Before Coming to Japan
Why did you want to teach in Japan?
My true reason is the food! Being a huge food lover, I know that Japan not only has world class restaurants, but after a bit of reading up I discovered that even their smaller unknown restaurants have amazing good meals! Japan also made its way on my list because of the culture. I found it amazing that they are a culture so deeply routed in respect for each other! Lastly, Japan has an incredible amount of places to visit! I knew that if I chose Japan I would never be bored! The major cities are not too far from each other and the bullet trains would be a heavenly way to travel. I am finally here and I love teaching in Japan.
How was your experience finding a job through On the Mark Education Consulting?
So smooth, so easy. Any questions I had were answered quickly, and not once did I feel I didn’t know what was going on! I got an interview within days of emailing them and everything just flowed perfectly from there! Highly recommend!
How long did your visa process take?
The visa process for a Japanese work visa is broken into two. After sending documents to the school, they applied for a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE) on my behalf. That took about 4 weeks for it to be approved, and sent back to me. I then used it to apply for my actual work visa back home in South Africa- that took a quick 2 days! So all in all I’d say 4 and a half weeks.
What website did you use to book your ticket to Japan?
I booked through a travel agent!
Teaching Life in Japan
What was your first impression of Japan when you arrived?
I landed at Haneda Airport, Tokyo. While making our way through Tokyo I was amazed at how many of the high rise buildings were actually apartments! Part of me was curious to know where everybody works! 70% of buildings I saw were apartments!
What has been the biggest culture shock?
Bowing! I knew bowing was a part of the Japanese culture, but I had no idea how much! I really thought it would just be to the elderly as a form of respect, but even the ladies at the convenient store bow to me! Friends bow to each other while they talk, and bow to complete strangers! VERY different from South Africa!
What’s your favourite memory to date?
Since I arrived in Japan, I’ve been wearing my hair straight. I had received no special attention and started believing “hmm, maybe I’ve blended in”. One day, my afro came out to play! It was the best experience ever! Everyone in my city was waving at me, greeting me, trying to speak their best English! It was as if they realized I’m not Japanese! I even had an old man join in on a video call I was having with my mother!
What do you like most about working at your school?
The Japanese staff! They are so friendly and helpful!
What 3 things would you have wanted to know or bought with you before moving?
I wish I had ordered a SIM card beforehand! I was warned about this but thought I’d manage! Turns out you need a bank account to buy a sim card and a sim card to open a bank account. I also wish I bought a travel adapter with me (rookie mistake I know!). Lastly, I wish someone had told me that disposing of garbage would be the death of me!