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advice on moving to Kyoto please

 
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Ben



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:06 am    Post subject: advice on moving to Kyoto please Reply with quote

I really want to head of to Kyoto in March sometime to teach english, though mainly to be with my Japanese girlfriend who is finishing uni there. I've always planned to go to Japan to teach, even before I met my wonderful girlfriend, but now I can't wait any longer!
I'm an Australian citizen, currently in New Zealand studying/working. I dont have a degree yet, but I do have experience teaching privately here to Korean and Japanese students.
I was thinking I would go either on a tourist visa, and try and find a job, and then get a working visa. Or go on a working holiday visa. It's just that if I go on a working holiday visa, I have to fill out an itinery containing planned places of employment etc... can I just list anywhere, or do they actually check?
Does anyone have any advice, (except for get a degree first) such as the best ways to go about getting employment, what I should do about my visa's, what schools in the Kyoto are are best and would employ some one with out a degree. And the best way to privately teach people, and find students?
Thank you so much for any advice or help that you may be able to give me! Arigato!!!
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Sherri



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Posts: 748
Location: The Big Island, Hawaii

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2003 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without a degree you will not qualify for a work visa. If you can get a working holiday visa I think this is the way for you to go. I don't live in Kyoto but I have friends who do. My understanding is that there are very few schools in Kyoto itself and there is a lot of competition for jobs there--lots of English teachers want to live there. Many people live in Kyoto and make the commute to Osaka for work (I think it is about 30 or 40 minutes by train).
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben

I work and live in Kyoto and I just want to make you aware of a couple of things:

1. It is illegal to look for a job or even work on a tourist visa. If you landed at Kansai airport and told immigration you cam to look for work you would be put on the next plane out of the country. Some people do come here and look for work and then go to Korea to change their visa to a work visa. For this you will need a university degree. As the above poster mentioned, not many employers will even consider you for an interview unless you have a degree or can get a work visa. a working holiday visa is your only option

2. As the above poster mentioned there are only a few language schools in Kyoto (about 20 that I know of) most will require a degree, thought its possible to work part time on a WHV. I can send you a list of schools in Kyoto if you are interested .

Keep in mind that Japan is awash in teachers with university degrees (a visa requirement, nota job qualification), many have Masters degrees (including myself) and even phDs whom you are competing for jobs with.

Nowadays you can not just waltz into a foreign country with a tourist visa and native ability and expect to land work. Schools now demand a minimum of qualifications in order to get a work visa, and preferably teaching experience. Every man and his dog wants to live in Kyoto and many commute to Osaka for worka s there are not enough jobs here.
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also forgot to mention that in order to get a working holiday visa that allows you to work in japan you need to show evidence of funds (cash TC or credit card) showing that you are able to supprt yourself while in Japan. Even after you arrive here it may take you a while to find a job and you may not get paid for up to six weeks. If you are from Australia I would suggest you bring at least $AUS3,000

If you are studying in New zealand I hope you have that kind of cash as you are going to need it.

As for private students you can check some of the other posts but it takes a while to build up a reasonable number, they tend to quit on you without warning and you need to have a teaching plan drawn up with with what you will charge.

teaching Korean and japanese students in New Zealand on a private basis is fine, but coming here to teach in a semi-professional permanent capacity where you will be earning a full-time income competing against teachers with Masters degrees is a whole different thing all together. Most teachers here not only have degrees but are experienced language teachers and many have professional training, and that is what schools are asking for nowadays.

Of course everyone has to start somewhere re gaining experience and qualifications but I just want to let you knwo what you are up against and what you can expect when you get here. Tourist visa and WHV holders are quite low on the pecking order of things with too many qualified
teachers here chasing after too few jobs.

Come on the WH visa, make sure you bring enough cash with you and experience the culture and language etc and you shouldnt have too many problems.

PS I forgot to mention- if you choose to work on a tourist visa, and your boss doesnt pay your wages, takes out too much in tax or there are mysterious deductions, or fires you without warning you dont have a leg to stand on becuase of your illegal work status.
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Ben



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hhhmmm, I see, thanks for the advice. Do you think it would be better for me to try my luck in Osaka? Or even Gifu?
I do have enough money for a WHV, $5000 saved up. I'm just not too sure about how I should fill out the itinerary...I don't know where I'm going to work yet...It's hard, because I always see conflicting ideas on teaching in Japan. Lot's of people always say how easy it is to get work, even with out a degree, and how they save all this money up, and then the other lot always state how heavy the competition is, and how hard it is to find jobs when you are degreeless. So I don't know what to think. I think I should just take my chances and jump straight into the deep end, and try my luck in the Osaka/Kyoto are....I do know that I don't want to wait for another two years, but at the same time I don't want to end up on the street and stranded. aahhh @_@
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben

IMO I think it will be pretty much the same anywhere on a WHV. You may pick up jobs but they pay less, they may be in inconvenient locations, or they want you to teach 3 year olds. Working on a working holiday visa can still leave you exposed to exploitation, non payment of wages, strange deductions and all other kinds of problems.

I recently wrote a post to someone about what to write on the itinerary for WHV

Immigration does not want a blow by blow day by day account of where you will be when you are in Japan. They dont check once you get the visa The working holiday visa is meant as a travelling holiday, working so you can pay your way through Japan, not to find a semi permanent position. If you say you have a job lined up on a working holiday visa for instance, they may refuse to give you the visa. All they are interested in is that you can support yourself, you wont go on the dole or land up in hospital with a huge hospital bill and be a burden on the tax payer.

With a WHV you are free to look around, you are not tied to one sponsor and you can leave whenever you wish, provided you give adequate notice
It may take you a while to find something, but if you confine yourself to Kyoto you may be disappointed. My advice would be, if you want to be close to your girlfriend, is to consider other areas close to kyoto like Nara, Shiga, and some of the places between Kyoto and Osaka (remember Osaka is a prefecture which is as big in area as sydney, while there are many 'cities' including the city of Osaka, within Osaka prefecture..

To to put a spin on some of the questions you ask (and I have been teaching here 15 years)


"Lot's of people always say how easy it is to get work"

If you have a degree, if you have a work visa, if you have experience, if you apply at the right time, if you are the right nationality.... it depends on a myriad of factors. I know of people searching for 2 months in Tokyo and cant find a job. It depends on what you yourself bring to the table.

when you mean "work" what do you mean? working full time at NOVA pulling in a 250,000 yen a month salary? Or teaching 5 year olds part time for 1,000 yen an hour? there is plenty of work. It depends on what your asking rate is and what you are prepared to accept, and whether you are able to work. 50% of NOVA teachers quit within a year because of the hours and working conditions.

Have a look at the types of jobs available check out

http://www.ohayosensei.com or http://www.jobsinjapan.com

Most will ask for a degree (for the visa) though many will ask for Japanese residency as well.


"even with out a degree, and how they save all this money up,"

How many hours a week were they teaching? What were they being paid?How much did they save per month? what were there living expenses? How much rent did they pay?

On a 250,000 yen a month salary you can expect to save after expenses (rent, food utilities) about $US500 or $AUS 700. That does not include things like student loans, health and travel insurance, outstanding credit card debt, apartment key money or airfare. Japan is not a cheap country to live in, and living in Kyoto costs more than in Osaka. City tax alone last year (based on my income) I paid over AUS$4000.
alot will depend on your spending habits, whether you eat out every night and want to party, or if you are more frugal.

To a person arriving for the first time in Japan it can seem like a lot of money, especially when you change it into dollars or think about the excahnge rate all the time. When you earn in yen and spend in yen its a different story and it doesnt go as far.

Part time I would daresay you would cover your expenses or run at a loss every month.

If you spend a 40 hour week at a conversation school (NOVA teachers finish work at 9 or 10 pm) all you do teach privates or moonlight a second job you could make up to 300-350,000 yen a month but your whole time would be taken up by working and teaching. No time to travel and see the country, no time to learn japanese, no time to spend with your girlfriend. Do you want to do these things or to make money? You can usually do one or or the other, not both, so it depends on what your goals and motivation are.

and then the other lot always state how heavy the competition is, and how hard it is to find jobs when you are degreeless.

Like I said, the degree is not necessary to get a job. You can work on a spouse visa, a dependents visa, a culture visa or permanent resident. if you want to get a sponsored instructors visa allowing you to work full-time you will need a degree and there are plenty of people here with degrees and experience who can not find jobs. I teach in the university field in Japan, and I applied for a job at a university where all the applicants had Masters degrees and teaching experience. Over 100 appplied for 3 places.

If you have a degree, work here a year or two and decide you want to stay more when your WHV runs out, things get serious with your girlfriend, you will be able to stay here if you have a degree. I came myself with a BA, taught a few years and then paid my way for 3 years through graduate school and now teach at a university. My take home salary is now twice what conversation school teachers get (and then some).

I dont say this to boast but to emphasise that there is a 'road to riches' in Japan and its long, slow and painful. It wont happen overnight, but a lot will depend on our long term goals (do you want to spend just a year in Japan or do you see yourself staying longer?)

Guys who tell you they can save a lot of money on a working holiday visa are probably lying or exaggerating. Its hard enough making ends meet on a full time salary at NOVA and thats not something most people continue with for more than a year or two.
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PAULH



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 4672
Location: Western Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben

send me your email address and I will send you the link with the names of Kyoto schools. Im not allowed to post job links on here so email is better

hackshaw@hiei.kit.ac.jp

PS You might want to ask your girlfriend to send you the classifieds section of Monday issue of Japan Times, Kansai section. that is when you will see jobs in Kyoto and Osaka.
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