The distinguished culture of Japan has always been a major reason for foreigners to visit and move there. If you are looking to live and work in Japan for the long term, we cover the majority of considerations and questions about this below.
Common issues and questions
First off, communication is sure to be top of your question list. You must know that except the major cities the level of english is generally poor, especially amongst the older generation. It is always recommended for expats to learn as much as possible about the basics before arrival, which will at least give you confidence to handle your settling in; progressing to further confidence in learning more advanced parts of the language. A local friend will help you a lot or your employer will nearly always have spare english speaking employees to help you get settled but don’t expect them to provide assistance all the time. Either way, As technology is developing fast, you can now have English to Japanese dictionary on your smart phone or some applications offering real conversations pronounced by natives and sorted by various scenarios which come in very handy!
It is pretty well known that Japan is one of those countries with very stressful working environments. Punctuality is vital and the standard of being punctual is quite high compared to back home. Usually, back home it seems perfectly acceptable to arrive 15 minutes prior to the shift, while the Japanese standard is 45 to 60 minutes. Not only that, working overtime is extremely common and for Japanese, staying as late as possible is to display that they devote themselves to the job and to the company. That’s why you can always see people are sleepy or sleeping in the subway. As a foreigner, you may be not required to show such dedication as the locals, but you still need to be as punctual as other Japanese, even if you think it is totally not necessary (If you are an ESL teacher, you should always be in your classroom before your students arrive).
Getting along with Japanese can be very difficult as they tend to be shy against the foreigners mainly due to not able to speak fluent English. You nearly always have to make the first move and introduce yourself to them; however afterwards they warm to you and become some of the closest friends you'll ever have. In addition if you know some Japanese, it would easily motivate them to speak to you as they are interested in making friends with people from different cultural backgrounds. Don’t be surprised if they ask you many private questions straight off, for example, “how long have you been married?”, “do you have a child?” and “how old are you?” etc. It is not considered offensive in Japanese culture.
Types of work in the current job market
For expats coming from English speaking countries, the best and easiest job to find is teaching English. The general salary of an ESL teacher is 200,000 - 250,000 yen per month (approximately 1660 - 2075 USD), and teaching hours vary from 30 hours to 35 hours (40 – 50 min per class). You will be teaching from 8:00AM to 4:00PM with weekends off, including office hours and unpaid preparation time. Your curriculum is pre-prepared and you must use provided teaching materials to teach, or have ESL games with children to make learning English more fun(teaching jobs in Japan).If you prefer a non-teaching job, the likelihood of getting one without fluent Japanese is quite low for expats in Japan. The main reason is that it is tough for expats to jump over the language hurdle. Plus, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree and at least 2-5 years related work experience as well. Generally, the easier option would be working in a Japanese company in your home country and applying to be relocated to Japan (non-teaching jobs in Japan).
Apply for jobs in Japan
To apply for the jobs, first please register your account on Find Work Abroad, uploading your CV and relevant documents, including a recent photo of you, photo of your passport, a degree and certificates (if you are applying for an English teaching position, it's advised for you to have a TEFL certificate. No TEFL? Click here. Although most employers do not require a TEFL in Japan) Use the top left drop-down menu to choose “Japan” and click the job section below. Remember to use the filters (type, city and salary) to quickly reach the job you want. After successfully submitting your application, you will promptly receive a call from us and you can discuss how to select the best job for you with our consultant. Once you confirm an online interview time with us, you should prepare for the interview and show the best of you to the interviewer. If the interview is successful (occasionally there is a second round interview or more), you will receive a contract after a few days and when the contract is signed you, the position is secured by you. Meanwhile, don’t forget to communicate with your employer about your application of working visa.
Once your contract is completed, you can either stay in Japan or work in a neighboring country such as South Korea or China. There would be a number of options for you since you would be an experienced teacher by then. More over with more experience living and working in Japan, should your Japanese be at a good level; finding the next level job or a promotion, perhaps even a non teaching job will all be possible. Or you may decide move to other countries, such as China (a massive land to explore with dynamic culture), South Korea (highly developed country with comfortable living and working environment), and Thailand (enjoy “working holiday” and beautiful beaches) etc.