In my 7+ years as an English teacher in Japan I've taught at every level such as conversation school, from public elementary to university, private companies like Toshiba and Toyota, small startup schools started by former teachers and so on.

I've held various positions beyond just a teacher like curriculum developer, foreign teacher trainer, Business English instructor, kids teacher and the like.

I've worked with most major English teaching companies like AEON, Interac, Linguage, NOVA (now Jibun Mirai), the Jet Programme, GEC World, and small startup schools.

I came to Japan with zero Japanese skills and having never been here before I started my English teaching journey. I worked from the countryside to the city. I've had great experiences and I've seen the worst side of a company and have had dangerous students and dishonest schools.

Please ask me anything. If I didn't know the inside secrets, I worked with those who did and when they drink they say it all.

Proof: http://i.imgur.com/RTOBX1V.jpg

Comments: 356 • Responses: 99  • Date: 

CitrusNobilis28 karma

Is Japan as xenophobic as things like these would have me believe?

harveysrabbit44 karma

Yes and no. It really depends, you know like most countries, you have loud poopheads and you have poopheads who keep their prejudices to themselves and then you have nice people or people who dont care youre there, just dont get in there way on the way to work.

But yes, Ive been told to go back to america twice, once in tokyo and once in osaka. There are groups who drive around in black vans spouting hate against korean, US, china.

There is subtle racism and overt racism, some people have worn big plastic noses to represent whites, and black face. It happens.

invisiburu41 karma

When I was over there, my friend (American) happened upon one of those vans that are essentially a mobile stage where they were holding an anti-foreigner "rally". Most people paid no attention, but my friend applauded the speaker loudly when he was finished. The look on that man's face was priceless.

harveysrabbit23 karma

Thats the issue to me, Japanese people are used to it and dont care. these black vans have free reign.

kudos to your friend!

Klumm6 karma

What's the deal with them? They want tourists to go home?

harveysrabbit6 karma

Yeah and for their countries to be wiped out in some cases.

Klumm3 karma

What's their reasoning? Isolationism?

harveysrabbit5 karma

Their reasoning? God knows what the basis for their logic is, but just like most racist or prejudiced views, its carried down from generation to generation or sad people with no direction are easily influenced by those passionate looking people spouting hate.

The country is 98% Japanese, theres no such thing as a hate crime here or laws like in most countries.

NewToTheReddit7 karma

I have been saving up for a 2-3 month vacation in Japan. Asked my friend who is stationed in the U.S. Okinawa base for some suggestion/adcvice and he said when he went to Tokyo and spoke a mix of English and Japanese, some people would just shy away from answering at all and just walk away. Was wondering if I should brush up on some Japanese before my trip there? And if I should just hire a translator/travel companion?

harveysrabbit8 karma

Brush up. It never hurts to try and learn the language where youre going.

Some people will stop and help, some wont. Same for a lot of countries. Some people are rude and some are in a hurry to go somewhere. And some will approach you if you need help. There are cases for all examples.

You dont need a translator really. If youre an adventurous sort, youl have fun learning new things, if you get stressed easily, you can hire someone I suppose, but in Tokyo at most hotels you can find someone who speaks some English.

NewToTheReddit4 karma

Thanks for the advice, I definitely should learn the basics. But I think I might need a translator for when I visit the countryside/sea side.

I am so sorry to ask this dumb question but I am Korean-American... any need to be worried in my stay in Japan?

harveysrabbit3 karma

No, dont worry at all. I have a friend who is Korean-Canadian, been here a few years now and has never had an incident. Sure, like any foreigner you may get the side eye from some old people, but you're good. Strange things could happen, but its not the norm.

As for going to the countryside, the train stations have less and less English and some staff may know just know the basics, but really you can get around ok as long as youre patient and dont freak out when you see buses or trains leaving and youre thinking, is that the one I want?! Ha!

lightedkeypad2 karma

I went on a two week hiking trip in Japan with no Japanese and was fine. I did have to get help with some train tickets and stuff but only got lost once.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Yeah, like any foreign country, its just using common sense. Look at signs, follow others, try asking someone if you have questions, youre probably not going to get lost in the woods like a horror movie or something.

UnknownJS22 karma

A youtuber said that when he was teaching English in Japan the student didn't have any aspirations to explore anything outside of Japan, is this a correct statement from your perspective?

harveysrabbit38 karma

Yeah, of course. You get some kids who are all about ENglish, they love all things English, they talk to you in the halls as much as possible, but thats maybe, thats rare. Most kids, like kids in the US who have to study spanish, they see no point in it. Plus here in Japan, the kids are forced to study grammar and so on, its not an elective like the US.

And Ive been hired to work a large company to be their private teacher and 95% of the students, engineers, etc, said they never travel abroad or use English at the company. I asked them, why study English? They said I don't know, each employee was forced to study even though they worked like 12 hrs in a factory that day. its rough.

CitizenTed12 karma

I worked for large Japanese corporation for 8 years, traveled to the Japanese HQ, etc.

The reason Japanese companies "force" staff to learn English is the desire to encourage staff to travel up the corporate ladder. A floor worker in a factory may show promise and become a process manager. As a process manager, they need to attend technical meetings and/or trade shows where English may be the lingua franca. If they do not know English, they cannot attend, cannot learn, cannot move up.

The higher you go in the corporation, the more necessary it becomes to know (and master) English. You become a liability if you are not fluent. Managers will often study in their own time, just to brush up and get better. If your English is really good, it's a huge plus when you apply for the next rung on the ladder.

harveysrabbit3 karma

Yeah, there are bars set for toeic score and so on, but for my experience at the large companies I worked for, so many guys were just out of high school factory workers who themselves said interaction with foreigners never happened and neither are business trips.

The manager types had to learn because of like you said, but honestly at least 80% said theyd rather not have to learn. And what many managers told me about going overseas, usually the only greeted in English and then they still used translators for the heavy negotiations.

But, then there are those few who are really good speakers, just seldom use it.

UnknownJS4 karma

Thanks for the answer!

harveysrabbit6 karma

No problem! It feels great to talk about these things, before I came here, I dont think there was a reddit to use.

fuzzycuffs18 karma

Did you know Japan has four seasons?

harveysrabbit3 karma

Yes! And I dont like it! Ha! I love summer and spring! Love the heat, hate the cold! But Im accepting it...

notsobravedave12 karma

What was the strangest thing or experience you have had in Japan?

harveysrabbit27 karma

Teaching wise, a boy in one of the Junior Highs I worked at (most teachers have to work at a few schools during the year) threw the school's pet rabbit out the window! I was.. shocked.

notsobravedave12 karma

Did it do a bunny hop?

harveysrabbit48 karma

It did a bunny plop. Three stories up and bam.

MrMith4 karma

I silently laughed for 5 mins in class, if I could give you gold I would.

harveysrabbit14 karma

Silently laughing in class? You can be an English teacher in Japan already! Ha! Most of us can't help but laughing at ourselves for what we do, the human CD player! Repeat, repeat, repeat...

WaXmAn243 karma

I am now curious to see if your username was inspired by that :)

harveysrabbit3 karma

Hahaha! No! it was inspired by the old James Stewart movie "Harvey" about a man's imaginary friend who was a rabbit.

songwind2 karma

I still think you're making a mistake about all that beer.

harveysrabbit2 karma

And I'm sure you're making a mistake about all that beer and no whiskey, but it's your two weeks.

Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

alex19911912 karma

Which employer provided the best salary? Also care to elaborate on what makes a student dangerous?

harveysrabbit20 karma

AEON is the most stable Eikaiwa and best as far as salary, entering you in the govt pension plan, and insurance. They are one of the very few that will hire you as actual full time. most work you full time but youre recorded as a part time worker. saves them money.

harveysrabbit13 karma

If you want to teach at one of the few English immersion schools, they make the best actual salary, but youre competing against heavily Master degree armed candidates for those plum jobs.

Most ALTs or public school teachers dont make much.

OctaVariuM86 karma

I have a quick question on that. I'm working on my masters in teaching (secondary, English) in America. Are there actually legitimate positions in Japan related to my field that pay competitively? It seems like most foreign (oversees) jobs pay far less than what you'd expect by comparison to the US (naturally I know living costs and stuff account into that).

Thanks!

harveysrabbit11 karma

You can't come here for the money. You won't find it. You come because theres something about Japan you love.

With a masters in teaching you'll find work and definitely get a foot in the door for interviews. Obviously in Tokyo you have the most opportunities for work but you can find work at other universities possibly or the English immersion schools like Katoh Gakuen and the like.

But once you start trying to get the higher jobs, youll be surprised to find a number of people with a masters and a native level fluency of Japanese. You may have to compete with lifers here. But again, you can do it if you want.

People I know who are teaching lifers here are the ones who chose the country over the money.

OctaVariuM83 karma

Interesting. Right now I'm focused more on the professorship track after teaching for a while (since I feel like you can't teach teachers without having been one), so I'm sort of looking for places to get that experience. I feel like American schools are probably preferred, but you never know.

I appreciate your insight.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Good luck and by all means, try Japan out if you want. Even if you hate the work experience I think youll enjoy the time outside of work.

harveysrabbit10 karma

As far as dangerous, I've seen kids honest to god and all things holy they played with cigarette lighters, one kid carved "die" over and over in japanese into their desks, some kids stole from my bag. Again, this isnt all schools, but some bad ones.

anhireo8 karma

Hi do you like the job and do you like to be in Japan lifetime? My last question, do u think it is a good business teaching Eng in Japan? Large market, right?

harveysrabbit22 karma

Hey!

I tell everyone, teaching English overseas isnt a career, its an opportunity.

Enjoy the new experiences, go places, meet new people, but have a goal, whether its stay one year and go back to grad school or stay one year and climb mt. fuji or work 3 years and then transition to a non-teaching job if you can do that, or became a manga artist. Whatever your goal is, have something because teaching english is a dead end, theres no sustainable future for the vast majority of teachers. Being a trainer is alittle pay increase but much more work. being a recruiter is alright but so few openings.

Because teaching english in Japan is not good business. As a teacher, you're generally expendable and even if you love the job, a company can just drop you like that without a reason being needed. As an immigrant, you dont have much power. You can always find work somewhere teaching English because there are so many companies who need teachers, but you usually fnd out why some companies are always hiring, either the job conditions are bad where you teach or the company itself is bad.

even companies started by foreign teachers arent so credible.

Aeolun5 karma

Still working here? And if so, did you move on from teaching English (based on another comment I saw)?

harveysrabbit6 karma

Ha! I never wanted to teach to be honest. I worked damn hard at it and cared about the students. Ive always been patient and good at entertaining others, maybe Im an ok teacher.

But I always wanted to do something else. Teaching ENglish is an easy source of money and some private teaching jobs pay like 3000 yen or 4000 yen an hour for a few classes a week. But, I do it part time for some easy cash.

I wanted to be hired like any other japanese person would be to do an average job a japanese person would do. I worked at UNIQLO, I worked packing dried salted fish in styrofoam crates, Ive tried it all!

Nanteitandaro5 karma

日本語ができるようになったか?

complex_reduction9 karma

It's weird realising that me seeing those as meaningless random squiggles is exactly how a Japanese person would read what I'm typing right now.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Ha! ALmost every student knows the alphabet, but yeah, the first time I had to read train station names, I just tried to recognize the shapes and so on! I was rubbish!

harveysrabbit7 karma

Yeah, I studied Japanese everyday. I listened to people on trains, I listened to students talking to other students, I watched Japanese TV, went to Yoshimoto Comedy clubs, used flash cards and went to concerts. I involved myself into as much as possible.

grouphugintheshower3 karma

7年後、いいチャンス www

harveysrabbit5 karma

If you hide in your apartment its difficult to learn, if you get out, its easier

thenabi4 karma

Sorry if this isn't the type of question you were looking for, but how did you get on this career path? I'm in college and considering teaching English abroad for a career. If you don't mind my asking, how is it? And what did you major in? What did you do to end up with this job?

wapz11 karma

I'm gonna be be blunt with you. If you want to teach in an Asian country, being white or black helps immensely from what I've seen (from Japanese employers). They like the "face" of their English teachers to "look like a foreigner."

If you want to do something like the JET program (if you're from USA), having any college degree, being interesting, and having a clear voice (and decent English of course) should land you a job. If you work for a big company (like AEON), you can get a pretty decent job. I wouldn't try to pick it as a career path in the long run, though. Many teachers abroad stay for 2-5 years before heading home (and the ones that really like it end up staying longer).

harveysrabbit6 karma

Its funny, when I first started with Interac, the agency that hires teachers for public schools, most new teachers were from the Philippines and as impressive as it was for someone from a non-native English speaking country to teach English, sometimes their pronunciation really threw me off.

But yeah, a degree gets you in. It's just hoping you get placed in a good situation with a good manager and co-workers and location.

But yeah, the ones I know who stay the longest are the ones who get married and decided theyd rather be an english teacher here than being something else in their home country for whatever reason.

harveysrabbit6 karma

If you have any degree you can get hired as an English teacher. If you want a plum teaching job where youre respected as any teacher would be and not be on a tight leash, you need an ENglish degree and or a teaching certificate from your home country.

Me, I graduated college in LA in Film, worked as a screenwriter's asst when Smallville the TV show first started and decided I wanted to do something else and became an EMT/Firefighter.

Well, 6 months on the job as a firefighter I got injured and couldnt be a firefighter anymore. I was so pissed that my dream died so fast that I decided to teach english overseas.

my first choice was France, but teaching English there is tough to get into so my next choice was Japan because I liked Japanese anime and some of their movies and it had surfing! Ha!

Teaching English cant be done for the money. Ya gotta like what you do and the students and where you live. I know some who loved teaching here and seemed to be good teachers but they were fired because of ageism and that teacher had to find a lesser job at a company in the neighborhood where he built a life.

Its tough to do this forever, you have to really learn to go with the flow and make few waves. It can be done, but the happiest teachers I know are the ones who got jobs at reputable international schools where the application process is competitive. And some were unhappy there. To each their own.

For me, with the students I was gold and I think they liked me and I liked them for the most part. With the management, it's running your head into a wall at times, which is a shame. More teachers would stay if teachers could actually teach at times.

TrafalgerLaw3 karma

I like Japanese anime to. What were/are your favorites to watch?

harveysrabbit5 karma

I love all things Ghibli!

takatori5 karma

It's not a career path. lol

It pays shit, you can get into it with literally any degree whatsoever, and he got the job because he was more interested in just being in Japan than in building a career or life. It's a dead end.

nickcan5 karma

Yes and no. This guy (OP) certainly isn't on any English teaching career path. He just worked at the education equivalent of McDonald's for a few years.

That's not to say that there isn't a career to be found in teaching English in Japan. But you are going to need the pre-requisites that most professional careers require. In this case a masters degree and/or actual teaching certificate (which often requires a masters degree).

harveysrabbit1 karma

The career path in education equivalent of a McDonalds as you put it is to first be a teacher at their Eikaiwa for a bit, then become what some companies call an Emergency teacher which is where you go if a school somewhere in your area needs help because a teacher is sick or just up and left. Then after that, you can be a trainer. You still teach but you also help teachers in need and run training seminars. Then you can be a recruiter where you recruit teachers to join the company.

At teacher hiring agencies for public schools, youre a teacher and then you can be a head teacher where you still teach but run the monhtly or so meetings. After that, you can work at their head office and still most likely teach but you have to deal with crisi management if something goes wrong. Youre Japanese has to be good and you have to be heartless a lot to your fellow teachers.

All of these jobs have low salaries and a lot of work.

Or you can work directly with a school, Katoh Gakuen like English immersion school or at a University, but yeah, you need a Masters to start, but many have that so then you need experience, and many have that, then Japanese fluency helps and many have that... A plum job is tough to get.

sirshartsalot4 karma

Have you been to /r/tefl?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Just did because of you! Thanks!

orangecrushin4 karma

Most embarrassing moment?

harveysrabbit9 karma

Haha! Many. Ive had my pants zipper down on accident I swear! so many times, my nose just started bleeding in the middle of class for some reason, I called the student the wrong name for so long because I was sure it was his name and he always replied until someone else heard and told me I was wrong, I wore a French Maid drag costume for Halloween and my skirt was tucked in my underwear in the back and didnt know it, I thought a student at a Halloween party was a good friend I knew in drag and I said hello and grabbed his boob, but it turned out it was a student I didnt know and the he was a she so I accidentally grabbed her boob. She laughed but later I found out she was the one who smashed chocolate cake all over my backpack.

esonlinji4 karma

What has happened with NOVA since it went bust? I was working there when it happened, but jumped ship to Korea when I realized there were too many people scrambling for the jobs in Japan.

harveysrabbit3 karma

Well, NOVA and GEOS both went bankrupt like you know and the 4500 or so teachers and 2000 or so Japanese staff members who worked there when the bubble popped in 2007 all lost their pensions and remaining salaries and the students lost their money, too. It was nuts.

They had over 600 schools

Since then, its ownership was passed around until finally in 2012 Jibun Mirai took it over and now they have over 200 schools. Its a crap school in my opinion because they have one of the lowest hourly rates Ive seen for foreign teachers, working hours can be scattered throughout the day depending on how many students they have and how many teachers they have. The NOVA in my area only opens if a student comes by. The schools for the most part are refurbished in most areas, but its teaching style is still a joke like many eikaiwas.

Basically, Jibun Mirai is trying to lowball teachers, pay them little, offer nothing as far as benefits, and get students in there with minimal advertisements and on top of that, hire a Japanese staff who have no idea how to run a school.

Its a school for the desperate of all kinds.

Mister_Six3 karma

Context: I studied Japanese for a year in the UK as part of a degree in Politics and International Relations (big focus on East Asian politics and diplomacy, so did Japanese and Mandarin), lived in Japan for a year after that, so pretty well spoken in the language, and continued studying when I came back to the UK.
Being a bit of a filthy capitalist, I am more interested in the money than the experience, and I know that teaching isn't hugely well paid (unless you are a full-on Masters qualified English teacher).
I also know that you CAN get a job fairly easily as a foreigner with a standard Japanese company, but they will work you to the bone (like every other employee they have...).
However I had a friend who worked for a British company over there, and another who worked for an American company. Fairly basic stuff, headhunting and the like, but they apparently got paid a damn good wage and were on 'Western' working hours, i.e. you get to go home at some point.
Do you know any foreigners over there who have done the same?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Yeah, ive known a few who were headhunters and a couple who transferred here through western companies.

One headhunter I knew liked the job. The ones who transferred here to work at western companies got paid well comparatively to their home salary and the working environment was similar to back home.

Stnavres3 karma

How did you get into the job? What sort of qualifications do you need? It's something I've thought about doing myself but I have no idea where to start.

harveysrabbit1 karma

You need a university degree, any will do. If your degree is in English or in teaching, you have a better chance at getting hired at jobs with a brighter more long term future such as English immersion schools or international schools. You can check what schools those are online.

As for companies like COCO, ECC, NOVA, AEON, Berlitz, etc just a degree will do. You can apply to them online, depending where you live, they may have a recruiter to interview at.

If you have no teaching experience its ok, but you give a demo lesson to show you're human and most are hired.

ps4pcxboneu3 karma

Ever been victim of the kanchoo ?

harveysrabbit2 karma

More times than I care to remember. Even the reverse kancho, the penis grabbing! Kids have no shame in grabbing at your privates!

chopper53 karma

Having lived in Japan going on 7 years now, how much does the culture and perception that the west gets from japan in terms of their imported media (tv shows, anime, manga, etc.) match up to how it really is? As in, much of the U.S's understanding of Japan is only from what they see from the outside, how much does that line up with how it really is to live there?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Japan is everything youd imagine itd be and everything you didnt imagine it to be.

Its all those crazy shows and its also in spots nothing like those crazy shows.

Its like someone from Japan watching a kardashian's show and thinking America is like that! which it is at its worst and which it isnt at other times.

daphan3 karma

What is your most memorable moment teaching overseas?

harveysrabbit4 karma

Honestly, my memorable teaching moments are with the adult students who became my friends.

Your teaching experience like everyone says depends where you work, but no matter how bad your apartment could be or how maybe mean a boss or co-worker is, at every school or place you teach at, you'll meet at least friend that'l stay with you.

daphan2 karma

Any students occasionally come back to you with stories of how you impacted their lives?

harveysrabbit3 karma

Yeah! Usually adult students because I didnt see the kids years later, but some say they went abroad because of me and loved it or they went to study abroad where I as from based on all the things I told them over time.

Ive helped some students with presentations for their companies and they used what I taught them.

I tell them no problem, but next time I want a souvenir from where they went! Ha!

voozersxD3 karma

How old were you when you decided to go and teach overseas? What would you say is something that made you glad you did it? I'm considering it too for the experience and before I go to dental school next year.

harveysrabbit5 karma

My background is long, but most recently before becoming an English teacher I was a EMT-B/Firefighter. I worked hard to graduate the firefighter academy and became nationally registered for EMT and then 6 months on the job I got injured and couldnt do the job anymore.

I was so angry, i couldve maybe continued work as an EMT and become a paramedic, but I really was pissed I couldnt be a firefighter anymore so I said, screw it, Im leaving the US.

I was 27. I didnt do it for the teaching or the money thats for sure. I did it for the experience of being somewhere completely out of my element and I can build a new life here I thought.

The one thing that made me glad I came was I met my lady here, shes Japanese, and that makes up for the poopy jobs.

brrberry3 karma

What have you seen that cannot be unseen?

harveysrabbit11 karma

Ha! Plenty. One first grade boy stood up during a lesson, walked back to the corner of the classroom and for whatever reason dropped his pants and pooped there. When he was done, he pulled them up and came back to his spot on the floor. The teacher quickly took the kid out of course, but I cant unsee that...

At the public schools you can sit with the kids in most cases and eat with them in their classrooms. Well, I guess I made one boy laugh too hard and he vomited everything he just ate right back into his soup bowl right in front of me and the surrounding kids. The surrounding kids were so calm like hes done it many times before...

At one hot spring, and old man kept squatting slowly and gently dipping his testicles into the hot water over and over like a tea bag at every spot at this onsen...

jom852 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA.

I see myself teaching English abroad for the next 5 years or so.

I'm a US citizen, 28 F, and have been abroad for a year in total, 6 months Europe and currently doing a 1 year working holiday in NZ, then to AU for 1 year.

I have a BS in Wildlife. I've done 2 years of tutoring and as a park ranger have given programs for groups of 30-60 people over 40 times. I have even gone to classrooms for presentations in ranger uniform. I am a very dedicated and hard working person, and nothing so far has stopped me from achieving of my dreams, and this is my next dream for a few years. I've been doing lots of research as well.

I'm thinking of going to Vietnam and getting CELTA. (As I understand this is the most competitive option.)

I would like to teach in Asia, Japan would be great, Eastern Europe, and Chile.

My question to you is, what questions do you think I at this point should be asking you? :-) Any advice I would really appreciate. Any warnings I would also appreciate. My plan was just to use Dave's ESL cafe and shoot in the dark, but call the schools and talk to a current teacher.

Thank you. If I think of any questions later can I contact you?

harveysrabbit2 karma

First off, you sound like an amazingly interesting person that the students and staff will love to talk to.

Almost everyone says CELTA is best. Ive taken an online TOEFL course and an online CELTA course while in Japan because beyond my BA in Film, I had no actual teaching degree or certificate of any kind and I knew I needed something if I wanted to advance.

CELTA and the like are great and some English teaching companies definitely want something and to get those better jobs at the more prestigious private schools you often need an actual govt issued teaching cert from your home country or a masters in education, etc.

Also, many of the things TESL or CELTA teach you are so vague they cant be completely applied to your situation, but I took online cert courses. It wasnt a waste by any means and it does help to have.

As you go, youll find what works for the kids and what youre comfortable doing. I know some foreign English teachers who could mix original childrens songs in English on their macbook and their students sang non stop and their schools had amazing computer labs the students could use. Many of my schools I had to bring my own materials like paper, markers, crayons, magnets, etc. You really have to see what your school has available and sometimes what or how they want you to teach before you march in with a preconceived idea what you want to do.

There are many good online sites for English lesson plan ideas. For me, I wanted to make the kids just talk after my simple demo of the lesson point. Id explain what the goals were, give examples and how it could be used in real world situations using skits and games, and then had the kids work in groups either doing my skit, making their own skit or playing games I made that I knew would take 30min at least to complete without being redundant or boring. Then, I walked around monitored them and helped with little mistakes but tried not to interfere too much.

Basically I wanted to talk as little as possible then let the kids talk as much as possible because I know with the Japanese teachers, the kids seldom used ENglish.

Some teachers will be very specific and say they want you to do this page and this kind of activity. Some teachers will say can you make a game using this grammar point or something, anything is ok! And some teachers will tell you nothing and expect you to make up something that morning or on the spot in front of the kids. Some teachers have stopped me during my lesson and said no, I dont like that, move on when I had nothing to move on to. Some teachers will repeat everything you say in English to the students in their language making it pointless for the kids to listen to you. Some teachers will translate but their translation is wrong. Some teachers are awesome and work with you. Some teachers ignore you. Some teachers say how much they loved the last teacher and the last teacher did this and this and this and you should do that.

Each school is its own place with their own way of doing things. Just go in there, see how theyre run and once youre comfortable, start trying new things so you know what works with what kids and what needs to be scrapped. I made several versions of Battleship until I found out the right way to use it, I made monopoly after some trial and error, and some things that seem great on Dave's ESL cafe just didnt work for me so I'd modify the ideas to what I liked and felt worked. You'll learn as you go.

But of course, contact me at any time and have fun!

harveysrabbit1 karma

And sorry, Im late. It was my bed time, but now its my go time!

SoDamnFancy2 karma

So.. how many students you bang?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Where there's a will there's a way.

jvo552 karma

What advice would you give to someone who plans on teaching abroad in SE Asia after I graduate from my university this December?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Have an open mind, be respectful, observe how they do things when you go somewhere new because its easy to rock the boat, and be friendly.

A smile goes a long way and dont get too frustrated.

Oh, and most importantly, have fun!

jvo552 karma

I've mostly been considering S. Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand, but haven't really given Japan much thought. How did you decide where you wanted to go and what about Japan has made you stay there for so long?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Japan has all the things that mattered to me: I could surf, it has some beautiful nature spots, I got into the food, it has some nice museums that got good exhibitions every now and then, good alcohol for the most part, Tokyo has almost everything you may want, and the countryside can be as slow as you want...

My first choice was teaching in France because I loved wine and surfing and theres a beach there I went to once and loved, but France doesnt need English teachers like the Asian countries you listed do. Japan was my second choice because I liked the movies and I knew there was surfing and Tokyo seemed exciting and the history seemed interesting and yeah, honestly, the girls seemed cute, better eye candy. Shallow but true...

But Ive gotten so used to Japan at this point. Probably because of my own doing, I have few foreign friends and almost everyone I know or know through my lady is Japanese..

TopHatMikey2 karma

I used to do that, too! Well done on doing seven years. I know it's not easy...

I guess my question is: ever been to Gero city, Gifu prefecture?

And secondly: what is your number one favourite restaurant in Japan? (mine is in Kyoto, around Yasaka)

harveysrabbit3 karma

Ive never been to Gero City, probably! Ha! I dont know. Ive been to Gifu several times for work or once a wedding, and for several friend meet ups and its always my mistake for just following the group to a restaurant and not learning the name. but now you mention the name, ill look it up!

for restaurant, to be honest, Im a vegetarian, BUT i dont care of others arent and I can find delicious food for me to eat at any restaurant.

I love kyoto because of their obsession with all things tofu.

Honestly, in my neighborhood now, my easy win is the kaitenzushi, the conveyor belt sushi restaurants. cheap and good things...

stls2 karma

Im going to Kyoto and Osaka in May and wanted to ask you about restaurants, then you mention vegetarian.... Oh well which is the best kaitensushi in your opinion?

harveysrabbit1 karma

For me, I love hamazushi. It has more that I can enjoy.

asatroth2 karma

What is the average Japanese persons opinion on WW2? Do they blame themselves for it? How are veterans treated?

harveysrabbit3 karma

The average person has little to no opinion on WWII really. Its not a great conversation starter here. People are far more familiar with what happened to them than what they did, and some books and movies abd TV dramas coming depicting a much nicer version of what happened and so on, but there are some who know very well what happened and are determined to not let it happen again.

chopper52 karma

What are some of your biggest take-aways from the culture in terms of differences between east and west?

I remember going into Akihabara a few years back and not understanding what the top level in a bunch of the department/game/hobby stores was all about, being a novice to all the hentai/manga sort of stuff, but it seemed so nonchalant and normal for everyone else there. Was just funny how a single floor separated gundam toys and magic cards from the most hardcore lolicon manga porn that is just blazingly on display and out in the open. Something like that would never fly here in the states.

harveysrabbit4 karma

Ha! its funny to me but in most convenience stores, right next to the ATM and out in the open is porn mag after porn mag after porn mag.

Ive seen old and middle aged men reading porn on trains in the morning when high school kids are everywhere.

People can vote me down, but I think Japan is one of the most perverted places Ive been.

epicfantasyreader2 karma

As someone who can't speak Japanese (but starting to learn) and is desperate to travel to Japan in the future, is there anything you would recommend doing or places worth seeing on the first trip? What was it like when you first got there, do any memories truly stand out for you from your first day/week?

harveysrabbit5 karma

When I first came here, I came to Nagoya for a week of training to be an English teacher and I knew absolutely no Japanese. But I was surrounded by other foreigners who were there for training too and some of them knew some Japanese so I wasnt helpless when in a group.

But when I went somewhere alone it was definitely more of a challenge. Again, I grew up in Miami where there is no train line and in Los Angeles where I never used the limited train they had. I'm looking at train maps and price charts just trying to figure it all out as I went along.

Honestly, I walked alot because when I rode the train I had no idea the stops and if they announced the stops Id still have no idea if it was my stop. I felt safer walking because I'm better when using a map on my own two feet. I had english tour maps and for the most part, I made it to where I was going.

Im disgustingly independent and like to learn things on my own instead of asking, but after I while using phrasebooks, watching how others did things, I made my way around.

The memory I wont forget about my first week here was in Nagoya Station. It was february and snowing outside. So, the homeless came to sleep in the underground walkways around the station. And there was this large Japanese woman, an oddity in itself, and she's stripping naked and the well-mannered japanese police are trying to stop her. No Japanese person believes my story but happened!

As for places to visit, there are so many. Of course Kyoto and of course parts of Tokyo like Asakusa, and I personally love Osaka and Hiroshima. The A-Bomb Dome and the surrounding museums will just rock your world. Theres so much to do as far as temples and shrines and history.

And hey, I admit it, I love Tokyo's DisneySea!

sjp2452 karma

Thanks for doing this! I'm scheduled to start training with ECC in about two months and I'm pretty nervous! It's tough starting something new, and throwing in the the fact that it's in Japan adds to the challenge. My questions for your are: 1. What are the qualities that make certain ESL teachers great and others mediocre? 2. What are some of the biggest challenges facing ESL teachers on a day-to-day basis? 3. What are the biggest cultural taboos I might want to be aware of as an American going to work in Japan's teaching industry? 4. What are things I definitely want to avoid; things that might hurt my appearance or get me in trouble (in regards to teaching)?

Thanks again!

harveysrabbit6 karma

Hey hey!

  1. First off, schools like ECC and AEON and COCO and Berlitz all have their teaching method or how they want you to teach. It doesnt matter if you have a teaching degree or what your experience is, do their method. So what makes a great teacher to your school and to your company is someone thatll do what theyre told to do and someone that doesn't try to tell them how things should be done.

What makes a great teacher to the students is just honestly care about them. Youll learn alot about them sometimes more than you want to know so remember what they tell you. If a student says their daughter, Kyoko, went to Australia, next time you see that student, ask how Kyoko is. Just show the students youre actively listening to them. Mediocre teachers just talk at students, not to them.

  1. The biggest challenge facing ESL teachers is ESL itself. If you teach at a conversation school, you have to stick to a strict method with a rigid time structure that calls you move from one section to the next of a text without much time to answer questions a student has, and conversation schools are a business. Students have to keep graduating to the next level so the school gets more money when the student continues and the students feels like theyre improving even if they actually arent because you said they were ready for the next book.

Theres no wiggle room for most teachers. The schools and their managers are under intense pressure to make money, youre under pressure to keep students moving along and sometimes to sell that companys study aids to the students.

  1. Biggest taboos? Well, again, I knew nothing when I came. Really the best thing to do is when youre confronted with a new situation ask someone you trust what you should do in that situation. If you cant ask anyone, watch what others are doing and follow them. The biggest things to me was at first to just observe, be myself and smile and be polite but observe how others handle the trains, how do others act at a japanese hot spring and such.

Honestly, even if youve llived here like 30 years, any Japanese person who doesnt know you will treat you like a child for the most part. They'll coddle you and walk you along step by step. You can let it bother you or just go with it.

  1. As far as teaching, don't talk much. Dont try to explain things to a point where a student is even more lost than they were when they first asked you a question. Learn to give the best answer in the fewest words possible. If students like you, youre gold to the management. If students complain about you, and the managers may or may not tell you which can be annoying because then youll never know you need to improve, then youre future with the company or school doesnt look good.

Give short clear answers to student questions and learn when a student is thinking of an answer and when a student just won't talk and wants you to talk and to move on. Sometimes students with think for what seems like 5 minutes and they dont want you to interrupt them and youre trying to guess what theyre trying to say and other times a student is just not answering you and waiting you out until you give up on that question they dont understand and to move on.

sjp2452 karma

Also, what makes good omiyage, in your opinion!?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Any omiyage is good! I think people will be happy to receive anything as long as its not nudey mags! ... well, most people wont want nudey mags! ha!

BigFatNutsack2 karma

What's your favorite and least favorite difference between Japan and the states?

harveysrabbit3 karma

Freedom for both answers.

At times it seems like you have so much freedom to be what you want here and its an asset. Companies hire you to be that foreigner more than being a teacher so they want you to be you with the students with your fashion and your funny expressions and your boisterous personality.

Then at times you feel like you have no freedom to speak your mind or to be you with friends because some look at you like that typical foreigner, that same typical foreigner a school wants you to be but the foreigner everyday society doesnt want you to be as they try and force a round you into their square hole.

Ninjaelk2k72 karma

I'm currently in your situation and if you had to start over what would you do first to make your life easier from the start?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Ha! Well, since I met my lady here I couldnt change not coming!

But Ive thought about this over and over. Honestly, I wouldve started taking online courses (I know theyre very expensive) in web design or game applications or something in computers because my ok Japanese and a degree in computers I could have a more stable job...

...but then I know some who did that and they work like slaves more than they did as teachers, so who knows!

I studied Japanese vocabulary and expressions and conversational Japanese like a beast but was weak on reading it, the kanji, I guess if anything, Id have studied kanji harder.

kerodean2 karma

Did you have a job lined up before you arrived or did you just come over and interview? Would you recommend coming without anything lined up?

harveysrabbit2 karma

I applied to AEON online because despite all Eikaiwas having terrible reviews on sites it seemed the best one after NOVA just collapsed and I was determined to go to Japan.

I interviewed at their office in LA, notified me that I was hired shortly after, gave me a location in Japan, I looked it up online and seemed ok, and said I accept this position.

Getting the VISA took time, then I was off to country I only knew threw anime, movies, weird youtube videos and food.

Gurip2 karma

you wont get a job coming with out anything lined up becouse of the imigration laws in japan, you will get tourist visa if you just go for a visit, going to work you have to already have a job, thats why they use programs like JET they closly interact with japanese goverment you get interviewed at office in your country or over skype, dont lie about what japanese level you are N1-N5 becouse will be asked to speak during the interview. nowadays they set you up like JET and stuff with VISA and stuff so you wont really need to do a lot just some paperwork, it depends if they will find you where to live or you will have to find your self it depends on location and what organization you will go through.

you cant just go to japan and hope to find job, its one of the reasons why japan is aging country becouse of strickt imigration laws.

geting a job anything then one of thos programs is basicly imposible, and they are usualy 1 or 2 years and some times extended, thats why people that plan for long stays or moving for ever use that 1-2 years as oportunity to search for other jobs and making conection usualy some programing or accounting jobs at companys, so you can stay after your job ends after 1-2 years if they dont extend(they usualy dont and if they do it will be for a nother year maximum two, but there are rare examples like OP), then you have to think about marrage so you can permantly stay in country.

harveysrabbit1 karma

I knew people who have come here and gotten hired to work at Toray and other factories. The jobs were crap and they treated you like illegals, but its happened.

DontAskMePlease2 karma

Excuse me if you already gave an answer to a question and I overlooked it.

  1. You say you came to Japan w/o the ability to speak Japanese. Do you now?

  2. Has Japan "woke up" some new hobbies or things in yourself? Did you start gaming (When you weren't a gamer at "home"? Do you watch Anime or buy Mangas (Which you never would've thought of before)?

  3. I don't know if you are single or married. So, if you are single, have you ever hooked up with a japanese woman (or man)? Or is there some kind of "border", so that japanese people won't date foreigners.

  4. Were you happier in the countryside or in the city?

  5. What is the ONE thing that surprised you THE MOST about Japan? In good or bad.

Best regards, a European (not-english-native), who is fascinated by Japan and it's culture.

harveysrabbit1 karma

  1. Yeah, Im good now I think. I studied like a beast and was always listening to others and watching TV and I love comedy so I tried to learn through popular jokes and popular Tv programs to fit in with students and I used flash cards for vocab and basically tried speaking in Japanese every chance I got.

  2. I loved marvel comics when I was in junior high and I always loved art and I thought some manga here were beautifully done with crazy stories, unlike marvel for sure and I used the manga with hiragana written above the kanji to study. I know it sounds stupid, but living in Japan woke up my love for learning new languages. Of course I had to study Japanese, but I also wanted to study it, too.

  3. Now Im married, but you have to date. I love to meet people and I love romance. Some Japanese women are fascinated by a foreigner and will date you just as bucket list thing for them and some are scared at the glance of a foreign guy. Sometimes you just play it by ear.

  4. I love all the things that Tokyo has to offer but I also love to leave it all behind at when I go to Hakone or Shirahama.

  5. First thing I noticed, sounds small maybe, but the country is so clean yet I cant find a trash can anywhere! What do people do, carry it with them?

Yes, trash cans are mainly only at 7-11s,

DontAskMePlease2 karma

Hey, great that you answered my questions!

I grew up LOVING Anime and Mangas to death. Read them, watched it on TV, even started to drew Mangas myself. I'm not into that things anymore (Maybe a Manga here and there every year; I am loving Detectiv Conan), but visiting Japan is definetly something of my own Bucket List.

harveysrabbit1 karma

Awesome manga/anime conventions here, youll be in heaven.

TTittiesNelson2 karma

How did you get the job? Isn't it hard to get a visa to teach in Japan?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Not at all. You need a university degree in almost anything. You apply to a company thatll sponsor you and they help you apply for the visa. takes a few months maybe and once you get it, off you go!

Alion862 karma

I heard Japanese Students play each others very weird pranks like sticking they're fingers in each others butt-hole. Have you ever witnessed such a thing or other pranks which would be very weird to "Western" People. And if yes, how did you reacted?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Yes! "Kancho!" as they cry out when they try and slam two pointer fingers up your bum!

Happens all the time. Non stop. NO matter what I say, no matter how many times I told the Japanese teachers to tell the kids to stop, no matter how many times I had enough and scolded them, they still did it.

I hate it every time. Kids just laugh. I just try my best to have no kid that close behind me.

Even worse, for me anyway, is when they scream "Chin chin!" (your wee-wee, your penis) and constantly try and touch your penis. Oh, my god, I get annoyed just thinking about it.

quadtard2 karma

I'm considering doing this in Korea for maybe a year or two, not a super long time thing. Anything you would know relevant for that?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Korea is much more strict than Japan as far as visas and wages are concerned. Its a more tightly run industry, much more strict.

Its not to say you wont enjoy yourself, but I know from those who came to Japan after Korea and the schools there can be demanding, not that Japan isnt, but Korea may hold onto your VISA to make sure you dont run off.

Mattrick312 karma

How would you compare the US student experience to the Japanese student experience?

harveysrabbit1 karma

I dont know, I always found everyone is learning something new, something maybe completely foreign to them for the first time. It's an equal shared thing I think.

robocough12 karma

In two weeks I will be moving to Thailand to teach English at a private school outside of Bangkok. What is the best piece of advice you can offer me? I'm sure this has been asked of you a lot but a unique piece of advice that can go a long way would be really helpful. I envy that you've been doing this for 7 years but hopefully I will be able to do it for that long. Thank you for doing this AMA :) have a wonderful day

harveysrabbit2 karma

Always have an open mind and a willingness to listen to what others are telling you before you speak up. Usually people are always telling the same things for a reason.

Talk to your students, not at them. You cant remember everything every student says but try to remember the important stuffy like names of relatives or places theyve been in a journal so you can ask them about again later to show you were listening to them and what they did say does matter. So many students are used to teachers coming and going, show you care.

Be patient and take all the good and the bad that comes at you in the way, with a smile.

UnicornerCorn2 karma

This is probably a terrible and weird question, but how much does the average Japanese person hate a Chinese person? I'm only asking because I'm Chinese and I'm really interested in teaching in Japan for a few years and then moving back to America for a full time teaching position. I'm currently studying to be a Early Childhood Education major, so I'm hopefully I'm always going to be teaching no matter what. I'm just really curious if being Chinese actually murders your chances of being hired in Japan because I know there are some xenophobic problems and a horrible history between the Japanese and Chinese. I don't think a combination of both xenophobia and dislike towards Chinese people helps me get a foot in the door even when I get my teaching certificate. Anyways, even if you don't get to my question thanks for making this AMA! You gave a lot of thorough answers to a lot of the questions I had about teaching in Japan.

harveysrabbit3 karma

No, its not terrible or weird. It doesnt hurt your chances of being hired, you can still get hired but yeah, the Chinese-Japanese uneasiness is very real.

I knew two Chinese-Americans who came here and it was tough. On TV, the media always has a negative China news story no matter how irrelevant it seems and I know China always lobs insults right back at China.

You ask most Japanese people, Do you hate Chinese people? They'll say no, BUT they'll still complain about Chinese people.

Then you ask, Do you hate China? And people take longer to answer that second question.

The Chinese state media and the Japanese media battle everyday and there are plenty of racists around, but, Im an American and Ive been told to go back to America twice and people dont like to sit next to me on a train or to even ride the same elevator at times.

You can let it bother you or ignore it and try to have a good time. I wont say something negative wont happen while youre here, but i believe youll have more positive memories than bad ones.

As far as dating goes, though... Im sorry, but dating an American is tough, dating someone who is Chinese? Even tougher for most Japanese.

Crukul2 karma

I am planning to teach English in South Korea, although they are quite clearly not the same place. Would you be able to give a little advice as to what I should do at first, or how to make the starting experience a little bit easier?

Also, what's the starting position like? Because I see people say you need to pay for the first month or so by yourself and I see others that say otherwise.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Second part first, starting positions and pay all depend on the company that you work for.

But I urge you to not work at their conversation schools, hagwons because they are known for their bullpoop tactics: not paying you on time, denying you health care, overworking you, firing you in the 11th month of your contract so they don’t have to pay exit bonuses, and on and on. 99% of the horror stories you might hear about teaching in Korea come from ex-hagwon employees.

Public school jobs are reputable and govt run. They honor the contract and all you need is a college degree and a TESOL/TOEFL?TEFL/etc certificate. Teaching at public schools in Korea is a lot like Japan: Youre there for the typical school hours, you have a govt made book youre supposed to use, and whats expected of you in the classroom all depends on the school youre at. Every school uses the same book, but each school's teachers have their way of running things. Just listen to them at first, meet your students and find out what motivates that class then find a way to use that in your lessons, and you really almost never give homework or are in charge of tests. You help with listening/speaking tests, maybe record some dialogue, but its case by case.

You can get well funded schools in nice neighborhoods and you can get their version of a rundown school in the country.

Depending on what kind of person you are, its possible to save a 1000 dollars a month, possible, but I dont think likely. Some hagwons may pay more (theyll promise you more) but the conditions are much worse.

The top of the teaching mountain in Korea are university jobs and unless youre resume is just solid platinum with degrees and experience coming out its arse, you may not get those gigs.

Again, I urge you to go for public schools. Youll be much happier.

OCD_downvoter2 karma

What is you opinion of the JET Program? Are they all really a bunch of narcissistic stuck ups like is the stereotype?

harveysrabbit3 karma

My opinion of the teachers with JET are the same as with every teacher. You can spot the ones still on their honeymoon period, the ones who are lifers, and the jaded ones just waiting for an excuse to snap.

My opinion of the JET programme itself is that its not bad. They set you up with the living essentials and the job is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.

My opinion of the people who run the program are the same as those who run all of these programs or companies. They just want you to fulfill the contract and to not cause any problems. So many teachers come and go, some teachers just disappear overnight, some teachers show up drunk, some teachers have sexually harassed the J-staff, some teachers have been fired because someone said theyve touched the kids, some teachers have been busted for attempting to smuggle pot. Those at the JET have seen and heard it all with foreign teachers.

What they seem to have no reasonable answer for is if something happens to the foreign teacher. What happens if the teacher is harassed? what happens if the teacher has legitimate complaints about bad work conditions? The JET people dont have an answer for your problems because they dont care generally. Once that foreign teacher is viewed as a problem, no matter what the issue is, they just want the foreign teacher to fulfill the contract if possible and theyll say theyre on your side all along but really, they want you gone as fast as possible.

Its always easier to find a new fish to take your place and than try to mend fences between the foreign teacher and the school. Then the new fish comes completely unaware of whatever happened before them and then the next teacher starts their meaningful journey.

harveysrabbit3 karma

My opinion of the teachers with JET are the same as with every teacher. You can spot the ones still on their honeymoon period, the ones who are lifers, and the jaded ones just waiting for an excuse to snap.

My opinion of the JET programme itself is that its not bad. They set you up with the living essentials and the job is fairly easy once you get the hang of it.

My opinion of the people who run the program are the same as those who run all of these programs or companies. They just want you to fulfill the contract and to not cause any problems. So many teachers come and go, some teachers just disappear overnight, some teachers show up drunk, some teachers have sexually harassed the J-staff, some teachers have been fired because someone said theyve touched the kids, some teachers have been busted for attempting to smuggle pot. Those at the JET have seen and heard it all with foreign teachers.

What they seem to have no reasonable answer for is if something happens to the foreign teacher. What happens if the teacher is harassed? what happens if the teacher has legitimate complaints about bad work conditions? The JET people dont have an answer for your problems because they dont care generally. Once that foreign teacher is viewed as a problem, no matter what the issue is, they just want the foreign teacher to fulfill the contract if possible and theyll say theyre on your side all along but really, they want you gone as fast as possible.

Its always easier to find a new fish to take your place and than try to mend fences between the foreign teacher and the school. Then the new fish comes completely unaware of whatever happened before them and then the next teacher starts their meaningful journey.

alexxx12342 karma

I am told that Japanese has a strong Japanese accent when they speak English. Is this true?

harveysrabbit2 karma

I never noticed it. Others have said that, too, but I never heard it. They have some issues with L/R and V/B pronunciations because their language doesnt have those sounds, but I never had a difficult time because of accent.

I mentioned earlier, but I lived mostly in Miami, Los Angeles, and Hawaii so I was used to hearing English in a variety of ways I guess.

alexxx12342 karma

I notice that Japanese students has to change their shoes before they enter the classroom because I saw some Japanese cartoon with that scenes. Do you have to change your shoes, too? Why do they change shoes?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Yeah. students from elementary to high school have a variety of shows. Those they wear outside, those they wear inside the school like slip on shoes and some carry another pair just for sports.

Its obviously a cultural thing, but its basically meant to keep what you stepped in outside outside and what you step in inside inside. But, the school hallways still get pretty as anyone can tell you.

alexxx12342 karma

Interesting! Thank you for replying.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Thanks for asking! Have fun!

goatsanddragons2 karma

Has your status as foreigner ever come in handy? Maybe meeting some girls/guys that think you're exotic or some interesting people wanting to pratice their English with you?

harveysrabbit3 karma

Haha! Of course! Just like in the States when someone who speaks a second language wants to act dumb, they say they dont speak English to get away with stuff. English speakers do that in Japan, too. They fake not speaking Japanese so they can sit in peace on trains or to maybe get away with something. People do it, Im not saying its cool, but people do it.

But yeah, its true. Some guys/girls just want to meet a foreign guy/girl. Plenty have admitted this to me so I dont care what others say, but some people will chat you up only because youre foreign.

JWooferZ2 karma

Not sure if you're still answering these, but I see you've dodged the question of whether you're still in japan a lot.

This is something I'd really like to know. This topic extremely interests me as I've always wanted to do something along the lines of the JET program and maybe teach for a year. You talk about how it's essentially an opportunity/stepping stone. I'm mostly curious how your life panned out as a result of teaching.

In other words, did you fall in love with japan and stay? Did you move up the teaching ladder enough for a plum job? Did you head back home to the US?

All of these things pique my interest.

harveysrabbit2 karma

Sorry! I am! Im still here! Its 1244pm and sunny! I need to get outside...

The best thing teaching brought me was I met my lady at a job where I worked. The next best were friends I met and the places I was shown and invited to.

For work, I learned a lot about how Japanese companies are run, how to get ahead and how to operate. I hated teaching but I never let them know and I still worked like hell to the best I could. I was promoted I guess you can say to be a trainer and helped develop the coursework for a school and wrote various skits to be used in online teaching tools and so on. I learned a lot and definitely fattened my resume.

And of course, I fell in love with Japan. When I didnt speak the language, its so easy to just drift through without caring about anything and having fun. The more Japanese I learned and the more I watched the news or got involved in the community the more I learned Japan has a darker side, too on how racism is treated and how they view their history and how young girls are exploited like sex objects and how difficult is for women here, much more so than in the US.

Basically, like all countries, I learned Japanese has its warts, too and I cant go back to those ignorance is bliss days.

iSinon2 karma

I am currently trying to find out how much teacher who teach in Japan make. Can you give an estimate? And is it ONLY possible to teach through those programs or companies? What level of Japanese do you recommend to have when you teach teenagers? Or do you only speak English to them in class?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Sure, most ALTs make roughly 230,000 - 270,000 a month depending on where you live. Naturally cities pay more because cost of living is more.

Some ALTs make less because they work less or that hiring company pays less and some ALTs make more because they work at a nice private school. BUT, those months when the schools have a break, you may make 60-75% of what your normal salary is.

An eikaiwa like AEON pays roughly the same, about 270,000 or more for the first year and goes up each year until youve worked there three years and then it stops rising. Then other places like NOVA, Linguage and sometimes ECC and BErlitz pay you based on hours you work, anywhere from 2000 yen an hour to 4000 yen an hour, and at some schools its possible to work full time but you have to really be available to them whenever they want.

Some English Immersion schools I know pay over 3,000,000 yen a year and upwards to like 5,000,000+. Some universities if youre really good can make a nice living, but thats rare.

When you teach, you only use English, or are supposed to only use English. I know some foreign teachers who love their own japanese ability so much they teach in Japanese.

Me, I only use English because theyre there to learn English.

johnbomb752 karma

Did you at least understand a single thing of Japanese culture when you arrived? Also, what is one thing you don't like about Japan?

harveysrabbit2 karma

About Japanese culture... theyre more reserved, shy, and of course always take your shoes off when entering most places...

Ok, one thing I dont like is the lack of cheese and good imported beer at reasonable prices... mainly because Im hungry now.

Benson922 karma

As someone living in Japan currently on the JET programme, I find myself in a school with a high level of English. Combined with JET friends, English speaking colleagues and the joys of the internet I find myself in an English speaking bubble.

As such, I find it difficult to escape and seek Japanese only friends. What are some of the things you did to force yourself into learning Japanese and escaping the bubble?

TL;DR How did you make Japanese friends?

harveysrabbit2 karma

Honestly, I still enjoy my downloaded movies and season after season of my favorite TV shows when I want to relax. no shame in that.

But honestly, I just hung out with mostly Japanese staff. I hung out with the foreigners too but I made an effort of exploring my surroundings on my own so I could meet people at bars or at sightseeing spots and so on and talked with those who chatted me up or those who were kind enough to talk to me back.

mewarmo9902 karma

From what my JET friends have told me, college campuses are a good place to start.

harveysrabbit1 karma

Yeah, its a quicker way of making friends and meeting people closer to your age maybe.

bangsecks2 karma

Two questions: Does Japan still tend to not want older teachers (30 and up) and are there jobs where you teach other subjects but in English? I'd like to teach computer science in Japan and I'm in my 30's.

harveysrabbit2 karma

I know teachers who came in their 30s and Ive met one who came here in her 40s. One New Zealand guy that i replaced was in his 50s!

Theyll always take teachers, sure, there is ageism and theyll hire the 20yr old over you in a heartbeat, but you can do teach here.

As far as computer science, you'll have to apply to the international schools here or the English immersion schools where you can teach what youre qualified for in ENglish, but all of the jobs are very difficult to find because although theres only a few million foreigners here, they all would rather be doing something else than teaching English it seems!

InTupacWeTrust2 karma

I can imagine teaching English to Japanese students is beyond hard since the two languages are so different. From your experience, what is the hardest concept for Japanese students to pick up on in our complex English language?

harveysrabbit1 karma

For young students, theyre drilled with grammar in books repeatedly and forced to repeat phrases day after day. What they do little of is actually trying to talk to someone beyond stock A/B dialogues, beyond one question/one answer situations.

For older students, adults, most have forgotten that grammar and or the vocab on top of not knowing how to converse.

Conversation is the most difficult part really because grammar and vocab will come in time, but not being afraid to speak without making a mistake is tough for most.

Legal_Rampage1 karma

You're in Family Mart, buying a large cod roe spaghetti and the clerk asks if you want chopsticks or a fork.

Which do you choose??

harveysrabbit2 karma

I dont eat cod roe (Im a vegetarian), but I do eat spaghetti so I can answer this...

I know many Japanese people who use chopsticks for everything: pizza, steak, etc...

But just like I dont use a fork with sushi, I dont use chopsticks with spaghetti. I know I know, pasta itself is said to have come from China, but the actual dish called spaghetti is Italian and I eat it like The Godfather would.

CCBlink1 karma

did they pronounce the words you taught just like speak some other language?and can you understand what they spoke?

harveysrabbit4 karma

The young kids, like 1st graders, they try so hard and for me, repeat what I say pretty well.

Adults, its tougher, especially adults who decided to study ENglish late in life.

I grew up in Miami and Los Angeles, so Im used to English being spoken in different accents and pronunciations so I could understand it most of the time.

Sometimes its tough and you can correct a student, but if they keep repeating it incorrectly, like V and B sound, you have to just move on because theyll feel embarrassed and give up. I just move on.

And some Japanese have an odd pconunciation even in Japanese so in English its the same! Ha!

zukeroo1 karma

How do you feel about the fact that Japan's history curriculum portrays Japan as being good during times such as WW2?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Its 2am here, so im getting sleepy but...

Yeah, its funny. When I first visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine, where they have the ashes of convicted war criminals from WWII along with the ashes of soldiers from previous wars, and its the museum, I was surprised to see the exhibits where they proudly talk about China and Korea and Pearl Harbor.

And most Japanese people I know say their history is too long and cant study everything, like WWII, but they do cherry pick what they study about WWII. I think you should teach the whole dirty truth, like the Germans did.

minormammoth1 karma

Have you seen and elephant ski? If you've never seen an elephant ski, you've never been on acid.

harveysrabbit1 karma

I've seen a ski elephant.

drdimples1 karma

[deleted]

harveysrabbit1 karma

Yeah, it happens. If youre single and shes single and its mutual, rock on. But always be careful because Ive seen plenty of bad break ups and teachers dating two girls at the same school and when they both discovered this at the school, they were pissed.

Id try and date outside of school if possible.

Riesenotter1 karma

Is white tax really a thing?

harveysrabbit1 karma

haha! Ive seen some stores with Japanese only signs on it in and around Osaka, but Ive never experienced white tax.

ulobmoga0 karma

How often does Godzilla destroy Tokyo?

harveysrabbit1 karma

Never!...oh, I take that back, he just destroyed it.

Alien_Lover-4 karma

Is it true there are many opportunities in Japan to have consensual sex with aliens and extraterrestrials? I would very much like to visit if this is the case, in the north of the UK I only manage to have sex with an alien perhaps once every 3-4 months.

harveysrabbit5 karma

Where there is a will there is a way.