Moving to a new country is a big decision. There are many factors to weigh up. What are the risks? What are the benefits? Will I even like it in Japan?
If you are asking yourself these questions, let us help. Here we will discuss some of the pros and cons of working in Japan to help you make your final decision. First, let’s talk about the bad points:
Why you shouldn’t work in Japan
Culture shock is very real and can impact different people in different ways. There are a lot of misconceptions that culture shock is mostly ‘feeling homesick’, which will fade over the first few months of living in a different country.
However, culture shock is more of a continual effect which comes and goes in waves. According to Oberg’s Four Phases Model, you may feel a huge rush of excitement when you first arrive. This is called the ‘Honeymoon phase’. This will give way to frustration at cultural differences after a few months. Over time, you will learn to adapt in the ‘Adjustment phase’ and then finally feel at peace in the ‘Acceptance phase’.
Dealing with culture shock can take a toll on your emotional strength. But staying mindful can help. You can ease culture shock by making Japanese friends, keeping an open mind and thinking positively about your new adventure.
Limited jobs (depending on your Japanese level)
Your job options in some careers may be restricted by your Japanese level. But there are a few career paths that require no Japanese.
If you are still at a beginner level, the best route for you is teaching English in Japan. Schools in Japan are keen to hire native English speakers to teach English. There are many kinds of jobs available, from teaching at elementary and through to high schools. Alternatively, you can teach at an Eikaiwa (英会話), conversational English schools.
Also, the digital industry is keen to hire engineers and web developers in Japan. Many of these positions have little-to-no Japanese language requirements.
For those with advanced Japanese fluency, there are many more career routes available! Many Japanese companies are eager to expand overseas. Hiring bi-lingual employees can help bridge the language gap and build their international growth. There are many industries looking for foreign workers.
Why work in Japan?
Ok, that’s the negative points done. Now, let’s focus on the positive points of working in Japan:
1 – Immerse yourself in Japanese
Have you been learning Japanese, but can’t seem to take it to the next level? Working in Japan is the perfect way to boost your Japanese study. Not only will you have plenty of speaking practice, but you can also hone your listening skills by hearing daily conversations.
If you are keen to improve your Japanese, consider a teaching position. Most ALTs will only work from 8.30 am to 4.30pm. This will allow you plenty of free time in the evenings and weekends to study for that next JLPT level!
2 – Explore the ‘real’ Japan
Of course, visiting the best tourist places in Japan is a lot of fun. But if you are curious to learn about real Japanese culture, you have to move past the sight-seeing spots. Working in Japan allows you to see a more realistic, daily routines of Japanese people.
3 – Meet Japanese people
Similarly, moving to Japan is a great way to interact with real Japanese people! Most Japanese people are kind and friendly. Whether it is your new colleagues, or a kindred-spirit found through a hobby, you are sure to meet some new life-long friends in Japan.
4 – Challenge yourself!
Moving to a new country can feel scary. The food, the language, the culture; everything is different! It is easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea. But overcoming that initial fear is the secret to unlocking amazing new experiences.
If you have always wondered what it would be like to live in Japan, please don’t wait. Take the chance and you will have the confidence to take on more challenges and live without regrets in the future. You will also have some awesome stories to tell, too!
5 – Clean and safe working environment
The idea of working in a foreign country may seem high risk. But Japan is famed for its low crime rate. In fact, in 2016, Japan had a record low 1.8 robbery rate (per 100,000 people). In comparison, the US had a significantly high 98.6 robbery rate!
You may also notice how clean Japan is. The streets, the stores and the offices are all kept to a high standard of cleanliness. This is because keeping things tidy is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Students take personal responsibility to clean their classroom. Local residents take care to maintain the orderly appearance of their community. If you choose to come to Japan, you can work safely and happily in fresh, tidy surroundings.
6 – Find new career opportunities
Thinking of changing your career? You are not alone. An estimated 4 million US workers quit their jobs in April 2021 as part of ‘The Great Resignation’. If you no longer feel motivated in your career, maybe it’s time for something new.
In 2020, I quit my job in digital marketing to become an ALT in Japan. With no previous teaching experience, I was apprehensive. But I was surprised at how much I love being a teacher. Working in Japan is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in my career.
Also, working internationally is a great addition for any resume! Choosing to work abroad shows confidence and initiative. It is also a way to showcase your soft skills, such as communication, decision-making and adaptability.
How to work in Japan
Ready to pack your bags and book a flight? Well, before you do, first get a working contract from a company that will support your visa.
Keep up to date with the latest job opportunities with Jobs In Japan. You can receive personalized Job Alerts as soon as your dream job becomes available! You will be the first to know about a job opening in your perfect location and matches your exact requirements.
Want to know if working in Japan is right for you? Read more of our articles for the latest advice at Jobsinjapan.com.