For those considering coming to Japan to work; unless you’re either bi-lingual or competent in the Japanese language, you’re pretty much going to be stuck in one industry – teaching. English is the main foreign language taught. There are, however, companies that offer courses in: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Korean. English is a compulsory language for Japanese to learn from their first year of junior high school. Elementary schools throughout the country are not compelled to have English lessons, however, it is believed that the Japanese Government will soon pass laws making the language compulsory across the board.
In the old days, for me in the 1980’s, finding an English teaching job meant buying a daily English newspaper and winnowing through the classified ads. Nowadays, people search for employment on such websites as http://www.gaijinpot.com/. or http://www.kansaiscene.com/
The above two websites also offer a wealth of information about Japan. Housing, travel and much more.
The Internet has replaced newspaper advertising.
Most companies or schools, these days, are looking for people already residing in the country. This means having the correct work visa. If you’re not sure of what criteria is needed for the correct visa call to the Japanese Consulate or Embassy in your home country or pay a visit to a Japanese Immigration office once you’re in the country, to learn what is required. If you arrive in the country on a 90 day tourist visa, you’ll probably find it difficult to get employment.
Some websites tell you that there are more jobs available in the cities and that conditions are much better than working in the “boonies”. This information is a truism and therefore moot. Of course there are more jobs in density populated areas. Work conditions, however, are pretty much the same all over. If you wish to work in a rural area, you may find that you have to have a valid driver’s license. Companies with job offers in the countryside as well as rural Board of Education authorities often offer housing and other compensations or incentives. It is important to remember that employment for language teachers isn’t the same as it was in the 1980’s heydays. Japan’s economic woes have contributed to a fall in full time positions.
The best of luck.