TLR Version: $36000 a year to work as an engineer in Japan Housing is very cheap for employees. They provide a one room dormitory for $100-150 a month. It will either be in Kyoto or Tokyo. I want to own a Skyline GTR (Older version, R33 or R34) and I heard parking is expensive. What's it like to live in Japan as a foreigner? How much are typical yearly raises? Background: I'm an Environmental Engineering soon-to-be graduate from University of California San Diego. Most Environmental Engineering programs focus on civil or structural engineering but the program here in La Jolla focuses on mechanical engineering, flow properties and the environmental impacts of technology used in industrial development. What does that mean? Most environmental engineering jobs don't actually have job duties that apply to us which means most of our graduates either go to graduate school or work in a different market than the one they studied. However, I've been having trouble coming to terms with either of these options: I don't want to be in debt any longer and I haven't been getting solid job offers here in California. Now I wanted to study abroad in Japan but as an engineering student I had to make difficult choices about the classes I had to take and some times I had to re-take classes. I was always on the verge of not being on track to graduate so I didn't have a quarter I could "throw away" to study abroad. I had an interview in Los Angeles for a very big Office Equipment Corporation to work in their Business Development division as an Engineer. I would be designing, planning and testing office equipment in either Kyoto or Tokyo. I didn't think the interview would amount to much because I didn't ask very good questions and my Japanese was very rocky but apparently I nailed it. I took their proficiency exam (SPI exam) and passed it, submitted a research summary (More detailed CV that includes classes I've taken and will take and projects I've worked on) and now I'm in the final stages of the interview process. In the beginning, I didn't think much of it because I didn't think I'd get it and I also thought I would land a solid offer here in the US. Now, neither of those presumptions has come to surface so I have to make some real decisions about this. This is not the type of economy where I can linger around wondering about what to do next. I have very real debt and a lack of family support to manage it. So I've managed to narrow down the following truths about the job and the environment but I would love some feedback from people who've lived and worked in Japan (And continue to do so, if applicable, or if you came back). Compensation, Benefits, Location: 211000~225000 Yen/Month = $2016-2150 USD/Month Singles dormitory with provided shuttle to work and a meal plan, gymnasium (Charges approximately $100~150 USD/Month) Kyoto or Tokyo Prefecture Full medical, dental and optical insurance plans with a lot of coverage, a wide network and very low copay. I can live in the singles dormitory for up to 7 years. Two bonuses per year (June/December) for approximately 6 months total of salary. One raise per year (April). Free training, classes and growth opportunities. 15-20 days of annual vacation paid leave. Year End/Beginning and Summer scheduled vacation time. Paid tuition and college training (They'll comp my hours if I take classes along with paying tuition and books/materials) Thoughts on Benefits/Compensation/Etc: The pay is on the low side at about $36,000 per year for an Engineer. However, the cost of living is significantly low and the guaranteed raises make it a lot more competitive. If I worked in the states, I would absolutely choose to work in a big city like Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Fransisco, New York City or Boston. In those places, the cost of rent for a single room or studio is around $750~1200 (San Fransisco two bedroom apartments are approximately $3000 a month in good neighborhoods). Kyoto is a very big area, just like Tokyo so paying $150 a month for a single room with utilities included is a pretty big cost of living advantage. If I factor the cost of living into the cost analysis, that makes the pay more along the equivalence of $48,000/year which is actually pretty comparible to jobs in the states. The paid training and medical isn't a factor to me because any engineering job in a first world country is going to offer paid training and health benefits to their technical specialists. No NFL team in the country is holding out on a training gym for their athletes. Unspoken factors: Here's what I've heard about Japan for foreigners. Very polar reactions from people. Some are xenophobic to a high order. They think anyone non-Japanese has no business living in their country. This even includes other Asian ethnic backgrounds. It's not bad to the point of violence, they're a pretty docile and peaceful society but it is bad to the point where you won't develop meaningful relationships or friendships with Japanese people because of it. On the other hand, the people who aren't like that are not only very welcoming to foreigners but VERY accepting of them. They find them interesting and enjoy having them around. Japanese companies expect a VERY long commitment from employees, even foreign ones. This came up in the interview and my recruiter straight up told me, if they ask, I want to work there until I retire. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. This company is a premiere corporation, one of the highest in its industry with thousands of locations in the world. It'd be like being hired to be an engineer for Dell or HP. Definitely a fruitful career and they value their employees. But here in the US, it's completely acceptable to work for 1~2 years and explore other options if you're unhappy. Japanese companies don't work like that. They want you to be more like a family member to them. My other concern is radiation. It's not in the air but it's definitely in the water. There's a chance they'll offer me a placement in Tokyo. Now, I don't think it'll be bad to the point of Chernobyl because neither of these locations is THAT close to Fukushima but it could be bad to the point where I should absolutely avoid seafood. So for those of you who worked in Japan or who are familiar with it, I have a few questions: How much is a typical raise in Japan? My concern is that even though the pay isn't great, I want it to be capable of being very good over the years. If I choose to make a commitment like this, I want to eventually work my way up to an Engineering Manager or Senior Designer and I can't see myself committing to a job that will still pay me less than $50,000 a year in 3 or 4 years. How has the xenophobia affected you in Japan? How is it dating girls in Japan as a western person? Every Japanese girl I've met, tells me that western guys like me are the bee's knees there because there's an issue in the country with men being too shy and traditional. The women there want to be valued professionally and pursued which are two qualities that most men there don't offer. How long did it take you to establish credit? From what I understand, I'd be essentially walking away from my American credit history and debt history and starting from scratch there with a lot of banks being nervous about the fact that I could pack up and leave at any time. I'd like to at least build one credit card just for holiday plane tickets and vacations and maybe furnishing my apartment when I move out of the dormitories. What's the night life like there? Are there clubs I can join or social groups I can throw myself at with people in their early to late 20's where I can meet people? Should I take a class at night or just walk around the city at night to try to meet people? What's it like to own a car there? One of the things about me is that my dream car since I was 15 has been a Nissan Skyline GTR. I've looked up the prices and the R33 and R34 GTR is really cheap because it's nowhere near the 25 year exemption for US importing and Japanese people don't tend to hold onto older cars. Is the car tax expensive? Approximately how much would it cost per year to register and insure a sports car like an R33 GTR? I've heard that I also have to pay for parking, but I've heard my company might provide the commuting expense, but is it a common thing for people to drive a car outside of Tokyo? And for those of you who haven't been to Japan, how terrified of this type of commitment would you be? Sorry for the long post! and Thanks guys! I came here because I tend to think of the general population of this forum as being more intelligent people.