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Interested in volunteering in Japan (long term)

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Jul 23, 2011
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Hi guys , I'm very interested in returning to Japan (visited in 2011 for 3 months , as a tourist and volunteer) . This time I'd like to stay longer and learn the language. Does anyone know of any programmes where you can volunteer in return for food and accommodation? cheers!
 
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Hi guys , I'm very interested in returning to Japan (visited in 2011 for 3 months , as a tourist and volunteer) . This time I'd like to stay longer and learn the language. Does anyone know of any programmes where you can volunteer in return for food and accommodation? cheers!
Have a look on www.workaway.info, you have to pay a registration fee initially (I think it was £25-30ish), before you can contact the hosts, but you can browse before registering to see if there are any that interest you. Most of the hosts provide accommodation, but not all provide food, so make sure to check for that part.
 
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Have a look on www.workaway.info, you have to pay a registration fee initially (I think it was £25-30ish), before you can contact the hosts, but you can browse before registering to see if there are any that interest you. Most of the hosts provide accommodation, but not all provide food, so make sure to check for that part.
Thanks for the advice! Have you volunteered with workaway before?
 
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I was also going to suggest workaway. I haven't used it but my mother used to host workawayers for help with housework and DIY. Generally the biggest problem for her was that a lot of younger people simply didn't know how to do the tasks she asked them or didn't do them properly even when they were as simple as ironing...

If you do use workaway or a similar service please be aware that the company does not vet the host families in any way and will not help you mediate disputes. The charge you are paying the company is simply for you to get in touch with the hosts, so please use the same amount of caution you would when staying at any stranger's house.

Also I believe you are not allowed to do this kind of work on a tourist visa even though there is no money changing hands. Please check you can get the right visa first (working holiday would do if you are under 30 and a UK citizen).
 
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Thanks for the advice! Have you volunteered with workaway before?
I did earlier this year, at the time there was a place in Otsu that needed help, I spent about 2 1/2 months there. I'm hoping they need help next year again to do the same. I did also get a reply back from a place in Ise which I could have gone to, but ended up going with the one Otsu this time.

The only thing I would say about the site is don't expect all to reply, as some hosts just don't always reply if they are full or aren't interested in hosting you. I think maybe out of 10 I contacted about 3-4 didn't reply at all.
 
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Also as @madphysicist mentions you are just paying to have access to the site and contact the hosts, workaway doesn't go and check the hosts out etc. Many though do have positive feedback / reviews left by people, and you can contact the people that left those reviews for more info if you wish as well.

I also ran into another person who had done workaway at other locations in Japan and he said he hadn't at any stage come across a bad host. I think in Japan at least there seems to be a good track record for hosts.

From the UK I checked it out beforehand and was able to go on a standard tourist visa, but by all means double check incase anything has changed. Everyone else I met who was also doing workaway were also on standard tourist visas.
 
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Also as madphysicist mentions you are just paying to have access to the site and contact the hosts, workaway doesn't go and check the hosts out etc. Many though do have positive feedback / reviews left by people, and you can contact the people that left those reviews for more info if you wish as well.

I also ran into another person who had done workaway at other locations in Japan and he said he hadn't at any stage come across a bad host. I think in Japan at least there seems to be a good track record for hosts.

From the UK I checked it out beforehand and was able to go on a standard tourist visa, but by all means double check incase anything has changed. Everyone else I met who was also doing workaway were also on standard tourist visas.
The reason I mention it is because I reported a host who attempted to sexually assault me to Airbnb and the company's response was to tell me they'd deleted the family's profile only to put it back up later when I wasn't looking, because apparently profit >> customers' safety. Obviously the two companies are in no way affiliated with each other, but it has made me personally avoid these kind of stay-at-a-stranger's-house sites like the plague. Most people will not leave a bad review anyway because they feel it's rude, and in my case I couldn't write anything to warn people what happened because the time limit was up by the time I noticed they'd lied to me. Pretty conniving, huh.

Of course the vast majority of hosts will be fine and mine was an unusually terrible experience. But your phone probably won't work in Japan and it sounds like you can't speak any Japanese, so if I were you I'd just try to have an idea of where to go for help if something does go wrong - at least know how to get to the local youth hostel or police box if you don't have friends in the area.

This site looks like the same setup as workaway:
WWOOF JAPAN - Home

Actually on that site they say that a tourist visa is okay so I was probably wrong. But it's always worth checking with the embassy if you have any doubts, because the penalties for working on a tourist visa are pretty harsh.
 
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mmm. I think is easy. I volunteered several times. Just went to the kuyakusho (in case you live in Tokyo. Otherwise shiyakusho). They give you a list with a tons of volunteering programs.
What i did was:
1- cleaning the streets of our "county".
2- help disabled people to enter in Disneyland, with the written promise that if something bad would happen to them, it would be entirely my responsibility (who cares, i wanted to make those people happy).
3- But, for me the most satisfactory was (coz I consider animals better than us): looking for stray cats and dogs. Catch them with some "food tricks" and take them to veterinary clinic, at our expenses, to get them vaccinated, sterilized and so on.
I even kept a lovely black cat (female) in my mansion, which died in 2012, in my arms... Her look to me before, she breathed her last, was so clear: thank you for taking care of me and loved me....
I cried 1 month... So in order to keep her with me forever, I made a tattoo of her (and i hate tattoos!) on my right shoulder. So she will be with me forever...

p.s. geez... Remembering that day, it made me cry now. but that's ok. That's life...
 
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Have a look on www.workaway.info, you have to pay a registration fee initially (I think it was £25-30ish), before you can contact the hosts, but you can browse before registering to see if there are any that interest you. Most of the hosts provide accommodation, but not all provide food, so make sure to check for that part.
Wow, wish I found this website in 2012. sadly any travel to Japan is for research, I did look for computer help or help teach computer in English which would help me do my work at the same time help out. I shared this with a Friend.
 
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I know this thread is a little old now, but just thought I'd drop a little update on the visa situation with workaway. I'm looking at using it again for next year (probably the same place), but there is now actually a message on the workaway site saying to check visa requirements with the embassy. As that message wasn't there the last time I used it, I assume it might mean somethings changed since.

A few of the hosts in Japan on the site are now also specifying that they will only host you if you have a working holiday visa (though strangely one place only requires that if you volunteer between Nov-March, but not any other time). Of course it will still depend what country you are going from, I'm from the UK, so I'm hoping they still let you do it on a tourist visa from here and that it hasn't changed, but I'll have to double check it with the embassy before arranging anything this time.

Anyway, sorry again for resurrecting an old thread, but thought it was worth updating the info.
 
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