Tokyo or bust!
December 22, 2008 5:32 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone know of any good resources for finding non-teaching work in Japan?

I'm looking for some good resources aimed at young professionals who are looking to relocate their career from outside of Japan to the Tokyo area. I'm certified 2-kyu proficient in Japanese, if that helps, but would ultimately prefer to work in an English-speaking environment (I am flexible on the issue, however).

I'm currently working with a recruiter who specializes in this, but was wondering if there was anyone out there who has had good experiences with specific job hunting sites or headhunters that they'd be willing to pass along.

I'm already familiar with and
posted by C^3 to Work & Money (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Most non-teaching companies in Japan don't want to sponsor your visa or have to deal with you when you're across the ocean, so you'll get the best of luck if you are already there in Japan. If your home-country has a special agreement and lets you travel to Japan on a "Working-Holiday" visa, I would definitely opt for that.

Just like you're not likely to find a job with a French or Spanish speaking environment in the US or Australia that's not grunt work, you're probably not going to find a job with only an English speaking environment in Japan that's not grunt work. It's definitely possible, but it's highly unlikely and you'll be wasting your time looking for one. So even if you prefer it, you might want to stop considering it all together.

With these things mind, you should actually check out these two sites: (You'll just have to weed through the teaching ads)

If you don't like translating work, then you are really going to have to make yourself shine on paper because, like most foreign companies, employers don't like to hire people if it's a hassle.

Best of luck.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:28 AM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

This site looks pretty low volume but has non-teaching jobs:

If your field is foreign capital firms, drop me an email/mefimail.
posted by mikepop at 7:18 AM on December 22, 2008

Career Forum . . .

They have a recruiting event in NYC in February. I went to one of these back in 1992 and it was educational.

Since you're young don't throw out the english teaching gig out of hand. I flew over there without a job in 1992 and did the english thing for 2 1/2 years before my dream job came up. Getting acclimated was useful plus english teaching develops personal skills (the first year was challenging, the second was pretty good, the third was getting pretty soul-crushing).

Though with the economy & the internet now I would think the eikaiwa option is a lot tougher now than it was 16 years ago.
posted by troy at 9:27 AM on December 22, 2008

What do you actually do? If you can be more specific you might get better info.

And yeah, as nikkorizz says, I would stop mentioning the English working environment thing. It can only serve to scare off companies/recruiters/friends who would otherwise have good leads for you. (Plus, what's the worst-case scenario for not mentioning it? You get an interview with a company who then decide that your Japanese is not good enough for their office? That still beats not getting an interview...)
posted by No-sword at 1:53 PM on December 22, 2008

Hello all, thanks for the advice and the links so far. I'll be looking into them later tonight.

To clarify, currently I do database work for financial companies, which includes report generation, ETL, and some database development. I have a CS degree, and about three years working for hedge-fund or hedge-fund related companies, and as a result I'm pretty fluent in things like securities and risk analysis. Currently, I work in the hedge fund division of a large multi-national bank and ideally I would like to move to a similar kind of institution if I were to relocate to Tokyo.

The reason I bring up the English-environment thing is that so far most of the banks that I've spoken to have had pretty international data teams, so as a result the working language winds up being English. Like I said, I am flexible on the issue, it's a preference more than anything else.

Would appreciate any other advice, so please keep the info coming!
posted by C^3 at 2:20 PM on December 22, 2008

There's more options for English-language or mixed-language environments than you might think. I work for a non-Japanese company in Japan, and English is the official language (that doesn't mean everyone is fluent, or that everyone works in it all the time though). The research institutes here are also very international, and do a lot of mixed-language stuff, and I hear the same about the big banking and consulting firms. So, if you target your industries well, this may work out on its own.

That said, I'd also really recommend trying to find work with the non-Japanese companies anyway. You're more likely to get hired from overseas to work in Japan, more likely to find English-language environment at work, and less likely to get stuck in a "traditional" working environment (which sounds bad from the outside, and is even worse when you're in it every day).

Also, Japan is in for some shrinkage economically in the near future. Layoffs (!) and reduced output are already happening at the biggest companies (car mfrg, electronics). Bear that in mind when things get frustrating. Even the Japanese are having trouble finding jobs.
posted by whatzit at 3:49 PM on December 22, 2008

This isn't really a headhunter thing, but try talking to the people at World Campus International - they could give you some pointers.
posted by divabat at 11:31 PM on December 22, 2008

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