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Show me the money!
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2003 12:25 am    Post subject: Show me the money! Reply with quote

Ok, let's address this topic separately from the other thread I started. This question seems to have become buried with the second question in that other thread.

So, for all of you out there who have "heard" something like "there is a lot of money" or maybe even "there's easy money" to be made in Japan, where and when did you hear this?
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Celeste



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 814
Location: Fukuoka City, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that this myth has continued for so long because the Japanese nationals that most people encounter overseas are wealthy tourists. I encountered many a Chanel wearing, Gucci toting, Versace buying Japanese tourist when I lived in Vancouver, BC. A lot of people who work in the service industry encounter them too. I think that this causes less educated people to assume that everyone in Japan is rich.

Also, I blame TV. I remember during the Olympics in Nagano, there were broadcasts about the local culture that I found to be stereotyping. Of course they showed the snow monkeys, the tea ceremony, and women demonstrating the proper way to wear a Kimono, but the also showed people buying $100 watermelons, grapes that cost $1 each, people blowing ridiculous sums at Pachinko parlours. I don't think they showed any of the typical middle class stuff that people do or buy - that sort of thing wouldn't fit the stereotype that Westerners already have about Japan.

I personally came to Japan after a stint in Korea, and teaching at a private ESL school in Vancouver, because the money here was better than what I could earn in Vancouver, and the lifstyle not as difficult as Korea. I earn a good living here, and my husband and I hope to buy some real estate back in Canada after a year or two. We would certainly not tell people that the streets are paved with gold, but we will tell them that with hard work and frugal living, we are able to save quite a nice amount of money each month.


Last edited by Celeste on Wed Feb 26, 2003 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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cafebleu



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Posts: 404

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply to Glenski re show me the money! Reply with quote

Hello Glenski, you don`t know me but I have read many of your posts at this cafe and gaijinpot - you probably post elsewhere, too! I respect you for your intelligent views and willingness to help others.

I would agree with Celeste on the point about the bubble economy. That is chiefly why Japan gained a reputation in western, English speaking countries as a literal goldmine of opportunities to make money. Even now many otherwise decent books on Japan seem to give the impression that Japan is a wealthy country - and to many uninformed foreigners who know that some Japanese like learning English or need to learn English, this means that money and opportunities abound.

Having lived here for a while I would disagree that Japan is a wealthy country. The reality is the lifestyle is poor compared to an average lifestyle in western countries, yet prices are very high. Being someone interested in heirarchies and class politics, I would also argue that many Japanese workers are working class, not middle class.

The Japanese themselves don`t want to admit this and again otherwise good books on Japan play up the wealth of the Japanese. That is misleading, especially as the middle classes who like to learn English (along with the relatively wealthy) are not going to get better off - they are going to see drastic cuts in their income and standard of living in the next decade or so.

To get back to that bubble topic - I must say, Glenski, that I actually knew fellow countrymen and women who went to Japan around 1989 - 1993. And some of those people were making money that seems like a fairytale to me on the 250,000 yen per month base (not that I am complaining - I did not come to Japan to find a supposed goldmine!) salary I live on. One person I knew well enough to know she was telling the truth, bought a house in my city when she came back from her time spent teaching English. Her boyfriend had a basic Science degree and was making a little less than 400,000 a month.

It seems I came to Japan at the wrong time! I am a qualified teacher yet those people I knew were pulling in the money and had many requests for private teaching. So it is a myth that Japan is a goldmine as we know but for some lucky people back in the time period I have indicated, to a point this myth was a functioning reality. I still get people I know asking me if I have bought a house yet with the money I am earning in Japan - what a laugh! I just tell them how much things cost here and that tends to silence them!
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:32 am    Post subject: wealth relative Reply with quote

I disagree. Japan was and is a wealthy country. Unfortunately people equate wealthy country with earning lots of money as an EFL teacher. Whilst Japan is a wealthy country the cost of living is also high. The unsuspecting may also find that the standard of living does not live up to their expectations.
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cafebleu



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Posts: 404

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 9:55 am    Post subject: Replying to Andrew Reply with quote

Hi Andrew, maybe I am misinterpreting your post but you seem to be saying that I am equating a wealthy country with money earned by foreigners teaching English. Sorry but I am not.

I see your location is Australia but you may have lived in Japan or may be living in Japan at present. However, I would point you in the direction of a simple fact - in terms of standard of living for all people here (not just talking about foreigners) apart from the rich elite, Japan is far from a wealthy country.

In terms of basic facilities - roads, sanitation, recreational spaces (seen the lovely gravel and sand everywhere on those?) it can be credibly argued that Japan is more a third world country than a first world one. Yes, prices are high but that means nothing - it does not mean that most Japanese enjoy a concurrent high quality lifestyle.

Sure there are all those savings, much of which is concentrated in the postal savings system. However, given the extortion-like death duty taxes, for example, or the fortune it costs to buy a small piece of land and build a house made of materials that even the Japanese always complain about and which would be associated with housing for the poor in western societies, those savings are absolutely essential.

You pay very high costs for sub-standard goods and services. Salaries for the Japanese are `high` here compared to say, those in Australia or New Zealand. But those same Japanese salaries damn well have to be relatively high given what you get for the large sums of money you dole out for everything - value for money is not a concept in Japan.

I hold to my views on Japan as being more working class than middle class in socio-economic make-up. You will never get the true story from the Japanese themselves as they have an insecure snobbishness that probably comes from a very recent feudal past with the great mass of the people coming from poor rural backgrounds originally.

But as you are in Australia, try reading the work of real Japanese sociologists such as Sugimoto who lives in Australia and is now an Australian citizen. Sugimoto is in touch with the real social and economic position of Japan as opposed to the self-censoring views of the Japanese media and the stereotypes of the western media.
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11694
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:31 am    Post subject: Wealthy Countries Reply with quote

So what is a "wealthy country" ?

Surely GDP per head must be a fair indicator ? Then Japan IS a wealthy country. Does not mean everyone is a millionaire. Doesn't mean that EFL teachers will get rich there. (Switzerland ! Sweden ! Norway !)
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11694
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:44 am    Post subject: Why no Megayen in Nippon ? Reply with quote

Maybe the Japanese have at last twigged. Languages are learned or acquired, not taught. You do not NEED an expensive native speaker teacher standing in front of you to learn the language !

maybe it is wake up time ? I think I will do a distance learning course in flipping burgers.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 12:29 pm    Post subject: stay focused, people. Reply with quote

Let's stay on topic, folks. If you want to talk about the economy of Japan, please start another thread.

I have only received a couple of true responses to my original question.

For cafebleu, I hope (but suspect otherwise) that people reading the books on finding work in Japan will look at the copyright dates. 1995 means the information was collected 3 years earlier and written a year earlier. So, it's at best applicable to the year 1993, which is a DECADE ago!

But, I guess that's too logical for some.

Ok, so are there any other stories about how people got their false information on the RICHES in Japan?
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 11694
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 12:48 pm    Post subject: $$$$$'s in Nippon Reply with quote

Why do they believe that there are $$$$$$$$$'s just waiting to be picked up in Japan ?

Well, Glenski, a lot of people who are attracted to theis "profession" are not too bright. Does that have something to do with it ? And a lot of them have never travelled even on a daytrip to Canada.

If such HUGE numbers are prepared to belive in alien abduction stories, why not in megabucks in Japan ?
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 4:23 pm    Post subject: Great expectations Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

Quote:
For cafebleu, I hope (but suspect otherwise) that people reading the books on finding work in Japan will look at the copyright dates. 1995 means the information was collected 3 years earlier and written a year earlier. So, it's at best applicable to the year 1993, which is a DECADE ago!


Spoken like a man who spent time at university learning how to properly research a topic! I wonder how many of the people you're talking about can say the same.

Seriously, I think it's probably a combination of things. The notion of Japan as filled with incredibly rich people is a much better story than economic trouble. People want to believe that these stories are true so they're looking for evidence that confirms it and ignoring evidence that refutes it. We do it here in Hawaii...and we know better! But we want to believe that all Japanese are wealthy so we can get those tourist dollars out of them.

Maybe the lovely Japanese couple walking around Waikiki with a Gucci shopping bag is wealthy...or maybe they've scrimped and saved for this trip...or maybe it's all going on the plastic and they'll be in trouble once they get home...or maybe that's simply the first bag they could find to carry stuff around during a winter rainstorm. Whatever, we want to believe they're rich, so we usually don't consider other possibilities. It's human nature to believe what you want to beleve.

Scot47 has a good point as well. There is no shortage of dim people out there and they're probably less likely to question what they hear. Add to that the naive youngsters looking for adventure and you've got a lot of people thinking Japan is the promised land.
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andrew murphy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 51
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2003 11:44 pm    Post subject: A yen for the yen Reply with quote

I think that you have hit the nail on the head, Irish. You are right to say that "people want to believe that these stories are true so they're looking for evidence that confirms it and ignoring evidence that refutes it."

When the Japanese economy was bubbling along nicely the wiff of prosperity was in the air, the yen was strong against other currencies and the demand for EFL teachers was on the up and up. The rumour that there were untold riches to be had teaching in Japan undoubtedly took off in this environment.

Having been born the rumour then insistantly refused to die despite being based upon a lie in the first place. Oh sure we all hear the stories about a friend's former flatmate's exboyfriend earning his weight in wasabi, but then those sort of stories are told, ceteris paribus, all around the world.

I don't see that there is such a great mystery about the whole sorry affair, Glenski. If you are looking for some great ur-theory to explain the phenomenon, look no further than human nature.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 11, 2003 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In one of my linguistic classes at UCI we had one of those obnoxious little twits that had a (usually misinformed) opinion on absolutely everything. After the first few weeks of class you could actually see the teacher cringe whenever she would raise her hand.

One class, around the middle of the semester, this lady started talking about how her newly certified friend had just gone to Japan and opened his own language school and how he was making US$2,000 per week. The next week she came to class and told exactly the same story, almost word for word, except that this time her friend was making $10,000 per week.

She also mentioned that she was going to go to Japan ASAP to cash in on the riches. A week or two later she quit coming to class.
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psychedelic



Joined: 11 Feb 2003
Posts: 167
Location: China

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2003 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Paul G,
Wow, talk about timing! I just had the displeasure of debating..more like wasting much of my day with a young,obnoxious Dutch BOY TWIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an I***T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the next morning, I wanted to say a few choice words (I won't use them here) to him..basically to shut him up and let him know I didn't want to hear ANYTHING else from his BIG MOUTH! What a self-righteous,hypocritical,know-nothing,arrogant B**O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! P.S. I think that some of what I said sunk in to his albeit limited cranium. Mad
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Irish



Joined: 13 Jan 2003
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 10:30 pm    Post subject: Okay, Glenski, I got one for ya Reply with quote

Hey Glenski

Maybe you've left this subject behind but something happened to me recently and I thought I'd pass it along.

My apartment building has a new manager--a nice enough lady, bright, probably in her mid to late 40s. She's an alumna of my university (MBA 1988) and was fascinated to hear that I'm doing an MA TESL. She asked me to stop by her office sometime to tell her about it as she was looking into the field as a career change.

So, I gathered up my program literature and shuffled down to her office a few days later. She looked it over, asked some questions...and the subject of earnings came up. I made some comment about never getting rich but enjoying what I do. Then she said, "Oh, no! You can make a lot of money in Japan! In fact, you really don't even need an MA for it or even a BA--you could get a certificate and go now."

DING! "Really? Where'd you hear that?"

She couldn't remember the website off the top of her head, but it sounded like one of those fly-by-night "If you can speak it, you can teach it" online cert scams. Now, you'd think an MBA would know better than to just trust something like that but she was convinced that Japan is a pot of gold. Well, maybe a legitimate cert and her MBA would work for her, but her assertation that one could make US$60K or better annually working only 20 hours a week seems a tad...um...optimistic to me.

I tried resoning with her, Glenski, honest, but she wouldn't hear it! My dull words just couldn't fight the power of a flashy website. I encouraged her to do more research but I don't know if it helped. In the end, I told her that I was more interested in working in the ME and got out of her office as quick as I could.

So there's my annecdote, for what it's worth--not much as a measure of what might be going on, I know, but interesting in a sad sort of way.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2003 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Irish,

You know the rule of thumb when it comes to secondhand information or just plain advertising: If it sounds fishy, it probably is.

There's nothing to say that a person with an MBA knows what it's like to teach, so why should you put any stock in what she says. Besides, until she can come up with a web site address, the point is moot. Actually, with those of us in the know telling people the cold hard facts, it's already moot.

Just another case of someone who can't back up their claims.

"If you can speak it, you can teach it." Yeah, right. Just get my mother over here trying to teach English. She'd fail and bail in less than a day.
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