More Tokyo!

Old Mar 12th 2008, 1:38 pm
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Default More Tokyo!

Hi,
Recently my girlfriend has ben talking a lot about wanting to move to Japan to teach english in the schools there and she would like us to do it together, so, I am basically trying to gather as much info as possible on relocation.

How easy is it for a non-japanese speaking person like myself to move to Japan, find a job and somewhere to pick up some language skills? We are looking at probably the Tokyo region or somewhere on the outskirts.

I read through the previous post a few threads up and saw what to expect if I was running in the £100k+ market, but unfortunately unless I kill off my parents that is not likely

I will probably post asking for lots more info once I've had a few answers

Thanks a lot
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Old Mar 14th 2008, 8:33 pm
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Default Re: More Tokyo!

For anything apart from teaching English you will struggle to get a job or indeed permission to work (i.e. visa) unless you have a specific skill that somebody wants and that the Japanese can't supply. I remember back in mid-1990s there was a surge in demand for Canadian-style houses in some parts of the country so for a while (don't know if it was sustained) there were quite a few foreign carpenters and builders working here. Something like that. What can you offer the local job market? If you can't come up with anything consider teaching English. Having a degree is preferable, being young (say, less than 30) is better as ageism is rife.

As for picking up language skills, that depends on you. Japanese grammatical structure is easy to get the hang of compared to things like French or German (just my opinion). Reading and writing require a huge effort of rote learning. It certainly can be done but probably not worth it for most people.

Originally Posted by Deszaras View Post
Hi,
Recently my girlfriend has ben talking a lot about wanting to move to Japan to teach english in the schools there and she would like us to do it together, so, I am basically trying to gather as much info as possible on relocation.

How easy is it for a non-japanese speaking person like myself to move to Japan, find a job and somewhere to pick up some language skills? We are looking at probably the Tokyo region or somewhere on the outskirts.

I read through the previous post a few threads up and saw what to expect if I was running in the £100k+ market, but unfortunately unless I kill off my parents that is not likely

I will probably post asking for lots more info once I've had a few answers

Thanks a lot
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Old Mar 15th 2008, 9:35 am
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Default Re: More Tokyo!

Originally Posted by Deszaras View Post
Hi,
Recently my girlfriend has been talking a lot about wanting to move to Japan to teach english in the schools there and she would like us to do it together, so, I am basically trying to gather as much info as possible on relocation.

Boy...you couldn't have chosen a more difficult time to think about making the move. The language industry in Japan is in the doldrums and the exchange rate means that you better not be going there to get rich....

Anyway, if you've been to university and want a year or two in Japan then the best place to have a look is the JET program.

www.jetprogramme.org

Otherwise, do you have any teaching qualifications? Any TESL qualifications? If yes, then it shouldn't be too hard to find work. If no, you ought to think about getting some before making the move.
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Old Sep 17th 2008, 1:36 am
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Default Re: More Tokyo!

Going through the JET programme is a great way to get a job teaching English in Japan. I did it 9 years ago and would recommend it.

JET takes care of all the paperwork and red tape for you, before you leave, which is a gigantic plus - if you've ever had to do that yourself (which I'm doing right now in Barbados), you'll know what I mean.

Not sure if the rules are the same, but it used to be that with JET you could stay a maximum of 3 years. But that is plenty of time to get to know locals and local schools, and get yourself into another school after your contract is up (if you were so inclined).

I agree with Dandy about the language - the hardest part about it is the kanji, which is taught completely by memorization. Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic, but they are not used exclusively. Rather, they are used in combination with Kanji, so you really need to learn all 3 in order to really get around.

Ageism is definitely visible, also as Dandy mentions, especially for women. I had the "misfortune" of turning 25 when I was in Japan, and all my colleagues felt sorry for me that I was 25 and unmarried! I was like "but I'm just a kid!"

Best of luck to you. Ganbatte.
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Old Oct 3rd 2008, 5:18 am
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Default Re: More Tokyo!

Ditto that there's no money and the market for teaching is flat. But to experience living in Japan it's the easy way to go. I reckon 80% of younger ex pats here started of teaching and we stayed. Though admittedly we came for a tad more dosh back in the day! Then, with experience we were able to move on to better jobs. etc.

The ageism thing exists but in conversation teaching it's not such a problem for foreigners. Just the people doing the work -not suprisingly considering hours/wage - tend to be young so the older guys stick out! Japan however is BLATENTLY superficial - Blue/Green/Grey eyes, blonde, red hair and slim have much more pulling power than any genuine experience

There are still a fair few jobs in conversation schools- tho not as many since Nova nosedived. And wherever you are EXPECT to used and abused!!! You will long hours usually 12-9/10pm, the money is low and days off don't usually include Saturdays!! You will get thrown in a class and told to jump up and down in front of spoilt 5 yr olds, you will be told your English grammar sucks by pompous spoilt adults - Japanese culture means complaints are made behind yer back :curse: and you are often told to teach the BOOK even though it's wrong - not you!!. You don't teach, you don't really think - you perform -a bit like a monkey.

Having said that you may/ most probably will, also meet some wonderful lifelong friends - students/people who genuinely appreciate you, want to speak English and will do anything and everything to show you warmth, friendship and the real Japan, Culture they are so proud off etc.

JET is great. They'll supply language classes too. Shane is a British English Conversation School.(It's not the best - but it's not the worst- just) and it's British culture/spelling so you don't get too much hassle with American texts. You can sort from UK.They will do all the same visa stuff as JET and supply accommodation (though when you settle -move out!!! maybe in to a gaijin house (hostel) as its way way cheaper.) Sadly neither guarantee Tokyo locations. (Osaka is just as lively btw) and you may end up of in the mountains!!

Final v.important note to your girlfriend!!
:s neaky:
Contrary to popular stereotypes - Japanese girls/women are NOT shy about coming forward!! They will openly chat western guys up in front of their wives, girlfriends. They often flirt outrageously and many learn English for the sole purpose of finding a western husband. They often succeed!!
I can only speak for Tokyo - but seriously - I've seen Many Many couples who come out here split up. You guys need to be tight to make it work. It can be done but keeping your relationship going may be much harder than the work.

Good Luck
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