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Considering Re-Location to Japan
« on: June 12, 2019, 09:31:20 pm »
There is no question over the fact that Japan is a hard place to get into for teaching EFL.
I do have 1 year of experience teaching EFL there. I left for personal reasons.

I worked as a music teacher here in Canada for 2 years for an Indigenous reservation
school board. They just told me yesterday that my job will be cut, just 9 days before
the end of the school year. So because of this, I may consider relocating to Japan again.

Unlike the previous time, if I relocate to Japan I will be better off because I got more
money, I have enough time invested in Canada so I could get a Japanese driver's
license to get around, and I have no debt. (My student loan debts are paid off). But what's
most important is that after I leave my current job in June 20th, I need a job. I don't care if
it starts in August, September, or October.

I know the disadvantages I would have with living in Japan, the banking system, the
typhoons, the limited living spaces for such high costs of rent, and earthquakes. But
Japan is a peaceful place to live and work. So I will apply to teach in Japan, either
as an ALT teacher, or apply for work for an international school. I have surpassed the
age of applying for the JET program so forget about JET.

To sum it up, yes I am considering re-location to Japan. Unlike the previous time
I was there, it will be better than how it was before. But they sayd that I should
not have to settle for a monthly salary that pays 225,000 yen a month, because
that's below the minimum of 250,000 a month for ALT teachers. But I will be vigilant
and I will stay positive. I don't know it I will re-locate to Japan or not but that
is one of my options at this time.


Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2019, 07:43:32 am »
It is not a good idea for you. You said you "need" a job which suggests you are struggling for money.

I'd recommend Korea. All flights paid for, accommodation paid for and bonus at the end of contract.

That has got to be a load of your mind knowing that all these costs are taken care of.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1275

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2019, 07:44:40 am »
Japan is great, I'm *hopefully* about to start my 4th and final contract in Korea and then will be making the jump over to Japan myself.
Keep in mind, 250,000 isn't the minimum for an ALT, with most ALT / dispatch companies that do the hiring, that is the top of the pay scale.
Schools actually pay more for the ALT but, the companies take the difference between what the school pays, and what they offer you.
If you can get a direct hire job, through an office of education, then your pay will be much higher. They are highly competitive though, and you often have to already be living in Japan to apply for them.

Best of luck though, I just got offered a job in Japan last week. I'm considering it as a back up in case I don't get renewed (awaiting on official word to see if I got kept another year. My school said they want to keep me but, I heard there might be small cuts in my area due to a crazy high amount of renewals at the start of the year). So, if I didn't get renewed, I'll be going to Japan as early as September, or April at the latest.


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1498

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2019, 10:11:13 am »
I have surpassed the age of applying for the JET program so forget about JET.

No you haven't. There is no age limit for JET anymore.


  • annataleen
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 395

    • May 02, 2014, 01:27:07 pm
    • Incheon
Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2019, 11:09:46 am »
I have surpassed the age of applying for the JET program so forget about JET.

No you haven't. There is no age limit for JET anymore.

This is correct. JET dropped the age requirement a few years ago. The bad news is it is too late to apply for JET to go this year. You would have to apply in the fall, interview in the winter, and go next summer. That means you would have to work another year in Canada (or somewhere else!). A person cannot apply to JET from Japan.

Japan actually isn't a hard country to get into, but it is hard to find a good job from overseas. What most people do is get in through an ALT dispatch company and either work the one year and then find a new job, or start working and start looking for a new job right away. The best jobs are found once you are already in Japan because many listings say "must currently reside in Japan." The good news is, in Japan your visa isn't tied to your school (or the organization that sponsors the visa), so you can change jobs easily. I was lucky because I always had 3 year visas in Japan, and I think they have a 5 year visa now as well. I was a JET, but dispatch ALTs tend to have only one year visas. If you change jobs, most will sponsor a new visa. On a side note, Japan is getting quite generous with permanent residency, so if you are thinking about settling down overseas, it can be done in Japan. I know many who have PR in Japan.

Since you are a certified teacher, I think going the international school route is the best option. It will get you the best pay for sure. However, you might have to go to Japan as an ALT and find a job later. You probably could get into an ALT company and go this summer, but the main intake is in March because the new school year is from April. With international schools, some follow the Japanese school year (April through March) and some follow a western school year (August or September through May or June).

 I know some  ALTs with teaching credentials who later transitioned into international schools. One of my former colleagues is a certified teacher from the U.K. and he works at a private school, but he is direct hire so he has good benefits, pay, and job stability. Direct hire is the best option, but sadly that is becoming less common. One of reasons why I left Japan for Korea is because my job at the same school as him decided to make my position part-time. I wasn't a direct hire, so they could do that. This is also happening with Japanese teachers that don't work in public schools, many positions are becoming part-time. I could have pieced together a few part-time positions and been ok, and I know teachers who do that, but I wanted sometime more stable.

I think Japan could be a good option for you, but you may either have to get in being an ALT for a while until you find something better, or you may have to wait it out another year and plan on going either next March or next summer.


Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2019, 11:56:19 am »
Lived in Japan for 2 years with the JET program and it was the best decision I have made.

1. Life as a foreigner is easier. People, both locals and foreigners are friendlier. There's none of the Korean crap. No judgement based on looks or nationality which is probably why the foreign community, in my experience were so much happier and friendlier to each other. This was a huge thing for me and it was so refreshing to let down my guard and make true friends, there was no smiling at your face then backstabbing you among  colleagues either. It's a breath of fresh air and a mental release that everyone needs to experience if you've lived in Korea for a while.

2. Money, the pay is the same with an increase every year, but it doesn't meet the high cost of living. I lived in Kumamoto, a small city and got a 3 bed room apartment for about the same price you would pay for a one room in Korea. A friend chose to live in the farm/ rural area of Kumamoto and got himself an entire house. It was provided of course, no key money, unless you intend to bring a pet. The apartments have actual balconies that you can step out on to and get some fresh air. You have to watch your use of electricity and gas though. It can go quite high. The bigger cities, of course would be smaller accommodation for more money. If you're trying to save, definitely go smaller cities or rural areas. People in Japanese rural areas aren't as small minded and racist as the ones in Korea. My friend and I are both people of color and have found them to be very friendly and accepting, granted we both did put in the effort to learn the language and was able to communicate with them. We got free veggies once a month from the local farmers and actually invited out to town gatherings and festivals or to dinner with neighbors. Food is generally expensive though, wherever you go. But it's delicious! School food is bland, I'd suggest bringing your own.

3. Teaching wise, most classrooms in Japan, unless you're in a bigger school in a bigger city, don't have TV's, so you'll be doing a lot of old school teaching with just chalk and black board, or marker and white board. The students are great, but like Korea, it depends where you are. They are WAY more conservative in every way. Depending on the teacher, most of the foreigners I've worked with on the JET program said they did 70 - 30 teaching styles, with the Japanese English teacher doing 70% and the Native doing the 30. I, however, taught all of my classes on my own with the JT pitching in every now and then.

IMO the only thing good about Korea is the money to living ratio. Everything else, go Japan all the way! If money is your reason for going there, you'll have a hard time saving. You will be able to make it from month to month comfortably, you just won't save much.




 


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1275

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: Considering Re-Location to Japan
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2019, 12:35:02 pm »
I have surpassed the age of applying for the JET program so forget about JET.

No you haven't. There is no age limit for JET anymore.

This is correct. JET dropped the age requirement a few years ago. The bad news is it is too late to apply for JET to go this year. You would have to apply in the fall, interview in the winter, and go next summer. That means you would have to work another year in Canada (or somewhere else!). A person cannot apply to JET from Japan.

Japan actually isn't a hard country to get into, but it is hard to find a good job from overseas. What most people do is get in through an ALT dispatch company and either work the one year and then find a new job, or start working and start looking for a new job right away. The best jobs are found once you are already in Japan because many listings say "must currently reside in Japan." The good news is, in Japan your visa isn't tied to your school (or the organization that sponsors the visa), so you can change jobs easily. I was lucky because I always had 3 year visas in Japan, and I think they have a 5 year visa now as well. I was a JET, but dispatch ALTs tend to have only one year visas. If you change jobs, most will sponsor a new visa. On a side note, Japan is getting quite generous with permanent residency, so if you are thinking about settling down overseas, it can be done in Japan. I know many who have PR in Japan.

Since you are a certified teacher, I think going the international school route is the best option. It will get you the best pay for sure. However, you might have to go to Japan as an ALT and find a job later. You probably could get into an ALT company and go this summer, but the main intake is in March because the new school year is from April. With international schools, some follow the Japanese school year (April through March) and some follow a western school year (August or September through May or June).

 I know some  ALTs with teaching credentials who later transitioned into international schools. One of my former colleagues is a certified teacher from the U.K. and he works at a private school, but he is direct hire so he has good benefits, pay, and job stability. Direct hire is the best option, but sadly that is becoming less common. One of reasons why I left Japan for Korea is because my job at the same school as him decided to make my position part-time. I wasn't a direct hire, so they could do that. This is also happening with Japanese teachers that don't work in public schools, many positions are becoming part-time. I could have pieced together a few part-time positions and been ok, and I know teachers who do that, but I wanted sometime more stable.

I think Japan could be a good option for you, but you may either have to get in being an ALT for a while until you find something better, or you may have to wait it out another year and plan on going either next March or next summer.

I'll just add, most dispatch / ALT companies that hire for any time that isn't march / April, are mostly trying to hire you for when/if somebody leaves mid contract. And will usually be, from whatever start date until March, then they will give you a chance to change over to a full year contract at the start of the year.