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So you Want to Teach English in Japan?

Hey, kids! Welcome to our web site all about riding the gravy train in Japan. What's that you say? I can make money just by existing, by simply showing up and speaking English?! Yep, you sure can! Our site is dedicated to all you carbon blobs out there. Learn how to tie a tie and nod your head thoughtfully and you're in!

Seriously though, before you go for that inexhaustible teat, you need to know a few things. What we are talking about here is the poop, the goods, the news, the rumors, the gossip, the truth and the utterly unsubstantiated tales of eikaiwa (English conversation to you newbies).

Why? As an English teacher, contrary to what you may believe or have been told, you are an entertainer and salesman. You are the official English-speaking person. You are the Norman Rockwell, rosy-cheeked, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, apple-pie eating, product of the suburbs;a pet gaijin to some Japanese.

You may think you are a shoe-in with your TESL or RSA certificate but the fact is you don't really need it (well, Immigration wants to see it so they can keep riff-raff out but that's another story). Any person who can speak English clearly and wear a suit properly can teach English in Japan. In fact, most Japanese figure that if you are a native speaker of English, you are qualified to teach.

We are not out to criticize English language learning; learning a second language is a noble and worthy pursuit. If anything, we wish there was a lot more communication between people all over the world. Our beef is with the large schools such as GEOS, AEON and NOVA where more entertaining than educating is going on. English is being taught professionally and being taught well in Japan. However, such institutions are few and far between; eikaiwa simply rules the landscape the way fast food rules North America. Keep this in mind as you read on: eikaiwa is a McJob.

Read our stuff. Learn. Laugh. Cry. Shout. Get angry. Agree with us. Curse us. Just promise to keep an open mind and respond.

Chris and Shawn


I want to learn them someday..

You should add a "share on facebook" link to all those pretty icons in the post footers.

Stupid me, it was there all along. I just never activated the link.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. -Albert Einstein


"I can make money just by existing, by simply showing up and speaking English?! Yep, you sure can! " without study in a university? without graduation? without experience? Yes you can.. you English native speakers and latin speakers.. Thats why NOVA and others courses are not courses but just it..nothing related with real education.. sorry for Japanese people. sorry for whom study in unviersities for years..

Well, if you are considering coming here to teach English, listen to this:

"The Group" to investigate lawsuits against G.Com/G.Ed is meeting 30 Jan. If you have previously contacted The Group but have not heard about the meeting, please contact us again, immediately, at:

We'll try to get back to you tonight.

(Sorry, for budgetary reasons we donot do keitais, only skype and land lines).

Also you ALT's don't think you are so high and mighty now, proudly claiming you are not eikaiwa beacause you think you are better. You guys are losers too!

...oh and to all the freaks in my japanese class who masterbate to everything that is japanese and copy everything that is japanese even if it's total crap, try to speak in 'kawaii' voices all the time and copy phrases from japanese cartoons, think they are so cool because they visited japan for all of 2 weeks and now are suddenly the worlds no.1 expert on japan who all the other freaks who havn't visited yet worship like a demi-god, have visited anime conventions and are memebers of an anime society, have a token 'cool' japanese penpal who if they knew what a total freak and outcast you really are in your home country would vomit and then consider attempting one of those mix of household chemicals producing poisonous gas suicide attempts because of the humiliation of ever being associated with you, are in any-way-shape-or-form asian looking but think that somehow makes you more 'japanese' than the rest of us (when actually, if you had any clue about japan you would know that they will think you are scum, more so than caucasians), try and copy japanese lolita/gothic/etc. which just makes you look like a pathetic mess when step outside to inflict your visual holocaust upon the rest of us, have blonde hair and/or blue eyes and think that this will automatically elevate you to superstar status if you land that place on the JET scheme (god, i hope not) and go to japan when in reality you are an 3 out of 10 in the looks dept. at best , ..uuhh the list could go on, you know the kind of people i'm talking about. you are losers too! japan doesn't like you, japan doesn't want you, don't embarrass the rest of western society by inflicting yourself on the people of japan.

Yeah, this guy is definitely a non-native English speaker, but also not Japanese. Why would he be in a Japanese class? Unless he is the teacher -- but I doubt that...

I love the attitude I used to get from all the day traders and other guys with "real" jobs. Unfortunately I no longer get shit from any of them any more because they have all lost their "real" jobs and have no savings to show for all their hard work either. How many English teachers out there have had to listen to these dicks go on and on about how much money they make (made) only to never have them buy a round? I am sure a few of them made decent money, but I guarantee the egos of these pricks almost guarantees that they were grossly exaggerating their pay (and we never asked to know in the first place!).

Anyway, I can't say for sure what this guy's problem is but I am sure of a few things. One, he has penis envy (probably lost a girl to a white guy). Two, he thinks he has a "real" job, but has probably since lost that "real" job and now is real broke.

Have fun alone in your shitty apartment during the holidays looking through the want ads! I won't be thinking about you as I spend a month in Bali diving, getting massages and playing tennis on holiday from my fake job.

That had to be one of the best rants in history on that topic, A+

I've been in Japan a couple months, and have only made adjustments
in a "less hostile" fashion. I keep the same style as I did back in Los Angeles. I seriously detest these clowns here that try to be a western version of an eastern person. In my expierence, and from dating a few japanese girls back home,People always respect you for who u really are, not who ur trying to be(unless ur some prisoner trying to parole). But I completely understand who the rant was directed at, as i see these douch bags all day long in Shibuya or Shinjuku. I didnt make the switch to tight pants, my japanese is survival at best, though im learning. But there are way too many of these ppl here that step off a plane and undergo some kinda of radical transformation into the anime alter ego they could never pull off back home. Bad news guys, u can pull it off here either.
Im doing just fine with women, and not because i have a fetish for japanese women.More so because the place is 99% japanese all the girl's i may date are pretty much japanese by default. In myspace Chat we call these ppl "WAPS"
they usually have an anime pic displayed, and puke out these horrid anime phrases and think they are cultured simply cause they know kon bonwa in addition to Kon nichiwa. I have yet to eat raw fish here, but give the upmost respect to the locals, try not to be loud, and i avoid roppongi like the plague. To anybody that may see this, please just be yourself. And if your one of the ppl decribed in the above post, please stay the hell out of this country, be considered a douchebag in ur hometown, cause to be one here is gonna make me look bad. thanks!

..just wondering... did any of you English (ahem) 'teachers' ever think about getting a real job?, i mean actually studying towards something where you are not considered to be an embarrassment to the teaching industry.

I can imagine all you 'charisma men' sweating profusely now that your once meager wages are no more. oh no! charisma man is penniless, even the power of 'looking foreign' won't be enough to hide that you are losers now.
I think those 'oh so cute' former students you had worked your 'magic' on are all suddenly going to be wise to the situation that you aren't exactly what mum and dad would consider marriage material and that you certainly won't be able to provide them with a secure future.

And so, I guess it's time you scuttled off back to your respective home countries and headed for the nearest mcdonalds, where your years spent as an eikaiwa 'teacher' have helped you become no more qualified than to earn you a living flipping burgers alongside students who are there for pocket money while they study for a real career (i.e. not eikaiwa teachers).

Sayonara losers.

Ha. ol'bitter guy.

Take it easy bud, did you have a fall out with a jap chick that you fell in love with and she realized the same things of you??

Some charisma men actually make it, find a nice girl, maybe start their own school, or do well, in other fields.

It depends which circles you move in, but among my friends, alongside precisely ONE guy, who is having a hard time, I know countless people who've done well, in English teaching, and continue to do well. Personally, I don't know any charisma guys, although I've met one or two, in passing.

I didn't ideally set up NOVA so people who weren't planning ahead would get stuck in the company, but that's what they chose to do, and I needed docile, and willing loo tenants. The vast majority though, used NOVA as a gap year, or two, or a stepping stone, to something better - just ask my buddies Eddie Norton and Jero.

Cheers, every baddie, and thanks to my letsjapan bro's for changing the CAPTCHA


Your spot on but your attitude is juvenile at best. Good luck in life with that eloquent way in which you speak.

Yeah, this guy above is definitely a non-native English speaker, but also not Japanese. Why would he be in a Japanese class? Unless he is the teacher -- but I doubt that...

I love the attitude I used to get from all the day traders and other guys with "real" jobs. Unfortunately I no longer get shit from any of them any more because they have all lost their "real" jobs and have no savings to show for all their hard work either. How many English teachers out there have had to listen to these dicks go on and on about how much money they make (made) only to never have them buy a round? I am sure a few of them made decent money, but I guarantee the egos of these pricks almost guarantees that they were grossly exaggerating their pay (and we never asked to know in the first place!).

Anyway, I can't say for sure what this guy's problem is but I am sure of a few things. One, he has penis envy (probably lost a girl to a white guy). Two, he thinks he has a "real" job, but has probably since lost that "real" job and now is real broke.

Have fun alone in your shitty apartment during the holidays looking through the want ads! I won't be thinking about you as I spend a month in Bali diving, getting massages and playing tennis on holiday from my fake job.

Nothing like a few home truths. LOL! Classic. Keep em coming !

I used to teach teach English in Japan, though not at an eikaiwa. Rather, I taught at a private junior high and high school in Okinawa, and have always been interested in knowing what it is like to teach at an eikaiwa or juku.

I currently teach English in the EPIK Program, which is South Korea's response to JET. Once again, I found myself in a school with classes of 36+ students, wondering what it is like for people teaching at the hagwons (juku) with classes of 6-10 students.

Is this just a case of 'The grass is always greener on the other side' or are class conditions better in eikaiwas? Anyone have experience teaching at both schools and eikaiwas?

When I find that like you guys say Eikaiwa is so easy drives me crazy. If you consider so I'd like to yell to that people " Don't come to Japan".
The market is changing these days. The dimands is getting more strict because customers(students) getting smarter. Besides the business model like GEOS, AEON and NOVA supposed be old fashion. The sales is drastically dropping.

Maybe writing language isn't that easy either.

Despite his feeble grasp of English, Foolio here almost has a point. It is difficult to teach language. However, "teaching" eikaiwa isn't all that difficult. After all, look at the entry requirements....

No offense but your English skills in that comment you submitted were truly shocking ! I don't wonder you found it hard when your grammar is that bad. Also, I don't rate my English top notch by any means even though I come from the UK.

If you speak english as bad as you write, you REALLY should not be teaching english. I can see how you'd have a hard time at an Eikaiwa, or anywhere else.

The comment is obviously by a Japanese guy (I'm pretty sure about the gender) who is pissed off that people are coming or thinking of coming to his country to teach because the standards demanded are so low. He has a good point, one which criticizing his English skills is hardly an argument against. If any of the people who replied are English teachers, you really should be able to tell the difference between a native speaker with bad or lazy grammar and a non-native speaker.

He also seems to have been proved right about the Nova business model...

TEFLtastic blog- "All the truth that's fit to teach"-

What is the purpose of comments like this? You are a dick.

I was just trying to answer a question Anonymous. I think crapping someone as Anonymous is being a dick since there is no way to tell who said what.

Maybe you felt I didn't answer the question well enough? You would be right since I don't know alot aboout job prospects for non native english speakers. Also I believe that I did comment on the question very quickly and moved on. Sorry.

If anyone has any info about work in japan for non native english speakers could you let us know. I only know that Gaba has hired non notive english apeakers except for some companies that have hired japanese english instructors.

Where do you see the requirements?
Im sure teaching a language could be easy, especially for me.
A dude who is studying french, japanese, chinese, and other languages.
I'm only 16.

And I'm totally native-speaking on french. And Chinese is getting on it's way to fluent.

So yeah, where's the requirements?

Oh yeah, me again. Pete.
But if someone knows really how to go to Japan and teach.
Can someone tell me the real whole deal behind this university degree thing?
Like is it just a degree?
Could be in anything, like a year degree in the Japanese Language level 1 or anything?
And what does the 6month TESL Certificate do?
Eikawa is, a McJob, like stated.
Which is bull.
You can't really live off that. It's just mostly liek a last resort type of thing.

So is anyone willign to answer, and can maybe I email one of you and like, keep in touch and exchange information and all?
Thanks in advance dudes, see ya.

Learn how to speak English first. Then we'll talk about you being an English teacher. So...I figure I'll hear from you in about 10 more years.

you do need a degree and yes it can be in anything, as long as it's a degree. the company i work for doesn't require tefl certificates because they train you the way they want you to teach, pretty decent training too...but you have to be able to pass the grammar test, it's kinda hard so study up.

Can that really be the official ECC site you gave a link to? VERY dated design!

Actually you don`t need a degree,

You only need a degree if you want a working visa, but it's not really necessary. My Aussie girlfriend came to Japan on a Working Holiday Visa and she doesn`t have a university degree. She was able to get a job with a Eikaiwa School. The one stipulation is that you have to renew your visa. After the 6 months is up, you are allowed to apply for two more 6 month extensions for a total of 1 and a half years in Japan. The working holiday visa program is available to Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Germans, South Koreans and Britons. There are also quite a few other things which you must know when applying for this type of visa. First, you can apply for this type of visa at your local Japanese consulate or embassy and fill out the application. Second, you need an onward ticket to another country, which of course can be refunded with a flight with no ristrictions. And third, get your resume ready, get some sharp clean clothes, shave (for the guys) and look sharp ( as this is a very important aspect in Japan) and start getting ready to line up some interviews when you arrive.

my daughter curently teaches in japan, in the okinawan islands. she and her partner have been on miyako jima island for abut two and a half years now. her placement was thru JET. i suggest you check them out. A degree is requirred, but thas a degree in anything.

Immigration on Japan are not the slightest bit interested in your CELTA or what have you- all you need is a degree. Some countries, such as Turkey, do demand a certificate and even occasionally try to get tough and not accept ones by dodgy online training schools- then realise they won't get enough cheap teachers and give up.

TEFLtastic blog- All the truth that's fit to teach-

I want to teach abroad.How can I get a job without the TESOL/TEFL degree.Please e-mail me with any information you might


I would love to try something new and move to Japan to work for a years or so. I am 33 years old and have been working in an insurance job in Ireland for the last couple of years. I am educated to a diploma level in business and haven't done a TEFL course ..... what would the situation be in i travelled over looking for a job?



Hi Tom,

Just read your post, if you want to try for a English teaching job in Japan try the JET Program or try applying through NOVA. You don't need TEFL if you have a degree.

In Okinawa


Please stay away from NOVA!!! The company is going Bankrupt. Teacher's are being paid late and students are leaving the school. As far as JET, they have an age cut off, so you might want to check on that.
All the best,
Tokyo teacher

yea stay away from NOVA they are having a lot of problems and I hear teachers and staff aren't getting paid. Jett...I don't know much about them but try ECC or GEOS or AEON

Absolutely 100% stay away from Nova. They rip off their customers, are shutting down schools and not paying teachers.

Hi, I am from Philippines, 21 years old and presently employed in a Software Company in our country. I am interested on having my application as an ALT on JET. However, I learned that I had been late for the deadline which had been set last March, I will be having inquiries at the Japanese Embassy in our place soon..

Getting a job with JET is very difficult. I am from the U.S., have an education degree and 5 years experience in teaching English, yet I didn't make it. From reading your message, I am sorry to say that your English grammar is poor and JET would pick up on that. To be frank, the best positions for Teaching English are ones that are found after arriving in the country. In addition, most situations want someone from a Western culture. I don't mean to seem rude, but I think it is important for you to understand the situation. Good Luck though...something can always open up!

"Getting a job with JET is very difficult."

Well... yes and no. I think it's more a matter of first-come, first-serve with JET. I've known more than a few people who got jobs with JET right out of college with no education training whatsoever.

Or maybe it's because they felt you were overqualified? Also, don't forget that JET has an age cut-off. They want young teachers. I'm not sure what the cut-off was, but perhaps you were past it?

Having also failed to get into the JET program, it seems from what I've seen of the people who got hired that yes, they are usually straight out of college, and have little or no Japanese ability. I made the mistake of thinking that would be a plus for me... I showed them my 1-kyu JLPT certificate at my interview and they basically said "Okay, that's nice" and didn't note it down. I also thought having lived in Japan for 3 years, and having worked part time as an ALT in a high school would have helped.

My suspicion (I have no proof, of course) is that as much as possible they want people who will be WOWed by Japan. They want someone who will be genuinely interested when students make a presentation about KENDAMA or TANABATA.

I think it also helps when applying not to be a white male.

Interac, although the wages are BARE MINIMUM, will hire anyone with a pulse (you need not even be a native speaker! Just from a country with English as an official language) and as an added bonus you'll probably be able to work in the urban areas of the country.

I suppose it's human nature to blame others or look for reasons outside ourselves when we fail at something. I wasn't at your interview, but I can sense a few things from this post that would have raised a red flag or two for me had I been there. I don't mean this in an unkind way, and of course, I don't know you at all, but judging only from your post, you seem a tad full of yourself. If you presented yourself this way, or I should say, if you were perceived this way during your interview, that may have been why you were rejected. I was a JET many years ago, and granted things may have changed, but many of my fellow JETs had prior experience of living in Japan and/or could speak Japanese, some quite fluently. For those who could speak Japanese, there were a couple of positions available as CIRs, where their language ability was an asset. (I don't know if the CIR option still exists.) In addition, white males were well represented. In our group of 36, 14 were white males, 1 Japanese-American male, 19 white females, 1 Japanese-American female, and 1 female of Indian descent. I think you'd agree, in this case anyway, being a white male male doesn't appear to have been a handicap. In fact, it was, and probably still is, much more difficult for people of color to be accepted. In regard to age, we were also somewhat diverse: from 23 to 33, with most in the 23 - 26 range. Many of us had teaching experience of some kind, but not necessarily in K- 12.

Also, I was a little troubled by your comment, "They want someone who will be genuinely interested when students make a presentaton about KENDAMA or TANABATA." Perhaps you just expressed yourself badly, but I hope you don't mean that you feel you are above taking a genuine interest in your students. Unfortunately, it reads like you think you are too "cool" to be impressed by such mundane matters. You are a worldly sophisticate, wise in the ways of Japan. You will not be "WOWed" by Japan. Perhaps it would have been better during your interview to have expressed a desire to learn more about the country and its people, or shown a little more "modesty" about your achievements. You profess a knowledge of Japanese culture, so surely you know that modesty, even when it's false, makes a good impression.

I hope you won't be too offended by my comments here, but perhaps you will.

Finally, I think it's commendable that you have learned Japanese well enough to pass the JLPT 1-kyu. Good luck with your teaching.

I forget the Japanese word for it, but there is a focus on 'internationalisation'. I believe that one of the reasons the Japanese government sponsors this teaching program (JET) is not just to do with language proficiency, but cultural exchange. You may be a wonderful and qualified teacher, but having lived in Japan already, you have already experienced much of the cultural milieu. In a way, you said it yourself - the fresh-out-of-college candidates are going to be the ones challenged more immediately by a different culture and its ensuing learning experiences - and of course the idea is that this experience is mutual for the students and teachers you will work with. This is not to say you don't have more to learn or contribute, but they may feel fresh blood is what they want to sponsor.

Or it may just be they felt with your experience/qualifications that you could easily get such a job via another route, and thus they choose to put their funding where that would not be the case for someone else.

I am a current JET candidate, don't know if I'll be going yet. I have a Diploma of Japanese, although I don't expect that to be relevant, as they specifically state Japanese language skills are not factored in (they wouldn't be, for an organisation that specifically takes people with no Japanese language knowledge whatsoever). I just hope my motivation and enthusiasm for language learning, and to experience another culture I'm fascinated with, will help me through the rest of the selection process.

You might have a chance with a private ALT dispatch company if JET is not possible.

TEFLtastic blog from Tokyo-

Seriously, if you want a job with JET check out their home page to see what the requirements are.

Can Someone tell me all the Details about Teaching in Japan do I need to go to college for it do I need to know any Japanese, it it good Money..YoUR Bad and Good Experiences! Please I would sosososososos appreciate this!

Teaching at an English conversation school in Japan, or any kind of school at all, is really, really easy. However, teaching well is not. That's the biggest point, I think. The majority of people who come to Japan can't teach all that well. They may be a good entertainers, or they may be a good conversationalists, but they aren't good teachers. It takes time to become a good teacher, more time than the one, two, or three years most people spend here.

On a different topic, spelling and grammar do not really count for much on JET applications. Of course you should make sure that your application is perfect, but I've seen applications that contained spelling errors. I remember seeing one where the (successful) applicant has misspelled the title of his previous job. He still got hired, and fortunately, he turned out to be more than his application made him out to be. It is amazing that he was hired, though; surely back in his home country, his application would've been thrown in the garbage bin. In any case, the JET Programme is not about hiring people who will be good assistant teachers, it is about hiring people who (hopefully) can "promote internationalization" at a local level.

If you're looking for a good alternative to the above-mentioned schools, try this:

It's wonderful, and I laugh at the poor fools at NOVA. Meanwhile, I've just enjoyed three PAID vacations in as many weeks. Seriously, JET is too difficult (and unpredictable) to get into and NOVA's a running joke here. ECC is the way to go.

It could happen to any one of the major language schools. One foot wrong and the whole house of cards can fall.

I find this site to be very helpful. I am looking into teaching abroad in Japan and have recently interviewed with Nova. It has seriously been an eye-opening experience reading all of the information that is going on with Nova---and to think they are still interviewing for next quarter!

Anyways...with Nova looking like a bust, I would like to know about the other programs from actual teachers. Please let me know (sell yourself!)

Thank You!

Sincerely, Jazzi

Hi, everyone. I am teaching English at an academy in Daegu, the 3rd largest city in Korea, in the south near Busan. I just got back from a week in Kyoto and am not happy to be in Korea at the moment, would much rather be in Japan. So my question is, I am nearly 60, but I am very active and am in very good health and shape for a woman my age (so I hear) and want to find an English teaching job, preferably in Kyoto within 6 months to a year. I'm interested in feedback on the age factor and if anyone has experience working for ECC? — their website looks good. Thanks, Angela


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