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Arrival in Japan

My traveling companion, Amy, and I arrived at Tokyo airport approximately one hour and fifteen minutes late. We had questioned the GEOS trainers about whether or not two hours connection time was enough to make our second flight and were told "No problem." Now 45 minutes, this is a different story. We managed to find an airport employee who could understand what we were trying to tell and her ran with us through the airport and we got to skip the line for immigration. Then we found our way down to our baggage platform only to informed that our luggage was also late. At this point we decided to relax a bit because it was now apparent that there was not even a chance that we would make the flight. We finally got our luggage and headed for customs.

Now, I had heard many horror stories about going through customs in Japan - personal articles strewn about and packs of Dayquil and Sudafed confiscated--it was nothing like what really happened.

"Why are you coming to Japan?"
"To teach English"
"Where did you come from?"
"Ok, go ahead."
"Thank you"

Riveting stuff eh? So no problem. Now Amy and I had to figure out what the hell we were supposed to do now. The trainers at GEOS didn't give us the phone number of the person who was supposed pick us up, so we were stuck in Tokyo and afraid that we wouldn't have anyone to meet us at our final destination. So I found a payphone and called the school I was supposed to be teaching at to ask what we should do. My new manager gave me the correct phone number so we could contact the person. My manager also said something to the effect of - oh, I hope you're still coming, don't go back to America! This was funny but also made me feel a little worried. All I know is that if I had not been traveling with Amy I would've sat down and cried. It was so frustrating.


Anyway - we were finally able to make it to our final destination where we were each taken to our apartments. I found my apartment to be quite nice, clean, and new; Amy was not so lucky hers was moldy, dirty, and her dishes were full of dead bugs (at least they were dead says me!). All of my appliances are new! From talking to my co-workers, I later found out that I am to be envied because my washing machine fills itself and is inside and I have two burners on my stove. I was given the phone number of another native teacher and told that he would meet me at the station near my house for lunch the next day. I slept straight through the night.

On my way to meet my co-worker I stopped to use the payphone. While I was talking on the phone this old man who was walking his dog walked past me 6 times, pretty funny! Anyway, so I met my co-worker and liked him instantly! So far so good. Although he did nothing to ease my panic by telling me that I must have interviewed well to be sent to the school I would be working at. My co-worker (Mark) and I then met up with Amy and went to my school so I could meet the manager. Now, at our training they told us that our manager would probably be a young Japanese woman who could speak very little English, and may cry when stressed. So I was surprised to meet my manager, a young Japanese woman with good English and a quirky, assertive personality. So I said my hellos and went out to eat with Mark and Amy. I was so tired that I wanted to die, but I knew that I should at least attempt to stay up until a normal hour in order to ease into my new time zone. At this point I was all eyes just trying to soak in everything around me. The next day was my day off, so I spent it unpacking and trying to get my apartment arranged before my work week started.



I'm considering teaching english in japan...haven't finished my degree yet so just doing some initial research. Anyway, thatks, your stroy was helpful!

Advice if you're thinking of coming to work in Eikaiwa (Aeon, Gaba, Nova etc):
1. Make sure that you have enough funds available to get you out of Japan in the event that your school gets rid of you, or goes bankrupt.
2. Don't lose sight of the other qualifications and experience you have, and if possible, do something with it in Japan.
3. If you're interested in teaching, and have the funds, consider doing a TEFL course first. Use eikaiwa as post-TEFL "experience" - you'll have better job prospects for the future.
4. Get involved in some "extra-curricular activities" such as sports, martial arts, cultural things etc.
5. Get some basic Japanese under your belt before you come, and get regular classes in Japan to build up a basic fluency with the language.

As someone with several years' experience of Japan, if you follow the above advice, I guarantee you'll be better off.

The Ripper

this brings back horrible memories haha, but thankful because after coming back from Japan I lost sight of just how gruelling and painful it was and almost considered going back.

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