Search Results for: how to get a job

Working in Japan

Japan

I know so many people who would do anything to be able to go and work in Japan. It seems to be on the bucket list of so many people, whether they are people who are obsessed with anime, people who like to travel or just people wanting to live an adventure for a year.

I want to write (what may be a kinda long post) about how you can live in Japan – from what options are available to what you’d need to do. SO, let’s get going…

Question 1 – Do you have a degree?

If the answer is NO, you have two choices; be a student or get a working holiday visa.

Japan doesn’t give working visas to those without degrees. It kinda sucks, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go live in Japan still, it just means that it might take a little money.

If you want to be a student, you can enroll at a language school, or perhaps if you are a university student you can be an exchange student like I was.

HOW CAN I DO THIS?!

Well, to be a student, first you should pick a school to study at, then apply for your visa. You can get lots of info on this here. I’ve never done this (I went through my British university) so I’m afraid I don’t have so much advice. Shop around for the best deal with the school and check out the local area, too. Some universities have programmes where you don’t have to be a university student yourself to go there, but going to a language school is probably the easiest option.

To do a working holiday visa, it’s slightly harder as there are certain conditions, such as being from a certain country, being within a certain age bracket, having a certain amount of savings stocked up and so on.Ā I found a really good website that talks you through the process so check it out. If you don’t have a degree then this is possibly the best way to go about Japan for the year.

Question 2 – Would you be up for fighting for a popular job?

If you have a degree then perhaps you’d like to become an ALT (assistant language teacher) in a school. I asked if you’re ok with fighting for this job because the process is very complicated and involves writing essays, having interviews, and applying for a job that thousands of other people are also dying to get.

This is mainly with The JET Programme but if you happen to fail with them, there are other companies that do the same thing such as Interac, and depending on the city there are other, smaller companies too.

Why is JET so popular?

Well, there are many advantages to being on JET. The first being that the pay is very, very good. I’m willing to say that unless you get a real job at a big company in Japan, you won’t find a salary this good in Japan. Interac and the others don’t pay quite as good, but it’s still better than most.

JET is great because you are welcomed into a great community. You have pre-departure meetings in your home country, and then everyone gets to go to Tokyo together and we take of the Keio Plaza hotel for a few days while we are all training. Those days were so much fun and I made friends with JETs from all over the country.

It’s also a fairly easy job and you don’t need much to be able to do it. The application process requires you to be on the ball though – you need a great essay and to be able to be charismatic and engaging in the interview. Nothing in your application process should hint that you want to go to Japan because of anime, or because you want to find a Japanese partner. You need to have some REAL, solid reasons for wanting to go there.

Why did you leave JET?

There are also a few downsides to JET. The main one for me was that I felt I was over qualified for the school that I was placed at. Some people get placed in amazing schools. Some get placed at schools who use them as human tape recorders. My placement was somewhere in between that, but it still didn’t mean I was actually teaching. I wrote a lot more about it in this blog post from a while back.

They tell you that you are there to teach but really you are there so that they can have random foreigners in the countryside. You will probably not be placed in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka etc. You are more likely to be placed in the middle of nowhere, with one convenience store which is a 20 minute bike ride away, and where wild boars come scratching at your door every night (hahah, you think I’m joking?!)

I miss life on JET a lot, but I am very grateful to be in a job where I use my skills and my brain.

HOW CAN I DO THIS?!

I’d love to write a blog post on how to get into the JET Programme, but actually a great guide has already been written. Go check it out, and good luck!

Question 3 – Do you want something a little less…stressful?

If the fight to get a place on JET doesn’t appeal to you, then you’re still in luck! In Japan there is a culture of taking classes outside of school – usually called “juku” or “cram schools”. They leave school and go straight to these schools to sit for another few hours cramming their brains with more info. It’s rare that juku would hire native English teachers since they would focus on grammar (being taught in Japanese, of course…) but there are also after school English schools called “eikaiwa”. There are big names ones like Aeon, ECC and the troubled NOVA, and then smaller ones that are owned by, usually, a middle aged Japanese woman who studied abroad and wants to share her love of English with children (correct me if I’m wrong, guys!!)

How is this different to an ALT/JET job?

Well first of all, your salary would be less. It may even be commission based (I had some friends who were to build up their student base and only then made a decent wage.)

Your hours would be different, too. An ALT works from 8am -4pm. An Eikaiwa teacher might work something like 2pm – 10pm. It means that these two different creatures don’t get to hang out so much as their schedules are totally opposite.

Like I mentioned above, as an ALT I went into classrooms and mainly stood at the back until the teacher needed me to say something, then the kids would repeat after me. Occasionally I’d plan a 15 minute game or something. I worked as an eikaiwa teacher part time when I was at uni in Japan. It was a very small school, run by a nice Japanese lady. I was to teach alongside a real idiot British guy (the type who has lived in Japan for 10 years but speaks only a few words), and in an evening the two of us would teach 4 elementary classes back to back. We’d start with a welcome song, then maybe do some alphabet workbook activities, then maybe read them a story and finish off with some shadowing (a strange practice they like to do in Japan where the kids listen to, say, a fairy tale cd, and try to mimic what they say in real-time. The kids have no idea what they are saying. I have no idea if it’s any good or not.)

TELL ME MORE!!

I can’t personally, but I have found some pretty great links that explain what it’s like working at one of these companies.

Smitty Media working for NOVA (Nova are a company that went bankrupt a few years ago but are making a comeback)

Keeping the Peace in Japan working for AEON

What can I do with a BA in Japanese Studies – unnamed school

Susie Somewhere at Peppy Kids Club

——–

There are, of course other ways to get to Japan. Perhaps you can get a gig as a foreign model, or you are a real life teacher and get a job at a university. But these are the three most popular ways of getting to live and experience Japan, and this post is LONG ENOUGH.

Have you ever lived in Japan? I’d love to hear how you got there and what you did!

Expat Friends

SONY DSC

There’s a certain cycle that (I’m guessing) most people have with friendships when they live abroad. I’ve already written about how one can make friends when living in a different country, but actually once you’ve made those friends it’s still pretty tricky and probably not like making friends back home. (But I wouldn’t know…I’ve not been back home making friends since the start of uni…)

I’ve been fairly lucky here in Germany because my office has many strong social groups. It’s often a bubble that’s hard to break out of, but at the same time I feel I’m closest to my colleagues; both the ones from the UK team and ones from other language teams. We may be a little weird and geeky, but we’re good deep down šŸ˜‰

So, here are the stages of expat friendship.

Stage 1 – BON VOYAGE!!!

The night before you leave for your foreign country, you gather up all your home friends and say goodbye to them. They know you inside out and backwards. But you’re so excited for your new adventure.

Stage 2 – OMG are you new here too?!

You get to your new home, and find other people in the same situation as you. For no other reason than you being in the same situation, you become friends – joined at the hip. You do everything together, and experience all the new things together.

Stage 3 – OMG why am I friends with you?!

Stage 2 lasts for a few weeks, then you look at your new friends and realise you have nothing at all in common. Why can’t they just be like your home friends?! Your home friends wouldn’t be idiots like them. They’d be so witty and clever and know exactly what to say. You Skype your home friends every day for a week.

Stage 4 – Where can I get more friends?

You start to venture out of the small comfort zone you’ve created. Perhaps you seek out new hobbies, go to meetups, take a language class. You dedicate a lot of time and effort into looking for new people to hang out with.

Stage 5 – This stage may be a repeat of the 2nd stage, where you find people who are equally bemused with their initial friends, but then after a while you realise that the only thing you had in common was your common bemusement. Either that, or friends you made that you were pretty fond of have finished their internship/course/marriage and have moved away.

Stage 6 – You spend months carefully pruning your garden of friends, weeding out ones you wonder what you ever saw in, saying sayonaya to ones leaving the country, and picking up lots of new ones on the way. Then, and only then, you may have a good, artificially made group of friends.

The above list may not be true for most expats. It’s been my experience here in Germany, and it’s similar to my experience in Japan (it’s just that in Japan I was a lot more limited to who I could make friends with). I’d say the hardest part is the end of stage 5, where you find someone you like but their timeline in that place differs from yours.

I found myself being really cynical and, when I met someone new, I assessed the amount of time and effort I would “invest” in that person. It’s a horrible way to think, I know. It’s just really hard when you meet someone and you really hit it off and you want to be BFFS with them, but they are at the end of the time they’d like to spend in the place because maybe they just can’t get over culture shock, or maybe they just don’t like their job. But at the same time, you love the country and love your job and don’t plan on leaving for a long time. It’s hard.

At the beginning of my time in Frankfurt I kept on getting attached to interns from the banking world. They are a really cool bunch, but they’d be gone in a few months.

There’s also something else you may want to take into account – why is this new friend an expat? You’d be really surprised to find how many people are apparently escaping from something back home. It’s not a bad thing. But it often means that the amount of crazies in the expat world is very, very high. Sometimes the crazy doesn’t show itself for weeks or months. But it’s often there. One day you look at your friend and think “my God, were you this crazy all along? We do I hang out with you?!” We need to find likeminded people so we can match our crazy and become good friends.

As always, I’ve love input from you all! Have any of you created strategies for making friends abroad?

Eating in Berlin

SONY DSC

You know me. I like my food. It’s very important to me.

I must admit, Berlin food and I did not get along. In fact, it’s probably the biggest factor in me not liking it there so much.

Berlin and Frankfurt are very, very different creatures. In Frankfurt, people often have great jobs and eat out at least once a week, so they demand a lot of good food. Team this with Frankfurt being a pretty small town and you have a recipe for foodie heaven where you have loads of food options on your doorstep.

In Berlin people seem to be paid much less. Rent is very cheap. The food is also very cheap (about 5 euros for a dinner). People just don’t seem to eat out as much. Also, Berlin is very, very big. So with this you have restaurants dotted around the city, but not all huddled together in clumps like in Frankfurt.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

One downside to traveling is that you can’t often carry on the food habits you’d have normally. For me, it’s important that I don’t eat too much wheat because it causes a nasty rash next to my nose. For the boyfriend (and myself when we are together) it means finding vegetarian food. I keep finding myself compromising (especially at breakfast when there’s a buffet with meat, wheat and cheese) and just eating some bread. I can eat (and drink!!) a little, but I did come back from this long weekend with a small mountain range on my face.

I did make a list of lots of gluten free restaurants but with Berlin being so big, it would have taken us nearly an hour to get to any of those places from where we were, and we just assumed there would be good places to eat at all over the city.

SONY DSC

One wheat-ness I did feel happy having was this beer from Bamberg. It’s smoked, and tastes absolutely wonderful. If you ever happen to be in a place that has lots of different beers, do look out for it – it’s calledĀ “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier“.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Here’s a list of the places we ate at (all vegetarian/veggie friendly):

Arabic Karun

Sahara SudaneseĀ 

Yam Yam Korean

I used this really awesome blog for gluten free recommendations in Berlin…but sadly didn’t get round to visiting a single one.

If you’re gluten free or vegetarian…or have any other challenging eating situation, I’d love to hear any tips you have for traveling and staying away from the things you shouldn’t eat, as well as surviving when there’s nothing that fits your diet.

SONY DSC

Friday Letters 11/10/13

20130928_124631_mh1381357419414

Dear Autumn food, keep it up. You’re doing a great job. Especially you, Butternut Squash. Excellent soups.

20130930_181555_mh1381357358927

Dear Germany, I may get angry at your crappy graffiti, but I do love your massive art projects that we can see everywhere. It’s like a treasure hunt to try and find them.

20131002_083704_mh1381357318980

Dear German trains, why do you attach a carriage when none of the doors work? What’s the point?

Screenshot_2013-08-09-13-39-18

Dear Samsung Note Mobile, your predictive word texts are hilarious. My new favourite thing is typing a word then using the predictive words that come after it to make random sentences. Such fun.

LINKIES!

My fellow Germany blogger Steven went to a SUPER COOL restaurant that has a rollercoaster running through it delivering your food! It reminds me of the sushi restaurants in Japan that would serve you your orders by tiny bullet trains.

A supermarket employee in Japan has been turning the lumps of minced beef into anime characters. The sonic one is my favourite.

After reading this post on breakfast and how it can affect you, I’m thinking of switching up my breakfast habits…I usually have toast with avocado or tomatoes on it. I know, a weird breakfast choice…

I really enjoyed this post from Expat Lingo about what sounds to be a very complicated new building in Hong Kong. It reminded me of this post my friend Stephen at Sparrow and Dove wrote about the escalators in the Frankfurt shopping centre My Zeil.

Some students in America tried to have a racial bake sale – where white men pay the most. I can see what they were trying to do but I’m not sure this was a good idea…

Video of the week is from this German beauty tuber I found. I don’t know what it is about her but I can’t stop watching. She’s just frickin’ adorable. And great for learning German! I watched one of her videos and then ended up spending 60 euros in DM… eep…

%d bloggers like this: