Experience & tips about part-time jobs in Tokyo
Want to find a part-time job in Tokyo or are you interested in finding out more about the part-time jobs in Tokyo? Please follow my series on Part-time job experiences in Tokyo.
How I started
I’m sure most students who come to study in Japan want to find a part-time (Japanese: Arubaito) to support their living costs, make some pocket money, make some friends or just to experience life in Japan. I came to Japan to study a one year programme and wanted to experience as much local life as possible in Japan.
Gathering from research, nearly 90% of the part-time jobs require some level of Japanese ability.
Thus, when I first came to Japan, I couldn’t understand any Japanese, so the jobs that required any Japanese was out of my league. Therefore from my own personal circumstance, I was narrowed down and I tried applying for English teaching jobs.
I used websites such as "indeed arubaito" (indeed アルバイト) to search for suitable jobs and eventually landed a job in teaching young children, from ages 5-12 years old, English three times a week when I had no class at the university where I was studying.
What is it like to be an English Teacher in Japan?
- Regarding pay
The pay for English teachers depends on the skills, teaching certificate one holds, teaching experience and the proficiency of the English language. It is generally higher than other usual part-time jobs, such as convenient stores, Izakaya (late-night Japanese eatery and drinking store), chain store restaurants.
A great addition is to have a TESOL/TEFOL or teaching qualification to help you pass through the resume reviewing process.
Japanese schools generally require certificates as mentioned above when they review resumes and before they decide to call you for an interview.
- How I personally feel about teaching
I personally feel that teaching English requires a passion and love for the job and kids. It requires a lot of dedication and energy to keep up with children. I really enjoyed the job and it is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who can't speak Japanese but holds the ability to teach English.
The downside is that you may not get so much chance to practice speaking Japanese if that's your intention of working a part-time job in Japan.
What happened after I quit teaching?
As I mentioned before, teaching English didn't really allow me to speak Japanese so when my Japanese got slightly better, I wanted to see whether I could be able to find a job that would require a medium level of Japanese.
What kind of job did I go for next?
One of the jobs I eventually found a customer center for a Airbnb management company. A job that required 2 or more other language abilities (mainly English and one extra that could be anything) plus the basic level of Japanese to reply customer emails regarding queries on the Airbnb’s in Japan.
However, due to Covid-19, this job was cancelled. Although I didn't get a chance to work there, I thought it would be a great opportunity to practice using business Japanese in emails and also to be able to work with Japanese in the office environment.
Since my Airbnb customer support job didn't happen I found a third job, which was to work at a convenient store.
What is it like to work in a convenient store in Japan?
My third job was at a 7-11 convenient store (Japanese call it Konbini). I sought out this job because I wanted more interaction with Japanese and also to be able to speak more Keigo (the honorific version of Japanese, mainly used in services, superiors and to show respect and honor to the receiver).
- How I found this job
I found this job through the 7-11 website and searched for the convenience stores looking for a vacancy in my area. I got 3 calls back for interviews and was lucky enough to be accepted to a store.
- What do we actually do at a convenient store?
Main work at a convenience store is to serve customers at the register, maintain the stores stock. Staff also need to prepare and heat food, clean the store clean and also see to customer's requirements such as postal services, gifting and payment services.
- Pros of working at a convenient store
If you are lucky, you are able to work anytime you want, given that you discuss with your store manager. Convenient stores are open 24/7, so one can work at any time of the day and any day of the week. In my case, I had classes that started at 9:30 am, so I often took the 6 am - 9 am shifts (every store's scenario would be different).
You get to see the latest campaigns the store holds and also get to taste some of the new food products that get released.
- Cons of working at a convenient store
The pay is the average pay of the general part-time hourly rate in the given area (note, cities such as Osaka and Tokyo differ in hourly rates, so will the other prefectures differ).
Generally speaking, during the shift, we cannot eat or sit down, so during very busy hours it may become physically challenging for those who have difficulty standing for long hours.
- My experience
I really enjoyed working at a convenient store. I made a lot of Japanese friends in the store and got to practice my Japanese skills a lot thus improving my keigo (honorific Japanese, different from conversational Japanese) ability.
So for those who can understand general commands and can hold basic Japanese level and are looking for a way to understand the Japanese culture more, I would highly recommend this.
Lastly, some tips on finding a part-time job in Japan:
- It's recommended to bring your resume with you when you go to the interviews, many Japanese employers generally still prefer handwritten resumes. The resume can be printed downloaded from online templates or you can purchase templates at most convenient stores/stationery stores.
- Make sure your papers are in order so that when you get the job you can sign the paperwork as soon as possible, to avoid losing out on the job. Documents to prepare are, for example, your personal stamp (印鑑), Residence card (在留カード), Japan bank account (銀行口座).
- Ensure that your residence card allows you to work in Japan. It should say 28 hours a week permitted on the residence card, otherwise, you may have to apply at the local government office for permission before you apply for jobs.
- If you have another part-time job, always be sure to tell your employer, so that you don't exceed the 28 hours/week part-time allowance for student visas.
- It is also recommended to use keigo during interviews, it gives a better impression to the employer.
Born: Taiwan Raised & Education: South Africa Background: Int Telecommunications. Currently living: Tokyo, Japan. Studied @ Waseda university. Current Job: @Tokyo in Technology Consultancy. Interests: Love exercise, Food, travels! Follow me for more insight into Japan life!
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