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Any job opportunities for older people?

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My wife and I are both in our early sixties. I'm retired, and she's about to retire from her job. Sometimes we talk about going back to Japan to live for a year or two; I'd like to learn the language better, and she wants to study cultural arts like calligraphy and tea ceremony. We do have retirement income, and our house is paid for, but part-time jobs would make our stay more enjoyable (more travel, better standard of living), as well as help keep us occupied.

My wife graduated from high school in Japan and has a year of business college and a two-year associate's degree from an American university. She worked for about twenty years as an interpreter/translator for the Japanese consulate here in Anchorage, until she was laid off when the independent consular office here closed, leaving a token presence as a branch of the Seattle consulate. For the last dozen years, she's been a child activity therapist for a non-profit corporation, working with abused and neglected children. She loves kids and is very good with them.

I have a bachelor's degree and law degree, and practiced civil litigation and trial work for 34 years. I'm also a published author of fiction and non-fiction. Forty years ago I lived and taught English in Japan, so I'm under no illusions about what teaching English entails.

I know age discrimination is a factor in Japan, as it is in the US, but do we have any chance of finding part-time work there? If so, what kind? I'm not sure I'd want to redo the typical eikawa experience, even if they'd have me, but teaching professionals would be something I could do. I should mention we'd prefer to be either in the Kansai region, where my wife's family lives, or maybe Hokkaido, where the climate would be more to our liking.
 

mdchachi

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A friend of mine (who happens to live in Alaska with his Japanese wife) is actually planning to retire in Japan in 10 years when he's 65. I never thought to ask him what he was planning to do there besides "retire."
 

Glenski

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You weren't entirely clear about your wife, so let's get this out of the way first. Is she Japanese and currently holding a Japanese passport. If so, you can get a spousal visa.

If NOT, unless you line up a job for at least one of you before you come, you're both going to have to come as tourists and then look around with a 3-month limit. So decide when you want to come. The majority of jobs start in April.

You won't be able to stay unless you get a visa, whether for work or study, and work visas are not issued for part-time work. If you set up a business of your own, you will need an investor/business manager visa, which is another option, but would you want to go that route just to have PT hours?

Your wife doesn't have a college degree, but you MIGHT get a work visa by stringing together her amassed education, and related work experience would help. Heads up on this. With her experience interpreting, I would suggest checking on a consulate for work, or any city hall. Lots of that work is needed, but the Japanese just need to recognize it.

Where in Hokkaido are you considering? I live there and have been on this island for 18 years. Sapporo is the biggest city and therefore will have the most options, but the rest of Hokkaido is farmland with a few small cities.
 
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My wife is Japanese but became a US citizen in 2007. Isn't there a visa for cultural studies, or something similar? Are you permitted to work part-time while studying?

We don't want to live permanently in Japan or start a business there. I wasn't much good at the business side of law practice, and have no reason to believe I'd do better in another line of work. Actually, I'm doing some writing, and would do that also in Japan, but would like the social interaction of part-time work. My wife is even more social, and would go nuts sitting around unless we're constantly traveling, which we couldn't afford to do.

I mentioned Hokkaido because long ago I spent two summers in Osaka. My wife is an Osaka gal, but she doesn't like hot weather anymore either. I imagine we would have to be near Sapporo or another city to study and work. Visit relatives in spring, fall, and winter.
 

WonkoTheSane

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The business visa is probably off the table for anything longer than a couple of years if the goal is part time work.

For renewals immigration wants to see a healthy, growing, profitable business. The first renewal or two they'll understand that it takes a while to be profitable, but after that I'm told the expectations become more strict.

If it's just for socializing, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available at least in Tokyo, and I imagine in the great white north as well.
 

Glenski

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Isn't there a visa for cultural studies, or something similar? Are you permitted to work part-time while studying?
Yes to both questions.

Cultural activities visa requires that you are sponsored by a master of some sort, a craftsman or martial arts instructor, and usually that you also have shown experience in that cultural activity where you live now. What CA were you considering?

To work PT on a CA visa, you must first find the work you desire, then ask immigration for special permission to work, and there is a limited number of hours allowed. See here.

Since your wife now has a US passport, she is no longer eligible for Japanese status in things, so unless she secretly kept her Japanese passport up to date, she'll be in the same boat as you, visa-wise.
 

Glenski

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This book might be useful. I only just discovered it today, so I have no experience with it.
 
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Thanks for the advice and book tip, Glenski.

Mdchachi, where does your friend live? I wonder if my wife knows his?
 

mdchachi

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Mdchachi, where does your friend live? I wonder if my wife knows his?
Near Fairbanks. They've been in Alaska about 15 years I think. Feel free to send me a private message if you want to know her name.
 
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Seward is about 110 miles from Anchorage. Good place to go saltwater fishing. Silver salmon, halibut, rockfish. Yum!
 

tomoni

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I think that the above comments pretty much cover it. Since your wife took US citizenship, presumably she no longer has Japanese citizenship

To be honest if you search for a job from overseas, it will be tougher, but because of your wife's language ability, and your legal background, I think you would be a "great catch" for a Japanese company.

About 10 years ago I work for a very large Japanese company and they did not have on staff lawyers in every branch even though each branch was signing international contracts. I know that seems hard to believe, but this is not that uncommon with Japanese companies. In the case of the company I worked for, it cost them a significant amount of money and about 15 years in legal battles.

Most companies would jump at a chance to get someone with the US law degree and experience to check US contracts and "teach English" at an English teacher salary. Furthermore with your wife's translation ability, I really think you and your wife have skills that very very few people can offer ( especially if presented as a team deal ).

The key I think, is getting in touch with the right person, not just having the unique skills. I would really start by picking an area, and targeting all the companies in that area that you are willing to work for. Describe the situation you're interested in, and see if they want to take a chance on that. I think a few companies will be interested.

I think it's unlikely that you'll get a job like that from overseas, but at least if you start with contacts like that and come over on a tourist visa and start pounding the pavement, you will increase your chances of finding something.

These days, it can be much easier to get a work visa than it was in years gone by. You might be able to work out a deal with the company to sponsor you for these of giving you the appropriate number of working hours and salary to get the visa because of your unique skills. As far as your wife goes, I think the same thing is true: she has not as unique set of skills, but still a very valuable set of skills.

You did mention ageism and I think this is a big concern so going to a place in person and showing them that you're not ready to drop dead, nor that you are senile, you may be able to work something out.

Finally, one company I'm familiar with employed someone who was a former vice president of a company in a similar situation (retired at 50ish, changed careers, and retired again in late 50's and came to Japan). He worked as an English teacher and gave advice until he decided to retire a second time at around age 72?? So the situations can exist but they are perhaps a little bit more challenging to find, but again with your skill set and your wife's language ability I think you would have a good chance.

I hope this helps, best of luck
 
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