all over the newspapers. However there has not been a peep fromJapanese about the thousands of Koreans and Chinese who were abducted by Japanese government to work in Japanese coal mines, Korean women forced to work in Japanese brothels (not to mention the foreign women brought here by Japanese yakuza) here now doing pretty much the same thing, or the thousands killed by germ warfare in China in WWII. You wont see that on CNN.

            Often the worst offenders are foreign reporters living in Japan who dont speak Japanese where there reporting is so off the mark that its not funny, and I seriously doubt you will have a good understanding of the culture if you have never lived here nor speak the language to any degree. Sure as Glenski said Japan is foreigner-friendly and you can live here for years without speaking the language, but I think you miss out on a whole lot of the workings of the society if you dont understand the programs on TV, the gestures and mannerisms people use etc. Of course everyones goals and reasons for being here are different and Im not knocking yours, but am just saying that after over a decade of living here there is more to Japan than meets the eye. depsite what English speaking japanese will tell you and at times a pretty difficult placeto fathom if you have never lived here and dont speak the language.


            • #7
              Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

              People seeking advice on the easiest way to get a job in Japan seems to be a perennial theme on this website. Fair enough, people want to be as prepared as possible before they get here. Good luck to you all too, it`s worth the effort once you get here.

              That said, I`m getting pretty fed up with people who think that if all else fails they could always get a job teaching English. How kind of you to stoop to our level! For some of us for whom this is a career not just a means to an end. You`ve got a degree? Congratulations. Now why on earth should language schools be throwing themselves at you? Get a Celta if you`re planning on doing this long-term, especially if you fancy working in Europe where it`s pretty much a basic requirement for an EFL job, get some experience and be thankful for the opportunity. I don`t recall reading any motivation for wanting to teach. I pity your students. You might want to find out how much they`re paying for the dubious honour of your company!


              • #8
                Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan



                • #9
                  Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan


                  A final word of advice: if you think you know so much about Japanese culture I suggest you read a book called Dogs and Demons by Alex Kerr. You can get it on Amazon. After reading that you might have second thoughts about living here, considering that japan is massively overbuilt, reeking in sleaze and corruption, boondoggle politics and political shenanigans that will shock you- an example: the Kansai Airport which was built on a refill island, has cost billions of dollars to build and is not only sinking into the sea but they are buildling a second runway out of the sea when even the first one has the airport running at a loss. That is not to mention the white elephant international airport they are building in Kobe, 30 minutes away across that water. That will bring to 3 the number of airports, including Itami.
                  Japan built 10 purpose built brand-new soccer stadiums for the world Cupthat are now collecting dust and costing taxpayers millions of dollars every year to maintain.

                  The Osaka government sunk millions of dollars (it has about a 50% stake in the park) into bringing Universal studios into Japan and has got its fingers dirty by selling food past its use by date, attaching untreated industrial water to its drinking fountains, and illegal use of fireworks in its attractions. You may wonder why people live here with all that goes on- in my case I have a wife and kids to support, earn a good salary and great vacations and I like the people. For one who has such an aversion to scum 'corporations' NOVA is nothing- at least they pay on time.I would give Japan a miss if i were you- Japan is awash in greedy and corrupt corporations, many of them technically insolvent.


                  • #10
                    Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                    To the original author - Seprana:

                    I don't think it is that difficult to get a job teaching English in Japan, but make sure your intentions are there. It is important for your students and for your own mental health that you actually enjoy teaching. Some of the conversation schools demand long hours, and you will find yourself very unhappy if you wake up every morning dreading another day at the office. Look in the Internet for some of the smaller schools (some are good, some are bad - you can make the call). The Big schools have their good and bad points. I am not going to blow smoke up your a#$ - ask them the questions you want during the interview, and make sure it is the right thing for you. You may find that teaching English is not the right job for you, and coming to Japan for an extended vacation would be a better alternative. Look around, and find what works with you best. There are sites galoure, all over the web, and the details of the job, getting the visa, etc. are pretty much laid out above. Read the criticisms, take the bad with the good, and think it over hard. I came here with almost nothing, and there were some tough times, but I grew to enjoy teaching English. I have since moved out of teaching, although I still do some part-time work for selected private students, and visit my old highschool kids a few times a year (school festival, etc.). Don't be afraid to make the jump. You don't have to have a degree in TEFL or teaching to teach. You just have to love people, and have a desire to help them learn. I guess you need to speak English pretty good too....

                    As far as the negative comments about the politics and the corporate world. Please, that is true all over the world. Japan is a great country, with amazing history, and good people. Sure, there are problems, but there are problems everywhere. Sure would rather deal with some empty soccer stadiums, than the threat of nukes coming in on a Sunday afternoon (although North Korea is a bit scarey). Let's be honest, nothing is perfect (look at Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen if you want corruption - did I mention the whole Bill Clinton stain on the dress deal - how about Ollie North) . The world is full of problems. If you worry about it, and grow pessimistic in the process, you can't live. Living is doing - Seprana do what you want.

                    Philosophy is not my cup o tea, but whatever.

                    I always come out even - even Steven.



                    • #11
                      Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                      All goes back to the beginning of the thread - what are your goals and objectives for coming here?
                      Short term fun?
                      Short term make money
                      Medium-long term career move?

                      On this philosphical note, remember the Delphic Oracle?

                      Know thyself!


                      • #12
                        Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                        Hi, me again.

                        I dont know if I have posted this anywhere else on this board but I found what is a fairly matter-of-fact tell-it-like-it-is, relatively non-biased article on what its like to work for NOVA, the pros and cons etc. . I leave you to form your own opinions. Any feedback would be most welcome.



                        • #13
                          Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                          well for what my opinion is worth. You need at least seven weeks worth of cash to support yourself if you do decide to come and have a go in japan. of course there are all sorts of jobs in japan. it seems that most of the big recruiters have there own agendas as far as recruiting goes. but there ae of course good companys as a well as bad. you will need about four weeks to deal with culture shock, a new working enviroment than western society. Japan has the most wonderful places to visit . If you key in Japan Jobs , you will be amazed at the different amounts of work other than teaching that is about. visa card is not so readily accepted as other parts of the world, but a wad full of cash will allow you to come and look. I suggest that its easier to find work while you are here.


                          • #14
                            Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                            TH, you asked me about my goals, so here they are:
                            I would like to live in Japan for more than one year, if possible - and maybe even permanently reside there; admittedly, teaching is not my ultimate goal - It seems the best way to get a foot in the door, by being an English teacher because that is how most people DO get a foot in the door over there but if I live in Japan long enough and learn enough of the language I would like to search for positions in Optics engineering - r/d, test, fiber optics, or laser engineering would be things I would look for work in, in Japan, and even that will be a challenge when I learn the language, because I have read many posts in the career forum where posters complain its hard to make the transition form language teacher to working professional in their field of study (i.e. business, engineering, etc) because they jumped straight to teaching after college and gained no experience in their field in the meantime. I have something working for me though - I have a business contact in Japan (an American running his research business out of Japan) who I have an unpaid internship with and do research for (I telecommute)- something to help me gain experience, and this may or may not prove helpful. At least I will have some experience while I keep up this internship while I am in Japan teaching and it won't hurt (he is very flexible on how much work I can do a week - He wouldn't expect as much work when I'm teaching in Japan)

                            -I would just like to set the record straight on some other things -

                            Most of you will probably think I am still naive and ignorant to some extent, and I will admit that I am to a certain extent, considering I havenft been to Japan yet, but please do not stereotype and efill in the blanksf and assume you know something about someone that turns out to be inaccurate.

                            First of all, I HAVE read Alex Kerrfs eDemons and Dogs: Tales From the Dark Side of Modern Japanf as well as eWar without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific Warf and books on Japanfs history by John Whitney Hall as well as numerous other books on Japanese culture. I KNOW about the relative corruptness of Japanfs government; Remember Kerrfs discussion about the eItai Itaif disease in Japan? Yeah they eventually won the case after many years and many deaths. Of course I was shocked to discover how the people of Japan rarely win lawsuits and other legitimate cases against their government, even when the proof is piled high in the favor of those seeking justice against the government and that the victims of Itai Itai were lucky to even eventually win the case. Those books and other people from Japan, including a environmental science major from Japan, have made me aware of the dark side of Japan, and the Itai Itai example reveals not just how little regard Japan has for environmental concerns, but in certain aspects, how Japan unfairly treats its people - On one hand it cares very much, as it tries very hard to make sure there is no unemployment, reduce harmful automobile and factory atmospheric emissions in cities but on the other hand it refuses to strictly regulate dioxin dumping, chemical dumping, etc which is very harmful to peoplefs health. Yes - I know about these things -

                            I know there is still racism - Of a different flavor than the stuff here in America certainly. I hear cases of people saying they have never encountered it while at the same time I hear accounts of racist encounters, that are not too frequent, but at the same time disturbing enough to scare off foreigners.
                            Yet despite all this I would still like to go -

                            On the assumption that I am eBlond and Blue-eyedf? I am brunette, brown eyed, and of a slightly darker complexion.

                            I NEVER stated that there is "nothing left for me to learn", look at my post, I double-checked and found no such reference. Ifll admit I was arrogant about the language companies being corrupt, though. (I had just read a bunch of posts from and maybe that was uncalled for so I apologize - and I tried not to mention actual companies- just implying which ones - I'm not too interested in trashing companies in public places.

                            I wasnft stating those facts (that I know 400 Kanji, and that I took 1/2 a year of Japanese Language) to brag (whatfs to brag about? Its not much);
                            I was stating that to inform future advice givers that Ifm not starting from nothing, a clean slate, and that I have, at the very least, a good place to start, and that at least I can communicate and understand on a very rudimentary level (for instance reading signs in train depots that say eTokyof or being able to ask for food when ordering- yeah its not much but at least its something) and giving the future advice givers a little background

                            - I thought knowing such things as their culture and traditions would be helpful NOT so that I can tell the Japanese stuff about themselves that they already know, but to be able to follow their customs and understand why the things are the way they are in Japan and to suggest that I know a little bit about how to conduct myself in Japan.

                            Yes, I know how many Kanji it takes to understand a newspaper, that was the first thing I learned when starting the study of Kanji - it takes 1500-2000 (different sources had different estimates).

                            I studied Chinese characters, I learned both the Chinese AND the Japanese meanings and guess what? The first set of 1000 are not that different - the differences are slight and the basic meanings of each individual character are essentially the same
                            - I know that the Compound meanings of characters used together in Japan will be different than those in Taiwan - (Taiwan has its own compound meanings) but the essential meanings of the individual Kanji are almost the same as the invidual Chinese characters and in that respect I wouldnet be starting off with nothing Taiwan. Plus I am doing my homework on Taiwan, I AM learning about the employment laws over there, and yes I do know that many Americans return to the US because their schools wonft procure their working visas for them. Please donft assume Ifm naive just because you donft hear me talk about something. I am being quite cautious because of the more lax regulations on employment in Taiwan and every small agency and school I go through, I am having checked out by TECRO.

                            On being eGod's gift to teaching just because (sic) I am an American English native speakerf If I had implied I had an arrogant attitude, I apologize for conveying for such a notion, but I have to admit, I probably had a bit of a chip on my shoulder, and a bit of negative view on eThe Big 3e and nothing more - maybe angry at certain language companies, but not looking down on the profession as a whole and I NEVER stated that language schools in general or that the language profession in general is ebeneath mee - Maybe I donet know the facts about the relative corruptness (if it exists to a certain extent in all companies) of all the language schools not just the big three, but I had reason to believe that applicants who are or have the potential to be the best teachers of English in Japan are not always picked - this is in part due to personal accounts I have heard from both real people and internet postings (Aeon even admitted in their interview that part of their decision on who to select is based on their business abilities); I certainly do not think working at a language school is beneath me, but I do question some of the practices of those big businesses - some have fairly positive views of a big 3 company, like my friend, who works for Nova - like I mentioned before, he stated that gthe office politics suckh but had generally good things to say about the Nova classroom and teaching his students - he has had good experiences in the classroom. However I have heard other accounts, that were absolutely negative - small crowded classrooms, little consideration for actually teaching and that most of the time, youfre just hyping up the company, pushing language course sales and cell phones. What to take seriously is a difficult matter. And yes corruptness is part of life, come on I know THAT -
                            After examining many of the work hours per week requirements of Nova and Aeon and some other companies I knew that it would a considerable task to learn the language because you are required to speak English the whole time and you are working most of the week - I KNOW that - especially when the friend working at Nova told me that he had hardly any time to learn Japanese outside of the class, and you donft even have to be told that - its apparent from looking at the working schedule. However, I am more serious than maybe what you think of as ethe average gaijin looking for a good time in Japanf - I have made efforts on my own to learn the language and have proven to myself that I am committed to making time to learn the language when I get there- Even if I only get to go to lessons 1 hour a day after work for 3 or 2 days out of the week I know that actually living in the environment in which Japanese is used can only help and not hinder my efforts and that alot of the effort must come from myself if I intend to learn the language while teaching at a language school. Yes, if I live in Tokyo, it would be easy for me to cop out and hang out at American hangouts (which are very prevalent there) and never have to learn the language, which is why I intend to request if possible, a less urban but not completely rural area in Japan so that access to all things American will be less of a temptation.
                            I have had many other experiences, i.e. being in a room with only Japanese students, or Taiwanese students, and I know that it all depends on attitude - very easily I could have given up and sulked but if you try non-verbal communication and just get in there and try you get positive results. Yeah maybe its not JUST like being in another country nor is it like being in Japan by yourself for months, but I am just trying to say I know wherewith I speak, and that I know a bit about the isolation of being the only one who doesnft know the language and I am ready to take on the challenge.
                            I have never been homesick in my life and while I concede that having not lived in Japan yet I would not know how I would fare with many different factors besides being far from home (not knowing the language, the cultural isolation) but I think I am just a little better prepared then your average gaijin.
                            Did I know I might have to work on Christmas day? . Of course I did - I will try like hell to get the day off, but if I canft itfll be part of paying those dues. Will I long for American food and suffer withdrawal?! I doubt it - there is always some place in Japan to find at least a few comfort foods, but I am quite familiar with what is available for choices in food and I have become accustomed to a variety of the Japanese foods (that arenft too expensive) and even though it is a different matter entirely to LIVE on these foods, Ifm not completely foreign to eating Japanese food and Ifll be less likely to be going through withdrawal symptoms from lack of American food and I know how to read basic labels so I wonft be starving just because I canft read labels - plus I know how to COOK those foods - Iem not coming unprepared. And I am still interested despite these things. Gropers on trains? Hell that happens here. In amusement parks with little kids even! Ifve had at least a little experience with all thats been mentioned - and that stuff happens here too. Working with unfair employers some of who are less qualified than I? I have had a few jobs where that is true, and I bit the bullet. Ifm not saying I wonft be completely un-shocked - I bet I will be shocked - but please donft assume or imply that I am the scared, blond and blue-eyed gaijin caicature.
                            I know a little about the good and bad sides of Japan and while maybe I didnft mention them in my post, it doesnft mean that I donft know anything. I definitely donft know as much as many of you do and I know that what I know is only the tip of the iceberg
                            The advice is appreciated, and I hope I havenft offended you by anything I have said - I merely wanted to clear up some misunderstandings.


                            • #15
                              Re: The 10,000th person looking for a job in Japan

                              Thank you for the clarification of your goals. You should not even consider permanent residence until you have been here and experienced the place.

                              Teaching and then going back into optics/ laser engineering? That will not be easy. Sorry, you have no work experience that you mention, you'll be a couple of years out of the subject, and if you can even find a job and go back to it, you'll be taking a drop in salary. Having a quasi-internship is one thing, getting a real job is something else. Would not pin all your hopes on that. Just try to consider what an employer would want, what he could get from a Japanese graduate, and what you could offer.

                              You seem to have looked deeply into coming over here, as shown in your vigorous self-defence, probably more so than many of the posters on this forum. But would suggest to let it go a little, relax and see how it is when you get here. Reading books is one thing, trying to order a tuna sandwich and hot tea from an oba-chan in Yamagata is something else.