*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Gaijin get the...

I can't spell out the entire story, because I need plausible deniability, but here's a synopsis:
- Gaijin teachers at the 'international school' I am newly employed at were under the impression that their jobs were long-term
- many have been in that school for several years
- however, due to a particular legal situation in Japan, half of them may be terminated in a couple of years, as there will be no legal way to extend their contracts or visas
- meanwhile, some have got mortgages and otherwise started lives in Japan

Yeah, just like every other one of us you may say, except that the foreign staff was led to believe they were permanent.  Are you surprised the Japanese administration did not spell out the job-insecurity when they were staffing their school with experienced teachers?  If they were not withholding that information, they were incompetent and did not know the law.  I can believe either: I can believe Japanese administration is capable of both.

Never mind that Gaijin have come to teach since 'the Bubble', and never mind that half who come marry Japanese nationals, and maybe half of those stay.  Never mind that the school was approved in 'the Bubble' when money was thrown at anything with 'international' in the title.  Never mind that 'the law' in Japan is a point of departure, not cast in stone, the flexibility of which to suit amakudari and other fellow-travellers.  No, the fault lies with any foreigner naive enough not to cover their own ass better*, because what most Japanese, and all of the bureaucracy, want you to do after teaching for a few years is:

'Gaijin, go home.'

*I do not agree they are at fault.  Most come from countries with the 'rule of law', and would not yet have read 'The Enigma of Japanese Power'.  Read it if you have not yet.
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized.


  1. Prepare for the worst and work for the best. If someone doesn't do that I got no sympathy.

    It's a cold hard world. Was it ever anything different?

    Was that a "Revelations" quote? I had one lined up in my next post which will probably never be published...like half my posts.

    1. I agree on the advice. I have learned enough even when a unionized teacher: nobody's got your ass if their interests are elsewhere.

      Does sound like 'Revelations', but its 'Acts': 'Saint' Paul of Tarsus. I have a hate on for Paul, because he put the voodoo into Christ's message, whatever you think about His divinity. It's a shame that what is claimed as written by Paul is much of the best writing in the New Testament.

      This introduction would be good from Revelations: http://youtu.be/k9IfHDi-2EA

  2. Union...aren't the teachers in a union? From my understanding, non-unionized workers are the ones most easily dismissed. Unfortunately, people tend to shy away from learning about the rules until it's too late.

    I've read Van Wolferen, once upon a time, all the way through. Nobody I have spoken with so far wanted to talk about this kind of stuff. Very few people would acknowledge that the labor conditions in this country are as messed up as they are.

    I'm going to resist the urge and not start in on labor rights. Most people won't fight it out.

    Good luck.

    1. Everyone in Japan, including the Japanese, need to read that book. Written before 'the Bubble' burst at that, and called shit people should have known before it did burst.

      I prefer the Japanese title, "人間を幸福にしない日本というシステム", which I paraphrase as: 'Japan: the society that does not do human happiness'.

  3. Is this the law where anyone working at the same place for 3 years on contract must be made permanent? If these guys are coming up to that point, then it could be a possibilty and the school is just bullshitting to keep the revolving door moving.

    1. That is quite possible. In any case, the only way to win in a Japanese workplace, Gaijin or otherwise, is to make them worry it will get publicized. Until that point they'll wait you out, and Japanese, much less Japanese bureaucrats, can out-wait anyone.

    2. The law you mention is addressed in a speech given by Neo Yamashita of the EWA. Page 2 of the handout lists the the contract rules. If you are interested, the speech is worth listening to, courtesy of the Japanophile's Satan.


  4. When no one's got your back, better move your back...