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Re: Finally going to spend real time in Japan

Postby OO. » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:32 pm

Kizyr wrote:
OO. wrote:One suggestion depends on the immigration laws of Japan. Let this be known; it's something I entirely lack knowledge of, so I'll indirectly bounce this question off Kizyr as well, but would working for room and board on privately owned land qualify for keeping your visa?

There's an organization called "WWOOF" which is short for World-Wide Opporunities on Organic Farms. You take on different kinds of labor for private land owners/farmers in exchange for a place to stay and certain hosts will also feed you. You probably wouldn't make any money as that's rare to find but at least it'd provide you with a roof over your head while you seek another job.

I don't see any way that could work in Japan for a foreign visitor without some level of exploitation going on.

For starters, it's unlikely to the point of being impossible that you'd be able to get sponsored for a visa for agricultural work, unless you're ethnically Japanese or have Japanese ancestry. Second, unless whoever owns the farm is bilingual or has enough money to hire interpreters, they're unlikely to hire you anyhow (it's hard enough getting any work outside of teaching English if you don't speak Japanese). Third, farms are located in the countryside; job opportunities are better in the cities. If you're placed in the middle of Hokkaido, all the time in the world won't really help you find a job given your skill sets (and speaking English isn't really likely to help you on a farm).

I can't view the image you linked from work. But I'd be curious to see how, if at all, those guys are managing to deal with Japan's immigration laws to do this.


I see. Even in the U.S. there can be some level of exploitation from the farm owners. It's intended to be more of a social network between farmers and volunteers who want to learn something about agriculture. Sometimes you work for a guy who only wants cheap labor and you end up learning nothing. A roll of the dice kind of thing.

If obtaining a visa is that strict in Japan Shiva Indis is probably right; better off as a short term experience on a budget for certain tourists. There may be a problem if you don't speak Japanese, the ads posted on foreign websites tell you what languages are spoken and desired, but I was under the impression Nobiyuki knew some Japanese.

As a footnote I'm now curious to know how rare urban farms are outside of the U.S.

My link shows the location of the farm, when the owner is looking for work, and what kind of work needs to be done. Some want you to help run an inn, most want your typical farm labor such as animal care, weed pulling, and crop harvesting. It does work on my computer and I'm not sure how to fix this sort of error for other people so explaining it is the best I can do.
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Re: Finally going to spend real time in Japan

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:19 am

Well, I’ve made a decision. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It breaks my heart to make it. But I’ve decided not to go.

Kizyr did scare me last night yes, but that really isn’t the crux of this decision. It’s more so the question he posed to me yesterday and today.

“Why are you going?”

I’m going to learn Japanese, I answer. This is true, and in and of itself is not a bad answer. But then, I was struck by another question. One I hadn’t really thought about for a while.

“Why are you learning Japanese? For what purpose?”

The answer… is videogames. I have old videogames in Japanese that I want to play and be able to read and understand. Then I smacked myself in the head. NEWS FLASH: You’re nearly 30 years old! You have to make time in your day to play the games you do today! In English! What makes you think you’re suddenly going to have even more time to devote to old Japanese games? You DO want to get married someday, yes? Say goodbye to game time when that happens! Kids? Forget it; you live for your kids now. You’re not playing games anymore. Time’s up for you.

About 5 or 6 years ago when I got this silly notion in my head, I was working really bad jobs that didn’t pay well. Retail work. Compared to that, this and other programs would have been infinitely better, both for the work location and the pay.

Now, I work an office job with much better pay, with nice people who like me and respect me for who I am. Or at the very least, they pretend to. ^^ Either way, I have a very agreeable job with very agreeable pay with a very agreeable manager with opportunity to potentially move up the latter in the future should the opportunity arise.

Am I really stupid enough to give all that up, for some freakin’ videogames? To go gallivanting to another country to learn a language that will almost certainly be useless to me in the future with no practical use other than personal hobby? In this economy where I’m basically guaranteed to not be able to get my old job back once I return?

I almost was. I even told them I was going to accept. Now, thanks to Kizyr slapping some freakin’ sense in me, I’m going to make up some excuse that something has come up and that I can’t go. Family emergency or something. I only found out a couple days ago, it won’t be that hard.

I was about to make the same goddamn mistake I made when I decided to go to art school. Not enough planning, just follow my heart and see where it takes me. Well, 7 years later I’m not in an art career and still paying school loans. Yeah, that was really friggin’ smart. I nearly did it again too. I’m such a stupid person.

So I honestly thank you, Kizyr. Not sarcastically or spitefully. You may have prevented me from making an extremely dumb move, one that I’d regret. With art school, I was young, so I can claim naïveté. But if I make that mistake again, I have no excuses whatsoever.
-Nobi

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Re: Not going

Postby Jenner » Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:40 am

In a way, I'm relieved. I hope you're ok Nobi. Kiz and I were really worried about you. I know it was a dream, to go to Japan, and maybe you still can as a tourist. Save up some money, take a vacation, and go over there for pleasure without risking your job and well-being. I'm glad you really considered your job, if you'd had a -Dragon Diamond- job I'd understand taking a chance on this. But a decent job is not a thing to sacrifice in this economy. I'm glad you made the hard, but mature, decision. It's all part of being a grown up.

Good luck.
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Re: Not going

Postby Alunissage » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:28 am

Just FYI, Nobi, marriage doesn't necessarily mean the end of gaming time. :lol: (It does help a great deal to have the same genre interest as your spouse, though, or near enough.) Was really funny when zq and I were playing different games on the same TV via split-screen; could only have sound for one, but he was just levelling up or trying to get a rare item drop and didn't really need the sound anyway. Restaurant staff think we're funny when we pull out our separate handhelds, too.

I also remember when I got my Japanese MegaCD EB game, eightish years ago. Played a bit of it and the two of us deciphered some NPC in Larpa saying that Ronfar was hot, or words to that effect. "Suteki" was spelled out in kana one syllable at a time, so I could pick it out, and a nearby kanji was one zq recognized from his almost nonexistent Chinese as referring to love. Or something like that. ^_^ Granted, it wasn't the most intellectual exercise, but it was funny.

Closer to the topic, we've talked about taking a trip there for years, a longish one if we could manage it. And occasionally we talk about taking language classes together, though he's still a bit more interested in studying Chinese than Japanese (I remain more interested in understanding import games than in understanding my in-laws, but that's a separate and boring tale :roll:). The point I'm making is that your life isn't done yet and even things you tend to think will be more restrictive of your time aren't guaranteed to be. Keep going with the lessons, dig out some game whose story you already know so you have some guidance on it, and see what happens in the future.

Art school isn't necessarily a mistake either... or at least no more of a mistake than any college degree that ends up not related to your actual employment. I spent fifteen consecutive semesters getting my BA in music and linguistics and now co-manage a biology lab. And yet I was thinking just yesterday about how my personal interests are still served by that education -- specifically in the context of comparative analysis of Luna's songs in TSS and SSS, which is definitely a nonprofessional interest. :P I suspect that these days there isn't as high a correlation between what your degree is in and what you're actually doing, because for a lot of jobs the fact you have a degree is far more important than what it is you studied. Are you still drawing? (Obviously.) Did you learn something about drawing that you didn't know before you started? (I hope so.) Then it wasn't a total waste, even if its benefits can't be measured easily in dollars and cents.

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Re: Not going

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Thu Jan 20, 2011 4:03 am

Thanks Jenner. I'm sorry to have worried you two, but I'm really glad I posted this here. Kizyr was the only person I told who raised concerns, and that's what got me to think further about what it was I was actually embarking on. In a way, I'm still kind of mad at myself; I should be old enough and mature enough to think this through on my own without Kizyr breakin' out the harisen and giving me a few pointers on critical thinking. I've got a ways to go.

Alun, nice to know marriage doesn't necessarily kill all gaming activity. :-P But I think the point stands that once I do find that special someone I'll be using a significant portion of my time being with them, loving, cherishing, you know. I'm such a romantic sap. >.<
-Nobi

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Re: Finally going to spend real time in Japan

Postby Kizyr » Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:01 am

Man, I kind of feel bad now. Part of me is relieved like Jenner, and for the same reasons. But another part of me also knows how much you really wanted to go. Throughout all of this, it was never that I didn't want you to go per se, but that I wanted to check if you'd thought about this from all angles, and offer some perspective if I could. Ultimately, you gotta make the choice that you think is best, and that you're going to be the most comfortable with.

I don't know if this will help, but I'll offer something similar from my own experience.

For the last two years of college, I was getting prepared to go into the Peace Corps. I knew a lot about it, I'd spoken with a lot of people who'd gone, and I even wanted to eventually go into the economic development field. PC is also rather well-reputed, so it would've helped me in that regard. ... I ended up deciding not to in my senior year, and went ahead and started applying for regular jobs in DC. There're a few reasons for it (some of which weren't quite accurate reasons), but nonetheless that's what ended up happening.

Now, I don't regret not going. Things might have turned out differently, but there's no saying just what would've happened. In its place, I got the job I'm currently working at, and I was able to position myself to get promoted rather quickly because I was spending the first two years here instead of in the Corps.

One philosophy I hold to pretty strongly is that I never have any regrets, and I don't view anything I've done as a waste. I've made mistakes, sure, but no regrets. Things turn out a particular way and nothing is ever a complete loss: I didn't go into the Corps, but in exchange I got another two years at my current position. You may not be going to Japan to teach, but in exchange there are things you can take care of or invest your time/effort in here.

What I'm trying to say is that there's no need to think of things solely in terms of what you've lost. Count off the things you gain and are thankful for, and it can put it all into a more balanced perspective.

Nobiyuki wrote:I was about to make the same goddamn mistake I made when I decided to go to art school. Not enough planning, just follow my heart and see where it takes me. Well, 7 years later I’m not in an art career and still paying school loans. Yeah, that was really friggin’ smart. I nearly did it again too. I’m such a stupid person.

This could be another thing to apply the 'no regrets' philosophy to. Did you really not get anything out of art school? Take a look at old drawings you made 10 years ago, and then what's in your sketchbook right now. Anyone you met while going to school there? Any directions it took you in that you wouldn't've gone in otherwise?

Yes there're costs, but there're costs to everything. All those years (and money) spent on learning Japanese in my case didn't actually help me with my career, but it was still worth the effort, even if the most use I've gotten out of it has been entertainment- or personal development-related. Most people don't even go into a career related to their college major--but it doesn't mean that those years in college were wasted.

Nobiyuki77 wrote:Now, I work an office job with much better pay, with nice people who like me and respect me for who I am. Or at the very least, they pretend to. ^^ Either way, I have a very agreeable job with very agreeable pay with a very agreeable manager with opportunity to potentially move up the latter in the future should the opportunity arise.

Sean, I actually was under the impression you were still working at those irritating retail jobs as when I met you years ago. I didn't know that you had something more stable and enjoyable now.

It's after-the-fact now, so I don't know if knowing that would've changed anything I said. Although it is, like you said, something to consider in the decision on whether or not to go.

Nobiyuki77 wrote:Kizyr did scare me last night yes, but that really isn’t the crux of this decision. It’s more so the question he posed to me yesterday and today.
“Why are you going?”
I’m going to learn Japanese, I answer. This is true, and in and of itself is not a bad answer. But then, I was struck by another question. One I hadn’t really thought about for a while.
“Why are you learning Japanese? For what purpose?”
The answer… is videogames. I have old videogames in Japanese that I want to play and be able to read and understand. Then I smacked myself in the head.

I really hope that this is truly what led you to your decision. Half of that hope is admittedly selfish: I feel like I've discouraged you from doing something you may have wanted to do. The other half though is that it does signify you're making this decision 100% for your own reasons. Were I in your position, I think that this question plus my current employment/career would be the two biggest factors.

I did find out a bit more about Interac and the EFL scene in general, but not much more. Basically, Interac isn't one of the bigger private EFL providers (AEON I think is the most well-known). It's possible to "move up" from working with Interac by getting a contract with a private school (so basically going from being contracted-out to being directly employed by a school), but those contracts can be just as risky as working with Interac/AEON/etc. in the first place. I also hadn't even considered the problem of finding housing: renting is not easy, especially for foreigners, as landlords are really hesitant to rent places to you. The company can find a place for you and avoid that hassle, but on the flip side you end up basically living wherever the company tells you to, and it can be difficult to move.

By the way, half my impetus for learning Japanese was because of video games. I did get interested in other aspects of Japanese culture as a result--history, poetry, literature, and calligraphy to name a few things--but I'd be lying if I said that video games weren't the biggest factor when I decided to take up the challenge. Whatever your reasons are, what really matters is that they're your reasons.

Hell I learned Orcish for Jenner. That's not gonna get me anywhere.

Oh yeah, on-topic.

Nobiyuki77 wrote:Thanks Jenner. I'm sorry to have worried you two, but I'm really glad I posted this here. Kizyr was the only person I told who raised concerns, and that's what got me to think further about what it was I was actually embarking on. In a way, I'm still kind of mad at myself; I should be old enough and mature enough to think this through on my own without Kizyr breakin' out the harisen and giving me a few pointers on critical thinking. I've got a ways to go.

The most I did re: critical thinking was drop some hints and ask some questions. Otherwise, it was just specific knowledge, like trying to do some research on Interac, or spreading some of what I learned from immigrants who were living in Japan. In other words, you were thinking through this on your own.

So that this post isn't a complete downer...

"You’re nearly 30 years old! You have to make time in your day to play the games you do today! In English!"
Bah, gaming doesn't end at 30! It just begins!

"You DO want to get married someday, yes? Say goodbye to game time when that happens!"
Hogwash! Marriage means you finally have a Player 2. And someone to do all the Chocobo Hot & Cold sidequests while you're at work.

"Kids? Forget it; you live for your kids now. You’re not playing games anymore. Time’s up for you."
I dunno what you're talking about. My kids are gonna be gamers.
"But I wanna play the new Final Fantasy 26!"
"No, not until you finish both Final Fantasy 6 and 9."
"Aww, but they're old and the graphics are so ugly!"
"Go to your room and don't come back until you've finished the opera scene!"

Unless they rebel and get into, I dunno, sports or something. KF
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Re: Finally going to spend real time in Japan

Postby Dragonmaster Lou » Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:05 pm

Kizyr wrote:
Nobiyuki wrote:"You’re nearly 30 years old! You have to make time in your day to play the games you do today! In English!"

Bah, gaming doesn't end at 30! It just begins!


Heh, amen to that. I'm nearly 35 and I'm still gaming (though less than I once did -- but then again, I find that the newer games aren't holding my attention as well as the older games).

That said, if you really still want to learn Japanese, check out some local community colleges or language learning centers and take some classes after work. Moving to Japan to teach English is probably overkill just to learn Japanese.
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Re: Not going

Postby Werefrog » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:39 am

As John Lennon once said, "Gaming begins at thirty." Or something like that.


And someone to do all the Chocobo Hot & Cold sidequests while you're at work.


I see you're a traditionalist when it comes to gender roles.

I just want to say as well, Nobi, that I think you made a mature decision. I don't think there would have been necessarily anything wrong with your plan, but I do think that you're write about the economy. Since you don't plan on living long-term in Japan, nor do you plan on using it in your career, it's not really feasible right now. Sure, you would probably come home with some good stories, and yeah, sometimes it sucks to be a pragmatist. I do think though that you'll probably be better off. Then again... I'm not a risk-taker, so I'm probably not fit for giving advice on taking risks.

Take a vacation there someday for sure. It probably won't help much with the language, but you'll at least get the stories.

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Re: Not going

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:48 am

Planning to take a vacation there in April. Working out the details now. I have a couple friends there I want to visit since I'm not going for work. ^^
-Nobi

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Re: Not going

Postby chiiruchan » Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:09 am

Welp... I guess if the whole reason you learned it as a hobby and not a "chore" makes Japanese something fun... and teaching it takes a fun thing and makes it not fun anymore.... so sometimes I think I should just learn Japanese for fun and not pursue anything with it... I'm not sure if that's what you were thinking about learning it for video games.... but I can agree with you that not going might be the best idea. :oops: Though I might not be making any sense....

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Re: Not going

Postby Kitdra » Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:04 am

Ever thought about Rosettastone.... As if they don't advitize enough...

I thought I'd try to teach myself Japaness... throu a English to Japaness dictionary XD... well now I can count to 99 and know a few words XD Did it for the fun thro.
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Re: Not going

Postby Nobiyuki77 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:50 am

I've used a demo of Rosetta Stone, it's not really my thing. I'm taking some private lessons every week when the weather cooperates, but its really hard. I forget a lot of words, and often forget grammar forms we've studied previously. It's quite frustrating. :(
-Nobi

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Re: Not going

Postby Kizyr » Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:12 am

From what I've seen of Rosetta Stone, it's very overhyped and a lousy way to effectively learn Japanese.

The trick that most companies use is that the first few months of studying a language are the ones where you learn the most, since you're going from nothing to something in some span of time. It's easy to accomplish something, so a lot of programs can seem effective but, in reality, be pretty lousy if you try to go anywhere beyond the rudimentary basics. (Not to mention, most people who start learning a language on their own quit once it gets tough.) KF
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Re: Not going

Postby Shiva Indis » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:36 pm

I'm skeptical of any language learning system that claims to be effective without the use repetitive drills. I could just be jealous though. Cause I got drilled until I thought my brains would leak out of my ears. :mrgreen:
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Re: Not going

Postby JediLeroy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:10 am

Just thought I'd add a second opinion here, even if it's a bit late.

When I came to Japan to teach English, it was for the sole purpose of learning Japanese. I was 28 or so at the time (I'm 30 now), and I had been working at a bank making more money and having the type of success that could have led to a lucrative career in banking. As a kid, my main reason for wanting to learn Japanese was video games--as an adult, I had majored in linguistics and become fluent in Spanish, and basically learned to love language learning. I came to Japan with a wife and kid through the JET program, which has served as my income source while I study what I love--Japanese.

I rarely get to play games in Japanese, but when I do, it's really fun. I speak fluently and have gotten my 2kyuu JLPT certification (on my way to 1kyuu). I may not immediately find a career using the Japanese I've learned at first, but I'm sure that I'll have opportunities to use my languages as long as I'm not working at some bloody call center.

I've done some freelance translation work translating privacy policies, nondisclosure agreements, and other such legal documents, and while it's not a lot of fun, it's nice to know that I could have a job in the field if I wanted it. Making a career of the language is about knowing people with connections and keeping your skills sharp.

I'm driven to continue my Japanese study (and keep my skills sharp through reading and occasional gaming). Sure, I could always go back any time and work for a bank--I've got the experience and skill set to do so. Will my 3 year stay in Japan have been a waste if I never find a job using that Japanese? I don't think so. I've still enriched my life and opened up lines of communication for the future. I could always come back to Japan and start my own English school--I do love languages, even if I'm not a fan of Japanese business politics.

JET can be hard to get into, but in the end, it can be worth it. Yeah, yeah, "every situation is different", but don't let Kiz or anyone else discourage you from your love of Japanese, whether it's for something silly like video games or not. You might end up staying here and working for a Japanese company. Really, it depends on your love for the language and whether or not you are driven to make a career out of the Japanese language. If that's what you want, I say go for it. But I certainly would hold out for acceptance to a place like JET, if possible. The pay is good and you generally have a ton of free time for studying. Don't work for a company that will exploit you. Interac is one of the better non-JET options, but in my mind, it's JET or nothing.

Sorry if my advice confuses you, but don't let anything get in the way of your dream.

Also, I stopped gaming when I went on my church mission to Guatemala. I didn't game much for about a year or two after I got back (including my first year of marriage). I didn't game more than an hour a week or so until I'd been married about 3 years, actually. My wife was not a gamer. Then I introduced her to Kingdom Hearts. Then Zelda. Then Dragon Quest. We now play games together just about every day. Every night, my almost 4 year-old daughter begs me to hook the PSP up to the TV and play Kingdom Hearts. Before that, both my daughters begged me to play Super Mario Galaxy 2 every day so they could watch. My oldest plays Animal Crossing with my wife all the time. Having a gaming family is awesome.

And my boy who's going to be born in 4 months or so is going to be a gamer, too.

What am I trying to say? Make sure you do what's good for your career--but if you're dedicated about learning Japanese, I don't see any reason why coming to Japan would hurt your career prospects. You might end up living in Japan long-term--you never know.

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Re: Not going

Postby Alunissage » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:27 am

Oh wow, JL, I didn't know you were a linguistics major too. That was one of my two majors but I didn't study any one language along with it -- still monolingual. But very interested in learning Japanese as well, with at least a little more academic interest than just wanting to play import games. The orthography fascinates me.

And three kids! Wow. I guess it's been a decade since our one conversation in the Lords chatroom, but still kind of startling.

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Re: Not going

Postby JediLeroy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:39 am

Yeah--before my mission, I had first been a computer science major before switching to music and doing a year of music theory courses at the local community college. It wasn't until I had lived in a foreign country and learned Spanish that I learned what I really loved in life--the code-cracking aspect of language learning. Unfortunately, linguistics isn't one of those "go-get-a-job" majors, like mechanical engineering or Integrated Systems. But it's not the end of the world. I've got some good experience and am trilingual (and hopefully more in the future).

It's amazing how much my life has changed since the LoL/RPGFan days.

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Re: Not going

Postby Alunissage » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:21 am

*blinks* I was a CS and music double major before changing the CS first to cognitive science and then to linguistics. I was already interested in languages and especially in the development of English, but it was taking the introductory linguistics class required for cognitive science that really solidified it for me. That, and I thought it would take less time to complete the linguistics major since I was already in my fourth year at that point. :P Anyway, it was just funny to see you also mention CS and music. Theory is what I liked best too.

My life has changed a fair bit since those days too, but in some ways not so much. I was already in an online relationship with zq before becoming part of the LoL and now we've been married over four years.

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Re: Not going

Postby Kizyr » Sat Jan 29, 2011 2:30 am

When did I discourage him from pursuing his Japanese studies? I was trying to do the exact opposite. KF
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Re: Not going

Postby JediLeroy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:08 am

Sorry, Kiz. I admit I skimmed through the first few comments. I didn't mean that as a dig at you, so sorry if it came across that way.


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