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11 Jan 2004
Is it possible to live in Japan without knowing Japanese? I am looking for a position in teaching ESL and I want to come to Japan soon. How difficult is it to do so? Thank you very much for your answer.
I'm moving this to the Japan FAQ forum as it is more appropriate there. And yes, assuming you are a native English-speaker with the minimum credentials (4-year degree in any major) there are no shortage of jobs available (especially this time of the year when most schools are gearing up for the new academic year). The JET deadline for this year has already expired though (Dec. 5th of last year I believe) but that's also something you may want to consider down the road.

While it is entirely possible to manage reasonably well and survive in Japan without speaking the language, I highly recommend you pick up as much Japanese as you can while there because it will only make your overall experiences all the more richer and fulfilling. Also be sure to check out some of the links I posted as a reply in the following thread as they may be of some help to you in securing potential employment.

Hey there, could I get some friendly advice?
While the JETT program is usually the way to go, there are also private language schools one can get a job at withouT the 4 year college degree.

One such company (I'll edit in the info after I get it from my friend's mom later in the week) requires you to have just 13 years of schooling in English language schools. I'm not sure if that 13 year is K or 1st year of college. I suspect that latter.
Ok. I know this is more than a weekk & you
may be dissapointed to hear I did not find what
i was looking for.

I"m not sure if this is the site my friend's mom gave
me before or not, but this time I did not find any private language companies that required only what i posted above.

The site she gave me tonight was monster.com
I thought this place had ESL jobs that did not require a college degree like the Japanese gov does of public school ESL teachers.

Oh, well. Sorry.
ohayou (ohayo sensei) sensei in google
and i agree completely with the second post
All that being well and good, don't let the jobs that don't need degrees lull you into a false sense of security. If someone with a degree, esp. if they have TEFL (teaching english as a foreign language) exerience/certification is willing to do the same probably low-end ESL teaching job as someone without a degree, guess who the school will pick?

I heard that back in the bubble years, as long as you had a pulse you could get a ESL job. Now, in a recession, companies have to be more careful with their cash and want more for their yen. I don't want to make finding an ESL job in Japan seem like a huge task, but put the best foot forward, as always. NOVA does turn down applicants and the JET Program has far more people applying each year than it needs. The diehard people with degrees who want to teach in Japan might go for a second tier position just to get here. You might find yourself opposite one at a job interview. It is an employers market.

That said, I've spoken with a number of people who work in and around the Ministry of Education, and with the Ministry re-vamping English on college entrance exams and a move to make English more of a conversation/skill based subject in coming years, demand for ESL teachers could jump (I'm guessing around 2006-7). The JET Program is packing on more teachers, despite the recession and probably because they are a MEXT pet-project, but I think there is a brighter future for ESL folks in Japan in the coming years. How well salary will follow demand is a different issue.
May I ask what ESl and JETT means? I've also thought of the possibility of teaching english or some other type of subject in Japan when I get older. I'm possibly going for a major in Web Design and Graphic Design and wonder if there is any jobs in Japan that I could do that involve my possible majors.
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