Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Truth About AEON: Part VII

Conclusions

You've heard about the good, the bad, and the ugly. You've seen what can go wrong, what will go wrong. And hopefully by now, you know a little more about Japan and AEON than when you first came upon Keeping Pace in Japan.

So what will you do? Cancel your trip? Stop filling out the eikaiwa applications? Try to find another way to join the ranks of the gaikokujin?

In my opinion - and this is based on the opinion of someone who, overall, had a good experience his first year in Japan, despite inconsistencies and lies in his place of employment – the eikaiwa is probably the best means a first-timer has of coming to Japan. And AEON is one of the better English-teaching schools, despite its faults. NOVA may soon be out of business, GEOS is on roughly the same level as AEON, and ECC may have the best vacation schedule, but they're not the easiest people to contact (interviews every six months and only in select cities).

So why am I saying this? I've spent the last five entries talking about nothing but problems and aggravations... why endorse a company that allows such activities? You don't have a whole lot of options. If you are creative and resourceful, the best option of coming to Japan would be:

1. First build up your Japanese to JLP 2 at least, and give yourself at least 500,000 yen for a safe buffer zone.

2. Drop everything and just fly to Nippon. Enter the country with a three-month tourist visa and start looking for work. You can work contract jobs (though technically illegal) without reporting the income, and stay in a cheap gaijin house until something comes up. Without a gaijin card, you cannot get a bank account (which rules out a few jobs payable only by electronic transfer, most gyms, etc.), or an apartment (as far as I know).

3. If you find a stable job within three months you can change your visa status to a working visa, get a gaijin card, and begin anew. I've been told you have to leave the country to change your status from a tourist to working visa – any experience on this? Email me.

4. If you can't find a job within three months, you can have your tourist visa renewed for another three, or leave the country (to Korea or China) for a few days and come back on a new three-month visa. Nothing illegal there.

Some people have done this, and had it work out for them. As you can see, it can be a hassle, and you would have to be constantly looking over your shoulder if immigration decided to play catch-up with your paperwork.

To avoid this, I do believe it's best to come in with a stable company, a valid visa, and go from there. If you're anything like me, once you've lived in Japan for several months, and discovered the essentials of living and the pace of the world, you know you can survive anywhere. AEON helps you with a bank account, foreigner registration, a cell phone, language skills, and an apartment. Your keys to survival.

So what about taking advantage of AEON's offer, entering the country, getting set up, and then resigning? ...possible. I don't recommend this for two reasons: financial and traditional. I'm old-fashioned when it comes to work, and believe in fulfilling your commitments (though I've had this tested very often). Financially, though, you'd be giving up a great deal of money - 65,000 yen contract bonus, about 50,000-60,000 yen for the cash equivalent of your plane ticket home, and all the money you would need to start over in a new city; you can't stay in the company apartment if you're not working for them.

Although it's not my personal choice, I can definitely see why some people would choose to quit the eikaiwa world and find a better job more suited to their skills. This works ten times better if your Japanese ability is JLP 2 or greater.

Don't base your opinions on teacher's personal weblogs, not even mine – although I'm trying to give you more information than I've ever seen about AEON online, it is still a shadow of the actual experience.

Take some time and think it over. Look at the facts you have, and the unknowns (I can help you there as best I can). Know that no matter what happens, you will give up a level of comfort you have come to expect in your country, your home, your job. If you can accept this, keep an open mind, and see yourself experiencing another culture, we just might have a place for you here.

Ganbare (good luck).

The Truth About AEON: Part I
The Truth About AEON: Part II
The Truth About AEON: Part III
The Truth About AEON: Part IV
The Truth About AEON: Part V
The Truth About AEON: Part VI
The Truth About AEON: Part VII

38 comments:

Rob Pugh said...

"3. ...I've been told you have to leave the country to change your status from a tourist to working visa – any experience on this?"

True. Couple guys I know had to do this. On the other hand, when my wife changed from a spousal visa to a "child of Japanese national" visa, she didn't have to go anywhere. The average gaijin'll require a quick hop to Korea, unless the rules have changed in the last 3 years or so...

Anonymous said...

Aeon no longer pays for teachers' flights home - that little perk disappeared with the introduction of the 36 hr contracts a few months back.

stillnosheep said...

The rules have changed. You no longer have to leave the country to change from a tourist visa to a work visa. But make sure that you don't let on to immigration that you intend to find work on your TV or they will refuse you entry in the first place.

ebowman said...

A visit to another Asian country might be nice if it is affordable... so if it's necessary then that's not so bad.

Your blog series was very informative. I have two questions:

Where can I find information about setting up English lesson plans since I'll be required to do so before any formal training in such matters.

How do I find out the exact details/dance I need to set up my bank account, cell phone and direct withdrawl bill payments? Will someone help me out?

Cheers~

ターナー said...

ebowman,

Although you are required to set up lesson plans with AEON, they usually give you a good template; you'll need the most help with kids' lessons. Even then, you never have to start from scratch.

I mention the details in setting up a bank account in another post; cell phone contracts are infinitely more complicated - have a native speaker with you just in case. As I said, an AEON representive should set these up with you within the first few weeks (depending on how long it takes you to register with the government).

Thanks for reading - any other questions, feel free to email. I'm on the island of Yakushima as we speak.

Mattyd said...

While I was in Japan recently as a student the laws had changed and it wasn't possible to get a cell phone without your gaijin card (tourokusyo).

Made for a painful few weeks.

water_jess said...

Thank you so much for linking this to me. It was very informative and now I'm going into my interview with eyes open a little wider. I know Amity and AEON are technically different schools, but they're owned by the same company, so I imagine that things won't be too much different. However, I work at Chuck E. Cheese's and if I can fake excitement over a kid winning 2 tickets, I think I can fake excitement in business meetings.

ターナー said...

That's hilarious... heh. But yeah, as long as you know what you're getting signed up for, it's still good money.

Anonymous said...

Great information and I am still applying, but I am nervous about the 15 min lesson plan as I have never taught! Any suggestions, I am interested in working with adults! Thanks for the info, if I get hired I will keep a journal and post after my year is up!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I have recently interviewed and will accept an offer to work for AEON (Koshigaya, Saitama). I depart in November.

I'll admit that going into this I was very glossy-eyed and idealistic. I'm heavily in research mode trying to find any/all information regarding eikaiwa in general just to have the knowledge available.

I know experience trumps anything else in that regard, so I honestly can't wait to see what experiences and stories I'll have at the end of this gig.

So my main point is, thank you for this series, it's been really eye-opening and will help me align my efforts in the coming months to make my departure and arrival as smooth as possible.

This will be my first international trip and all things considered, probably one of the best opportunities I can take while I'm young.

One question: do the kids do that 'kancho' thing, or is that pretty much only at the actual primary/secondary schools? Just wondering if I need some metal plates installed at the back of my pants :P

Turner said...

I've been lucky in that respect, only encountering a few kids that actually kancho... but it does happen. One piece of advice I can tell you is to just ignore it; once kids see you leap up in surprise or try to run they will form a pack and hunt you down. My experience, anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

Haha thanks for the advice, it should be interesting considering the school I'm going is comprised of both adults and kids with a slightly larger percentage on the kids' side.

Anonymous said...

Im not sure if I missed it, but how were the conditions of the subsidized apartment they gave you ? I'v heard some horror stories from Ex Jet teachers (no hot water, slug infestation etc.).

Turner said...

Other than the outgoing teacher trashing the place before he left, I didn't have any problem with the physical layout; it just depends on your area.

Emsk said...

Hi James,

Just read all of your posts about Aeon and it made for chilling reminders!

I do agree that Aeon are the best of the lot and that they help a lot with setting-up etc, but so many of my experiences were like yours. Being sick, for example - forget it! My head teacher informed me that the manager would probably want to take me to hospital "for a shot" and I was literally quaking - could they realy do that to me?? Luckily the manager didn't want that for me at all and she was decent enough to see that I should just stay home and relax, especially given that it wasn't a Saturday. But they do have a habit of making you feel like the bad guy.

There were a number of times I felt like quitting but didn't, and that was due to integrity - I didn't want to do that to the students and I also realised my manager would get the flack. My first manager was a lovely woman, and looking back I can see that all the times she was harsh was me it was due to the fact that she was receiving the same treatment herself. I was pretty lucky at getting the time off I requested from her - there was a time that she wanted me to take a day off one week rather than another, but when I explained that my dad would be in Tokyo and I wanted to go and meet him she was quite happy to give it to me.

While I had a fantastic time in Japan, I can safely say that it was mostly out of work. The students were great, but I have to say I hated the constant this si waht you're doing wrong" which myself and fellow gaijins often got. It kind of makes the genkiness at work you're expected to display pretty hard, eh? Regarding genkiness, while I take your point about how hard it can be, I do think it goes partly ahnd-in-hand with a smooth atmosphere at work. I'm a Brit and I think we ahve much more in common that you guys do with the Japanese and we don't like to "rock the boat". A bit of gloss does go al long way. Haing said that I probably wasn't teh easiest person to work with - I clashed with my first head teacher pretty early on and had the co-worker-form-hell (he was from the US) at my second school which made every working day like a page from Dante's stroll through hell. It affected my mood and in the end I had no choice but to speak to my trainer about him.

Interview-wise I had the big glossy do in London and was hired. I echo what you say about not being told the ins and outs. When I arrived at my first school I think my manager was clueless as to what she could expect us foreign barbarians to do. It wasn't her fault, but you didn't half get stared daggers when you left the office to pursue your own life. This is an area where Aeon could be a lot more hoenst and I pointed this out in my final report - it did nothing for co-worker-relations, but they should know that when a gaijin signs a contract, that's what they think they're getting.

I wasn't bothered about cleaning the office, but when it didn't half make me laugh when one of my students a) took the trash bag from my hand, saying it was "heavy"
b) asked incredulously why I had to do this. They want to keep us humble, I said - cue cynical laugh.

As for the fare home, they no longer offer this, which is sad for no other reason than it gave them the edge on competitors. Such a gesture was generous, even if the cash alternative wasn't always as much as you'd like; it said that you were valued. Now that's gone and theres perhaps not a lot to choose from.

I certainly would advise you to find something you love to do because, believe it or not, The Comapny isn't your world. I was perhaps a little too honest with my co-workers when I said this; while I did enjoy teaching and interracting with students, it was not my career of choice, I would never have told students this as it would be unprofessional, but I'm so happy that I kick-started my art career here. Students that I became friends with were aware of this and, guess what, 100% behind me. So I'm grateful that I was given the chance to exhibit my work, even though I wasn't "supposed to be doing that".

All in all blogs like this are a very good idea becasue people do need to be warned about working for a Japanese company. You do need a tough skin and plenty of tatemae, buit if you get thorugh teh frst year and find your own thing there's no reason why you can't find some thing you really want to do and make a go of it.

Otsukare samadeshita!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an interesting insider's view!

I have a question about sick days; at the information/recruiting seminar, we were told that sick days come out of our personal (vacation) days, but I've heard that the official handbook says we have the option to take them as unpaid. Can you provide any insight on this?

Turner said...

Very true - although your manager might "encourage" you to use your sick day as a paid holiday, you have the choice as to whether you're paid or not; as the handbook states, just be sure to tell them that when you call the morning of.

Anonymous said...

Well I also had a mixed experience working for AEON. It is probably significant that I would rather not publish my name or any other details of where I worked. I too fear AEON does not want any honest comments on their company by foreign teachers.

I think it is VERY important to distinguish between working in Japan and working for AEON.

Regarding working for AEON my experiences were much the same as in these articles. I trained and worked in Western Japan, a long way from Tokyo.

I was given a rushed introduction to my apartment and school. Next to no help getting a cell/mobile phone and an Internet connection.

Over the year I was told directly not to tell students when I was having a holiday. Teachers who resigned from AEON early were threatened into making up stories about sick mothers to explain their sudden departure. Those who stayed in Japan were coerced into not saying anything.

I was directly told by my manager I would not be able to take all of my 5 vacation days. I was also told by my manager "most foreign teachers do not take all their 5 vacation days". It took direct confrontation with my manager to ensure I got each of those 5 days.

I was forced (despite my objections) to hand out leaflets outside high schools and inside Universities. Sweating in a suit in 30 degrees Celsius while being told to look genki is one of my most vivid memories of my time at AEON. For this work, which happened on a dozen occasions, I was paid a cut price non teaching wage for less than the time required.

At the end of my contract, I was reprimanded and asked to write an apology letter for losing my AEON tie pin. After a years work and being enthusiastically asked to renew my contract, this was the only problem management had with me but I had many issues with them.

AEON is a company which demands (not encourages or requests) employee loyalty. The foreign teacher and the students come a distant third to MONEY.

I worked 50-60 hours a week and was paid for 30 hours. This is the most basic evidence that the contract is not an accurate representation of what is expected. If I list all the examples I would appear petty.

AEON teachers are pushed to sell courses and self study material. I believe more time was spent training me to sell than to teach.

I was coerced and forced into after work dinner and drinks with students and staff. At first this seemed nice, until I realised this happened almost every week and was not just a friendly social occasion.

But my final and main point is working for AEON is probably similar to working for any other money making company in Japan.

The individual is expected to come second to the company. Japanese workers (including those at AEON) are given much more pressure and work much more unpaid overtime than any foreign teacher.

As someone who has worked in other parts of Asia for 5 years I have one piece of advice.

If all this pressure to sell and conform to company expectations sounds too much - maybe you should pick a different country rather than a differenct company.

Spare a thought for all those Japanese office workers who suffer much more than any of us teachers and have no choice.

Tara said...

So great to see this make it past the censors of blogland!

Anonymous said...

I used to work for NOVA, right ot the bitter end. Even when we knew we were gonna be paid anymore, I figured I may as well give the students the chance to use some of that money that they'd never see again.
That being said, either Aeon really blows to work for or I worked at the best NOVA's in exsistence. I never had to work over the amount I was scheduled for, always got paid overtime if they offered me more hours, never heard of people not getting all their vacation days, never had to clean offices, hang out flyers, or market out package products. The company was very based on money of course but the teachers only taught and did demo lessons (which we of course were paid for)... the demo lessons were the only sale we made.
Our mangerish person was also gaijin, the Japanese staff have their own manager and anything that needs to go from the Japanese manager to us went through our head teacher managerish person.
Yes, I did get fucked by pay in the end but I'm not counting a company collapsing as what it WAS like to work for them prior to that.
I have no idea what it's like now. I've heard it's very different. Currently I teach middleschool and have no desire to return to one of the big 4. (although I did have friends who worked for smaller convo schools and they all did way more sales then when they worked for NOVA or AEON, prompting a possible benefit to the big 4)

Anonymous said...

WoW :)

The Truth indeed ... and i can state that all your points are fact as such and hope to add a few more:

1. The day begins with staff meetings and numbers ... of students and money ... percentages of signups and sales.

2. The free time is limited to preparing your materials for your classes, student assessments and counsellings.

3. Organising the next 'new' campaign to fleece/ rip off your students also takes up some amount of time with sales pitch persuasion from managers.

4. The day ends with cleaning and organising for the next day usually an hour of free labour as a 'team' of course. Also an introduction of cleaning my NEW apartment for 2 days with the Gucci wearing manager after the last teachers.

5. At the end of the year I made the mistake of NOT recommending half of the students to progress to higher levels or materials (what they call selling) and receiving reprimands and being made to individually reconfirm each students 'progress' and agree to sell them new materials and lose my contract renewal to 3 months.

5. At the end of the year I made the mistake of NOT recommending half of the students to progress to higher levels or materials (what they call selling) and receiving reprimands and being made to individually reconfirm each students 'progress' and agree to sell them new materials and NOT choosing to spend ALL of my breaks doing LOBBYTALK to lose my contract renewal to 6 and then 3 months.

6. Or until you have sex with half of the teachers but not the other half - oops! ... although NO students - thank you ... so count your time and affairs :) ne.

7. A life which exists solely with the same people day in day out, in the same area, until you find a new job in REAL Japan outside the company, and so many stories of teachers dissapearing in the night actually running away, after training too.

8. A constant cycle of 'drilling' your students to death followed by 'brainwashing', 'counselling' and sales - and finally your own sanity as you become of them - BORG - assimilate as resistance is futile.

9. A culture of suggestion and recommendation which continues on all levels and fronts until you conform.

10. An interesting 2 years with an introduction of culture shock and happiness turning into frustration and feeling used ... although now in the end after 8 years here with another GREAT company, it's really a bittersweet memory that leaves an aftertaste.

Overall, what can I say - it's been a challenge on a different learning curve, an introduction with some culture shock turning into culture + corporate reality with a finale of independently leaving to start a new freer and somewhat happier life.

Good luck to you :) and stick it to the Man(ager).

Nee !

Anonymous said...

I worked for AMVIC and during the transition to Aeon. Most of the comments are quite correct and have held true across almost three decades. I have worked in their head office and in dozens of their branches, Alot of the issues are specific to the managers who are under alot more pressure than teaching staff but the adverse aspects of the organizational culture started when a junior manager was promoted to the top position within the company. The owner and his wife are both very nice people and I have alot of respect for him as well as his dedication to a set of teaching values.

Jessica said...

Thanks for posting all this. I've been thinking about teaching English in Japan, and AEON's website certainly is glossy. It's nice to have a different perspective. Sounds like a lot of it comes down to luck - which branch you're assigned to, what your manager is like, what your coworkers are like. It also sounds like it's easier to be successful if you go with the flow of a different corporate culture. Thanks again.

Josh said...

Hi,

Today is the 15th of November, 2010, so I know I’m a bit late.

Just read all seven parts of this. What a great summary of life at AEON. I now live in New Zealand but worked at NOVA for two and a half years between 2003 and 2006. I spent a lot of that time hating the company (but generally loving the students). For a long time I would look over the fence and see the green green AEON grasses with there polar-opposite fraternisation policy. Until, that is, someone who knew a bit about all the big schools set me straight and told me about the sales that AEON people had to do on their students. I believed him at the time but had no idea how horrible it was.

I can confirm what was previously said about NOVA, we didn't have to do ANY sales other than the odd demo lesson and the very occasional sit down meet and greet with a prospective student. I had almost forgotten how much the fun the demo lessons could be. I'm currently applying for JET and had pulled out an old (souvenir) daily schedule from my NOVA days to see how many hours I worked per day, and to my surprise felt a wave of nostalgia at seeing a "SALES" lesson blocked into my day. They were fun because they were short, with a new person that you might be able to impress and - best of all - you knew for sure he or she had never done the lesson before. Yes, that's right, at NOVA, lessons were repeated over and over again until the student "levelled up" - yay! congratulations! high five! etc etc. More about this later.

We never had business meetings and were not involved at all in the day to day running of the school, though I’m sure we could have contributed much if they had actually listened to us.

We were never expected to do cleaning but often helped out our Japanese colleagues by taking out the trash on our way out of the building. Extra lessons were ALWAYS paid although we were often given little notice that they needed us when someone else was sick.

The fact that all adult lessons were scheduled on the fly (Kids lessons were scheduled weekly for a school term) was the major difference between NOVA and its competitors. A 40-minute lesson could (in theory and relatively often) be scheduled with 10~15 minutes notice. This meant that vacations were essentially fully open - though we had to take days off at New Year. It also meant that sick or vacationing instructors were relatively easy to cover for as there were few set classes and it was easy enough to offer overtime to part-time instructors or even let the school be understaffed. But being an enormous company meant that bringing someone in form a neighbouring town was often he solution.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yeah well, try planning a lesson in 10 minutes with a 14-year-old who jumps when you speak, a bored salaryman who wants to just chat (but who’s too cheap/poor to fork out for a private lesson), a woman you’ve never met who appears to have last come to class 2 years previously and an 82-year-old who has done the same lesson 8 or 9 times. Of course this is a fictional scenario but all the characters are based on real people who may well have ended up at one time in the same tiny glass cubicle with a poorly trained instructor. The reality is few students would ‘pass’ a lesson the first time and would probably repeat it several times before ‘levelling up’. Some students would very occasionally get sick of doing the same lessons over and over and would level themselves up or some sympathetic instructor would pity them and pass them anyway. Ouch. That made life just that bit much harder for their future higher level classmates and instructors.

[Sorry, wrote this in a text editor and now realise it’s too long. Stay tuned for part 2...]

Josh said...

[Sorry, wrote this in a text editor and now realise it’s too long. This is part 2...]

I guess What I’m trying to say is that these big eikaiwa are often all the same in the way they can make you feel as an employee whilst being completely different in the details. My wife and I have just hosted a friend from Japan and we spoke a lot about all the rules and bullying that Japanese (and to a lesser extent foreign) employees suffer in Japan and it really is just amazing. Most Japanese can see it but they can’t do anything about it. It is so engrained that I doubt it will go away in many institutions and may only be outmoded as newer younger organisations start from scratch with new policies.

The sheer number of rules and behaviours that have little or no benefit to the business can be mind-boggling. I like to think of it as “rules for rules sake”. A small example: my wife’s friend is a doctor. In her hospital they are only allowed to tie up their hair with blue or black elastic hair bands. From this we can only assume that red (or god forbid pink) elastic bands will look, what? Unprofessional? This might seem trivial but when you add it to the hundreds of other things one must or must not do, or it is used as ammunition in some ridiculous attack on the infringer, it becomes very serious.

An example from NOVA, minor complaints were rarely addressed but for some reason they alway came up at contract renewal time. NOVA management always wanted one to feel grateful for the wonderful opportunity to be in Japan that they, and only they had made possible, and in no way were we to forget that the situation could change.

I’m all with ターナーさん. These big firms can be a great way to get to Japan. Try to avoid buying into the ‘guest’ mentality and keep your eye out for something better. You are a worker and have rights. It’s also worth noting that many of the smaller schools can be great but some of them can be terrible rip-offs and carry on some terrible practices, far worse than the big guys. Ultimately I hated NOVA the corporation but I made some great friends there and wouldn’t have the wonderful wife that I do now if I hadn’t worked there.

Note: I left NOVA before the collapse so my comments are NOT necessarily valid for the business currently operating under the brand. The current NOVA schools have I presume adopted more ethical sales practices than the former but I doubt the lesson scheduling and the resulting benefits and drawbacks have changed much.

P.S. I’m not familiar with Blogger templates but it would be much easier to read the comments here if the date not just the time were visible, especially since this post is now a few 0years old.

Anonymous said...

so is it possible to just request to work with adults? Im over the kids, they dont want to learn because well, THEYRE KIDS!!! Just seems like a long 45 minutes in there with them and playing those games that I see teachers doing in the photos with their jacket off kneeling on the ground lol

Turner said...

Yes, you can request an "A" school

Anonymous said...

Living frugally do you think bringing back home 20k in unconceivable?

Turner said...

You'd have to be incredibly frugal, but with the exchange rate as it is, that's possible.

Anonymous said...

thanks man for being so helpful...broad question but ive been trying to look online for a list of all the AEON schools in Japan, is that virtually impossible or so you know of a directory? Just trying to narrow it down to a hyperlocale.

I mean are there like 3 AEON schools in the same city or towns?

Being a SoCal beach enthusiast im trying to live on the coast, like, "on the coast", wondering if that even exists. Either that or Im gonna sell out and bid for Tokyo, Yokohama or Nagoya, something like that..thoughts?

Turner said...

There is a complete listing on the AEON homepage, but it's pretty much any city you can imagine. Multiple locations in cities. Kagoshima has two, but that's just in the city proper.

If you're looking for beaches, I'd aim for Kyushu, maybe Miyazaki-ken.

Anonymous said...

Is it easy to pick up on girls in Japan? lol, any good tales for us?

I read someone elses blog or comment and he claimed to be a mole and infiltrated his own staff...thoughts, opinions?

By the way, Miyazaki looks amazing, great surfing breaks

Anonymous said...

1)Will an unlocked sim card based phone that I bring from here suffice and work in Japan or is it easier to purchase a set up there?

2)As I read in the orientation packet theres a section about sending "extra" possessions to your host office. Being that checking bags in is costly with the airlines its looking like I may be doing this...any advice on how I should go about doing it, which carriers are commonly used i.e. USPS, UPS, FED EX or are comptaible with Japan

3)Last question, Im with Wells Fargo, any idea who I will most likely be banking with in the Tokyo area? Curious about the ease of transfering money into my American bank, if there are any relationships with the big banks here, etc........

Thanks

Turner said...

Send emails with specific questions my way.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Wow am I glad to read this post and look at the inside of this company.
I have a interview coming up with AEON and I am excited for it but except that I have one bit of problem that has been nagging me.

It is true that they don't accept people who look Asian?

Cause I'm an Asian American who lived his/her entire life in America and I am pretty sure I am American just as anyone else in this country.

Have you seen any Asian American teachers while you were over there?

Anonymous said...

Good job writing up your experiences with AEON. Your manager was overly "concerned" when you called in sick, because most Japanese workers never use their sick days, except in emergency situations. So, he thought you were really sick or he was passive-aggressively trying to tell you that you shouldn't try to call in sick.

Scott Johnston said...

I spent one year in Shiga, Japan; outside of Kyoto. AEON seemed like the entry way into the 'real world' outside of college.

Very long story short:
My contracted 38 hours turned into 45 at the minimum, 55 at the highest. After months of this I brought up the idea of actually paying me for this. After arguing for a bit, I was just made to feel pathetic for even asking.

My manager spoke unintelligible English, my lead teacher spoke sub-par English; she was the translator between us two. This created a constant uncomfortable working environment and zero conflict resolution, leaving a sense of alienation on my part.

The company checked my facebook and tried to blackmail me, holding a letter of recommendation as collateral. (my facebook showed a picture of my girlfriend staying in my apartment. This was "unacceptable" by Japanese standards)

AEON is a company that will take, take and take. If you keep them from taking, you are the one in error. They will let you know you are wrong for not allowing them to take from you.

You are a salesman first. If you play their game their way, sell, do all they request, never speak for yourself and forget everything promised to you, you will go far with AEON.

I recommend Japan and teaching there. I cannot recommend AEON.

With all this said, I know other teachers who had no negative experiences whatsoever. It all depends where you get placed. It's up to chance.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if someone on federal disability would be allowed to work in another country? What sort of taxes do you pay in Japan?