You are here

Japan Doesn't Need You

Over the past 10 years, LJ has gone from being a website that tried to warn others about the pitfalls of working for GEOS, to documenting the criminal activities that are a part of eikaiwa, large and small schools alike.

There was the spectacular collapse of Nova that exposed it as a criminal enterprise. Then there was the sudden collapse of GEOS Australia in which GEOS Japan reassured everyone that everything was fine...only for the company to go bankrupt itself.

If you think these are pretty tame examples, how about Berlitz suing its instructors for trying to exercise their right to strike? If this kind of assholerly isn't enough, surely no one could top Fortress Japan's flat out extortion when it came to signing up robbing new students.

You know what would be worse than these examples of abuse and thievery? Using the Tohoku Kanto earthquake to make it look like teaching English is a heroic effort. Oh, wait...that's been done:

Yes, GaijinPot thinks the aftermath of a tsunami and an unfolding nuclear crisis is a great time to come and work in Japan. Teaching English=rebuilding Japan!

GPlus Media






Sagan Speak


Japan doesn't need you. It needs electricity. It needs to get the Fukushima reactors under control. Survivors need hot food and a warm roof over their heads.

Shame on these schools for using a disaster to promote their businesses. This ad campaign is not about what you can do for Japan--it's about the schools desperately trying to find teachers. I have a feeling that nobody wants to work anywhere near Fukushima.

By all means come to Japan to teach, but don't think that working in Hiroshima or Shizuoka is helping to rebuild Japan. If you want to help rebuild, donate to the Red Cross.


Since I still receive the GP job newsletters, I got this exact same GP message!! I couldnt believe it when I saw it...

Ridiculous and shameful.

This sounds to me like the typical pitch of the Eikaiwa industry, only now updated for current events.

Before, it was come and have your J-experience. Now, it's roll up your sleeves, so to speak, and pitch in to help Japan recover from what happened in a small section of Japan. It mimics the public appeal of groups related to Eikaiwa like JET. And of course the Red Cross.

What is really going on is that the prospectors have left the camp. The people who sell the equipment to the prospectors now have a crisis on their hands. Rather than gold, it was all the labor provided by young gaijins.

Once the plane loads of them stopped streaming into Narita sometime around March 12, the business model has a big hole in it.

I have put into a few of these, and will let people know if I get the same emotional appeal in my e-mail in-box.

Yep roll up your sleeves and come help a few Japanese to make money off your backs! Teach English, pick strawberries, train Japanese employees with your "superior western knowledge", or become a JET and broadcast Japanese propaganda all over the world! Either way, Japan wins and you lose! Hurray! Fight on Japan!

And still some westerners back-stab other westerners just for being foreign and wanting to come to Japan.

Gaijins are funny!

The only good things about Japan are Japanese women, the exchange rate and the fact the trains run on time.

And still some westerners back-stab other westerners just for being foreign and wanting to come to Japan.

At all different levels, and in so many corners, you do see this sort of nastiness. It's like you're on a reality TV show, and trying not to get "voted off the island".

Berlitz: Come on over! By supporting our failed business model, you will be helping to ensure that our top people continue to get their bonuses, and help to convince our parent company to bail us out once again. As these are even tougher times, you will get the new "Helper" contract, designed to squeeze out maximum profitability, while taking down your standard of living as far as we can. But please don't even think about any collective bargaining, or our lawyers will crush you. Japan needs you!

Interac: Japan needs you to work in public schools. Don't worry about illegal outsourcing and pesky court rulings; you will be secure in the knowledge that we have our hand in your pocket, and will make damn sure that you receive the least amount possible, and the rest will be in donations (straight to Utah). Japanese school students need you to support our nice little earner as long as we can before the law actually catches up with us and we have to close shop. Japan needs you!

So, what's the expected half-life of a new-chum ESL teacher in Japan these days?

Because all Japanese are smarter than you!!!

Arnel J.

Actually, I have a Japanese wife. Besides be a bit spoiled, she is also pretty arrogant in a typical Japanese way. Japan-does-no-wrong and it is always a gaijin's fault. The younger Japanese are just as bad and are clueless about history or reality for that matter.

Arnel J.

I remember my interview for Berlitz it went something like this:

Manager: What would you say if I hired you right now?
Me: Umm...yes?
Manager: We do that to all new recruits just to see what they'll say, we'll review everything said here and get back to you, any questions?
Me: Yes, I have a few but first, I've been doing a bit of research about Berlitz, and am I required to join a union? is there a Berlitz union?
Manager: Yes....
Me: So, am I required to pay dues and join?
Manager: No. Any further questions?

Needless to say I didn't get the job. LOL

In other words - oh crap all of our gaijin, sorry, flyjin have done a runner and we're short staffed. Recruit like buggery and hope we get a few suckers, sorry, kwality applicants in.

Japan had plenty of time and resources to prepare for disasters like these. Unfortunately, the time and resources were to a large extent wasted on crony-ism and ridiculous projects for needless infrastructure. If you ask me the government needs a good shakeup to its core, then rebuilt along with the country's economy. A new government should help pave the way for foreigners to do business and invest in Japan, specifically young foreign workers who will help bear the tax burden of the aging locals. Japanese don't know how to have kids anymore. They don't know how to run a country, just like they don't know how to run a nuclear reactor. They don't know how to reinvigorate the economy. But they're too proud to usher in the foreign influence that would otherwise help them get the economy back on its feet.

Dire days are ahead for a country mired in debt that prides itself on exclusivity and an aging homogeneous population.

Where's the Like button on this site?

The earthquake was big enough to cause an awful lot of pain, grief and suffering, both physical and financial, but nowhere near big enough to cause changge - sorry. On the whole I think this is great. When people decide to make a big change, that's usually when they mess up big time. Foriegn missionaries: go home

6:35 said it best. A realistic, reasoned voice.

Those Japanese who have been talking about letting in the foriegners have one thing on their mind. Create an underclass and screw them senseless. Thank goodness the majority have more sense than to go along with that.

Well, Ishihara just got back in. Now that's 'Change we can believe in' - Right?

That's right. They've put the screws on their own young people about as hard as they can get away with by taking away their benefits, bonuses, promotion opportunities etc. What's the result? They all get part time jobs at convenience stores or stay at home with Mum and Dad. But if they bring in a whole lot of bums who couldn't make in their own countries, then they can screw them that much harder, can't they?

Oh dear, we've got a problem with overpopulation, and an inability to supply ourselves with enough food. The general public is responding to that sensibly by doing volunarily what the Chinese couldn't enforce by law and coersion - not having so many kids. What's the answer? er let's raise the population, but keep half of them underfed. Great idea. Fantastic solution.

Who will fall for this ad campaign? The stupid, the naive, the idealistic - exactly the requirements for what they want! And it only takes a few suckers to make it happen.

If I were you, I wouldn't work for one of these scumbag eikaiwa operations, I would start up an NGO and try to organize "charitable donations" for the people in the affected areas of Japan.

If, like me, you got stuck at Nova for years, went batshit crazy, completely stuffed up your life in Japan, and landed up back home with nothing else to do other than dish out "charity" to "afflicted" people, this is yet another opportunity for you to pretend that you're doing something worthwhile with your otherwise useless existence.

Want to help rebuild Japan? Are you white, educated, reliable and enterprising? We have the job for you: clean up operations in Fukushima: Y30,000 - Y100,000 per day. Come on - make a difference!

The only things to like about teaching in Japan are the exchange rate assuming you can find enough work and the Japanese women you date. Basically teaching English and living in Japan is a joke. Only a fool would do it longer than a few years.

8:59 Made me laugh. Yes, and then they can blame their failure on the white gaijin. Not their problem; nothing negative or to do with failure is there probalem, didn't you know.

Arnel J.

The mindset of the Gaijin “Manager” is pretty much to say and do “anything”, other than do “teaching time” again, which of course they 99% of the time, actually know very little about, other than having done some time in the trenches, unqualified, and unsupported.

“No, no, no, I will do anything to prove my worth, but please, please, please, don’t send me back to the trenches, please”, is the predominant thought ticking away in most "Managers" heads.

As useless and inexperienced at being business managers, as they were teachers, they naively believe that being a good business person is about being outrageous and bold, and taking that “next step” (being a total asshole, in other words).

Desperate to be seen doing “something”, other than arranging time tables (well, at least, passing on the translated version in native tongue to the native teachers), which is really what their jobs are all about, they come up with outrageous and revolting “battle cries”, like the one you have just witnessed, from notorious INTERAC.

By the way, they advertise for FULL-TIME jobs, but their jobs in fact are not FULL-TIME, and they illegally manipulate you and the job definition, to eat your FULL-TIME money. The equation is simple: LEGAL FULL-TIME SALARY less WHAT CAN BE STOLEN FROM THE INSTRUCTOR = INTERAC LIVES ANOTHER DAY.

Why can’t an organized movement of some sort, put an end to the dodgy practices of these villains, once and for all?

To any person thinking of teaching English in Japan – if you have any moral conscience at all, then you know who to avoid working for. Their campaign is a blatant advertising effort to (a) Make them look humanitarian and caring in front of their clients (predominantly, public service style Boards Of Education) and (b) Suck YOU into thinking, you are actually doing humanitarian service by working for them (read carefully the history of this company posted on the net – they are ANYTHING other than humanitarian – pick pocketing, thieving, manipulative, card shuffling liars and cheats, is a definition many ex-employees would identify with more readily).

-----Why can’t an organized movement of some sort, put an end to the dodgy practices of these villains, once and for all?


Because there is often an unending supply of foreigners who want to teach here for a few years and are satisfied if they can earn enough to make ends meet. They have no intention of living and teaching in Japan long-term. Add to this the only real requirement for teaching English is to be a native speaker and it`s no wonder Japanese employers call the shots.

If you are in Japan, then the best way for you to contribute is to spend money, in whatever businesses remain in the effected areas.

At the moment, next to impossible, but that won't be the case, forever.

If you can’t, and don’t want your money to be given a hair cut, then by all means, consider setting up a fund – but I would make it clear, in the delivery of funds process, when you make up your mind what project or who to donate to, that part of your motivation to do so, was to actually DO SOMETHING, having been spurred on by the revolting advertising campaign of soulless mercenaries, like INTERAC. Meaning, you TALK the TALK and WALK the WALK, unlike others......

"Let's Japan", via their blog, could consider taking donations, perhaps.

Meantime, if you are with INTERAC, then you have a moral obligation to pressure the company, to make significant financial contributions to declared charities, and publicize them.

Be warned – INTERAC may, in response to negative reaction to their campaign, set up a system where you can “volunteer” for salary reduction to contribute to the “cause”.

Look out for the Barber’s scissors, that being the case, and demand full transparency.

I feel compelled to say, further to the above, that I personally find those advertisements, the INTERAC advertisement, in particular, absolutely disturbing and revolting. I am totally appalled – I actually feel sick to the stomach, just thinking about it. I don’t think, if confronted by one of the engineers of that campaign, I would be able to control myself – I feel like I have been physically assaulted. It's really sick shit, they are engaging in there. It should be stopped.

"Let's Japan", via their blog, could consider taking donations, perhaps.

I gave a link at the end of the post to the English page of the Japanese Red Cross Society. You don't need me to collect the money. Make a donation.

As to the other comment about picking up a shovel in helping with the clean up, I suspect that you'd be competing with a lot of locals interested in making Y250-300k, too.


-----I am totally appalled – I actually feel sick to the stomach, just thinking about it. I don’t think, if confronted by one of the engineers of that campaign, I would be able to control myself – I feel like I have been physically assaulted. ------------

LOL!!! Get a grip on yourself. Nobody cares what gaijins think least of all the Japanese.

You want to teach English in Japan?


Now learn to strut the dispatch boogie.

Yes, it`s a crappy tune but no one forced you to dance.

I totally agree. Giving charity is far better than working for one of these scumbag eikaiwa operations. Especially when you're psychotically obsessed with the them.

If Nova ruined your life, and you now spend your days in your mother's basement trolling message boards while waiting for the next scrap of charitable assistance to present itself, then this is the perfect opportunity for you to get involved. One of those rare moments you can pretend you're actually doing something worthwhile.

Well i think the comment by Gaijinpot's [GP Media] Peter Wilson speaks volumes, no revenue for the advertisers,
so the pot ain't making any money..............oh dear my heart bleeds ! Maybe they could pass a hat around to all the
trolls on that site to make ends meet !

***One of those rare moments you can pretend you're actually doing something worthwhile.***


I'd just like to say thanks to Let's Japan for hitting the nail right on the head with this one.
I saw these commercials on Gaijin Pot last week and was privately appalled but also mystified at the effect(?) these listings were meant to have. I am not a socialist or a racist but this is free-market capitalism and stupidity at its lowest ebb. If anyone from overseas wants some perspective on what the industry of commercial education in Japan is like; look no further than this.

Supremely tacky!

I also noticed that Disney's English schools in China had pounced on Craigslist Japan with headlines about "English teachers wanting to relocate" or somesuch. Their ads in the San Francisco CL had no such pitch. Lovely.

(Yes, if you didn't know, Disney runs English schools in China.)

Aren't those the fake Disney schools? They just use the name but nothing to do with Disney...???

Learn to Strut the Dispatch Boogie? No thanks.

Dance to the crappy tune? No thanks.

But there are plenty of naïve people, often fresh to Japan, or planning their first trip to Japan, that get sucked in by INTERAC and other Dispatch Companies FALSE advertising. Kind of feel for them………

No one forces them to do it? Well, OK, considering they were not directly and blatantly forced to do it, therefore, all the false advertising, illegal work conditions, card shuffling, thieving, and hoodwinking is just fine.

I follow your logic. You are right.

The idiots who volunteer to work in Dispatch Companies fully deserve to get shafted and dicked over.

Quite seriously, there is a world of information out there that says “WRONG WAY, GO BACK”, but like orange pickers to the harvest season in orange groves in California, still they come – a never ending supply of itinerant workers, like sheep, waiting to be fleeced.

Stuff em. If those monkies are that damn stupid, they deserve to be exploited.

Dance Monkey, Dance!

Well, there are still idiots working at companies like GEOS. Still idiots out there willing to do idiot jobs. That's why you have epic failures like GEOS and NOVA.

Which is why I quit eikaiwa for something better - dishing out charity to the poor, oppressed and needy.

Eikaiwa ruined my life, and all I've got left is this message board, and a handful of starving Africans eating my porridge.

In my mailbox today, courtesy of Gaijinpot (don't ask why I'm still subscribed to this shit, just too lazy):

"Dear GaijinPot Jobs subscriber,

The response and your contribution to the ‘Japan Needs You’ project we are currently running at GaijinPot has been incredible. We’ve recieved - and continue to recieve - hundreds of sincere and genuine messages, offering support and encouragement to the Japanese people and foreigners in Japan from all over the world.

Due to the overwhelming response, we have created a new page to better share the messages with the world. Furthermore, we've taken the initiative of translating your messages into Japanese so that our Japanese readers and the wider Japanese public can see just how much Japan means to you all.

Please take a look at the new page!"

It's all about the yen. Gaijin Pot has lost all credibility. Going by the comments on their site, lost their objectivity as well. Sad state of affairs. Will they go down like Nova and Geos proclaiming until the bitter end: All is well, all is well.

-----The idiots who volunteer to work in Dispatch Companies fully deserve to get shafted and dicked over. -----------

Not really. Many come for a year or two and as long as they earn enough to pay the bills they`re happy.

The idiots are those who stay and then get upset when it should be apparent that in most instances teaching English in Japan is nothing more than a short-term gig.

The idiots who volunteer to work in Dispatch Companies fully deserve to get shafted and dicked over.

This is a yes and no. The yes is that a number of companies seem to be interested in getting one over, against anyone, in any way they can. I am surprised that the Japanese education ministry allows that to continue.

The no is that a job is a job. The real problem with ALT teaching is that you have to fight for things like pension that the Japanese---at least officially---claim are open to you by treaty. The other problem is that the JET program sets a ceiling on how much of English teaching can be a career job. When the premier jobs in high school teaching are held by three-years-max-and-then-out types, you can't expect that other ALT jobs are going to somehow have better conditions.

"NOVA × Geos" schools are all closing at the end of this month. This doesn't include ordinary NOVA so far. ECC is worse than ever. with students leaving. Also, the earthquake screwed Eikaiwa shool management.

Now is not a good time to stay in Japan, with no chance of getting better.

Does not paint a pretty picture for salary dependant Eikaiwa workers – I suppose discretionary spending will be down for a long time going forward, impacting on “private” lessons as well.

It’s probably a good time for the Eikaiwa chains to cut out all non-essential native English Speaking Staff.

The only ones really needed, are those delivering the lessons.

Since Eikaiwa “Management” drones would probably ultimately take booth time over being axed, it might be a good idea to get organized, so that no teachers can be squeezed out, to make way for demoted ass kissers, who sold their soul to the devil, but don’t want to pay the price, during this tough time.

"NOVA × Geos" schools are all closing at the end of this month. This doesn't include ordinary NOVA so far.

That doesn't sound entirely surprising, but where did you hear it?

Things are just getting worse for Japan...

Yeah... I did a 'Monkey Dance' but it was to a different tune. It involved Saruhashi's FIST inserted into my ASS. That sonofabitch always made sure my dance-card was full! I was like some kind of meat-puppet freak. Have to stop dwelling on it, I guess.

Mmmmm.... a warm roof...

I love coming here to read the comments from the disgruntled who continue to bitch and moan about what a shitty job they have, and how the company continually gives them the shaft, but yet they continue to bend over and take it.

Here's an idea: go home.

The quake gives you a perfect reason to leave so now's your chance!

So you love coming here to read the comments from the disgruntled who continue to bitch and moan about what a shitty job they have.

That's odd. I just reviewed all the comments in this thread and I saw very few comments of that nature. There are many comments suggesting that eikaiwa is a bad thing to get into, people should leave etc. but very few that indicate specifically or imply that the people who wrote them are in fact currencly eikaiwa employees. The only one that I could find closest to what you said was about a job interview that the poster deliberately blew off. He didn't seem especially disgruntled about it either. Clearly you love reading between the lines - in which case you would probably love going just about anywhere.

Well, take a step back and see the bigger picture in here. Most of the posts are pretty bad about Eikaiwa and specifically about GEOS NA. I have gone through a lot of the posts and most of what I see shows how screwed the language school industry, how so many hate GEOS, and some stupid little man named Uri Carnat that I have no clue who he is but everyone dislikes him a lot.


Ah the glory days....takes me back. Big EIKAIWA signs at every station, work a plenty; they were always BEGGING you for overtime.... privates.... money in yer pocket and a smile on yer face... easy job - "just get paid to talk" .... the ISAKAYAS..... the girls..... laughter..... Thought it would last for ever. All gone now. It will NEVER return.

I see that Gaijinpot are still peddling their silliness. Surely they can see what they are doing - promoting certain companies (that have been proven beyond doubt to be unethical and exploitative) via the guise of recent events. This is indeed sad. By all means, support for the cause is admirable; but for f***s sake, they shouldn't use what happened to help line the pockets of these companies. Have we sunk so low?

I am rather confused as to why the James English School ad is posted as an example of a school taking advantage of the natural disaster. I have no connection with the school and have no idea about their reputation, but the school does exist in the Tohoku area and has for a long time, so I don't see why listing the location is a problem.

Yep, it was summertime and the livin' was easy.

I think this is a bit wrong. Japan does need English teachers. Of course it does most of japan isn't really effected by this disaster so it's business as normal for most of the population. I can think of several beach towns they don't need teachers as the schools have been sadly destroyed but even then some light heated English can help take people's minds off the terrible situation in some places.

It is pretty despicable. On the other hand, I'm sure there are job seekers out there who are more than willing to overlook the problems in Tohoku and scoop up vacant positions.

Some 'light heated' English can take peoples minds off a terrible situation. Nice one Baz: Light heated English must be exactly what people need: not!!

Was in Japan for 15 years with my Japanese wife and daughter. 12 of those years I was self-employed teaching English at companies large and small in our area. Made a decent living and never once considered working for someone else. Would have killed myself before going back into an English school. They were good years and I don't regret them. When I look at my peers who have been harried in ways an English teacher in Japan is not I feel a bit sorry for them: they haven't had a space in their lives to get to know themselves and it shows. On the other hand, they have careers that are further along than mine. What really got to me in Japan were other long-term white gaijin men who moaned "As long as I have been in Japan what would I do if I left?" Down to the person this was the common refrain and I was determined not to let this be my future so I simply up and left and few years ago. Has it been easy being back in the States? Hell no. Do I feel better about myself now. Hell yes. Do I sleep better. Fuck yes. Would I go back some day? Unsure. If I did it would be on my own terms with a new elan. Yet the longer I am here the less I want to go back. What would I tell a younger man considering staying in Japan long term whether he is teaching or not? I'd tell him to consider that unless the only thing they want in life is to become a professional gaijin in Japan there is only a short time they can go after their dreams in their home country. After a certain age it simply becomes more difficult. They can always come back to Japan with their Japanese spouse at an older and wiser age if they want.

Trying to instill a sense of normalcy may be a good thing, but given the scale of the disaster--when whole towns have been wiped off the map, people have lost everything but the shirts on their backs, the air, water, and food supply have been contaminated, and the fact that Fukushima is becoming a No Man's Land--I'd say that English lessons are low on the list of priorities.


I got that mail and it seriously pissed me off. I even took a screen cap of the page and was going to slam it on my blog, but then I realized that I had better things to do! :D

Thanks for taking the time to publicize this.

Interac sees an opening in Tohoku as JETs are running
As seen in this article
But then again, if you could get in before Interac there is a big chance for direct employment with better conditions than Interac,
(radiation pending)

I just returned from Japan after being there for over 3 years, and I agree with Kayu. I think it's easy to get stuck in Japan after you've been there a few years and start hanging around people in similar situations. You start to think it will be too difficult to return, to start over, and those around you say the same thing, helping you justify it more. It's not easy to escape the bottom of the ladder anymore, and many private schools are now using dispatch companies, which are only a bit better than the public school ones. All the eikaiwas are horrible. University teachers of English don't even have it that great in the long term. They're often given short contracts and aren't on the same system of advancement the Japanese are. That's just teaching. You can become fluent in Japanese and be turned down for crummy office jobs because you aren't Japanese. Even if you were Japanese, if you want the better paying government and corporate jobs, you have to go to the right university and be in Japan while they're recruiting, another way that makes it almost certain foreigners don't make it in. Some make it on their own in different ways, but I think they're the exception these days, not the norm. If you're not hired into an untypical job for English speaking foreigners before you arrive, you likely won't escape that. Japan really makes it difficult for foreigners to integrate.

What really kept me there was the women, followed by the convenience and safety for a major metropolis/megapolis. I look at it this way now, the women are like sirens, luring you into making bad decisions.

My advice to those thinking of coming to Japan for women, make sure you've planned your exit before you come or just head to a major city if you have one like NYC, LA, Vancouver, London where many Japanese who can speak English and are interested in living overseas are already. 99% of the women IN Japan can't even speak English, so if you're thinking you're going to have access to most of them if you aren't pretty decent in speaking Japanese, you're wrong. Many of them have no intention of leaving Japan long term or seriously dating foreigners even if you can speak Japanese well. That means nothing if you plan to come in go over a 3 year period, but means a lot if you're re-planning your whole life around Japan.

Another interesting thing I noticed, websites and forums like this one were quite active when I came to Japan a few years ago, but are looking more and more like ghost towns lately. Check the Big Daikon, Gaijin Pot, and ESL Cafe - Japan forums as well. I think this is another sign Japan is losing its appeal. The good ol' days were actually over quite a while ago, but I think many of us still wanted to believe part of that was still true or that it'd get better, but we've only seen things get worse and worse. Those making a decision today are more aware of the reality.

If you are considering bathing in the rays of the Land 'O the Rising Sun, do your homework first. It is still a FANTASTIC country, but remember, she ain't what she used to be. Do yourself a favor; read posts like the ones from 02:06 and 08:23. These guys walked the walk, and are not full of CRAP. Re: Japanese women are SIRENS. HA! Watch out boys; their sweet song and CANDY ASSES can lead you to heaven - or straight to HELL!

Down to the person this was the common refrain and I was determined not to let this be my future so I simply up and left and few years ago. Has it been easy being back in the States? Hell no. Do I feel better about myself now. Hell yes.

So, what do you do in the 'states' now?

I'm surprised it took you 15 years to work out that English teaching in Japan was not a dead-end job. I do agree that the longer you stay the harder it is to get up and leave. I would also add that there are other jobs that you can get in Japan outside of teaching English. Did you ever consider doing something else rather than teaching English?

I know plenty of long termers who are doing fine. That is, they got houses, cars, kids going to good schools, saving money for retirement OK maybe not everyone's definition of riproaring career success, but if it suits your family plans - then why not?

The problem people are not those who stay per se, it's those who stay without making a real commitment to staying, people who maintain over years and years a lifestyle that is only suitable for the very young on a temporary basis.

I saw a drunk over 50s gaijin outside a combini the other day - acting like a complete prat - at 50 plus! Sorry man, whatever club you think you are in, I left it a long time ago.

@17.49 It didn't take me 15 years to realize I had to leave. Was raising a child in a healthy environment in a regional city with a wife who wanted to be near her parents. Mostly they were good, happy years but something was eating at me on the inside and I wrestled with the decision to leave for years. Actually, I did do things besides teaching English as well but doors were mostly shut for gaijin in the area I lived (not Tokyo or another major city). Now I do business development for a small British tech firm in Atlanta, and have worked at a media company previously.

@18.20 Yes, I know long-term gaijin who are seemingly doing well externally (house, money, etc) but Japan doesn't seem to be a healthy place for white Western men in the long-run ... can't speak for women but the ones I know who are married Japanese men are generally bitter and tend to dominate their husbands who have lost all sexual desire for their wives.

What you are saying about Japan not being good for white males in the long run is very general in character. How about China, Korea, India? or anywhere for that matter which isn't the green green grass of home. Why not just say that emmigrating to foriegn cultures is generally bad for all males and possibly all females? Plenty of people have said this kind of thing. Emmigrating of any kind, getting involved in international marriages of any kind can be problematic.

People love to go on about unique Japan. Having been here or 20 plus years, I don't think there is anything much unique about it. If you want to emigrate to Britain from Pakistan, do you think your life is going to be easy. Do you think you are going to get offered a corporate career. No way. Go open a curry restaraunt and good luck.

Yeah. What this guy is really saying is that white males are a bunch of pussies. Things get a little tough out there and they have to hurry back home to mom and apple pie. If you're Mexican that's different - working 3 jobs and going to night school is fine: but if the white psychology detects a pea under 10 mattresses, then the bed is not good enough to lie in.

I'm not sure slander of this sort is even worth replying to: "What this guy is really saying is that white males are a bunch of pussies. Things get a little tough out there and they have to hurry back home to mom and apple pie [...] but if the white psychology detects a pea under 10 mattresses, then the bed is not good enough to lie in."

Generalize much?

I believe Kayu is speaking from experience (using his experience as a white Western man) and he's also using the information he gathered from speaking to white Western men in Japan. Remember that he spent 15 years in Japan and that's more than enough time to make very valid observations and inductions. Notice how careful his wording is, notice that he didn't see fit to speculate on how, say, Indian or Mexican men might be doing in Japan.

@18.20 Yes, I know long-term gaijin who are seemingly doing well externally (house, money, etc) but Japan doesn't seem to be a healthy place for white Western men in the long-run

As the other poster said, this is rather an unfounded generalization. There are plenty of foreigners, indeed 'Western men', who have been living in Japan quite happily for a long time. It seems to me that you based your assumptions on your own experience and that of a few of your friends. That doesn't make it 'fact' or correct for the majority.

In any case, it seems that you are quite content with your decision to move back to your home country. Is your wife happy as well? I mention that because you mainly talk about how it was an important decision for you. I mean, after 15 years in Japan it probably would have been even harder for your wife and child to move. You mentioned that your wife wanted to be closer to her parants for example. That 'States' seems a long way away.

Speaking from broad experience and being careful to limit my observations to that which falls into the realm of that experience, I would say that working for McDonalds is not very good for white western males in the long run. Can't say much for the females of course - outside the casual observation that they are frustrated and sexless. Mexican? outside of my scope. Working for KFC outside of my scope. I will limit my remarks to the white western male, because I am a white western male so I should know what I am talking about - right?

To be honest... I don't think this thread is the ideal location for a debate on epistemology/theory of knowledge (how do we know what we know?). Perhaps in the forums - off-topic section?

[A quick reply though. These are simple distinctions - what we know, what we don't know but are capable of knowing, and what we absolutely cannot know. If we go beyond what is given to us - experience, first-hand knowledge - then we start making assumptions, false inductions, etc. I see a few problems with your post however I'll refrain from making any comments here since it would mean taking this thread further off-topic.]

Sociological factors are obviously out. These are mere externals, are they not? Suicide rates, mortality rates: all out I'm afraid.

How we do or don't know things is all very cute: more to the point, It would be interesting to know what significance the previous poster attaches to the term 'white western male'. It would certainly appear on the surface that he is saying or at least implying that people belonging to this group have some special allergy that appears after long exposure to things Japanese. An allergy that may or may not apply to members of the opposite sex or other ethnic groups. The question is not 'how does he know these things'. It's where does he get these ideas from and what do they mean (if anything)?

Indeed, I am speaking from my own experience of a white American male who spent 15 years in Japan. What the experience of others is, I can only speculate. I had friends from India, Pakistan and Nigeria in Japan but am I qualified to speak for them? Hardly.

Some of you have projected your own meaning onto my words ... white males "pussies?" Please. I assumed we were all adults here. Seems I was mistaken on that point.

Others want to take the conversation in another direction: my wife, KFC, etc. Yes, we could go there but is this thread really the place?

I think it's a case by case thing. Everyone reacts differently to being away from home, and being in a different culture. There are a whole host of things that can affect how people react to that.

I think that people that have a strong purpose for being in Japan, e.g. a good marriage, or a particular career or interest in Japan, tend to be OK as they've got a stronger focus and purpose in their life.

In contrast to that, you can still observe eikaiwa instructors that have stayed in Japan for a whole host of dodgy reasons: they've got nothing to go home for, the money's good, the work's easy, the girls are easy, the "prestige" of the work. Those types of people have basically got issues with themselves that they're hiding from behind the veneer of being an English teacher in Japan, and as time goes on, it'll catch up with them.

"Those types of people have basically got issues with themselves that they're hiding from behind the veneer of being an English teacher in Japan, and as time goes on, it'll catch up with them."

Yep. And it isn't only English teachers in Japan. I know a corporate executive in Japan who began as a JET at the inception of the program. He is attached to the prestige of being a gaijin and it is catching up with him.

Yeah, it's easy to use the "superstar gaijin" thing as a way of pretending to be somebody you're not. I knew one guy who set himself up in Japan, and one of his main motivations was so that he could carry on living like he was a 20-something party-going stud into his late-30s and early-40s even, having it with as many women as he could. There's only so long you can live that kind of facade though. He eventually, after much anxiety and soul-searching, settled down and got married, but it's a very dodgy motivation for staying in Japan.

So in summary:

People think (a) “Teaching” in Japan is a pretty ordinary career move – should thus be viewed as a short term option only, if at all and (b) the approaching middle age or beyond middle aged burnt out old disco hacks, who are only in Japan because they have no real work responsibility and want to bang and drink like they did in their early twenties, all part of a process of deferring facing up to their mortality, fundamentally give most people the shits.

Not really worthy of debate, actually.

All a given.

However, I will add my two bobs worth.

I think it won’t matter in the near future anyway – the industry is in cataclysmic decline, so is the USA, and with punters looking at CHINA to very soon be the new economic No 1 and Super Power, leaving Uncle Sam in it’s wake, well, the demand for pimply kids and burnt out old farts resembling moth eaten teenagers, JUST because they speak ENGLISH as their native language, will soon be a thing of the past anyway.

Bye Bye Eikaiwa.

(Oh, good to see some of the more trollish posts being deleted, without any pressure having been applied)

"Interac sees an opening in Tohoku as JETs are running. As seen in this article
But then again, if you could get in before Interac there is a big chance for direct employment with better conditions than Interac, (radiation pending)"

Well, good luck to Interac, and their attempts to cash in, but before signing up, consider a Russian publication, "Chernobyl", which concludes that 985,000 excess deaths occurred between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination.

The eikaiwa and ALT jobs will likely remain, but they're risky, dead end careers. If you want to make a career out of it, you need to have a master's degree and some experience teaching in your home country. It's hard to escape the entry level work, or a rung or two above that (becoming a manager or teaching private schools dispatch) once you're in Japan and it's easy to get distracted and keep putting it off. Time flies. As I stated before though, foreigners are not treated equally when it comes to this type of employment. Even direct hire private school and university teachers don't have the job security Japanese teachers have. They're all treated as if they're only wanted/needed temporarily and are not ever going to be a true member of Japanese society. I imagine being treated as a perpetual outsider starts to become increasingly frustrating and depressing as you age. You don't notice that in your twenties when it seems like you're top dawg and you think you can get any girl you want. That said, Japan is a fun place to spend 1-3 years in your twenties. I'd do it again.

@Bed Red Ned

As I read your "summary" I realize how much I love you, but sooner or later, you're going to have to realize the fact that you're a goddamn moron: no need to head to the hills over the impending collapse of the USA and the rest of civilization. Life will go on. Some of us will prosper. Some of us will not. Others, like yourself, will continue to expose your "intelligence" to the innocent in cyberspace.

A master's is a good way to go, or a CELTA or DELTA will help you get a career up, over and above the dead-end of eikaiwa and ALT jobs.

A friend of mine completed a CELTA, got two years experience, worked for the British Council for a year, completing a DELTA in the process, and now has much better prospects than he previously had at Nova. He's planning to work for the British Council here for a while and perhaps do a PhD in TEFL and move on to a Director of Studies position eventually, either with the British Council or International House.

It's certainly a lot better than becoming one of the bitter, twisted fruitloops, stuck in a dead-end and ranting on about how awful eikaiwa is, or about CELTA infomercials.

British Council and International House are both losing business at this time. Osaka British Council office closed down last year. Your friend wants to hang out with a crowd that is on a downhill slide here in Japan while he does a PHD (part time) like something that could take him 6 years plus on a low salary because of the time he has to put into study? And end up becoming a director of studies of what, a place that could close down anytime soon.

If your friend is smart enough to do a PHD, he should be smart enough to choose a reliable long term employer.

Lot of mention here of employment and employers but as I mentioned I was self-employed in Japan for many years and positioned myself as a business consultant (while I was essentially an English teacher), a move that has paid off after returning to the USA.

Yeah, sure, Eikaiwa schools are a dead end but self-employment is self-employment no matter what you do or where you do it: there is no career ladder, no advancement opportunities; it is "Me Inc."

After I figured out the interview process here and how to frame my experience in Japan I have had mostly positive responses to my 15 years there. My list of impressive Japanese corporate clients with references to back it up and a pity explanation of the training I provided has gone a long way. Not everyone gets it but those are always people who are narrow-minded, uncultured and haven't travelled and those are not people I want to work for anyways. There are employers who do appreciate an international business background but one has to be able to connect the dots for them.

If your friend is smart enough to do a PHD, he should be smart enough to choose a reliable long term employer.

Such as?

Would note that I never had a physical location where students came to me - I travelled to clients' facilities and did the training there. Yes, I was a bona fide "consultant," a term that is used all kinds of ways here in the USA and have had no one question this once I understood the game here.


Subscribe to Comments for "Japan Doesn't Need You"