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Teaching English in Japan with a Master's in English

Vext

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Hello, first time poster...

I've been planning on working abroad for some time (1-2 years, maybe even more - I never had the chance to travel and I hunger) and have read a lot about teaching and generally being a foreigner in Japan, and at this point have some grasp of what to expect in terms of hours and pay. What I can't find particularly much info on is the perks of actually having a related degree, as most positions require a BA at most. I have a Master's (linguistics) in English, as well as the fairly prestigious teaching qualifications of Finland. I've little experience to speak of yet, however.

From what I can gather, the degree I have technically qualifies me for teaching at university level in Japan, but the positions are difficult to land. If I wanted to teach university-level, it seems the best (read: only) way would be to try and land part-time positions initially, but it might be doable. Here's the problem I have - as I try to enter university-level English instructor positions, I would have to get my experience in positions where the requirement is a BA or nothing at all. This means a lot of children (which I have no problems with but would quite frankly rather educate young adults), as well as relatively poor pay.

If anyone read this far, I would like to hear more knowledgeable people's thoughts about how I should go about teaching in Japan with my educational background. Does anyone know more about how my qualifications would help me as I enter English teaching in Japan?

EDIT: typos, its late...
 
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Hello, first time poster...

I've been planning on working abroad for some time (1-2 years, maybe even more - I never had the chance to travel and I hunger) and have read a lot about teaching and generally being a foreigner in Japan, and at this point have some grasp of what to expect in terms of hours and pay. What I can't find particularly much info on is the perks of actually having a related degree, as most positions require a BA at most. I have a Master's (linguistics) in English, as well as the fairly prestigious teaching qualifications of Finland. I've little experience to speak of yet, however.

From what I can gather, the degree I have technically qualifies me for teaching at university level in Japan, but the positions are difficult to land. If I wanted to teach university-level, it seems the best (read: only) way would be to try and land part-time positions initially, but it might be doable. Here's the problem I have - as I try to enter university-level English instructor positions, I would have to get my experience in positions where the requirement is a BA or nothing at all. This means a lot of children (which I have no problems with but would quite frankly rather educate young adults), as well as relatively poor pay.

If anyone read this far, I would like to hear more knowledgeable people's thoughts about how I should go about teaching in Japan with my educational background. Does anyone know more about how my qualifications would help me as I enter English teaching in Japan?

EDIT: typos, its late...
1) A directly related MA like your would certainly help in stepping from part time uni hours to full time somewhere.

2) It is my view that most uni positions these days ask for--if not require--some kind of MA. E.g., of a good dozen part-timers at my school, only two (that I know of) do not have MAs, and they are unique in another way--they are both Japanese who grew up in the states.

I'd suggest that your view that "all you need is a BA" needs changing. I'd offer (of course given my somewhat limited knowledge) that getting a uni position--even part time--with only a BA is uncommon, if not rare.

3) There are quite a lot of part time uni positions around, both individual classes and contracted "full time" positions, but understand that it is quite competitive. Perhaps you have heard, but due to recent rule changes, after five years as a contracted full timer, schools have to either make you permanent or let you go--and the latter choice is more common for schools to make (so I've heard). Some unis take this a step further, limiting you to only one or two renewals of a one year contract.

4) If you're a contracted full timer, visa will not be a problem, but the issue with taking a few classes from several schools--enough to self-sponsor--is that it is hard/impossible to do that from the beginning. You have to have chosen a big enough city to have an adequate palette of uni jobs, and then gotten your name out there thru networking.

5) If you haven't looked or are not aware of these sites:
JACET 教員公募のお知らせ (Job Openings)
https://jrecin.jst.go.jp/seek/SeekJ...B6D4B29CECCE&fn=3&dispcount=10&keyword_and=英語 ( = search results)

(I prefer browsing the 2nd, but its English side doesn't seem to work as well as when I use it in Japanese.)

6) For April 2015, you are very late. And, I'd say, too late. For April 2016, the "season" starts about August, and runs thru late November or so. (Of course, there are outliers.) Also, in my experience, uni hiring is once a year, almost never mid-year for the fall/second term.
 
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Most uni jobs today are only part-time and only short-term contracts. Even they will often/usually require a minimum of a master's degree plus publications.

A teaching license from your home country (plus 2 years of experience or more) will also qualify you to teach at international schools.

The "perk" of having a degree in the actual field is that you know more of what the heck the students are supposed to be learning, compared to someone with a degree in geology (who is equally qualified to teach in eikaiwa, HS or JHS) and in business English situations. Having heard in recent years how poorly English itself is taught to native speakers, perhaps that is a dubious claim on my part.

If I wanted to teach university-level, it seems the best (read: only) way would be to try and land part-time positions initially
No, not necessarily the only way. But competition is fierce.
 

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I would pose the question, do you really want to work in Japan? Do you really want to teach in Japan? Or do you want to travel in Japan, and teaching seems like a good way to fund it? It's not impossible to see the country on the weekends, but having a working schedule can hamper your abilities to explore beyond your home base.

If you're serious about teaching in Japan, more power to you. For the dedicated, uni positions and international schools seem like the most rewarding gigs (in several different aspects). But if you're hankering for some travel, I'd try to get at least some of it out of the way before you apply for that work visa.
 
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You may not even have a typical weekend of Sat/Sun, depending on the job. It might be split up into Sun and Tues. Or in the case of some ALT jobs, every other Sat is taken up by work.
 
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Are you Finish? It will be very difficult for you to get a job teaching English in Japan without being a native speaker or from the US, Canada, UK, OZ, NZ.
I doubt you would get hired from abroad. Your best bet would be to come over and find a job teaching Eikaiwa and work yourself up the slippery slope. If you were from the aforementioned countries and were white you would have a 99% chance of getting an entry level position with your credentials.
 

Vext

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Thank you so much for the replies! I'll go through them:

1) A directly related MA like your would certainly help in stepping from part time uni hours to full time somewhere.

2) It is my view that most uni positions these days ask for--if not require--some kind of MA. E.g., of a good dozen part-timers at my school, only two (that I know of) do not have MAs, and they are unique in another way--they are both Japanese who grew up in the states.

I'd suggest that your view that "all you need is a BA" needs changing. I'd offer (of course given my somewhat limited knowledge) that getting a uni position--even part time--with only a BA is uncommon, if not rare.

3) There are quite a lot of part time uni positions around, both individual classes and contracted "full time" positions, but understand that it is quite competitive. Perhaps you have heard, but due to recent rule changes, after five years as a contracted full timer, schools have to either make you permanent or let you go--and the latter choice is more common for schools to make (so I've heard). Some unis take this a step further, limiting you to only one or two renewals of a one year contract.

4) If you're a contracted full timer, visa will not be a problem, but the issue with taking a few classes from several schools--enough to self-sponsor--is that it is hard/impossible to do that from the beginning. You have to have chosen a big enough city to have an adequate palette of uni jobs, and then gotten your name out there thru networking.

5) If you haven't looked or are not aware of these sites:
JACET 教員公募のお知らせ (Job Openings)
https://jrecin.jst.go.jp/seek/SeekJ...B6D4B29CECCE&fn=3&dispcount=10&keyword_and=英語 ( = search results)

(I prefer browsing the 2nd, but its English side doesn't seem to work as well as when I use it in Japanese.)

6) For April 2015, you are very late. And, I'd say, too late. For April 2016, the "season" starts about August, and runs thru late November or so. (Of course, there are outliers.) Also, in my experience, uni hiring is once a year, almost never mid-year for the fall/second term.
1) Was hoping so!
2) By this I meant that most English teaching positions in general, not uni positions require a BA: high school-teaching job ads will often require a BA, as do teaching exchange programs. There's plenty of info about this easily available on the internet, but I had difficulty finding much info on uni positions. Essentially, I meant that I would have to get experience in the BA-req fields. That being said, I'm surprised you know anyone who gets to teach at that level without an MA. I guess I should be relieved :)
3) Yes, this turned up during my Google research - if a university employs an English instructor for 5 years or so, they are legally obligated to move that employee to a full-time position. It is very unlikely to find a full time position, but most people in my position already deal with this and I am not all that demoralized by it. Full-time positions in anything are becoming rarity in the modern world.
4) I will keep this in mind and try to find a way. In the first few weeks/months will no doubt be tricky to even have permission to stay.
5) I was not aware of these, thank you! The only things I lack for many of these ads is Japanese residency and the experience.
6) This is not a problem, I haven't exactly packed up yet - the intent is to launch my plans in 1-2 years.

Most uni jobs today are only part-time and only short-term contracts. Even they will often/usually require a minimum of a master's degree plus publications.

A teaching license from your home country (plus 2 years of experience or more) will also qualify you to teach at international schools.

The "perk" of having a degree in the actual field is that you know more of what the heck the students are supposed to be learning, compared to someone with a degree in geology (who is equally qualified to teach in eikaiwa, HS or JHS) and in business English situations. Having heard in recent years how poorly English itself is taught to native speakers, perhaps that is a dubious claim on my part.

No, not necessarily the only way. But competition is fierce.
The 2 years of experience are my primary problem here. I wonder if teaching English on upper secondary level here would qualify? In any case, I would probably need to teach on primary school/high school level in Japan to obtain the experience.

It would not be _that_ harsh to state that native English teaching is indeed in the toilet in many places (as is the teaching of the mothertongue in general). Finland has a high standard, and I have plenty of purpose-designed education for teaching the language.


I would pose the question, do you really want to work in Japan? Do you really want to teach in Japan? Or do you want to travel in Japan, and teaching seems like a good way to fund it? It's not impossible to see the country on the weekends, but having a working schedule can hamper your abilities to explore beyond your home base.

If you're serious about teaching in Japan, more power to you. For the dedicated, uni positions and international schools seem like the most rewarding gigs (in several different aspects). But if you're hankering for some travel, I'd try to get at least some of it out of the way before you apply for that work visa.
By travel, I don't really mean the whole hotel/beach/bar trifecta, I want to live somewhere else and get to know the culture. I'm not typical of people who choose Japan spesifically in that many of the factors that I hear attract foreigners aren't really included in my interests. I have never watched an episode of anime in my life. The culture and general attitude of the people appeal to me. While Japan is wildly different from Finland, many parallels can also be drawn.


You may not even have a typical weekend of Sat/Sun, depending on the job. It might be split up into Sun and Tues. Or in the case of some ALT jobs, every other Sat is taken up by work.
This is unusual from what I'm used to in teaching spesifically, but on the whole I'm quite used to working weekends :)


Are you Finish? It will be very difficult for you to get a job teaching English in Japan without being a native speaker or from the US, Canada, UK, OZ, NZ.
I doubt you would get hired from abroad. Your best bet would be to come over and find a job teaching Eikaiwa and work yourself up the slippery slope. If you were from the aforementioned countries and were white you would have a 99% chance of getting an entry level position with your credentials.
Yes, this is something I have heard. It was apparently a pretty dominant trend up until 10-15 years ago (and still is in South Korea), but many job ads nowadays make the distinction ( listing native-level English as opposed to native English as a requirement) in places such as Gaijinpot.com etc. There are also job interviews that employers are willing to even have on skype on some occasion. I dare say, it would take a native speaker a very, very long time of conversing with me to ever catch me making a mistake in spoken English, or figuring out that I am not a native speaker. I have one of those extremely typical mid-western American accents. As far as written English goes, pretty much my entire education was conducted in English with thorough scrutiny - I have no doubt that I am more qualified to teach the language than someone who majored in, say, geology...

Overall I'm quite motivated by the feedback - there appears to be some humps I did not consider(early obtainment of visa), but in other cases this might not be as difficult as I had thought(the degree reqs). I don't have much time to write here, I'll return to the thread a little later, but one more question immediately comes to mind -

What level should my Japanese be for me to start integrating relatively painlessly? Would conversational skill (or lower) do for starters? My Japanese is something I intend to work on in the following 18 months or so.

Once again, thank you for the replies! I found all the info extremely helpful, and for the most part not demoralizing :)
 
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Thank you so much for the replies! I'll go through them:



1) Was hoping so!
2) By this I meant that most English teaching positions in general, not uni positions require a BA: high school-teaching job ads will often require a BA, as do teaching exchange programs. There's plenty of info about this easily available on the internet, but I had difficulty finding much info on uni positions. Essentially, I meant that I would have to get experience in the BA-req fields. That being said, I'm surprised you know anyone who gets to teach at that level without an MA. I guess I should be relieved :)
3) Yes, this turned up during my Google research - if a university employs an English instructor for 5 years or so, they are legally obligated to move that employee to a full-time position. It is very unlikely to find a full time position, but most people in my position already deal with this and I am not all that demoralized by it. Full-time positions in anything are becoming rarity in the modern world.
4) I will keep this in mind and try to find a way. In the first few weeks/months will no doubt be tricky to even have permission to stay.
5) I was not aware of these, thank you! The only things I lack for many of these ads is Japanese residency and the experience.
6) This is not a problem, I haven't exactly packed up yet - the intent is to launch my plans in 1-2 years.



The 2 years of experience are my primary problem here. I wonder if teaching English on upper secondary level here would qualify? In any case, I would probably need to teach on primary school/high school level in Japan to obtain the experience.

It would not be _that_ harsh to state that native English teaching is indeed in the toilet in many places (as is the teaching of the mothertongue in general). Finland has a high standard, and I have plenty of purpose-designed education for teaching the language.




By travel, I don't really mean the whole hotel/beach/bar trifecta, I want to live somewhere else and get to know the culture. I'm not typical of people who choose Japan spesifically in that many of the factors that I hear attract foreigners aren't really included in my interests. I have never watched an episode of anime in my life. The culture and general attitude of the people appeal to me. While Japan is wildly different from Finland, many parallels can also be drawn.




This is unusual from what I'm used to in teaching spesifically, but on the whole I'm quite used to working weekends :)




Yes, this is something I have heard. It was apparently a pretty dominant trend up until 10-15 years ago (and still is in South Korea), but many job ads nowadays make the distinction ( listing native-level English as opposed to native English as a requirement) in places such as Gaijinpot.com etc. There are also job interviews that employers are willing to even have on skype on some occasion. I dare say, it would take a native speaker a very, very long time of conversing with me to ever catch me making a mistake in spoken English, or figuring out that I am not a native speaker. I have one of those extremely typical mid-western American accents. As far as written English goes, pretty much my entire education was conducted in English with thorough scrutiny - I have no doubt that I am more qualified to teach the language than someone who majored in, say, geology...

Overall I'm quite motivated by the feedback - there appears to be some humps I did not consider(early obtainment of visa), but in other cases this might not be as difficult as I had thought(the degree reqs). I don't have much time to write here, I'll return to the thread a little later, but one more question immediately comes to mind -

What level should my Japanese be for me to start integrating relatively painlessly? Would conversational skill (or lower) do for starters? My Japanese is something I intend to work on in the following 18 months or so.

Once again, thank you for the replies! I found all the info extremely helpful, and for the most part not demoralizing :)
You will likely never be able to integrate. I know only of one gaijin that integrated in the 20 years I spent in Japan. He had fluent Japanese and he behaved like a Japanese person. All the other foreigners I know had 1 token Japanese friend if that. Even after studying Japanese for 2 years I still found it difficult to go to Mac Donald's and buy a chicken fillet. After 10 years I was fluent enough to buy cars, real estate and get by although my Japanese was still not good enough to enjoy hanging out with Japanese people.
 
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You have to be stretching it a bit to say you couldn't easily order a chicken fillet after 2 years? Those are pretty pat phrases I'd think, though I've never been to McDonald's here.

I've been an incredibly lazy learner with about 4 total (broken up) months of lessons and I can navigate survival Japanese fine. Keep in mind I work in a strictly English atmosphere, too. I'm not bragging, I suck at Japanese, I'm just noting that I have a hard time believing that the phrase to order a chicken fillet takes 2 years to memorize.

I only really had Japanese friends (still developing that now that I moved) and they would speak English with me but were overjoyed to switch to Japanese to help me if I tried. Strangers were another matter. My Japanese was/is bad enough that it often moves to English because their English is better than my Japanese and we're just trying to handle daily life. Though a few absolutely refused to share, so I just ignored them and moved on.

I guess I enjoy conversing with Japanese because I just like people. Sure, sometimes I just can't figure out how to express something, but we move on and figure out ways to communicate. I think if people spent more time enjoying the content and less time thinking of the conversation as Japanese practice, they'd find they enjoy it more and get more out of it. Either you like the person you're talking to or you don't. No one wants to be your homework.
 
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Mike Cash

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Gaijin Japanese skills are like the old story about goldfish growing to fit the size of their bowls....and most place themselves in some rather small bowls.
 
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You will likely never be able to integrate. I know only of one gaijin that integrated in the 20 years I spent in Japan. He had fluent Japanese and he behaved like a Japanese person.
Is that your definition of integrating? I wouldn't use that. Being 100% accepted is definitely difficult, true, and even the TV talents who are fluent in the language and who appear to flout Japanese mannerisms are not totally accepted. Why? Well, for one thing, they are used as "examples" of foreigners, or at the very least as people who are most qualified to explain foreign ways (better than native Japanese).

You can be accepted to a reasonable degree, and that's all you should really hope for. Who really wants to give up their individuality anyway?

Even after studying Japanese for 2 years I still found it difficult to go to Mac Donald's and buy a chicken fillet.
That's just so pitiful (and incorrect).

After 10 years I was fluent enough to buy cars, real estate and get by although my Japanese was still not good enough to enjoy hanging out with Japanese people.
Then all I can say is that you have a peculiar (or very high) standard for enjoying hanging out with them.

I want to live somewhere else and get to know the culture. I'm not typical of people who choose Japan spesifically in that many of the factors that I hear attract foreigners aren't really included in my interests. I have never watched an episode of anime in my life. The culture and general attitude of the people appeal to me.
What about the culture and general attitude do you actually know? How did you learn it?

if a university employs an English instructor for 5 years or so, they are legally obligated to move that employee to a full-time position.
Let's get a piece of terminology straight here. After that length of time, the employee would not be offered merely a full-time position, but a permanent one. Big difference. He may already have been working FT (defined as 40 hrs/wk).

What level should my Japanese be for me to start integrating relatively painlessly? Would conversational skill (or lower) do for starters?
These are rather naive questions, if you don't me saying so. Many people have come here with zero Japanese ability and ended up learning enough to enjoy whatever degree they integrated. And, yes, it's usually conversation that you would find yourself communicating in initially, but get some reading and writing under your belt at the same time.
 
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Is that your definition of integrating? I wouldn't use that. Being 100% accepted is definitely difficult, true, and even the TV talents who are fluent in the language and who appear to flout Japanese mannerisms are not totally accepted. Why? Well, for one thing, they are used as "examples" of foreigners, or at the very least as people who are most qualified to explain foreign ways (better than native Japanese).

You can be accepted to a reasonable degree, and that's all you should really hope for. Who really wants to give up their individuality anyway?

That's just so pitiful (and incorrect).

Then all I can say is that you have a peculiar (or very high) standard for enjoying hanging out with them.

What about the culture and general attitude do you actually know? How did you learn it?

Let's get a piece of terminology straight here. After that length of time, the employee would not be offered merely a full-time position, but a permanent one. Big difference. He may already have been working FT (defined as 40 hrs/wk).

These are rather naive questions, if you don't me saying so. Many people have come here with zero Japanese ability and ended up learning enough to enjoy whatever degree they integrated. And, yes, it's usually conversation that you would find yourself communicating in initially, but get some reading and writing under your belt at the same time.
Glenski, just in case, we are two different people here, I hope you are aware of that. I am kind of bending the truth, yes I could order a chicken fillet, but I felt uncomfortable going into a Mac Donald's in case they used expressions I couldn't understand. Add to that the servers were usually 16 years old and spoke at a million miles an hour.
I could hang out with Japanese people after about 5-10 ten years here, but then it would usually involve alcohol and getting drunk due to the limits of conversation. Hanging out with fellow countrymen is and was always more rewarding. If I spent more than 10 minutes speaking to a Japanese person in Japanese I would get a really bad migraine even after 20 years here, I guess do the the my brain being overworked. In fact I would say that after the 10 year mark getting to 2kyuu Japanese I never progressed and my Japanese got worse. I do know why this is the case and I would say it happens to most people.
 

Mike Cash

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So far I don't hear much evidence of any real effort to leave the gaijin bubble and integrate....which is par for the course for long-termers who can't resist telling people it is impossible to leave the gaijin bubble and integrate.
 
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Glenski, just in case, we are two different people here, I hope you are aware of that.
Yes, of course, but I still say we need to come to terms about definitions of integrating. You didn't seem to add much in your latest post, so I have nowhere to go with it.

I am kind of bending the truth, yes I could order a chicken fillet, but I felt uncomfortable going into a Mac Donald's in case they used expressions I couldn't understand. Add to that the servers were usually 16 years old and spoke at a million miles an hour.
Oh, great. Bending the truth never helps these sorts of dialogues. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

My take on it is like this:
1. Get used to it even if it means feeling lost. Or are you going to avoid common places of business all your life?
2. Do what I tell my language students to do. Prepare beforehand what possible things people might say. And, know how to ask them for clarification (explaining a word, slowing down, etc.). Wouldn't you tell that to someone who visits your own country and has similar problems?

If I spent more than 10 minutes speaking to a Japanese person in Japanese I would get a really bad migraine even after 20 years here
Are you bending the truth here again? If not, then all I can say is, wow! Your response suggests that you have practically zero exposure to the language (and any motivation to learn it). No offense, just an observation from a language teacher's POV.
 
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I'm not a long termer, only been here about a year and a 1/3 but I can say one thing for certain: 99% of the obstacles I've faced in learning Japanese or integrating into society have been of my own making.

To OP (or anyone else who comes across this thread and wonders), handling basic life in Japanese is not that difficult. I bought my furniture at Nitori with no problem and set up the delivery. I buy stuff from various stores with no issues. It did take a bit to figure out the clerk was asking me if I wanted my meal heated at Family Mart the first time or so that I encountered it, but now I know the phrase and how to respond. When a delivery person left a message I had to listen to the voicemail several times to pick out the times between which they would come, but I got it.

I'm not good at Japanese (frankly, I'm awful, probably not even N5 I'm guessing), it's just not that hard to do the survival stuff.
 
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I have a university student who provides a nice example. He started school life repeating aloud every word that I would say to him, then paused while he translated it in his head, and then spouted his reply, incorrect or not. It was terribly frustrating to me to get this parroting reaction each and every time. He then began attending a weekly English conversation lunch. By the end of the next semester he had dropped that parrot talk. Why? He realized that although he got by with it in a private conversation with a very patient teacher, when he was in a real conversation over lunch, he had no time for it. Plus, he simply got better at hearing what he needed, perhaps ONLY the words in a sentence that he absolutely needed to give it meaning. It certainly didn't take 20 years.
 
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I have a university student who provides a nice example. He started school life repeating aloud every word that I would say to him, then paused while he translated it in his head, and then spouted his reply, incorrect or not. It was terribly frustrating to me to get this parroting reaction each and every time. He then began attending a weekly English conversation lunch. By the end of the next semester he had dropped that parrot talk. Why? He realized that although he got by with it in a private conversation with a very patient teacher, when he was in a real conversation over lunch, he had no time for it. Plus, he simply got better at hearing what he needed, perhaps ONLY the words in a sentence that he absolutely needed to give it meaning. It certainly didn't take 20 years.
As a PhD linguistics I have great insight into the theories behind language learning and I can apply them to my own situation. We only really learn a language when we subconsciously want to integrate into the community. When I first came to Japan I wanted to integrate into the community, my Japanese progressed quite quickly, after about 6 months I realised I didn't have much in common with the Japanese in general and that I would never want to integrate into the community as gaijins and Japanese are really quite different. My subconscious mind limited my ability to pick up the language and my learning fosilized as I must have not wanted to lose my identity. I spent most of my time watching Sky Perfect as there was no internet back in the day and going to gaijin bars. So yes, it is my own fault I didn't become fluent in Japanese, but I believe the only people who can become totally fluent in Japanese after 20 are those who want to become Japanese and have a Japanese identity. i.e. Dave Spector or
 

Mike Cash

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Your own choice not to integrate should not serve as a basis for telling others they'll not be able to integrate.
 
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Hear, hear for Mike's comments!

When I first came to Japan I wanted to integrate into the community
Why? What was your motivation?

my Japanese progressed quite quickly
Good, and although we are talking about a short period of time, I assume this standard honeymoon period itself lent itself to that.

after about 6 months I realised I didn't have much in common with the Japanese in general
That's called another stage of culture shock. Plus, if you are Middle Eastern in ethnicity, I'd agree that culturally you have little in common, but what had you expected and how much were you willing to compromise? Sounds like you didn't give it much of a shot.

and that I would never want to integrate into the community
But you use a quasi-Japanese handle for your avatar, come to a Japanese reference site and give advice, etc. You don't seem to be going away, so why do you stay? Or have you returned to Al Ain? Like Mike said, your decision is not a good cause for other people to repeat your failure to integrate. I think we have not heard a fraction of your story, too.
 
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Hear, hear for Mike's comments!

Why? What was your motivation?

Good, and although we are talking about a short period of time, I assume this standard honeymoon period itself lent itself to that.

That's called another stage of culture shock. Plus, if you are Middle Eastern in ethnicity, I'd agree that culturally you have little in common, but what had you expected and how much were you willing to compromise? Sounds like you didn't give it much of a shot.

But you use a quasi-Japanese handle for your avatar, come to a Japanese reference site and give advice, etc. You don't seem to be going away, so why do you stay? Or have you returned to Al Ain? Like Mike said, your decision is not a good cause for other people to repeat your failure to integrate. I think we have not heard a fraction of your story, too.
The Orberg 1960 model, the theoretical constructs of which I do not agree with. Most people do not reach the latter stages of the U curve, I am one of them. I consider myself as cosmopolitan, able to live anywhere. Original motivation was probably being 22 and thinking Japanese were cool in some way or something similar. I am sure you would agree being in an ESL environment that most people do not reach the latter stages of the u-curve but remain in the rejection phase although they are likely not aware of it. After 10 years in the middle east I miss Japan and I am contemplating a return.
 
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Original motivation was probably being 22 and thinking Japanese were cool in some way or something similar.
If that is as specific as you can be (or were), it's no wonder you became disappointed.

I am sure you would agree being in an ESL environment
Japan is not an ESL environment. It's an EFL one

most people do not reach the latter stages of the u-curve but remain in the rejection phase although they are likely not aware of it.
I wouldn't agree with that if you can't provide any concrete evidence. Sounds like opinion at best and sour grapes at worst.

After 10 years in the middle east I miss Japan and I am contemplating a return.
Why? What has changed in your mind? How long a visit and for what purpose? You sound pretty disillusioned, so coming back is a major surprise.
 
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If that is as specific as you can be (or were), it's no wonder you became disappointed.

Japan is not an ESL environment. It's an EFL one

I wouldn't agree with that if you can't provide any concrete evidence. Sounds like opinion at best and sour grapes at worst.

Why? What has changed in your mind? How long a visit and for what purpose? You sound pretty disillusioned, so coming back is a major surprise.
The only evidence I can provide is all the gaijin I met who had been living in Japan for 10 years or so and couldn't string a sentence together. When I hired part-timers at my university I would trawl through the resumes and there were few people with 2kyuu or better. Some had been here 20 years or so. I can honestly tell you that out of my friends only 1 or two were competent in Japanese. All my friends were English teachers apart from 1 or 2 and they were the ones whose Japanese was good.

Why? ten years in the middle east, head of department, professor rank. I have made enough money here and would like to go and get a job in Kyushu and see some greenery and enjoy onsen and hiking and its rather hot here in the summer.
 
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