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Anyone Taught in Japan?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by L11cex, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. L11cex

    L11cex New commenter

    I am thinking about working as a primary teacher at an international school Tokyo. I have an interview in early March. Has anyone taught in Japan? Have you any advice or pearls of wisdom to share?
  2. L11cex

    L11cex New commenter

    I am thinking about working as a primary teacher at an international school Tokyo. I have an interview in early March. Has anyone taught in Japan? Have you any advice or pearls of wisdom to share?
  3. millsandboon

    millsandboon New commenter

    I'm in Japan at the moment. Its an easy place to live and everything is usually very much above board.
    Language is a nightmare to learn unless you're a linguist type, but plenty of classes availableif you're willing to pay.
    If it doesn't have a picture on the front, I've learnt not to buy it in a supermarket. Red bean looks like chocolate, doen't taste like it though...and as for natto..
    Very little is written in English, making it pretty much alien territory, but you get used to it.
    The poeple are very nice, but I find them a little cold at times and some just downright racist. I'm white European. Gaijin. Stares abound.
    Sakura season is on its way. Its been bloody cold here since the beginning of December but its starting to warm up.
    You need to ake sure school pay for your rent- rents are high, especially in Tokyo. I pay close to £1000 a month for a one bed- not a fancy one either!
    Get good medical cover too- our school's is rubbish.
    Bring lots of your own country's painkillers- they seem a lot weaker over here.
    I enjoy it here very much, but its a long way from home. Depends where you've been before I guess.
    Is thst the kind of stuff you were after??
  4. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I taught in Japan from 2006-2008 and loved it there. Do your research on the school, the package etc. Japan is amazing, but less so if you are pinching pennies or stressing from paycheck to paycheck. PM me if you want an opinion of the school/package.
    The language is easy, but only compared to Mandarin. If you learn katakana/hirigana (two character sets) it would be helpful to read signs/menus and the satellite TV guide.
    Was never really bothered/noticed a lot of staring. But then again I'm in Beijing and don't notice it here either.
    Drinking sake under the sakura is an amazing experience.
    We paid into the national health insurance which was very reasonable and excellent.
    Good luck!

  5. Completely agree with World Traveller on the language front. Learn katakana first. All foreigner words are written in katakana, so if you go to any restaurant that isn't Japanese (or Chinese) you'll be able to read the menu (even an Indian restaurant). It took me about four days to learn using flash cards and I can still remember it today, eleven years later.
    Whether you feel stared at in your current location really depends on where you came from. We went to uni in a small town in China in 1998. After that, Beijing was fine and I wasn't really aware of it in Japan.
    I don't know about pay in international schools, but we earned 270,000 yen each as ESL teachers (we are a couple) with no housing allowance. We had a nice small new apartment in Kobe. We didn't scrimp and travelled around Asia in the holidays and each saved 500 pound a month. We certainly didn't feel poor.
  6. We paid into the national health service and as far I know it was pretty good, although I never had cause to use it.
  7. Oh! I have an interview for a school in Kobe. What is there to do for English speakers to do? Theatres/cinemas?

    Many thanks,
  8. I can't remember going to the cinema. We used to save up all the good movies and go see them in Siam Square in Bangkok. Lots of bars and restaurants, none specific to foreigners, mostly a mixed crowd, but some more expat than others. Sannomiya and Motomachi are the main entertainment areas, but public transport is excellent. Kobe is sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, so all transport runs in the same direction which really helps. Kobe isn't really a tourist town, but it is a great place to live. And for sights/getting out you have Himeji Castle to the west and Osaka to the east with Nara and Koyto a bit further than that.
    We loved our time there, except for the school (Nova, enough said). Weather wise, it gets stinkingly hot in the summer and frozen in the winter, although I don't think it snowed when we were there (could be wrong).
  9. Rhysboy

    Rhysboy New commenter

    I'm here at the moment, altogether I have 5 years experience of living and working in Japan (including a Japanese wife!).
    What exactly do you want to know?
  10. L11cex

    L11cex New commenter

    That's excellent thanks. I think the school pays a certain amount towards rent and the salary is around 6 million yen, do you think this is enough to live in Tokyo?
  11. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Yes, that would be a top salary for schools in Japan. If the housing is decent (and even if it's not) you would be doing very, very, well even in Tokyo.
  12. Rhysboy

    Rhysboy New commenter

    6 million a year is a good salary for a school in Japan, of course it's all relative depending on your lifestyle.
    Housing is expensive in Japan and if you want to live in central Tokyo, you will spend 150-200k a month on rent alone.
    If you want specific details about your school, join International Schools Review (29 dollars for 1 year) and read what others have written.

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