Backpack & Budget : Learn About Japan While Teaching English

Jobs teaching English in Japan are not as easy to get or as lucrative as they were 20 years ago when English teachers were at a premium, says Mark Gauthier, author of “Making It in Japan: Work, Life, Leisure and Beyond.” But if you want to work and travel in Japan, there are still opportunities if you know how to look for them.

University graduates who want a foreign experience and have enough seed money to get started, can do it. “You will find a job, but the speed in which you find a job and the quality of it will depend on the presentation of yourself.”

The 232-page guide is packed with advice and information that will help the traveler settle in one of the world’s most expensive countries.

Topics vary from visa and immigration procedures to job hunting, economical options for finding and furnishing an apartment, calling home, health care, banking, transportation, recreation, tax, teaching tips, shopping and exploring the culture.


What you know before you go can make a difference. The book points out that you should pack the original copy of your university degree. “Because many foreigners have shown up with copies of fake degrees . . . most schools now require you to produce the original.”

Information is given about the various English-speaking services that can help you when you don’t speak any Japanese yourself. There are English libraries and special telephone numbers for English-language railway and tourism information. Most subways and trains have English translations and there is bilingual television and several English-language daily newspapers and magazines.

To keep day-to-day costs under control in a city where a movie can cost five times what you would pay in North America, Gauthier says that on Sept. 1, Dec. 1, March 1 and June 1, movie tickets are sold for half price.

Other cost-cutting subjects include: where to find “all you can eat” restaurants in Tokyo and a variety of lodging options from home stays and staying in a Zen temple to spending a night in a capsule hotel (only the length and width of a single bed).


“Making It in Japan: Work, Life, Leisure and Beyond” is published by Sanseido Co., Ltd., Tokyo. In North America copies can be ordered directly from the author for $12.95 plus $3 postage and handling, at 59 Maywood Road, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada N2C 2A2.


A 1994 edition of the Guide to Cruise Ship Jobs by George Reilly is now available.

The 40-page booklet covers the types of positions available, duties involved and how and where to apply among the major American carriers. It includes a listing of agencies that hire for cruise lines.


Guide to Cruise Ship Jobs is available directly from Pilot Books, 103 Cooper St., Babylon, N.Y. 11702; $5.95 per copy, plus $2 for postage and handling.