I've been to Japan before (4 years working 1987-1992 as well as 3 months travelling in 2010), and now I'm thinking of going to work for a couple of years.
Some of you here on CS already know me (through posts or we might have actually met) and some might even dislike me, so please just reply constructively or ignore me (you know who you are!), ok?
The thing is, I know about Dave's ESL Cafe, and Gaijin-Pot, but I'm wondering if there are other sites out there that you would recommend for finding work. Or maybe where you are working they happen to need someone like me? Starting this weekend I'll be in Italy, but eventually I could fly out to Washington DC or Chicago to do the visa stuff. In other words, I'm available for employment immediately but I'm not in Japan just yet, and not even in my "home country."
I'd also like to know the latest stuff (from those who have some experience with it) regarding work visas. I noticed that in Korea they are now very strict about presenting things like a Criminal Background Check, having an Apostille affixed to your university degree, etc. Not that I have anything to hide, but it's just such a hassle, and I've heard that in Japan it seems to be a bit less paperwork. Is that true? I mean one country relative to the other.
For me Korea would also be an interesting option but since I am fluent in Japanese, it would make more sense to go to Japan. In Korea I would enjoy learning as a beginner, and in Japan I could perfect my already advanced Japanese even more. I've been dealing with the Japanese language for 25 years now but these things take a lifetime!
Now for some info on me: I am a native speaker of both English and Spanish, proficient in German, French, and Japanese. Double citizenship: USA and Spain. I've worked as a foreign language teacher and translator for 32 years. As I mentioned, I worked extensively in Japan (set up two language schools, translated extensively Japanese-English), then I had my own language services company in Spain for 10 years (1994-2004), and much more.
My CV is here: http://www.iduran.com/cv-ignacioduran-en-03-2012.pdf
So, ideally, I should be looking for something that is not simply teaching English, though that may be the easiest way to get a foot in the proverbial door.
I'd appreciate any leads!
Another option (a bit riskier, sure) is to simply fly out and take it from there. Does anyone have experience with changing the status from tourist to work? Back when I first went to Japan, I did just that, without even having to leave the country (some would go to Korea or elsewhere for the so-called "visa-run"), and I understand there was a period then when even that was not possible (?) but that you had to apply for the work visa from your home country, but recently I've seen reports on the internet that point to it being possible again (even without leaving Japan), but that it also depends on the prefecture. So, thanks for any info on this as well!
Another option would be to be "adopted" by someone as a live-in teacher (for any of my languages) in exchange for room and board, and during that month or two learn with me intensively (I would teach e.g., two three hours a day), and the rest of the time I could look for work.
By the way, of course, I had a work visa when I was in Japan for almost four years the first time (1987-1992)... would that make a difference (possibly an advantage) now?
And the fact that I was married to a Japanese (for five years) in Spain; even had the marriage registered in Osaka, but lived in Spain the whole time. In other words, my work and visa experience in Japan is prior to my being married to a Japanese, and now we're divorced anyway. Hopefully that won't work against me! ;-) Anyone with experience in that aspect?