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Is ESL Japan really that bad? I hear lots of bad things
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alonzo9772



Joined: 23 Sep 2016
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:16 am    Post subject: Is ESL Japan really that bad? I hear lots of bad things Reply with quote

I am trying to juggle and weigh my English teaching option between China, Korea, and Japan. Honestly, I am siding more with Korea because they seem to be offering more with a prepaid flight, free housing, and more than 2 million won salary per month.

I have semi-eliminated China because of negative experiences that I have personally heard from people about the country: bad pollution, squatter toilets, both the men and women are known to spit around outside, and the language centers only reimburse the airplane ride to Beijing after the contract completion. They do not do prepaid flights.

With Japan, I have personally not heard any experiences about it. It seems to be the least known ESL career out of the three. However, from doing some blog reading and YouTube video watching, most people seem to have negative things to say about teaching English in Japan. Is it true that the schools do not provide even an allowance for housing, and they only begin paying the salary after three months of working?

What are some tips to reel in a good English teaching job in Japan? I have to think that there have to be some good ones hidden. They can't be all bad.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1471
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like you would prefer JET.
You would have to wait a month before getting paid.
When you move to Japan you need money for the first month.

It depends where you work.
But in general, the first job is not so good, but it can get better.
Westgate does help with housing, but it is not free.

Wages are not like they used to be. So many teachers are part-time and have to work at more than one place.
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rtm



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 998
Location: US

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Is ESL Japan really that bad? I hear lots of bad things Reply with quote

alonzo9772 wrote:
With Japan, I have personally not heard any experiences about it. It seems to be the least known ESL career out of the three. However, from doing some blog reading and YouTube video watching, most people seem to have negative things to say about teaching English in Japan. Is it true that the schools do not provide even an allowance for housing, and they only begin paying the salary after three months of working?

Japan has actually been a major ESL destination for longer than Korea or China, which have more recently developed ESL industries. Japan is an appealing place to live for many people because it is one of the most developed countries in Asia. Combine a lot of people wanting to work there with a weak economy and a lack of real reasons for most Japanese to actually learn English, and it's really become an employer's market.

Employers used to offer housing and flights decades ago, but with more than enough people willing to take low-paying jobs with no perks now, employers have no reason to offer anything else. The JET Program (run by the government) is one of the few to still offer flights (and sometimes subsidized housing).

In Japan, people are paid at the end of the month, so you generally won't get a paycheck until after you've worked for a month. If you come over without a job, it might take you a while to find one, and once you do, you'll have to wait for your visa application to be processed before you can (legally) work. I think that's probably where the 3 month thing you saw came from. It's not necessarily that long, but could be, and you'll need to be able to support yourself during that time (and Japan can be expensive).
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Sudz



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 431

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If money is a significant motivator, then yes Korea might be the better option (I'd actually suggest China as well, though it doesn't sound like your kind of place).

However, try to get in with JET though if you can. As far as entry level gigs go, you likely won't do much better than that.
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Someone on here reckoned Japan pays 400,000 yen a month for starting salaries at unis.
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alonzo9772



Joined: 23 Sep 2016
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 9:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Is ESL Japan really that bad? I hear lots of bad things Reply with quote

rtm wrote:
alonzo9772 wrote:
With Japan, I have personally not heard any experiences about it. It seems to be the least known ESL career out of the three. However, from doing some blog reading and YouTube video watching, most people seem to have negative things to say about teaching English in Japan. Is it true that the schools do not provide even an allowance for housing, and they only begin paying the salary after three months of working?

Japan has actually been a major ESL destination for longer than Korea or China, which have more recently developed ESL industries. Japan is an appealing place to live for many people because it is one of the most developed countries in Asia. Combine a lot of people wanting to work there with a weak economy and a lack of real reasons for most Japanese to actually learn English, and it's really become an employer's market.

Employers used to offer housing and flights decades ago, but with more than enough people willing to take low-paying jobs with no perks now, employers have no reason to offer anything else. The JET Program (run by the government) is one of the few to still offer flights (and sometimes subsidized housing).

In Japan, people are paid at the end of the month, so you generally won't get a paycheck until after you've worked for a month. If you come over without a job, it might take you a while to find one, and once you do, you'll have to wait for your visa application to be processed before you can (legally) work. I think that's probably where the 3 month thing you saw came from. It's not necessarily that long, but could be, and you'll need to be able to support yourself during that time (and Japan can be expensive).


Yes, I hear that teaching English in Japan used to be a very lucrative job back in the 80s and 90s. However, once there was a surge of applications in the 2000s, the Japanese schools had to cut down on the benefits in order to filter out the people who only want to be there for the idea of getting a free Japanese vacation.

The same thing is also starting to happen in Korea. EPIK no longer offers prepaid flights to Korea, and most hagwons are now offering only one-way flights to Incheon, so people are telling to jump on the opportunity to teach in Korea before the ESL industry completely crumbles away in 10 or 20 years.
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea is better than Japan for esl jobs as you get a 1 way flight paid upfront by hakwons and free accommodation. Someone reckons JETS get subsidised accommodation in Japan but it's unclear how many of them do. Tax in japan is higher than Korea which is 3%. All salaries in Japan are 250k yen a month unless you are a Jet then its 280k. Apparently uni jobs pay 400,000 starting salaries if u have a masters and can speak some japanese (why??? Its EFL). A lot of uni jobs are also apparently part time. Stick with korea, get privates on top and top up your 2500dollar a month salary and make it 3500 dollars a month net. Who can make that in Japan after all taxes and accommodation costs
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1471
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

400,000? No.
I used to get 320,000 with publications and experience in this country.

The last couple of years I interviewed at a couple universities.
Starting pay was 240,000-290,000 per month.
In fact, pay has been cut at some places.
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So why are you still in Japan then when you can earn 290k Yen in Korea PLUS the free accommodation and 2 months holidays paid and flights??? Honestly, some geezer said it's 400k STARTING salary and bragged it goes up and up. International high school teachers might get 400k and up if it's a proper international school though. And how much is the tax in Japan and accommodation? You need privates in Japan (and Korea) to make it worthwhile EFLing nowadays.
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1471
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Japanese wife would never live in Korea.
I am not single.
I am looking at work in the US.

Depends where you live. I live in Kawasaki and pay a lot.
I can walk to a station in just 12 minutes, and get to Shinjuku in less than 40 minutes.
The suburbs around Tokyo are not cheap.
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's funny you should say that. I have been here since July and I don't think I have met or seen ANY Japanese person here in Korea. Not in 5 months. I don't really like it here either. I don't like their food although I don't mind a pork cutlet and rice at one place I go to. And I have found a place that does a tasty hamburger with chilli con carne sauce. But that's about it. Pay is LOW in my opinion (2.3m won per month). So I tutor online at weekends and do some privates (not many I can't find them). Can you find privates easily in Japan?

But yeh, they are not as friendly Koreans as Japanese are towards foreigners. They really just ignore you in the street, hardly ever smile and beer is quite expensive. What do you mean it's expensive around Tokyo suburbs? You mean accommodation?
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1471
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea is cheaper. Housing is a lot where I live.


Private teaching is usually through who you know.
I have not done it in years.
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much is tax in Japan? It's 3% in Korea so nothing at all comes off your salary except about $30
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Chopin16



Joined: 30 Nov 2016
Posts: 69

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea is not cheaper than Japan to eat out I don't think. It costs $25-40 to eat out here. Steaks in supermarkets are $22 for two 8oz steaks too. In Japan you can eat in noodle bars for $8
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alonzo9772



Joined: 23 Sep 2016
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chopin16 wrote:
It's funny you should say that. I have been here since July and I don't think I have met or seen ANY Japanese person here in Korea. Not in 5 months. I don't really like it here either. I don't like their food although I don't mind a pork cutlet and rice at one place I go to. And I have found a place that does a tasty hamburger with chilli con carne sauce. But that's about it. Pay is LOW in my opinion (2.3m won per month). So I tutor online at weekends and do some privates (not many I can't find them). Can you find privates easily in Japan?

But yeh, they are not as friendly Koreans as Japanese are towards foreigners. They really just ignore you in the street, hardly ever smile and beer is quite expensive. What do you mean it's expensive around Tokyo suburbs? You mean accommodation?


I know how you feel. I used to be an exchange student in Korea last year. There were only about ten different foods that I enjoyed because of how overly spicy Koreans like to make everything.

It is also true that it seems like about half of Koreans give off an air of xenophobia. Thankfully, I was lucky to be in a program where I lived in a dorm building with a bunch of Korean and Chinese students that were interested in meeting westerners. However, once I would step off of the campus, it was a completely different atmosphere. I would get stink eyes and the occasional rude comment for the mere fact that I was not born Korean.
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