Teaching English in Japan – What to Expect

The economic boom that swept Japan in the 1980′s brought with it not only a period of wealth and prosperity, but also a sudden surge in a desire to study English. Fueled in part by Japan’s role as an emerging economic force, the need to learn English became a necessity for many companies hoping to compete in the global marketplace. As a result of the affluence during this time more Japanese were also able to travel abroad, thus creating a demand for studying English for those who hoped to hone their English skills before making the journey to a foreign country. Entrepreneurs sensing an opportunity to capitalize on this trend began to open English schools in unprecedented numbers, from large Corporate chains that catered to thousands of students, to small neighborhood schools often employing only a handful of staff. Although the glory days of finding a teaching job on the basis of being a native English speaker alone have faded, the good news is there are still many teaching jobs available in Japan for those willing to make a modest effort to pursue them. Renewed economic growth in the last few years in conjunction with a recent ruling by the Japanese Ministry of Education to include English as part of the elementary school curriculum will also create a need for English instructors in the future.

English teachers in Japan fall basically under two categories, those employed via structured programs such as JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching), and freelance instructors. Teachers who have come to Japan under one of the structured programs can expect benefits which include pre-departure training, visas, flights, living accommodations, and health insurance. Free lance teachers are individuals who arrive in Japan looking for work on their own or who have found a job prior to arriving. In regard to working conditions both can expect to teach approximately 20-35 classes per week, with lessons spanning 50 minutes to one hour in duration. Most teaching positions are at private language schools, with the majority of classes being conducted in the afternoons and evenings. Students range from elementary school, high school, and university students, to housewives and businessmen of all ages. Many of the afternoon classes are typically made up of children who study English after their regular school day has finished, and the majority of evening classes are attended by teens or adults. Size of classes vary, but on average consist of 3-5 students for many of the smaller schools, and up to 15 for larger establishments. Most schools also offer students private lessons.

Entry level salaries for teachers is approximately 250,000 yen per month, though this can fluctuate depending on the company. Some of the larger chain schools such as Nova and ECC offer visa sponsorship and other benefits, such as arranging an apartment for newly arrived teachers. Most schools also subsidize daily train transportation costs. Teachers with experience and a post graduate level qualification in the form of a Masters Degree can expect to make around 400,000 yen a month or more, with the majority of high paying jobs in this category to be found in the High Schools and Universities.

The Art Of Flattery – Using Flattery To Become More Attractive

Many people completely hate the word "flattery" and to even say there is an art to this makes them shudder with total disgust.

In a culture where everything is either right or wrong with very little room for the "grays" in between, I can understand why the word "flattery" rubs people the wrong way. I can also understand why many are sickened to the stomach because flattery is often associated with compromising one's values ​​and integrity.

But is flattery always a bad thing? And does flattery always have to be insincere? Does flattery make you more attractive and should you use the art of flattery on the men / women you find attractive?

Personally I find that mild flattery does often move things along more pleasantly than outright candidness. While excessive insincere praises intended to put the other person into the position of owed something to the flatterer is cheap and cheesy (and often reveals emotionally "needy" personality out for approval), a little flattery does help to quickly warm up first meetings or bridge relationship gaps.

For example starting off your conversation with a statement like "You look gorgeous" is certainly better than starting with "You forgot to put on your make-up today". By offering positive reinforcement, you are not only making the person feel good about herself but you are taking the small extra effort to actually show the person that you care about how she feels. She may come back with "I do not have my make-up on" to which you can respond with "You still look good". But when you say "I could not even tell you did not have make-up on" or "You look like you have make-up on", you've crossed over to the excess insincere praise.

In terms of bridging relationship gaps, a little flattery goes a long, long way. Say you are the "hottest" woman in your workplace or even at a party, taking the time to shake hands with the office boy or cleaner, or saying "hi" to the "geeky-looking" guy standing all by himself not only makes their day (they will be talking about it for days) but moves them away from feeling like a "nobody" in the eyes of society to "somebody" to those present (and to himself). Just by a simple gesture you show the person that you care about how they feel. Did I mention you'll be ever so "hotter!"

Having said that, I do not advocate using flattery to manipulate another's self-doubt or use their feelings of inferiority against them. Using flattery for personal gain has its own "come back to bite your ass" consequences. You can not get round using flattery to always get what you want without starting to feel empty, phony, lonely and depressed. You can never genuinely and deeply connect with others if you are manipulating their feelings.

Also keep in mind that flattery works for about 95 percent of people. Recognizing situations where flattery is appropriate is the secret of the art of flattery!

Toronto’s Real Estate Market – The Sky is Not Falling!

I am sure you are just as tired as I am about hearing how terrible the current state of the real estate market is in Toronto, but is it really that bad?

No, the sky is not falling but there is no doubt that the Toronto real estate market has been affected by the US economic slowdown and because of this consumer confidence has also been affected … and some realtors have had to look for a "real job. "

The economic downturn in the states has no doubt had an impact on our economy. We are seeing fewer transactions occurring, (4,120 resale transactions in Feb '09 compared to 6,015 in Feb '08 according to TREB). Along with a reduction in the number of transactions that have occurred, average prices have also come down in comparison to the same time last year. According to TREB, in central Toronto the average price has gone from $ 404,202 (Jan, 2008) to $ 343,632 (Jan, 2009). Homes are also sitting on the market on average longer than the same time last year but what did we really expect? Did we really think last years wacky market of multiple offers and inflated prices would survive another year?

What does this real estate market mean to a Buyer or Seller in Toronto?

This is great news for buyers! This market is a blessing for first time buyers or those wanting home ownership but just could not afford it in the past. The declining average prices and the unbelievably low interest rates are a great combination! It's a Buyers market, so Buyers take advantage of this opportunity … it's a great time to buy! For sellers this type of market means pricing right and putting in extra effort to make sure your property shows at its potential. In the peak of the market, properties could sell the day they were put up for sale, now properties sit for longer but will still sell if priced right.

As we know, the real estate market is seasonal. As the spring market approaches all ready there is more activity in the city core than in the previous month. Just last week I was apart of two multiple offer situations in North York. Generally speaking the Toronto Real estate market tends to pick up in late spring and then begins its descend in July. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Commission is forecasting that Toronto will see its 6th or 7th best year in history. They are hiring for 75,000 sales in 2009. The next few months will be a great indicator of the state of the Toronto Real estate market. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Google Instant Now Available for Mobile Phones

For those that follow internet tech news they are aware that Google instant search has been live for a few weeks now, but the new news is that Google Instant is now live for mobile phones. The number of phones that can benefit from Google Instant search is limited, so far only to iPhone and Android mobile devices.

Google announcement so far confirms that Android 2.2 platforms are so far the only capable mobile phones to use instant search and iPhones on its 4. The mobile version of Google is not far, but knowing Google will not be long until other languages ​​are added.

Once users log into the Google and go to the search page they will have to check the turn on instant search one time if they wish to use it, and if they do not they will have to turn it off afterwards. The user experience is practically the same as it is for computer users. Google instant offers almost instant results of the search query in a predicting pattern. Predicting pattern not being actually predicting, but showing the most search terms in that combination of letters.

Google instant services is designed for Wi-Fi and 3G networks with a hint that it is also developed for the new announced 4G network, but that is still unconfirmed.

Google is the number one internet company in the world, it owns over 40 multi million dollar companies and is investing in genetics, tech, and cyber research and internet technology. The latest projects that are getting the media attention is the long awaited smart vehicle also known as Robo-car and the Instant Search that followed the implementation of Google Caffeine. And like with every other internet app, as soon as a desktop version is out we can expect a mobile app version as well, which was in this case very fast and without error.