The Things I Lost in Choosing to Come to Japan

Hi Gaijinhan-san,

I’m 3 years of Jr and like you 1998 was when I got influenced heavily by the J-pop culture and since then gotten mesmerized by it. 2010, while you took flight to pursue your dreams, I took flight to pursue another bucketlist, a solo trip to USA and taught dance there.

Nonetheless, after coming back to Singapore I grew more weary at the job scene here in Singapore. I’ve a Dip in Management Studies and completing my Degree in Banking and Finance soon to come. I still did not seems to find myself liking what I am doing. I love teaching but my command for English is rather atrocious (you can simply tell from this mail).

In 2013, I’ve finally got myself to Japan and reconnected big time with the part of me that was really into the Japanese culture. Since then I’ve been returning on a yearly basis as though it was a pilgrimage. haha.

After all the long intro and back stories, my question is I’m really keen to start a fresh in Japan and probably move over to work and as a teacher like yourself.
1. How would you advice I can go about doing this?
2. Is the pay good for a 30 year old guy who don’t really spends much and has been drawing 4+k/mth in a bank?
3. If not how much am I looking at?
4. What was the things you had to give up when you make the move?

You can answer me in the rawest form without censorship as I really need to make the a move and change my life. I’ve only just chanced upon your wordpress and this page and read through about 12 articles you wrote and it had gave me a boost of confidence so thank you sir for that =]

Hear from you soon.



Dear Lloyd,

I didn’t know how else to title this post and only filled it in after finishing writing the answers below and your last question really hit me hard.

To be honest, my first response when I read your mail was, “Cool! A dance teacher!” That definitely sounds way cooler than me. Anyhow, let me try to answer your questions below.

1. How would you advice I can go about doing this?
– When you say you wanna teach, I’m not sure if you meant English or dance or anything else. English-wise, you probably know routes like the JET Programme or if you’re not considering that path, you can search up a list of Eikaiwa schools or ALT dispatch companies in the part of Japan you are interested in living in apply directly. If you think your English is atrocious, you might also want to work on that first. If you meant anything else, that would be out of my knowledge. I’m not certain if dance teachers are paid well or where to find those jobs. But you might be able to find them in the recruitment agencies websites.

2. Is the pay good for a 30 year old guy who don’t really spends much and has been drawing 4+k/mth in a bank?
– The pay is not good, but if you don’t spend much, you might be able to save some money. I don’t shop and have no interest in fashion, but somehow, I sometimes find myself left with nothing at the end of the month. On the good months though, I am able to save 100k yen. But a more realistic target might be 50k.

3. If not how much am I looking at?
– For ALTs, you’re looking at around 300k yen a month if you’re with the Board of Education, and around 250k yen a month (plus/minus 30k) if you’re with dispatch companies. Depending on the school you’re with, Eikaiwa schools can pay about the same as dispatch companies or more or less, but the chance of it being anywhere near 300k is slim. I’ve heard that Eikaiwa Aeon pays their full-time staff around 300k and upwards though I haven’t verified that myself. Part-time at Aeon pays pretty well too. If I didn’t remember it incorrectly, it’s at around 3k per hour for the corporate division. Not so sure about the school part-time staff.

4. What was the things you had to give up when you make the move?
– I would say I gave up my career in the media industry which was progressing well. My managing director made efforts to nurture me not just professionally but also privately by teaching me about investment, but I decided to leave in the end. I also lost my then-girlfriend who happened to be Japanese but she loves Singapore so much, she didn’t want to move back to Japan. And I wanted to be in Japan so much, I didn’t want to return to Singapore. That was the reason we broke up. We still kept in contact and were on good terms at that time, but later, I realised she was waiting for the possibility of me returning to Singapore someday, and some 3 years later, I told her that I still have no intention to return. She then decided to cut all contacts with me, blocked me on Facebook and moved on. Through a common friend, I heard she married her Singapore landlord’s relative and has children now. Of course, I also missed many friends’ weddings, but that’s not such a big deal because that was what made me realise who the friends I treasure the most are—the ones whose weddings I would specially fly back to attend. I also missed attending my little cousin’s birthday parties for the years that I’ve been here, and not seeing his growth to become the fine young gentleman he is today. I missed attending an elder cousin’s funeral who died in an accident and wasn’t even told he passed away until after the funeral when I happened to return home for a visit because my parents were worried about me feeling devastated alone in a foreign country with no one to console me. Perhaps at the point your decision is made, the things you give up might not be too great, but as time passes, you’ll learn that you have to deal with more and more sacrifices. For someone who spent time living in the US, I’m sure you understand.

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