For those of you lucky enough to have someone to bring with you on your journey to Japan, here are a few tips and tricks to getting work while sticking together. Ben and I both work in the same town, we live in town, and my longest walking commute is about half an hour. We’re pretty lucky, but there are many couples whom I’ve met who are in similar situations to us.
When to Apply
The school year in Japan starts in April. Start applying for work by December at the latest.
What to Apply to
JET is always a great choice for couples, though at this point it’s almost a lottery to see who gets in and who doesn’t. I highly recommend applying only for full-time work, and make sure you find jobs that will sponsor your visa. If you both apply as full-time ALTs then you will be working similar hours, whereas if you work part time, you may risk the chance of one of you working daytime, and the other evenings. Companies that are region specific will have an easier time placing you in the same place.
Tell the company off the bat that you are applying with your significant other. Many companies get so many applicants that there is no way for them to interview all of them. By letting them know that you are looking for work together they’ll usually give your significant other higher priority.
Be very careful if you decide that one of you will work, and the other will be a dependent Usually an ALTs salary is not enough to support two people. Dependent visas are also more difficult to come by, and you may risk the chance of one of you getting booted. It also makes finding an apartment really complicated, because it is very difficult for foreigners to find apartments and companies do not like to sponsor apartments to people who are not part of the company.
Companies love to place couples in rural areas. Usually the logistics of trying to place two people in the same area of Tokyo are too complicated, and it sometimes leaves both people in the couple with ridiculous commutes. Be open to living in more rural areas, it often will give you a major leg up in the job search.
PDA is a big no! Even holding hands in our small town is forbidden. Kisses, even goodbye kisses will get you in major trouble. If your company gets a complaint from your school, or local school board they may have no choice but to fire you.