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Japan today. Is it worth it?
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

currentaffairs wrote:
mitsui wrote:
Music, web design, martial arts? Sound like hobbies to me.
Well that says it all, and makes me think that work here is better for people to explore their hobbies and be content with a lower salary.
It reminds me of when I was in Poland and Morocco, where people were in it for the experience.


Well, it is about the work - life balance as well. I know several people who have lived in Japan for a long time and they have developed their hobbies and also make money from them. A number of teachers are semi-pro musicians with studios, regular gigs and so on. They may not make lots of money but Japan allows them to develop themselves.. A few of the people I know are quite successful though with regular hotel, bar and club gigs.


And I'm sure you're a nice person but I'm going to call out your posts on this topic, starting with this one. The key words are 'have lived in Japan for a long time'. For those of us who have, the opportunities were there and we were lucky. We are still benefiting tho I certainly didn't have the ones that unqualified, lucky people got in the Bubble era or the 1990s.

My wife works - she has to. We have two kids. Without my steady employment history and without her job, we'd have financial troubles. We don't - but I aint ever coming on this website and proclaiming because I can work at good jobs, then why not everybody else?

And those semi-pro musicians you praise? Guess what - most of them aint paying a yen to the taxman. They are hiding their income because they are being paid in cash. It's so common as to be unremarkable except to tell people on here what it's really like.

If they are on Instructor Visas or even Specialist in Humanities visas they have absolutely NO legal right to be working as musicians or in other jobs that don't fall into line with their visa rules. They can ask permission to work legally in other areas like music or making coffee or whatever, but if they don't and if they don't show their payments and info to the tax office here - the are BREAKING the law.

Yep, it's that simple and should be simple to understand.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 771

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is rather a bitter response if I may say so.. You are entitled to your view, of course.
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You've got an interesting interpretation of 'bitter'. I guess that's a tactic you use when somebody comes up with facts. Facts like the ones relating to the illegality of working as a musician and collecting cash in hand instead of declaring it while you tell the tax authorities you are teaching.

Another inconvenient truth relates to your kind of patronising comments about how money isn't and shouldn't be important in coming to and working in Japan. Wrong on all counts. If you are floating around the world on no apparent income then yep, you're privileged.

Many people don't have the wealth base, financial gifts from parents and relatives like trust funds, etc, to 'find themselves' and not concern themselves with money. That's why it's such a high risk for the non wealthy/non privileged to work in a foreign country where salaries are dropping like stones. That's why money has to be the focus - without it you can't pay rent and your bills, and the stakes are upped when it aint your country.

Just the other day I listened to a part-time teacher at one of the companies I work at break down in tears over their situation. They earn around 180,000 yen doing different jobs which is about 2,000 US dollars a month and they are paying the usual rent in Tokyo which is usually at least 50,000 to 60,000 yen per month for a not nice, not so liveable 'one room' apartment.

Of course the rent is more for many. In addition to utilities, phone/net and rent they paid their ironically named citizens' tax of 20,000 yen this month, their health insurance of 18,000 yen this month, and their national pension money of more than 15,000 yen per month. They came to Japan because they couldn't find a job in the USA with their good degree, and renting, running a car to get to interviews and crummy part-time jobs, and other costs in the USA were hurting them.

They're also doing it tough in Japan because it is tough to earn a living now. They are a great teacher and I made sure they can get more hours from my boss. But the financial price of living in Japan is real. They have no privileges to fall back on regarding money to float around and say money isn't important.

There are many like this teacher here.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1458
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I applied yesterday to work at a Chinese university. I see the writing on the wall.
My wife is working more than me now and we are not saving money.
If one cannot make enough money around Tokyo, why live here?

I have applied to work at a couple Japanese universities, and I would rather stay here, but I have to make money. Part-time is tough .
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The Transformer



Joined: 03 Mar 2017
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The bog standard eikaiwa jobs with the "big" eikaiwa like Aeon and ECC pay a salary range from about 250k a month to a peak of about 260k a month or so in 3-4 years. Beyond that, if you want to make more money in those jobs, you need to get a promotion. I think managers with those places make about 280-300k a month, possibly with bonuses on top.

The "best" ALT company is probably Interac, and they pay 230k a month these days, with reductions in August and December, and probably little or no pay in March, as the contracts are often only for 11 months and don't include the spring holiday.

Your living costs, living in a 1K apartment in the suburbs, will probably be about 40k or so on rent, 15k for bills, and if you shop cheap at places like Lawson 100, you could probably get your food and household expenses down to 15-20k a month. You'll probably have to pay moving in charges and furniture for your apartment, which could come to about 200-300k in total when you first move in. Income tax probably averages about 7.5% over the whole year, there's no city tax to pay in your first year, and your health insurance will probably be about 5k a month in the first year. From your second year, your health insurance will probably work out at 20-25k a month if you're on national health insurance, and city tax is probably about 5-6% of your previous year's salary.

Do the math. A bare bones monthly "survival" expenditure would probably leave you with about 150k a month disposable in your first year, and about 130k a month from the second year (presuming you get a 5k pay increase per month). And you need to work out whether you're going to fund your flight and moving in costs yourself, or ask your company to advance you the money and take it out of your wage over the first few months of work.

Beyond that, it depends how much of that disposable income you spend on eating out, clothes, shopping, drinking and entertainment and so on, before you have money left over for travelling. People sometimes do private lessons on the side to get extra money, but you want to consider whether you really want to do that on top of 5-6 hours a day potentially of eikaiwa classes, which can be draining.

If people are considering staying long-term, you want to think about how you're going to develop your career, as you really aren't going to be able to go anywhere career-wise or salary-wise in a bog standard eikaiwa instructor job. Some people get further qualified in TESOL, move up to better paying ALT jobs, or direct hire jobs with Boards of Education or private high schools. Others go into university work. Others open their own schools. Some people get out of it altogether and go into other lines of work (like recruitment consultancy for instance).
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Vince



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 540
Location: U.S.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

currentaffairs wrote:
I don't quite agree with that. You have to look at it more holistically, I think. We are not on this planet just to slave away and die.. Going somewhere simply for the money is never a good idea in the long term (short term accumulation is fine). I also think that we are meant to be where we are meant to be and lots of opportunities work related and non work related will arise in due time if you have your eyes open and are ready for change. If you get that first piece of the jigsaw puzzle right then others are more likely to follow...

I am looking at it holistically. Most people want stability in their lives, and they want their overall situation to improve as they go through life. They consider their financial situation to be a major part of their overall situation. You're right about there being other things in life too, and I'm not suggesting that the pursuit of money should be the only thing. I'm saying that, for most people, spending their growing-into-adulthood years prioritizing a hobby over a career isn't likely to work out for them.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1458
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, indeed. It can lead to divorce. Single people can afford this. Which is why TEFL in Japan seems to be for younger people and/or single people.
Some of them can stand the falling wages.
I have to make money, whether here or in another country.
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