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I think whether a person can enjoy living in Japan will, more than anything else, come down to his work situation. The work culture is everyone's #1 complaint about Japan.
I knew a foreigner guy who basically told his company "f**k your long hours. f**k working on weekends. If you want to hire me I'm gonna do my job and go home when it's time to go home." (more nicely than that) They hired him, so I guess his skills (software) were important enough to the company. And he was able to have a good life in Japan.
If you are able to pull that off, great. Most will not be so fortunate, I think. Look around Youtube and blogs and you will hear no end of horror stories about the actual experiences foreigners have had working in Japan. The ones who believed that teaching English in Japan would be fun especially tend to regret it.
In Japan, if you are a foreign man you need a job, otherwise you would totally run out of money within even a few months.
However which job you can do depends on your qualification you can offer to employers.
A good knowledge of the Japanese language in both, spoken and written, is very useful. Japanese people are not known to be good in foreign languages.
In Japan as a foreigner you can surely find employment which is not bad at all. There are plenty of jobs within international hotels, speciality restaurants, import/export companies, shipping/moving companies, fairs and exhibition management, foreign government related offices, international schools and so on.
About 'English teacher' - many of them do not have any knowledge of Japanese and cannot show any experience of being a 'teacher' and in general such jobs are good only for beginning, as such language schools can often offer a proper working visa and a simple accommodation - I would say, you should find a different employment within 1 or 2 years - and if not, better move on - and indeed many are leaving.
However, the job is not the only important criteria. I can say when looking around the few people from my own native country who are living in Japan since many years, they all have Japanese families. Similar to myself, it's not only about job, there are private reasons why foreign men continue to live in Japan over decades.
I created my own 'escape route', as life in Japan gets a bit boring over the time. I bought a 'second home' in Thailand for vacation and also for retirement. I also have a foster daughter in Philippines I visit sometimes. - Sometimes you really need to get out of Japan for a few weeks to see other countries and different people. Japan is suffering somehow of monotony - everywhere you go it is about the same...
Good sh*t! You have to be stern to these software companies....especially if you were to go through East Indian recruiters, they can be a bit stern and adamant on the job description. You just have to be firmer than they; that's all.
It's time to expatriate to evade your fate; it's time to expatriate before the barn door permanently closes on "US" sheep.
- Follow me on Twitter @eirizarryRNB
Learning Japanese is hard. I tried it. It's hard. ESL is more or less a dead end job in Asia. Unless if you open your own school or do allot of private tutoring but the reality is that Japan just like any of those 1st world Asian countries the working condition is tough.
It depends - Japanese is hard to learn compared to which language?
Many Asian languages are rather complicated and often have a different writing system too.
I don't know what is more difficut compared to Japanese, but Burmese spoken in Myanmar is difficult too, and Khmer in Cambodia is known as complicated and it is not even a tonal language. Vietnamese is not easy to study, despite its writing is in Roman letters, Korean is at least equal time consuming to learn as Japanese...Indian languages like Hindi or Tamil are known a headache for any newcomer who never had anything to do with such languages....
The only not really so difficult Asian languages which come to my mind are Indonesian/Malay and also Tagalog...but otherwise?
Chinese is not easy, and to study languages of Asian countries like Pakistan - Urdu/Punjabi etc. - and Iran - Farsi - might also not a simple task.
@chanta76 - I was thinking you can speak/read Chinese and/or Korean and you are Asian-American - or not? I am not sure, maybe I am wrong.
What is your native language?