ALT Blog

Life as an ALT in Japan, exploring it and sharing advice.

If you're in Japan teaching English, you will have been provided with a visa from the Japanese government to work for a specified length of time. You may decide to stay and will need to extend your stay. Here are a few helpful links and a short guide on how to renew your residence card.

Whether you've got a student loan to pay, parents to reimburse, or savings to deposit in your home bank account, here's a few ways you can transfer money out of Japan and into your home country's bank account.

Caveat: This article is just me thinking out loud. It may not read well. But I'm wondering about how we subtly interrupt to indicate we want to say something - can you practice it? Or more appropriately, can you create a structure that allows your students to practice it?

In the last few years I've either developed a very stern demeanor that warns kids away from wanting to attempt to kancho me, or it's fallen out of popularity but the other day I saw the kancho come back in a very inappropriate way.

There are some teachers I don't like. Not that I hate them, but there's no shared interests and no chemistry, so to speak. So I don't talk to them very often. But I know I should try and make an effort to just stop by for a quick English chat. And here's some nice anecdotal evidence as to why.

Here's a list of free websites that you can use to help you learn Japanese.

If you've been an ALT in Japan a few years or so and teaching in elementary schools, you've probably used the Hi, friends! textbooks. Well, just like Eigo Noto gave way to Hi, friends!, Hi, friends! is set to be displaced by a new set of textbooks called We Can!

If you or the HRT you teach with likes to line students up in two lines and have them rotate so they can practice a certain dialog point with many different partners, this explains how to do it right.

The Hi Friends! books aren't great.

The language introduced isn't always useful, the methods to introduce the language aren't always effective, and calling some of the activities inside "fun" is an insult to the word.

Unfortunately, if you teach at Elementary Schools as an ALT in Japan, you are going to have to use those books whether you like it or not.

Here's a list of study tools that you have to try if you are serious about learning Japanese on your own.

Janken is the Japanese version of "paper, scissors, rock". Want to know how it's played and what you say? Read on!

If you are planning a visit to Japan, short or long term, and intend to drive, then yes you will need an international driving permit. Even if you don't plan to, if you just want to be able to drive should the chance arise, you will need it and the low cost versus the convenience means it's worth getting.

If you haven't been to any Asian countries yet, you may not have come across a squatty potty, but if you have been in Japan then you probably have. Here's a quick how to on squatty potties.

If you are new to Japan, some of the things that your friends and colleagues do might seem a bit strange to you. But if you have been in Japan for a little while, you get used to some of these oddities. Are you turning Japanese?

It is expensive coming to Japan to do the teaching English, living abroad experience. What you may not know is that it can be quite expensive to get home too!