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How is the EFL situation generally in Japan versus Korea
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JohnRambo



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject: How is the EFL situation generally in Japan versus Korea Reply with quote

MOD EDIT: This thread has been made into a sticky and will be left unlocked for discussion. As this is the Japan forum, this sticky thread must focus on living and teaching in Japan. Not Korea. Off-topic postings will be deleted.

This now locked thread also contains information regarding the topic under consideration in this sticky thread:

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=70394

Individuals desiring to discuss living and teaching in Korea should do so on the Korean forums. Separate registration is required.


I am curious as to how it's like for those who taught in Korea.
Are there many corrupt hagowns/academies in Japan? I believe they are called Eikawas. A friend of mine who teaches in Japan claims it's better for ESL/EFL teachers, but it's easier to feel that the grass is greener on the other side. Are the Japanese more welcoming? Do they encourage you to learn their language? What about ageism? Is that very big in Japan? After leaving Korea and going to the US for a master's, I may come to Asia. It would be good to know more about how things are like in Japan. I hear the economy is worse in Japan these days. I hope you are all right down there.


Thanks in advance...
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This might be a good thread to review if you haven't already.
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=70394

Do they encourage you to learn their language?
No. They expect mistakes and allow for them, but you are not expected to learn the language for many EFL jobs. One exception is university. Another may be some FT mainstream school jobs. Of course, the more you know, the better off you will be.

What about ageism?
In what sense? Many eikaiwa advertise that they want the youthful and energetic, and their ads portray that, but they also take people over 30, if that's what you mean.

A major site for university jobs has just had to change the way it advertises, so that it doesn't cite an upper age limit (35) anymore. Do the unis still secretly screen out candidates that way? Perhaps.

Quote:
I hear the economy is worse in Japan these days.
Worse than what? Than before? Yup. Where isn't it worse these days?
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JohnRambo



Joined: 06 Mar 2008
Posts: 178

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply. I have always been fascinated by Japan. I went there twice in my life. I do like South Korea, I can speak a little Korean, and have grown used to the food. My first Asian cultural love was Japan, and I understand they play it straight when it comes to contracts whereas that is not as likely in Korea and China. People come to Korea often because you get more financial benefits.
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cvmurrieta



Joined: 10 Jul 2008
Posts: 209
Location: Sendai, Japan

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are employers here that bend contracts to their whim as well. One of the major differences is that the EFL teacher owns the visa or status of residence, NOT the employer.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And those employers that do intend to follow your contract to the letter, can simply add totally unreasonable clauses which might allow them to exploit or take advantage of you in a somewhat legal way.

And then don't even ask about co-payments on national insurance... Many places still do that whole "well you may be in the building 40 hrs/week but you are only teaching 29.5hrs/week, so technically you are working less than the 30 hrs/week required to get Shakai Hoken".

Sure, there are many honest employers, but there are also employers who treat their workers like dirt, much like in any other country in Asia and even the world.

I worked in China for a year. I had no issues with my employers, no issues with contracts and had an amazing time. The work wasn't always easy, but the atmosphere was quite relaxed and my collegues were really supportive (sometimes even family-like). Many private schools, unis and conversation schools do their utmost to keep the foreign teachers happy, because it is a huge selling point to have them when it comes to getting large numbers of students to pay the often extortionate fees. I got overtime, monetary gifts, dinners and all kinds of things from staff, students/parents, employers and public figures alike for anything I did outside of my contracted 16 45min campus periods/week (it was hard not to feel guilty when accepting gifts from parents/students when you found out how poor they really were). And my conversation school actually constantly rescheduled the Chinese teachers lessons so that I could work at times that were convienient for me.

I know many others who had great experiences too, but I can name just as many who had a hell of a time there.

Now I am an ALT in Japan and quite happy with my life in general here. But I know others that are not. I've met eikawa people who loved their job and I've met people who hated it so much they jumped on the next plane home.

I've never experienced working in Korea so I can't comment there. But I don't think you should be too quick believe that employers are better/more honest in one country than another.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6363
Location: Need to know basis only.

PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MOD EDIT: This thread has been made into a sticky and will be left unlocked for discussion. As this is the Japan forum, this sticky thread must focus on living and teaching in Japan. Not Korea. Off-topic postings will be deleted.

This other locked thread also contains information regarding the topic under consideration in this sticky thread:

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=70394

Individuals desiring to discuss living and teaching in Korea should do so on the Korean forums. Separate registration is required.
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seklarwia



Joined: 20 Jan 2009
Posts: 1546
Location: Monkey onsen, Nagano

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Real teaching experience is often looked upon positively by employers (perhaps not always) but often it is any prior teaching in Japan that really counts. Many of the job postings I've seen that have work experience as a requirement specifically ask for Japanese school teaching experience and sometimes experience in Japanese public schools (meaning private doesn't count).

I doubt it would harm your chances, but it might not necessarily give you that edge over those with no experience either.
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Mosley



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are positives about teaching in South Korea (along w/many negatives) but one of the positives does NOT include experience that will give you an edge if you apply later for Japanese jobs. In the last year I knew 2 chaps w/Korean experience whom I thought would make fine JET ALTs. I encouraged them to apply & they both did. Guess what? Both were rejected.

There's nothing fair or logical in the Japanese propensity to dismiss EFL experience in Korea, China, etc., but it's what you can expect.
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meghanr83



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 3
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello,
This is my first post on this website! I've been reading all the comparisons between Japan and Korea and I still have a few questions.
My boyfriend and I are considering both countries for September. We want our airfare paid and accommodation paid. So it seems Korea would be a wise choice. However, if we were living together in Japan and cooking at home, would the difference in pay be substantial at all? I think I would prefer teaching in Japan, but I want to save as much money as possible.
This is my first time going to Asia, so any help would be wonderful. Thanks.
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Mosley



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 158

PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=529599&highlight=#529599

Meghan: In a perfect world, you could have your cake & eat it too. Unless you get a JET position(in which case you wouldn't start till summer of 2010), there's no way in hell that you can teach in Japan & save the kind of coin that you could in Korea. Is Korea less desirable a place than Japan? Yep, you bet...and that's why it offers the most lucrative contracts for the average Joe/Jane Schmo.

Decide your priority: experience or coin?

http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?p=513793&highlight=#513793
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Too many links for me to track back, so I'm just going to add this final thought to the thread because it gets asked a lot, and I imagine people who have worked in Korea (or know what it's like there) will want to know.

In Japan, the work visa is yours, not your employer's. In Japan, you can quit a job, get laid off or fired, and the visa still remains yours. It is valid as long as it does not expire. Change jobs here, and you don't lose the visa. You should get a letter of release (employers are obligated by law to give it to you) if you change employers and visa sponsorship.


Last edited by Glenski on Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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meghanr83



Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 3
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys,
I appreciate your input.
The more research I do, the more it sounds like teaching in Japan will be something we pursue after Korea.
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JRJohn



Joined: 21 Jun 2006
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:48 pm    Post subject: The EFL Situation In Japan vs. South Korea Reply with quote

I have a 3 year Japanese visa and I taught there for a while. To compare Japan and Korea we need proper surveys and statistics, and sadly here we only have anecdotes. The comment about the employer owning the Korean visa is relevant. I have taught in both countries, but I spent far longer in Japan. I taught as an ALT and in a private school. I got to see Chiba and Tokyo, and Kamakura and I ended up writing messages in kanji and understanding the JR map in Japanese. I worked in an eikaiwa. They could be maddeningly fussy about one or two tiny "faults." but the job continued. The school owned my apartment but charged a fortune. Most problems related to that one fact. But living there was intensely real, and and when I left I felt I had unfinished business there. At that moment Korea seemed financially better. But then I came against the new visa application process for Korean public schools. I applied this year, and didn't go. Even with the visa, they wanted 5 or 6 extra docs. The Japanese now seem less truculent, less stubbornly unreasonable.
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mrbbkk



Joined: 02 Jun 2007
Posts: 70
Location: Tokyo

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:42 am    Post subject: My experience in Tokyo Reply with quote

I lived in Japan for 14 years and worked there for 13 years. I had both a work visa and a spousal visa.

The best jobs there are not in the Jet program. Best is to teach university full time and these jobs require qualifications and experience for the most part. Some corporate jobs pay very well. Some pay 500 a day for working all day.

I never made less than 300,000 yen a month and that was just maybe the first year. For the next 6 or 7 years, i mostly made 400,000 to 500,000 yen a month by teaching at a Junior college or University part time 5 days a week and teaching corporate classes 3 or 4 evenings a week and a few privates here and there. My last five years there I worked full time at a University and part time one day a week at another College and I made 600,000 to 650,000 yen a month with 5 months paid vacation for teaching less than 14 contact hours a week.

This might sound good to some but some Japanese professors get over 1 million yen per month with up to 4 million a year in research money and full benefits for teaching two hours a week and doing research the rest of the time. They often make additional money from the private sector and book sales.

My cousin who was a prof at a big university in the states for over 20 years, sold 20 million dollars in text books and made a couple million in addition to her professor's salary.

In Japan you have to be experienced and qualified to get the best jobs but more importantly you need connections and introductions from someone who is already working there. This personal connection is more important than your resume.

Things are not as good as they used to be but anyone willing to work hard there, (20 to 30 contact hours a week) can make 300,000 to 500,000 even now.

There is a glass-ceiling in most schools but they do make exceptions if you have the right connections or speak Japanese well, but many don't hire those over 40 or 45 or 50 for full-time positions, It depends on the school. Speaking Japanese and looking Gaijin(Foreigner) is a plus but being culturally sensitive and knowlegeable is also important.

I could have made 700,000 to 1 million yen a month if I had been willing to teach 30 to 40 hours a week instead of 14 but I had a wife and wanted a life. I never taught during my five months off when I was a full time teacher there but I could have made additional money if I had.

Some private students and classes pay stupid money like 10,000 per hour for a 1 hour private lesson or 25,000 for a two private group class.

The key is to have a big personal network and the right connections and introductions. For some this is easier that others. Being lucky and in the right place at the right time also helps.

Know about the culture. I was always well-dressed in freshly laundered shirts, clean-shaven and understood Japanese etiquette and manners.
Keep your mouth shut for the most part. They will ask for your opinion when they want it. Be brief and polite.

When I was there, 1988 to 2004, anyone could make 300,000 to 500,000.
The more qualified and experienced could make 400,000 to 700,000 and the guys who worked as much as possible and had great gigs and private classes could make 700,000 to 1 million yen per month.

I think now it is more like 250,000 to 800,000 but only the top 20% will make over 600,000 yen per month.
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cafebleu



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Posts: 404

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Japan looks to be an increasingly downgraded proposition for those who are thinking of going there. I'm a vet of Korea/Japan/a few European countries and my native UK.

From all accounts the fall of Nova and then Geos are simply the obvious warning signs that eikaiwa is not what it was even 4 or 5 years ago. Are new applicants really willing to fly around the world and spend their savings for no subsidised housing in most cases, big deposits (although a minority of the better schools can help with the housing key money etc) and a worsening of working conditions?

Once Korea was the alternative with its paid housing and airfare, although the housing was and is poor to very poor in most cases. You would think that government schools would provide half decent housing as the practice but often it's not the case.

The Korean situation has changed - the govt jobs for working in the school system are still available but hours are up, teachers have to sit at their desks unnecessarily even to the point of going in when nobody else is at the school, and provincial education offices have become petty tyrants in many cases.

Jukus are called hagwons or academies and it's simply a lottery - there are good employers out there but the criminals and unstable/bigoted ones also are thick on the ground.

You will get more money in Korea but you will have to decide whether it is worth it for all the accompanying stress. Korea, as with Japan, is going through another phase of xenophobia.

There is far more resentment of foreigners in Korea for a no. of reasons including a national inferiority complex that manifests itself in bitterness about other nations' achievements and govt propaganda still being taught in the school system from kindergarten onwards about so called Korean superiority and pure bloodedness.

Japan is evidently undergoing anti foreigner sentiment as shown by the rising surveillance of foreigners by authorities such as police. However, Japanese people except for a small minority do not bother with such activity.

MOD EDIT

I would advise anybody to stay home. Let Japan and Korea scapegoat foreigners and leave them to their own devices. Especially in Korea where the xenophobes have been emboldened by so many fresh out of university graduates who are prepared to put up with so much including declining salaries and conditions. This is just encouraging exploitation.
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