Truck Driver in Japan – Mike

We wanted to turn you on to a great podcast called ALT Insider.  This is not just for the teacher.  I especially liked the latest issue where host James has an interview with Mike, a truck driver in Japan. He started in the navy, made his way into English teaching, and then took to the open road. A really interesting story.


Peter Lackner is the Managing Partner at and has had management-level positions at major job boards in Japan including:, GaijinPot, CareerEngine (formerly eCentral) and currently the managing partner at Running a job board gives Peter the opportunity to speak with employers and job seekers every day and find out why some are successful and others are not. Speaking to both employers and job seekers has given Peter the ability to be able to see both sides of the hiring process. This is why JobsinJapan exists - to help job seekers find the jobs they want and employers to find the candidates they need.  Peter is active in the ETJ (English Teachers in Japan organization), a member of JALT’s School Owners SIG and currently on the Board of Directors of the Tokyo Association of International Preschools. You can often find Peter speaking to groups on how to get a new or better job, and to employers on how to avoid making a bad hire.


  1. Terry

    “when I wake up in the morning, I dont have to be one (gaijin)”

    I didnt get the logic with this statement.

    It seems he is saying, eikaiwa is just role playing a gaijin personality. Agreed. But if you work in a japanese company, your also role playing because you must not only speak in Jaanese you must act like one also. Id rather just stay in my default lane and be good with that I find it extremely liberating. Cant say I would find it “liberating” to work in a role like he is in. Id rather rely on programming and other non Japanese hard skills and work in an international enviroment and build something to project me out of Japan. True, if you put in the effort Jaanese usually recongize, but youll never be a manager, they will always call the shots and there ill be a ceiling on everything you try to achieve. Not very liberating, but if that works for him, no hate from me but having been in Japan for some time, and I disagree ith most of what he says.


      I can definitely agree with this. Everyone has different opinions about what *playing a role* is for sure. I know many people that have a killer time teaching English in Japan and that is the exact role they want to be playing. I know other people with hiring paying work from home jobs that feel like a slave that is trapped inside because of constant deadlines. Bottom line for me is, if you are happy and having fun every single day doing what you do there is no need to change that, no matter what it is.

  2. Mike

    So it’s possible to get working visa for trucking job? Was thinking myself about going to Japan and trying to get that kind of job since what I do for a living in UK is driving HGV (class 1 – tractor + trailer) and heard I can get my UK license exchanged onto japanese one without doing re-test, but not sure if that’s true.Also don’t know if driving HGVs is considered enough high skilled labour to even start working visa procedure.
    Of course college degree AFAIK is still neccessary.

    1. Silvia

      I am working in New Zealand as truck driver too and wondering the same thing

  3. Kenneth Millheim

    I would like to know how different the rules for truck drivers in japan are compared to the US. Do they have Hours of Service regulations? Do they have weigh stations in japan? I have been driving an 18 wheeler here in the US for the last four years and I am curious if it’s even at all possible to become employed in Japan as a truck driver and if so what are the steps to take.

    1. Author

      Much would depend on the size of vehicle you are driving but my understanding is that you first need to obtain a Japanese Class 1 driver’s license (ordinary passenger car type of license) which you would have to have for three years before being allowed to take the test for a Class 2 license. While there seems to be a lack of drivers in some categories, your biggest hurdle will be obtaining a visa to engage in this activity. Mike, the truck driver, most likely had a marriage visa or permanent residency allowing him to engage in any work activity.

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