Gaijin Smash

Less Money… Comment Response

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on September 16, 2008

Since I’m unemployed, I figured I’d spend more time regularly updating. I always wanted to update regularly, I just couldn’t with my job schedule. I couldn’t do much of anything, really. If possible I’ll try to do these comment responses as much as possible, I figure that’s better/easier than just leaving “(Az’s Note:…)” in the comments.
Do you have a Paypal account all of us loyal readers can each send $5 to?
azrael@outpostnine.com, or click here.
I had an idea – a lot of people have been asking for wedding pictures. I was going to post up one – just one. But if a steady stream of donations come in, I’ll post more pictures. If you guys blow me away, I’ll post every picture that’s taken. Least I can do. And I’ll try to figure out other ways to enhance the content of this site as well.


Still, a boss (and personal friend) of mine once said that it’s not enough to do your job, you must give the impression you’re doing it. One way is to occasionally go to your superiors and ask for advice, even if you don’t need it, for instance. Working has a very political component to it… start working on that.
Yeah, I think this was a factor in my old job. They always got on me for not communicating and not taking advice or whatever. In my case, as I was doing something I’d never done before, and I was the only person in the company actually capable of doing it, it was a little difficult to communicate or ask for advice when I had no idea what was going on either. I’d prefer it if they just gave me a task to do, a deadline to have it done, and let me get the job done in my own way…but eh, such is the politics of the workforce.
You are painting a scary picture of my post-JET life. It sounds like my best bet is to stick at this job until they remove me by force.
Most of us who leave JET end up appreciating it a whole lot afterwards. While I miss the nice salary, the free time, and the lack of responsibilities…I’d really hit my limit as an English teacher. I don’t think I could have done a 4th year even if they’d offered it to me. If you think you can hang with it though, then by all means do so.
As much as I know you love Japan, have you considered leaving due to your current situation (being unable to continue living the lifestyle?)
I have a personal deadline I’ve set…if I don’t find a job by that deadline, I will consider going back to America. I actually gave it some thought sooner, but talking to my friends back home their universal opinion was “DON’T COME BACK HERE! Do you have any idea how much gas costs now?! Stay in Japan! Let me come over and sleep on your floor!”
Maybe I’ll wait to see what happens in the election first. If McCain wins, I might just stay in Japan for another 4-8 years.
And yes, I have just stoked the flames of political debate. …But don’t do it here, m’kay?
I’m sorry to hear about the nonsense at your last job, Az – and also that it’s been so difficult finding a new one. I’d have imagined it’d be easier for someone who can actually speak conversational Japanese.
There are a few problems.
1. Qualifications-wise, I only have Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 2 (2-kyuu). I think I made an entry about failing the 1-kyuu – at that time I still liked my job and didn’t take the test as seriously as I should have. Going into a job interview, employers look at 2-kyuu and think “this means that there’s plenty of things that he doesn’t understand.”
2. Jobs in Kansai for foreigners (that aren’t English teaching) are few and far between. Now’s not the best time for the job market. What happens is that the same group of unemployed foreigners end up all going for the same jobs. And those guys probably do have 1-kyuu and/or more experience than I do.
3. Its difficult to get a job that’s posted for Japanese people because…well…why would they bother to hire a foreigner? You have to prove that whatever advantages you bring to the table far outweigh any percieved disadvantages the company may have about hiring foreigners. Often times, we don’t even make it to the interview stage.
Before someone recommends I shift my focus to Tokyo, I already have – I’ve been applying for jobs in Tokyo as well, and even spent a week in Tokyo going to interviews. The problem here is that the competition is very, very stiff.
I am trying. Something will come my way eventually. …Actually, speaking of, I have an opportunity now to become a radio DJ here in Kansai. While the job sounds fascinating and I’d love to take it, it doesn’t pay very well at all…
Holy gonnies, are bosses in Japan generally like that or is he just an asshole? I knew about the “a good salaryman must work till early morning” thing, but I never thought they’d friggin cut your paycheque if you don’t.
I think no workplace is without bosses or co-workers who drive you nuts. I tried to factor that into my situation, but this case was just way too extreme. I haven’t even told you guys the full story. People who I did tell the full story to, their jaws usually dropped, followed by “why are you still working there?”
Lies!!! I bet you spent it all on KFC and Watermelon!
Dang, I’ve been found out.
Also, side betting on Madden 09 games. Oh, and bling bling, but that goes without saying, doesn’t it? I get my 7th gold tooth later this week.
Is he any worse than your previous bosses in Japan? I’ve always gotten the impression it’s a culture where the people higher up on the ladder tend to revel in that fact by treating their employees like shit.
Prior to this I was JET, and aside from some co-workers that annoyed me (remember Noisy Fucker?) most co-workers and bosses were very helpful. After JET I had a brief stint as an English teacher with a private company – see the “A Straw Most Final” entry for my complaints against the Vice Principal of that school. But even then, the VP was just the catalyist – the whole situation was bad, and the VP’s attitude just gave me a good reason to finally jump ship.
But as I said before, I think problems at work are universal to any culture/country.
Your preserverance has renewed my efforts to travel (and possibly live) in Japan. Without you as an example, I probably would have given up on the idea (after 6 years of thought). So, if you won’t give up, neither will I!
Glad to hear it! I won’t give up. There’s too many reasons not too.
Az: Do NOT start the baby making now! If you thought you had no money now, then just wait til the little f’er pops out. Do yourself a huge favor and wait a little bit. No one is ever really financially ready I guess, but in the situation you’re describing, a kid will not help.
Trust me, I know. I think the missus has finally caught on as well. Although the power of the Baby Switch is indeed as fearsome as it is awesome…I think I’ve turned it off for the moment.
Although, R-san, if you will remember the Baby Blues entry, had her baby this week, and every time the wife looks at the picture R-san sent she gets all anime-starry eyed. Literally, its like looking at an anime character. Its a little unsettling actually…

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51 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Wow, what a coincidence, you’re up for the FM Cocolo job, too? I’m still trying to decide whether or not to go for the audition. You’re right, it is kind of shit money, and from what I understand, the money you spend going to concerts and stuff to report on the music/bands comes out of your own pocket… Sounds like they’re pretty desperate to find someone though.
    (Az’s Note (Even Though I Said I Wouldn’t): Wow, small world.
    I actually probably won’t/can’t, the money of course is a big concern, and the audition happens to be the day I pick my parents up at the airport.)

  2. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Wow, what a coincidence, you’re up for the FM Cocolo job, too? I’m still trying to decide whether or not to go for the audition. You’re right, it is kind of shit money, and from what I understand, the money you spend going to concerts and stuff to report on the music/bands comes out of your own pocket… Sounds like they’re pretty desperate to find someone though.
    (Az’s Note (Even Though I Said I Wouldn’t): Wow, small world.
    I actually probably won’t/can’t, the money of course is a big concern, and the audition happens to be the day I pick my parents up at the airport.)

  3. ItAintEazy said, on September 16, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Video games and women, γ‹οΌŸ
    Sorry, still not sold.

  4. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Hey Az, have you ever considered starting your own business to do translation?
    For example, there are a lot of small software developers out there with monolingual (English) releases and no plans or ability to tap foreign (in this case Japanese) markets. You could cold-call (or cold-email them) and offer to translate their software, manuals, and perhaps even customer support communication, in exchange for a percentage of sales (which could be quite sizable, since you’d be making them sales they couldn’t possibly make otherwise and their additional cost is very low).

  5. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:21 am

    Hey Az, have you ever considered starting your own business to do translation?
    For example, there are a lot of small software developers out there with monolingual (English) releases and no plans or ability to tap foreign (in this case Japanese) markets. You could cold-call (or cold-email them) and offer to translate their software, manuals, and perhaps even customer support communication, in exchange for a percentage of sales (which could be quite sizable, since you’d be making them sales they couldn’t possibly make otherwise and their additional cost is very low).

  6. Aris said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:29 am

    With all this spare time, I should hope you are busy writing a manuscript for your time teaching English in Japan. It would make a great film.

  7. Prometheus said, on September 16, 2008 at 8:54 am

    What about something like http://www.dynamism.com/ ?
    Although I can’t afford any of their products, it seems that they do a reasonable business importing cool Japanese electronics, translating everything in the instructions/menu screens etc. into English then reselling them on the American market. Presumably they must have bilingual translators working for them, not to mention scouts out finding various bits of Japanese kit and such. I’m sure there are other companies that do similar things.

  8. Elevenbane said, on September 16, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Wow, it sounds like you really have wedding money woes. Have you ever put thought into putting up a wedding funds progress bar on your site? Essentially showing the total you’ll need and how much you’ve saved at that point?
    Also, if there so happens to be a little paypal link underneath the tally total…well who could blame you? πŸ™‚

  9. Pigger said, on September 16, 2008 at 11:04 am

    OH HEY IM GOING TO THAT RADIO INTERVIEW TOO….SMALL WORLD DOOD!
    But seriously…..payola.

  10. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I am no expert on this, but I suspect that most Japanese software, put on an American computer, wouldn’t work without some major modifications to the base code. As such, unless he happens to have alot of experience coding in both languages, I doubt that’d work. That’s actually something i’ve always wondered about. Do japanese programmers write in a modified version of C, Basic, Java etc.. like we do or are their languages totally different?
    (Az’s Note: C is C no matter what. And most Japanese software works fine on American computers. I have an American Vaio and I install Japanese software on it all the time.)

  11. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I am no expert on this, but I suspect that most Japanese software, put on an American computer, wouldn’t work without some major modifications to the base code. As such, unless he happens to have alot of experience coding in both languages, I doubt that’d work. That’s actually something i’ve always wondered about. Do japanese programmers write in a modified version of C, Basic, Java etc.. like we do or are their languages totally different?
    (Az’s Note: C is C no matter what. And most Japanese software works fine on American computers. I have an American Vaio and I install Japanese software on it all the time.)

  12. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Actually, speaking of, I have an opportunity now to become a radio DJ here in Kansai. While the job sounds fascinating and I’d love to take it, it doesn’t pay very well at all…
    I don’t know if the practice is the same over there. But, In American radio, a great deal of the money radio personalities bring in is from personally doing on-air promos. I know this one DJ at my local pop station that must mention her favorite laser eye surgeon at least five times an hour. I guess it’s like tips for a waiter. The pay would look pretty horrible if you didn’t consider that.

  13. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    Actually, speaking of, I have an opportunity now to become a radio DJ here in Kansai. While the job sounds fascinating and I’d love to take it, it doesn’t pay very well at all…
    I don’t know if the practice is the same over there. But, In American radio, a great deal of the money radio personalities bring in is from personally doing on-air promos. I know this one DJ at my local pop station that must mention her favorite laser eye surgeon at least five times an hour. I guess it’s like tips for a waiter. The pay would look pretty horrible if you didn’t consider that.

  14. Jeff said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    If we donate enough, will you tell us what The Octopus is?

  15. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Come on Az, Ad Revenue, you know you want to ;D

  16. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Come on Az, Ad Revenue, you know you want to ;D

  17. Navi said, on September 16, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Release little low-res preview versions of your wedding pictures on the site, and then sell better-quality prints of them to your readers! It’s a little creepy, I know, but I’m sure there must be somebody out there willing to hang a pic of their favorite blogger and his wife up in a frame, Plu, anything to raise funds, right? πŸ˜‰

  18. Stanley said, on September 16, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    You, rogue, you. Shilling for cash with the lure of pictures. You win. I’m too curious not to play/pay.
    But seriously, hang in there. Remember: your fundamentals are good: smart, hardworking, good solid wife who loves you and who you love. Things will get better in time. The trick is to enjoy/appreciate life despite the hardship ’cause there’s always gonna be some sh*t or other jumping off, or at least some challenging annoyances.

  19. Stanley said, on September 16, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    C’mon. When ARE you going to tell us the full story, Az?

  20. ShireNomad said, on September 16, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Without getting into politics further, congrats for being the first “I’m moving out of America if he wins” threat I actually believe.

  21. suzie said, on September 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Now I definetly want to hear the whole story about your old job.
    please tell. *starry eyes*
    πŸ˜‰

  22. Asterisk said, on September 16, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I’m not sure if anyone has suggested this before, but…you said “You have to prove that whatever advantages you bring to the table far outweigh any percieved disadvantages the company may have about hiring foreigners.”
    One thing comes to mind. Have you ever considered a job as a bouncer somewhere? I don’t know about you, but if I were a Japanese guy, I’d think twice about starting shit in a bar with a large black guy as the bouncer. Not the best idea, I know, but it’s a thought.

  23. Liz said, on September 16, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Meh, babies don’t actually cost that much if you’ve got insurance. Kids are $$$, but babies are cheap.
    Time consuming as hell, but cheap.
    Because you know what most baby stuff is? Crap you don’t need.

  24. Joel said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    if you can make it in time, perhaps bringing your parents to the radio interview might give you an edge, maybe not. good luck anyway.

  25. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Radio is a pain in the butt sometimes, and not the job you want if the wife wants to have a child at any point in the future. And this just confirms it, we get next to nothing in pay no matter where it is.

  26. Anonymous said, on September 16, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Radio is a pain in the butt sometimes, and not the job you want if the wife wants to have a child at any point in the future. And this just confirms it, we get next to nothing in pay no matter where it is.

  27. Lisa said, on September 16, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Hey I don’t know if anyone has told you but none of your latest links in the archive are working. I know you have more important things to worry about though, I just thought I’d let you know.

  28. Patrick said, on September 16, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Yeah, don’t come back here. The job market blows. I have two science degrees (Physics and Chemistry) and I can’t get a job as a cashier at a drugstore or a gas station. I’ve been unemployed for seven and a half years now.
    I’m considering a JET application for next fall, despite not even being able to ask where the bathroom is in Japanese.

  29. Pcash said, on September 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Sorry to hear about the money woes, but i kind of know what you are going through, same story different country is all. And babies are really expensive..super expensive. Mine is two now, so for two years, no movies, no consoles, no new games, pretty much no anything fun anymore.
    Also i support McCain.
    (and no i don’t hate black people)

  30. Francisco said, on September 16, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    yeah most baby stuff is crap you dont need including/especially baby food which is just peeled fruit that is boiled and mashed.
    o yeah defenietly if you promise to tell us what the octapus is i would willing put down 15$ down on the table fuck maybe even 30$ shit curiosity has made me into its bitch… again!

  31. Yasmin said, on September 17, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Ummm…is your wife not working?? And if not, maybe she could think about it? Not trying to make any judgments, just a suggestion…
    Hang in there, and make sure you are listed on linkedin and checking gaijinpot daily! It took my husband over a year to find something here (I was working though so money wasn’t an issue).

  32. Rvish said, on September 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Didn’t get a chance to reply to the last one, so I’ll do this one!
    It seems like alot of the people who’re saying you should suck it up and go back to being a JET haven’t really ever been in a situation where the jobs cons severely outweigh the pros, even if its not strictly in a monetary way.
    For example: I’m in the Navy. Thought it was a good idea at the time, it would get me to where I want to go and the benefits are great. Free medical care, getting paid for housing and food, job assurance, steady paychecks, guaranteed vacation time, cheap travel. Despite all that, there is no way I could possibly extend past my four years. Unless I get in bad with the mob and really need that steady paycheck to keep my kneecaps in place, its just not gonna happen. No sir, not me. The bureaucratic b.s. I have to put up with day in and out, the people I have to work with, the hours, the duty…
    So yea, I get where you’re coming from. Man can’t live off a secure financial future alone.
    At least you could just leave. :3

  33. @l said, on September 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

    az.. one possibility is if you get the radio job .. you could do your level 1 at the same time ?

  34. Drew said, on September 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I’ll keep it simple man. Wishing you luck and success out there. Meanwhile, keep the good reads coming!

  35. Mukund said, on September 17, 2008 at 3:45 am

    Taking a step further to an idea posted by one of the readers, this is what I found:
    http://www.websiteoutlook.com/www.gaijinsmash.net
    Net Worth : $25163.1
    Daily Pageview : 10744
    I’m sure there might be a way to make some kind of money off this through Adsense or whatever other service.
    Mukund

  36. Ihmhi said, on September 17, 2008 at 4:07 am

    I would put in $5 just to see how slick Az looks in his tux on wedding day. Damn, time to hit up the bank.

  37. Sille said, on September 17, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Best possible wishes to you, Az. My sympathies are completely on your side. Please don’t lose hope, no matter what life throws at you! When you’re at the bottom, the only way to go is up.

  38. Anonymous said, on September 17, 2008 at 7:14 am

    You should start writing/publishing some of your older stories. I really enjoyed Poker Lessons.

  39. Anonymous said, on September 17, 2008 at 7:14 am

    You should start writing/publishing some of your older stories. I really enjoyed Poker Lessons.

  40. Newtype said, on September 17, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I know the possible is slim but isn’t there a home-based job you can apply? I’ve been interested with such (possible) jobs eversince I got a (part-time) home-based job. The job is too convenient, that nobody here even know I actually have a job.
    Because of the current experience, I’ve been thinking of jobs that can be home-based like programming (my friend is freelancing from it), Tutoring, etc. Oh wait! One important thing: Home-based translator. I was planning to learn more Japanese language stuff, pass JLPT’s until at least lvl 2, get a translation job, and eventually set up translation services.
    Another suggestion is the internet-business that Japanese people call “affiliate” I’ve been seeing japanese blogs advertising about that. If you have time, maybe you can take a look at it and (hopefully) you can tell me about it (though I think its no different than professsional blogging or ‘net ad-trafficking of some sort).
    Now why am I so stuck up with ‘home-based jobs’? I have a different reason (like being cursed not to get ‘office jobs’), but I think your situation is reason enough to pursue one.

  41. Stanley said, on September 17, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Oh, by the way, don’t take reports about the condition of the US job market as gospel. Jobs are like the good men that women claim are nowhere to be found: Just as there are always women who have good men beating down their doors no matter how bad the dating market is, there are always jobs for people with unique skills to offer. Take a look at your skill set, experience, and other very individual factors and then take a look at the market and then make your decision. You just might be the beautiful woman that all the men are after.

  42. okihaveanothercrazyidea said, on September 17, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    You said you wanted to write a book, right? Well start it as a series of articles. As you finish the articles, shop them around to magazines, and then compile the articles into your book.
    That should be something you can start doing pretty quickly, I would think.

  43. tekuno said, on September 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Az, I hope things work out for you. Back here in the states, it took me months and months to find a decent job earlier this year, and I had a good amount of experience for the jobs I was applying for…I sent in customized resume after resume, called around and considered all my options..until one day I was about to give up, and I got a call back. The job market right now is no good, but I suppose it’s better than your situation right now. I’m totally on the same page with you about McCain, I don’t think I want to be here if he gets elected. Just keep your chin up and, as Utada Hikaru says, “Keep Tryin’!”

  44. Nobody said, on September 17, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I hate to say it, but it seems like the best strategy for you is to snag an english job and work on your 1 kyuu in the mean time… Think of it like a video game… Sometimes you need to go through a lot of BS to get the flashy cutscene.
    Or… didn’t you graduate with a CS degree? Maybe there is an american company in japan that could use some help translating “Insert the floppy into drive A” without it sounding too pornographic.

  45. Liv said, on September 18, 2008 at 12:24 am

    Bah. I hate it when the foreigner box gets a little too tight. Maybe it’s time for us to put on a Speedo and create a catch phrase. Or learn to sing Enka. The DJ gig would have been super cool – too bad about the pay.
    Bah.

  46. LadyTess said, on September 18, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Awww poor Az.
    Have you ever thought about applying to an International School, you know one of those where they teach everything in English. Wouldn’t that be better for you if you ever decided to go back to teaching (which it doesn’t look like you do).
    Wish I could donate but I too am unemployed living like a Freeloader. In Europe! But I also agree with the whole McCain thing. Evil evil Man.
    I have to agree with whoever said don’t get a baby right now. While in the long run it might be worth it (when the kid is old enough to get into the entertainment industry) but with your money worries it’s a big nono. How much money do you and your wife spend on contraception? LoL.
    Oh and typekey said this blog is not on its list. o.O

  47. Imoriyama said, on September 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Hey Az,
    Re: Radio DJ job. If it’s local I say go for it! Little money is better than no money and you could make connections that would lay the ground work for Get Rich Scheme #17 (?).

  48. Justin said, on September 18, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Trust me. The Bob Sapp/Bobby career path is your only hope.

  49. Corey said, on September 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    HAHAHA, I’m with Jeff on the donating thing. Wedding pictures really would be great and all but our perverted curiosity’s power is OVER 9000!!!

  50. Another Gaijin said, on September 25, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Hey az, one thing you might want to try is searching for jobs closer to Saitama. Oddly enough there seem to be a slightly larger percentage of foreigner-friendly companies out this way.
    Side note – If you think you are up to private lessons, findateacher type sites can help supplement your income. I know some people who make better than JET level salaries with about the same working hours (takes a while to establish of course)
    Anyway, hope it isn’t redundant or useless advice.

  51. Allan said, on September 27, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Your friends are warning you off from US gas prices?! I’m paying 170yen/litre here, which is $6/gallon. I’d kill for US prices (hell, I’d even take Canadian prices again)


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