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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.