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Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 02:57
My husband got an offer as a science teacher in Osaka. We are a family of four, and excited about moving to Japan. We know we need to learn the language and get used itfs customs but not sure if itfs worth it or is it a good offer. Details are bellow.

Estimated Monthly Starting Salary
410,000 JPY
Monthly living allowance 30,000 JPY
Monthly e210 working daysf allowance 20,000 JPY
Reimbursement for daily travel to-from work
One time relocation allowance 150,000 JPY each for staff & spouse (max. 300,000 JPY)
One time moving-in allowance up to 150,000 JPY
Annual travel allowance 100,000 JPY each for staff & spouse (max. 200,000 per year)
One time repatriation allowance 150,000 JPY each for staff & spouse upon successful final
completion of employment (max. 300,000 JPY)
Annual health check fees 3,000 JPY
Payment of 50% national health care
Payment of 50% contributions to pensions (if opted in)
Annual individual professional development 50,000 JPY
Annual school-wide professional development paid by school
Costs of covering staff absences paid by school
Contributions to wellness events paid by school
Payment of external recruitment fees
Payment of work visa fees

I would appreciate your input and opinion. Thank you!
by egyamado  

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 09:22
Income is one side, what about expenses? What are you paying to live where you are currently?

You are a family of four:
Housing
Transport
Food/utilities
Other living expenses
and the other two - children? - schooling. That can be a major cost - international school??
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 10:31
I'm going to guess that this is the Osaka YMCA school. The amount offered is ok but can be difficult to live on for 4 people here are some things to think about.

(1) Is tuition included? If it is - then it's a taxable benefit.
(2) Does this include federal and local government tax?
(3) Do you want to go home each year? If so - take this into consideration.
(4) How close to do want to live to the school? Is convenience or affordable housing more important? For example, being near a train station can add a couple of hundred US dollars a month to an apartment for a family of 4.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 15:42
How long is the contract - and/or what constitutes successful completion? Are your children pre-school, thus preventing you from working? Would they assist you in obtaining employment too? If school aged, would they assist in enrollment? I may be wrong, but I don't think pension participation is optional, so you might ask what the monthly deductions will be on that salary - taxes, pension, healthcare. Is there a bonus scheme - is it 12 months, 14 months, or more for annual salary? Is there a salary review and adjustment at some date? If there is an emergency of some sort, or they decide to terminate before contract completion for any reason other than missconduct, would they still provide the repatriation allowance?
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 17:32
well, since nobody gives a straight answer, I will.

Look, japanese families live ok with that and less. But foreigners will usually tell you is not enough, because foreigners tend to want to keep their home lifestyle as much as possible, and this means having expensive requirements that the average japanese doesn't bother with, such as paying for private schools, renting big apartments (for japanese standards) and in central locations, owning a car, frequently dining out or buying international food and ingredients, etc. If you come with the same idea, your husband's salary will most likely be tight or even short.

If you do an effort to cook often with local ingredients, to walk 10-15 minutes to the closest station, to ride the train and commute for about 40-60 minutes like everybody else and to send your kids to public school, then it should be fine. The salary your husband is being offered is average (about 5.5 Million a year if I understood your numbers correctly).
by to the point (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 19:09
Personally, I think it might be a bit worse than that. Not having relatives here to help out if funds are scarce means not obtaining free food, hand-me-down clothes, etc. So you may miss a few meals. Luckily there are second hand clothes stores these days, assuming you are the size of average Japanese. This shouldn't be a problem for the children.

I don't want to come across as an alarmist and suspect that if you are willing to compromise as the above poster has suggested, that you could do it. But what are your motives? If just looking for the experience, fine - you will no doubt have many good ones. But if you are wanting to build a nestegg, it isn't going to happen.
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 19:15
If you have any specific questions about teaching in Japan or teaching internationally - feel free to PM me. As my username is closely linked to my real name, I am restricted in what I say on public forums.

People on this forum who live currently in Japan can tell you specifically about living costs as my understanding is a bit dated (2011-2014 was when I lived in Japan), but I do know the international school circuit more than most (specifically in Japan)....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/7 23:23
Thanks to everyone who respond to my questions, you are helpful and lovely answers which it will help indeed.

- Regards my kids education it 100% covered.
-Transportion is covered up to certain amount.
- Tickets to visit home is covered for my husband and myself only.
- It is a yearly contract.
- Cooking and baking at home is our life style now. We are vegetarians & pescatarians.
- I know that under my husbandfs visa, I could work up to 28 hours per week. Right? So I might find a job few for few hours per day.
- I know the offer we have is better than many local do. We are grateful for that.

Concerns:::
- Housing is not covered which is worrying us. We donft know how much or what is good normal for afanily of four? Currently we live in a small town house. and ready to downsize. We are ok with that. We are not sure about the cost (rent, electricity, water, heat, gas, .... or other fees).
- Do we need a car to move aroundvisit places or people/friends? Or public transportation is good and reliable enough?
- Safty. How safe itfs for non Japanese to life there? How local interact with foreigners?
- Kids are in grades 5 and 10. How to make an easy transition for them? As you might know teenagers are not easy.
- Grocery cost to cook at home. Any cheap markets/farmers market/small chains which are cheaper than big names?
- Learning Japanese, is it easy? Costly?

Thank you all!
by egyamado rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/8 02:03

- Housing is not covered which is worrying us. We donft know how much or what is good normal for afanily of four? Currently we live in a small town house. and ready to downsize. We are ok with that. We are not sure about the cost (rent, electricity, water, heat, gas, .... or other fees).

Have a look for houses here so you can get an idea. https://www.homes.co.jp/
Note that renting initially is very expensive as you often need to pay nearly 6 months upfront: 2 months rent, thank you money, agency, deposit...
Utilities etc I donft remember as specially expensive. At least not compared to EU.
- Do we need a car to move aroundvisit places or people/friends? Or public transportation is good and reliable enough?
Japanese public transport is the definition of reliability. Sometimes when the train by error leaves 20 seconds too early the rail company deeply apologizes. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-4200983...

Most Japanese in big cities donft have cars. You mentioned Osaka, public transport plus a bicycle to get around in your neighborhood will be all you need. For trips you can rent a car easily.
- Safty. How safe itfs for non Japanese to life there? How local interact with foreigners?
very safe. Apparently safer than Canada: https://www.numbeo.com/crime/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=Jap.... But yes, you can get unlucky and become a crime victim in Japan.
The locals are nice but reserved towards foreigners. Very generally speaking.
- Kids are in grades 5 and 10. How to make an easy transition for them? As you might know teenagers are not easy.
they will go to international school right??? Tuition paid by your husbands company, right? As others mentioned above this is the breaking point. It would not sound feasible to put them into a Japanese school at this age with no Japanese knowledge.
- Grocery cost to cook at home. Any cheap markets/farmers market/small chains which are cheaper than big names?
fruits are quite expensive but generally Japan is not more expensive than EU for food (sorry canft compare with Canada). Going out for lunch can be very cheap (under 1000 yen) and for dinner you can also find cheap places.
- Learning Japanese, is it easy? Costly
japanese for an English native speaker is among the hardest languages to learn: https://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/wp-content/w3tc/pgcache//lan...
Now that said, Japanese grammar initially is really easy. You can start speaking simple Japanese really quickly. Not as with German or Russian if you donft have enough grammar you canft really speak properly. But learning Japanese fluently probably needs at least 2 years of full dedication. Plus/minus depending on your capabilities and dedication.
Costly, well there are free courses offered at some municipal institutions but the quality is so-so. Or you can enroll full time into a school. Really depends on how much and how well you want to learn it.

It seems that you donft know a lot about Japan. Maybe before relocating the entire family you should come over for a vacation/ reconnessaince?
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/8 08:24
Just to add a bitc

Housing prices depend upon age, location, distance to public transportation, etc. If you come, please be careful to not get taken in by realtors who will only show you accommodations geared to foreigners, which will be more expensive, and for which he will receive a higher commission. You may need to really push back hard on this.

For best economy, look for an hour commute to work including a 10 minute walk to a train station – or adjust these numbers to suit yourself. And of course there is the commute for your children too. Then compare what is offered to closer locations, and compare the cost.

Can your children share a bedroom, or do you need three bedrooms? Can a eliving/diningf room double as their study room? Many homes have one large room that triples as a living/dining/kitchen, with a dividing counter.

I assume that you will prefer a ewesternf toilet, which may be missing in older homes – a point to confirm.

In older homes, heat is supplied by a space heater, usually kerosene, and is only on when you are in the room, and off at night. Cheapest and efficient. Newer homes will have an air conditioner unit which eats electricity to produce heat. You may prefer this to breathing in the unvented fumes of a space heater – for which people normally just open a window a bit, but of course electricity is more expensive.

Hot water is supplied by a edemandf system – turn on the hot and the boiler starts so that a few moments later hot water arrives at the faucet. Very efficient.

You will find cheap grocers but you will need to ask neighbors for their location, and you may need to travel a bit to access them – but they will be very competitive and much cheaper than the eforeignf food markets and those for which the esnobby othersf use. A bicycle will be a good investment.

There are many recycle shops where you can buy a used washing machine, refrigerator, that space heater, tables, chairs, that bicycle, etc. An unfurnished home will be cheapest. And the recycle shop will repurchase, or at least retrieve at no cost (or very low cost), those same items when you leave.

Will your children's education be covered when they progress to the next school, assuming that you stay longer?
by Paul (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/8 08:58
This question is really generic and many people have different thinking.

If yearly contract than how you make sure that you can have a stable life?
Your visa will also be based on the contract. If you lose the job you need to find something else soon or you need to go back.

I have red many comments, most are good and some I have question mark.
But I do believe that the only way to make sure you understand the cost is to talk with your contact person in Japan.

There are so many factors which makes live cheap or expensive.
Housing in general in Japan (4 person) is not cheap. Also consideration that you may need to pay some cost in advantage for housing (deposit money)
You need to understand the contract for housing so ask someone to come we can read Japanese.

Also you need gas/electricity etc.

On paper the number 410.000 looks good but for 4 persons this is a average. If possible you could find also a partime work, but since you may have difficulty with Japanese this can be a challenge also.
Also you need to consider if 410.000 is before tax or after tax.

About your concerns I do not think you need to be worried for most parts.
Japan is safe, and public transport is the best in the world.

For your children change in environment is depending on the child i they can adapt well.
The Japanese language is difficult and all documents are in Japanese, do not expect the government to send you an English document because you are an foreigner.

I do not want to give you a negative image but you are with 4 persons, not knowing Japanese. I just want you to understand that there are challenges you will face when you come.
You can always send me a private message if you have questions.
by justmyday rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/8 13:58
The following is about as honest I can be on the forum and will be from a slightly different perspective than others.

School year: The western education system has a total of 180-190 school days a year. Your school has 210 days which is the Japanese average. Check the calendar for your new school so you can see the difference in holidays. It's 4-6 weeks more work a year

Child's Tuition: Your childs tuition is a taxable benefit. This means you will pay tax on the full tuition for both of your children.

Quality of Education: There are some excellent international schools in Japan - and some of the other side of the spectrum. Have a good look at the quality of the curriculum especially as your oldest is in Grade 10 and means you'll have to stay for a minimum of 3 years if the complete the IB or AP system.

Housing: There are two types of housing, public and private. Private housing can be more expensive and the owners are more finicky in choosing renters as a result. In 2014, I was paying 135,000 yen for a 3 bedroom (90 square meter) apartment in public housing in Yokohama. It was a 5 minute bike ride from the train station which significantly reduced the cost of rent. I also paid 2 months deposit and 1 month in advance, which is significantly less than private housing. Others know more about private housing than I do.

Things in apartment: When you rent an apartment in Japan - it has NOTHING in it!. That means you need to buy light fittings, fridge, AC, beds, everything! It's not that expensive and it's easy to buy everything, but it all adds up.

Once in apartment: I find that setting up is prohibitively expensive but Japan is not that expensive once you have set up. Food is reasonably priced if you shop around and your bikes will be your main mode of transport. Don't get a car unless you MUST HAVE ONE. Another option is to hire a car when you need one. You will also need to get a Japanese drivers licence if you live here as well which can be easy or difficult depending on where you live. I never rented a car in Japan when I lived there but hire one when I visit now with an international drivers licence.

Note that most major furniture and appliance stores will deliver for free or a very small fee. Ikea is also the same but I found that it's sometimes best to spend slightly more at Japanese stores as the quality is better.

Sleeping on futons can also save you a lot of money so you don't have to buy beds. This is a personal preference but I purchased an expensive bed and then later purchased a really good futon mattress for when family were visiting. I ended up sleeping on the futon mattress more often as it was quite comfortable.

Also note that tamami flooring has a unique smell - so apartments which have been locked up for a while will smell like the dried seaweed you eat. It's not a bad smell - but unusual to westerners and is something I now like.

For safety - Japan is safer than where you currently live (note that I don't know where you live - Japan is just safer than the west but there is a larger police presence). There are some dodgy areas - but the bad areas are not that bad unless you go there at night on the weekend when people are drunk (you won't be staying in places like this unless you really try and find them)

For food - supermarkets in suburban areas are well priced. Just note that fruit can get expensive apart from mikans (mandarines) which are always a reasonable price.

Hope this helps



by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Is 410,000 per month a good offer? 2019/2/8 17:27
I think the biggest concerns are renting apartment and childrenfs education.
Other things you donft have to worry too much, I think.

Apartment
You may get some idea about renting apartment from this.
UR apartment (public apartment) - I think the above person (mfedley) lived in this kind of apartment.
http://www.kansai.ur-housing.com/
http://livinginkansai.com/ur_apartments/apply_for_ur_apartments.php

Below is one of the English sites about apartment. You can search the apartments near his work place, at least get some idea.
https://www.best-estate.jp/en/

Education
The company should give you some advice. If your husband is not the first foreign employee who has children, they should know some information.

Health care
If the company pays 50% of the health care, it should be gSociety-Managed Health Insuranceh, not National Health Care ( https://yosida.com/forms/nationalins.pdf)
If Society-Managed Health Insurance, dependents (you and your children) will also receive health insurance card by the company. If not, you should apply NHI at the city office. Both you will pay 30% of the actual treatment at the hospital.
Medical expenses subsidy: Many local governments offer childrenfs medical subsidy (depending on the guardianfs income and childrenfs age). Osaka city will subsidize up to 18 years old. You can also ask city office about that.
by ... (guest) rate this post as useful

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