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EDX442
October 3rd, 2013, 17:14
Hi.

I am interested in participating in this JET program after finishing a bachelor's degree at uni. My desire to go to Japan has always been there, but only recently have I had the desire to want to live and work there long term. After three years of what I feel was wasted time at smaller colleges here in Australia, this desire to learn Japanese and go to Japan to live and work has given me the motivation to undertake a degree at university.

However, as with any pursuit, I'm really in need of some help and advice concerning my situation. My intention is to put many hours into learning Japanese while studying my degree and saving money from part time work (I currently live out of home but am receiving govt. benefits and have very little savings). While just having the opportunity to live in Japan for a year or two while teaching English is great in and of itself, I feel that I would like to stay for longer, and so am under the impression that the subject of my degree will matter in the long term.

I am thinking of doing a Bachelor of Arts, with a minor in Japanese Studies and a major in a subject that both interests me and will open up employment possibilities in Japan or elsewhere. I know that any degree will get me a working visa in this situation, but I want to make sure I put the time and effort into something worthwhile. Some subjects I could major in include: Creative Writing, Composition (Music), Linguistics, English and Culture. Of course there are many more, but I just thought I'd list some that interest me. Past subjects I have studied at a low level include IT, Multimedia and Music.

Whether it be as an English teacher or translator or something very different, I just want to make it in Japan as a foreigner in the best possible way, while still doing something I enjoy or isn't terribly mind-numbing. It's time I had some direction in life.


Thanks in advance for any help and I apologise for this drawn out post...

Ini
October 3rd, 2013, 17:22
have you spent any extended periods of time in Japan before? If I put by mum hat on I'd tell you to do a degree you are interested in rather than one in a subject you think might help you get a job in japan in 10 years time. For all you know you could graduate, live in japan for 2 years and then realize it isn't the place you want to settle in.

I wasted 4 years doing a degree in something I thought would lead to a good job rather than doing something I liked........

EDX442
October 3rd, 2013, 18:53
have you spent any extended periods of time in Japan before? If I put by mum hat on I'd tell you to do a degree you are interested in rather than one in a subject you think might help you get a job in japan in 10 years time. For all you know you could graduate, live in japan for 2 years and then realize it isn't the place you want to settle in.

I wasted 4 years doing a degree in something I thought would lead to a good job rather than doing something I liked........

Hehe, good advice. And no, I haven't ever been there. I also hope to get there within 5 years if possible.

coop52
October 3rd, 2013, 19:19
If you want to have an easier time finding work here other than crappy eikaiwa jobs, learn some sort of skill, like management, programming, or marketing. People here generally won't hire you just because you can speak Japanese. Also, the job market is fairly crappy for everyone at the moment, Japanese people included. Even if you can find someone to hire you, it'll probably be only for part time or a short term contract.

Edit-even if you're just interested in translating, you'd find a job a lot more easily if you could program or do websites. When I was looking for jobs this summer, I saw quite a few jobs wanting bilingual English-Japanese people who could help develop smartphone apps. I wouldn't count on the market being the same 5-6 years from now though.

EDX442
October 3rd, 2013, 19:38
I suppose a major in linguistics would help on the marketing side of things. I also did some website development as part of a multimedia course so I suppose I could brush up on my knowledge. But yeah, as you have said, the market could be wildly different after so many years... thanks for taking the time to answer, though. I appreciate it.

Page
October 3rd, 2013, 21:47
Business, IT, marketing, and management are ones I see often but as Ini said I'd study what you want and give Japan a try. There's no telling how much you will or won't like it so I wouldn't go so far as to pick a degree around it. Elective skill courses (programming/teaching/English/etc.) aren't terrible ideas to beef up your resume, though, if you have credits to spare!

(Also my degree is in linguistics and it will probably only get me teaching English forever, tbh.)

Jiggit
October 4th, 2013, 08:35
I'm sorry but unless you have actually lived here for a while then you simply don't know that you want to live here and you're massively kidding yourself if you think otherwise. By all means apply to the jet programme and stay here a few years, hey, maybe you'll still want to live here after that. But persuading yourself that you know you want to live here is just naivety. I don't know what is motivating you to say that you want to live here (I bet I could guess though) but know that everyone's views change massively after a few years of life here, and you simply can't plan ahead that far without those experiences under your belt. Generally the most open-minded/flexible people survive best, and the people who are the most gung-ho Japanophiles are often the ones who get culture shock the worst and sometimes even break their contract to run home early. With that in mind it's not worth choosing a college degree you don't like for the sake of that. Sounds harsh but someone needs to tell you.

On a lighter note don't worry too much about courses. Being a teacher here is basically equally viable regardless of your degree and most other jobs will require qualifications outside your choice of undergrad course. Otherwise you'll need some kind of skill which will probably require experience in that field, so if you're coming to Japan straight after graduating it's meaningless anyway.

Gizmotech
October 4th, 2013, 09:16
As someone w/ a linguistics degree, don't bother with it. It's a dead end degree, and people in HR are (usually) too stupid to ever realize the variety of things a linguist could do. Like Page said, I'll probably be an English teacher for life. Better to have something like "marketing" "management" "administration" "Information Technology" "computer science" "Ethics".

Like coop said, Japan is currently moving a lot of websites to web 2.0 (yes, they're upgrading to 7 years ago), and smartphones (cheap androids) are taking off massively. If you have any skills related to that (right now) you'd be making mint.


As for the living here long term, I have no idea how you could come to that conclusion before coming to Japan. It's like saying you want to live on Mars... sure we know a lot about it, but until you do it you have no idea if you should/could live there.

word
October 4th, 2013, 10:09
If you're the entrepreneurial type, you might consider starting/running a small business here. Japan is a land full of people who are seriously lacking initiative, in my humble opinion, which makes it ripe for development of a small business. I actually know several expats (mostly American, one Australian) who have started businesses here (a restaurant, a language school, an education-related publishing and tech company, among others) and are all doing quite well for themselves. Like all things Japan, it's a mess of bureaucracy and paperwork, but if you're willing, it can work out. If MG and I were gonna stay here, we would definitely go that route. If you went that direction, you'd wanna do something you loved (ideally, something productive/useful... maybe not so arty), so just pursue a degree in whatever that is.

coop52
October 4th, 2013, 12:18
It's kind of a pain in the ass to get them to approve a self-sponsored visa since you have to prove you can support yourself on your income. I would try to come on a regular work visa, do whatever business on the side, then change visa types once you get established. That or find some Japanese person willing to marry you.

therealwindycity
October 4th, 2013, 14:53
If you're the entrepreneurial type, you might consider starting/running a small business here. Japan is a land full of people who are seriously lacking initiative, in my humble opinion, which makes it ripe for development of a small business. I actually know several expats (mostly American, one Australian) who have started businesses here (a restaurant, a language school, an education-related publishing and tech company, among others) and are all doing quite well for themselves. Like all things Japan, it's a mess of bureaucracy and paperwork, but if you're willing, it can work out. If MG and I were gonna stay here, we would definitely go that route. If you went that direction, you'd wanna do something you loved (ideally, something productive/useful... maybe not so arty), so just pursue a degree in whatever that is.

This seems to be the most common route in my area for people who want to stay here post-JET. There have been a couple successful businesses (restaurants, a nightclub, a few English schools) started by JET alums (although they were nearly all married to Japanese people, which made the visa situation easier ...)

As far as living in Japan long-term goes, I had experience studying abroad a couple times and was planning to stay here after JET. I'll definitely be in Japan for a few more years, but the longer I live here the more I realize I don't want to be locked into staying by a degree or job that I can't use anywhere else. Try to gain skills and certifications that you could potentially use in your home country or elsewhere abroad, because realizing you don't want to live here after all after years of tailoring your experiences to work in Japan would not be fun. In fact I think this is one of the really great things about jet - it gives you a foot in the door if you do want to stay, but also allows you to move on to other careers if it turns out Japan isn't the right fit.


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shigusan
October 5th, 2013, 19:36
Investor visa is definitely an option, It is a requirement though that you hire 2 full time japanese nationals, have initial investment of 5,000,000 yen and have 3 or more years experience in that industry and pay yourself more than what a japanese person would earn in that situation.

Investor visa | Visa Immigration Lawyer Japan (http://www.immigration-lawyers.jp/investor-visa/v/)

Definitely possible, but not the easiest way, if you have never run a business before, bureaucracy of Japan is a hurdle on its own. Keeping track of expenses, income. Salaries, government labour regulations etc etc.

EDX442
October 5th, 2013, 20:02
Thanks for all the replies. I guess time will tell to see how I like Japan and if I'm doing well there. Will most definitely try for JET.