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Ahoy!

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Jul 22, 2016
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Hey! I'm Phil. Should have just put that as my name. Was probably taken. Ah well.

Anyway, I'm a 20-year-old retail worker supporting his girlfriend through college. We don't have the money to have us both go at once, so she's going first while I support her, then I'm going after. Her for Physical Therapy, me for Electrical Engineering. After that we plan to do a trial period in Japan to see if it's something we actually want to do. Go there, try to find work for a bit, just exist, and see if it's our jam. If we like it, and we want to stay, we definitely will. But we're also very wary of the dangers of being foreigners. Not being able to find work or realtors that will work with us, mostly. And even then, that's all a rumor, as I've yet to hear a firsthand account of it.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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You're talking about somewhere between five and eight years in the future. Is that correct?

Assuming the two of you are even still together then, she would be four years into a career as a physical therapist, which she would just dump to go fart around in Japan for a while where she would not be able to find work as a physical therapist. You would be a freshly graduated electrical engineer looking to find work here doing what, precisely?

You need a better understanding of how Immigration works, but you have a good long time to learn about that. The streets are nor full of unemployed homeless foreigners.

Which cartoons and comic books inspired the decision to come to Japan?
 
Joined
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You're talking about somewhere between five and eight years in the future. Is that correct?
About there, yeah. Probably closer to the 8 years, honestly.

Assuming the two of you are even still together then, she would be four years into a career as a physical therapist, which she would just dump to go fart around in Japan for a while where she would not be able to find work as a physical therapist. You would be a freshly graduated electrical engineer looking to find work here doing what, precisely?
That's why we've started planning now, where I haven't even started college yet, I've got plenty of time to figure it out. I was told numerous times that the medical field was always severely understaffed.

You need a better understanding of how Immigration works, but you have a good long time to learn about that. The streets are nor full of unemployed homeless foreigners.
Also part of the "we've got a while" bit. I've done a bit of looking in to how immigration works in Japan, but not enough to fully grasp it yet, that much I will admit.

Which cartoons and comic books inspired the decision to come to Japan?
None. I don't watch anime or read manga or anything of the sort. For me, it's just that it's about as big a change from my current status quo as I can get. And that's mostly what's driving my side of the motivation. It's a beautiful nation with a fascinating history. Plus a linguistically beautiful language.
 
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She won't be able to work in the Japanese system but perhaps outside of it.

I'm also in Allied health and I created a practice here. OT stands a lot better of a chance than PT for that to work (I'm an SLP), and in fact the last time I spoke to an OT here she was begging for info about other OTs in Tokyo to whom she could refer patients.

PT might be just a bit too medical for it to work. Your girlfriend should try to contact the PT association and ask about specific requirements for working with expats who do not speak Japanese and do not use NHI. I feel like I remember a friend (Japanese medical professional) telling me that they had a foreign PT who would come to their clinic and use a room a couple of times per week to work with expats but it might have been a psych or something, I don't recall with certainty. I used to know the president of the PT association chapter in Okinawa but it's been a couple years since I've been there.

As an SLP it's a bit of a gray area but the Japanese association of speech therapists recognizes that we exist (non-Japanese certified professionals from other countries working in Japan) and just points out that to accept NHI one requires Japanese certification. When my business plan was vetted by the licensing and permitting department of the company which handled my company formation they determined that since what I do is primarily educational and specialized instruction it was legitimately within the law and I did not require any additional Japanese certification of permits (of course I have state licensure and national certification in the USA).

If she wants to do this she needs to do a couple of things. First, she needs to get to the specifics of what is and is not allowed. Second, she needs to determine whether there is a large enough customer base where she intends to practice. Third, she needs to decide if she is going to try to sponsor her own visa.

I would absolutely not recommend trying to start a practice in Japan which would sponsor her visa unless she is prepared to commit a significant amount of financial resources and many years of her life to making it work.

I can't honestly say for sure that I'd do it again if I knew what I know now, even though the business is profitable and I enjoy living in Japan. It's a metric ton of work and the exacting and specific requirements of company record keeping, taxes, etc. are difficult to comply with especially when it is all in a second language. The only reason I can manage is because I'm lucky enough to have surrounded myself with Japanese professionals of quite high caliber, though it's fragile since if I lose one I'm in a world of hurt.

That said, there's more than enough need for my services and within two months of getting my visa my business was profitable. I'm currently looking at hiring since I'm turning away clients for lack of time (other things are also very important to me, so I'm protective of my time). I imagine it's similar for PT.
 
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Mike Cash

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Is she insanely in love with this whole plan? It is going to require an incredible amount of dedication, devotion, and hard work on her part for learning the language to a degree sufficient to practice her profession and to obtain licensure.
 

Mike Cash

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She's more fanatic about it than I am. Which even I find hard to believe.
I hope she has a very good plan for learning Japanese. She's going to need one.
 
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Thanks, Wonko!

Maybe at first there could just be a bit of PTA and find someone to work under for a while so we can just get out bearings? Would that be a wise idea?
I don't see it happening. She can't work under anyone in the official system and outside of it there are few, if any, opportunities.

The way I see it she has two choices:

1. Create her own business, preferably not using it as a visa basis.

Once it becomes the backbone of the visa things get extraordinarily expensive and complicated. By expensive I mean coming up with a minimum of 6 million yen cash in hand. By complicated I mean committing to hiring the services of accounting, legal, office space, etc. She would also be wise to have far better Japanese than I have.

2. Do something aside from PT.
 
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Joined
Jul 22, 2016
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Aha. Alright, Thanks a ton, man. Better we realize now than get there and find out the hard way.
For real, you the best.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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Due to the nature of working visas in Japan, there is no danger of you coming here and finding out the hard way. You would find out the hard way that you can't come here.

You can't just wander over here, hang out for while, and go to work. Essentially, you have to have a job locked down first and the employer will sponsor you for a visa. And not every type of work is open to you or eligible for sponsorship. Your odds for getting an engineering position are much better than her odds of getting a PT position.

You have time to look into the details, but I strongly suspect that she would need to pass the Japanese license before she could even think about job hunting or visa sponsorship....if it is even possible to be sponsored for PT. That's the first thing you need to look into.
 
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