Thursday, December 26, 2013

What is Wrong with my Life?

So, last Friday was payday. 
I love payday. I love money. Who doesn't?

Every payday, I make a beeline for the ATM as soon as my break comes up. I send a few man (hundred dollars) home each month to pay the minimum balance on my student loan (still over $5,000 left *sigh*) and to help out my mom. She doesn't make much and she lives alone.

This month's paycheck was 188,000 yen. My last few months on JET, I was getting 230,000 yen a month after taxes. Since my rent at that time was 13,000 yen, and my cell phone an other bills took about 30,000 yen a month, I was able to send about 100,000 yen home a month. 

Looking at my paycheck. Looking back over my life since JET, I wonder...what the hell am I doing? I didn't go back home because I thought that I could find a job faster in Japan. Plus, with no savings and no driver's license, where would I be able to move to?

In the envelope with my payslip was another paper that had my earnings for the year...the equivalent of $29,000. What. The. FUCK?
I can make $29,000 a year doing shit in the U.S.! Why am I in Japan?! I make 1,500 yen an hour. $15 an hour?? I can make that shit back home! No wonder I can't save any money! No wonder I can't make it home. I am making fucking minimum wage in a foreign country!

I look at my pay. I look at my life, and all I can think is, "Where did you fuck up?," "You are worthless.," and "Are you trying to fail at life??" On the other hand, I don't know if I am in fact a lot more skilled than I give myself credit for, but Japanese companies are just cheap fucks looking for any reason to cheat people out of a fair salary.

Articles like this one in the Japan Times that point to the fact that the visa "perks" for "highly skilled foreign workers" aren't working. Salary is a big one. Someone making $34,000 a year or more in the U.S. who is also under 30 years old isn't all that strange, but in Japan it's fucking like unicorn territory. My inkling to Japanese low pay was confirmed when a Japanese recruiter told me, "For Japanese people, people in their 20s, salaries are 200,000 yen ($2,000) a month, and go up in their 30s with age and then experience."

I guess since Japanese parents pay for their kid's schooling, apartment set up, furnishings and more, $2,000 a month is a lot. Fuck that.


  1. "but Japanese companies are just cheap fucks looking for any reason to cheat people out of a fair salary"

    Yeah, I do think so. I recalling my superiors from my private ALT job.. I really don't think they made that much more than us "in the field." I guess it was all more about the the opportunity to live in Japan than the money.

    I don't know if you want to move back to the US, but do you ever use to look for potential stateside jobs? You would be very qualified for a lot of their listings.

  2. Thanks! I'll check them out.

    I think there is a definite split between people who come to experience Japan and those who aren't. Especially if someone is here for the experience and doesn't mind a lower pay because they have something back home. That's really where I'm caught...gar!