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Can I find work as a half-Japanese 18-19 yr old with limited Japanese language ability?

sukarro

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Next year I will be taking a gap year to Japan (to learn the language and immerse myself in the culture). I will be staying with my Japanese relatives and attending a high school at the same time (my lessons will likely only be maths).

My hope is to work at a clothing store. From any foreigners or native-Japanese who are familiar with working in the service area, could you tell me if that is realistic?

Thank you for any relevant replies!
 

Lothor

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Next year I will be taking a gap year to Japan (to learn the language and immerse myself in the culture). I will be staying with my Japanese relatives and attending a high school at the same time (my lessons will likely only be maths).

My hope is to work at a clothing store. From any foreigners or native-Japanese who are familiar with working in the service area, could you tell me if that is realistic?

Thank you for any relevant replies!
I think I'm stating the obvious here but if you have a Japanese passport and you do some work on your Japanese beforehand, particularly keigo, then I don't see any reasons why not. You know what's happening to the Japanese population - there are plenty of jobs here, albeit low-paid ones, but if you're staying with family, your living costs are going to be relatively low. In Tokyo, jobs for people of high-school age seem to start about 900 yen an hour.

Good luck.
 

Glenski

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Speaking the language is only part of it. You will likely have to handle written work, too. How well do you think you can manage that level of Japanese in only a year of study?
 

cocoichi

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Next year I will be taking a gap year to Japan (to learn the language and immerse myself in the culture). I will be staying with my Japanese relatives and attending a high school at the same time (my lessons will likely only be maths).

My hope is to work at a clothing store. From any foreigners or native-Japanese who are familiar with working in the service area, could you tell me if that is realistic?

Thank you for any relevant replies!
I really have no idea, but maybe you could be an asset to clothing stores with a lot of foreigners visiting. I often see many foreigners at places like uniqlo. Then again I'm sure you would have to be able to understand your boss ;)
 

mdchachi

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If you work at the Shibuya UNIQLO probably English would be very helpful. I noticed lots of Asian tourists around there this year.

Assuming you have rudimentary Japanese skills and you live near a big city, you should be able to find something pretty easily I'd think.
 

Glenski

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I think you underestimate what's needed. Can you read a receipt when something is returned? Can you read and write a form to alter clothing? Can you listen to complaints about returns? What about the simple act of helping a customer with choosing clothes including shoes and being polite so as not to offend them? This goes beyond "rudimentary" language but is common store talk and etiquette.
 

cocoichi

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I think you underestimate what's needed. Can you read a receipt when something is returned? Can you read and write a form to alter clothing? Can you listen to complaints about returns? What about the simple act of helping a customer with choosing clothes including shoes and being polite so as not to offend them? This goes beyond "rudimentary" language but is common store talk and etiquette.
If a store has enough foreign customers to keep a person busy in English, then it's not totally unimaginable that he/she will be hired for that specific reason, and does not need to deal with Japanese customers. You let the Japanese deal with the Japanese, and the foreigner with the foreigners. Of course a bilingual person would be preferred, but someone should be able to learn to say "One moment please, I will get a Japanese staff member to assist you" in Japanese.
 

WonkoTheSane

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If a store has enough foreign customers to keep a person busy in English, then it's not totally unimaginable that he/she will be hired for that specific reason, and does not need to deal with Japanese customers. You let the Japanese deal with the Japanese, and the foreigner with the foreigners. Of course a bilingual person would be preferred, but someone should be able to learn to say "One moment please, I will get a Japanese staff member to assist you" in Japanese.
But have you actually seen a store like that?

Even in areas heavily frequented by foreigners the closest I've run into are stores which have some Japanese employees who speak passable English or foreign employees who speak, read and write fluent Japanese. Regardless of the common "Japanese are terrible at English" refrain from native English speakers, there are quite a lot of Japanese who have English at a level which is functional for these types of jobs. They don't require visas and they understand the culture, they won't ask questions like "What does this slip of paper I got in the mail say?" or "How do I find an apartment?" They don't say things like "I'm sorry I'm late to work, I got on the wrong train again." In short, they're not as much of a pain in the ***.

So why would a store hire someone like this? There's absolutely no upside.
 

Glenski

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I agree with Wonko. You aren't going to have the luxury of being the foreigner to speak only with foreigners. (Besides, that still doesn't rule out the reading and writing I mentioned.) At the 100-Man Bolt store near me, I was having trouble getting an idea across to a staff person, and he went to get "the person who could speak English". Know something? He didn't even try to speak it, not one word, as I continued to mix Japanese and English. It was only when I concluded business and questions and turned to go when he said the only English, "Thank you for coming".
 

Mike Cash

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This isn't that hard to figure out.

If your Japanese is good enough to find the job opening, write a rirekisho, and call to arrange an interview then the person who interviews you will decide if your Japanese is good enough to work there or not.

Some places will say no, but you'll eventually hit on a place that says yes.
 
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