Hey, I have always wanted to travel to Japan for martial arts, food, language and culture. I heard it was expensive and tried to apply for some teaching jobs there but didn't have enough experience at the time. Since then I got a job teaching English in China and am having a great time. I still want to go to Japan but keep hearing stories about the shady treatment foreign teachers get and low pay, to low to do anything or travel anywhere. In China foreign teachers are paid well above the standard Chinese teacher and with are more than capable of living a rather luxury life.
Can someone please give me some more input on this subject? How do foreign teachers live in Japan? How much do things cost? How difficult is it to travel? Are the employers fair? Any other information would be great.
I spent a year teaching in Japan from Aug07-Aug08. There's very little that I can say bad about the experience. I had a wonderful job, a nice apartment, lived in a beautiful area, and got to see a lot of the country. My employer, Interac, treated me just fine. They helped me get settled and took care of everything, bought me a car, and paid me just slightly above the average for foreigners. Were the wages fantastic? No. I didn't strike it rich or go home with any savings, but I had enough to travel and party hard every single weekend, take a trip to Thailand for Christmas, eat out when I felt like it, and rarely have to worry about money. It was good enough for me.
You will definitely hear many complaints about my company and every other companies in Japan. Lots of people seem to think they are being treated unfairly for whatever reason. From my experience talking to my friends who complained about their company, much of it seemed to be out of frustration of living in Japanese society anyway. I would hear so many complaints from people who just wanted to be treated like a king. No, they don't treat you like a king. They give you a job, expect you to do it, and give you a paycheck if you do. Chances are though, you will still be making more than your Japanese coworkers despite having little or no teacher training or experience.
I recommend checking out Dave' ESL Cafe. There's a wealth of info on there and the forum section will be filled with both complaints and praises for every company in the country. You decide.
One thing that I will mention though is that to get a visa for Japan you still need a Bachelors Degree even if you have 50 years experience teaching English. Another option is to get a Working Holiday Visa but that gives other restrictions.
As for travel - Japan is one of the easiest countries in the world to travel in. Yes, occasionally there is a language barrier but that is so rarely a problem. You can go anywhere very easily, though not always cheaply as trains are very expensive. I was lucky because as I said, my company gave me a car and I so I drove all over the country very cheaply.
If you need more info, don't hesitate to send me a personal message,
Good insight. I guess the experience can be good or bad. I was just wondering if I was going to starve or be stuck with a crappy job and no entertainment outlet to access. Im still in China right now and have a pretty good deal as it is so I am going to stick around here for a while. However, I do have a BA degree and a teaching certificate, and now I am working on more teaching experience. Quite possibly in the near future I will start applying for work in Japan.
Thanks again for your advice and link.