How to Work in Japan as an English Teacher

Japanese Yatai - Japanese Rule of 7

If you 1) want to work in Japan, 2) were born in an English-speaking country, and 3) possess absolutely no other skills or abilities, then English Teacher’s the job for you. Trust me, I’d know.

So recently, a reader asked about a line I’d written before: “Your job is to stand there and look white. Or black or whatever, but at least foreign.”

And her question was,

As an Asian American planning to teach in japan, does this mean I have less of a chance in finding an English teaching job or get hired Japanese schools? Japanese employers are more likely to hire a “white” teacher than an Asian who is non-Japanese?

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Permanent Residency in Japan

Permanent Residency in Japan

The Monday after submitting my application for Permanent Residency in Japan, I started checking the mailbox.

Yeah, I knew it was a bit soon. The woman at the Immigration Office with the mismatched eyes said it’d take months, and I believed her. Still, I couldn’t resist the pull; every evening checking for a postcard from Immigration, walking past my dear friend Kato-san dying of lymphoma and the weird kid who shot me with the pellet gun. Ah, Japanese neighbors, you are my new countrymen. But of course the mailbox was always empty and somehow I was always disappointed. Such is the pitfall of my perpetual optimism.

And then one day out of the blue, I got a phone call. It was almost three months from the day I submitted my application.

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Living in Japan Forever

Japan’s a never-ending list of woulda, coulda, and shoulda’s. And chart-topping that vertical-ruled kanji notepad is: Shoulda remembered how I felt about Disneyland.

But hey, hindsight’s 20-20, Mickey Mouse. Go on wit’ yer oversized hands.

Living in Japan

When I first got to this nation, everything was amaaazing. I sat in Starbucks overlooking Shibuya scramble and marveled at the 4-way confluence of humanity weaving its way across Tokyo. Somehow I found myself talking to a cute girl with orange hair from Korea and we took polaroids together. Then a couple of beers later, the bronze statue of Hachiko the dog, a random hostess bar, dancing in Gas Panic, weaving drunkenly through seas of neon and Chinese prostitutes until finally eating bowls of glowing ramen in some ramshackle late-night noodle shop. It was brilliant. Continue reading “Living in Japan Forever”

Tokyo Salaries: All You Need to Know

Japan’s not expensive—let’s just sweep that 1980’s-era myth right under the rug. Still, if you want to be a baller in one of the world most amazing cities (i.e. Tokyo), you might want to rethink your grand scheme of selling authentic Chinese Rolexes on a Shinjuku street corner.

But okay, Seeroi, just tell me, how much monthly yen do I need to live in Tokyo? I know that’s what you’re saying. That’s called clairvoyance. And fortunately for you, I’ve made every mediocre salary there is to make, so let’s do this:

230,000 yen per month

If you like cold and dark, then this is the wage for you. You’ll be able to experience authentic Japanese living, which includes Continue reading “Tokyo Salaries: All You Need to Know”

Life and Death in Japan

I woke up, and a beautiful geisha was serving me tea. Ah, every day should be like this.

“Here is tea,” she said in a dream-like Japanese voice.

“Here is Ken Seeroi,” I replied, “nice to meet you.”

“You’ll like it. Just try a little.”

“Think I’ll just go back to sleep now, thanks.”

“How about a few sips?” she continued, gazing at me with big, doe-like eyes.”

For a geisha, she sure was annoying. I briefly pondered the correlation between attractiveness and irritation before everything went dark and I passed out cold. Continue reading “Life and Death in Japan”