T Nation

Japan thread part 2

I remember Char-dawg on here answering any question about Japan, and I’m seriously considering going to there after graduation from college in spring.

Anyway, can anyone answer these questions.

  1. How are living expenses there compared to the US?

  2. Would I be able to find work in a gym over there?

I’ve got a few more, but please respond.

Cost of living depends on if you live in Tokyo/Osaka or smaller cities.
Tokyo is expensive but not that much more than NYC or London. You will have a matchbox for an apartment though.

  1. To find a decent gym you need to be in Tokyo or Osaka, maybe Nagoya, or other large urban areas. Outside of that gyms are SCARCE, not to mention one who would hire a foreigner.

Try Golds - they are opening up quite a few gyms in the Kanto and Kansai areas.

good luck!

-PM Char Dawg too, He’d know more than I.

Do you at least speak Japanese?

I live in Korea and don’t really speak Korean. What’s your point?

My point is simply illustrated by asking you if you have ever seen a successful trainer in the US that didn’t speak any English? What gym here would hire someone who speaks only Japanese? How would they be able to teach someone proper diet and exercise? Living in a foreign country without speaking the language is fine if you don’t have to interact with the mainstream population. However, even those citizens who can speak English with you will have less respect for you if you haven’t even taken the time to learn to speak their language.

I’ve been to both Japan and Korea. They are very different. In Korea you can get by speaking broken English. If I spoke real English, they would not understand, so I spoke it slowly with a fake Asian accent and they understood. Every restaurant you would go to had at least one English speaker. There was a good amount of English signs. Local cuisine was cheap.

In Japan, the only people that knew English were in the airport. And Japan was super expensive. It was really hard to be understood in Japan.

As for getting work there, I can offer no educated guess on that. So I’ll give you and uneducated one. You might do ok as a novelty. Having an teacher from the West is a show of status. But I do know that you will have to get a work visa if you with to work there legally. Many people in Korea are there working on tourist visas, but Japan is much more strict. Before you think of Japan, look into what it takes to get a work visa.

Also keep in mind. Being in a country where nobody understands you and you don’t understand anybody is hard. But I found the hardest part was shopping for products. Pick up a food item, you can’t read the ingredients. Unless the package has a pictures of what it’s is or what it’s for, you are screwed.

I know I answered more than you asked. But they are things to think about.

Sugarfree, your comment on shopping reminds me of a time in China when I was in a grocery and saw a can with a picture of a dog on it. I thought that was strange since having pet dogs were against the law at that time (1990) so why would they be selling dog food? I subsequently found out that it was actually dog meat that was in the can. I would rather eat dog food than dog meat.

A chain such as Golds may hire a foreigner with limited Japanese language proficiency. Maybe.
Because Golds a Western image some clients may prefer a Westerner.

I’ve heard of other Gyms in Tokyo that have foreign trainers, and some trainers who freelance.

you must never have eaten dog food then, cuz that stuff tastes like shit

Char had suggested taht I go live in Japan!

On thing I left unsaid. Japan was sooooo pretty. I’m learning basic Japanese so one day, when I go back. It will go better.

i coached tennis in japan for a total of about 1.5 years. i’d imagine you could find a job at a gym in tokyo speaking little english, but maybe not. i’d suggest going over there to teach english; that way you get a visa, etc. then one you are there you can start looking for a gym to work at. one of the tennis clubs i worked at has a nice gym and there’s a chance that the club might want an american trainer (there are a lot of foreigners there) do you have some experience? a decent resume? if you are serious i could try to pass your resume along…but i’d have a hard time actually recommending someone i’ve never met.

  1. Living expenses depend on where you live in Japan, and what part of America (or other western country) you’re comparing it to. Do you live in NYC? Or in Idaho?

It’s tough to answer this question. For example, things are more expensive in general, but on the other hand usually you don’t need a car, which is a HUGE savings over what most Americans have to pay every month. They might charge you $5 for a cup of coffee, but on the other hand you can make $40 per hour or so just for talking.

See what I mean?

Overall, I don’t think that it’s particularly hard to save money here. If you can do it in the States, you can do it here as well.

  1. I think that it would be exceptionally difficult to get hired on as a certified employee in a gym. The basic rule for any country when thinking about who to give work visas to is: can this person do the job better than a native here? In the case of English teaching, obviously, any American can speak the language better than any Japanese person. But other than that, you run into problems. Maybe if you were a famous coach or something, your employer could make a case for you. But even then, it would take some doing.

And AR’s point about speaking the language is right on. (Although Fitone might be a counterexample… LOL. ) Can you say “trapezius” in Japanese? Folic acid? Carbohydrate?

Think about it.

When living in Japan, what are the difficulties involved in getting visas sponsored/renewed. I believe I remember a comment about starting out by getting hired with a “Big 4” co. such as NOVA, Geos,etc. But then how difficult is it to change jobs. Is it necessary to fulfill the year contract? Or can a person just walk into a smaller school and ask for a job and sponsor?

Someone has left out an important question here: Babes?..what about them?