A true to life drama of a Jamaican male, living and working in Japan since March 2008.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company

Days 1656 - 1662
Sunday, September 30 - Saturday, October 6, 2012    

Day 1656 ( Small Typhoon Jelawat / Store Information Forever )
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Went to church today and saw the pastor for the first time since April. Recently when I go there, he is in Malaysia. And When he comes back, I'm out somewhere. Heard that the church got flooded last week from the heavy rains that caused the train to derail.


A small typhoon hit Japan today. But it was gone within like 2 hours. Nothing compared to hurricanes in Jamaica. Here is the news about it... They describe it as powerful but it was a joke. Well I wouldn't go out in it but it was nothing to be afraid of. It did cause some damage in a few areas though. It was heading directly for Taiwan then turned and hit Japan instead.

Powerful typhoon makes landfall on Japan's main island

Jelawat - "Let me hit Taiwan...
naaah I hate stinky tofu, I'm heading for Japan"

A powerful typhoon that was traveling northeastward Sunday along the coast of western Japan made landfall on the main island of Honshu after hammering the southern islands of Okinawa, where it killed a man and injured more than 50 people while causing extensive blackouts, the weather agency said.
At 7 p.m., Typhoon Jelawat made landfall in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, with the season's 17th typhoon moving through the Japanese archipelago, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
In the village of Yomitan in Okinawa Prefecture, 29-year-old Nobuhiro Bando was confirmed dead after being washed away by high tides while he was fishing. A survey by Kyodo News on local police showed that at least 114 people had been injured across the nation on Sunday.



Hitachi develops storage device of a lifetime in quartz glass

Good music lasts a long time, and now high-tech giant Hitachi says it can last even longer — a few hundred million years at least.

Hitachi unveiled a method of storing digital information on slivers of quartz glass that can endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions without degrading, almost forever.
Everything in history can be stored on a piece of glass ... FOREVER
And for anyone who updated their LP collection by storing those vinyl tracks on CD, only to find they then needed to convert it all to MP3, a technology that never needs to change might sound appealing.
"The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms of keeping it for later generations, we haven't necessarily improved since the days we inscribed things on stones," Hitachi researcher Kazuyoshi Torii said.




Day 1657 

(The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Paid some bills today and lodged some money.


The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company 

I had this topic written down in my blog topics book recently when a friend of mine asked me about the pros and cons of teaching in Japan. I forgot that I had it written down. Then I remembered when someone mentioned it on facebook within our Jamaicans in Japan Group.

So here we go.

There are a number of opportunities in Japan to teach English. You can either go private or public. Of course both of them have quite a few pros and cons. Before coming to Japan, I had no interest whatsoever in Asia or Asian culture. I always enjoyed travelling though to see a different country.

My last job in Jamaica was tiring and stressful. So every Sunday I would search the newspaper for a new job. Then I saw "Teach English in Japan.." and all I needed was a degree in anything. This was November 2007 when I saw that ad. I did an interview in December, got through to work for a private company, then I was here in March 2008. I broke up with my girlfriend of almost 3 years, just to see what Japan was like. Is that crazy??? My plan was to stay for only 1 year. But things and times changed.

Oops... got carried away there.. so here they are:

I will start with the 2 main programmes (JET - Public / Interac - Private) , then briefly speak about the others afterwards. Some of them I have no direct experience with. But I have many friends who do.

Public (Through J.E.T. - Japan Exchange And Teaching Programme) 

Pros and process

- Have to apply through the Japanese embassy in your country

- You will be working for the Japanese government if successful

- The pay is great and normally better than private companies

- Steady pay throughout the year

- More benefits than private companies

- Sometimes reduced apartment fees

- You will be taken care of

- You don't have to pay plane fare to Japan

- This is probably the best option of all the others

- Your job is relatively stable, not so easy to get fired even if you suck at teaching and even if the Japanese teachers hate you.


- I am not 100 % sure but I don't think persons have a choice in where they are placed

- I heard it is a difficult process to apply and actually get selected. Quite competitive

- Less freedom than private companies

- Only get 10 - 20 days leave per year

- Have to work all summer and winter even when the kids are not at school. Basically sitting down for 8 hours doing absolutely nothing, every single day.

- You are like a full time Japanese teacher, so maybe lots of work

- Relocating is either very difficult or impossible

- Contract is for a maximum of 3 - 5 years. After that you have to find another source of employment

For more information visit the website below.

Private Companies

First thing, be very careful when deciding to go with a private company in Japan. The most popular by far of all these private companies is ....... I may get in trouble for writing about them but hey I will edit my article if they find out about this and have a problem. Its free advertising for them and I won't write about them in a bad light, I will be very balanced and objective, just giving the pros and cons. .... has about 13 branches that all operate differently (based on the management team) and independent of each other. Some branches are more structured, organized and helpful than others. And basically if you just mind your own business and don't get in trouble, you will be fine.

Pros and Process

- Easy to apply. You can apply online or check the news paper if you are in Jamaica

- Easy to get selected, just pass a relatively easy interview and test

- The pay is ok but you get a pay cut in summer (50%), winter (75%) and spring (prorated - killer)

- Long holidays. Summer (about 5 weeks), Winter (about 2 weeks), Spring ( about 2 weeks )

- More freedom than J.E.T.

- You can get to drive a car but you will have to finance it yourself

- You kind of choose where you want to go if spaces are available.

- You can transfer from one branch to the other.

- You can stay with this company forever if you want, as long as they have a contract with the board of education. Each contract lasts for almost 1 year, renewable if you are not problematic and if you are doing a good job.


Ooh boy. Brace yourselves.

- Sometimes information they give can be very misleading and shady

- You can get fired very easily and they don't care because many people are waiting in line to work in Japan.

-  Mentioned it earlier but it can't be over emphasized. Low pay in summer, winter and murder in Spring

- You have to pay your own plane fare plus fend for yourself the first 2 months which means roughly 90,000 (1 way plane fare) + approx 250,000 or more possibly less (rent and moving in to new apartment) + approx 200,000 (2 months of no pay). Luckily you can get a loan of 250,000 (maximum) from them. Figures are in yen... Do the conversion yourselves.... Lazy

In my case it was similar. Something like this  :

90,000 (2 way open ticket, because my sis worked at the airport)
250,000 loan from interac (moving into new apartment)
250,000 (fend for myself for 2 months)

You won't make back this money within a year. Firstly because Japan is too expensive, secondly you have to pay off your loan, thirdly, you will still only get 60% of your pay in summer and 75% in winter. Fourthly, whatever other circumstance that may present itself.

- Some branches will help you around your new town, others will just give you a map and tell you to get to work on time.

- If you make the mistake of using .... as your guarantor for your apartment, if/when you leave the company or get fired, you have to also leave your apartment.

- Just like how we have a contract for about a year with ....., they also have a contract with the Board of Education (BOE). If the BOE doesn't re-hire ...... , then we are all either out of jobs or we have to change branches or find something else to do.

There are probably many more pros and cons of both but I can't think of any right now. For more information about ..... visit the site below.


Other Private Companies

There are many other private companies around like :





But they are all somehow similar to interac. And many say that interac is probably the best of the worst. Altia is mostly based in Nagoya, Osaka and some other country side prefectures. The pay and benefits are better than that of interac though. Some require you work 6 days a week.

Other Public Opportunities 

Direct Hire to the Board of Education

Some Board of educations hire foreigners directly. A Board of education in Okayama known as the Kurashiki BOE does this. Also one in my prefecture known as the Sagamihara BOE. The pay is good and the job is very similar to that of J.E.T in every way. Only you can apply for it in Japan. This is also very competitive and very difficult to get in. The pay and benefits are good though.


Direct Hire from a School or University

This is probably the most difficult of the lot to come by and you probably will have to be really lucky, especially if you are a Jamaican. Some get it but only a few.

YMCA / Private Students / Cram Schools

These are good as part time gigs. If you decide to do this full-time, then when you decide to take a holiday or a break, then you won't get paid. But if you like to work and work a lot, there is the potential to get a whole lot of money.



Day 1658 ( Monstrous Robot Behemoth / September was the Hottest in 110 Years)
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Normal day at work today. 6 Periods of none stop lesson at my main school. Every time I even think about this, the more I want to stop.


Monstrous robotic behemoth brings anime fantasies to life

Mad inventors use inspiration to build giant working robot

 It's hard to say whether technology will ever catch up with sci-fi anime and realize an era when giant robots roam the earth, but for artist Kogoro Kurata and student Wataru Yoshizaki the future can't come soon enough.

After roughly two years of work, the two robot fanatics have turned their animation-inspired dreams into reality — the 4-meter-tall Kuratas bot.
The robot is no mere polystyrene exhibit. The four-legged, 4-ton steel behemoth, which boasts around 30 hydraulic joints, is fully operational and can travel up to 10 kph. And just like anime robots, it has a cockpit for the "pilot" to climb into and operate it.
Japan's cutting-edge robotic technologies are renowned the world over, but the pair's creation wasn't designed to sort widgets in a factory or assist the elderly in retirement homes.

The robot could be yours for about ¥100 million, but despite the hefty price tag, its creators said there have been over 3,000 inquires, many from overseas.



Hottest September in 110 years

This past September was the hottest in more than 110 years thanks to a powerful high pressure system over the Pacific, according to the Meteorological Agency.
The average September temperature at 17 observation points where urbanization has an effect was 1.92 degrees higher than usual, the biggest leap since 1898, the agency said Monday.
Record highs were logged at 51 of the 154 observation points across the country. The mercury shot up particularly in the north, where the westerlies carried the Pacific high, the agency said.



Day 1659 ( Desk That Charges Laptops / Illegal Down-loaders In Japan May Face Prison Term)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

At my "We don't like English" school today only 1 teacher forgot about English class. That is a great improvement!


Computer charger desk developed

Kokuyo Furniture Co., Murata Manufacturing Co. and U.S. chip-maker Intel Corp. have developed a desk that can charge a portable computer without a power cord.

While there are no plans yet to put the desk on sale, the companies will continue to develop it for commercialization.



Illegal Downloaders in Japan Face Two Years in Prison

Under a new law that goes into effect Oct. 1, Japanese internet users who illegally download files face a 2-year prison sentence or a fine of up to 2 million yen ($25,700), the BBCreports.
Theoretically, pirating just one file could get you in jail and — under one interpretation — using a service such as YouTube, which temporarily stores video files on your computer, could be illegal.
Downloading copyrighted material has been illegal in Japan since 2010, but it did not incur such penalties. Uploading, on the other hand, is a far worse offense, with a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a 10 million yen ($128,400) fine attached.
The law was passed under influence of the Recording Industry Association of Japan, which cited a 2010 study, claiming illegal downloads in the country outnumber the legal ones ten to one.
Japan has been on the forefront of the anti-piracy fight in recent years. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement(ACTA), a international treaty designed to protect intellectual property rights, was first created by the U.S. and Japan in 2006. The treaty was abandoned after a strong public movement against it in many countries, including the U.S., Hungary and Poland.




Day 1660 ( Late 2nd Time In 2 Years  / Japan NHK Won Emmy Award for Tsunami Coverage )

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I mistakenly turned off my alarm this morning instead of putting it on snooze. Only to jump up, look at the time and see 8:20... My class begins at 8:45. I started spinning everywhere, took a quick bath, got a train then took a taxi. My first time to take a taxi to work. Luckily, the vice principal at this school is chill, so there was no problem.

I didn't eat breakfast this morning so I felt as if I was going to faint. Then after lunch I was falling asleep in the staff room. The vice principal asked if I was feeling sick. I told her only a little.


NHK is the main TV station in Japan. And they actually require that you pay a NHK bill if you own a TV. Ha. They come to our apartments every now and again but we were told to ignore them or pretend that we don't speak Japanese.

NHK wins Emmy for quake coverage

NHK has won the 2012 International Emmy in the news category for its "Great East Japan Earthquake Emergency News" covering the largest quake in the country's history and the subsequent devastating tsunami in March 2011.
The 2012 Emmy for current affairs was also quake-related, going to Canada's CBC TV for "Haiti's Orphans: One Year After the Earthquake," which follows the story of three orphaned children and the adults in Canada and Haiti who help them.




Day 1661 ( Japanese Mom Killed 2 Daughters / Toyota #10 In the World  )

Friday, October 5, 2012

Had only 2 classes at my main school today because they are preparing for sports day. Its good when my schools have special events. English get neglected even more. So more free time. After that I went to YMCA to teach 2 classes.


Mom held for stabbing daughters

A 42-year-old woman in Hayamamachi, Kanagawa Prefecture, has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her two daughters, who later died in a hospital, police said.
Masako Nagato admitted to having stabbed her daughters, 9-year-old Miu and 9-month-old Haruka, in a bathroom in their home, according to the police.
Nagato's 74-year-old mother, who was visiting from out of town, called police at around 8 p.m. Wednesday. The suspect's husband was away at the time of the incident.
Nagato was quoted as telling the police that she stabbed her daughters to "protect" her children. Her other children, two sons, were unharmed.
Some media reports said Nagato had been visiting a mental hospital. The police opened an investigation into whether she is mentally competent.



Toyota named 10th best brand in worldwide rankings

Toyota Motor Corp. ranks 10th in the Best Global Brands report for 2012 released by U.S. brand consultancy Interbrand, up one notch from last year.

Toyota was highest among seven Japanese companies in the world's 100 most valuable brands, as rated by Interbrand.
The other firms in the seven included Honda Motor Co. in 21st place, down from 19th, and Canon Inc. in 30th, up from 33rd.
Coca-Cola Co. ranked first for the 13th straight year, followed by Apple Inc., which leaped from eighth place thanks to its popular iPhone smartphones.
To compile its rankings, Interbrand examines the financial performance of the branded products or service, the role the brand plays in influencing consumer choice and the strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings, it said.
IBM came in third, followed by Google and Microsoft. South Korea's Samsung Electronics ranked ninth.





Day 1662 ( Late Again!! / All My Birthday Presents )

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I was late for my first YMCA class this morning. Darn late 2 times in a week? This isn't good. I need to get more rest at nights and stop staying up idling.


These were all the stuff I bought myself for my birthday this year. Plus I got a key ring from my Korean friend, a poetry book from a Japanese friend and a shoes from another Japanese friend.


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zRö TöLéRàNçE said...

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