This beautiful, spiritual and welcoming country is at the same time beautiful, mind-blowing and thought provoking. Japan, which is one of the world’s top TEFL destinations is one of very few East Asian countries that has kept its traditional culture as well as capturing Western, modern technology. So, if you’re set on TEFLing, why teach English in Japan?
1. Japanese cuisine
Love food? Willing to try exotic new flavours? Get TEFLing in Japan! Those of you familiar with Japanese dishes know that eating is half the enjoyment of travelling in Japan; and in the busier cities in Japan such as Tokyo or Kyoto you could very easily eat different speciality foods every night for a month without repeating yourself (seriously!). Sushi is one of the most popular dishes among the Japanese themselves and I can guarantee it’s 100x better over there than anywhere else.
Table rules In Japan:
Blowing your nose at the table is considered very bad manners.
You say “itadakimasu” (“I gratefully receive”) before eating, and “gochisosama (deshita)” (“Thank you for the meal”) when you are finished.
The proper use of chopsticks is an absolutely essential element of Japanese table manners, so get practising.
Interesting fact from TEFLer, Danny: there are nearly as many schools in Japan as there are McDonald’s, so that’s A LOT of schools for you to choose from to TEFL at.
2. Shopping in Tokyo
Tokyo is a shopaholic’s absolute dream come true (or nightmare if you can’t stop spending!); and whilst many people perceive Tokyo to be outrageously overpriced, this isn’t always the case. So, when you are taking a break from your TEFL teaching there are many bargains to be found around town, from second hand fashion to fresh from the factory electronics.
I can imagine many of you are thinking “what on earth is that?!”. Well, this my friends, is probably the coolest train in the world. Reaching speeds of nearly 200mph the Shinkansen (Japanese for ‘new truck line’) is the world’s busiest high-speed rail line, carrying around 151 million passengers per year. The train travels all around the country so this will be a great means of transport if you want to teach English all over Japan.
Yes! Skiing! This is one of Japan’s best kept secrets. I’m sure many of you, didn’t have a clue that Japan is a great destination to get on the slopes. The most popular places to ski are the Japan Alps in Central Honshu and the Siberian–blasted Hokkaido highlands; so if you’re teaching English all year round, then skiing is something fun you can do in your spare time in the winter without having to leave the country.
5. Ogasawara Archipelago
As a nature lover’s paradise these subtropical islands are home to glorious white-sand beaches, bright blue waters and a handful of extraordinary plant and animal species. Located roughly 1000km south of Tokyo this would be a perfect location for a blissful getaway from the classroom.
THE CATCH: The most accessible main island is a 25 hour ferry ride away from Tokyo, but we can promise it is worth it.
So, if all this takes your fancy, Japan is the right place for you to TEFL. In the words of Sarah who has been teaching English in Japan for 5 years: “It’s been a brilliant experience and I would highly recommend Japan to anyone, it’s a beautifully baffling place with amazing people.”