Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Big in Japan
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Japan
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:43 pm    Post subject: Big in Japan Reply with quote

Dear fellow teachers,

As you know, many minds are usually better than one mind. I would like to start this topic to share our ideas, thoughts, and experiences regarding being successful in Japan.

I know that being a foreigner in Japan isn't easy. Being a foreigner AND successful in Japan can be very difficult. Let us use this thread to brainstorm ideas and share tips about rising up in the ranks, opening businesses, and being wealthy in this land we call home.

Let's start from the beginning - a humble eikaiwa worker - and continue until we get to the top of Tokyo!

Please do share.

Cheers!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess it's safe to say that learning the language is the most important first step.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
hagiwaramai



Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 113
Location: Marines Stadium

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Become a face at the local Soapland" is a direct quote from famous Japan writer Boye de Mente in one of his books about being a successful foreign businessman in Japan. Who are we to question him.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagiwaramai wrote:
"Become a face at the local Soapland"


What does that mean?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
hagiwaramai



Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 113
Location: Marines Stadium

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALX wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
"Become a face at the local Soapland"


What does that mean?

Pop your head round the door of the local brothel now and again, as it's a good place to make contacts, or take and impress business clients. According to Mr de Mente.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2534
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagiwaramai wrote:
"Become a face at the local Soapland"


The ole' Turkish baths.

...but don't call them that in front of the diplomats from the Turkish embassy.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ALX



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 36
Location: The Big Hill

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hagiwaramai wrote:
ALX wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
"Become a face at the local Soapland"


What does that mean?

Pop your head round the door of the local brothel now and again, as it's a good place to make contacts, or take and impress business clients. According to Mr de Mente.


I try to stay away from brothels. They aren't my cup of tea (anymore).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALX wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
ALX wrote:
hagiwaramai wrote:
"Become a face at the local Soapland"


What does that mean?

Pop your head round the door of the local brothel now and again, as it's a good place to make contacts, or take and impress business clients. According to Mr de Mente.


I try to stay away from brothels. They aren't my cup of tea (anymore).
Brothels, and I'll add to that unmoderated Internet forums like Gaijinpot, Y!A, and YouTube. Basically, any place where rules don't exist and people can do whatever they want with impunity. Stay away from those places.

Here's my list of tools for success:

- One of the biggest reasons people fail in life is that they come up with non-mathematical solutions to mathematical problems. This goes for almost anything weight loss, saving money, learning Japanese, etc. If you're trying to lose weight, count calories. If you're trying to save money, make a budget and stick to it. If you're trying to learn Japanese, use an SRS system like Anki and track your statistics.

- Learn the language. And don't just say "oh yeah, I'm fluent in Japanese." PROVE IT. Pass the JLPT N1 or get a high J-Test score. These tests don't prove fluency, but anyone who is even remotely close to fluent should be able to do well on them, and scores are often required for jobs/educational opportunities.

- Know your rights. I'm not talking about crafty ways to evade gaijin card checks or fingerprinting, I'm talking about knowing how the visa/immigration system works and using that knowledge to give yourself the most stable, freedom-filled existence you can have here. Someone who doesn't know what kind of visa he/she has is a moron (except for children). The biggest morons are the people who live in Japan for ten years, get eijūken, and then lose it because they forgot to apply for a reentry permit. Japanese work visas are actually relatively stable compared to the visas available in Korea, Taiwan, and China, but it's important to know the renewal criteria, the ways they can be lost (forgetting reentry permits, being unemployed for 90 days or more, etc.), and how to upgrade them (1 Arrow 3 years, 3 Arrow 5 years, and PR [eijūken]). Oh, and apply for extensions ASAP to avoid any last-minute surprises. It is possible to extend your visa up to two months before it expires, so in other words, if your visa expires on May 6, you need to be in the immigration office, renewing, no later than maybe March 10. Otherwise, you're really gambling.

- Keep a balanced viewpoint (not apologist or basher)

- Don't base your entire self-worth on how Japanese you can become. Because no matter how far you progress, you'll probably never speak Japanese as well as a Japanese person, and you'll probably never be as knowledgeable of J-culture as a Japanese adult. Even if you're the 1 in 1,000 that succeeds, you won't be fully recognized for it. Don't just learn Japanese, but also cultivate skills that aren't language or culture-dependent, like computer programming, music, or whatever else suits your fancy. Don't be afraid to embrace your gaijinness. Remember, when talking about English, Western history, and Western culture, YOU are the authority. YOU are allowed to have a cool accent without seeming pretentious. YOU can pull off a Halloween costume of a Viking or a Greek god at a Halloween party and actually look good doing it. Don't ignore these things. Embrace them.

- Have a mix of Japanese and gaijin friends. Japanese friends remind you that Japanese aren't generally out to get us, and they can be helpful with learning the language and culture. Gaijin friends are better for a "shoulder to cry on," because unlike Japanese people, they understand what it's like to be a foreigner here.

- Know that yes, it is possible to move up the hierarchy here, and it is possible to transcend the original purpose for which you came. There are accredited American universities in Japan like TUJ, UMUC, Lakeland College, etc. You can go back to school and get a new degree for a new profession without ever leaving Japan, and without having to be completely fluent in Japanese. When I moved to Asia in '06, I was nothing a 19-year-old with no college degree, who had worked at 7-Eleven full time from '04 to '06. Now, I have a bachelor's degree, CELTA, a Yonsei University KLI graduation certificate, speak both Japanese and Korean, and make a respectable salary of over $39,000 a year at the current exchange rate. I accomplished all this within Asia (Korea, Taiwan, and Japan in that order), and with my own funds (no tuition aid from Mom & Dad). I moved up in Asia, am continuing to move up, and other people can, too, if they just dare to dream and work hard.

- Be financially responsible. Never have less than 150,000 yen in the bank, ever. 150,000 yen is the cost of a plane ticket back to your home country, or three months at a gaijin house dormitory if you lose your job/apartment and need to hunt for a new one. If your bank balance is ever in danger of falling below that amount, sell your car, go on a rice-and-moyashi diet, and don't go out at all until you're back in the safety zone. Even if things are going just fine, keep saving a substantial part of your paycheck until you hit 5,000,000 yen, and even then, keep saving retirement here (or really any other developed country) ain't gonna be cheap, especially with the way the Nenkin system is going. Many visas, like the student visa and business investor visa, require large bank balances, and for eijūken or shiminken, a large bank balance, although not absolutely required, will definitely help your case.

I'm sure I'll think of more, later.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
jmatt



Joined: 29 Apr 2012
Posts: 103

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALX wrote:


-Learn the language. And don't just say "oh yeah, I'm fluent in Japanese." PROVE IT. Pass the JLPT N1 or get a high J-Test score. These tests don't prove fluency, but anyone who is even remotely close to fluent should be able to do well on them, and scores are often required for jobs/educational opportunities.


Good advice, and funny. Throughout the years have met many people, in many places, who claim to be fluent in language X. What does fluency mean? The ability to order in an izakaya? Hold a basic everyday conversation? Being able to debate unfamiliar points? I think many people mistake the first example for fluency.

The most extreme example was in Thailand---my wife and I met a Canadian woman on a boat to the Similan Islands who had just been teaching a year in Korea and, among many other boasts, claimed to be fluent in Korean. She asked me if I had the same ability in Japanese and I said something along the lines of---"Well, fluency's relative---I can speak it for everyday conversation and can read & write like a 5-6 yr old, but...."

"Well, I'm fluent. I can't believe you can't speak it better... Your girlfriend is Japanese" (Tone of utter condescension). "That's pathetic."

Figured she was full of shit, but listened to her blather the ride over, and later at the same bungalow set. It was chuckle-inducing, but eventually, I was pretty fed up, and luckily there were a few Korean and Japanese tourists at the same place. So, I challenged her----

"Listen---I'm gonna write a simple sentence in Japanese (don't remember, but something along the lines of 'Yesterday I woke up, went to the store, and bought some beer') in Japanese and romaji---you do the same in Korean and we'll test it out on these folks---spoken & written."

Naturally, she refused to do it, got pretty angry & insulted us, and stalked off, avoiding us the rest of the time. Thankfully.

Anyway, point being, learning the language invaluable and the testing system can give you a set of goals to achieve. And as ALX stated, anyone can say, "I'm fluent!"


ALX wrote:
- Don't base your entire self-worth on how Japanese you can become. Because no matter how far you progress, you'll probably never speak Japanese as well as a Japanese person, and you'll probably never be as knowledgeable of J-culture as a Japanese adult. Even if you're the 1 in 1,000 that succeeds, you won't be fully recognized for it. Don't just learn Japanese, but also cultivate skills that aren't language or culture-dependent, like computer programming, music, or whatever else suits your fancy. Don't be afraid to embrace your gaijinness. Remember, when talking about English, Western history, and Western culture, YOU are the authority. YOU are allowed to have a cool accent without seeming pretentious. YOU can pull off a Halloween costume of a Viking or a Greek god at a Halloween party and actually look good doing it. Don't ignore these things. Embrace them.


Again, good advice. No matter how hard you try, you're not Japanese and you'll never be. Makes no difference how well you learn the language or attempt to assimilate. In my experience, the best adjusted foreigners accept and embrace this fact---best to know who you are, and people'll accept you more if you do---and there are a lot of good points to being the gaijin----do you really want to follow all the rules of Japanese society?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2534
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rooster_2006 wrote:
- Learn the language. And don't just say "oh yeah, I'm fluent in Japanese." PROVE IT. Pass the JLPT N1 or get a high J-Test score. These tests don't prove fluency, but anyone who is even remotely close to fluent should be able to do well on them, and scores are often required for jobs/educational opportunities.


Hear, hear!

Rooster, solid post, many thanks for sharing it. If I end up back in Japan, I will do a better job following some of the stuff on your list next time around.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 2534
Location: Chengdu, Sichuan, PRC

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmatt wrote:
"Listen---I'm gonna write a simple sentence in Japanese (don't remember, but something along the lines of 'Yesterday I woke up, went to the store, and bought some beer') in Japanese and romaji---you do the same in Korean and we'll test it out on these folks---spoken & written."

Naturally, she refused to do it, got pretty angry & insulted us, and stalked off, avoiding us the rest of the time. Thankfully.


I love it! Way to call her out, jmatt. Classic! People like that definitely need to be put in their place.

Warm regards,
fat_chris
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@fat_chris and jmatt

Thanks! Glad you all enjoyed my list.

And I agree, jmatt, way to call her out. If she couldn't write basic stuff like that, there was no way she was fluent.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
steki47



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
Posts: 653
Location: BFE Inaka

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice! Especially about financial wisdom. Saving money brings peace of mind. Money can't make you happy, but not having money is miserable. Once I disciplined myself to save a percentage of my Nova salary, I saw those other teachers who were always broke 2-3 days before payday as heroin addicts, aching for a fix.


Rooster_2006 wrote:
a respectable salary of over $39,000 a year at the current exchange rate.


That's the industry standard 3MY. Wouldn't call it respectable. That's what most of us get.

My advice:
Find other ways of making money. Teaching is fine, but it has its limits. I started an Ebay business that provides a bit of cash with very little effort.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rooster_2006



Joined: 24 Sep 2007
Posts: 984

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

steki47 wrote:
Great advice! Especially about financial wisdom. Saving money brings peace of mind. Money can't make you happy, but not having money is miserable. Once I disciplined myself to save a percentage of my Nova salary, I saw those other teachers who were always broke 2-3 days before payday as heroin addicts, aching for a fix.
Thanks. Yeah, it's all about budgeting, and also knowing which things are non-essential.

I have had some serious arguments with guys on this board before who claim "you can't save anything." I always ask those guys to break down their expenses, and they're like "well, your car will set you back ____" and "going out every Friday night will set you back ____" and "eating out will set you back ____." HELLO, GUYS! THOSE THINGS ARE OPTIONAL. It's no wonder they aren't saving any money.

If hypothetically (and Heaven forbid), I ended up in a crappy, 180K yen-a-month job next month, I'm pretty sure I could still save *something*. It wouldn't be a lot. Probably 30,000 ~ 50,000 yen a month depending on whether I was being "frugal" or "a monk." But I could still save something.

Of course, it would be difficult to save if supporting a child, but having a kid is a choice, not something that anyone forced you to do.

steki47 wrote:
Rooster_2006 wrote:
a respectable salary of over $39,000 a year at the current exchange rate.


That's the industry standard 3MY. Wouldn't call it respectable. That's what most of us get.
Yes, it is average. You're right on that part.

But why can't "respectable" include "average?"

"Respectable" simply means "able to be respected." I have respect for an "average" salary.

steki47 wrote:
My advice:
Find other ways of making money. Teaching is fine, but it has its limits. I started an Ebay business that provides a bit of cash with very little effort.
I agree with this. Teacher pay is very flat. It's hard to increase your actual per-hour pay rate. I could make 4 million yen a year if I really wanted to, but I'd have to teach extra private lessons outside of work. Forget that!

I would also argue that having a non-teaching part-time job helps break up the monotony, even if the pay is equal to or less than teaching. It can also give you Japanese immersion and help you upgrade your language skills, something eikaiwa work won't do.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
TWG



Joined: 25 Oct 2007
Posts: 39

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I always ask those guys to break down their expenses, and they're like "well, your car will set you back ____" .... HELLO, GUYS! THOSE THINGS ARE OPTIONAL


What if you're in a rural location and/ or teaching in a number of locations and the public transportation options are limited?

(I agree with the thrust of your point, but it seemed a bit big city-centric so I felt I had to stand up for the hill folk.)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Japan All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC