I got my work visa! Technically a status “Change Permit” which changed my “Temporary Visitor” status to that of “Specialist in Humanities”, this little postage stamp-looking thing means I can earn money in Japan. More importantly, it means I can get my Alien Registration card, which I did, post-haste.

Look! My Alien Registration Card! (Neat hologram, eh?) Now I can get health insurance! And a cell phone! And internet service! I signed up for NTT’s ADSL service on Tuesday. I should have it up and running in two weeks, thank the gods!

While I was at the city office, I also registered my hanko. That little rubber stamp I showed you before can now be used as a legal signature here in Japan. Neat, huh? Now if I can only remember where I put it…

8 Responses to “I got my work visa!”
  1. Congratulations! You are official now. You must be so excited about all the “comforts of home” you can now get.

  2. Dude! Awesome! Love the picture.

  3. Shannon Wood says:

    *Laughs* Bet you don’t know half of what’s actually on that card. Pretty sweet to be official, eh? Very excited about the Internet. Can’t wait to hear from you more often.

  4. Whoot!

  5. Ken:
    You have no idea. Internet withdrawal symptoms are awful.

    Yeah, that was a little photo booth at the city office put there just for people like me. It advertised “English available!” on the side, and was only $7 for four passport-size photos- half what I paid for two photos at AAA when I got my International Driver’s License in Vegas.

    Well, the biggest chunk of Japanese is right in the middle, and I can “read” it because I know that’s my school’s address. Almost everything else has a translation in English. The only thing on there that I don’t know is right above the school’s address. But could I recognize all the kanji by itself? Certainly not. 🙂

    Woot indeed! Intartubes = life. =D

  6. I was looking at the dates of your training and the date you received your visa, in those 2 months were you working in Japan Illegally? I have been curious about how ALS does business?

  7. Sam- Like many other eikaiwas, ALS brings teachers over on a tourist visa, then helps the employee convert to “Specialist in Humanities.”

    It’s an involved process to get a work visa, involving your actual physical university diploma, a full-form work contract with the legal stamp from your sponsoring organization’s headquarters, and a number of other forms and documentation that have to be showed to the appropriate people at the immigration office in whatever prefecture you’re in.

    Because of this, it’s far more practical to have teachers come to Japan and get a temporary tourist visa while their Specialist visa is processing, which takes about two months.

    You’re right though, it’s technically illegal to work under a tourist visa, but the immigration office knows this is industry practice, and allows it.

    As far as ALS goes, it’s very dependent upon which office you work in. For instance, Matsuyama is a franchise school far from the head office, and as such is excluded from many of the things that teachers from branch locations participate in (in-service training, company barbecues, et cetera).

    It’s a great place to cut your teeth as a English teacher, and everyone I met there was helpful, professional, and engaging. I enjoyed my time with ALS, but left for a school that closes earlier in the evening.

  8. Hey David,

    Thanks for your reply and for the information you provided. It sounds like you take a slight risk, but I haven’t actually found any evidence that ALS does not follow through with what they say they will do for the teachers. Overall it seems like a practical choice for an entry level position. Thanks again.


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