We’re known for a lot of things, however timing has never been one of them. When we made our final decision to move to Japan, we had spent weeks reading forum postings about the reasonable condition of jobs, the exciting life the city had to offer, and the seemingly acceptable exchange rate of 100 Yen to the dollar.
One month later we arrived, eyes full of neon and dreams. And with those shiny eyes we watched the economy further implode and the yen soar to ever increasing heights. At the time when we exchanged our money in Tokyo we had seen 20% of our money disappear.
Next we watched widespread layoffs. All of a sudden there was less money in the city for luxuries such as private English lessons, and an excess of English teachers with experience in the city. The reasonable job outlook was replaced with stories of professionals from other failing economies heading over to ride out the storm with and ESL career.
“Believe it or not; with the US economy in the tank and things being what they are, the school I work for gets quite a few resumes each week from a lot of professional people (lawyers, engineers, and IT folks, not so many doctors) who are considering packing it in and doing eikaiwa [independent conversation school] work for a year or three.”
And everyone’s favorite job application response:
“To date, 1655 resume(s) have been submitted through […] for this position.”
Then came the holiday season. We had arrived early to kick off the search process before the holidays hit, but with no solid leads in sight we ran into a near two week period where getting job became next to impossible.
In short we managed to arrive at what may have literally been the worst time to teach English in Japan in the last ten plus years. Failing economy, soaring yen, glut of English teachers.
This will be an adventure.