Well, here I am, finally applying to teach in Japan. After six years of school and such, I'm finally in a position to be able to work in Japan. This was the whole goal when I first set foot on Japanese soil in 2004. Without a degree, I was forced to return home, disappointed but with new-found direction in my life. Now, with a degree, I'm ready to go.
However, there are not as many English teaching jobs in Japan as I thought. The days of just showing up and being handed wads of cash are over. Endless recession in Japan has reduced the amount of jobs, while Japan's growing worldwide popularity is encouraging more and more people to set out for the islands. It's a tough time to be looking for a job. I mean, when I apply to a brand new job posting online and am told that 161 people have already applied, well, that's just rough.
But hope exists. I'm currently applying to positions available for people outside Japan. This means interviewing at a recruiting office (usually Los Angeles) or over the phone. And I have had some bites. I have one interview scheduled for next month, with possibly another coming soon. Hey, at least that's something.
Should nothing pan out here I'll get on a plane and take my chances in Japan. The majority of jobs posted online specify that the applicant must already be in Japan. The problem is if they expect you to already have a working visa, which I certainly don't.
As I mentioned before, I am also considering Korea. I applied for EPIK (Korea's version of JET) and will hopefully be contacted about a phone interview soon. The program pays pretty well but it's the benefits that really make it: they buy your plane ticket, pay your rent, and give you a sign-on bonus plus yearly bonuses. When you factor in the affordability of Korea it's very attractive.
And of course JET could call any day with the good news that I've been upgraded from alternate to teacher. Or they could never call. I have no idea where I am on the alternate list. Maybe I'm at the bottom, who knows.
In the meantime, to make myself more attractive to employers I've been taking an online TEFL certification course. It looks good on resumes and some places will give you a salary bump for it. I'm actually really enjoying it.
So that's where I stand right now. A lot of things up in the air. Hopefully something will land soon.