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Opportunities in science and healthcare (non-fluent Japanese)

pinkzep

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Do all positions in these fields require a high level of Japanese? My level only allows for basic conversation so far, though I want to continue study until proficiency. I will be graduating a US school this May with a bachelor's in neuroscience including pre-medical requirements. I also have outside experience in clinical and scientific research. What options am I looking at?
 

WonkoTheSane

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Yes, you'll need high Japanese. Also, you'll probably have to pass Japanese boards/praxis if applicable to your specialty. Possibly even need to do a new degree in Japan.

I'm health care and to practice here with the local population I'd need to do both. Which is odd since the entry level degree here for what I do is vocational whereas where I come from it requires a masters and internships.

I'd check with whatever professional association there is for your specialty.
 

Glenski

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It's not just the language barrier but also your degree. A BS degree is practically useless to get you hired here. Maybe look into what opportunities are open from foreign companies with branch offices here. And, you're going to have to do far more than conversational Japanese, of course, not to mention more than just speaking the language. Long road ahead of you.

I want to continue study until proficiency
You will never reach the "until" point. Learning the language is a lifelong endeavor.

What kind of career had you imagined, and why Japan?
 

pinkzep

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Thank you both for your replies.

My long term career goal is to attend an English speaking medical school and become a physician. However, before doing so I wish to spend a few gap years in Japan. In all honesty, a primary reason is to rekindle a relationship that I had with a J-girl who studied abroad at my school (she wants to eventually live outside Japan herself). Beyond that, I have just become fascinated with the country in general especially since learning some of the language. Though my Japanese is self taught, I was able to place into a fourth semester Japanese class at my university, of which I will take next semester.

The ideal scenario for me is to be granted both a Monbukagakusho scholarship and entrance to Tokyo University's International Health Master's program, which is conducted entirely in English. Of course, I want a backup plan should this fall through. I am not disregarding teaching English, as I feel teaching is a rather noble pursuit and can be quite rewarding, but I would prefer opportunities more relevant to science and healthcare.

I have been looking towards contract research organizations, which I am qualified for degree and experience-wise. I found a few that were willing to sponsor overseas applicants. However, although many of these ads are written entirely English and do not specify a Japanese language requirement outright, I can't imagine that my role would entail no high level Japanese at all. I've tried to email recruiters for clarity on this but I have not heard back yet, maybe because of the holidays. Does there exist any organizations of this sort where the official workplace language is English, like Rakuten?

I have also realized that I am qualified to work as a recruiting consultant in a pharmaceuticals/life sciences division. While the idea of doing recruiting doesn't exactly thrill me, I wonder if it will be more beneficial for my career or a better experience than teaching English. That said, I have heard a fair share of horror stories, so if anyone can shred some light on this I would greatly appreciate it.

Anyways, I apologize if I sound unrealistic or naive (which I probably am) but I just want to know my complete options considering my qualifications and interests. I hope this reply has better clarified my intentions.

TLDR: I want to spend a few gap years before medical school in Japan. I have basic conversation but not business level Japanese. Is there anything I can do in healthcare or science?
 

WonkoTheSane

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I'm not sure what else I can tell you. I think you've identified your options (though I don't see how you could possibly do recruitment consulting without high level Japanese). I'd go for the scholarship if I were you.
 

pinkzep

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Thanks for your opinion. I just want to make sure there aren't any options I've missed haha. About recruitment consulting, many job ads requested native level English and basic levels of (or sometimes even no) Japanese. I find this odd as well, so I will be sure to inquire about it from a hiring manager.
 

Glenski

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My long term career goal is to attend an English speaking medical school and become a physician. However, before doing so I wish to spend a few gap years in Japan. In all honesty, a primary reason is to rekindle a relationship that I had with a J-girl who studied abroad at my school (she wants to eventually live outside Japan herself).
Not to put a damper on things, and relationships are nice, but two things come to mind.
1) Rekindling. It just makes me wonder how serious you were initially, how long it's been since you separated and what both of you have done in the meantime. And, whether she even knows your plans for career and seeing her.
2) Does she really want to live outside Japan? Most Japanese don't, and the younger they are, the less fixed they are on it. Oh, she might have said something about it earlier (how long ago? what was the situation then? has it changed since?), but it might have been an idea like simply being enamored with a concept or a false vision of what it's like, instead of having a specific goal, something more solid to plan around.

The ideal scenario for me is to be granted both a Monbukagakusho scholarship and entrance to Tokyo University's International Health Master's program, which is conducted entirely in English.
When I lived in the U.S., it was already very difficult for anyone with a BS degree to go through a gap year and then get accepted to med school. Have you looked into how this gap will affect your chances? That applies whether you attend school or get a job in a related field here.

I have been looking towards contract research organizations, which I am qualified for degree and experience-wise. I found a few that were willing to sponsor overseas applicants. However, although many of these ads are written entirely English and do not specify a Japanese language requirement outright, I can't imagine that my role would entail no high level Japanese at all.
Try looking at daijjob.com or Career Cross web sites. To be honest, I really don't see much chance for a person with just a BS degree landing a job here in the sciences, especially with virtually no work experience beforehand. Been there.

I've tried to email recruiters for clarity on this but I have not heard back yet, maybe because of the holidays. Does there exist any organizations of this sort where the official workplace language is English, like Rakuten?
Darned few Japanese outfits. Foreign company branches are more likely.

I have also realized that I am qualified to work as a recruiting consultant in a pharmaceuticals/life sciences division.
Having worked in such fields for many years in the U.S., I have to find this pretty insulting. I've dealt with recruiters before, and most have no idea what the jobs in the field entail. They might know a tad of the lingo, but that's all. How have you determined you are "qualified"?

While the idea of doing recruiting doesn't exactly thrill me, I wonder if it will be more beneficial for my career or a better experience than teaching English. That said, I have heard a fair share of horror stories, so if anyone can shred some light on this I would greatly appreciate it.
I seriously doubt it.

I have just become fascinated with the country in general especially since learning some of the language. Though my Japanese is self taught, I was able to place into a fourth semester Japanese class at my university, of which I will take next semester.

TLDR: I want to spend a few gap years before medical school in Japan. I have basic conversation but not business level Japanese. Is there anything I can do in healthcare or science?
Already answered this more than once. The only other option I'd recommend is to look into unpaid internships.
 

Mike Cash

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A broad rule of thumb for anyone with "conversational" Japanese skills considering the possibility of employment in any job field you suspect may require you to function in Japanese: if your Japanese skills aren't at least good enough to Google search the information from Japanese sites, then chances are they are also nowhere near what they would need to be in order to do the job.

Practically anything that you can do here with "conversational" Japanese, you can find pages or posts in other languages by people who are already doing it.
 

kaspersky

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The ideal scenario for me is to be granted both a Monbukagakusho scholarship and entrance to Tokyo University's International Health Master's program, which is conducted entirely in English.
So basically you want to study Medicine in Japan in English language to work in Japan? I see...did you know that the national exam is only in Japanese? Also did you know that the level of kanjis used in medicine is above what the average Japanese people can understand?
 

pinkzep

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Glenski, I am sorry for insulting you. I truly did not mean it. Anyways, this is the Daijob ad that made me think I might be qualified for recruiting:

https://www.daijob.com/en/jobs/detail/367393

On further inspection I guess it is not actually a recruiting position in itself. But I've found other actual recruiting openings that have similar requirements like this:

http://www.daijob.com/en/jobs/detail/455451

Is there anything I misunderstood about these job requirements? Or do you feel these requirements are just not sufficient enough to work in this field? Again, I don't mean disrespect, I'm just looking for some clear answers.
 

pinkzep

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kaspersky, that program is part of the Global 30:

http://www.uni.international.mext.go.jp/course/detail/67

From what I understand, there is no Japanese requirement, including course work and entrance exams. Please correct me if I am wrong.

EDIT: I don't intend on practicing medicine in Japan anytime soon, or ever. I understand that that is very difficult. This is a Master's course in the public health field.
 
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Glenski

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Glenski, I am sorry for insulting you. I truly did not mean it. Anyways, this is the Daijob ad that made me think I might be qualified for recruiting:

https://www.daijob.com/en/jobs/detail/367393
And this is the insulting part, from their end and yours:
Overview of Key Duties:
The Team Coordinator will mainly be responsible for providing support to the Life Sciences recruitment team and for the office including:
• Managing email and phone communications on behalf of the team.
• Interfacing with clients to coordinate meetings.
• Schedule management for team members.


Highland Consulting prides itself on understanding client needs and successfully introducing the right people for the right positions.


You are both fooling each other to think that a fresh unemployed BS grad knows anything remotely about hiring the "right people for the right positions" in "Life science areas of Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Diagnostics, Biotechnology, and Consumer Healthcare". I'm referring to foreigners as well as Japanese with that comment. As far as who you would actually be dealing with, using email and face-to-face communications, if it's Japanese people (clients or companies looking to hire them), you and Highland are fooling yourselves royally.

On further inspection I guess it is not actually a recruiting position in itself. But I've found other actual recruiting openings that have similar requirements like this:

http://www.daijob.com/en/jobs/detail/455451
Again, having been in the business myself for almost as many years as you have been alive, I can tell you that sales people in the industry are pitifully underqualified. Let me take one quote from that second ad:
The role of a Researcher is to act as sales support to your team, sourcing and interviewing potential employees for our client companies. You will utilize your knowledge of the business in meeting both clients and candidates
What knowledge? They don't even want someone with work experience, so they are deluding you, themselves, and their clients.

Is there anything I misunderstood about these job requirements? Or do you feel these requirements are just not sufficient enough to work in this field? Again, I don't mean disrespect, I'm just looking for some clear answers.
I hope these remarks help to answer these questions a little more.
 

Mike Cash

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That reads like a secretary/receptionist position.
 

johnnyG

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On your gap year (or two): I joined the peace corps in '74, and was quickly trained as a TB control worker (some Hansen's disease training, too). I was the only one in my group of about 30 who had not either completed pre-med (most of those 30), or had at least some kind of life sciences degree.

Peace corps was a little over a two year program, and most all the pre-med people were doing that as gap years, taking a break, and wondering if they really wanted to be doctors. What happened to 8-9 of those people was interesting.

After several months of language training (nobody knew a word of Korean at the start) and then two years alone in the countryside, they were good enough to stay in Korea and go to med school there--where most all of the textbooks were in English (and school was far cheaper than USA).

Then they didn't stay, but instead returned to the states, took the ECFMG, and became practicing doctors in the U.S. (Others in that group went for pharmacy, PhysAsst, nursing, etc.) Collectively, I think those gap years were very positive for the group as a whole, and I really don't know of anyone that thought they were a waste of time.
 
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WonkoTheSane

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And this is the insulting part, from their end and yours:
Overview of Key Duties:
The Team Coordinator will mainly be responsible for providing support to the Life Sciences recruitment team and for the office including:
• Managing email and phone communications on behalf of the team.
• Interfacing with clients to coordinate meetings.
• Schedule management for team members.


Highland Consulting prides itself on understanding client needs and successfully introducing the right people for the right positions.


You are both fooling each other to think that a fresh unemployed BS grad knows anything remotely about hiring the "right people for the right positions" in "Life science areas of Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Diagnostics, Biotechnology, and Consumer Healthcare".
I'm not disagreeing, just noting that anyone truly qualified to recruit is generally going to be qualified to do the jobs for which they're recruiting, as well as having a variety of other skills. Does recruiting pay better than the jobs for which they recruit?
 

Glenski

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I'm not disagreeing, just noting that anyone truly qualified to recruit is generally going to be qualified to do the jobs for which they're recruiting,
Sorry, Wonko, but you are totally wrong. Totally.

as well as having a variety of other skills.
Not according to that web site. Remember, they said no experience necessary.

Does recruiting pay better than the jobs for which they recruit?
Sometimes. Depends on the commission and the type of position. Very doubtful for hiring execs.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Sorry, Wonko, but you are totally wrong. Totally.
I've never done recruiting, aside from doing the general hiring for a clinic I ran, so I was just going by what I'd presume someone needs to know about my job in order to know if I'd be a good fit. I'd suspect I could BS my way past anyone who hadn't worked in the specialization I have within my field if I just had general qualifications within my field.

I could certainly be wrong, though.
 

Glenski

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Doing recruiting for a company/employer that you work for is totally different from doing it for a recruiter/headhunter like what the OP is considering.
 

WonkoTheSane

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Doing recruiting for a company/employer that you work for is totally different from doing it for a recruiter/headhunter like what the OP is considering.
Certainly, which is why I defer to your knowledge since you've done the job.
 
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