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Old 08-25-2011, 09:29 AM   #26
Tenyu
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Re: Moving to Japan

Jeremy,

Watch out for the hot spots:



More info in Open Discussions if interested.

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Old 08-25-2011, 10:42 AM   #27
HL1978
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Richard Stevens wrote: View Post
As was mentioned before in this thread, you will need at least JLPT Level 2 to get a position in IT in most cases. They can be hard to come by for someone not comfortable with the language. Unless the foreigner has a hard to find skill-set why hire someone who had difficulty communicating when a native speaker may have the same skills?

35-40 minutes of study on your own a day is probably not going to be sufficient to get you to the point where you can pass the Level 2 exam. I would suggest looking for a Japanese club (with actual Japanese members) to improve your conversational skills.
Some of the big US financial companies IT departments don't require JLPT. There are certain worlds you can live in within japan in the technical industry which don't require the JLPT. Buddy of mine is high up in Goldman's Japanese IT dept and never took the JLPT, have another friend who worked in IT in japan and never formally studied japanese either. He now works at NASA as an IT contractor.

I had job offers in Japan to work as an engineer at Sankyo Seisakusho without taking the JLPT, but having lived in japan and studied the language. Also had offers to work as a patent agent too, again without requirements for japanese language ability. I eventually took the JLPT 3 (old style) for fun and passed with minimal studying. If I had taken it right after school, I probably would have passed JLPT 2 but you forget kanji if you don't use them. JETRO is probably a more accurate gauge of one's japanese ability though.

One can poke around gaijinpot.com for jobs, but a better way is through networking. Thats how I eventually had Japanese job opportunities presented to me. Unless you are working for an ameican company as an overseas hire, don't expect to get paid the same as you would in the US, but you will likely get housing assistance. If you are working as an expat rather than direct hire, you can live a fairly lavish lifestyle, as in a more western lifestlye with more western sized accomidations. That is what I have seen among people hired in that fashion.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:04 PM   #28
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Re: Moving to Japan

From strictly aikido point of view, it is important where you will be living after your retour from Japan. As you know there are a lot of styles of aikido, and if this particular style(that you learned in Japan) is not present in your area, you will have to open your own dojo, or you will be completely unmotivated to continue practice. So the travel to Japan will not fulfill its role.
So when you are choosing what style you will follow in Japan, make sure it also exist close to your home(or future home). When I’m saying ‘style’ i mean a teaching of this particular shihan.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-25-2011, 04:33 PM   #29
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Re: Moving to Japan

I know its been mentioned before...but I will reiterate that the Yoshinkan honbu has a good program for foreigners, which they've recently retooled. You can do the senshisei course, or a few different uchideshi options. You would be starting as a complete beginner, learning a new style of aikido. They have classes specifically designed for english speakers and are run in english, as well as many senior mentors who are bilingual.

Ichi Go, Ichi Ei!
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:14 PM   #30
Tenyu
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Re: Moving to Japan

Good idea to take one of these with you.
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:19 PM   #31
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Re: Moving to Japan

Hi Jeremy

It looks like you have been given a lot to think about. It's no surprise that some experienced people are also countering each other's examples with exceptions. There are all kinds of situations you could end up in which is part of the adventure.

To the previous points I'd add that you'll want time to train, so even the IT job (with or without JLPT requirements) could be a problem if you have to work salaryman hours. Also:
  • You could look into becoming an uchi deshi until your money runs out then look for work after having had a decent stretch of immersion in Japan. I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned visas. You could do this on the tourist visa for 3 months but a culture visa (requiring sponsorship from your teacher) would be better. You can then switch once you become a regular kayoi deshi (commuting student) with a job.
  • I imagine you must have a university degree anyway, but for the record, this is usually the requirement to apply for most work visas (especially teaching).
  • If you have any radiation fears, I'd avoid the hysteria and the conspiracy theories you find in some of the culture-fatigued blogs out there and check out the science of the situation.

Good luck
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Old 08-25-2011, 06:41 PM   #32
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
From strictly aikido point of view, it is important where you will be living after your retour from Japan. As you know there are a lot of styles of aikido, and if this particular style(that you learned in Japan) is not present in your area, you will have to open your own dojo, or you will be completely unmotivated to continue practice. So the travel to Japan will not fulfill its role.
So when you are choosing what style you will follow in Japan, make sure it also exist close to your home(or future home). When I’m saying ‘style’ i mean a teaching of this particular shihan.
From an Aikido point of view - one of the main advantages of travelling to Japan is the range of styles and instructors that are available in, say, Tokyo, as opposed to many non-Japanese cities.

I think that it would be a shame not to take advantage of that.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-25-2011, 09:32 PM   #33
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
From an Aikido point of view - one of the main advantages of travelling to Japan is the range of styles and instructors that are available in, say, Tokyo, as opposed to many non-Japanese cities.

I think that it would be a shame not to take advantage of that.

Best,

Chris
I'm not saying he shouldn't visit and practice for some time in a large variety of dojo. This is quite normal stage of looking for the Teacher process. However once he decides to chose one, the problem I described arrives.
If he doesn't chose a Teacher, he can't learn aikido at all.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:51 PM   #34
HL1978
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
From strictly aikido point of view, it is important where you will be living after your retour from Japan. As you know there are a lot of styles of aikido, and if this particular style(that you learned in Japan) is not present in your area, you will have to open your own dojo, or you will be completely unmotivated to continue practice. So the travel to Japan will not fulfill its role.
So when you are choosing what style you will follow in Japan, make sure it also exist close to your home(or future home). When I'm saying style' i mean a teaching of this particular shihan.
I'm not quite sure if I follow. Why wouldn't he have the option to simply follow another lineage if that is all that is available? Plenty of people do so when they move to another area if they do not have sufficent experience to teach on their own, or do not have the resources to make visits back to their old teacher.
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Old 08-25-2011, 10:03 PM   #35
Chris Li
 
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
I'm not saying he shouldn't visit and practice for some time in a large variety of dojo. This is quite normal stage of looking for the Teacher process. However once he decides to chose one, the problem I described arrives.
If he doesn't chose a Teacher, he can't learn aikido at all.
Well, I'm all for developing personal relationships with instructors, but as for Teachers with a capital "T" - I think that it can hamper as often as it helps.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-26-2011, 01:28 AM   #36
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
From strictly aikido point of view, it is important where you will be living after your retour from Japan. As you know there are a lot of styles of aikido, and if this particular style(that you learned in Japan) is not present in your area, you will have to open your own dojo, or you will be completely unmotivated to continue practice. So the travel to Japan will not fulfill its role.
So when you are choosing what style you will follow in Japan, make sure it also exist close to your home(or future home). When I'm saying style' i mean a teaching of this particular shihan.
That is rather emphatic isn't it.

Actually, I have moved and joined a dojo of a different style 3 times now, and I didn't feel at all unmotivated to continue practicing.
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Old 08-26-2011, 01:19 PM   #37
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Re: Moving to Japan

I think Szczepan makes a valid point, in the sense that if while in Japan you happen to find a shihan who's aikido you'd like to focus on long-term, then it's in your interest to have that shihan's aikido represented in the area you intend to return to (it would help continue that particular branch of study).
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:05 PM   #38
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Gerardo Torres wrote: View Post
I think Szczepan makes a valid point, in the sense that if while in Japan you happen to find a shihan who's aikido you'd like to focus on long-term, then it's in your interest to have that shihan's aikido represented in the area you intend to return to (it would help continue that particular branch of study).
Yes, that's correct. Let's say he study 5 years in Tada sensei dojo(aikikai organization ) and then after coming back to States the only alternatives are Tomiki or Yoshinkan ? Or in contrary, he spent 5 years in Yoshinkan Hombu and back in States the only option is to study Ki Society aikido LOL
But even i.e. inside of Aikikai, each shihan developed his own teaching method and changing one for other means to start everything from scratch and forget deeply what you've learned before.

Of course, one can jump happily from one style/organization to other every 2-3 years, this approach allows for only very superficial aikido training.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:13 PM   #39
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Well, I'm all for developing personal relationships with instructors, but as for Teachers with a capital "T" - I think that it can hamper as often as it helps.

Best,

Chris
I agree that each approach has his strong and weak points, however in my experience, having seen the results of both way of studying after lets say more then 30 years, I can see very clearly a very important difference on many levels. One absolutely needs a Teacher to serious aikido training IMO.
Kind regards

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:53 AM   #40
HL1978
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
Yes, that's correct. Let's say he study 5 years in Tada sensei dojo(aikikai organization ) and then after coming back to States the only alternatives are Tomiki or Yoshinkan ? Or in contrary, he spent 5 years in Yoshinkan Hombu and back in States the only option is to study Ki Society aikido LOL
But even i.e. inside of Aikikai, each shihan developed his own teaching method and changing one for other means to start everything from scratch and forget deeply what you've learned before.

Of course, one can jump happily from one style/organization to other every 2-3 years, this approach allows for only very superficial aikido training.
In your opinon, are each of these branches doing something fundamentially different or merely variations on a theme?
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:30 PM   #41
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Hunter Lonsberry wrote: View Post
In your opinon, are each of these branches doing something fundamentially different or merely variations on a theme?
This is quite off topic, so I'll be short: Don't look at the finger, look at the moon.

Nagababa

ask for divine protection Ame no Murakumo Kuki Samuhara no Ryuo
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:44 PM   #42
graham christian
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Szczepan Janczuk wrote: View Post
This is quite off topic, so I'll be short: Don't look at the finger, look at the moon.
Hi. I think your point was quite clear and valid. But remember we live in a world where you go to university studying one thing so that you can get qualified in order to come out and do something else.

That's considered normal. Ha,ha.

Regards.G.
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:12 PM   #43
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Jeremy Madden wrote: View Post
Hi All,

I've decided that I want to move to Tokyo to train at Hombu.

Does anyone have any advice for me to prepare for my move?

Thanks,
Hello,

I came to Japan in April 1980 and I do not plan to leave any time soon. On the advice of a Hombu shihan, I obtained employment before I left the UK. Since Hiroshima was my final destination, I did not train at the Hombu very much. I was already a yudansha and had over ten years of training under my belt. Since my teacher (Teacher 1, I suppose), had already told me whose classes I should go to, training times were not a problem: I went to those particular classes, and to Doshu's classes in the morning and on Friday evening, when I was sometimes able to train with the shihans who also taught there. The teachers whose classes I took also had their own dojos in the suburbs, so I trained there, also. However, I had my own teacher (Teacher 2) in Hiroshima.

So I agree with Sczcepan that you need a Teacher, especially if you intend to make your time in Japan the main focus of your training and not just an interlude. Whether you find this Teacher in the Hombu Dojo is, of course, another question.

Best wishes,

P Goldsbury

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Old 08-28-2011, 10:09 PM   #44
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Moving to Japan

Here is a link to a guide to training at Honbu posted by Guillame Erard on a different thread. I thought it might be useful.

http://www.guillaumeerard.com/en/aik...o-aikikai.html
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:05 PM   #45
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Re: Moving to Japan

If I were 24 and recently single and thinking of going to Japan, I'd be planning on:

1) not coming back
2) practicing koryu
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:18 PM   #46
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If I were 24 and recently single and thinking of going to Japan, I'd be planning on:

1) not coming back
2) practicing koryu
Yep, same here.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:32 PM   #47
Chris Li
 
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Cliff Judge wrote: View Post
If I were 24 and recently single and thinking of going to Japan, I'd be planning on:

1) not coming back
2) practicing koryu
Just a couple of thoughts.

Even if you live in Japan forever, you never become Japanese. You're always on the outside - that may or may not bother you, but it does add a certain level of stress. Also, the further in you get to Japanese society the more subject you are to the society's rules and customs - which can be quite restrictive. That's why so many Japanese try to escape to the west.

A few years ago I went to see one of the larger koryu demonstrations in Tokyo with and old Japanese koryu friend of mine. His comment was that some of the demonstrations made him feel like crying.

Koryu is like anything else - some good and some bad. The smaller number of practitioners can sometimes keep the quality higher, but there's no guarantee.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2011, 05:12 PM   #48
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Re: Moving to Japan

Hello Chris,

I hope you don't mind me adding a few thoughts to your own.
Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Even if you live in Japan forever, you never become Japanese. You're always on the outside - that may or may not bother you, but it does add a certain level of stress. Also, the further in you get to Japanese society the more subject you are to the society's rules and customs - which can be quite restrictive. That's why so many Japanese try to escape to the west.
Becoming ethnically Japanese is impossible but becoming a Japanese citizen is in fact quite doable. Standing out because of your ethnicity/culture is always going to happen in an area where one ethnic group/culture is more common than the others. This doesn't just apply to Japan but to living in any other country which has a different culture to your own. Some people can handle this, some can't.

"Restrictive" is a relative term. For example, if you like a particular culture, fitting in (awase) with its social rules is part and parcel. If you prefer the system you were brought up with, it is restrictive to have to fit in with another one. Some people can handle this, some can't.

Some foreigners who complain about life in Japan genuinely have problems, some are just people who always complain about their lives, but I think a lot simply didn't do enough research and preparation to live in a foreign country.

Carl
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:16 PM   #49
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hello Chris,

I hope you don't mind me adding a few thoughts to your own.

Becoming ethnically Japanese is impossible but becoming a Japanese citizen is in fact quite doable. Standing out because of your ethnicity/culture is always going to happen in an area where one ethnic group/culture is more common than the others. This doesn't just apply to Japan but to living in any other country which has a different culture to your own. Some people can handle this, some can't.

"Restrictive" is a relative term. For example, if you like a particular culture, fitting in (awase) with its social rules is part and parcel. If you prefer the system you were brought up with, it is restrictive to have to fit in with another one. Some people can handle this, some can't.

Some foreigners who complain about life in Japan genuinely have problems, some are just people who always complain about their lives, but I think a lot simply didn't do enough research and preparation to live in a foreign country.

Carl
Yes, you can become a citizen (although it's relatively difficult, and not really encouraged by the Japanese government). But you never become Japanese - it's not like the US, where becoming a citizen means that you're an American. You're either born Japanese or you aren't. Most people are nice about it though...

Even Japanese who stay abroad too long are looked at differently. It's more than just standing out - it's a country where 98% of the population is the same and you're one tiny fraction of the rest.

Take a look at http://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html for a recent example.

Of course, you have to fit in with the rules anywhere - but in Japan there are more social rules applied more strictly than almost anyplace you're likely to live in the United States.

Best,

Chris

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:41 PM   #50
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Re: Moving to Japan

Quote:
Christopher Li wrote: View Post
Yes, you can become a citizen (although it's relatively difficult, and not really encouraged by the Japanese government). But you never become Japanese - it's not like the US, where becoming a citizen means that you're an American. You're either born Japanese or you aren't. Most people are nice about it though...

Even Japanese who stay abroad too long are looked at differently. It's more than just standing out - it's a country where 98% of the population is the same and you're one tiny fraction of the rest.

Take a look at http://www.debito.org/otarulawsuit.html for a recent example.

Of course, you have to fit in with the rules anywhere - but in Japan there are more social rules applied more strictly than almost anyplace you're likely to live in the United States.

Best,

Chris
FYI, the top page of that site http://www.debito.org/ has a lot more information on this type of issue as well.

Best,

Chris

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