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Saitama area and the commute to Tokyo

 
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:42 am    Post subject: Saitama area and the commute to Tokyo Reply with quote

I've been guaranteed a position in Saitama by an ALT company (although they cannot yet tell me specifically which public school I will end up at).

I understand that it's probably not an area of interest in itself, but the proximity to Tokyo is appealing. I'm applying from outside of Japan so it seems hopeless trying to get VISA sponsorship for a job anywhere nearer the city centre.

So is anyone currently living in, or has anyone experienced, living there? I have mental images of quite a grey suburban area, but would I be justified in thinking it's worth it for the sake of having access to Tokyo on weekends?

One guy told me the commute from Saitama to central Tokyo might be as long as 90 minutes. Considering it's only 15 miles, that sounds pessimistic. Perhaps I'm wrong..
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kah5217



Joined: 29 Sep 2012
Posts: 256
Location: Ibaraki

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to Google, it's about an hour to Shinjuku. Not bad if you ask me.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on where in Saitama your school is, it's possible you could live in the North of Tokyo and commute to Saitama. I do the same from Tokyo to Chiba.
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TokyoLiz



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1065
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parts of Saitama are rural and scenic. Chichibu and Kawagoe, two postcard-pretty places are in Saitama. Those two places are about 90 minutes or less from Ikebukuro.

Closer to Tokyo, Misato City has a gorgeous park that borders on Mizumoto Park on the Tokyo side. Warabi and Soka are dense concrete cities. It really depends where in Saitama.
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been to Japan twice, and after having lived in a typical suburban part of Seoul, I think a not-so-great part of suburban Tokyo is still probably nicer and more scenic, with more temples and things to see, etc..!

Anywhere to actually drink/go out in Saitama?

Indeed it might be best to find accommodation halfway between the job and central Tokyo.. hmm.
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Apsara



Joined: 20 Sep 2005
Posts: 2142
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depending on where in Saitama (it's a prefecture rather than a town so quite a large area), you could be 20 minutes from Shinjuku or more than 90 minutes, and you could be in a typical Japanese dormitory suburb or in the middle of the rice paddies so you might need to find out where in Saitama to get some more specific info. I've lived in two different parts of Saitama, one right on the border with Tokyo and the other much further north.

Plenty of places to drink if you are in the more populated areas.
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info. Rice paddies wouldn't be great. I suppose once I've got my foot through the door, Japanese teaching visas last 12 months however much you switch or change jobs/locations in that time, right.. so I might take the gamble.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: Saitama area and the commute to Tokyo Reply with quote

thomthom wrote:
I've been guaranteed a position in Saitama by an ALT company (although they cannot yet tell me specifically which public school I will end up at).
It probably won't be just one school. ALTs typically get farmed out to several, which creates havoc with lesson consistency, but such is life. Be prepared to drift.

Quote:
understand that it's probably not an area of interest in itself, but the proximity to Tokyo is appealing. I'm applying from outside of Japan so it seems hopeless trying to get VISA sponsorship for a job anywhere nearer the city centre.
It seems the majority want that. There are reasons why away from the center is better, you know, and they are in lesser demand by teachers.


Quote:
One guy told me the commute from Saitama to central Tokyo might be as long as 90 minutes. Considering it's only 15 miles, that sounds pessimistic. Perhaps I'm wrong..
This may explain more:
http://au.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090120172053AAVjMol
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kathrynoh



Joined: 16 Jul 2009
Posts: 63

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Indeed it might be best to find accommodation halfway between the job and central Tokyo.. hmm.


You'd actually be better off living near Omiya and having express trains to Tokyo than somewhere in between and have to use the local trains. Probably a lot faster than living in some parts of Tokyo and having to mess around with changing trains etc.

Train times vary not just on where you live but how much you want to pay. You can catch the shinkansen btw Omiya and stations in Tokyo but it's going to cost a lot more.

If you check out the hyperdia site, you can get an idea of times and prices although you need to know specific locations. Handy if you are looking at places to rent though.
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jmatt



Joined: 29 Apr 2012
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regardless, like the rest of the Dasaitama hordes, you can rip it up in Ikebukuro!

Seriously though, Saitama is a pretty big prefecture---hard to say, without knowing where you're gonna live, where you're going to work, and what areas of Tokyo you're interested in, the kind of commute you're looking at.
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thomthom



Joined: 20 May 2011
Posts: 91

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This issue of not knowing where my placement is until I arrive seems fairly ridiculous.

However, if I arrive in April, and I've got the teaching visa the ALT company set me up with, and if -- IF -- I really hate this location and my job... I can change jobs quite easily, right?

Do I need a clearance letter from my original sponsor and renewal every time I start a new job, or am I free to disappear off to wherever in Japan and find employment?

I'm feeling 50/50 the ALT company will screw me over, but so long as I'm through the door...
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