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Japan today. Is it worth it?

 
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roywebcafe



Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:42 am    Post subject: Japan today. Is it worth it? Reply with quote

Just wondering as i sieve through these post regarding TEFL in Japan. What alternative work can a teacher with a moderate level of Japanese get in Japan? In the UK where I live if I am not doing TEFL I can do a variety of other jobs even if some of them are unskilled.

Is it worth me studying Japanese at home in the UK if I am unable to live and work in Japan? I hear salaries are frozen, less people want English, Cost of living is rising, getting on the JET program looks like a bureaucratize nightmare, sabre rattling from Korea and US which threatens Japan. Any thoughts?
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mitsui



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1423
Location: Kawasaki

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not much else. It depends on what your skills are.
Some people work in business or work at computer programming, but they are qualified.

The days of making easy money are gone. If you want to get a good salary, you should make a huge effort.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 760

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japan is still a good choice. Just go over on a one year contract and see what you think. Lots to do, eat and see..
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 3:11 am    Post subject: Re: Japan today. Is it worth it? Reply with quote

roywebcafe wrote:
Just wondering as i sieve through these post regarding TEFL in Japan. What alternative work can a teacher with a moderate level of Japanese get in Japan? In the UK where I live if I am not doing TEFL I can do a variety of other jobs even if some of them are unskilled.

Is it worth me studying Japanese at home in the UK if I am unable to live and work in Japan? I hear salaries are frozen, less people want English, Cost of living is rising, getting on the JET program looks like a bureaucratize nightmare, sabre rattling from Korea and US which threatens Japan. Any thoughts?


Any time, not necessarily money, invested in learning another language is worthwhile in some way. I'd advise you not to spend too much or any money on studying Japanese in the UK as you have to be at a high proficiency level to get the genuinely good jobs in Jp companies - eg IT. Yep there are still good jobs for foreigners in Japan but they need skillsets above average and Japanese proficiency mostly.

Just come on over to work for a year in English teaching. I'd say most of the jobs are bad compared to a decade and more ago but if you start at an English school outside of Tokyo that wants a teacher full-time, you will usually make 240,000 250,000 yen a month. A steady income that doesn't go up and down.

Sure, it's only about 1,100 pounds GB to around 1, 200 pounds GB a month but in your first year your taxes for city hall and health will be low because it will be the first time working in Japan. Those taxes are calculated on the basis of previous year's income. It's in your second year that the tax rise for those is kind of steep and you of course have to pay income tax as well.

It's a myth that Japan is a low taxing country - as a US citizen the rates are lower in my country and I can also earn up to what would be 100,000 US a year in Japan before paying tax on it back in the US. Australians I know are often shocked at how low income earners are taxed in Japan.

In Japan you earn the equivalent of 20,000 US dollars and pay around 30 percent of it in income, health and the hypocritically named 'citizen's tax' - we aint good enough most of us foreigners to even receive real Permanent Residency after years of being residents and tax payers let alone citizens, but we are only 'equal' when the Japanese society wants money from us.

There are many Japan English teaching websites on the net - just do a search. I think you're better off going for an English conversation school that will pay you a fixed rate and most of those opportunities are outside Tokyo.

The Tokyo English market is terrible for many foreign teachers. For some time now the trend is towards cheaper and cheaper lessons that drive down wages and the numbers of broke and unemployed North American graduates in Tokyo means the situation is getting worse.

A big tip - avoid the chain schools in Tokyo that don't pay a fixed salary if you feel you have to come here. The exploitative schools are legion and avoid schools like the one that advertises on gaijinpot saying that full time teachers can earn between 260,000 - 300,000 yen a month.

The school's name begins with EV and from what I know after talking to ex teachers from there, the reality is that teachers are earning well below 200,000 yen a month which is 2,000 US if they are full time with so called full time teachers trying to scratch out a living on about 1,500 US bucks or less per month.

That school has been around for a long time from what I heard but was sold to a diff owner last year. Since then long term teachers have quit because of policies cutting the few benefits they had before and lots of hiring of inexperienced graduates etc who cut into the good teachers' working hours.

Avoid, run for your life from schools that don't pay you a fixed salary and from schools that advertise how you can 'earn' good money but in reality you only make money if a student books you.

If you can't get good student numbers because of the way the school runs now and because of policies that promote cutting the throats of good teachers to accommodate new fresh bodies, then you can go kick rocks even though you know how to teach and work hard.

Stay away from all these schools w/out a fixed salary. Outside Tokyo there are more schools with fixed salaries.
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AcAbroad



Joined: 22 Aug 2017
Posts: 2
Location: Staten Island, NY

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I heard you need to know some Japanese to get a job and the alt jobs are horrible is that true? I'm a newbie and wanted to teach in Japan for a year but I'm hearing it's not good unless you get in the Jet program. I talked to a kid who's telling me to teach in China and just visit Japan on my vacation days but I'm not sure I want to teach in China.
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:35 am    Post subject: Replying to above me Reply with quote

Nope, you don't need Japanese for a number of English teaching jobs although some basic Japanese is helpful for your first time in Japan. Many employers for English Conversation schools, known as Eikaiwa, actually don't want any or good Japanese skills because that way the foreigner, often known as gaijin tho the term gaikokujin is better, doesn't really know what's going on.

Japanese employers like to have too much control over their foreign employees. You might reply so what, so do employers everywhere? But we're talking about a very heirarchical society here when we talk about Japan and one where there is still no shame attached to the society classifying people as insiders or outsiders. As a foreigner you will be unashamedly put into the outsider category.

I'm married to a Japanese and have kids born here, and plenty of Japanese still like to do that to me and my kids. Don't expect this to change and you'll be happier in Japan but for those of us with families, the countdown to leaving is a real concern.

As I wrote in the post before yours, there are still okay English teaching gigs but these are mostly found outside Tokyo and often outside the real cities. DON'T go for the jobs esp in Tokyo that give false impressions that you can earn a good living when there is no fixed salary.

Those are the worst jobs in Tokyo unless you have a good part time job that can make up for the fairly poor and inconsistent income from a school where you only get paid if a student books you. I've given a big hint with the first initials of what sounds to me the worst school of that kind in Tokyo.

There are a no. of Japan English teaching job sites on the net. Search for them. You probably will have to go out of town to work in a relatively secure job that gives you a fixed salary but it's worth it if you don't want your Japan experience to become a financial nightmare fast.

As for ALTs - a big problem now is that schools are outsourcing the recruiting to agencies and English schools that will take a cut of your salary. It's best to get employed directly as I was years ago first time in Japan. But not many schools as in the school system, not Eikaiwa, do that now. JET has been raising the bar for years.

My advice is to look for employment in regional areas and outside cities. Those Eikaiwa are still sponsoring your visa and will bring you to Japan. These days going the tourist route and finding a job after will land you crappy jobs or employers asking you to work illegally while they supposedly get a visa for you.

If you must work in a big city like Tokyo or Osaka or wherever, try to get a chain school to employ you from outside and sponsor your visa. The big chain schools still do that but don't recruit as much these days. They hold recruiting sessions in big cities in the US, for example.

Never, ever work illegally on a tourist visa in Japan and as a first-timer, do not work for chain schools or individual schools that promise great money n their ads but then tell you if you don't get booked by a student, then you don't get paid. Don't work for a promise of a salary - work for a fixed salary.

Some English teachers still work for douches of employers who think they're gods throwing scraps of work to teachers and act like they're doing teachers a favor by not paying a fixed salary, but those teachers usually have been around for a while, have their own money or work at other jobs.


Last edited by victory7 on Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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AcAbroad



Joined: 22 Aug 2017
Posts: 2
Location: Staten Island, NY

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the info I'm gonna save money and get a tefl for now also could I get a decent job outside the major cities but still close to a train where I can visit cities like Tokyo when I want to.
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roywebcafe



Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Same for me thanks for all the information will definitely look for fixed salaries outside the big sities. In parallel Thailand, Bangkok paid less than some rural areas back in 05/06 when i was there.
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victory7



Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AcAbroad wrote:
Thanks for all the info I'm gonna save money and get a tefl for now also could I get a decent job outside the major cities but still close to a train where I can visit cities like Tokyo when I want to.


South-west of Tokyo, there is a prefecture which is the Japanese version of saying state or region, called Kanagawa. The city of Yokohama is there and if you live near Yokohama or Kawasaki, another city in that prefecture, you can easily travel to the heart of Tokyo by train or subway. For example you can get to Shibuya, a very popular location.

You could also live in Ibaraki prefecture and go to Tokyo through a north-eastern route including a train line that turns into the Chiyoda subway line which stops in Tokyo at popular places like Harajuku. Or you can live in Saitama or Chiba which are outside of Tokyo but reasonably clsoe to the north-eastern area of Tokyo and there are a number of train lines and subway stations that give access to Tokyo.

Just keep in mind that the best route to Japan is by having an employer sponsor you when you are outside Japan. They do all the paperwork in Japan with their local Immigration office and then you have to do the finishing biz at your end iwth the Japanese Embassy or Consulate closest to you in your country.

Would-be English teachers keep coming to Japan without a visa and sure, they can transfer their tourist visa to a work visa if an employer sponsors them in Japan.But these days it's a bigger risk because of the possibility your money will run out before you can find a job that can pay you enough to pay rent and bills.

For an example of how downgraded the English teaching industry in Tokyo is, go to craigslist.org and find the English version of craigslist in Tokyo. After reading some of the ads there you will see how many ads want only part time teachers so the employer doesn't have to sponsor them, and how low the hourly pay is.

Have a look at the ad re-posted today from a Japanese Mom who wants a private tutor for her kids near Shin Sakaurae Station. She doesn't tell you where that is - it's north-west of Tokyo but close enough to Tokyo as it's on the Mita Subway line.

But note most of all the way she starts her ad - telling the foreigner not to demand anything while she goes on to demand somebody who is prepared to work for peanuts.

She will pay 1,200 yen an hour - about 12 or 10/9 bucks per hour depending on the way your local currency is exchanged into yen. But then she says she prefers to pay 1,00 yen - for a reality check again that is 10 bucks or 9 bucks or 8 bucks depending on your local currency's exchange rate into yen.

Yep, so low for one hour for teaching beginner kids in somebody's home. No transportation fee is offered. Even if you don't live so far away and can use the Mita Line, you will still be spending around 400 yen of that money to make your way there and back home.

This is unbelievably arrogant and exploitative - make about 600 yen teaching English to beginner kids as a private tutor. Or even less depending on the exchange rate. And as bad as it is, the worse thing is this kind of ad is pretty usual in craigslist or other job ad publications in Japan, especially Tokyo.

Oh yeah, and this Japanese Mom wants you to come 3 days a week to do this - teach for one hour on each day and receive a wage that would be one of the biggest jokes around if the ad wasn't serious.

This is the reality of teaching English in Japan in 2017 and has been like this for a while. Foreigners hope to supplement their small salaries or wages with private teaching and there should be many opportunities in big cities like Tokyo in Japan but the cheap attitude together with the arrogance of this ad is not unusual.
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