Friday, March 4, 2016

FAQ's on Living in Japan

photo credit:

Here are the most frequently -asked questions about living in Japan.

Check here for: FAQ's on Teaching English in Japan.
Check here for: FAQ's on Working in Japan

1. Do I need to learn Japanese if I live in Japan? 

Life would be so much easier if you can speak and read Japanese. But the language should not stop you from coming here. You'll survive (and you'll eventually learn some Japanese) if you move here.

2. Is Japan an expensive place to live? 

I used to think Japan is an expensive place because I keep on converting everything to peso. Eventually, I realized that Japan is a reasonable place to live in. The bulk of your expenses will go to rent especially if you live in big cities. I think housing is the only expensive thing in Japan.Other than that, you can buy affordable clothes, food, things and necessities if you know where to look.

Check this post, Just Moved to Japan: Where to Buy Affordable Things

3. Can I migrate to Japan? 

You can work in Japan but becoming a permanent resident is difficult. And, becoming a citizen is almost impossible. The Japanese government grant citizenship to those who have "Japanese blood," such as children or grandchildren of Japanese people who intermarried.

A lot of studies have cited that Japan needs to ease it's immigration policies because of the aging population. But as of the present time, it seems like the "no immigration"policy is as solid as ever,

4. How are foreigners treated in Japan? 

There is no straight answer to this except it depends on what country you came from.

The Japanese are not overtly discriminatory nor racist but there's a difference in their treatment among different colors. I'm Asian so the Japanese are not as interested with me as when they see an American or European.

Check this post for more details, Is There Racism in Japan?

With these being said, the Japanese are generally polite and helpful to foreigners. But it's rare to find a Japanese who will not make your "not being Japanese," a glaring detail.

5. How is the radiation problem in Japan? 

Because of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, some people are still afraid to come to Japan. The radiation and nuclear meltdown are still issues 5 years after the Big Disaster. However, these happened in the northern part of Japan. If you're planning to live in the Central Area or South Area, you are less prone to these problems.

6. Where are the best places to live in Japan?

This question is hard to answer. It really depends on what you want to do in Japan.

The big cities are great for party people. There are also plenty of jobs there.
The smaller cities like Hamamatsu are calmer and perfect for starting a family.
The more rural places are more peaceful and more closely-knit.

I live in Hamamatsu and I really like it here. It's a small city bordered by the sea and the mountains. I love nature so I like it. There are also plenty of jobs here since there are many factories in the area.

7. What should I prepare before to Japan? 

Cash and patience.

For practical reasons, you'll be needing cash to rent a place and buy the things you need.
Patience, and understanding too, because the Japanese are not entirely easy to deal with. Some banks and shops don't want to deal with foreigners, especially the newly-arrived ones. Rental can also be a problem.

Check these posts: Living in Japan

8. What bills should I pay when I live in Japan?

The bills are the most annoying things for me. There's two taxes you have to pay,  residence and prefectural tax, There's also the income tax which your employer will deduct from you, There's health insurance but you still have to pay 30 percent of your medical bills. There's the national pension. And the NHK payment if you own a TV. There are many bills, basically.

Japan is a generally nice place to live. It's convenient, safe and clean. But it's not perfect like any other place in the world.

Good luck if you're moving here!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

FAQ's on Working in Japan

These so called 'salarymen' or office ladies fear resentment from their colleagues if they take days off, a real concern in a conformist culture that values harmony
Japanese salarymen and office ladies
Photo Credit:

Here are some common questions I receive from people who want to work in Japan.

For FAQ's on Teaching English in Japan , click here. 

1. What jobs are available for foreigners in Japan? 

Most foreigners in Japan are either English teachers or factory workers. There are also a handful of nurses, nursing assistants and farmers. A handful of foreigners work in companies. However, these jobs require proficiency in Japanese.

2. How can I find a job in Japan? 

Find a company who can sponsor your visa. This is easier for English teaching positions.
You can also check the Japanese Embassy in your countries for job openings and work programs.

3. Can I go to Japan as a tourist then search for a job there? 

No one's stopping you from doing this but I wouldn't recommend it. It would be hard for you to find an employer who will sponsor your visa. Your employer might also take advantage of you.

4. I have a dependent visa, can I work in Japan? 

It depends on the restrictions of your visa. I have a friend whose husband has been granted a 3-year visa. He can also work with his visa. My husband was granted a year's visa but he cannot apply for work.

5. I have a student visa, can I work while studying? 

Just like in other countries, you can work a FEW hours if you have a student visa. But, you're not allowed to take full-time work. Just recently, a language school was closed because they're hiring people with student visa.

 6. Aside from my full-time job, can I do part-time work? 

If you have a work visa, it would be very specific on what kind of work you can do. If  you want to engage in part-time work, you have to apply for a "Certificate to Engage in Other Activities."

Check this post for more details: How to Get a Certificate to Engage in Other Activities.

For More on Working in Japan, check these sites:

Working in Japan

General Union

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

FAQ's on Teaching in Japan

 A Japanese Drama: Great Teacher Onizuka

Side notes: I haven't written as regularly as I used to. I'm leaving Japan soon so I'm bit busy preparing things. I have tons of topics I want to write but I'm not sure when I will have the time. For now, I'll do a series of FAQ's about to address some questions I usually get from emails.  

Let's start with the FAQ's about teaching English in Japan:

1. How can I teach English in Japan? 

To be an English teacher in Japan, you'll need at least two things.

First, you'll need a Bachelor's Degree. For native speakers, any degree is accepted. For non-native speakers, you have to work on having an Education degree and ESL Certifications.

Second, you'll need to apply for English teaching jobs. Here's a post I've made about the Best Companies to Get Teaching Jobs in Japan.

2. I am from (insert a country not considered native English), can I get a teaching job in Japan?

I have no straight answer for this question.

Honestly, it is hard to get a teaching job if you're not a native English speaker. I know a few people from India, Pakistan and Indonesia who are teaching in private kindergarten schools. However, the benefits and workload are horrible.

I've had some Filipinos asking me if they can get a job here. Here's the answer: Yes, if you are qualified. Get some experience and get a TESL or CELTA certificate.

3. How much is the salary of English teachers in Japan? 

Monthly salary ranges from 150,000 Yen to as high as 350,000 Yen. It depends on the nature of teaching, your nationality and the company you're working for.

To live comfortably in Japan, you would need at least 200,000 Yen. So, if you have job offers lower than 200,000, ask your employer to provide housing for you.

Here's a post on How Much Can You Save as an ALT in Japan?

4. Can I go to Japan as a tourist then find a job there? 

No one's stopping you to do this but I wouldn't recommend it. You'll have a hard time finding an employer who would sponsor your working visa. Another possible scenario is you'll be taken advantage of by your employer. Worse, you can be deported for not having the right visa.

5. Do I need to learn Japanese to get a teaching job in Japan? 

Not necessarily but knowing some Japanese can greatly help you in everyday living. It would also help you in your work.

6. Are Japanese students easy to teach? 

When it comes to discipline, Japanese students are easy to manage. They are mostly well-behaved. In schools, the Japanese teachers will be the one responsible for classroom management.

The harder part is how you'll teach English in a way they'll understand. You will need tons of creativity so your students can understand you

7. What should I prepare before coming to Japan as a teacher? 

Materially, you can find most of the things you'll need here. Don't bother bringing your whole closet with you.

Working in another country will always require you to be more open to another culture. You have to be ready for culture shock and homesickness.

Be physically fit too. You don't want to get sick in another country.

And oh,  polish your grammar. Japanese students are highly-focused on grammar rules.

If you want to know more details on teaching in Japan, here's an e-book I've written two years ago:
Jumpin' to Japan .

If you have other questions, feel free to send me an email.

Good luck!

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