Very neat site!

by Zachary Gretzinger
(Atlanta, GA)

My story:


I'm a 20 year old newly-wed from Atlanta, GA. I work at Wal-Mart part-time and I love chocolate, laughing at funny pictures on the internet, and potty-humor. Needless to say, I'm a bit of a loser and my life kinda sucks haha. I'm looking for a change and have decided teaching in Japan is the way to go.

As I child I taught myself how to read and write English (no parents). When I was in my early teens I started studying Spanish and achieved a level of "pre-fluency" before beginning my studies on German. Teaching myself these languages have made me a sort of "master" at learning new languages. I started teaching myself Japanese recently and am confident with Hiragama, pronunciation, numbers, and other basics (I'm by NO means a professional yet).

I plan to start working on my degree this spring online (so I can choose my own hours and knock it out in 2 years). I'm planning on getting a degree in Early Education with a concentration in Special Education.

A few questions:

1) As stated above, I plan on studying early education / special education. Does anyone know if it is possible to (down the road) switch from teaching conversational English to businessmen and "30 somethings" to teaching children?

2) To obtain a work visa myself, how much would it cost me? Does it cost anything?

3) I plan to be somewhat somewhat close to fluent by the time I decide to move to Japan. I obviously will also have obtained my degree. In the meantime I plan to teach English for free online and in person around town along with obtaining my ESL and/or TEFL myself. This (in theory) will make me look like a "golden child" in any future interviews. I plan on making this HAPPEN and quite honestly do not plan on returning to America. Is there anything else I can do to nab that job ASAP?

4) Does anybody know of any pen-pal or pen-pal-like services (other than Skype as you need to initially have already met the person) to keep in touch with a native Japanese to learn the culture? Learning the language online is a piece of cake... The culture? Not so much haha. There are many things you can only learn through casual conversation as they are often overlooked.

5) My wife is a baker and plans on opening a small bakery or restaurant there. Do the Japanese enjoy sweets as much as Americans? I threw an idea of opening a hamburger, hotdog, and cookie joint named 'Merica but she didn't go for it... I think it would be a hit :p

Sorry for the exceedingly long post... If you are reading this line then you rock!

ありがとう!

Zach G.

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Aug 10, 2011
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Living and working in Japan
by: Kevin R. Burns

A few questions:

1) As stated above, I plan on studying early education / special education. Does anyone know if it is possible to (down the road) switch from teaching conversational English to businessmen and "30 somethings" to teaching children?

Yes, sure you can switch to teach students of different ages and abilities. It is very flexible. You may want to take some courses to gain more understanding of how to teach the different groups of students, plus it will look good on your resume.

2) To obtain a work visa myself, how much would it cost me? Does it cost anything?


The work visa is free but if you want to travel anywhere outside of Japan, and not lose your visa, you will need a re-entry permit which costs 4-6,000 Yen.


3) I plan to be somewhat somewhat close to fluent by the time I decide to move to Japan. I obviously will also have obtained my degree. In the meantime I plan to teach English for free online and in person around town along with obtaining my ESL and/or TEFL myself. This (in theory) will make me look like a "golden child" in any future interviews. I plan on making this HAPPEN and quite honestly do not plan on returning to America. Is there anything else I can do to nab that job ASAP?


Sounds like a good plan!

4) Does anybody know of any pen-pal or pen-pal-like services (other than Skype as you need to initially have already met the person) to keep in touch with a native Japanese to learn the culture? Learning the language online is a piece of cake... The culture? Not so much haha. There are many things you can only learn through casual conversation as they are often overlooked.


Check out Japan-Guide.com for Pen Pals.

5) My wife is a baker and plans on opening a small bakery or restaurant there. Do the Japanese enjoy sweets as much as Americans?


Yes!

I threw an idea of opening a hamburger, hotdog, and cookie joint named 'Merica but she didn't go for it... I think it would be a hit :p


Be very careful with any business you want to open. Do your research. So many successful businesses in America, go under in Japan. You need to figure out what Japanese want and how to sell that to them.

Lastly good luck, don`t let anyone dissuagde you from your dreams. That said, read all you can about living here.


I told everyone I would open a school in Japan, everyone laughed. Then they stopped laughing after I attracted 125 students within the first year.

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