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Career Ideas for my multi-faceted experience

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  • Career Ideas for my multi-faceted experience

    Hello everyone! I am excited to dive into this forum and learn as much as I can about the possibility of living in Japan. I'm an 32yo American guy and have spent the last 10 years in Los Angeles, California. Last year I met the woman of my dreams and we are going to be married next year in May. My fiance is Japanese and has been living in LA for around 6-7 years so she has become comfortable here, however we both are constantly and romantically kicking around the idea of moving to Japan to be with her family.

    Oddly enough, I studied Japanese in high school for 4 years and have just started up studying again since getting engaged. We visited Tokyo earlier this year and I met her family, stayed there for around 3 weeks and had the time of my life. I didn't want to leave at all. My Japanese is very rusty and still very basic, but I know the language will come quickly the more time I am there. I am absolutely fascinated with the language and culture and the idea of really immersing myself in it and experiencing it with my wife and family is really something truly exciting to me.

    I have a good career going here in California selling real estate, however it is a bit rough for us not having any family close by. My parents are in Detroit and her whole family is in Tokyo. My priorities have really changed in the past year and I'd say we are both not ruling out the option of living in Japan if it makes sense. Sacrificing my high income here for an amazing family life is something that may become more tempting in the years to come.

    My main question is this: what type of careers may exist for a guy like me other than obviously teaching English? I have a bachelors and masters degree in Music and played cello professionally for years before switching over to selling real estate for the last 5 years. I almost certainly could get work as a cellist in Tokyo, however I'm just not passionate about that type of music anymore and I doubt it could support a wife and future family. I also used to teach cello and that I'm not certain I'm excited about getting back into, although I'm sure the students would be much more disciplined!

    I have lots of experience and knowledge in marketing, web-design, photography, interior design, and other types of fields that are associated with residential real estate. I am really curious what avenues there might be for someone with my skill set, assuming of course that my Japanese will excel and eventually I will be very comfortable working in Japanese as my primary language.

    Also, anyone that has a similar background and has moved to Japan I'd love to hear your thoughts on making this big of a change in your life. Thanks in advance for your insight and I'm excited to have found the forum!

  • #2
    My advice would be to stay in the States. Forget coming here. You'll have a better chance at a life together if you stay where you are. Try and work something out where the in-laws can visit or the wife- to-be can return once a year.

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    • #3
      I would agree with K44. Stay where you are. Plan long vacations here. With the population and demographic shifts, AND the ____e economy, you are financially, mentally, better off where you are now.

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      • #4
        I'll add my agreement to the others.

        What "amazing family life" did you imagine, by the way, after only a 3-week stay here?
        And, if you don't mind my asking, just how westernized is your wife?

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        • #5
          Agree with all of the above.

          Stay where you are. Come only to Japan for extended holidays.

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          • #6
            Interesting but...

            All of you gave your straight up answers, but can you please give a little more detailed reason for this?

            Here's my opinion if you're interested...

            The reality is that the culture between Japanese and western society is completely and utterly different to what you could imagine or experience when only on holiday here. Japanese people are ridiculously polite and considerate, but there's always more to it. I'm sure you understand to a degree of what Japanese people are like, but there's more than... the National Geographic combined for how much you can and can't know about Japanese culture.

            The first and most important fact to know is that you will never, ever, be completely accepted in Japan. No matter how many years you could have been in Japan, you will always find people saying "Oh, your Japanese is really good." or patronise you in some way that will show they instantly think of you as an outsider. (That's just the light version). There will be remarks, jokes, phrases, childhood events, shows and so on that will make no sense to you in random conversation.

            People will be polite, but eventually it takes it's toll. You'll need to continuously observe and consider everyone around you to some degree. To your friends and work mates - punctuality is absolute.

            Obviously another main factor is that you can't force your culture into their world. So even if you think there's something morally wrong with a situation, it's not always a good idea to involve yourself. Or if you think holding hands, making out and being lovey-dovey in public is normal, you'll need to calm down and consider your surrounding strangers out of respect.

            It could just go on, and the only real way to know everything is to experience it for yourself.

            Financially, you're better off in America. I personally think you should give it a few more years to think about then make your decision.

            I hope this helps.

            Also, congratulations on your engagement.
            Last edited by PerfectedObsession; 2012-12-23, 12:17 PM.

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            • #7
              Career options? You seem pretty confident but there are millions of talented people in Japan. Millions! And I just don't feel like there are millions of good jobs but I may be wrong.

              I suspect your wife will pressure you more and more to move back here and you may have no choice. It's not a bad place to live, so don't worry. But take your time and work out a plan. You are, right now, grossly underestimating the competition here.

              You will not have an amazing family life if you have to work fourteen hours a day, but your wife probably will if she works zero. That's not a dig. It's just reality.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Meguroblonde View Post
                ...
                I suspect your wife will pressure you more and more to move back here and you may have no choice.

                Which is why they need to be on the same page BEFORE the marriage.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ken44 View Post
                  Which is why they need to be on the same page BEFORE the marriage.
                  Totally, dood. His fiancee has lived in LA for 6-7 years, and is increasingly thinking of returning home to be with her family.

                  Sounds like she has hit her Exciting Foreign Life Abroad expiry date, as so many of the good ones do.

                  Red Flag, 3 bell alarms...............major warning signal.

                  Mind you, the OP does sound hopelessly naive enough that he might be alright in Japan for a few years.

                  PS since nobody seems to have mentioned it, the opportunities for the OP in real estate in Japan are nil to less than that.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ken44 View Post
                    Which is why they need to be on the same page BEFORE the marriage.

                    exactly! when I am homesick, I get out my ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking and whip something up. When a Japanese wife in an international marriage gets homesick, she kidnaps the kids and pops them on a plane without a word.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jfw834 View Post
                      I am absolutely fascinated with the language and culture and the idea of really immersing myself in it and experiencing it with my wife and family is really something truly exciting to me.
                      There is fantasy and there is reality. Guess which one this is?


                      My main question is this: what type of careers may exist for a guy like me other than obviously teaching English?
                      Honestly, virtually none.

                      I almost certainly could get work as a cellist in Tokyo
                      With all due respect, I doubt you could. How many cellists are needed in Japan? And why would they hire you, the gaijin, when they could just find a Japanese cellist somewhere?

                      Also, anyone that has a similar background and has moved to Japan I'd love to hear your thoughts on making this big of a change in your life. Thanks in advance for your insight and I'm excited to have found the forum!
                      You're not going to want to hear this, but as others have said (though not this bluntly): it's a boneheaded plan.

                      You'll have no career, your eventual wife will likely go into Japan mode, which may or may not be a huge issue (but her behavior is likely to be very different than it is stateside), and you'll probably end up as an embittered poster here. Hmm... on second thought, go for it.

                      If you want my advice, move out of the dysfunctional ____hole that is LA to someplace better and call it a win.

                      Differently,
                      A.
                      Last edited by Agitator; 2012-12-23, 03:01 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Once you have kids, you will appreciate relatives closeby. Anyway, there are tons of sales jobs at international companies, however they usually require fluent Japanese. At least you have a degree, even it's not job-related.
                        I'd agree to the posters above, continue to learn Japanese (also as a courtesy to your new family) visit Japan frequently and use these trips for checking out the job market, interviews, etc. and only move if something interesting comes up. The American Chamber of Commerce also has a job section.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ttokyo View Post
                          ...visit Japan frequently and use these trips for checking out the job market, interviews, etc. and only move if something interesting comes up. The American Chamber of Commerce also has a job section.
                          Please also keep in mind that it is 100% ILLEGAL to look for jobs if you're visiting on a holiday visa, a friend of mine just went through this ordeal, even though he had no intention of accepting any of the jobs. Speaking to the work place to get a personal idea of how to work there was apparently enough to ban him. Ridiculous in my opinion, but just be careful.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PerfectedObsession View Post
                            Please also keep in mind that it is 100% ILLEGAL to look for jobs if you're visiting on a holiday visa, a friend of mine just went through this ordeal, even though he had no intention of accepting any of the jobs. Speaking to the work place to get a personal idea of how to work there was apparently enough to ban him. Ridiculous in my opinion, but just be careful.
                            Interesting. Did this person have a job back home, so he could honestly say he was only looking around ? Or was he unemployed ?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by jfw834 View Post
                              My main question is this: what type of careers may exist for a guy like me other than obviously teaching English? !
                              I'd go with the English teaching. You can't go wrong with an English teaching career in Japan and the future's never looked brighter for keen young recruits to the profession...

                              Or manga artist...

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