Life in Japan

All you Need to Know about Working at an Eikaiwa in Japan

Have you ever thought of teaching English in Japan? There are so many possibilities and also contradictory information online that it can be confusing sometimes.

I’ve been working as an English teacher in Japan for 6 years now and I thought I should use my experience and share some useful information with you.

Teaching at a so-called “eikaiwa” is one of the various options you have when working in Japan.

 

What is an Eikaiwa?

Eikaiwa (英会話) consists of the kanji for “English” (ei, 英) and “conversation” (kaiwa, 会話) – and that’s exactly what an eikaiwa is: an English conversation school.

The English skills of Japanese people are often quite low.
Now, you might wonder if they don’t learn English in school. Well, yes they do. However, the Japanese school system is rather old-fashioned and hasn’t changed much in many decades. The way English is taught in Japanese schools is not very effective. The majority of students can’t actually use the language. Most of them just study in order to pass tests, so the focus is on learning vocabulary and grammar rules by heart. Conversational skills aren’t considered to be that important.

As the English education at school is insufficient, a lot of people rely on additional help of either cram schools (“juku”, 塾) or eikaiwas.

working at an eikaiwa in Japan

 

Working at an Eikaiwa:

Working for an eikaiwa is one option if you consider teaching English in Japan. People often ask me what it’s like to work there. They seem confused because they read a lot of contradictory comments in forums. You’ll certainly find a few horror stories and I won’t say they’re not true, but let me tell you that not every eikaiwa is the same. In fact, there are a lot of differences.

 

Types of schools:

There are the big chains like NOVA, ECC, AEON, Berlitz or Peppy Kids Club. On the other hand there are small, often family run conversation schools.

 

The big chain schools:

The big chains usually have a higher budget, newer material and better classrooms. They can be found mainly in big cities. They’re well-known and getting a job there is more competitive. It’s easy to replace one teacher with another. Some of these schools also focus on selling products to students, so rather than a teacher you might feel like a salesperson sometimes.

The advantage of big chains is that it’s easier to obtain information online (e.g. experience of previous teachers), there’s a greater support network and some even offer a “career ladder”.

 

Small individual schools:

Small conversation schools can often be found in rural areas. Some of them struggle because they can’t spend as much on advertisement and promotion compared to the big chain eikaiwas. A few schools even have to close (and you’ll lose your job) because they can’t keep up with their competitors. Compared to the big chain schools, they might or might not treasure their teachers more. They know that it won’t be easy to replace the teacher as many don’t want to live in a rural area of Japan.

There’s often less structure and less money to spend on class material, but you might have more freedom in planning and organizing your lessons. You also might have a much closer relationship to your students than in one of the big schools.

 

Students:

English conversation schools are seen as an addition to the English education at regular school. Some parents want their kids to learn English as soon as possible! Others want to improve their English conversational skills for business reasons or just as a hobby.

It’s very common that you’ll have students of any age, usually raging from 2-70+ years old. While at most schools the majority will consist of kindergarten, elementary school, jr. high and high school kids, you’ll also have the occasional adults.

Class sizes may vary from 1-10 students and often they’re not all the same age. It never gets boring that way, but also can be challenging at times.

 

Working Hours and Vacation:

This may vary from school to school, but most commonly you’ll find something like that:

  • working hours: afternoon to evening (e.g. 1pm to 9pm)
  • 40h per week (25 teaching hours) / 5 days a week
  • work on Sat or Sun is common (maybe no consecutive days off)
  • vacation / days off vary a lot

Your day at work usually starts with kindergarten and elementary school kids in the early afternoon and the later the day gets, the older the students are.

How strict those working hours are handled depends on the school. Some require you to be present all the time even when you don’t have any classes. Others will let you come just right before your classes start and let you go home as soon as you’re done.

By working for an eikaiwa you usually have less vacation than ALTs (assistant language teachers) who work for public schools and have vacation when the schools do.

While it may vary from eikaiwa to eikaiwa, 1-4 weeks vacation per year are quite common. The vacation is often in accordance with the Japanese holidays (New Years holidays, spring vacation, Golden Week, Obon summer vacation). Some schools will be closed on public holidays, others won’t.

 

Salary:

The average salary is 250.000 yen per month for a full-time position. I would advise you not to take a job that offers less than that!
Very few eikaiwas will offer you more for an entry position – up to 300,000 yen are possible. However, I wouldn’t expect that if you’re just starting out as an English teacher in Japan.

Some schools will pay for transportation or offer you a car. In accordance with the labor law a few schools will enroll you into the “shakai hoken“, but the majority won’t. So you’ll have to pay health insurance (kokumin hoken) and pension (kokumin nenkin) yourself. It’s illegal, but it’s a standard practice.

A few schools will pay for your accommodation (or at least subsidise it), others will at least offer assistance in finding an apartment. Some will offer you paid sick leave, but many won’t.

If you’re single and don’t live in one of the most expensive parts of Tokyo, the average salary is enough to make a living – and even save some money (or pay back student loans). Taxes in Japan are extremely low (especially compared to Germany …).

 

Duties:

Apart from teaching, lesson planning, creating teaching material or attending school events (e.g. speech contests), you might also have to work outside of the school. Some eikaiwas have contracts with nearby companies or kindergartens. Teachers might be sent there outside of the regular working hours.
Especially in smaller schools you might have to help with advertising, recruiting, cleaning or creating material for seasonal events.

What and how you’ll teach, depends a lot on the teaching philosophy and program of each school.

For kindergarten kids you’ll mainly just play with them, using English (songs, jumping around, teaching basic things like colors, numbers and the alphabet). With older students you’ll work with textbooks and whatever material the eikaiwa offers. Test preparation is necessary and very common. The most important English tests in Japan are: Eiken (英検), TOEIC, TOEFL and the National Center Test for University Admissions.

Adults often just want to have (random) English conversations with you.

 

Basic requirements:

Most eikaiwa schools want you to be a native speaker of English and have at least a BA / BS degree in any field! However, those are mainly the requirements to obtain a work visa.

In fact, if the work visa is not an issue, it’ll be enough if you have a good pronunciation and a relatively good command of the English language. As long as you won’t teach university students or business English, you don’t have to be a native speaker. I’m not – and yet I teach English. I know my English isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough for this kind of job. With younger students it’s more important that you have a clear and correct pronunciation and that you can create lessons that are fun.

For a few conversation schools it’s important that you have some sort of ESL certificate or qualification. While you’ll find a job without having one, it can certainly help to outdo competitors.

Some schools also require you to have a driver’s license that is valid in Japan.

 

Working at an Eikaiwa – Pros and Cons:

Here are a few positive and negative aspects I see with working for an eikaiwa school in Japan. They might be subjective as they’re based on my opinion, but I think it’ll point out a few important things you should know and think about before taking a job at such a school:

 

Working Hours (+/):

The working hours at an English conversation school can be something good or bad, depending on your lifestyle. Starting in the afternoon means that you can sleep in. You have your mornings to exercise, study Japanese, go grocery shopping or just sleep some more.

On the other hand you have to work until 9 or 10pm. Joining any club activities, a gym or just hanging out with friends who have “normal” working schedules might be difficult. If you live in a rural area, getting anywhere past 10pm might be impossible. Also, it’s very likely that you’ll have to work on a Saturday and instead get a random day off during the week.

 

Students’ motivation (+):

The parents pay for the students to come and study. Some students come because they want to. Of course not all of them will be motivated, but it will be very different from teaching in a public school where you’ll find a lot of unmotivated students.

 

Small class sizes (+):

As mentioned earlier your class sizes will be ranging from roughly 1-10 students per class. Small class sizes allow a closer relationship to the students. Smaller classes are also easier to manage and you can focus more on each individual student and their progress.

Compared to 30+ students per class in a regular school, I think that’s a much better deal.

 

Work Load ():

Although this depends a lot on the school, it’s safe to say that you’ll probably be busier at an eikaiwa than you would be as an ALT (assistant language teacher) in a regular Japanese school. You might have to do 5 or more 60-min. lessons in a row. It can be extremely tiresome.

You might be sent out to an external school, a kindergarten or a company in addition to the regular working hours.

However, there are also schools where you don’t have so many classes and your work load is relatively low.

 

Not a teacher but an entertainer ():

Especially when working with younger students you have to jump around, dance, sing or just simply make a dork out of yourself. That has not much to do with teaching and it’s certainly not something everybody can or would like to do.

You might have extremely quiet and shy teenagers. Then, you need to come up with some good ideas to wake them up and make them talk. You need to be entertaining and surprise them. Just standing in front of the blackboard and preaching some grammar rules won’t do anything.

 

My personal experience:

When I first decided to come to Japan I didn’t think I would end up being an English teacher. Although my major in university was in a related field, I thought I would not be able to teach little kids. It really scared the hell out of me. But I wanted to go to Japan so badly and the lack of time just didn’t allow me to look for other jobs. I had nothing to lose. I brought my own work visa (Working Holiday Visa) and thought if I don’t like the job, I could just leave and try something else.

To my surprise I came to love this kind of job immediately. Japanese kids were surely different from the ones in Germany. It was so much fun teaching them. Even now, 6 years later, I still enjoy it a lot. It’s not something I want to do for the rest of my life, but as I like it so much, I never considered trying something else.

I have to admit I wouldn’t be fond of it, if I were to teach only one age group. Having this huge variety of students and ages every single day makes it exciting. It never gets boring.

My classes consist of 1-9 students. Over the years you really get close to them, you see how they grow up and improve their skills. You’ll be proud if one of your students wins a contest or passes a test. That’s the great thing about being a teacher. It can be really rewarding.

 

Side Note: About frustrated teachers:

I won’t deny the fact that there are problems at any school. A lot of people have difficulties in adjusting to Japanese work ethics. Others just have no idea about teaching as they come from a completely different field. On top of that they don’t care about teaching at all and only do the job in order to make some money and stay in Japan.

Those are often the people who get frustrated easily and start fighting with their managers. That’s where a lot of the negative comments come from that you’ll find in various Japan forums. Some of them are justified without a doubt, because there are some really bad schools out there.

In my 6 years I’ve seen many teachers come and go. Some couldn’t deal with living in the Japanese countryside, others couldn’t adjust to Japan in general. For some teachers my previous school was the best thing ever, for others it was hell. And I’m sure that’s true for any other eikaiwa out there as well!

That’s why it’s hard to tell whether a school is for you or not. You won’t know until you try, but you can prepare by getting as much information as possible about your future employer, the location and the students. Make sure to get in touch with current and former teachers and don’t just listen to some random comments in forums.

 

Read about other people’s experience:

There’s so much more to say about this topic. You should also read about other people’s experience with teaching at eikaiwa schools in Japan.

 

Where to find Eikaiwa jobs:

There are many options, but my top 3 sites for eikaiwa (or teaching jobs in general) are:

For bigger chain conversation schools you can also apply directly through their website:

 

I couldn’t cover everything in this blog post, so if there’s anything in particular that you want to know about, please let me know in the comments below!

I’d also like others to share their own experience with us! Have you worked at an eikaiwa before? What pros and cons do you see?

Would you consider working at one?

74 Comments

  • Hi Zooming!

    Thanks for the post!
    I’m looking into taking a gap-year between high school and college, and one of the possibilities I’m considering is trying to get a job in an 英会話 in Japan for a year. However, I’m realizing that a major obstacle to getting any sort of teaching position is my lack of a Bachelor’s Degree, especially since I live in the United States. I would have to find a company to sponsor a Working Visa if I were to go (United States citizens don’t qualify for Working Holiday visas.)

    I speak intermediate Japanese, and I have (volunteer) teaching experience. My high school transcript is quite good, and I’ll have an IB Diploma when I graduate, but I’m not sure that’s enough. What would your advice be for going about looking for jobs? (Even if that advice is give up all together?) I’m wondering if I should start conducting my search for schools in Japanese instead of English, since any company with the resources to translate their website likely has the resources to require Bachelor’s-degree-only applicants.

    What would your advice be?

    Thank you so much for your time!

    • Hm.
      Without a degree and the chance to obtain a working holiday visa, chances are very low that you can actually stay and work in Japan. You wouldn’t get a work visa without a degree.
      You can try to study at a language school, obtain a student visa and get permission to work part-time.

  • Hey Zooming,

    first of all I’d like to thank you very much for all the effort you put into your presence on the web, sharing all these experiences, tips, photos and more! I’m aswell quite interested in visiting Japan, working there for a yet uncertain amount of time, just exploring this country and its awesome culture! However, since I still haven’t made a lot of physical contact with Japan, I wanted to ask you some questions and I’d be glad if you responded. :ehehe:

    Considering to work as an English teacher at eikawa schools too, how exactly would that visa thing work? I mean, let’s say I’d visit Japan just like you with a working holiday visa and I acquired an employment as a ‘teacher’, would I have to renew my visa as a typical work visa then, if the working holiday visa expired?

    Also, I’m not a native English speaker as you probably have already witnessed. :stressed:
    What are my chances to get an employment in the first place, if I graduated in english studies (with a BA degree) – not being a native speaker ofc? Is the competition against native speakers big or is there technically ‘always’ an opportunity to find something?

    Sorry for streching it out so much.. :hihi:
    Looking forward to a reply and of course future posts!

    Kind regards
    Karu

    • Having a degree in something English related like you do will certainly help you getting a job and a visa.
      There are enough jobs for teaching English out there, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I’d worry more about the visa. ;)
      I’d say there’s always an opportunity, but at first you might want to take whatever you get. Once you have some experience you can find better jobs (e.g. with more days off and higher salary).

      Hope that helped a little. :)

  • Hi zoomingjapan,

    This is by far the most informative blog I’ve found online. I’ve been wanting to be a teacher at an Eikaiwa for the longest time now. But I have some hesitations in applying at one and I really hope you can shed some light on it.

    I am a Language Coach working at an American Call Center in Manila. I conduct training sessions with new hires and “coach” customer care reps in improving their soft skills (i.e. effective ways of paraphrasing, showing empathy, delivering bad news positively, etc.). I also have experience in tutoring Korean students (but did not include this in my resume because I did this freelance and was not formally employed to do this). I think this the closest work experience that could be related to teaching. Other than that, I worked in the Call Center industry for 5 years and also worked as an assistant for a Russian fashion designer for almost 3 years.

    I am Filipino-Japanese with a Japanese Passport. Born in Japan, moved to the Philippines when I was in 2nd grade and went to a private school where English is the primary language. So Japanese was my first language until it became dormant and can speak English fluently. Graduated from a Private (for-profit studies) university with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in 2009.

    I want to live and work in Japan in 2016 because it’s been almost two decades since the last time I was there. I miss my roots and will be going there this November to apply for a job and take a break from work at the same time.

    I am worried because I do not have the leisure of being jobless as I am the sole provider in my family. So my questions are:

    – am I considered a Native English Speaker? Can I write on my resume that I am a Native Speaker? I can speak 4 languages but English is the one I’m most fluent in (a lot of people even say I speak with an American accent and talk like an American too). Also, English is one of two official languages in the Philippines (I hope that was relevant).
    – with my current job, can that be considered a teaching experience?
    – would I need a TESOL certificate? it’s not cheap so I am really hoping that I wouldn’t need that certification.
    – what are my chances? Am I likely to land a job immediately? If I apply at an Eikaiwa in November (and given they hire me), would they let me sign a contract to secure that job but start around April or May of 2016? I was hoping to finish a fiscal year with the company I’m currently in, hence hoping to start work in Japan mid next year.
    – should I start applying online now? Or is it better to wait till I get to Japan in November and apply in person?

    I feel that because I look Filipino (not a single Japanese feature) and because I studied in the Philippines, they might discriminate and not even give my application a second look. I love kids since I am a parent and have first-hand experience in working with people ranging from teenagers to those in their mid 50s. So I am really looking forward to working at an Eikaiwa.

    I am really so sorry for the long post. Please help me.

    • As you hold a Japanese passport you won’t have to worry about obtaining a work visa. A lot of schools only ask for native speakers because of visa issues.
      As long as your English is at a native level, you do have chances, but be aware that there are some schools out there who prefer a “Western face”. Still, you’ll have plenty of chances.
      Just apply for the jobs and make sure they know that you don’t need a visa and that your English is at native level.

      For most jobs you don’t need teaching experience at all. Some places prefer if you do. I wouldn’t worry about it.

      Err …. most schools don’t look for teachers THAT much ahead of time, but just have a look at job ads and start applying a few months before you actually want to go there.

      Good luck to you! :)

  • Hello!
    Thank you for the incredibly informative article.
    I love English in all of the aspects surrounding it. Particularly writing and grammar. I also have a good sense of sentence structure, punctuation, etc. I am a native speaker from the United States, and am contemplating going to college for English (not sure which direction, specifically, though) and Japanese. Regardless, the Eikaiwa sounds like a good starting opportunity. However, I have two issues. The first one is that I am a male with collar bone length hair (that I fully intend to continue growing) and a full beard (with the exception of under my lip, where it will not grow). I do not know the attitude towards these features there, and if absolutely necessary, I could both cut my hair and shave, though I would deeply prefer not to.
    My other, and more pressing, issue, is that I have tattoos. Currently, only two. One small one on my chest, and another decently large one on my right upper arm. While it is usually easily covered by a short sleeve shirt, it is still there, and I am aware of the stigma surrounding tattoos in Japan. I also do still intend to get more tattoos, but before that, I need to learn the restrictions on those things and the possibilities of these jobs, including Eikaiwas, ALT, or other random option (I read somewhere that with my look, my best bet would to become a bartender in a night club). As for the hair, can I get away with keeping it pulled back and my beard trimmed, and for the tattoos, are they fine as long as they are covered? These are my main worries, as I really do not wish to have to change my appearances for a job.
    And if I just shouldn’t even attempt to because of it, what other options would be available to myself?
    Thank you!

    • It totally depends on the school. At my school we had a guy with long hair and a full beard and nobody was complaining. In that case your chances will be better to go for the smaller schools, not the big chain ones!

      Tatoos that you can cover up at work shouldn’t be an issue. You might be denied to enter Japanese hot springs, though. ;)

      Good luck to you!

  • Hello! Thank you very much for your post! I think I really needed someone like you to discuss the topic. :) You wrote about the exact things I was wondering about and it’s nice to get info from a like-minded person. :D I still have a few questions though.

    Which schools want you to be more of a salesman/advertiser – the big ones or the smaller ones?

    I got a bit confused there. Honestly I don’t mind a little bit of advertising and recruiting, I think I’d actually enjoy doing it since I’ll feel very helpful to the school and the students. It’s something I’d probably do if I see a need of it even if it’s not a definite part of my job. BUT I really dislike the idea of having to sell textbooks and such. I would hate doing it if I don’t think those textbooks are actually good or if I think they’re not so important. My biggest priority would be to benefit the students.

    Also, is it ok for you if you told me which schools you previously worked at? You said you’ve worked for a couple already and it seems you have a good experience, so I’m very curious about them and would like to research those schools especially. :D If that’s ok for you, of course!

    Also, I heard that if you want to work for an Eikaiwa it is easier to get a visa without being a native speaker. I heard you need a BA not necessarily from an English native country (and I assume a good level of English, maybe a C2/C1 certificate would suffice as proof). So is that true? Is the visa you need for an Eikaiwa somewhat different in comparison for and ALT position and so you only need a BA?

    Here’s why I’m asking – I’m a Bulgarian living in Austria (Ja, ich kann auch Deutsch und ich liebe die Sprache! :D) and neither of those two countries have an agreement with Japan for a working holiday visa. :( So I need to figure that out somehow. I need some way of getting a working visa (or any visa that would allow me to stay for a long period of time and work) without being a native, without having 12 years of schooling in an English native country :D and without a BA studied in an English native country. (I could choose English as my “native” and work language and study the BA I haven’t yet started in English (but in Austria), soooooooo maybe that’ll make me look better to the immigration authorities? :D I have my heart set on German and English Translation.)

    I’m sorry to bombard you with so many questions and details about my situation, I just liked your article so much and I thought you’d definitely be one to understand my questions. ^^

  • Hi there!

    Thank you very much for spending the time in writing such an informative post. I have been wanting to return to Japan ever since my exchange study semester, have tried unsuccessfully for the JET programme (only got on the waiting list but chances are probably close to nothing by now), and am now trying out for a small eikaiwa situated in Kobe.Their pay is 240,000yen but with accommodations provided, is it safe to assume that it is okay to accept a full-time position with lower pay as compared to what you have stated?

    I also couldn’t find much information about the eikaiwa online (if they are reliable or not). I intend to ask them about falling sick (and how it affects my salary), as well as tax and medical insurance during the interview/information session. Is there any other aspects I should ask/be aware of which you would recommend?

    Many thanks! :)

    • Personally I wouldn’t take anything that pays less than 250.000 yen, but especially as a “beginner” it’s not the end of the world. It’s enough to live (esp. outside of Tokyo) – and once you have gained some experience you could always move on to a better paying job.

      Just make sure you know your working hours and your days off as well as your holidays and whether they pay you during holidays.
      Also try to figure out your tasks besides teaching.

      Good luck! :)

  • Hi, how did you apply ? Do you find job here first in the Phils or finding and employer first before going to Jap.. Or you go there as tourist and apply for a job right after you get in Japn? Many thanks.. 😊

    • It’s illegal to be in Japan as a tourist and then look for a job. Be aware!

      I grabbed a working holiday visa and applied for jobs while in my home country Germany.
      Once I found a job I activated my working holiday visa by flying to Japan.
      After a year I changed to a regular working visa.

      You’re supposed to find a job before you move to Japan. ;)

  • Hello! I’m curious to know if umm I get a skilled work visa to be a chef can I additionally teach english on the side? I don’t have the prerequisite degrees to get a regular work visa but I have extensive experience cooking. I can cook the toughest piece of meat you’ll ever encounter and make it so tender it will melt in your mouth. I can make most if not all of the traditional american dishes that a Japanese person could want.

    • Hi Gregory,
      This is a special case and I’m not a visa expert, so you should better check with your embassy.
      In most cases you can get a special permission for part-time jobs, but in this special case, I have no idea.

  • Hi, I know this post is quite old, but I’m hoping I’ll still get an answer. I guess you could say my situation is a little different from most here because I am a Canadian citizen and a Japanese citizen (I’m half-japanese and live in Canada), but I don’t speak Japanese. So it sounds like I don’t have to worry about a work visa, but I’m interested in working in a gap year after highschool so I don’t have a degree yet. Should I apply like most work visa people or do you know if there’s alternative means as a Japanese citizen (I have relatives in Japan and my mom is a native-speaker) and would not having a degree put me at a disadvantage. Any advice would help :)

    • I’m not an expert in citizenship laws or anything, but as far as I know you cannot have dual citizenship if one of them is Japanese.
      As soon as you turn 18 you have to choose only one citizenship. I suppose you’d choose your Canadian one.

      If you have Japanese citizenship then you don’t need a work visa and you’ll be able to find a job in Japan as well.

      If you don’t have Japanese citizenship anymore, you’ll need a work visa and most of them require a university degree or at least 10 years of experience in the field you intend to work in.
      But as a Canadian you can get the working holiday visa, so there you go! :)

  • Hi. I am a South African teacher with 20 years experience. I am qualified to teach English as a home language as well as a second additional language. I am 39 years old and visited Japan two times during holidays over two years. I had a really hard time over recent times as the discipline in S.A schools went downhill really fast. My class size at this moment is 50-60 kids (high school) in one class. During my visits to Japan, i experienced the society to be utterly disciplined and rules are top priority. I love that. Many of my japanese friends calls me a “tough and hardened” teacher with a marshmallow heart…and wanted me to leave my job and go teach in Japan. I am ready to go. Thank you for your articles. I sure i would fit in with ATLs cause i need that school enviroments to get my juices flowing and i would need to have the school holidays to come back home to my family..or can family members live with me in Japan?

  • Hello and thank you for all your precious advice. I am a public school experienced English teacher and I would like to take a one year break. I would love to teach in Japan. I have been offered a job but can’t seem to find much info about school and owner. I just need to know if it’s a reliable school (location is not so great but I don’t mind that). The name is Connect Eikawa and the director Sugiyama. Could you check it out for me?

    • Hi Alessandra,

      I’m not sure why you think I have an option to check?
      Unless I’ve worked for that school or know somebody who’s working there, there’s no way to find out.
      Back in the days, the GaijinPot forums were a good place to check, but unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore.

      Good luck, though! :)

      • Well, I figured you still live in Japan and maybe having taught for over 6 years there you may be more familiar with private schools or know someone who works or worked there. Thanks anyway, there are no forums on this particular school otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered you. Ciao!

  • Thank you so much for these posts!! Your site is my nr.1 source of reliable information for life in Japan, with invaluable links and articles, very informative for a gaijin… a true gem! After my short holiday to Japan this month, I fell in love with the country and all I’ve been wanting is to go back there. I miss it and regret that I couldn’t fully experience everyday life there. I would love to apply for a teaching job but…some things prevent me from packing my bags right away. These are my current job (when I get back in 2-3 years I’ll have lost all “contacts” and will have to start from scratch), not to mention my relationship! Sooner or later I’ll have to make a decision – whether to leave everything behind and “live my dream” or just… return as a tourist, I guess? That’s the not-so-tragic plan B. Either way, reading through your site is so enjoyable. My best complimets for putting all this up on your own!

    • Thank you so much, Marina.
      I know exactly how you feel! I was there as well.
      Luckily I was not in a relationship and just finished university back then, so I didn’t hesitate.

      Eventually you need to figure out what is more important for you – and in the meantime you can always go back to Japan as a tourist. ^____^

      I’m happy to hear that my blog is useful. :)

  • I believe it was mentioned that the bigger eikaiwas is more focused on sales. Do you know any reputable smaller eikaiwas that are more focused on teaching rather than sales, or would that just be on chance which school you’re allocated to and the management in that branch? Also, is being a English teacher in Japan relatively safe? Which age group would you prefer to teach more? Thanks

    • All eikaiwas are focused on sales to some degree as they’re all running a business.
      Family-run eikaiwas in smaller towns are in general a lot nicer in that regard, so you might want to look for those.
      I cannot give you any recommendations as there are just too many out there. 
      Just keep an eye on “ohayo sensei” and the ones in smaller towns and you might get a nice one.
      You can also always google a school you’re interested in to see if anyone has ranted about them before.

      What do you mean by “safe”?

      I liked the fact that I didn’t have to focus on only one age group. I liked the variety.
      However, if I had to choose I’d probably say 5-18 years is my favorite age group.

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