Saturday, March 25, 2006

Ways to make big $$$ in Japan

Ways to make big $$$ in Japan
by: Matt Canham

As you're probably already aware, Japan is a very unique place. No where else in the world will you find the same outrageous opportunities to make money that are open to just about anyone.

English Teaching.

The most common job for new foreigners is teaching English. Despite the thousands of English schools and 12 years of study at school, the English level in Japan remains at lower intermediate, ensuring strong demand for teachers. Every type of class and situation exists from Elementary schools right through to Flight Attendant Colleges. It can also be a great way into a previously non-existent position. I know of one teacher at a top Advertising agency who later became an English copywriter. He had no experience whatsoever in copywriting, they just liked him and enjoyed his lessons.

Acting/modeling/voice overs.

Without a doubt, the epicenter for entertainment work is Tokyo. There are around 60 major freelance agencies that offer all kinds of work to foreigners living in the area. It is not uncommon for first timers to walk into $1000 plus jobs, while their friends back home fight over $120 extras work. Experience is not expected - simply being foreign and having the right look is enough. In fact, most highly skilled dancers and actors would be appalled at how easy it is to get work and how the jobs are selected. Actual talent is very rarely considered - it is all about the look.

In many ways, the entertainment scene in Tokyo is a big break and a way to escape the comfort zone and limitations of home. Many foreigners living in Japan, doing the work, return home to find their friends are just as broke as they were 5 years ago, fighting over the same tiny piece of the entertainment pie, hoping desperately for a break. They are not seeing that Tokyo is that break! Ewan McGregor, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd and Cameron Diaz are among some of the current stars to have worked in Japan.


Japan was long considered one of the best places for working Dancer/hostess types in the world. Whilst it still can be very lucrative, the rules have changed regarding visas. Whereas once a 90 tourist visa was adequate, immigration crackdowns have led to the introduction of entertainment visas for all women employed in the industry. The Japanese culture remains one of meetings and drinking, and corporate types still prefer to do both in the company of attractive, polite, western women. In the past, women simply had to be attractive and turn up, now they need to be just as adept at being charming in order to make the big money.

Wedding minister.

The white wedding business is huge in Japan. It is the most popular type of ceremony from Sapporo to Okinawa and all those weddings create a demand for clean cut pastors to conduct the 20 minute ceremonies. In some cases, 20,000 yen for the 20 minute ceremony and performing 20-30 per month on the weekends is normal, making this one of the best ways to make yen. There are some properly ordained ministers out there, but for the most part, basic Japanese and rudimentary training is all it takes to move one man from the classroom to the pulpit.


The Headhunting industry in Tokyo continues to flourish unabated. New companies emerge quarterly and are still able to bill fees of 30 - even 35% in some cases. Most of the "recruiters" start out teaching English and usually have very little in the way of professional experience. As English speakers though, they are considered to be experts in dealing with foreign companies, which is more than enough to qualify them for the job. Here you will find recruiters - both male and female making 6 figures when many would struggle to hold down simple jobs back home. This truly is an extraordinary opportunity open to anyone with some professionalism and knowledge of Japan.

Japanese language skills.

For teaching English and Headhunting, Japanese is almost not required at all. Speaking with the students in Japanese is strongly discouraged - they are there to learn English after all, and in Headhunting, 95% of the candidates need to be effective communicators in English. That leaves Wedding Ministers - the ceremony is read in Japanese, dancing/hostessing - where some basic Japanese will be looked upon favorably and Acting/modeling/voice overs, where in most cases there will already be a translator and the pronunciation of 10 words in Japanese is more important that speaking ability.

An active interest in Japanese culture and the language will assist in daily life, but for the people simply interested in Japan as a way to make as much money as possible, it is simply not required.

About The Author
Matt Canham has lived on and off in Tokyo for the last 7 years. He has a resource site at:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Japanese Koi Pond/Water Garden

Japanese Koi Pond/Water Garden
by: RC Moore

There are a lot of people that will tell you not to put Japanese Koi and plants together. Pet stores and internet articles suggest that koi will destroy any plants you put in your pond. I have been keeping Japanese Koi in my water gardens for six years without any Koi destroying any of the plants. The plants provide shade and shelter for the koi when spooked, and add to the water clarity.

Japanese Koi are by far the most beautiful and desirable fish you can keep in an outdoor water garden. In Japan, breeding koi has occupied a position between hobby and art form for more than two centuries. To keep Japanese Koi in a water garden you have to understand that they are bottom feeders who are most at home rooting around, in and among the rubble found on the bottom of their natural environment. As a matter of fact, the purpose of the famous whiskers is to help them root around more efficiently in the rocks/ rubble. Putting a layer a gravel in your pond will give the koi something to root in and will also add to the natural biological environment. Plants will also benefit from being directly in the gravel. I always remove plants from their pots, and rinse the roots before planting in a bed of gravel, which adds to the natural beauty of the water garden.

It is true that koi eat plants. It is also true that in the warm summer months they are none stop foragers. I describe them as eating machines. That is why it is important to keep plants they can eat without destroying. My two favorite are watercress and marsh betony planted in a shallow high water flow area. Trust me, you will need the koi to help you keep these invasive plants in check and may still have to thin late in the season. These plants are excellent filters which will help keep the water crystal clear and the koi happy.

Floating water hyacinth can result in the koi eating the roots. I usually plant in the shallow stream just below the waterfall. Their roots bury deep in the gravel to provide excellent filtration. They tend to grow taller and bloom less. Mine have grown 3 foot tall and extend 12 feet down the stream and seem to benefit from the splashing of the waterfall. This is another plant that will have to be pulled in the fall. Pickerel Rush is another plant that enjoys the splashing from a waterfall. I use them to hide the liner below the waterfall and they have bloomed constantly all season. More info at

About The Author
RC Moore, content writer for Koi Pond Fever.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Reason to Travel to Japan

A Reason to Travel to Japan
by: Ryu Yuki

When you think of Japan, what comes up to your mind? There might be “Sony” and “Toyota” or “Samurai” and “Geisha.” You might consider that the former ones represent the modern Japan and the later ones represent the past. However, the real Japan is not such simple and contains the both aspects together through its historical stream. It is little bit hard for people to understand that the two different characters exist in one country.

There are some clues to glance at the real face of Japan. As you know, Japanese cars are becoming more and more popular in the US. The reasons explain the typical quality of the Japanese products. Practicability and Flavor. The reliability is that people can count on and the quality is that owners can be satisfied with for a long time. How about Japanese food. Sushi is one of favorite healthy food these days. Thirty years ago almost nobody was willing to eat raw fish in the US, however, recently there are so many sushi restaurants around urban cities like Los Angeles. People eat sushi because it is not just a efficient diet menu but also an cultural experience. They recognize color scheme of sushi dishes. Red, green, black, yellow, and white on the plate. It is a kind of artistic presentation with natural ingredients.

Any basic daily activities of people, food and craft, gradually grows to be the level of culture after many years. Japan has been organized as a nation for about 1500 years and developed the living style to the cultural value. Even though Japan obtained a lot of influence from the US after the WWII, her original essence remained and still exist everywhere in the country. TOYOTA and SONY could not happened as world famous companies without the soul and cultural background. When you really want to feel and realize what it is, it’s time for you to get on an airplane to Japan. You will start connecting the depth of the culture and spirit of the mysterious country from the very first day.

For more Japanese information, visit the author's blog site
Travel to Japan.

About The Author
Ryu Yuki, a Japanese journalist in Los Angeles, is a creator of a personal blog site, Travel to Japan which contains Japanese issues from a native point of view.