● Teaching Location: Nagoya, Japan
● Type of Teaching Job: Company Teaching Job (ECC)
● Student Age Group: Every Age Group
● Monthly Salary: 250,000 yen (~$2,200 USD)
● Monthly Rent: 80,000 yen (~$700 USD)
● Living Arrangement: 2-bedroom apartment near Nagoya’s main train station
● Monthly Savings: 50,000 yen (~$440 USD)
● Contract Bonuses: Work commute reimbursement, contract completion bonus
By Dani Hadaway
When I moved to Japan, I was 22, tall, blonde, and ambitious. I stood out like a sore thumb compared to everyone around me, clad in black business suits, carrying briefcases with their eyes locked onto their iPhones. Upon arriving, I felt so accomplished as if I had finally done something unique in my life. I felt like I was finally beginning my life.
In university, I studied everything about Japan. I spent four years mastering the language. I read all the manga I could get my hands on and watched as much anime I could find on the internet. I loved sushi, Visual Kei bands like Dir En Grey, and dressing up in cosplay. So I figured I would love Japan.
Even now, living in Europe, I still dream about my days in Nagoya. However, I don’t think about all the sushi I ate or all the anime I watched.
What I Loved About Teaching English in Japan
I loved singing Karaoke. Personally, I am a horrible singer. However, in Japan, nobody really cares. Karaoke is fun and everyone sings together. Nobody singles anyone out for sounding horrible. Everyone usually sings together and after that second glass of plum wine, nobody really cares.
I loved Purikura. It’s a photo booth, but not just any photo booth. One that edits pictures with sparkles, little hearts, cupcakes, hats, sunglasses; anything that can be thought of is used to edit Purikura pictures.
Some arcades rent out Pikachu or high school girl costumes to be used inside the photo booth and others even have a make-up corner so girls can powder their noses or curl their eye-lashes. It’s a pretty popular date spot that girls usually drag their boyfriends to.
Most importantly, though, I loved my friends. I met the most amazing people that I would never get the chance of meeting had I stayed in Indiana. I met girls who lived and taught in Thailand, girls from Australia, and girls who lived and travelled throughout India. These girls I met were my support group in Japan.
The Drawbacks of Teaching English in Japan
My friends helped me during my times in need when dating in Japan became unbearable. When I didn’t feel beautiful, because I was not skinny and I was not exotic. Often, I felt ugly, because I did not act cute and innocent. I was loud and independent which left me overlooked. I wanted to discuss politics, economics, and history in a society that deemed idiocy an attractive trait in a woman.
My friends supported me when I could no longer stand the prejudice. At times I was not allowed entrance into a restaurant for being white. At times someone did not want to speak Japanese to me, because I was not local. There were times where it was even difficult for me to make Japanese friends, because I was American and considered weird.
Finally, my friends were there for me when someone on the subway attempted to touch me. It’s not uncommon for women to be “touched” on a crowded subway ride. I was accustomed to people touching my blonde hair. However, I was not prepared for this. My friends were there for me.
Imagine it: 4 women, all from different parts of the world, yelling at a thirty-something-year-old salary man trying to start something. It made my day knowing that my friends were there for me.
Contact Dani Hadaway
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