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View Full Version : Using Japanese in an interview - Yes? No? Maybe? (Circle one)



ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 10:03
Hey guys a buddy of mine consulted with his Japanese girlfriend. She feels that he should treat the JET interview like a Japanese interview. For example saying, "失礼します” before entering the room and sitting down.
While he is at a pretty high level (close to 2級), I wanted to caution against this. I feel that they are hiring a foreigner to speak English, to teach their culture to Japanese students and to be different from Japanese people. I feel that of course Japanese language ability is a plus but going in with your J-go guns blazing might look like you're going to Japan for your own language development, not to help J-kids with theirs.
I think its a fine line to walk.
Of course if they bring up Japanese, I wouldn't recommend shying away from it. Let them bring the Japanese to you. I feel like they are expecting you to come in using English and it might throw them off. I think finishing in Japanese seems ok to me, with a bow and a "ありがとうございます。。。。。。。。”
What do you guys think?

itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 10:14
I've read it time and time again: Do not use Japanese in the interview, unless asked of course. You are interviewing for a job teaching English. Your Japanese abilities are listed on your application, and they have that. If they question your capabilities, then, like you said, they'll bring the Japanese to you.

But what do I know, that's just what I've read and my 2 cents.

Antonath
January 28th, 2014, 10:23
My advice: if they want to test your Japanese, they'll ask. Otherwise, speak English.

Jamie Solo
January 28th, 2014, 10:26
Proficiency in Japanese isn't a requirement for JET, so if it were me, I wouldn't bother with it unless they bring it up.

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 10:26
Ok, basically the same thing I was thinking.
Do you guys think ending with a Japanese phrase is cool? Especially if they ask him about his Japanese abilities.

itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 10:28
Ok, basically the same thing I was thinking.
Do you guys think ending with a Japanese phrase is cool? Especially if they ask him about his Japanese abilities.
No

word
January 28th, 2014, 10:28
I agree completely with the previous comments. The concepts behind JET are rooted in internationalization and cultural exchange, not "who among you is the most Japanese of all?" or anything like that. If he indicated a high level of proficiency in the language, they'll probably test him, but aside from that, I would absolutely not make a show of being intimately familiar with the culture.

Jamie Solo
January 28th, 2014, 10:33
On the second question, personally I'd say no again. I'd think he was trying to be a smart ass/showing off more than anything if I was the interviewer. But I'd say its a judgement call on how the interview goes and how they address his proficiency.

Antonath
January 28th, 2014, 10:34
Do you guys think ending with a Japanese phrase is cool? Especially if they ask him about his Japanese abilities.
Think of it this way: if this were a job interview with the government that didn't involve Japan, would you finish the interview by doing "something cool"?

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 10:47
Think of it this way: if this were a job interview with the government that didn't involve Japan, would you finish the interview by doing "something cool"?

I don't know if that is "cool", I think its doing something "cultural appropriate".
I did have another friend who had an interview and he said they switched it to Japanese on him, but it was because they saw he had gone to the Middlebury language school. He is really high level and had no problem.

Gizmotech
January 28th, 2014, 11:03
Use Japanese if they ask you, otherwise stick to English for the entirety. This is a regular job interview, for an English speaking position, teaching English in a foreign country, and integrating through English with a local community where you will live.

It might sound obvious, but the goal here is to impress with your character and abilities, not to stand out as the strange nutjob in the corner. Unique and special snow flake syndrome should be avoided at all costs, and you take advantage of things in the interview to stand out.

Gizmotech
January 28th, 2014, 11:05
I don't know if that is "cool", I think its doing something "cultural appropriate".
I did have another friend who had an interview and he said they switched it to Japanese on him, but it was because they saw he had gone to the Middlebury language school. He is really high level and had no problem.

There's nothing culturally appropriate about it at all. The interview is in a foreign country, being run by mostly foreign staff, for a position acting as a foreigner, with no expectation of prior knowledge of the culture. You use the culture of the country you are in at the time.

Azrael
January 28th, 2014, 11:07
when 2/3rds of the interview panel are native english speakers blurting out some japanese will make you look an arse. If he wrote on the application that he speaks japanese and the japper interviewer engages him then by all means tell him to whip his massive Jgo peen out and start stroking away but otherwise keep it professional. Its a job interview, not a meeting of the anime society.

therealwindycity
January 28th, 2014, 11:21
The less he tries to show off the better the impact will be when he does speak Japanese and it turns out to be really good.

itsabird
January 28th, 2014, 11:23
when 2/3rds of the interview panel are native english speakers blurting out some japanese will make you look an arse. If he wrote on the application that he speaks japanese and the japper interviewer engages him then by all means tell him to whip his massive Jgo peen out and start stroking away but otherwise keep it professional. Its a job interview, not a meeting of the anime society.
Lol'd. What a way with words.


The less he tries to show off the better the impact will be when he does speak Japanese and it turns out to be really good.
Exactly. Humbleness will definitely look better than being egotistical.

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 11:24
The less he tries to show off the better the impact will be when he does speak Japanese and it turns out to be really good.

Wise words

Jiggit
January 28th, 2014, 11:38
Hey guys a buddy of mine consulted with his Japanese girlfriend. She feels that he should treat the JET interview like a Japanese interview. For example saying, "失礼します” before entering the room and sitting down.

She thinks this because being Japanese is basically like being in a religion. All the little things they are taught to do might as well be holy writ. Probably doesn't get the idea of an interview being something other than jumping through the hoops and doing the special rituals of being in their special club.



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johnny
January 28th, 2014, 12:10
There are many opportunities to impress people with knowledge of Japanese language and culture if you get a position. All applicants should probably hold their horses through the interview process.


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aoma
January 28th, 2014, 12:39
The job is for an English teaching position. If they switch to Japanese in the interview then that is the only time I will use it. Humbleness is always appreciated, too.

jmejia019
January 28th, 2014, 13:00
She thinks this because being Japanese is basically like being in a religion. All the little things they are taught to do might as well be holy writ. Probably doesn't get the idea of an interview being something other than jumping through the hoops and doing the special rituals of being in their special club.

hahaha thats hilarious.

yea, not that I have the experience with it but I think logically all of the above make sense and your friend should stick to English. I know I plan to (of course my Japanese proficiency is much lower than your friend's too)

Kdes23
January 28th, 2014, 13:20
If you were applying as a CIR, then of course using Japanese would be not only welcomed, but expected of you. But as an ALT applicant, don't use it unless they ask you. If you've written in your application that you know some Japanese, chances are they'll test you on it. And when I say "chances are", note that there are a few instances where they don't test people, despite them having listed that they speak Japanese.

My personal theory as to where your Japanese ability will affect you is when they (CLAIR and the BOE's) consider whether they want to send you to teach at elementary vs junior high or high school. Where I'm placed, you definitely need a good understanding of Japanese to teach at shogakko (elementary school).

mrcharisma
January 28th, 2014, 15:55
This reminds me a of a guy who turned up on the official forums a year or so back and suggested he might wear a Japanese school uniform to the interview. I'd love to have been a fly on that wall...

johnny
January 28th, 2014, 16:04
This reminds me a of a guy who turned up on the official forums a year or so back and suggested he might wear a Japanese school uniform to the interview. I'd love to have been a fly on that wall...

How sure are you that he wasn't joking? He'd either have to be crazy or completely sheltered from the outside world. Maybe both.

Also, did you encourage him to go through with it? Did you guys tell him "yeah, that sounds like a great idea! It will go over really well with the interview panel."


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mrcharisma
January 28th, 2014, 16:11
I can't remember the full details but unless he was very clever and subtle it didn't feel like a wind-up. He got plenty of responses and responded back with further questions.

I didn't respond to the thread. Sadly most others just ridiculed him instead of encouraging him.

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 16:16
Picturing a gaijin suited up in a JHS uniform walking in to the interview and shouting "失礼します、3年4君のスミス・トムです." Actually made me giggle.


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Gizmotech
January 28th, 2014, 16:50
LOL. Third Year 4th you!

ihatefall
January 28th, 2014, 17:08
LOL. Third Year 4th you!

Haha just as well


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zombiekelly
January 28th, 2014, 20:20
I made a joke about using 失礼します during my Interac interview, but I wouldn't do it for a JET interview. It would give them another excuse to toss you into the otaku pile.


Picturing a gaijin suited up in a JHS uniform walking in to the interview and shouting "失礼します、3年4君のスミス・トムです." Actually made me giggle.

....I vaguely recall reading about someone actually doing that. Maybe I've been on the internet too long.

word
January 28th, 2014, 22:03
This reminds me a of a guy who turned up on the official forums a year or so back and suggested he might wear a Japanese school uniform to the interview. I'd love to have been a fly on that wall...

Oh, god; I totally remember that. I probably responded to it; I can't remember what I said, though. I hope I encouraged him.

Jedirust
January 28th, 2014, 23:03
Yeah, I remember the school uniform thing too. I thought it was an excellent idea... but only because I really wanted to hear how horribly it would crash and burn. It would be even better if the uniform was two sizes to small.

Teishou
January 29th, 2014, 10:07
Oh, that kid. He got in, by the way. Not sure if he wore that uniform or not, though.

Jamie Solo
January 29th, 2014, 10:12
If anyone didn't encourage him to do it, I would consider them to be terrible human beings... >.>


Oh, that kid. He got in, by the way. Not sure if he wore that uniform or not, though.

Damn, any way to find out? Or did he 'go native' after arriving?

Teishou
January 29th, 2014, 10:18
I'm not certain. Benj, or whatever his name is, got into Kobe or something, I believe. He may have gone full JP for all anyone knows.

mrcharisma
January 29th, 2014, 11:05
So the moral is, dress like a sex offender and get one of the programme's most sought-after placements!

mothy
January 29th, 2014, 12:08
It's important to show you can fit into Japanese society.

kenkennif
March 10th, 2014, 16:43
I got asked to read some stuff in hiragana during the middle of my interview and I had not read anything in the Japanese language since studying it about two years prior to my interview... so basically I ballsed it all up and actually thought I had blown all my chances of getting here at that point right there.... Apparently spluttering out nonsensical gibberish was enough to impress them all though, so maybe instead of ending with 「ありがとう」 try something like 「ありがらどようこうろもうそうどうぐ」 and you'll probably get the job.