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Thoughts on Fukuoka, Japan?
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ManlySpirit



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:26 am    Post subject: Thoughts on Fukuoka, Japan? Reply with quote

I was doing a lot of reading and asking around about Japan for a while and given my prerequisites Fukuoka came up as a suggested place several times. Anyone in this forum currently living there, or have any experience with the area?

My plan is to move there 3 years from now. I'm currently living in Madrid, Spain, and I wanna make the best of it when I move there (my transition from the US to Spain was rather reckless). So, I feel giving myself 3 years to carefully look at things and plan things out is for the best. Also, 3 years is the time it will take me to finish my University degree (and it will give me enough time to save money). I want to be as prepared as I can possibly be to land good opportunities over there. I've heard stories of people making good bank as English teachers, more than double of what I make here in Spain (and at about 1500 Euro monthly I already make more than your average ESL teacher over here). Not to mention, Japan has always been my primary target for a country I'd like to live in.

So, here is my situation at the moment:
-Two Years and counting as an ESL teacher, and from what I've heard I'm not too bad a teacher.
-Working on a Uni degree in English Studies, plan to get the Masters afterward.
-Plan on getting the CELTA this Summer.
-Three years studying Japanese On and Off by myself (I've had to drop the studies a couple times, so progress has been minimal, I can understand a couple things here and there though).

In three years time I should have, the Uni degree, CELTA and the income necessary to move. I'm thinking 5000 Euro, should be enough if I have a job set up already.

What do you think my chances are over there? What should be my expectations be? What else should I prepare for? Not just on the social (I've heard all the horror stories by now, and they don't bother me, I've been through much worse to be honest) and economic levels, but also from a teaching aspect. I assume teaching English to Japanese people is a whole different thing from teaching English to Spanish Natives for example. The benefit with Spanish is that since both are Latin Roots, you can draw a lot of Grammatical comparisons in certain sticking points. But as I'm learning Japanese I can just imagine how much more difficult it must be for Asians to learn English.

Also, on Fukuoka as a whole, the city strikes me as very accommodating, and I've heard nothing but positive things about it so far. I'm sure the standard of living is much better than it is here in Madrid, not to mention the pay as well. I went and searched a couple jobs out of curiosity, and found promising results. I would like some feedback on this if anyone is able to help. Also, on the job market, how do jobs look right now in Japan? I'd already heard that the market over there was much more "exclusive" than Spain, they won't normally just take anyone like they do over here. I suppose it's because there is less demand for the language over there. Like I said, my goal is to land a nice, well-paying job. Should I aim for after-school academies? Or would a public/private school be a better option (Uni is out of the question, you need a PhD for that, and to be honest, it's too large a time/work investment to be worth the effort, especially when you can possibly make more opening your own academy)? However, I should mention, I would like to avoid teaching unmotivated preteens, there is honestly nothing worse than that...

Furthermore, when is the best season to go job hunting? Here in Spain, high time is September/October, with a rebound in January. But I know that the school year is different over there.

Finally, on the subject of the Visa. My plan is to actually move there, once I have the job secured; but, is it easier to find jobs once you're on the field? Like, here in Spain for example, all the good jobs are found if you are present and able to do an interview within a couple days. They like the more traditional method over here. Also, not to mention moving though networks and connections open the best doors (But I'm sure that's the case everywhere in the world really). I think I remember hearing that you NEED to have a job in order to be able to get a Work Visa in Japan, your employer sponsors you if I'm not mistaken. Also, can you renew the Visa indefinitely once you're over there? I know many foreigners end up marrying a Japanese person after living there, but I wonder how many did it for the right to live there. As someone who would rather stay single (after all, I'm still 22), I'd rather not have to resort to that. Anyway, I'm sure that question is answered in FAQ, I'll look into it more deeply.

Well, if you could answer my questions, I'd appreciate it. I'll still continue to research things as the months go by. So far, things look promising. This is the first place I've turned to for specific advice, as this forum was very useful when I began my ESL journey 2 years ago and moved to Spain.

Thanks in advance guys,
Cheers.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:46 am    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Fukuoka, Japan? Reply with quote

ManlySpirit wrote:
I've heard stories of people making good bank as English teachers, more than double of what I make here in Spain (and at about 1500 Euro monthly I already make more than your average ESL teacher over here). Not to mention, Japan has always been my primary target for a country I'd like to live in.
"Making" 1,500 euros means little. It's really how much you have left over to save.

That much money is currently only 155,000 yen, which is at the extreme bottom edge of scraping by as a pre-tax and pre-deduction wage. Average for entry level is 200,00-250,000, but how much you SAVE depends on many factors: rent, location, utilities, lifestyle, etc. I've posted countless times that average figures give you about half those figures as take-home cash to do with what you want after taxes and basic necessities. Do the math and tell us if that really compares to your current situation and what you predict to have to pay in student loans in 3 years.

Quote:
In three years time I should have, the Uni degree, CELTA and the income necessary to move. I'm thinking 5000 Euro, should be enough if I have a job set up already.

What do you think my chances are over there? What should be my expectations be?
Well, you will be only slightly ore experienced than most newcomers, and you might very likely face employers who don't think teaching Spanish students is equivalent to Japanese, so IMO you will still be shooting for eikaiwa or ALT work. Considering only one city is very limiting, and Fukuoka is not a place with a lot of EFL action, so you will have to scramble to find work. A lot also depends on whether you come here to look around (more opportunities) or stay home (US or Spain?), and what time of year you want to start.

Quote:
What else should I prepare for? Not just on the social (I've heard all the horror stories by now, and they don't bother me, I've been through much worse to be honest) and economic levels, but also from a teaching aspect. I assume teaching English to Japanese people is a whole different thing from teaching English to Spanish Natives for example.
Right, plus Japanese students are more reserved and expect more teacher talking time (which you should NOT give). Learn what ALTs are, the various things they are expected to do (ESID prevails, every situation is different, but there are lots of reports out there). Eikaiwa instructors teach alone but not ALTs, so learn what you don't already know.

Quote:
Also, on the job market, how do jobs look right now in Japan? I'd already heard that the market over there was much more "exclusive" than Spain, they won't normally just take anyone like they do over here. I suppose it's because there is less demand for the language over there.
The market is not the best. More teachers than jobs salaries are falling, and plenty of employers legally dodge copayments into health insurance. Yes, any degree will do for entry level work, but competition is still high.

Quote:
Like I said, my goal is to land a nice, well-paying job. Should I aim for after-school academies?
Those would be eikaiwas.

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Or would a public/private school be a better option
Public schools don't usually hire directly. It is the domain of the ALTs, whether thru JET Program or dispatch agencies.

Private HS or JHS ads are scarce and usually in Japanese.

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(Uni is out of the question, you need a PhD for that,
No, you can get in with a master's, but in either case you usually also need publications and some experience here first.

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and to be honest, it's too large a time/work investment to be worth the effort,
Some people might take that as a sign of laziness or not being all that serious about TEFL. Be careful.

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especially when you can possibly make more opening your own academy)?
Maybe in Spain. Setup costs are high, and to go solo like that could mean a separate visa which requires a business plan and two FT workers besides yourself. I also think you overestimate how much profit such a place would make here, especially just starting out.

Quote:
However, I should mention, I would like to avoid teaching unmotivated preteens, there is honestly nothing worse than that...
Then stay away, or be prepared for disappointment. How has your research told you otherwise about Japanese teens? I've taught them in private HS and currently teach them in university.

Quote:
Furthermore, when is the best season to go job hunting? Here in Spain, high time is September/October, with a rebound in January. But I know that the school year is different over there.
You really have not done some basic research! Eikaiwas hire year round, but peak hiring is Feb/March for the April start of the fiscal/academic year. ALTs get recruited a few months earlier, for April.

Quote:
Finally, on the subject of the Visa. My plan is to actually move there, once I have the job secured; but, is it easier to find jobs once you're on the field?
It is easier in the sense that you are here, and most employers do not have resources to recruit from abroad, plus many don't even want to consider people if they haven't made the commitment to coming here. Some may eve require you already have a visa. With all that in mind, don't get the impression that it is at all EASY, even if you ARE here! You will need to support yourself for 2-4 months before landing a job and waiting for the first paycheck, too. Visa processing takes 2-8 weeks.

Quote:
I think I remember hearing that you NEED to have a job in order to be able to get a Work Visa in Japan, your employer sponsors you if I'm not mistaken. Also, can you renew the Visa indefinitely once you're over there?
Yes, you need to be hired first, then apply for the visa. Once you get it, it stays with you even if you change employers. "Indefinitely" is possible, yes, but you still need an employer(s).

Don't worry about feeling obligated to marry for a visa. Stay single all you want.
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ManlySpirit



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Fukuoka, Japan? Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:
"Making" 1,500 euros means little. It's really how much you have left over to save.

That much money is currently only 155,000 yen, which is at the extreme bottom edge of scraping by as a pre-tax and pre-deduction wage. Average for entry level is 200,00-250,000, but how much you SAVE depends on many factors: rent, location, utilities, lifestyle, etc. I've posted countless times that average figures give you about half those figures as take-home cash to do with what you want after taxes and basic necessities. Do the math and tell us if that really compares to your current situation and what you predict to have to pay in student loans in 3 years.


Well, luckily enough, I won't have to pay ANY student loans thanks to the affordability of European University. 1,500 is pretty much the high ceiling for ESL over here, if 2000-2500 is entry level, by deducting the presumably higher living costs of Japan, I still should have about the same amount of take home cash, if not a little more. My living expenses over here make up 50-60% of my salary. And entry level jobs over here start out at 500-1000 Euros. It was very rough starting out here in Spain, however the market is in such high demand that finding a job is fairly easy, the question lies on whether it's a good job or not.


Quote:
Well, you will be only slightly more experienced than most newcomers, and you might very likely face employers who don't think teaching Spanish students is equivalent to Japanese, so IMO you will still be shooting for eikaiwa or ALT work. Considering only one city is very limiting, and Fukuoka is not a place with a lot of EFL action, so you will have to scramble to find work. A lot also depends on whether you come here to look around (more opportunities) or stay home (US or Spain?), and what time of year you want to start.


Could you give me more info on ALT? I keep seeing this term in the Japan forums, but the best result in a quick Google search came up with: "Association of Lecturers and Teachers." My goal is a more long term stay in Japan, that's why I'm putting the effort forth in the certifications and the language. The reason I picked Fukuoka is because it seems to be a nice city to live in overall, not just in Japan, but in general. It's ranked 12th among the "World's Most Livable Cities." Overall, I look for Peace of Mind and high quality of life, something that's difficult to find in Spain. As far as "going home," well Mexico is the only place I truly consider my "home," despite not having been there in 12 years. So even that is IFFY. Nonetheless, if things don't work out in Japan, the plan is to go to Mexico, and open an academy there, as it's a great country to invest in atm.


Quote:
Right, plus Japanese students are more reserved and expect more teacher talking time (which you should NOT give). Learn what ALTs are, the various things they are expected to do (ESID prevails, every situation is different, but there are lots of reports out there). Eikaiwa instructors teach alone but not ALTs, so learn what you don't already know.


Yep. that's what there 3 years are for mostly.

Quote:
The market is not the best. More teachers than jobs salaries are falling, and plenty of employers legally dodge copayments into health insurance. Yes, any degree will do for entry level work, but competition is still high.


Hmm, I had already heard that before. By falling, do you mean ESL teachers are being let go due to a drop in the demand of English? Or is it something more related to the economic situation in Japan?

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No, you can get in with a master's, but in either case you usually also need publications and some experience here first.

Well, that's certainly relieving, I'll keep that in mind as a long term goal then.

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Some people might take that as a sign of laziness or not being all that serious about TEFL. Be careful.

Well, that's not something I tell many people. It's not about not being serious about ESL, it's simply that University Education is a pain in the ass, It's not really difficult either, it's more like an annoying obstacle you have to overcome, one that takes too much time and effort. Not to mention, little of what you learn has anything applicable to your work experience.


Quote:
Maybe in Spain. Setup costs are high, and to go solo like that could mean a separate visa which requires a business plan and two FT workers besides yourself. I also think you overestimate how much profit such a place would make here, especially just starting out.

Haha, no, not in Spain. This is the LAST place I would ever think of doing that, Japan is not a country where I would open an academy either. If I'm gonna do it, it's gonna be in a developing country like Mexico or S. Korea, Mexico being the most likely candidate. Still, that's a very long term goal, as opening a business means tying yourself down to whatever country so chose for quite a long time, and dedicating many hours to making sure it works. I was simply making a comparison, not really stating any future plans when I mentioned opening an academy in that post.

Quote:
Then stay away, or be prepared for disappointment. How has your research told you otherwise about Japanese teens? I've taught them in private HS and currently teach them in university.

Are you insinuating most of the market is filled with PRE-Teens? I have no problem with teens, especially University level teens, they have much better work ethic, even here in Spain. They're mature enough to recognize what the need to do for the future. Adults are the best, or children. I'll take anything except 13-14 year olds, mostly the ones that are lazy and are too ignorant to care about anything that isn't their friends and mainstream pop-culture. I still don't think I'll have that problem over there, as Japan has always been notorious for being a hard-working culture that values good work ethic, whereas Spain is the antithesis of that, being renowned for it's extremely laid back, and somewhat ignorant lifestyle. I'll be honest with you, the only reason people are even bothering to learn English over here is simply because they can't get a job without it. So you have the adults, who work hard and do what they're told, and even the teens who are aware they need it for their future, even if they simply focus on the grades. However, it is the 13-15 age range who simply does NOT give a *beep*, and in a culture like Spain's, it's a recipe for disaster. Anyway, I'm straying off-topic with this, so I'll just leave it at that.


Quote:
You really have not done some basic research! Eikaiwas hire year round, but peak hiring is Feb/March for the April start of the fiscal/academic year. ALTs get recruited a few months earlier, for April.


Yeah, I found the answer to that in the FAQ, a little after I posted. Sorry about that.

Quote:
plus many don't even want to consider people if they haven't made the commitment to coming here. Some may eve require you already have a visa. With all that in mind, don't get the impression that it is at all EASY, even if you ARE here! You will need to support yourself for 2-4 months before landing a job and waiting for the first paycheck, too. Visa processing takes 2-8 weeks.


Hmm, so it's certainly very different from the situation over here. Looks like I'll need much more than 5000 Euros. Especially since housing over there requires a 2-5 months worth of rent in advance. I guess I'll have to change my perspective a bit and focus on getting what I CAN first (in Fukuoka of course, that's not likely to change), and then move up from there.


Quote:
Yes, you need to be hired first, then apply for the visa. Once you get it, it stays with you even if you change employers. "Indefinitely" is possible, yes, but you still need an employer(s).


Ok, so since you need a job to get a work Visa, my first focus should then be the traveler's visa, in order to buy a couple months time to find a job I suppose...

Anyway, thanks for your advice, it has been very informative. I'll keep it all in mind.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Fukuoka, Japan? Reply with quote

ManlySpirit wrote:
if 2000-2500 is entry level, by deducting the presumably higher living costs of Japan
Expect to shell out on average 125,000-150,000 per month for rent, food, utilities, insurance, and phone/Internet. Anything beyond that cuts into your saving potential.

Quote:
Could you give me more info on ALT? I keep seeing this term in the Japan forums, but the best result in a quick Google search came up with: "Association of Lecturers and Teachers."
ALT means assistant language teacher. Look up the JET program to see what it means. Their ALTs and those of dispatch agencies do pretty much the same things:

assist a Japanese teacher of English (JTE) who works FT at the school (you will likely be assigned to several schools, so you will meet more than one JTE). Assisting means doing whatever, from menial stuff like being a human tape recorder to practically running the class of 30-40 students. ESID.

Quote:
As far as "going home," well Mexico is the only place I truly consider my "home," despite not having been there in 12 years. So even that is IFFY. Nonetheless, if things don't work out in Japan, the plan is to go to Mexico, and open an academy there, as it's a great country to invest in atm.
So, is your nationality Mexican? This could impact things seriously. For example, if you want an Instructor Visa (needed to work as an ALT), you have to prove that 12 years or more of your own education was done entirely in English.


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Quote:
The market is not the best. More teachers than jobs, salaries are falling, and plenty of employers legally dodge copayments into health insurance. Yes, any degree will do for entry level work, but competition is still high.


Hmm, I had already heard that before. By falling, do you mean ESL teachers are being let go due to a drop in the demand of English? Or is it something more related to the economic situation in Japan?
I see I missed a comma earlier (inserted into your quote now). I meant that what used to be a standard 250,000 yen/month salary, no questions asked, is now dwindling to 200,000-220,000 as an average. Some employers are even slapping us in the face with 170,000-180,000. And, with the legal loophole to avoid making copayments into your mandatory health insurance, you end up paying more than before.

Quote:
Quote:
Then stay away, or be prepared for disappointment. How has your research told you otherwise about Japanese teens? I've taught them in private HS and currently teach them in university.

Are you insinuating most of the market is filled with PRE-Teens?
Sorry, I missed the "pre". However, you have to realize a couple of things:

    *If you get into eikaiwa, you might face teaching pre-teens. Not much choice.
    *Even ALT jobs end up teaching them, and I don't know how much choice you actually have in opting for other ages. I hope ALTs can tell you that here.
    *Lastly, just a year ago, Japan implemented mandatory English in 5th and 6th grade elementary school. That's pre-teen. This is looming over parents' heads, and it trickles down to the kids so much that even the youngest elem ed students are attending weekly cram schools (juku) after their regular day of public school.
    *Although the government and boards of education seem to flaunt a strong desire to improve the system, they really aren't doing much to create sensible policies to support that. Keep that in mind when your JTE tells you to do things his way, even if you know better.


Quote:
I have no problem with teens, especially University level teens, they have much better work ethic, even here in Spain. They're mature enough to recognize what the need to do for the future.
I'm sorry to say this, but you are in for a very rude awakening when it comes to Japanese teens, whether in HS or university.

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I'll take anything except 13-14 year olds, mostly the ones that are lazy and are too ignorant to care about anything that isn't their friends and mainstream pop-culture.
See above.

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I still don't think I'll have that problem over there, as Japan has always been notorious for being a hard-working culture that values good work ethic
Sorry, but you don't know the reality here. You are fooled with age-old stereotypes.

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I'll be honest with you, the only reason people are even bothering to learn English over here is simply because they can't get a job without it.
Despite that over here (for many, not all), I'd say the majority aren't serious in the least about learning English, except for a few who want to be teachers (and even they usually major in literature, not linguistics) and a few in the sciences (the population I teach, and to be honest, they just want to get their English credits out of the way in the first year, not actually LEARN anything, but they realize how important it is too late).

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Quote:
Yes, you need to be hired first, then apply for the visa. Once you get it, it stays with you even if you change employers. "Indefinitely" is possible, yes, but you still need an employer(s).


Ok, so since you need a job to get a work Visa, my first focus should then be the traveler's visa, in order to buy a couple months time to find a job I suppose...
Please start learning correct visa & immigration terminology. There is no such thing as a "traveler's visa". What did you mean? Working holiday visa? (Not for Mexicans) Or just a visa waiver (for certain nationalities, essentially just your passport http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/visa/index.html )?
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ManlySpirit



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, on the topic of Teenagers. I guess it's just something I'll have to put up with. It can't be as bad as Spain... but even if it is, it's still something I can deal with. I can put up with dealing with snotty brats during work hours, if everything outside of work is nice.

As for my nationality, it's actually Spanish, although, I'm sure I still have access to Mexican citizenship since I was born there. Also, I lived in the US for 12 years, more than half my life, and most of my education. I can prove this as well. So that shouldn't be a problem.

Any reason for the drop in salary?

It also seems that I don't need a Visa to enter Japan, both Mexico and Spain have 6 months and 3 months stay without a Visa (respectively). I only have access to my Spanish Passport atm, so it looks like I have 3 months to set things up and get them going once I'm over there.
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Abdullah the Enforcer



Joined: 26 Aug 2012
Posts: 42
Location: In a hole

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ManlySpirit wrote:
My plan is to move there 3 years from now.


Then...

ManlySpirit wrote:
I only have access to my Spanish Passport atm, so it looks like I have 3 months to set things up and get them going once I'm over there.


Forgive, but Abdullah confused. Can't you get Mexican pp in three years?
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ManlySpirit



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure I could, and if necessary I would. However, I feel like it's an unnecessary hassle for just 3 extra months. Mexican Bureaucracy is some of the worst ever, but I might look into it. Spanish passport should enough though. I just recently renewed it, so it's still valid till 2015, but we'll see.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ManlySpirit wrote:
Well, on the topic of Teenagers. I guess it's just something I'll have to put up with. It can't be as bad as Spain... but even if it is, it's still something I can deal with. I can put up with dealing with snotty brats during work hours, if everything outside of work is nice.
Kids here in general don't see the worth in English, even though the world is becoming more globalized. A couple of companies here have recently been in the news with reports on how they are hiring people to work for them in English-only environments, but that's obviously not enough. Most companies here use TOEIC for hiring, promotions, or overseas transfers, but kids don't get the idea very much (case by case, of course).

What you may face from kids here is not "snotty brats" because that's not their style. It may be more an attitude of not caring, more of a passive resistance. Depends. Some people report outright defiance with girls doing nails in a HS classroom, while others see it differently. J kids are raised in an environment where many things are done for them, and where they get 2nd, 3rd, and even more chances to succeed. The culture here is more teacher-based, so they expect that from foreign teachers, too, and that's just not what they need.

Quote:
Any reason for the drop in salary?
Economy. Lots of eikaiwas have closed up shop, and universities are either shutting down or merging. The country has a negative birth rate, too, so the population is aging with no one to take care of it in the future, and the government doesn't see that one major way to fix it is to import foreigners. Companies are saving money any way they can, including using legal loopholes to avoid making copayments into health insurance. Even the decades-old JET program peaked in 2002, and its numbers have gone down because (IMO) the dispatch agencies who farm out their own brand of ALTs are doing it at cutthroat prices. The BOEs don't want to pay money for people (plus their insurance and benefits, which they are obligated to do and can't avoid), plus they don't want the hassles associated with hiring and firing, so they use dispatchers as middlemen. Dispatchers can pay teachers a lower wage and avoid paying benefits.
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Apsara



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

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
it's gonna be in a developing country like Mexico or S. Korea


OT perhaps, but I wouldn't call South Korea a developing country- it has a standard of living very similar to Japan's. You'll find developing countries in SE Asia.
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OneJoelFifty



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 463

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only ever heard good things about Fukuoka. I visited for a short time, not long enough to get a good idea though. But from what I hear it's a nice pace of life compared to Tokyo, the people are generally relaxed and friendly compared to the east of Japan, the winters are less biting and the summers are more humid.

You're likely to be faced with two choices. ALT or eikawa. I'm generalising here, but ALT is usually 8:30am - 5pm, and eikawa more like 12pm - 9pm. ALT work is in public junior high school most of the time, the exact age range that you're keen to avoid. I would recommend it for your first job in Japan though.
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ManlySpirit



Joined: 05 May 2010
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glenski wrote:

What you may face from kids here is not "snotty brats" because that's not their style. It may be more an attitude of not caring, more of a passive resistance. Depends. Some people report outright defiance with girls doing nails in a HS classroom, while others see it differently. J kids are raised in an environment where many things are done for them, and where they get 2nd, 3rd, and even more chances to succeed. The culture here is more teacher-based, so they expect that from foreign teachers, too, and that's just not what they need.


I'll take that any day over what I get over here. If they don't wanna learn, that's their problem, not mine. As long as they don't openly disrupt my class and then have the BALLS to retort with "I don't feel like it" when you tell them to "sit down, shut up, and to quit OPENLY disrupting class." That's the kind of bullshit I get over here from Spanish Pre-Teens. I've never taken the Japanese as openly rude people, even the rebellious youth. On the contrary I've heard complaints of the Japanese never speaking their mind, which by me is fine really.

Quote:
Economy. Lots of eikaiwas have closed up shop, and universities are either shutting down or merging. The country has a negative birth rate, too, so the population is aging with no one to take care of it in the future, and the government doesn't see that one major way to fix it is to import foreigners. Companies are saving money any way they can, including using legal loopholes to avoid making copayments into health insurance. Even the decades-old JET program peaked in 2002, and its numbers have gone down because (IMO) the dispatch agencies who farm out their own brand of ALTs are doing it at cutthroat prices. The BOEs don't want to pay money for people (plus their insurance and benefits, which they are obligated to do and can't avoid), plus they don't want the hassles associated with hiring and firing, so they use dispatchers as middlemen. Dispatchers can pay teachers a lower wage and avoid paying benefits.


That sounds.... really really bad. Disheartening almost. It's a shame that Japan isn't adopting an open door immigration policy to deal with its problem like the some of it's Western counterparts in Europe. However, Europe isn't fairing too well either, and things are predicted to only get worse in the coming years, so I guess there is no safe haven. At least Japan always has the option of opening its doors to immigrants to deal with its current problems, even if it does it a bit too late. Well, one could always say it's better late than never. And, well from a few things I've heard here and there, things appear to be moving in that direction, however, I personally really can't say.


Apsara wrote:
OT perhaps, but I wouldn't call South Korea a developing country- it has a standard of living very similar to Japan's. You'll find developing countries in SE Asia.


I wouldn't call Mexico a "developing" country either. What I really meant to describe was the countries undergoing rapid growth that are poised to be the next World Leaders if things continue as they are. At least from an economic standpoint.


OneJoelFifty wrote:
I've only ever heard good things about Fukuoka. I visited for a short time, not long enough to get a good idea though. But from what I hear it's a nice pace of life compared to Tokyo, the people are generally relaxed and friendly compared to the east of Japan, the winters are less biting and the summers are more humid.


Those are the exact same things I've heard about Fukuoka, and the reasons I like what I hear. I've always been a fan of warmer more tropical climate, being born in Guadalajara where it's eternal Spring. However, I can really appreciate Seasonal changes if they're well established, rather than Madrid's 6 months of brutal Summer, and 6 months of frigid Winter. The more laid-back city lifestyle is also appealing, with a population half the size as Madrid's (although the density is the same), I expect it's at least a bit less hectic than Spain's capital, as very large, urban cities are not to my liking to be honest.

Quote:

You're likely to be faced with two choices. ALT or eikawa. I'm generalising here, but ALT is usually 8:30am - 5pm, and eikawa more like 12pm - 9pm. ALT work is in public junior high school most of the time, the exact age range that you're keen to avoid. I would recommend it for your first job in Japan though.


I'll have to look into the ATL gig, that schedule looks very promising as having free afternoons will allow me to continue to practice Tae Kwon Do, since most Dojos do train during the afternoon. Something I've had to more or less let go of since I moved to Spain.
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Glenski



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

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ManlySpirit wrote:
Glenski wrote:

What you may face from kids here is not "snotty brats" because that's not their style. It may be more an attitude of not caring, more of a passive resistance. Depends. Some people report outright defiance with girls doing nails in a HS classroom, while others see it differently. J kids are raised in an environment where many things are done for them, and where they get 2nd, 3rd, and even more chances to succeed. The culture here is more teacher-based, so they expect that from foreign teachers, too, and that's just not what they need.


I'll take that any day over what I get over here. If they don't wanna learn, that's their problem, not mine. As long as they don't openly disrupt my class and then have the BALLS to retort with "I don't feel like it" when you tell them to "sit down, shut up, and to quit OPENLY disrupting class." That's the kind of bullshit I get over here from Spanish Pre-Teens. I've never taken the Japanese as openly rude people, even the rebellious youth. On the contrary I've heard complaints of the Japanese never speaking their mind, which by me is fine really.
Not speaking one's mind can be frustrating, though, especially when the lesson revolves around giving opinions. Japanese HS and uni students in general just don't know how to do it.

As for disrupting class, for the past 10-12 years, there has been a growing phenomenon called "classroom chaos" here. Read about it. Here is what one JET Program site had to say:
Gakkyu hokai is a new Japanese phrase which means "classroom chaos" and is a condition that many public schools are struggling to cope with these days. This lack of control has given way to some really awful JET stories out there, many of which are true.

I knew a JET at a technical high school (towards the low end of the spectrum) whose school had the problem of trying to stop students from throwing their desks out the windows. I knew another JET from Osaka whose school was trying to stop its junior high school students (aged 13 -15 years old) from having sex in the bathrooms during class time. My next door neighbor's students would spit at his feet as he walked down the aisles and he would walk home to the sound of them shouting, "F**k you!" In Hiroshima, one JET's belongings were destroyed when the entire teachers' room was set ablaze by angry students. Just before I left Japan, a Japanese teacher I knew was hospitalized after being beaten by two students and thrown down the stairs. I, myself, had a chair thrown at me by a student during class.

All these anecdotes are 100% true. These things do happen. Yes, the Japanese school stereotype is false and there's no use denying it. The best thing I can say in the JET Program's defense is that they don't happen all the time, or at every school. Kids weren't always throwing chairs at me (just the once) and they weren't always spitting at my friend or having sex in the bathrooms. There are some really terrific schools in Japan, but there are some bad ones, too. And even the "good" schools have their bad days.


Keep in mind that as an ALT, you are not hired by that school, and you are NOT in charge of the students. That's the job of the JTE. So, think about what you may feel and do when chaos erupts. What you are ALLOWED to do legally may be a good question to pose at an interview.
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ssjup81



Joined: 15 Jun 2009
Posts: 572
Location: Tendo, Yamagata, Japan

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just thought I'd point out that the teens I had to deal with at the JHS school I was an ALT for a couple of years ago had your share of students who did have an "I don't care attitude" about not only English, but all of their subjects. They would be the ones to sleep in class and not pay attention or not do their work or leave answers on their tests blank. Some would talk back to the teacher too.

IMO, there are some things students seem to be able to get away with here, that wouldn't fly back home in a school setting, generally (but I can only say this being from the US). To me, the children come across as a bit disrespectful towards adults (of course, not all of them). It's as Glenski, I think it was said, they're used of having everything done for them, so in that regard, some come across as spoiled to me, especially the boys.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About Fukuoka... The # of ESL jobs is much less than say Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, or Tokoyo and the surrounding areas. You will need to look hard.
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timothypfox



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 371

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About Fukuoka... The # of ESL jobs is much less than say Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, or Tokoyo and the surrounding areas. You will need to look hard.
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