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It’s a tough job market out there, especially in the current economic climate, with Japan recently posting a massive trade deficit. To find out, I teamed up with my good friend Joe who just got back from two years living and teaching English in Japan and had now started work with a Japanese moving company here in the States. Like I mentioned above, Joe majored in Japanese at Ohio State University and then went on to teach English in Japan for two years through the JET program (more info on that and how to apply here). Joe was in a lot of the same Japanese classes as me during undergrad, but since Japanese was his only major, he could afford to put a lot more time and effort into the language than I could (I double majored in Japanese and economics and minored in engineering). After graduating, Joe started looking for jobs in Japan and managed to land a pretty nice gig through JET teaching English. There are recruiting companies such as TOP Chicago who actively search for people with Japanese qualifications and try to refer them to their clientele – Japanese companies in America. While I (John again here) was looking for jobs, I had my own dealings with TOP Chicago as well. A: My first Skype interviews were with the recruiters at TOP Chicago, and they seemed to be primarily to get a feel for what kind of work I was looking for, but since these were all conducted in Japanese, they also served the double purpose of testing my Japanese ability to better find a suitable position for me. That sort of job could be considered a promotion actually, and would be a fully integrated mix of reading and writing paperwork and box labels, as well as speaking and listening to customers and fellow employees at the home office. Overall, as I continue my search for employment opportunities in Japanese-related fields, my JET experience is definitely one of my strongest points, but more and more it seems that Japanese language should have been a supplemental skill adding to other, more desirable qualifications.
And you’re Brazilian, still struggling to learn Japanese, living in Brazil and tottaly broke.
If anyone is able to speak Japanese (like N2 and above) and wants a job, please, please, come to Columbus, OH.
I majored in graphic design and minored in Japanese, I ended up briefly working in marketing for a Japanese-owned structural engineering company.
I retrained years later and now I’m a high school Japanese teacher because I want to use my Japanese. Thought I heard Brazil has more Japanese immigrants (or descendants of immigrants) than any other country. If you’re really interested in a Japan-related job, then your best bet is to come here and live here for some time! I lived in Japan two years, did the English teaching gig a bit, then became a stay at home mom for the rest of my time. BUT, I was really lucky to hear about a brand new language school in my new American city (Memphis) that just so happened to be interested in having a Japanese teacher on staff…and they liked that they could get an experienced English teacher and a Japanese teacher in a two for one deal. Haha, i also worked at yamato, not in the states but in yokohama as a part time job while I was in language school…. My husband works for a japanese international machine tool company here in Germany as a Service Engineer.
Also his work environment is a mix of german (with the german customers) and english it’d be good if he would know some japanese. Japanese is actually one of (if not THE) highest paid language pair for translation and interpretation (sadly because Japanese people do not have a high level of English).
If you can speak fluent English and can get your Bachelors degree, you can still teach in Japan. That’s actually my exact fear in working for a Japanese company, and also my worry in trying to move in a direction away from Japanese. I’m not a big fan of making generalizations, but that does seem to be a pretty common complaint around the internet about Japanese companies in the US. PLUS, you live in Brazil (aka the Second Japan) so if you look around you are bound to have actual Japanese people who can help you. This was so useful and well written, my brother is going through a similar process and was considering getting a summer job in Hawaii, while he finishes college in San Diego. Teaching, translating, and sharing Japanese culture are the jobs most readily available to foreigners in Japan. I have heard that it is not easy to get a job as English language teacher if you aren’t a native speaker. An ideal would be then to continue my studies into multimedia, perhaps taking some Japanese-lessons as evening-school or just trying to learn it by myself in my freetime. The latest numbers released by the government Tuesday were so bad they prompted officials to couple the report with new measures to help jobseekers.

The numbers are in bleak contrast to the solid recovery staged by corporate Japan over the past year. Tozaki hopes for a job with a major electronics or construction company like Hitachi or Komatsu.
Economists say that one of the reasons behind corporate Japan’s reluctance to boost jobs is cost. Prime Minister Naoto Kan has identified jobs and reviving growth as priorities for his administration.
The labor ministry said it will redouble efforts to support jobless students in the months before the school year finishes in March.
The ministry will also organize nationwide job fairs featuring small and mid-size companies that may have been overlooked by jobseekers because they don’t have the same name recognition as a Sony or Toyota.
Naomi: I have a favorite home-style restaurant and bar called “Kagaya” in downtown Shinbashi that anyone covering wacky Japan should visit.
La Carmina & the Pirates poses as yet another example of a trend spotting company morphing into something more of a full-service agency, as the consultancy positions itself as a one-stop shop for Japanese pop culture and subculture research, guidance, and coverage.
I’m in pre-advanced Japanese courses, and currently taking a Japanese translation course.
He went through the same Japanese program that I did at college, but his two years actually living in Japan really rocketed his Japanese skills to new heights. I would be able to be out and about, getting exercise and working up a good sweat, all the while working in a Japanese environment.
If, however, I wanted to do anything differently, it would be to find a non-teaching job IN JAPAN while living in Japan. The market there has a much higher demand for foreigners who can speak Japanese, while American-based Japanese companies will almost certainly prefer a native who can speak English. It is well-known that Japanese people work very long hours for little reward, and that is a distinct characteristic that is not exclusive to their home country.
All our Japanese businesses are expanding and they are looking for translators, secretaries, engineers, and accountants who can speak Japanese! There are some (like Yamato) which do logistics and others that do insurance or consulting services (there is even a travel agent that I heard was looking for someone not too long ago), but I would say 90% of the companies out here make parts for Honda. I switched my major from Japanese to East Asian Studies and International Relations, because that sounded better on paper. Even simple conversations were difficult for them if they’ve never been in Japan before! If you plan on going, make sure you can speak Japanese (as in an entire interview only in Japanese) and are familiar with the SPI test — you will be asked to take it on the spot.
And occasionally I do volunteer translation for medical situations since Japanese is a very rare language for medical translators in this area.
Some manuals of the machines are completely in japanese and also questions to japanese hotlines or coworkers are hard to ask in english because their english isn’t quite good. I worked as a Japanese business analyst at a consulting firm for about 1 year where I did non-stop research in Japanese and made over 6 hours of phone calls (in Japanese) on a daily basis. If you are in Columbus now and you want to come practice your Japanese, check out our Benkyoukai! I have a BS in accounting and looking for a permanent career where I can also use my Japanese. No surprise here as the Japanese government is requiring students as early as elementary school to study this foreign language.
Again, the simple act that you can write, read, and speak perfect English is a very desirable trait in Japan. Do your time in these jobs, network and improve your Japanese, and you can move on to something better within the same career field or find a whole new opportunity most gaijin don’t know about or could not find on an average job board. However, with Japan being the high-tech country it is it is unlikely I’ll find a lot of Job opportunities there. I realize that my view of Japan is very much idolized and heavily warped by movies and anime, so want I want people who actually lived to tell me about my dream, and if it is worth it. Among the many problems tied to a rapidly aging population like Japan’s is that older people tend to spend less.
The collapse of Lehman Brothers and the recession that followed forced many Japanese companies to aggressively restructure, including cutting jobs and scaling back new recruitment.

But he, like many other of his third-year peers, are consumed with the arduous and increasingly competitive job hunting process.
We’re looking for someone native in Japanese and English, to assist us with translation and writing. The Japanese owner, who calls himself “Mark” has been running the place for over twenty years.
But again, if I were going to do anything differently, it would definitely be NOT TO MAJOR IN JAPANESE EXCLUSIVELY. I could never go to Japan despite building professional relationships through the company and recording translations in English for them. However, teaching them about Japanese culture, inspiring them to open up their worlds beyond the every day immediate can be very rewarding.
Others include Westgate, Amity, Berlitz, etc, and I’ve read blogs by people online who are not American, but are teaching English in Japan (and sometimes, though not as commonly, I believe people do teach other languages as well). So Japan needs its younger generations to spend more to underpin private consumption, which accounts for more than half the economy.
There are training and education expenses, along with the fact that firing workers in Japan is difficult. You’ll be translating important documents, so knowing Japanese business language is essential. In America, they still do the same sort of stuff, they just get a whole lot of their business from Japanese people since they already know who Yamato is and are familiar with their quality and professionalism. It’s the perfect way to keep my mind focusing on Japanese every day while preparing materials and get paid for loving Japan and Japanese. With a stay on a military base near Hiroshima, study abroad in the wintery northern Tohoku, and travels through Sapporo, Sendai, Akita, Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and more, he has lived the Japanese experience. As for learning Japanese, I think you will learn more just being here (and maybe taking some lessons) than from 4 years in university here.
At least in a selfish way it is Japan related and I get to keep working on my own understanding of the language.
I have one friend who got a job without it and another who can’t get any interviews without it. You have to know where the jobs are and you need to be willing to compromise if you want to start making money now. It’s not hard to find job postings for English jobs, just take a look at any Japan jobs website or apply directly to one of the chains of English conversation schools that dominate the city. Translating services are on the lookout for new hires, as are Japanese companies that want to be more competitive in the global marketplace. He enjoys sharing his passion through writing about the culture and people of Japan, being featured on media outlets such as Japan Tourist, Japan Today, and GaijinPot. Applying for English jobs outside Japan is more difficult as companies prefer those in Japan with visas. Landing a writing gig for websites or magazines about Japan takes know-how and luck, but if you have a passion, it is a great way to learn more about Japan as you share what you know. Other jobs are less advertised, come through personal connections, or require fluent Japanese and specialized education.
Even though Japanese learn English for nearly ten years in school, the flawed education system unfortunately means people barely retain more than some basic vocabulary words. Some foreigners become immersed so deep into the culture that they become professors, teaching about one or more aspects of Japan through Japanese and international universities. Translating jobs are more easily found in the larger cities, though there is more competition as well.
Usually a lower level translation job means a mumbling gaijin translating English to Japanese. Teaching English is not something most of us enjoy for the long term, then again most of us won’t be in Japan for the long term either.
It may sound horrible and you may be missing half the translation, but your limited Japanese is usually better than a Japanese person’s English.

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