Thursday, 1 August 2013

Moving to Japan! Securing the job and the steps leading to Departure!

 (Photos from my last trip to Japan, just reminiscing!)

As many of you know, I will be leaving my home country of England to live in Japan on August 15th; I will be an ALT (Teaching assistant) Teaching middle-schoolers. I will be documenting my journey but I thought I'd do a post to show how I got my job and the sort of things the job required. Hopefully this will help those of you that want to be ALTS!

1. Most ALT positions, or anything with a VISA require a degree, although this is not always the case. I'm sure there will be some positions that will hire you, however it may be harder to get a VISA and you may need more supporting documents.

I started applying for jobs before I finished my degree, so that by the time I finished, I would have a job; this is perfectly fine as long as you have supporting documents to say that you are studying^^

2. Firstly, I had to think about where I wanted to live; I decided on somewhere outside of central Tokyo where accommodation would be cheaper, but still had a big population and lots of things to do. I ended up picking Yokohama or Saitama. Once you have this in mind you can start applying for jobs, as most jobs will say which area they reside in.

3. Start applying - I looked on the website -  I think you will find mostly English Teaching jobs there, if there is something specific you want to do other than that, It's better to contact the company directly.

When looking at jobs, be VERY CAREFUL.
It may look like they're all the same, but they're really not.

 - Some jobs, the pay fluctuates the months you're not doing as many hours - you don't want this as obviously, the weeks you're not teaching at school, you will be broke.
- Some jobs say that you cannot work outside of that particular job, whilst some people might not mind it, I wanted to do some things outside of my  job. You can also earn more from teaching privately on the side remember~
- Some jobs require you to teach at more than one school, this may be OK for you, but remember there's a lot of traveling involved.

Just keep looking at them and reading the small print, you'll soon one that fits your lifestyle.

I applied for my job; I had to send a CV, tick the box that says I have a degree and then add a small cover letter. For this; don't talk about how much you love One Piece and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, write more about the traditional aspects of Japan and the country as a whole and the people.

4. I waited a few days and then finally I got an email asking if I still wanted the job; I had to print off some contracts, sign them, and also get a letter from my University saying that I would be completing my course to send back. Once this was done; I had an interview with them via Skype.

It was done 2PM Japan time, which was 6am here, so I woke up bright and early, luckily for me it was only a voice chat, because I looked rough.
 They mostly asked me about availability, where I would like to be placed and the kind of accommodation I would like, I was then passed on to a lovely lady to chat with in Japanese, there is no Japanese speaking required for the job, but if you have any it is a bonus. I must say, although I answered all the questions, being under pressure, I felt I could have done a lot better!
The interview itself did not seem like an interview, more like finding out if I would actually be able to do the job and what dates I could fly out.

5.I got an email four hours later to say that I got the job! As you can imagine I was ecstatic; but I needed to collect a lot more documents for them:

Scan my passport
Scan the passport of my emergency contact
Get a Reference
Get a Visa Photo
Scan the transcripts of my Degree results
Print off and sign pledges, contracts and other things
Get a medical and send them the form signed by a GP

I have most of them done, I just need a medical for now, but they said that can be done in Japan if all else fails.

I was placed in Saitama in the Koshigaya area; I haven't been there before but upon research they have a giant lake and a huge shopping mall, so I'm happy!

6. Choosing accommodation:

Basically, you can have your own apartment or get a guest house (I'm sure there's a ton of other options of you have the money). There were no apartments in the vicinity as yet, or so my School said, so I opted for the Guest House.
In the Guest House, I will have my own room and share a Bathroom with the other house guests. I feel like this will be bearable for a few months, then I can move out. I'm sure the guest house would mean I would have people to help me get set on my feet, show me how to do my garbage and general day-to-day tasks.

7. I found out I have two days of training in Mito, so I am booking a hotel for 10 days from the 15th, until the 21st, which is the date I move in to my housing, which means I have ample time to sigh see in Tokyo ^__^ I will be going with my boyfriend, who is having his birthday out there; so I want to make it super special!

For money - They suggest taking about £1,800 or more, as you need to pay a housing deposit and work a month in hand, so my suggestion is to save up a lot before you go!

That is as far as I am now; I am at the point of selling all my worldly possessions and planning my first meal when I touch down! I will be updating again just before I leave and when I'm over there, feel free to ask any questions!

Oh and lastly~

I have an interview with a Japanese modelling agency for Western models so hopefully I can continue to do lots of nice shoots over there!


  1. Hiya =) I have just found your blog and love it =D erm I just wanted to ask a couple of questions (if you don't mind) did you had to pay for the plane to Japan yourself and would you suggest visiting Japan first before deciding to move there?

  2. Yes you have to pay for the plane yourself, I would say about 95% of teaching jobs make you do this.
    I would suggest buying your tickets well in advance, which means applying for jobs well in advance.
    Emi was smart and knew about her job months before and so her flight was only 400 pounds. Whereas, I found out about my job a month before it started and bought my flight within weeks of starting, so my flight was nearly 1000 pounds >-<

    The semesters usually start at the end of March and end of August, so I suggest applying for jobs way before hiring season. I got my job from for the August season. Emi did hers a little differently though.

    I actually visited Japan twice before moving there, but the first time I knew I wanted to move to Japan within my first day of arriving.

    Emi never visited before and she didn't know any Japanese and she absolutely loves it here.
    Contrary to that, I visited twice before and I studied Japanese before, I love it here too.
    It depends on the person; although I would take the money you would have spent on your holiday and put it towards moving. I would say have at least 1,300pounds in the bank, because you will need to pay for things like Medical checks, health insurance and a Hanko (stamp) and will have to work a week or two in-hand.

    I personally don't see how anyone would HATE Japan initially, It's very convenient, clean and livable. Your company will help you out with most things that require complex Japanese too.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Thank you, it's a lot to think about =/