My story

When I arrived in Japan, I was what some call a “mid-career” professional, with an honours science degree and 11 years of experience in various aspects of software development. With this background, it would not be hard to find a job in the US, UK or Australia. But here, I faced the two common obstacles for foreigners in Japan: I hardly spoke Japanese; and I had no working visa.

I knew it would take a while before I could improve my Japanese to the point where it would help in my job hunt, so I decided to look for a job that required only English. After lots of research and emailing before I left, and a bit of legwork during the first week, I managed to get a verbal offer from a company after less than a month. Unfortunately, I was away travelling by this time, and by the time I returned a month or so later they rescinded the offer due to various company politics and so on. It took about two more months before I found another good company.

When I first arrived, I thought it might take 3 months to get a job; if I still had nothing after 6 months I would have to reconsider. In the end, it took about 3 months, as expected.

I’ve distilled my experiences down to a few topics. Lots of this stuff took me quite a while to sort out, much of it from various websites, so it should save you some time at least. In particular, it wasn’t easy to get complete and reliable information about working visa requirements and procedures, especially considering how crucial it is to get it right.

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23 comments on “My story”

Comment pages: « 1 [2]

  1. 4
    Kiku said (7 June 2006 at 11:18 am)

    Hey there, I am looking forward to working in Japan, I am currently still in college getting my Bachelor’s Degree in CIS [ Computer Information systems]. I am currently 19 years old, and I am ONLY going to college for the degree, and for some extra learning, since I have 4 years of experience in self taught, CIS and java, c++,ect. So I figured experience points wont be a very big deal, since I already know as much as a mid-career person would. I have been looking at websites offering jobs in Japan, like, ect. I have been reading your website, and I have found it very helpful, especially on the work visa articles. I have read EVERYTHING on the MOFA JAPAN website regarding this, but it never said anything about having to already have a sponsor before obtaining the work visa, so this helped me alot, when you mentioned that. So, my question for you is, if I get a job offer [ which I have ] online, from a company in Japan, [ I natively speak english, and I am fluent Japanese speaker, and writer/reader,ect. have been studying and taking Japanese classes for 4 1/2 years now.] How would I go to an interview, applying for a Japanese job, online? After that, how would they sponsor me? I find your story very insightful, and it helps me alot. I was thinking of working for NOVA, but I dont want to teach to english, I want to work in computer programming/software engineer career. Another thing I would like to ask you, is regarding my degree. I am currently going to a community 4 year college, here in America, called DeVry University, and I am enrolled in a 3 year Bachelor’s Degree program. I am not sure if my degree HAS TO BE 4 YEARS, or it probly doesn’t matter? As long as I have a Bachelor’s, thats all that matters right? Thankyou for your help, I appreciate it!

  2. 5
    samantha jewan said (6 August 2007 at 5:29 pm)

    hi! im samantha 4m sri lanka. i need to find some job 4m the japan / my addres is Smantha jewan/64/a,wanarathana Rd/ kalubowila/dehiwala/sri lanka////////// so still im learning abt the japanese language. plz help me and thank you very much.

  3. 6
    Mitch said (16 November 2007 at 10:47 am)

    Good story! well i’m in high school right now, and i plan to go to DSU (Dakota State University) to get a degree in a IT position. I plan to go to japan after i graduate. I don’t know any japanese, but i would like to study abroad in japan and get some courses under my belt. Well any pointers would be helpful plz

  4. 7
    James N said (7 February 2008 at 5:04 pm)

    Am a Kenyan Citizen I have a Diploma in marketing and am currently working with a learning institution. Soon will be pursuing a degree in marketing.
    my question is whether in japan one can find a marketing job after learning japaneese language. I will be glad to hear from you

  5. 8
    george said (8 September 2008 at 7:22 am)

    hi my name is George Hatzakis im 20 years old.
    I was born and raised in South Africa but currently live in Greece.
    English is my first language.
    Basically I have always wanted to go to japan u can understand a youngsters desire to leave home and live the so called “life”

    I’m fluent in English.
    I’ve worked as room service for about a year at a private villa.
    Work as a waiter
    and i have three years at technical college studying computers

    so keeping that in mind lets say I pass visas and all that stuff
    i go to japan with 2000euros = roughly about 300.000 yen
    what are the chances that i can actually make it

    please email me

    let me know

    thanks a lot
    by the way
    impressive what you have accomplished
    u have true spirit

  6. 9
    Dom John said (9 December 2008 at 1:55 pm)

    I don’t have a degree in computers so what are my chances? I guess I could teach english which I would like, but they seem hard to get into. I really want to work and live in Japan, I’ll keep trying! email me at

  7. 10
    Malkavian said (12 April 2010 at 3:03 am)

    I’ve graduated from Trade school (Commercial High) and I have graduated from IT school, mostly for software stuff. I’d like to attend the programming course, but my financial situation is a bit lower than it should be. <.<
    I've been looking for a job in Japan, but I cannot find anything and I'm too skeptic about legality of these posted jobs. I could use some help.

  8. 11
    tina said (4 September 2010 at 7:27 pm)

    I am interested in teaching English in Japan.I am an Engineering graduate however English is not my native language,but i can speak,write and read english fluently.
    Please let me know what are the chances of finding a job in Japan,do they have a criteria that the candidate should be a native english speaker?

  9. 12
    Bennett said (4 September 2010 at 9:05 pm)

    Tina, I have heard that students prefer to learn English from native English speakers.

  10. 13
    Kriss said (16 January 2011 at 12:25 am)

    Hy there … TNX for you’re story … as well as you I decided to go to Japan for a new beginning but as you I don’t know JP. but I started to learn it by my self. Right at the moment I’m surfing thou the e-net. for some Intel for work/visa/let by etc. saw you’re story so now I’m sure before going to JP. need to find a job first XD and according to you’re story it will take a long time but I’m aiming for the beginning to even to take the shit ones like industrial. XD

    I have no idea if some one is going to respond but how much money I should take whit my (in yen) because I’m going fore 200 000 yen.

  11. 14
    Joe (norway) said (30 January 2012 at 9:27 am)

    Hi man. i like your Story.

    i m a guy that dont have a Fancy degre. i studied Welding but i aint a welder. and i studu un 2007. and just work as a garbage man rest of the time. i have no driving’s licens and no home. i just got Fired. and i always loved japan. i howd ask you the question. was it very hard to get the jobb and how mentaly Focust where you when lookt for a jobb.

    your friend Joe
    from norway

  12. 15
    Ank said (5 May 2012 at 10:29 pm)

    Thank you for your inspiring story. My husband is in a similar situation, and it is very encouraging to hear successful stories like yours.

    Also thank you for all the information posted around your site, which we for sure will at least give him a start point.

    Again, thank you for sharing.

  13. 16
    Bennett said (6 May 2012 at 9:37 pm)

    Thanks for your comments, Ank. I’m glad to hear that the site is helpful — that’s why I set it up… 🙂

  14. 17
    felaney said (18 November 2012 at 7:52 pm)

    Hi Bennett.. Im Felaney from Philippines.. PLease help me to go in Japan.. Please .. please… pleaseeee

  15. 18
    Lonami Onami said (31 January 2014 at 3:18 am)

    Im Lonami Onami.
    I want to work in Japan. Ill be a graduate of 4 year course Bachelor of Tourism Management this coming march 2014. my father is japanese but he already died and i really dont have any idea how to get a job in Japan im currently staying in the Philippines. If you have any idea pls reach me at my email

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  17. 20
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  18. 21
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  19. 22
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  20. 23
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