View Full Version : Going to Japan - help?

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01-10-2006, 07:13 AM
Hello all,

I plan on going to Japan at the end of this year, or perhaps the start of next year, to train, live and hopefully work for maybe 6 months or so, perhaps more. I was wondering if I could possibly get tips on accommodation, work opportunities, things that I may need to organise, legal stuff that may need to be worked out? I'm not quite sure where to start with all of this, it's something I've wanted to to do for a very long time, and I have the means to get there.

Mat Hill
01-10-2006, 09:35 AM
Hi Daniel, people may be able to help you here but there are specialised fora(ums?!) for this kind of thing over at gaijinpot.com and japantoday... ignore the jaundiced cynical do-nothing no-hopers over (t)here (!) and just go to the FAQs and work from there.


See you here!

01-10-2006, 09:42 AM
Have you ever taught of going on a language trip to Japan?

In Japan you will visit a language school, where you learn Japanese
and in your free time you can train Aikido. You will have a lot of time
to train, because the school is only 4h a day.

This way you get to learn Japanese, live in Japan AND train in Aikido! :D

I myself am going on a language trip to Tokyo, starting in October.
I plan on staying a year.

here are some links:

hope i was some help


01-10-2006, 01:52 PM
I couldnt resist this:
why dont you ask mr miyagi, daniel-son

wax on, wax off
paint the fence

sorry just senseless, off topic, spamming.

01-10-2006, 03:52 PM
Thanks for the replies guys, and SmilingNage, I was waiting for someone to do it, haha:-D

Wow, Steven, that sounds like a really awesome thing to do, the thing I might be concerned about is me being tied down if i'm busting to do my own thing over there, but thinking practically, I'd love to study the language over there while training in aikido, and studying would enable to to get a visa, correct? Speaking of Aikido training, can I only choose from Karate or Judo? it says train in those martial arts.

Also..damn..that's some expensive stuff, even for a semester, I think it's a little...out of my price range

6th Kyu For Life
01-10-2006, 11:02 PM
Another option, if you are out of college, is to teach english. I have two friends who graduated from college last year doing that now. Currently, I am visiting them to see if it's something I would like to do also. They have apartments, get paid, and have free time to do Aikido. One program is called JET (URL Here) (http://www.mofa.go.jp/j_info/visit/jet/). And then there are other private language schools such as Nova and Berlitz (sp?) that have similar programs too. But get on the stick because they have application processes that take time. Good luck.

Tom Newhall

Mat Hill
01-10-2006, 11:21 PM
I've not done either but I know many people who have and if you're going to try that suggestion, JET would be far far preferable to NOVA or Berlitz or any of the other language schools.

01-11-2006, 10:26 PM
I did JET right out of college. It's an easy job, even if the conditions aren't great. It's becoming more difficult to get in, but it guarantees that you won't be working evenings. the downside is that you could be placed in a very rural location, with no local dojos. If you have a bit of money saved, you could come and look for the non corporate (non nova Berlitz)English conversation job. the problem is most of them are evening jobs, because you teach the working people and school kids. I have a private JH/HS job, but those are hard to get if you don't have experience in japan. I do know someone who got a cultural visa to do aikido. You would probably have to be in Tokyo or Osaka hombu to do that. It's not as easy as it used to be, but if you do your research it can definitely be done. I think you should think more like a year instead of 6 months. It takes about that long to get used to things. You can find cheap places to live if you can take living in a small dirty apartment.

oisin bourke
01-12-2006, 07:31 AM
"Speaking of Aikido training, can I only choose from Karate or Judo? it says train in those martial arts."

Hi Daniel,

I got the first eighteen months over here on a holiday/cultural visa to practice Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. A cultural visa is a great option and it's a lot more flexible than you'd think. This being Japan, it all depends on the situation!

If there are enough interested parties, I'll post my experiences with this visa.

Oisin Bourke

Ron Tisdale
01-12-2006, 09:24 AM
I'm interested! Post away! I'd even consider taking some time off to do just that.


oisin bourke
01-13-2006, 07:20 AM

Firstly, you can apply for the cultural activities visa from your own country. I came here and worked on it in Japan but for the resons given below, it is definately a good idea to sort it out in your own country if possible, unless you can speak Japanese.

To qualify for the visa, you need:

A sponsor living in Japan.

a letter from acceptance from a recognised M.A organisation.
what I mean by this is basically the sensei/group with whom you wish to train must be able to produce a ream of paperwork to satisfy Japanese beauraucracy.

So, you'll need proof of your Sensei's certificates/grades/licences,
evidence of your own grades,
background about the art/organisation and

documentation of the grading structure. They seem big into grading strucures over here!

As well as this, you will need enough money to support yourself for about the duration of the stay. (my reckoning: about one million yen for a year.)

When you get the visa, you can change the status and be able to work for up to 28 hours a week ( which is a lot if you teach english).

The above requirements obviously rule out a small koryu dojo, but any legit dojo/group with a decent infrastructure should be able to produce the relevant stuff.

This visa can be very tricky to deal with in Osaka and Tokyo: The immigration guys there are the worst in Japan. Sedai and Sapporo are much more accomodating.

Hope this helps,

Oisin Bourke

Ron Tisdale
01-13-2006, 07:23 AM
Thanks! it does give good info. Which Daito ryu group did you study with? I think I've seen you mention it before, but I've forgotten...


oisin bourke
01-13-2006, 07:45 AM
It's a group set up by Hiroo Iida, a who was promoted to Shihan in the Kodokai, in Sapporo. There's a website in Japanese with a bit of english at www.muden.jp (there should be an english version by the end of January).

There's an interview with Iida Sensei over at Aikido Journal and he appears in the Daito Ryu book in the Kodo Horikawa section.

if it's any help, Inoue Kancho of the Yoshinkan knows him. (He was invited down to the 50th anniversary demos last year).

Oisin Bourke

01-13-2006, 08:31 AM
If you have a bit of money saved, you could come and look for the non corporate (non nova Berlitz)English conversation job. the problem is most of them are evening jobs, because you teach the working people and school kids.

I agree with this... if you are looking for financial support from your English conversation job, then it might be difficult to practice Aikido, because most conversation students are only free during Aikido training times (which is logical, because you want to set training times when your people are free) I remember going for a conversation school interview, and finding from the interviewer that my training times and the peak times for students tended to clash.

01-13-2006, 11:25 PM
I found this on an official website about Japanese visas. I am Australian btw.

Working Holiday Agreements: Based on bilateral agreements, working holiday programs permit young people (between 18 and 30 years of age) from the countries concerned who are visiting a partner country on vacation to engage in work so as to supplement their funds to travel and stay in that country. This provides them with an opportunity to get to know that country's culture and general lifestyle. At present, Japan has such working holiday agreements with 5 countries: Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea.

This should make things a bit easier for me, yeah?

Josh Reyer
01-14-2006, 06:00 AM
I'm currently teaching English in Japan. It's not bad, given the work. Currently I work Tues-Sat., afternoon-evening, which interferes with my ability to go to my dojo, which holds practice on Saturday and Sunday. So I have to go out to Nagoya (one hour by train) to train on Mondays.

The flip side of that is that there are many schools that have Mon-Fri schedules, so if your dojo only practices on the weekends (not unusual in Japan), it's not really a problem. If you are in Tokyo, and want to train at Hombu, you'll have plenty of opportunities to train in the morning, as well as your days off.

01-14-2006, 11:09 AM
Good idea is to go through Nova or an other company that provides visa sponsership and accommodation. Once you get setup you can quit that job and get something better.

I think its difficult to get setup in Japan if you don't know anyone there. Even to rent an appartment you need a Japanese person to sign.

Also, if you have never been to Japan before I suggest you go on a holiday first. Sometimes its not what you expected.

Josh Reyer
01-14-2006, 11:23 AM
I would, however, recommend against going with Nova. They don't have the greatest reputation, neither with their handling of students nor of teachers. Check out Ohayo Sensei (http://www.ohayosensei.com) and see if you can find something that fits.

01-14-2006, 11:29 AM
I worked for Nova. Yeah its not the best company around but at least your guaranteed a salary and set hours. Still its easy to get a job with them which is useful when your just starting out. l heard ECC is pretty good. Nova = no vacation. Have to work public holidays.