What you need to get over there...

First up. Are you Canadian, Australian, British, or Kiwi? If so, then you can count your lucky stars, because being one of those nationalities entitles you to a 6 month working visa, which means that you don't need a degree to teach legally. Us lucky Brits only recently just got this working visa, and the real good news is that the Japanese also get it now, so yes, you can expect a lot of cuties coming over to work in the bigger cities now.
You might start to have problemsif you wanna stay for longer than 6 months, as after that you, you're supposed to have been sponsored by a company, for which you'll need a degree. And you can't do a visa run, like on the old 3 month tourist visa, it doesn't work on the 6 month visa. You can go back to your country for another year or so, and than come back for another six months, but what a pain in the ass that is..Even if you do have a degree, if you work for a small school, they might not even decide to sponsor you after your 6 months, as it's quite costly. (One of the good reasons to work for the bigger schools)
Yep, basically if you want to stay in Japan for longer than 6 months you need to get a student visa, or marry a j-chick, or start a company. Other than that, you're screwed unless you want to go the way of the Albanian and start living illegally, selling gold trinkets on the street.

If you're American, then you can get a 3 month Tourist Visa, which means that you can only stay in the country for 3 months, although you can get away with maybe one or two visa runs. I told you guys what a visa run before it right? it's where you jump countries for a day, in order to get your passport re-stamped. You need to have money in the bank to show (or a credit card at least), and it always works better if you go with a native.
Anyway, back on the visa talk. You can't work legally, anything you do is strictly cash in hand, and probably any employment gained will come from the starved-of-teachers smaller schools. So you may have more of a chance living in a smaller town, where it's quite guarenteed to have schools that need native-speaking teachers badly . Or you could just get lucky like I did, and survive in a big town. It helps to have contacts. In total you can probably stay for around nine months if you're lucky and earning before they won't allow you back in. Enough time to settle in, find the girl of your dreams, and have that big white wedding. Or else get a fake degree and get sponsored, which is something you did not hear from this web-site okay? The only other option if you want to go back to Japan would be to go back to your own country for a year, as after one years absence you are allowed to return to the shores of Japan.

If you're Greek, African, Chinese or whatever, your chances are slim to say the least of finding work teaching in Japan. I did meet Mexicans, Cubans, Italians, but they were usually married and working in the slum jobs doing factory stuff, or they were students. That's the name of the game I'm afraid. Anybody who can speak really good Japanese can get a normal job in Japan, but you still need a degree, don't forget. It's one of those situations were us lucky bastards born in native English speaking countries can thank our lucky stars. If you're not a native English speaker, and you don't have a degree, there's only a certain amount of things you can do in Japan. I did hear about jobs in Tokyo teaching Spanish, German etc, but they were few and far between. You just have to go there and see what you can do, it's a risk, but life's full of risks..

The be all and end all is that you need a degree, to live in Japan, unless you do the good thing and marry a Japanese (lovely prospect). Obviously if you speak Japanese with good fluency, the doors are opened wider, but it probably takes around 4-5 years for the average person to gain that kind of fluency in reading and writing. Writing's the bastard really. If the Japanese didn't use kanji in their literature, it sure would make it easier for the rest of the world to live over there. But that they don't want. Think of it as the test. If you can push yourself to the point where you are fluent in Japanese, in my opinion you really deserve your little slice of paradise. Just don't be a fool and say to yourself "Oh yeah, I'll pick up Japanese in 2 years, no problems, I'm smart". This is not Computer Science, and it's not some piss-easy Meditteranean language. Learning Japanese I would say takes exceptional commitment, patience, and a true love and interest in Japan. I would hate for some of you people out there to try to attempt it, and waste 3 years in college before you decide you were never into Japan in the first place. Think long and hard about taking up the challenge guys. I'm gonna leave the rest of this page for Q & A, so if anybody wants to ask me something, e-mail me, but do NOT asking me JET questions or something like that I know nothing about alright, or I will kill you.

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