|Will living in Japan be more expensive?
Umm... can I afford to do this?
Does Heart pay for airplane tickets?
I be picked up at the airport? Who pays for transportation
from the airport to Mito?
Do I need to speak Japanese to live in Japan?
What is the best way to pay for things in Japan?
How much are taxes in Japan?
|IBARAKI / MITO
|What/Where is Ibaraki?
What is interesting about Ibaraki?
What/Where is Mito?
What is interesting about Mito?
What do I need to qualify for work at Heart?
Do I need teaching experience?
Do I need to be a native speaker to teach a language?
Do I need to speak Japanese to work in Japan?
What type of work is there?
What is an ALT?
What is the difference between working as an ALT and a
What is it like to teach in the Japanese Public School
What is the general size of a class?
What is a typical working day like at
school for an ALT teacher? How many classes do I teach a
Also are employees compensated for
extra duties (camping trips, writing birthday cards, etc.),
or are these activities grouped under office hours?
How much is the school lunch?
I was asked to prepare for indoor
shoes. What are indoor shoes?
What is the dress code?
How many suits do I need to bring?
Does Heart provide insurance?
Why don't you know where I will be going?
Do you have any positions in Tokyo?
When will I get paid?
|What type of Visa will I need to work in Japan?
Does Heart English School sponsor Work Visa(s)?
What is the Visa process for a Work Visa?
|Does the company provide a vehicle?
Don’t I need a License?
Does the company provide free housing?
What is a guesthouse?
Do I need to live in a company provided apartment?
Where will I stay until the company finds an apartment for
me? When will I move to an apartment?
Will I be forced to share the apartment with a roommate?
Does the apartment come furnished
or partly furnished?
Is there Internet and cable
television in the apartment?
far away is the apartment?
How big are the apartments?
How much are the apartments?
Are there any other fees?
Is this a good value for utilities?
O.K. then, what does the company provide by way of housing assistance?
|Will living in Japan
be more expensive?
|Usually. However this depends on where
you are comparing Japan's cost of living. If you live near
or in a big city, or in a place like California, the US,
you probably won't be too surprised by Japan's prices.
For example, an ALT moved from California, Los Angeles, to
a rural town in Tochigi, and found that she was paying about
half of what she was paying in LA for the same sized apartment.
In most situations, though, Japan will probably be at least
a little more expensive.
Some foods like fruits can be quite a bit more expensive
because they have to be imported, but items indigenous to
Japan are usually much more affordable. Japanese grocery
stores also emphasize quality over quantity, which often
explains the higher prices. Gasoline is more expensive than
in, say, America, but chances are you won't need or want
to drive much due to Japan's excellent public transportation
Overall, if you're trying to maximize your savings, you'll
want to do some research while here, because what was inexpensive
in your country might be expensive in Japan, and vice versa.
Some examples of expensive/inexpensive items in Japan:
Apples, Oranges, Peaches
Cheese (especially cheddar)
Costs similar to western countries:
Premade Lunches, Breakfast items, etc.
(Really good) Ramen and Soba
High quality rice
Short train rides
|Umm... can I afford to
|Generally speaking also yes. Japanese
companies pay once a month. This is not a problem except
in your first 6 weeks (or so) in Japan. It can seem a very
long time to that first paycheck. This is why we stock our
company apartments with enough basic “goods and chattels”
to help until that 1st paycheck (see HOUSING for more info).
The Japanese government recommends 4000 US dollars to help
cover the expenses of moving and setting up in your new life
So, if you can make that first paycheck, things should
be fine. Our salaries are sufficient for any single person
to live on, and save up some money OR to go out spending
on some weekends, but not always both. It will be difficult
to rely only on our smaller contracts, to save money and
enjoy life. IF you have dependants, debts, or other economic
commitments, you may want to re-examine the feasibility
of international travel and living. Our ALTs are allowed
to supplement their income with side work, but finding
such work cannot be
|Does Heart pay for airplane tickets?
|The language industry has learned the hard
way not to invest too much money up front in people who can
change their minds and leave the country with few repercussions.
Some of them arrive Japan but instead of directly going to
their employers, they look for other jobs. Also, there are
those who don’t contact their employers after receiving their
plane tickets. Because of this, like most language companies,
we do not pay for tickets.
|Will I be picked up at
the airport? Who pays for transportation from the airport
|Since we are about 2 hours from Narita airport,
new ALTs who arrive here in Japan take a bus from the airport
to Mito. It takes about 2 hours and costs 3,500 yen. The
bus goes directly from the airport to the Mito train station,
so there has never been a situation where a new ALT got lost
on the way to Mito.
You will be responsible for your own transportation costs
to Mito where the training will be held.
|Do I need to speak Japanese to live in Japan?
|Yes. But fluency is not demanded. We ask that a minimum skill of basic conversation be obtained. If you have only a little Japanese knowledge, like some useful vocabulary, it is expected that you continue to study while in Japan. Although we provide some basic Japanese practice before you arrive and during orientation, it is in Heart's and your best interest that you continue making an effort to learn the native language of the country you decide to work and live in. Not only will it make living and working at your school easier and more enjoyable, but it will help reinforce the relationships we have worked so hard to build with the schools and boards of education. Being in Japan offers a great opportunity to learn Japanese quickly, and in most cases (though not all), the teachers you work with would be happy to help you learn. Don't expect private lessons, but asking them how to say a certain phrase or asking about vocabulary would certainly be welcomed and goes a long way. We do provide assistance, advice, and
many of the basic and fundamental things needed to live
here. But just as you won’t want to work for us in your
free time at home, the company will not want to baby-sit
I highly recommend finding a good cultural guidebook (not
a tourist guidebook) and some Language books/CDs/programs
in your home country before you come over. Read the cultural
guidebook before you commit yourself (mine was “Japan as
It Is”, but I am sure there are better ones). Unless you
are gifted in languages, it is unlikely you will develop
a working use of Japanese out-side of Japan (there just
aren’t enough real life practice opportunities), but working
through the 1st 10 chapters of most Japanese textbooks
before arriving will give you much less of an “adventure”.
|What is the best way to pay for things in Japan?
In Japan, cash is king. Major credit
cards are functional, but not always accepted. My wife,
a Japanese native, had
trouble paying for a hotel room by credit card over the
phone back in 2000, and many smaller purchase retailers
do not have credit card machines. Non-Japanese debit cards
will not work. ATM cards, if they are backed by a large
monetary agency (NYSE) will work in the post office ATM
machines, though it is really not advisable to expect functional
ATM usage. Even major Travelers Checks, such as American
Express, will only be usable at the head-branch of a bank,
or branch offices that specialize in international financial
So, cash is the most common and least difficult method
of payment in Japan. Most banks abroad can order Japanese cash for you before you leave.
|How much are the taxes in Japan?
|There is usually a city tax that varies
from town to town, and your National Medical Insurance tax,
is around 5,000 yen per month for your 1st year of employment
Personal income tax is based on a scale. the numbers may change slightly, and I
am not including all of the possible salaries we offer,
so please keep these in mind as approximations. These figures
are for a single person with no dependants, they are the
monthly deductions our company is supposed to take from
the monthly paycheck.
177,000 per month = 4,000yen tax per month
230,000 per month = 5,840yen tax per month
|IBARAKI / MITO
|What/Where is Ibaraki?
|Ibaraki is a prefecture or “ken”(one of about
50 in Japan). In American terms, it is a little larger then
a county. Ibaraki is part of the Kanto region. The Kanto
includes the prefecture and the city of Tokyo. Within the
Tokyo prefecture, there is a city named Ibaraki. Be careful
not to confuse the two. We are not in Tokyo. Ibaraki prefecture
is a prefecture. It is the northern most prefecture
of the Kanto region, bordering the mountains north of the
Kanto region. Chiba is a prefecture between Ibaraki and
Tokyo. Chiba is the location of Narita airport.
So we are in the country, but an easy traveling distance
to both Tokyo and Narita airport.
|What is interesting about Ibaraki?
|Ibaraki is a coastal prefecture. It is the
home of the Hitachi Corporation. It is also the location
of the Tsukuba Science city (a “new” city, funded by the
National government to attract international researchers
and scientist to work in a community in Japan). Between Hitachi
and Tsukuba, there is a (proportionally) good-sized international
community independent of the English teaching community.
This, combined with Ibaraki’s closeness to Tokyo prefecture,
creates both a good amount of demand for English and English
lessons, and many local area businesses that are eager and
willing to work with people whose native language is not
Southern Ibaraki is mainly farming communities. Northern
Ibaraki is foothills, rivers, and some (mostly ghost town)
mining communities. The north was developed as an outdoor
recreational area for Tokyo professionals, so it has many
golf, fishing, and camping, areas.
|What/Where is Mito?
Mito is the capital city of Ibaraki
prefecture. It is also easily the largest city in the prefecture
at around 270,000
people. It is located almost in the center of the prefecture.
Our main offices are in Mito, though all of our client towns
are made up of the villages, towns, cities, and prefectures
outside the Mito city area.
|What is interesting about Mito?
|Mito was home to one of the more important Shogun lines.
As a result of this it has a relatively (for such a small
city) large number of temples/shrines/monuments/parks and
historical/cultural museums. One of the Shoguns also designed
and had built Kairakuen Park, one of the three most important/largest
parks in Japan.
For more info on Mito, see Mito City Website.
|What do I need to qualify for work at Heart?
From the perspective of certification, a BA or BS degree,
and the ability to receive an employment valid Visa is required.
However, more importantly to your having a satisfactory
experience, and our long-term reputation as a company,
should possess a desire to teach, an open, enthusiastic,
and friendly personality, and a genuine ability to be interested
in your students/customers regardless of their age, communication
ability level, or social experience. Some of them are coming
to you to improve these last two, and if you don’t find
the process itself exciting you will crush their enthusiasm
This is particularly important as an ALT. ALTs must be
able to care about their students. They must also be prepared
to spend every day as both a role-model for children and
a cultural ambassador at their local public schools. The
job itself is not very demanding nor does it require unusual
skill, but still, over the years many people - JET, Direct
Hire, and ALT Company alike - manage to fail at it simply
by a lack of care for their students and a lack of concern
for their role in the public education of the next generation
For some more details, click Qualifications
|Do I need teaching experience?
|It is not required, though it does improve
one's chances of an employment offer. To help us determine
as a teacher, we conduct interviews in person for people
in Japan, and over the phone or Skype for overseas applicants, but
our hiring priority is for people we have met in person
or those who can otherwise demonstrate teaching potential
or practical experience. The international language industry
is staffed primarily with young people gaining experience
before settling down (often just after college), so extensive
experience is not expected at most companies. We provide
training, advice, lesson plans, occasional observation/critiques,
and a resource library to help new teachers find and develop
their teaching methodology.
|Do I need to be a native speaker to teach a language?
|Sometimes. This can be a requirement
for some of our clients, but we do have staff from many
different countries and languages.
English is not the only language we teach, though it is the
primary. Those who are not native speakers, must display
qualifications for teaching English then a native speaker,
and/or have met with us for personal interviews. A non-native
will be scrutinized more before being employed, but once
employed they are judged by their ability and their customer's
just as any other teacher is. We would rather have a non-native
teacher who can inspire enthusiastic learning (and spending),
than a native speaker who dulls the enthusiasm of our clients.
|Do I need to speak Japanese to work in Japan?
|Our entire office staff is (at least)
Bi-lingual. And it is Heart School philosophy that the student
is served best by full immersion lessons where the language
studied is the only language used (except English Test lessons,
such as TOEIC/TOEFL). That said, as an ALT, not everyone you will work with in public schools will speak English, and in order to maintain good relationships with all of our clients, as well as to make living in Japan easier for you, we ask that you have at least a basic conversation level.
|What type of work is there?
|We conduct classes, group and private, adult and
children here at our main office. We also send teachers
to corporations to teach their staff- business English,
conversational English, English tests (TOEIC, TOEFL, STEP),
and specialized communication lessons (such as presentations).
We also place teachers with client towns to work in the
public school systems as ALTs; this is the largest part
of our employment, so I will cover it in detail further
We have 3 basic types of employment for teachers.
A) Full Time. This is a teacher who works a full time position
and is considered to be fully part of the company. They
teach the full range of our offered services, and when not
teaching they are often tasked with company responsibilities
such as lesson/program development and research.
B) Part Time. These are teachers who are only responsible
for their actual lessons. They are used in our Heart School
lessons and in corporate lessons. They are given a higher
per/hour pay then our other teachers, but work significantly
fewer hours and are expected to prepare for their lessons
and complete their lesson records in their free time. We
cannot sponsor the Visa of a Part-Time employee.
C) Semi-Full Time. This category is reserved for ALTs.
It is based on the ALTs 6-8 hour work day, 5 days a week,
balanced by the large number of holidays and days off throughout
the calendar year (160-215 days of work).
|What is an ALT?
Assistant Language Teacher. These are teachers working
in the public school systems. There are 3 basic types of
A) Junior High School. In a Junior High School, the
ALT works under the direction of a JTE, or Japanese (native)
Teacher of English. The JTE is not a Heart Employee, but
a public school employee. The JTE oversees the design
and implementation of the lessons, and is the primary
teacher in the classroom.
B) Elementary School. An Elementary School ALT is usually
the only English teacher in the classroom, though they are
often working with a HRT or Home Room Teacher. The HRT might
be very eager to help teach the lessons, the HRT might not
speak any English, and many times the HRT is both. The HRT
is responsible for the class (students) and is the primary
teacher for the students all day long, the ALT is responsible
for the English lesson. Some towns/schools have a teacher
who designs lesson programs for the entire town/school,
but many towns/schools feel they are not able to do so,
so the Heart School provides them and our teachers with
lesson programs. This means, we will tell you what subjects/goals
to cover over a given month (as a minimum) and provide you
with ideas for how to do so, but the actual lesson will
be designed/selected by you.
C) High School. This is the least common position Like elementary school, ALTs may take charge, but within the guidelines of an assigned text book.
|What is the difference between working as an ALT and a Private
|Unlike work in a private language school, where your
experience of Japan is limited to your free hours, energy,
and money, ALT work puts you in the middle of a cultural
experience and asks you to participate. ALTs work in the
public schools of Japan, so you will observe, and even participate
in the ceremonies, games, images, and symbols that affect
and shape the young generation of Japan.
If you truly feel a calling to teach, ALT work is a far
more rewarding environment than working in a Private Language
School, which is a service industry where your student
is your client and you always remain in a customer/sales
relationship. The other side is that the Private Language
Schools (with their customer/sales mentality) are able
to offer a better salary then the publicly funded Public
|What is it like to teach
in a Japanese School system?
|It is difficult to give a 1 paragraph summary
of a years experience, as there are many highs and lows throughout
a year, and many cultural obstacles and rewards. If you are
by nature a teacher- thoughtful, inquisitive, patient, externally
aware and concerned, motivated to communicate, and enjoy
challenges, new experiences, and the process of development-
it can be all that you hope it will be. If you are just looking
for a job, it can be a disappointing waste of your time;
no advancement prospects; foreign labor relations and cultural/social
|What is the general size
of a class?
|There are 30 - 40 students in a class.
|What is a
typical working day like at school for an ALT teacher?
How many classes do I teach a day?
|It usually 4-5 periods (45-50 minute lesson/period)
with 10-20 minutes breaks in between lesson. ALT then joins
the students to eat lunch or clean the classroom together.
It depends on the school. Working hours are basically 8:30
to 16:30, but sometimes you might have 2 classes a day or
on another day you might have 6 classes a day.
are employees compensated for extra duties (camping trips,
writing birthday cards, etc.), or are these activities
grouped under office hours?
|These activities are grouped under
|How much is the school
|It is around 300 yen a day.
|I was asked to prepare
for indoor shoes. What are indoor shoes?
|You might have heard about the Japanese
custom of taking off shoes when you enter a house. Even schools,
students and teachers take off their shoes and change into
other shoes to avoid getting the floor dirty from the mud.
You can prepare for another outdoor shoes as indoor shoes.
Sneaker or tennis shoes are fine.
|What is the dress code?
|For men this is easy, dress shirt, pants (no jeans), and tie.
Colors for the shirt are fine and good. I would also buy
a pair of “indoor shoes” in your home country if you have
large feet. These are shoes that will only be worn inside
at the school (I am assuming you will bring outside shoes
as well), most Japanese teachers use tennis/walking shoes
that are easy to take on and off, though the older ones
wear comfortable dress shoes.
For women this is much more difficult, as I am not
much of a dresser or shopper and most women dress better
I. In general, try to match the men’s business casual
style, nothing too eccentric or revealing. Remember you
a role-model for these young children in a society that
has conservative leanings. Most Japanese women wear layered
clothes neck to toe, even in the summer. You won’t be expected
to match this, though please bear in mind you are being
tasked with the mental and moral development of the next
generation of Japanese citizens. Also, you will need to
have clothes that are more flexible for participation with
school activities, such as planting, cleaning, and playing
tag with kids at recess.
suits do I need to bring?
|You could possibly be working in both elementary
schools and junior high schools, but even in junior high
schools most ALTs do not wear a suit every day. If you are
comfortable in dress shirt and tie, you can prepare more of those
and just have one or two suits. If you find that you need
more suits, they are fairly reasonable in Japan.
|Does Heart provide insurance?
| Public schools subscribe
to its mandatory Accident Compensation Insurance, which will
cover all employees for accidents
at work. However, for full-time protetion, all employees
must join the National Health Insurance Scheme.The Japanese
Government provides insurance, for around (initially),
5,000 yen a month. It fluctuates after that according to
your previous year's salary. (That’s right, for around
$50-$250, (U.S.) the government can provide universal health
care coverage. This insurance includes most of your dental.
Your health insurance covers 70% of your medical cost.
If your cost (including prescriptions) goes above 100,000
yen in a given year, the amount that it is over 100,000
can be deducted when you file your taxes, so keep the receipts
(I assume this deduction is against your years salary,
which is the base for calculating your taxes, and not your
actual taxes). The cost of medical treatment is also lower
in Japan, thanks to a lack of Medical/Insurance/pharmaceutical
industry lobbyist and the effectiveness of a large single
client (the Japanese government) negotiating in bulk. For
example, I went to a private doctor, spent about 20 minutes
with him, he ran some tests, and I paid 2,400 yen out of
pocket the rest was picked up by National Insurance, I
then went to the pharmacy where I continued to get 70%
off. Just chatting with a Doctor for 15 minutes has cost
me as low as 400 yen ($4).
|Why don’t you know yet where
I will be going?
|Placement is one of the most frustrating
elements of the ALT industry for everyone involved. Our
clients (especially new clients) usually do not officially
inform us of the winner of the contract bidding process (with
other companies) until about a month before the start date.
This is not enough time for anyone involved, and sometimes
they give us even less time.
So we begin the Visa process prematurely, to take the time
burden off of the legal requirements. We begin offering
positions as soon as they are available to candidates that
have already finished the application process and thus,
whose Visa documents are being processed. Generally speaking
that lets us give a months notice of employment. Some of
our long time clients, have been sold on the benefits of
early notification, and they give us more notice ( 2-3
6 months), so we do hire a small number of people early.
And of course, there are those clients that do not have
much of a plan or organization and give us notice only
few weeks or days in advance, and we do the best we can
If you are hired “unconditionally” you will have a
position with one of our towns, it just may not be fixed
yet which town, even after you arrive. Our clients have
contracted with us to take one of our teachers, but they
have also usually contracted for an interview/selection
opportunity, or veto, with our employees. Our sales team
spends a great deal of effort matching employees with towns
and ensuring that this introductory meeting element of
the process is just a formality with a single employee.
However, even when a group of employees is requested to
meet, but only one will be selected, the numbers balance
out (eventually). By this time we have balanced our hiring,
so that we have the same number of new employees as we
have (signed) contracts to fill with our clients. We then
shuffle through our employees with these introductory meetings
until everything balances.
|Do you have any positions
|Yes, but part time
jobs only (such as only 100 days work a year), so we don't
new ALTs in Tokyo.
Our client towns are spread out throughout the Kanto region
(Ibaraki, Tochigi, Saitama, Chiba, and Gunma prefectures,
and the Tokyo area), which are approx. 1-4 hours out.
|When will I get paid?
|As mentioned earlier, Japanese companies, as a rule, pay
only once a month, sometime after the month in which you have
worked. The Heart Corporation is no different. We pay all
of our ALTs on the 25th of every month, the month following the
month worked. For example, if you start work in April, your
first paycheck from Heart will be on May 25th (covering the
calendar month of April). While this is hard for many employees
in the first 6 weeks (before their first payday), the upside
is that the month after you stop working for the Heart Corporation,
you receive a payment.
|What type of Visa will I need to work in Japan?
|To work full time in Japan, you will need a Spousal, Working
Holiday, or Work Visa. Part time work is also available for
anyone with a Dependant Visa. Although a Working Holiday Visa
does allow someone to work in Japan, Heart School chooses
to screen out applicants who do not meet the higher qualifications
of a standard Work Visa. This requirement is a BA/BS degree.
Anyone with one of these degrees (or higher) on a Working
Holiday Visa, is still welcome to apply.
|Does Heart English School sponsor Work Visa(s)?
If you are not already in Japan, I strongly recommend you
give some second thought to any company offering to employ
you without sponsoring your Visa. More so for countries
out side of Japan, but there are some fly-by-night operations
out there that will take advantage of your desire to
& travel, and leave you in some difficult positions.
|What is the Visa process for a Work Visa?
|The process is 2 part:
Part 1) A Certificate of Eligibility. This is obtained
by us, the company, here in Japan. It is required before
you may apply for a Work Visa. It takes 4-6 weeks. The
following documents will be needed.
A) A photocopy of your passport photo and ID # page(s)
B) 2 head shot photos taken on a plain, white background
4cm (down) by 3cm (across).
C) Official Transcripts from each
of your BA/BS or higher degrees. An official transcript
will list the Type of Degree, and date awarded, and meets
all requirements set by the awarding institution.
D) A copy of your BA/BS diplomas
E) Any additional degrees, certificates, or official records
demonstrating experience, employment, or knowledge of Teaching
or Japanese (language, or cultural studies)
They should be sent to
2-6-10 Chuo, Mito-shi, Ibaraki-ken
Part 2) After the company has received the Certificate
from the Japanese government, it can be used to apply for
a Work Visa. You must do this at your expense, if I remember
it was around 4,000 yen. Sponsorship cost around 18,000
yen. The company covers this cost (sponsorship) as long
as you don’t break contract. It takes another 4-6 weeks
for the Visa here in Japan, or 1 week outside of Japan
at an Embassy.
You can apply for the Visa at any Japanese Consulate,
or here in Japan at an immigration office (Mito has one.
There should be an immigration office in each prefecture).
So you could in theory, arrive in Japan on a 90day tourist
Visa, and apply for the Work Visa here. We can assist
you with company housing in the meantime, but it is technically
improper to work without the proper Visa.
|Does the company provide a vehicle?
|When the company deems it useful (and in a rural prefecture
it is usually useful), we provide a vehicle lease option,
for 20,000 yen a month. This includes basic legally required
The Vehicles may also be driven in the area where your school is located or in the city where you live
for your personal use and needs during your free time.
|Don’t I need a License?
|Yes. Of course you do. But an International
Drivers license can be obtained without a test, through
any national travel
agency for a small fee. In the USA, AAA is around $20 with
AAA membership. An International Drivers license is good
1 year from the date of your entry to Japan (NO MATTER WHAT
the license says, you only get one year from your entry
Japan). After that you would need a Japanese License, which
is either easy or frustrating/expensive depending on your
|Does the company provide free housing?
No. Unfortunately not. However, it
does offer to subsidize housing, and provide some rather
useful support for those who are coming from overseas or
are in Japan for the first time. The purpose of company
housing is to save time and stress for the new employee
when they first arrive in Japan, and to defer the HUGE up
front cost of a Japan over your year. The last time I checked
the landlord demands a service fee over the regular rent
that covers the realty/key money/insurance cost of about
3 months of rent. So it's economical your 1st year, but
eventually you would want to move out.
However, we can't provide accommodation near Tokyo, Saitama
and Chiba area although we can assist ALTs in finding a
guesthouse. If living in a guesthouse is not comfortable
for you, you will need to find your own accommodation by
yourselves, and sadly we can’t be your guarantors.
|What is a guesthouse?
|In a guesthouse, you will have your own
room, but you will share some facilities, such as bathroom,
kitchen, living room, and so on. Living costs of cities in
Japan tend to be expensive. Apartment deposit is usually
one month rent, but most of guesthouses' deposit is around
30,000 yen. You can save some money by staying in a guesthouse
in Japan. Guesthouse is only available near Tokyo.
|Do I need to live in a company provided apartment?
|No. As long as we are confident that you can be punctual,
well groomed, and in no other way jeopardizing your reputation
at work, the company (from a purely business perspective)
is indifferent to your living arrangements. We offer a company
apartment as assistance to our employees. It is strongly recommended
for people without Native Japanese support staff ( a spouse
or very loyal friends), to accept company housing your first
year if you are coming from overseas. You will save yourself
a lot of time and stress in those critical early days, and
without that support staff, you are unlikely to find a similar
|Where will I stay until
the company finds an apartment for me? When will I move
to an apartment?
|You will stay at a youth hostel/hotel in
Mito until the apartment is ready. After the training session,
you will move into an apartment if the apartment is ready.
It’s usually a week.
|Will I be forced to share the apartment with a roommate?
|No. Most of our apartments are selected for single occupancy
living. The exception is at the request of the individual
employee, who may request accommodations for spouse, children,
significant other etc.
|Does the apartment come
furnished or partly furnished?
|Normally, apartments in Japan are not fully or partly
furnished. However, recent trends include having some basic
things like refrigerator, cooker, air-con/heater
|Is there Internet
and cable television in the apartment?
|No, there is not. Mostly ADSL Services can
be acquired by obtaining your landline telephone account,
and satellite TV is available to subscribers.
|How far away is the
|The apartment will be within bicycling distance
if you can't drive, (some of our teachers cycle 7 km a day)
or within a reasonable distance if driving.
|How big are the apartments?
|Apartment size in Japan is measured by “Tatami” mat(s).
One tatami mat is 1.8meter by .9meter. Our single person apartments
tend to have a 6 or 9 tatami mat living space, a small kitchen,
a toilet room and a bathing room.
|How much are the apartments?
| Our apartments' rents range between 50,000
and 56,000 yen per month, depending on location and availability.
Before you can be allowed to move in, we will require 2 month`s rent and a service fee equal to 1 month`s rent.
In Japan, the service fee is normally non-refundable; however,
Heart Corporation covers these costs and fees if the employee
completes the lease of an apartment. If an employee doesn’t
complete the lease contract period, the service fee would
not be refunded as this serves as the processing fee for
the arrangement and reservation of the apartment.In addition,
you will need to pre-pay your Gas, Water, Electricity Utilities
a cost of 10,000 yen per month. Checks don’t work in Japan,
and our company doesn't have a credit card machine, so cash
|Are there any other fees?
|The following are utility bills the company collects
and processes (they are pre-paid each month via deduction
from your paycheck) Gas, Water, Electricity. This Utility
(for single occupancy) is 10,000 yen per month, and covers
those utilities up to 115% of valued usage. If actual usage
exceeds 115% (11,500) of the prepaid (10,000), then the
addition will be charged to you in your next pay period.
All others, such as telephone, internet, food, etc. you
are on your own for.
|Is this a good value
|In prior years these utilities were charged
directly. Our flat rate may end up plus or minus for renters
(esp. cold + hot seasons) but the benefit is not having to
deal with individual (or any) bills. Ultimately it's still
a fair price, compared to an independent renter.
|O.K. then, what does the company provide by way of housing
|1) Pre-arrival arrangements. Generally
speaking, you arrive in Mito and your apartment is ready
for you within a week, as long as you have your 2 month’s
rent and security available in cash. If there is a delay
in the apartment’ availability beyond a week, due to something
on our side, the company will put you up in a hotel or temporary
apartment at the same rate as your daily rent would have
been. This is more common for those employees whose apartments
are outside of Ibaraki, and who arrive in the week before
2) Key money. In Japan you must gift your landlord for
accepting you. It’s standard in every apartment contract.
The word for this payment is translated as “key money”,
and is generally equal to 1-2 months’ worth of rent. In
company apartments Heart School covers the Key money as
we purchase in bulk.
3) Realty Fee. For some reason the Japanese do not advertise
apartments directly, they always advertise through a realtor.
The realtor will collect their fee from you, this is usually
1-2 month’s worth of rent (though I have heard tales that
some rental contracts require additional payments to the
realtor every 2-3 years). The Heart School also absorbs
the realty fee for its apartments.
4) The space within the walls of a Japanese apartment must
be insured by the person living there. This insurance is
usually for a 2-year period, paid up front. The company
absorbs this cost as well.
5) Outside of Tokyo most realtors/landlords require guarantors
for any tenant. This guarantor is not only responsible for
the rent and legal obligations, but also the moral character
of the tenant. For company apartments the company is the
guarantor. This is a two edged sword. The company is western
enough to understand western social and home based hosting
habits. But, when the old lady across the street complains
that you have “guests” over in the evenings (regardless
of what you are actually doing, and have every right to
do in the space you have paid to rent), it will be the company
that the landlord calls to address the problem with you
and the lady across the street. Still even with this potential
for difficulty, you won’t be able to rent a place without
someone filling this role as guarantor. This does not apply
to anyone living in Tokyo.
6) Semi-furnishing plus a minimum of “goods and chattels”. Although the trend is changing,
traditionally, Japanese apartments are never furnished.
Our company apartments are furnished with a futon, a mini-fridge,
a heater/AC, a gas range cooker, and sufficient misc. “goods
and chattels” to get you through to your first paycheck
(only by way of an example: 1 fork, 1spoon, 1 plate, 1 glass,
some cleaning aides, toilet paper, blanket, pillow, etc.)