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Living/Working in Japan without teaching?


12 Mar 2003
Hi everybody, this is my first post.
I'm 20 years old, currently in college studying to become Anthropologist, but before I attend University I want to visit Japan since it's been my biggest dream. Therefor I plan on getting there through the Working Holiday program available in Canada (Wich is where I'm from, precisely Quテゥbec).
I wish I could go to Japan and live a decent life, have a small appartement (With a friend maybe?) and hang out at the arcade, get to know some nice people, and go out and visits the mountains and temples, also lots of cultural studies. BUT! I don't want to teach language, since I'm native french, I don't have the right accent to teach english, and I don't even want to teach. Is there any other way besides teaching to make up a living in Japan? Like one would do in Canada?


If anyone know any usefull information, I'd be glad to hear from you, for I am very serious about this lifetime dream project.

Thank you for your interest.
Welcome aboard riot.

I've been wondering about the same thing. Not that i'm planning to move to Japan any time soon, but if i would be convinced that it's the best way to go, then what kind of work should i be doing?

Immigrants are not allowed to do any kind of work that a native Japanese can do, so you have to somehow move around that rule.

I'm not sure if you can do this through the Working Holiday program, but would posing as an artist be an option? Either as a musician, photographer, painter, writer... something like that. Anybody have any experience with this?
Visa sponsorship seems to be the single biggest obstacle in this case if you are planning on staying for an extended period of time. If you're not open to teaching English then i'm not really sure what other avenues are out there that would afford you the level of comfort you described (your own apartment, etc.). The categories Twisted mentioned might be a feasible route although I can't speak from experience. Sorry, not much help I know but if I uncover anything that may be of use i'll post it as I find it.
Let me throw in my two eurocents as well: my wife is currently in Japan on job training. I asked her to scan the job market for "gaijin-able positions", it more or less boils down to one thing: language abilities. I know nothing about these Working Holiday programs, but without proper command of nihongo you won't stand a chance to find a decent position.
Yes there are non-teaching jobs for Working Holiday participants. These are usually service positions (wait staff, resort staff), etc. Unfortunately it doesn't look like you can see job postings until you show up on JAWHM's doorstep in Japan so there's no telling what is actually available. Japan Association for Working Holiday Makers | 日本ワーキングホリデー協会

If I were you, I'd contact my local Japanese embassy. They should be able to give you more information and maybe put you in touch with people from your area who have done the same thing.
It's somehow just as I thought. Sadly.. I want to thank you all for the effort you made replying, it's greatly appreciated.
I thought someone could work in an industry like car making etc, or something like that.

Also appartement.. are they cheaper in rural part of the country? Like let's say up north or something? Since the Japan RailWay connects all of Japan, it's no big problem for visiting is it?

Thank you all again friend.
That's an interesting question I'd like to see with some good results. Usually the teaching are the highest pay also for this kind of stuff.

How about teaching French. :p
I'll do this year from July working holyday in Japan too. I wonder how many working holyday makers are going each year to Japan.

But I got a different question.
I'm 18y/o and currently owning the JLPT2. I have this idea (biggest dream) to enter a japanese university after my wh. Although I heard most japanese universities require the JLPT1, there seem to be some which are satisfied with the JLPT2.
I also heard of various preparations courses for university entrance.
How do the visa regulations look like (do I get a visa from the university)?

Any recommendations are appreciated.

btw. I thought about studying something around mathmatics.
Studying in Japan must be great, I like their approach to schooling. Nothing like in Canada at least. BUT! For studying in Japan you'd need a Student Visa, and not a working holiday issued visa, from what I've learn though.
Ho, and can you work when you're issued a student visa? If you can't, how do you make up a living? (It'd be interesting to know more about this too)
I'm not sure if that's correct, but your school can sponsor you into getting a student visa in Japan. You'd have to chek with them.

But hey! Keep on pushing hard to achieve your dream! And good luck.

The following link provides a lot of useful information re: visas and the application process. In essence, visas granted by the Japanese Government are issued only by embassies or consulates under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, can not be acquired after arriving in Japan, and are necessary criterion to be lawfully employed within Japan. The link should answer any further questions you may have though including what visa categories you may be eligible for.


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