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Border restrictions force 300 foreigners to decline Japan teacher jobs

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Avoid the country if you can. International travel to Japan has unfortunately become an arduous, time-consuming, costly burden. Arriving travelers are steered like rats through a four-hour maze of about seven stations extending over several kilometers. For many, that maze ends with officials shuttling the travelers to local quarantine facilities staffed with huge teams of attendants to keep the travelers isolated for 3, 6, or 10 days — all the while the Japanese government repetitively video calls the quarantined to confirm that those people are actually quarantining inside the government-controlled facility. It’s absolutely absurd! When the travelers are released from quarantine, they are told that they must hire a special taxi (typically called a “Corona taxi”) or arrange for someone to pick them up to take them to their destination. Cost of a Corona taxi from Narita to Tokyo: ¥30,000. Beyond Tokyo: exorbitant!

International travel to and from Japan used to be easy. Now it’s a burden you want to avoid.

33 ( +60 / -27 )

Put into the mix the request to wear a mask in the room, the endless cold bentos, no beer, no glimpse of the sun and not being able to walk around even the confines of the hotel etc!

17 ( +40 / -23 )

Japan’s pandemic restrictions are the final nail in the coffin for this country’s demographic crisis.

Expect a continuous and endless decline in the population in the coming years, and all the economic malaise that comes with that.

1 ( +30 / -29 )

I wish they learn to stay and work in their home countries! Time wasting., the school rules are more complicated now

-18 ( +19 / -37 )

I understand the attraction of Japan. Anime, manga, food, etc. But these people realize they are essentially servants with very low pay. Which is understandable, as most of these "teachers" are not qualified to teach in their home countries.

21 ( +52 / -31 )

If you want to come to Japan, wait for your turn..

Japan has its sovereign right to administer the necessary measures of restrictions in order to protect its population.

Their country, their rules..

Plain and simple..

-18 ( +42 / -60 )

I'm currently in quarantine at a hotel near Narita. Coming into the country was an absolute nightmare but it could be worse. I knew all of this when I left late in December so I am not upset about it, really. But I am lucky enough to live not too far from here and have my own vehicle and home to go to afterwards... as well as being a freelance worker.

My situation is about as good as it gets and it has been hard. If it were any more complicated I might very well go insane inside of this tiny room. I'd be more than willing to pay for even slightly better accommodations. You know, like, maybe warm food (every bento comes straight from the refrigerator) or access to a paid clothing cleaning service (I've been washing my clothes in the bathtub and hanging them every day which is harder than it sounds in a room that barely fits a full sized bed). Or, I dunno... maybe if my neighbor wasn't a chainsmoker as well, that would be nice. When I checked in I vehemently stated I was a non smoker but that doesn't seem to have come into consideration when placing people. Again it's disgusting but I can deal with it I guess, bit of a strange decision though since they took my bottle of Moet wine because drinking in quarantine isn't "safe or good for your health" (its a gift but sure) but letting someone chain smoke all day during a respiratory pandemic quarantine in a poorly ventilated building is A-OK. Fine.

5 negative PCR's in 2 weeks, hopefully will be 6 tomorrow and they will let me finish my quarantine in the comfort of my own home. I waited in line for over 2 hours just to get the PCR test to come here (Japan has special certificate requirements, so it was nearly 300$ in California). On top of the 300$ PCR test at Narita the day I left, the 150$ one I had to absolutely scour the whole of southern California for on my 6th day out of the country... I mean I'm out nearly a grand just on PCR tests alone.

If I were someone who knew about all of this ahead of time and was supposed to newly come to Japan to teach for minimum wage without knowing much about the country or language? Count me out. I would have to be pretty desperately in need of a job to put myself through all of this for a one year contract abroad.

Again, it's not the worst. I wouldn't do this again unless it was a dire emergency, though... so if you're mulling over travel right now I'd advise against it unless you're mentally, financially and physically able to go through the stress of it all. Good luck to all.

59 ( +74 / -15 )

I've been here for 11 years now and fully regret comming here. We as a family, planning to move elsewhere. There are lots of places where foreigners do not get treated like rats.

9 ( +42 / -33 )

It is interesting that many of these communities that now don't have these young, new, fresh, impressionable JET teachers would never think of reaching out to the the countless foreigners who are already working and living in the community to assist with English teaching.

30 ( +41 / -11 )

“they took my bottle of Moet wine”

You mean you actually told them that you had alcohol?

Oh man, come on!

22 ( +35 / -13 )

"Their country.. their rules.."

We are in 2022 here. Talking about forigner community in a country with a steady drop of population and government is even importing forign labor and desperately looking for foreign skill. "Their country.. their rules.." is called 'island mindset' where you've not seen 'others' for prolonged time and now you think somehow it is a pride that you survived in an island.

16 ( +37 / -21 )

Japanese government repetitively video calls the quarantined to confirm that those people are actually quarantining inside the government-controlled facility. It’s absolutely absurd! 

It’s absolutely absurd that they are trying to protect its citizens? Sounds like they are doing their job properly.

-14 ( +24 / -38 )

"Bahia Simons-Lane, executive director at the U.S. Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme Alumni Association, said Japan should be more flexible in its border restrictions and make exceptions for some foreigners."

Telling Japan they should be more flexible! In reality, Assistant Language Teachers are increasingly being sourced from dirt-poor countries such as Philippines or Bangladesh, where 10,000 yen per day is considered as big money...

14 ( +28 / -14 )

uercetum 07:50 am JST

It’s absolutely absurd that they are trying to protect its citizens? Sounds like they are doing their job properly.

If you are locked up in their quarantine facility, why do they need to video call you to confirm that you’re quarantining?

13 ( +26 / -13 )

I've been here for 11 years now and fully regret comming here. We as a family, planning to move elsewhere. There are lots of places where foreigners do not get treated like rats.

Though there is currently a 3,500/day quota limiting people entering Japan, there is no quota for those looking to leave.

You are allowed to leave their country and go back to your country whenever you want.

-7 ( +29 / -36 )

''Which is understandable, as most of these "teachers" are not qualified to teach in their home countries.''

Wow! So you guys teach your young using these 'unqualified teachers'. Somehow paying less is more important than the future of a generation? Wow! Just wow!

I mean if you think these teachers are unqualified, what are your policy makers are doing? Playing pachinko?

6 ( +24 / -18 )

@kurisupisu

yeah a moronic move on my part, to be sure lol It had been a very very long day...

Not sure I would have had the will power to not pop it open by the 3rd day to be honest.

Luckily I have melatonin or the jet lag, terrible internet, MySOS app on top of complete isolation (and forced sobriety) would really be dragging by now.

At least there is a heated blanket and lovely bottle of gin waiting for me at home...

deo volente

7 ( +16 / -9 )

According to the internal affairs ministry, 5,761 candidates joined the program in fiscal 2019. But the ministry has not released data for the subsequent years due to an "inability to accurately state the number as the situation evolves," an official said.

Ridiculously Incompetent.

The bolded confirms what I have always being saying that no data here can be trusted. If they can't know numbers that are not up to 6k one has to have non functioning brain to trust the covid, crime, unemployment, bankruptcy or any economic related data.

4 ( +15 / -11 )

@savethegaijin

Curious What have you done wrong unvaccinated? arrive from red zone country?

My quarantine was 6 days hotel 8 at home and a quick check just now shows its still the same?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Surprise surprise, people react and make decisions based on how they are treated.

Since they are being paid like sh**, the value lost can't be that great, you'll get over it.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Actually, JETs have been and are paid more than many "qualified" or "credentialed" teachers here. JETs are government sponsored, though they are limited to what they can and cannot do.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

The JET program, launched in 1987, works with municipalities -- alongside the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the Foreign Ministry -- to send those living abroad to teach at elementary, junior high and high schools across the country for a maximum of five years.

JET is a good deal for foreigners wanting to step foot in Japan and make a living wage.

The predatory, race to the bottom in wages, useless middleman infested gig job "English teaching" industry in Japan is something these JETS should be protected from.

13 ( +24 / -11 )

It's amazingly ashamed that there are so many people putting down the people who come here to teach the Japanese how to speak the international language. How in the world do you any of you know how qualified the people are who come here to teach from the hallows of your tiny home?

26 ( +32 / -6 )

These teachers won’t be missed…lol !

Japan is one of the best countries in the world for short term stay ( less than a year ) but one of the worst for many foreigners ( not all though ) for long term stay! But then again back home things are much worse for many foreigners in Japan! So as much as I hate to say this, it’s time to just suck up and learn to appreciate Japan the way it is instead of trying to change it for the convenience of foreigners!

1 ( +23 / -22 )

I was going to go back to doing ALT work again this year but the pay is so low only Fillipinos or other low paid S East Asians are willing to accept the positions.

I mean ¥215,000 a month before deductables is ¥35,000 less than when I was an ALT 14 years ago!

My advice ...Avoid Japan like the plague( no pun intended!)

24 ( +36 / -12 )

kaminokazeToday  07:42 am JST

I've been here for 11 years now and fully regret comming here. We as a family, planning to move elsewhere. There are lots of places where foreigners do not get treated like rats.

You and your family have been treated like rats for 11 years and you still live there?

21 ( +31 / -10 )

No JETs this year? Don't worry, the students will be fine without them. Just play a few episodes of the Muppets.

-9 ( +21 / -30 )

I think this is for the better, TBH.

I know a Spanish guy who cannot string together an English sentence without a mistake, but he is, feeling sorry for the students, an English teacher.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

@PepperLunch

Nope fully vaccinated coming back from America.

It's much the same for me which is why it's not actually that bad compared to what some people have to deal with. It's more the finer details that are driving me crazy. 6 days in a hotel sounds fine but most hotels have at least room temperature food, decent internet and beer. I'm not sure what you mean about the quick check but I get 3 calls a day from the app and a few check in requests which would be fine if I didn't somehow manage to always be called when I'm showering or washing my pajamas Roman Fullery style in the bathtub. Also any regular hotel I could suggest not to be housed next to a heavy smoker.

Also for transparency it must be said, I had a very serious stomach surgery over the summer and my dietary restrictions and stomach sensitivity has made this especially hard. I can't really eat rice or overly salty things and I've thrown up every day I've been here (not the hotel's fault, it's just unfortunate) because of the food situation. Not much can be done about that outside of maybe trying to heat up the food. The bentos are not just unheated, they're actually extremely cold... just pulled out of a deep refrigerator type of cold and are quite indigestible. I can't imagine another situation where people would be okay with this outside of being forced to do so. School and prison lunches manage to be warm, not sure why quarantine meals can't be...

16 ( +21 / -5 )

JETs not needed. Give the students some sets of "Speed Learning", instead.

-18 ( +8 / -26 )

There are lots of places where foreigners do not get treated like rats.

People with low level skills are treated like "rats" everywhere.

Professional foreigners are not treated like rats in Japan.

8 ( +22 / -14 )

Savethegaijin, sorry i wasnt clear meant a quick check on the gov website still shows its 6 days at hotel 8 at home maybe cos i came from England and was right at end of December.

You mentioned youd been in a hotel for 2 weeks thought thst seemed harsh.

Agree re the bento it was a nightmare for my little one even worse,

Sorry to hear of your stomach surgery its inhumane to keep you there hopefully youl be free soon well relativley free at home.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think a lot of people who lived in Japan for over 10 years regret making that decision. Those teachers should be thankful for COVID, they just don't know it. Only after living in Japan for a long time the picture will be clear.

In my first 2 years in Japan living in a capital with less than half a million people I always wondered why the heck every single year you got so many welcome and farewell parties (ALT, etc), with just a little fraction of foreigners staying. A couple of years later every interaction with a new local became just tiring and repetitive, making me have very little interest in knowing and even talking to non-foreigners, which is a shame as Ive been learning japanese since I was 14 (early 2000s) but I guess it all sounded very beautiful and clean because I was seeing everything from the outside, through the anime/drama and also countless Japan Foundation tapes that showed how the all smily and cheerful japanese interact with each other. Reality was different.

12 ( +20 / -8 )

The confiscation of the Moet is the most hideous, ghastly affair.

16 ( +20 / -4 )

@PepperLunch

Oh sorry I probably wasn't clear... the two weeks was in reference to my pre-travel PCR's and travel time up until now. My apologies.

Yeah I mean I don't blame the Japanese government for this, it's a pandemic... who really knows the right answer ya know? I don't think I've been mistreated (okay nearly frozen food is a little mean but maybe there is a reason they can't provide warm meals that I am not aware of) and I accept all of this as I chose to travel in the pandemic (I have very real and serious reasons for doing so, but still).

I also have a husband and a child waiting for me at home... another reason why I'm willing to undertake all of these annoyances. I'm just saying that if I were an aspiring ALT, I wouldn't want to go through this just for a year contract teaching english a few hours a day. It just doesn't seem worth it unless you really don't have another option... but most ALT's are single, college graduates coming from developed countries so not having any another option seems like a stretch.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

the whole ALT system is horribly broken. no loss here. perhaps the existing teachers will have some bargaining power now.

17 ( +24 / -7 )

Japan is one of the best countries in the world for short term stay ( less than a year ) but one of the worst for many foreigners ( not all though ) for long term stay! But then again back home things are much worse for many foreigners in Japan! So as much as I hate to say this, it’s time to just suck up and learn to appreciate Japan the way it is instead of trying to change it for the convenience of foreigners!

This! The unbearable japanese workplace environment made me the independent enterpreneur I never aimed to be back home, as I was pretty much satisfied with any pleasant job that paid my bills.

And yes, much better living in your own bubble of family and few friends in alienating Japan than to live in fear of the white-hating mob back home, where you cant even walk in the streets past 10pm.

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

@savethegaijin thats terrible for you, similar to you i did mytime cos i had to, but it would probably need to be someone dieing to make me travel again after going through it.

I was lucky was with the little one to keep me company

Best wishes to you and your family, get home soon.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

And yes, much better living in your own bubble of family and few friends in alienating Japan than to live in fear of the white-hating mob back home

Geez, where did you live? Apartheid era South Africa?

-3 ( +13 / -16 )

Wages are going up because of this... I know an ALT that actually got a pay rise, unbelievable!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

///You and your family have been treated like rats for 11 years and you still live there?///

I never said that!

Nope. I won't live here for one day if such an incident has happened to me. Fortunately, never happened to me personally. God! But I was able to comprehend what is happening to my fellow ex-pat community.

so my decision is a judgment call.

///People with low-level skills are treated like "rats" everywhere.

Professional foreigners are not treated like rats in Japan.///

I know for a fact that many foreigners who live in Japan want to leave because of this unwelcoming behavior.

Not some language school students or easy recruits at construction sites. They are experienced PHD holders, software engineers, researchers, who generally make more than a double compared to Japanese nationals (15M+). So a big No. I am talking about professional+ here.

3 ( +15 / -12 )

People who complain that Japan is unwelcoming for whatever reason simply don't yet understand that the Japanese government will never allow an entire class of immigrants to become successful because then they could threaten the power structure. But the Japanese public loves the odd successful gaijin because they can feel good about themselves and not face facts. The best that you, dear Gaijin, is to become that odd successful gaijin and leave the rest behind ...

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the JET programme has anything to do with teaching or education. Complaining about the lack of qualifications of JET participants is pointless, as they are not and will not be teachers. Just read about the program in Japanese, the word 'teaching' does not appear. They are called 'Youth Exchange' participants. The purpose is not educating young Japanese, that is why the budget for the program comes from MOFA and MIC primarily. The purpose is for young people to come to Japan for a few years, have fun, drink a bit, and go home with a favorable impression of the country. Then, later in their lives when they are more mature and have more power, they will favor Japan and Japanese companies in whatever endeavor they choose. Basically, it is a PR campaign for Japan Inc.

18 ( +30 / -12 )

@Dirk T

/// The best that you, dear Gaijin, is to become that odd successful gaijin and leave the rest behind ...///

That is exactly how I lived my life here. But, there is a moment where you have lived so long, you don't value odd success anymore. you seek healthy relationships. starting to think about your retired life. what will happen to your children? how would they be treated like? Despite they've lived here for their entire life, your children will always get the gaijin treatment. I don't want that to happen. I do not want my children to think less of themselves. uh!

4 ( +13 / -9 )

@kaminokaze While I no longer live in Japan, I do still have strong ties to the country and tell all potential gaijin to strive to become like the rarest & most beautiful animal in the zoo for then you will be treated the best.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

kaminokazeToday  07:42 am JST

There are lots of places where foreigners do not get treated like rats.

Those of us who have lived here for far longer than your 11 years might just think that foreigners who think they are being treated like rats has much more to do with them rather than the country and its people.

0 ( +14 / -14 )

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the JET programme has anything to do with teaching or education. Complaining about the lack of qualifications of JET participants is pointless, as they are not and will not be teachers. Just read about the program in Japanese, the word 'teaching' does not appear. They are called 'Youth Exchange' participants. The purpose is not educating young Japanese, that is why the budget for the program comes from MOFA and MIC primarily. The purpose is for young people to come to Japan for a few years, have fun, drink a bit, and go home with a favorable impression of the country. Then, later in their lives when they are more mature and have more power, they will favor Japan and Japanese companies in whatever endeavor they choose. Basically, it is a PR campaign for Japan Inc.

Finally someone who has a clue!

This solves the question on why there are no "veteran" ALTs, you have to leave while you still have a good impression of Japan. This also answer MarkX´s question↓ you cant have motivated, happy people if they are already here for some time. Actually you can even spot the long-termer in the streets, they are always looking down, probably tired of the stares followed by turning heads, or any other exaggerated act to 'show' you they havent seen you (wall gazers lol)

It is interesting that many of these communities that now don't have these young, new, fresh, impressionable JET teachers would never think of reaching out to the the countless foreigners who are already working and living in the community to assist with English teaching.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

@savethegaijin I’ve completed the returnee quarantine several times here- glutton for punishment etc and after noting the Japanese guy in front of me at Heathrow last time did not have the advised Japanese PCR test form completed but a simple fit to fly form from his chosen clinic- this time I did the same- no issue at immigration upon landing. As long as the fit to fly form that your clinic produces contains the correct info (listed on the immigration website) you don’t need to get the additional Japanese form filled in- as most places usually charge a ridiculous additional fee for this.

Also Ebisu Ayumu clinic only charge ¥16,000 for PCR - suitable for a pre departure- result and certificate provided within 24 hrs.

https://www.ayumucl.team-medical.or.jp/english

Commiserations on the Moët…

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Dan, with respect...if you have been in Japan for 14 plus years and are still looking for ALT positions, then the problem may be you. If you haven't upgraded your skills, qualifications, Japanese language ability, networking, research, etc. then perhaps it may be time to do so. Direct hire ALT positions often pay in the 300,000 per month range and are available. There is one on the JALT homepage now that advertises 380,000. 'Real' teaching jobs in senior and junior high school pay even more. Nothing stopping anyone from being successful in education here if they are willing to put in the time and effort.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

It's much the same for me which is why it's not actually that bad compared to what some people have to deal with. It's more the finer details that are driving me crazy. 6 days in a hotel sounds fine but most hotels have at least room temperature food, decent internet and beer. I'm not sure what you mean about the quick check but I get 3 calls a day from the app and a few check in requests which would be fine if I didn't somehow manage to always be called when I'm showering or washing my pajamas Roman Fullery style in the bathtub. Also any regular hotel I could suggest not to be housed next to a heavy smoker.

Also for transparency it must be said, I had a very serious stomach surgery over the summer and my dietary restrictions and stomach sensitivity has made this especially hard. I can't really eat rice or overly salty things and I've thrown up every day I've been here (not the hotel's fault, it's just unfortunate) because of the food situation. Not much can be done about that outside of maybe trying to heat up the food. The bentos are not just unheated, they're actually extremely cold... just pulled out of a deep refrigerator type of cold and are quite indigestible. I can't imagine another situation where people would be okay with this outside of being forced to do so. School and prison lunches manage to be warm, not sure why quarantine meals can't be...

They allow you to deliver food to your room, so to all those who are in the same predicament. Do yourself a favor and get yourself some coffee, groceries or hot tasty meals delivered once a day. It helps keeps your sanity and saves your stomach.

I got home a few days ago after the 6 day mandatory hotel stay. Can second pretty much everything you said, although I guess I was lucky enough that my meals were at least (luke)warm if I picked them up quickly enough. Some people tell me I should count myself lucky that the government pays for the facilities and that I was able to go abroad and get back. Sure, maybe so, but that doesn't mean they should treat us like criminals. Solitary confinement in a tiny room where you can't so much as walk 4 steps seems like a borderline violation of human rights to me.

Like you I was well prepared and took plenty of my own foods and entertainment with me, which was the only reason I did not go insane in those 6-7 days locked up. Staff ranged anywhere from friendly to downright horrible and oppressive. Some yelled at me and knocked on my door for not even picking up my meal within 5 minutes after delivery. I got call from the staff while taking a shower asking me where I was. Like I am able to get out anywhere with 2 guards patrolling each floor...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I understand the attraction of Japan. Anime, manga, food, etc. But these people realize they are essentially servants with very low pay. Which is understandable, as most of these "teachers" are not qualified to teach in their home countries.

You seem to misunderstand the point of the JET programme. It's not to bring in qualified teachers of English to replace the incompetence at home, but to bring in young people for a language exchange and tape recorder duties anyone with a pulse and native level English could do.

Whatever usefulness it ever had as a teaching method never materialized, but for many (not all), it is a fun way to see Japan and generally builds up relations with other countries.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It is interesting that many of these communities that now don't have these young, new, fresh, impressionable JET teachers would never think of reaching out to the the countless foreigners who are already working and living in the community to assist with English teaching.

That would acknowledge their existence

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This is opening the door for more staff companies to swindle unsuspecting foreign teachers. Never let them withhold one month's salary. You must stand strong that you should receive payment within the first 30 days. If someone complains that you didn't wear your mask right, you could be out of a job, two months salary, need to find a new place to stay, and have to get a new Visa sponsor.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Staff ranged anywhere from friendly to downright horrible and oppressive. Some yelled at me and knocked on my door for not even picking up my meal within 5 minutes after delivery. I got call from the staff while taking a shower asking me where I was. Like I am able to get out anywhere with 2 guards patrolling each floor...

Sounds like the staff are going crazy

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Please don't make the mistake of thinking that the JET programme has anything to do with teaching or education. Complaining about the lack of qualifications of JET participants is pointless, as they are not and will not be teachers. Just read about the program in Japanese, the word 'teaching' does not appear. They are called 'Youth Exchange' participants. The purpose is not educating young Japanese, that is why the budget for the program comes from MOFA and MIC primarily. The purpose is for young people to come to Japan for a few years, have fun, drink a bit, and go home with a favorable impression of the country. Then, later in their lives when they are more mature and have more power, they will favor Japan and Japanese companies in whatever endeavor they choose. Basically, it is a PR campaign for Japan Inc.

While there is some truth about Japan hoping participants will leave with a favorable image of this country, you are mistaken about the overall purpose of of the program. The purpose is to assist in language education, and that can be either utilized well or not so much. Spending time with students, sharing your culture, and giving them an opportunity to use English does make a difference. It may not to the majority, but for some, it really does. I think what many foreign teachers forget, though, is that you are also there for the Japanese English teachers to improve their speaking capability. Helping them to feel confident and encouraging them to use English in the classroom will have a greater impact overall. Even speaking English with teachers who are not English teachers can create a positive environment.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The purpose is to assist in language education

Sorry that make me laugh. That would presuppose Japanese teachers understand how to teach English to begin with, are then saddled with an English speaker who can't explain anything, resulting in a worse outcome.

There's been zero attempts to take feedback and iterate improvements since JET started. You want to look at real leaders in language education, go to Finland. Teachers has Master's degrees or PhD's.

Please note that every other neighbour to Japan can teach English better. Every single one.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

“International travel to and from Japan used to be easy. Now it’s a burden you want to avoid.”

it’s a no brainer. It will be a breeze again when this is over. But for now, you need to suck it up if you choose to travel. It’s pandemic time. That’s why DONT travel unless you must. If you do, it’s no use complaining

1 ( +7 / -6 )

People with low level skills are treated like "rats" everywhere.

Professional foreigners are not treated like rats in Japan.

yep, that's the unfortunate reality everywhere, and especially in Japan..where skills equals respect, no skills no respect.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

“TokyoLivingToday  07:34 am JST

If you want to come to Japan, wait for your turn.. 

Japan has its sovereign right to administer the necessary measures of restrictions in order to protect its population.

Their country, their rules..

Plain and simple..“

ABSOLUTELY! Someone just want to immediately satisfy their selfishness.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

Max, if the purpose was to improve language education;

a/ teachers with credentials/experience would be prioritized

b/ there would be no limits on contracts or length of stay for participants

c/ there would be dedicated feedback mechanisms

d/ there would be dedicated curricula and policy goals

None of the above are true. Rather, a community is told, "here is your gaijin" and away they go. Some are lucky and get placed in schools where there is genuine curiosity for and love of education. Even in those situations though, if the JET is not trained as a teacher or in ESL, the impact is limited. Further, if the Japanese teachers of English are not trained in how best to team teach and use communicative techniques, the impact is even further limited. The resulting frustration in any JET participant who wants to actually HAVE a positive impact starts to show after a year or two. Hence the term limits.

Getting students to "like English" or "be curious" are not serious policy goals.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

@WOBOT no wages are going down if anything!

Aichi is seeing wages decrease for non direct hire ALTs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Dan, yes "non direct hire" is the key. There are other options available. 380,000 in Osaka. 300,000 for a real teaching job (net deductions and social welfare), etc. Part time at universities for 30-35,000 per koma. Like anything else, you have to cut out the middleman.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think a lot of people who lived in Japan for over 10 years regret making that decision.

None here.

ditto

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Furus  10:09 am JST

They allow you to deliver food to your room, so to all those who are in the same predicament. Do yourself a favor and get yourself some coffee, groceries or hot tasty meals delivered once a day.

This was not my experience. The government facility at which I was quarantined informed us in person and via written instructions that items purchased through food delivery companies (Uber Eats, etc.) could not be delivered to our rooms. Only Amazon shipments could be received.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

International travel is the source of the pandemic and the proliferation of the latest variant. Stay home. Wait a year. It isn't intended as a personal affront, it is public health policy during a P A N D E M I C. What is so difficult about to understand?

300 foreigners. Easily replaceable. There are myriad foreigners in Japan, capable of teaching English on the level of a JET Program, recent graduate from a university with no actual job experience let alone as a teacher or assistant teacher. JET Program is great, but it can park itself for another year without the social structure crumbling.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Perfect. Choose South Korea. This government doesn't care about foriegners anymore.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

300? That might be the total number last month, but the total number of new JETs and other ALTs locked out of Japan in the past two years is in the thousands.

And now this combined in the U.S. with a job market full of desperate employers offering high wages, which makes the generous JET wage look less attractive. Even someone who hasn’t finished high school yet can get a $15/hour fast-food job in rural parts of the U.S. currently. An entry-level college grad should have little trouble pulling down at least double that.

Albeit, there are a few social science, humanities, and “studies” majors for whom anything over minimum wage is considered good, so maybe JET will still attract a few once travel restrictions cease.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Im surprised that ESL and EFL teachers are even in demand anymore what with the pandemic still raging on. I've heard of many Japanese people dropping out of their English classes at eikaiwas and whatnot because they realized that they don't need to use English anymore since they can't travel, go on international business trips etc. The motivation to learn has definitely decreased.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Sorry that make me laugh. That would presuppose Japanese teachers understand how to teach English to begin with, are then saddled with an English speaker who can't explain anything, resulting in a worse outcome.

There's been zero attempts to take feedback and iterate improvements since JET started. You want to look at real leaders in language education, go to Finland. Teachers has Master's degrees or PhD's.

Please note that every other neighbour to Japan can teach English better. Every single one.

That's a very naive opinion. While I agree that many things need improving, I have met many Japanese teachers who are highly educated and talented.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Not a big loss. The JET program is essentially a failure and only continues because Japan just keeps doing the same thing for fear of change. It's had very little impact on actually improving English among students in the countryside because foreign teachers are part slaves, part performers under the control of Japanese teachers who are still in charge of their English programs and are the 'head English' teachers. JET is a bad joke because the Japanese teachers refuse to give up control even though most can't speak or even hate English.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This was not my experience. The government facility at which I was quarantined informed us in person and via written instructions that items purchased through food delivery companies (Uber Eats, etc.) could not be delivered to our rooms. Only Amazon shipments could be received.

That's insane. Goes to show that even though rules should be the same, different facilities have different standards. In Osaka they placed me in one of those APA hotels that was designated as a government quarantine facility. Not great, but from what I hear, apparently it could be even worse...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Attila I agree 100% on the negative impact of term limits. Skilled teachers should be allowed to remain and schools should be allowed to keep them. But being able to spend time with a native English teacher / person far outweighs being unable to. Again, foreign teachers seem to forget that using English with the Japanese teachers is very important to improving the overall English education because it continues even when the native teacher is not present. The biggest dilemma has always been entrance tests, not the training of the JTE. And I'd also argue that other dilemma is the belief that "I'm Japanese. I don't need English." And while that belief is overall true, to foster a feeling of "I'm Japanese. But it's okay to speak English, too." is probably the greatest challenge we face here. There has to be a reason to use English and that is what participants in the JET program do offer.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan looks attractive before entering. Your expeience as an ALT or working at English schools will depend on your background. I am currently an English Teacher and I'll tell you this. I won't recommend it at all for something to make a life. It's ok if your intentions is to travel Asia and Japan. Other than that, Japan isn't a wowing country, not the life of the party. Unless your country is really struggling, you can come for a time and bounce. I found foriengers here are like wanderers. No real sense of goal or purpose. If you are reading this comment. Don't let that be you. Its more fun in the west. Here is like a military zone, clean and safe. The END!!

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Max, you aren't wrong. But I would say that the costs outweigh the benefits. Also that, IF the government wanted to be serious about improving the language ability of students and teachers, the worst thing to do is to hire inexperienced, untrained, naive foreigners to try and fix the problem.

One root cause is that language education in general is bad here. The irony when I was an ALT was that the best English speakers at my schools were invariable the part-time teachers. Most of them were the wives of Japanese company workers who had been transfered to the US. So they had lived abroad for 5 years of so. But man did they do their best to hide their ability! And PE teachers for some reason were usually decent at English. The full time English teachers were too busy with all the crap duties that teachers have here (clubs, meetings) to either improve their lessons or their language ability.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The JP government just plain forgot that working visa do not equal residents... this means no overseas nurses, no english teachers, no imported labor... Even people will long term visa's can't get in.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If somebody waiting for enter here newly as a student or a worker, please choose another country. This people keep wasting our time and money.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

They don’t really want or need foreign teachers. And you probably already know that or should know it beforehand.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Been here 20 years. Best to start your own business online and ignore the ignorance of the land. I only hang with the real international professionals wether they are Japanese or not. My circle is built on a global mindset. Not an island mindset. Also, the JET program has always been a joke. It's only meant to encourage the locals not to fear us.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

“You are allowed to leave their country and go back to your country whenever you want.”

exactly! But I think the person is still pondering and on the fence… being a rat here perhaps is still better than a hooman somewhere else. Sorry to put it that way but I hope that person finds his/her dream land and home and good luck!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The average Japanese person has no use for the English language in their lives. They should stop teaching it as a mandatory class in public schools all together.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

JET teachers don't actually get to teach English. Although it sounds like a teaching job, it's officially defined as being "a cultural ambassador". The many JET workers I've known enjoyed the initial experience but quickly became frustrated because they were never allowed to teach, only assist a Japanese teacher by pronouncing words or playing games.

It's not a bad gig for a young person looking for an interesting short term cross-cultural experience that pays okay.

But I don't think lack of ALT's would be much of a loss for real English learning in Japan. They need to allow actual native English speakers to teach English in the public schools, but that's unlikely to happen and the poor speaking outcomes for Japanese students will continue.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Attila

It's hard to say much about the costs. I think it depends on how the schools are utilizing their JET participant. If you were to calculate the costs of students and teachers going to an English Conversation school outside, then it might be more cost effective having a JET who is there, present at the school. Being physically present also cuts the need to commute to conversation schools and the time to do so outside school hours.

I have been doing this for over 20 years now in a private high. And I have met many different Japanese teachers, and they are hired for a variety of reasons - but the most important is what they can offer to the school beyond teaching their subject matter. If the school can find a soccer coach who also has a teacher's license in English, then they will hire them because it fills the roles they need. Admittedly, some teachers only became teachers to become coaches. But overall, my JTEs do enjoy English and greatly appreciate having my presence so that they can maintain or improve their English ability.

My duties are so much more than what a participant on the JET program is expected to do. And I find that to be the fault of the schools themselves. Japanese schools would benefit more if they didn't view the foreign teachers as guests and actually took the effort to train JETs about how to do things. And I don't mean English education here, but all events and daily routines. There are many things that can be done even with limited experience and Japanese ability.

I know that we have gone off topic a bit. Nevertheless I appreciate the civil discussion. Best wishes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anyone who is saying 'Dont come to Japan, it's not what you are expecting, it's really worse in reality and such'. Why are you staying in Japan then?

Don't make people hopeless or aware of it. Let them do what they want to (except crime).

Most people will come to experience in Japan though. People should have their own experience rather than depending on others. Come to Japan and feel it yourself!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Go somewhere else to teach ABCD, plenty job opportunities in Asia

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I mean ¥215,000 a month before deductables is ¥35,000 less than when I was an ALT 14 years ago

ALT, but not JET. When I was in the JET Programme 25 years ago I was earning 300,000 p/m. After deductions (rent, insurance, bills etc), I had about 240,000 left.

It was a great salary then, both in Japan and even compared to salaries back home.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

they don't need to use English anymore since they can't travel, go on international business trips etc. The motivation to learn has definitely decreased.

That's okay. It would mean that those that actually learn English will want to. That will begin to treat the topic with respect it needs rather than thinking it's so simple. The next step after that is training/hiring actual experts.

I have met many Japanese teachers who are highly educated and talented.

I'm naive to think this applies everywhere?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Max, no worries. I did the typical ladder, eikaiwa to ALT to private HS to university. Public school teachers were the least interested in actual genuine ESL teaching for the reasons I wrote about. A good private high\junior high is another matter entirely.

I would say take the JET budget and use it instead to teach Japanese English teachers communicative pedagogy, help them brush up on their oral skills, and even do a stint overseas- either to study ESL or if they can handle it to get TESOL certified. Then THEY can be the seeds that will grow into more respect for language education. After all, JETs and ALTs are not role models for the students. The role model is the Japanese teacher who can communicate WITH the JET or ALT. So that is where the money should go.

Best of luck from April- who knows how we will be teaching then...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It was quite early on in my more than 50 years in Japan that I realised that Japan could be an excellent place for one who already preferred to be an outsider from conventional society, provided s/he had an independent and imaginative spirit and could find a way to be self-employed. Those who hoped to be included in Japanese society and be employed by its companies were and are far less likely to find satisfaction. Creative or resourceful people who even in their own countries did not want to have to subscribe to the consensus reality can find the lack of peer pressure to conform to a group quite liberating. If a career in the arts or another way of being self-employed is what you want, the exclusion and lack of a sense of Belonging is more an asset than something to complain of, and you may well be treatid with respect for your relative independence, if it is unthreatening and you show respect for the finer aspects of Japan. Working for a company or the government is an option I would never have considered, and I daresay I would have ended up commiserating with half the people in this discussion had I done so.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

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