1. A university bachelors degree
-Any degree is ok, Latin American Studies, German, Linguistics, Astro-Physics, Sociology, doesn’t matter as long as it’s at least a bachelors
2. A clean criminal background check
-Have you been convicted of a murder? Are you a pedo? Do you have outstanding warrants in 3 states? Did you go to jail for a hit and run? Japan doesn’t want you.
3. Appropriately healthy and able bodied
-If you have a something that will prevent you from doing your job well, you will most likely not be hired. For example; you can’t use stairs, you can’t stand for 45 minutes at a time, you have a severe speech impediment (I know people here with lisps), things like this prevent you from teaching at full capacity and most places don’t have the time or resources to make special accommodations for you.
What other skills might recruiters be looking for?
1. Japanese language ability
-NOT required for most positions, but helpful for communication both in and out of the workplace. Unless you live in a metropolitan area, the average Japanese person’s English is VERY limited. I know many people who came here with zero Japanese, but nowadays there are many with at least rudimentary Japanese. People rarely come here fluent, but many people study Japanese while living here to take the JLPT and their level improves by leaps and bounds. I am not one of those people, so don’t ask me for more details lol
2. TESL/TEFL certification
-NOT required for most positions, but some private companies are starting to lean more towards certified individuals. And honestly, those give you a lot of skills you will absolutely need when teaching English.
3. Teaching degree -NOPE, not required in 99.9% of the cases. I know a few people with them who are ALTs, I’ve heard mixed opinions on how well it helps them as an ALT. Some find it demeaning to work subordinate and be given limited control/responsibilities, other find it freeing because they can spend more time teaching and less time with test related paper pushing and discipline management.
4. Good attitude, flexibility, people skills
-You need to be able to present yourself as someone trustworthy and amiable to recruiters. The environments ALTs work in are often high-paced, prone to sudden last second changes, and being able to make friends in the office and keep a happy face with students is incredibly important.
5. Prior experience
-Have you worked in a daycare before? Have you volunteered in tutoring centers? Have you led discussion groups as a major requirement? Have you ever studied abroad? Have you ever volunteered in foreign classrooms? Have you taken charge of a club and organized events? Did you dorm with international students in university? Have you worked for an international program before? Have you given private language lessons before? These are the kinds of things that show you have experience in things that ALTs frequently encounter.
Can I mention my love of [INSERT JAPANESE CULTURE HERE]?
Yes, but keep is professional, relevant, and brief.
“I became interested in Japan after watching Spirited Away, the cultural aspects of the movie fascinated me and made me want to learn more about Japan.” OK
“I have a collection of anime pillow cases, my favorite is Miku Hatsune in this pose.” NO
“I started listening to Japanese music in high school. I eventually started learning Japanese to better understand the lyrics.” OK
"When Pierrot broke up, I was shattered that the fanfic community would move on to other ships.“ NO
“My school offered a short course on Japanese tea ceremony, and I thought the way that it formed historically was extremely interesting.” OK
“I want to learn the way of the samurai.” NO
“I’m very interested in Japanese video game production companies. I went to college and majored in game design and I want to further study it by living in Japan and experiencing the community in person.” OK
“I want to play Resident Evil on fiber optic LAN with Japanese players so I can pwn more n00bs when I get back to America.” NO
If you do not do your own intensive research, you can get taken advantage of. You hear horror stories from people here all the time, and those mostly come from people didn’t research what they were getting themselves into. I cannot make a comprehensive guide to the THOUSANDS OF KINDS OF ALT positions across the country, this is only an overview. Look at that link, and always do extensive research of the companies/programs you’re interested in working for.
1. Government AKA JET Program
-The JET Program is the only government ALT program. It makes the Japanese government the middleman in your arrangements, which takes less money from your paycheck and gives you a more trustworthy means of income. It’s very competitive and the application process takes about 6 months. They only hire once a year. It’s arguably the best program, as it pays well, you have a lot of guaranteed vacation time, and they pay for your flights to and from the country. On the downside, you don’t really have a lot of say in where you are placed. Also, you cannot get a transfer unless VERY specific requirements are met. Also some prefectures/localities are nicer to their ALTs than others, but if they try to fuck you over you know you have the Japanese government backing you and they will keep you from being taken advantage of.
2. Private Dispatch
examples: Interac, AEON, Borderlink, JIEC and MANY others -These are private companies that workplaces hire to provide them with ALTs. Workplaces do this because some of the intricacies in hiring an ALT and getting them a VISA and housing are really complicated, and they’d rather pay a middleman than deal with it. Upsides, you get a little more wiggle-room with being transferred. Downside by far is the pay. It depends on the company, but that middleman definitely takes a big chunk of your pay. If you work for a place like this, you need to VERY carefully read your contract. Research dispatch companies carefully, check their ratings online, see what former employees have to say about them.
3. Private Hire AKA working directly under the local government office, a private company, or even one-on-one’s in wealthy households -These are places that will directly hire you without a middleman. Obviously, you need to look carefully at the details of your contract before working privately. Most local government places won’t hire you without prior ALT experience in Japan. Private English Conversation Schools (Eikaiwa) have non-9 to 5 working hours to provide for business workers and students. They sometimes require you to already have a VISA prior to being hired. Private Hire really is outside of my experience, but from what I understand they can pay as well as JET, but don’t usually have as many perks.
Where do I look for open positions?
GaijinPot is the website I’ve heard of the most. Check there and research research research. There are scammers, be careful.
JET hires once a year starting around September or October. It’s available online on their official webpage.
There are a bajillion different dispatch companies. I couldn’t possibly name them all, I don’t really have a lot of experience with them, and don’t know which are particularly good or not. Check Google-sensei for their applications, websites, and reputations.
Other than that, please be wary of Craigslist. Although legit job openings do show up, there are scammers. If it’s someone looking for a “private female in-home English tutor from ages 19~25” or something like that, don’t be dumb. Many will require you to have a VISA with a minimum of 1 year on it already. Many will require you to already live in the area of the position. Research everything carefully.
Words of warning
If you think mental health issues are stigmatized in your home country, oh honey you ain’t seen nothin` yet.
If you have mental health issues, Japan may not be the place for you. You may think going to Japan, being surrounded by your hobbies and interests, and just “getting away” will make things better… IT WON’T.
Please be aware that you most likely will not be able to get your meds over the counter in Japan. And it’s not uncommon for your meds to be banned entirely even with a prescription. Bi-polar, anxiety, OCD, depression? Your meds might not be available here. Oh and having people send them over from home by mail can get you detained and deported if you’re caught.
You’ll also be leaving the support of friends and family by coming to Japan. The ALT community is pretty cool, but people come and go so quickly, it’s hard to find groups of people that will stick together through really tough spots.
Supervisors and coworkers aren’t much help either. In Japan, people don’t talk about mental health issues at all. If you take meds for anything other than a physical illness, you do it in private where people can’t see you. If you see a psychiatrist, you do it in a different prefecture, where no one can see you. It’s not uncommon for Japanese people to be asked to leave their jobs because their boss or coworkers have suspicions.
If you self medicate with something like marijuana, be aware that recreational drug use here is VERY VERY VERY illegal. Marijuana use is treated with the same seriousness as crack cocaine. You WILL be caught, you WILL be detained, you WILL be tried without a lawyer present, you WILL be held in solitary, you WILL be convicted of drug possession, and you WILL be deported.
Some ALTs will replace their marijuana use with alcohol. That goes about as well as it sounds :|
For LGBT, if you’re used to a very supportive queer community, it’s not the same here. Japanese people are extremely closeted and unless you live near a large metropolitan area, getting into the gay scene is nearly impossible. I’m fine because I was never in the gay scene back home, but for some people it’s very hard.
If you’re trans and want to come here to transition, please reconsider. I would suggest not coming to Japan as an ALT if you intend to transition in the immediate future. If your gender dysphoria is pretty bad, you’re gonna have a bad time. Gender segregation and enforcement of gender roles will probably seriously affect your mental health.
The paperwork for transitioning is even harder from overseas and lot of things need to be done in person so you’ll have to fly back and forth from your home country a lot (which is damn expensive and needs vacation leave). Even if you do get everything done, there’s no telling how your work will respond. They won’t outright say they’re firing you for your gender identity, that’s illegal, they’ll come up with some other reason.
People who come here with a goal like paying off college loans or wanting to experience another culture usually have a better time that people who come here because OMG I JUST LOVE JAPAN. Please keep that in mind.
Dear Duke, I'm sorry for asking you this instead Google. I would like to know what Oxford Comma is exactly. I am not a english speaker and, occasionally, I read some intern joke about Oxford Comma around here.
The Oxford comma (also called a serial comma) is a comma used to separate the penultimate (second to last) item in a list from the word and, which comes before the last item. For example, with the Oxford comma:
I went to the park with the dogs, Jeannie, and Harold.
The Oxford comma is the one after “Jeannie.” Here’s the same sentence without the Oxford comma:
I went to the park with the dogs, Jeannie and Harold.
See the problem? Without the Oxford comma, it looks like I went to the park with two dogs named Jeannie and Harold.
Basically, the Oxford comma isn’t necessary–and a lot of people and publishers don’t use it–but it does prevent a lot of confusion. Personally I’m a big fan of the Oxford comma.
“William could not figure out what Harold had seen because he was too distraught to say a coherent sentence.”
coherence(n.) the quality of being coherent, clear or logical
complacency (n.) self-satisfied ignorance of danger (or indifference to danger)
“Lucas tried to shock his friends out of their complacency by painting a frightening picture of what might happen to them.”
complacent(adj.) describes a person who is ignorant of danger, one who behaves with indifference
Some words on the list have multiple forms (adjective and noun, etc.) but only one version of each word was included on the original list, so I added some of the other forms. Let me know if anything is confusing!
Okay, maybe they aren’t that annoying, but they sure are confusing.
I’m talking about abbreviated Latin terms used in English.
For example, i.e., e.g., vs, etc. etc. etc.
There are so many of these that it’d be a waste of a tumblr post—just google them or go to Wikipedia! So instead, I’ll just cover the most frequently used ones.
1) etc. (et cetera)
This Latin term is used at the end of a phrase or a sentence to show that there is more stuff included in the list, but you don’t want to list it all. For example: Summer is good for swimming, jogging, picnicking, strolling, etc.
*When you read “etc.” out loud, pronounce it as “et-sé-te-rah.”
2) i.e. (id est)
This abbreviation is used to explain something further. Basically, it’s the same as “What I mean is…” For example: Summer is good for fun things, i.e. leisurely activities that you don’t get to do while working.
*When reading “i.e.” out loud, pronounce it as “ai-ee.”
3) e.g. (exampli gratia)
Don’t confuse this with i.e.! While “i.e.” is used for explaining something, “e.g.” is used for giving specific examples. For example: Summer is good for fun things, e.g. swimming, jogging, picnicking, strolling, etc.
*When reading “e.g.” out loud, pronounce it as “ee-jee.”
4) vs. (versus)
This is something you’ve probably seen in sports or any other competitions. “Vs” basically means “against.” For example: This summer’s biggest baseball event is the Phillies vs. Red Sox match.
*When reading aloud, read as “ver-sus.”
5) cf. (confer)
If you see this, you’re probably reading a very smart book. “Cf.” means “refer to…” when the author wants you to look at some other source that talks about something in more detail (or just gives another perspective on an issue). For example: Summer is a great time for outdoor activities (cf. John Smith for various types of summer pastimes).
*When reading aloud, read as “see-ef.”
6) et al (et alii)
“et al” usually comes right after a name, and means “and others.” It is used when there are too many names to list, but you still want to give credit to everybody. For example: Johnson et al. = Johnson and others.
*When reading out loud, say “et-al.”
7) P.S. (post scriptum)
Most non-English speaking people already know what “P.S.” means, since it’s so widely used. Still, I’m including it here for your reference. “P.S.” indicates an addition to the main text (usually a letter). For example: Dear Johnny, I love you. Julie P.S. Just kidding!
*When reading out loud, say “pee-es.”
There are many-many more, but I feel like these are the ones you’re more likely to encounter in everyday life. Although Latin is a dead language, it’s still widely used in English writing and even speaking (i.e., it’s everywhere)! ^^
My kids’ first language is sign, so sometimes when they’re trying to think of a word or phrase in English they can’t really remember exactly how it goes.
And my 9 year old had put her unicorn sleep mask on the back of her head and she was trying to remember the phrase, “eyes in the back of my head,” but she couldn’t, and she was trying so hard to explain the joke to her friend. “I have the, you know…the…” and waves her hand at her head.
And eventually she was just like… “i have back eyes!”
Heartwarming moment of the day. No matter how hard this job can be, no matter how many days I want to thrown in the towel, these moments make it worth it.
One of my little boys is learning English for the first time. It has been incredible to watch him grow from knowing barely any English at all on the first day of school, to becoming practically fluent with test scores skyrocketing in the last six months.
Today at lunch, I’m eating in my classroom, enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet with my lights off. He comes in to get his sweater. As soon as he comes in he yells, “Hello classroom! I love you!” He finds his sweater, walks out the door and says, “Goodbye classroom! I’ll see you later!”
It’s the little things like this that melt my heart and nearly bring me to tears. My student feels love when he comes into my classroom. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I'm going to write about nightmare dream theme. I have nowhere to start since I have a very limited english vocabulary as it is my second language. any good words for describing nightmare dream and feelings? thank you
I don’t know that I know what it is you need, but I will try :)
Visit this site to see a list of words associated with “sleep.” If there’s one you don’t know, go here and type it into the box to get a definition. You also might use a dictionary or translator specific to your native language if you need to.
One word that gets used a lot when talking about dreams is “vivid,” which means that the dream is very detailed and seems very real. If your character is mistaking dreams for reality, then “vivid” would be a good word to use.
Another great word you might not come across is “lucid,” which describes a dream where the person dreaming knows they’re dreaming. There’s debate that someone having a lucid dream can control what happens in the dream. So that might be an interesting point to explore in your story!
Because nightmares are scary dreams, words that are often used to describe them are horrible, terrifying, unsettling, disturbing, or even bizarre.
When it comes to verbs, common phrases when someone is having lots of bad dreams:
plagued by [insert adjective] dreams
suffering from [insert adjective] dreams
visited by [insert adjective] dreams
haunted by [insert adjective] dreams
The phrases above ^ describe dreams that are happening often. You might say the person is having a recurring dream, or a dream that keeps coming back.
I hope this helped! Feel free to follow up this weekend once the ask box reopens :)
Just a friendly reminder: “everybody” = “everyone.” 👩🌾👨🎤👩🚀👨⚕️ They both mean ‘every person.’ (Keep in mind, however, that many people feel that “everybody” is slightly less formal than “everyone.”)