Category Archives: JOBS

Introducing Furosato Nozei, Japans “Hometown Tax”

With the ever increasing problem of mass migration to the big cities, the rural areas of Japan are suffering from depopulation. The Japanese government has implemented a novel idea to help address this issue, called Furosato Nozei or “hometown tax” redirection. Under the system, tax payers can choose to redirect a portion of their city taxes to any participating rural Japanese area of their choosing. This is done by purchasing specific local goods. So what does this mean for you exactly? Essentially you can buy delicious or interesting local goods at a special high price, and then that money is reduced from your tax bill. You ultimately get free stuff!

Can I participate?

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Any taxpayer in Japan is eligible to participate in the system. The reduction will apply to your city tax payment.

Whilst the system is entitled “hometown”, you do not need to have any connection to the region you choose. If there is an area you really like, perhaps a rural area you taught English in, or a friend’s hometown, you can buy that towns goods. However, due to this fact many people shop around for goods they actually want without any real interest in propping up that area’s economy. The Japanese web store Rakuten has a special area that shows only Furosato Nozei products, making this method very simple.

What kinds of things can I get?

The products available are generally in some way connected to the region you choose to support. This usually means food products, but artistic things and travel vouchers are also available.

Personally, I have participated in the system for three years. My choices have included various honeys from a town in Nagano prefecture, an assortment of preserved meats from Kyushu and lots and lots of apple juice.

Why not take a look yourself on Rakuten? The site is set …continue reading

    

Japanese government mulling over potential four-day working week

Three-day weekend every week? Yes please!!

Back in 2019, Microsoft Japan’s three-day weekend experiment showed great improvements in worker productivity, with reports claiming the workers got 40 percent more work done. The rest of the country waited with bated breath — would this mean the rest of Japan would follow suit, and give the country’s overworked employees more flexible work schedules?

Sadly, not much has changed, as shown by one government office recently making the news when it disciplined workers for routinely going home a couple of minutes early. The glorious promise of three-day weekends very week once again seemed like a distant dream, but now there’s a new glimmer of hope.

At a press conference on April 5th, Liberal Democratic Party politician and Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said he’d like to “examine what the government can do” about implementing a potential “voluntary three-day holiday“, where full-time permanent employees can choose a schedule where they have three days a week off instead of two.

▼ “Sorry, sir. I’m taking today off!”

At the press conference, Kato talked about the increasing need for a healthy work-life balance. By implementing a voluntary three-day holiday each week, employees would struggle less due to issues such as lack of adequate childcare for their children, caring for elderly relatives or battling illnesses. As a result, people would be more likely to stay at their jobs for longer. A voluntary three-day holiday could allow people to travel more, in turn helping boost Japan’s tourism industry, which has been hit hard due to the coronavirus.

On the other hand, some have expressed concern over the potential decrease in wages that a three-day holiday could bring. Similarly, …continue reading

    

Retiring in Japan: What’s the Best Strategy?

Source: Gaijin Pot
Retiring in Japan: What's the Best Strategy?

More and more of us have come to Japan and are choosing to stay. In the summer of 2000, I arrived here expecting to do two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, then go onto bigger and better things. More than 20 years later, I am still living in Sendai, just down the road from my first apartment. Oops, it looks like I’m a lifer.

Suppose you do end up staying in Japan (and even if you don’t), “old you” will thank yourself for getting your finances in order as soon as possible. This is not difficult, but it is hard. Kind of like exercising and keeping yourself healthy—it’s more about habits than knowledge.

Japan is actually a pretty good place to invest.

I meet many people who say something like, “I haven’t made plans to retire, so I will just work until I die,” which is fine until you realize that you may not be willing or able to do that. There aren’t many jobs for 70-year olds, and you might end up living several decades past that.

Foreign residents are not entitled to welfare in Japan, although local authorities have discretion and can choose to pay it anyway. Personally, I wouldn’t want to rely on the kindness of bureaucrats in old age, would you?

Why not save and invest just in case, then? If you choose to keep working, you can do so from a position of strength and do it because you want to and not because you have to.

The basic strategy

All you got is time.

In Japan, traditional retirement is funded by an employee’s contributions (and employer matching) to nenkin, the national government pension system, …continue reading

    

2021 Top Jobs in Japan Week 14

Source: Gaijin Pot

If you’re looking to work in Japan, check back here each week as we look through our database of top jobs in Japan posted to GaijinPot and showcase some of the most interesting ones. You can apply directly to these companies by creating a profile on GaijinPot Jobs!

AmerAsian School in Okinawa

School Principal

  • Company: AmerAsian School in Okinawa
  • Salary: ¥259,000 / Month
  • Location: Okinawa, Japan
  • English: Business level
  • Japanese: Business level
  • Application: Overseas applications OK

The AmerAsian School in Okinawa is looking for a new school principal to serve as the school’s chief leader, oversee all aspects of the school’s operation and ensure a high quality of education.

You should be a skilled communicator with leadership experience preferably in the education industry.

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Grundfos

Growth and Process Specialist

  • Company: Grundfos
  • Salary: ¥2.9M ~ ¥5.2M / Year Negotiable
  • Location: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka
  • English: Conversational
  • Japanese: Native level
  • Application: Must currently reside in Japan

Grundfos, a world leading manufacturer of pumps and pumping systems, is looking a growth specialist to drive and facilitate a continuous improvement culture including implementation of group tools/processes and best practices.

You must have at least three to five years of relevant work experience.

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Peloton

Recruitment Associate

  • Company: Peloton
  • Salary: ¥3.0M ~ ¥5.0M / Year
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Fluent
  • Application: Must currently reside in Japan

As a recruitment associate, you’ll represent our global clients to the Japanese market and share unique opportunities with prospective candidates. You’ll attend client meetings, learn the tech market and build your professional network in Japan.

As this is an entry-level role, your personality …continue reading

    

Battling Ingrained Sexism in the Japanese Workplace

Battling Ingrained Sexism in the Japanese Workplace

It was 10 p.m. and my boss and I had just walked out of our last meeting for the day. I was lightheaded with hunger, tired and fantasizing about the moment I could take off my high heels. As we walked to the closest station together, out of the blue he turned to me and asked: “So, do you make dinner for your husband every night?”

My eyes narrowed and my neocortex went on red alert. What I really wanted to say was: “How could I possibly do that? It’s 10 p.m. and I’m here. With you. Working. For the third time this week — and it’s only Thursday!” Instead, I scrounged around for a comment biting enough to (hopefully) make him think and said: “My partner works for a gaishikei (foreign company). He leaves work on time and cooks for me.’

Ingrained Sexism at the Office

Deeply entrenched beliefs and assumptions like this flourish in Japan’s traditionally-minded office culture. This goes for office environments across the country, where due to the cultural focus on wa (harmony) and gaman (basically, “grin and bear it”), many women go along with uncomfortable situations and remain silent, since fighting back would paradoxically make them “a troublemaker.”

Most instances of outlandish behavior come from older managerial types, such as those who summon their female coworkers by calling out, “Ne! (Hey!)” or who refuse to see women as anything other than “OL” (office ladies) who take care of the workspace and perform menial tasks. Although the younger generation is not usually so blatantly sexist, it’s easy for men in the Japanese workplace to remain blissfully unaware of how the nature of their comments can affect us.

A few years ago during an important meeting with a client, my boss decided to introduce me as kono onee-chan (“this girl,” also …continue reading

    

So You’ve Missed the Last Train… Now What?

It happens to all of us… one moment you’re having a great time, the next you realize it’s five minutes to midnight, and like Cinderella at the ball, you have to run. But… you don’t quite make it in time and your last train has left faster than you can say bippity boppity boo. Now, you’re in the middle of Tokyo with no easy way to get home. What to do? Staying on the streets is not recommended, as, despite Tokyo’s safe reputation, there are plenty of thieves looking for sleeping targets. So, here are 10 options, rated by comfort, price, and convenience.

1. Pay Big Bucks for a Taxi

  • Price: ¥¥¥, around ¥4000 for a 30 min ride.>/li>
  • Convenience: 10/10
  • Comfort: 10/10, you get to sleep in your own bed.

Tokyo’s taxis have a reputation for being pricey—and for good reason, the costs start at ¥400-¥700 for the initial couple kilometers, then increase by ¥80-¥90 for every extra 300-400 meters. There is also an extra 20% nighttime fee from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM.

However, if you have the cash, it’s the most convenient option. You can flag a taxi down from a main road, or find a taxi stop (near many stations). It’s best to pay in cash, as many taxis do not accept credit cards. Another option is Uber, which in Japan is just a service to call a taxi, although Uber does not have the nighttime surcharge.

2. Ride Home on a Rental Bike

  • Price: ¥, around ¥1000- ¥1500 per day, although some rentals offer hourly plans.
  • Convenience: 7/10
  • Comfort: 7/10, you can sleep in your own bed, but only once you get there.

Recently, electric bike shares have gained popularity with …continue reading

    

6 Tips For Saving Money In Tokyo

6 Tips For Saving Money In Tokyo

Tokyo was recently ranked as the third most expensive city to live in by the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020 and in many respects we can all certainly feel it: most notably in the high rents and expensive fruit and vegetables ($20 for a mango anyone?). But there are ways to make it all work. After years of testing various ways of saving, here are six tips proven to make a difference in the size of your bank accounts.

1. Set up a monthly and yearly budget (and try to stick to it)

With convenience stores and vending machines so plentiful and, well, convenient, and Japan largely remaining a cash-based society, it is very easy to hemorrhage money as we buy quick treats or a sneaky extra coffee here and there throughout the day. While we might barely notice the coins disappearing from our wallets, those hundreds of yen quickly add up to thousands over the month without too much to show for it. While there is nothing wrong with a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, it’s all about tradeoffs. Would you prefer that daily anpan (red bean-filled donut) or cup of cheap joe, or the extra thousands of yen towards that trip you’ve been planning or a night out with friends?

No one I know enjoys tracking their spending, and while it can be tedious, we’ve come a long way from keeping money set aside in paper envelopes and trying to keep an excel spreadsheet up-to-date. There are many free apps out there that help you set up a budget and track your spending on-the-go while syncing with other members of your family. I personally recommend Goodbudget, which …continue reading

    

Is Hanami Actually Fun?

Source: Gaijin Pot
Is Hanami in Japan Actually Fun?

With spring come lovely pink and white hues of sakura (cherry blossoms), and with sakura comes hanami (花見), or “flower viewing.” From late March to early April, the whole country goes nuts for cherry blossoms and eat and drink while basking under the flowers. Hanami is a chance for you to go outside and revel in the few beloved weeks of spring that Japan has to offer before the rainy season hits.

At least it was before COVID-19.

Some spots in the city such as Nakameguro and Ueno in Tokyo draw in tens of thousands of spectators or more.

Some foreigners say they’re over all the sakura-themed products filling store shelves with various weird taste combinations (think pink soba noodles and tofu topped with sakura flavored salt) this time of year. They wouldn’t dream of buying yet another blue tarp (people just can’t enjoy the beauty of nature while sitting in the dirt).

But thanks to the coronavirus, people are about ready to start clawing at the walls to get out and enjoy spring. However, we’re still a month away—at least—before vaccines start rolling out.

With everyone sick of being stuck due to social distancing and feeling the sakura fever, maybe it’s time to ask, is hanami really that fun?

So what exactly is hanami?

Eat, drink and be merry.

Hanami started as a personal pamper party for the Emperor and his chums but became a seasonal event for the common folk. It was initially a gathering to appreciate the plum blossoms. During the Heian period (794–1185), plum blossoms fell out of vogue, …continue reading

    

2021 Top Jobs in Japan Week 13

Source: Gaijin Pot

If you’re looking to work in Japan, check back here each week as we look through our database of top jobs in Japan posted to GaijinPot and showcase some of the most interesting ones. You can apply directly to these companies by creating a profile on GaijinPot Jobs!

1021 Creative

Content Strategist

  • Company: 1021 Creative
  • Salary: ¥3.7M ~ ¥3.7M / Year
  • Location: Japan, nationwide
  • English: Business level
  • Japanese: Native level
  • Application: Overseas applications OK

Are you a diverse pop-culture and online video expert who would like to use your knowledge, skills and intuition to consult for the media platforms that are shaping our world?

1021 Creative, a fast-growing content curation and marketing agency, is seeking a candidate who has a passion for pop-culture content in the areas of music, gaming, film and TV.

This role requires an understanding of trending content and a strong familiarity of the top social media platforms. A background in journalism would be a plus.

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CoreKara

Software Engineer

  • Company: CoreKara
  • Salary: ¥4.0M ~ ¥8.0M / Year Negotiable
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • English: Fluent
  • Japanese: Conversational
  • Application: Overseas applications OK

CoreKara, an e-commerce and marketing agency, is looking for multiple software engineers for in-house development projects.

You must have professional experience in PHP and MongoDB development.

Benefits include visa sponsorship, a semi-remote work system and longevity pay.

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Tagawa

Construction Site Manager

  • Company: Tagawa
  • Salary: ¥207,000 ~ ¥500,000 / Month, Negotiable, Commission Based
  • Location: Yokosuka, Kanagawa
  • English: Business level
  • Japanese: Conversational
  • Application: Must currently reside in Japan

Your main duties will be desk and design work using CAD, Microsoft Word and Excel, as well …continue reading

    

From Eikaiwa to Catwalk: Interview with a Model in Tokyo

Jasmine Rose never imagined she would end up modeling in one of the largest cities in the world. Growing up, like many young girls, she enjoyed watching America’s Next Top Model, and seeing the glamorous lifestyle of models portrayed in the media. Although friends and family had suggested she try modeling, she was too shy to pursue it. Instead, she came to Tokyo as an English teacher, following her love of Japanese culture, cafes and anime.

Jasmine first learned about modeling Tokyo by chance, when some fashion students approached her at Shibuya Crossing. They asked her to be a model for their upcoming show. There, she met other professional models, who encouraged her to join some agencies in Tokyo. After signing up with multiple modeling agencies as a freelance model, she began booking shoots, which she fit in around her teaching schedule.

For Jasmine, it was a gradual transition onto this new, and uncertain, career path. As she received more modeling work, she switched to teaching English part time, to have more flexibility in her schedule. Eventually, she realized that, not only did she enjoy modeling more than teaching, but that she might actually be able to make a living from modeling alone.

Jasmine launched into full-time modeling at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, the timing coincided with the start of the pandemic, which impacted the frequency of jobs, and led to many last minute cancellations. However, she has still seen success, having since worked with major Japanese brands like Sunkist and Maison de Fleur.

Through modeling, she was able to find a community, making many friends with girls her own age at shoots and auditions. Modeling also brought her confidence. “Before, I cared way too much, when people took photos I would always critique it heavily. I would say, ‘I hate this …continue reading