A. Little to none. Service locations tend to be marked with English signage, and most restaurants include both pictures and English on their menus. Even in other places it’s rare you’ll find yourself completely at sea: the Japanese in general love to try out their English, and while most adults speak only rudimentary “eigo,” younger people are often amazingly fluent. If you’re lost, either look for college-aged folk or just stand there looking lost and someone will probably stop to help. Still, it’s fun to mix in with the locals, so keep a phrase book handy: they get all warm and fuzzy at the least show of desire to use their difficult language, and you’ll feel like a true polyglot the first time you order a curry (“karee”) and don’t get filet of sole (“karei”).
A. Cost of living is nowhere near what those ugly rumors want you to believe. Most of your daily expenses will be for food and drink, and as you’ll see from our Budget Saver Manual, you can make it on less than $10 USD a day. But why not live large and budget for $20? (Word to the wise: unlike convenience stores abroad, Japanese “combini” are brimming with healthy options.)
A. Try paying for your street festival yakisoba with plastic and we guarantee you won’t be eating yakisoba for dinner. Keep some cash handy.
A. You can’t, unless you have a working or permanent visa. But banks are fun places to visit if for some reason you’re in the mood to see Japanese efficiency at work.
A. Street crime: zero. Organized crime: irrelevant unless you happen to own a pachinko parlor and are late paying your monthly protection fee to the guy with 9.5 fingers. Forget your camera on an outdoor café table? It’ll be there waiting when you get back. Sure, stuff happens, but this is still the safest country on earth.
A. Yes. Just as in the US and Europe, Japan’s major metropolitan areas all boast ever-expanding hotspot networks. The public transit system, fast food and café chains, as well as major department and convenience stores almost all offer free WiFi with easy English log on. So, no worries: when you want instantly to share the selfie you just took with passing cosplay maidens in Odaiba, a network is probably just a few steps away. Click on the links below for Tokyo’s comprehensive hotspot guide and Osaka’s WiFi network homepage.
A. The legal age for cigarettes and alcohol is twenty. Doing anything else in Japan is a really, really bad idea. Party smart, dude.
A. You can if you want to, but Japan is international foodie heaven, a veritable taste bud kaleidoscope, so get out there and dig in. Even the cheapest rice bowls are delicious, but we also have more Michelin 3-star restaurants than France (who, uh, you know, invented the whole Michelin star system).
A. Yes. How’s that for straight up?
A. Depends on the internship. Usually not, but if you love the job and want it to turn into one that pays, let’s work on that.
A. You can stay for up to 24 weeks in 4-week increments. Need more? Time to confess you’re hooked on Japan and let us help you get hired permanently.
A. All industries and sectors. (Except maybe ice fishing, but if you’re really desperate to do that, we’ll figure something out.)
A. In general, internships depend on your skill set, preferred starting date and length of stay. But many companies actually create internship positions when we present them with superstars like you, while others like to stay under the radar about their talent development strategies. So what you see on the site are just representative examples of the endless opportunities out there. Give us a shout and we’ll give you the full skinny.
A. Your internship will start on a Monday. Everything else is flexible. No joke.
A. What kind can’t you intern for would be an easier question. With everything from nationals to multi-nationals, maverick market disruptors to 1000-year-old rice wine breweries, Japan boasts as much employment diversity as a Moroccan bazaar. We encourage you to get happily lost in all the choices.
A. Mostly Tokyo, because in and around the capital is where 60% of national and 75% of foreign businesses are based. You may also land in Osaka or another big city. We hope you’ll explore the countryside on weekends, but not waking to a rooster crowing at dawn every day will do wonders for your jet-lag and sanity.
A. Some people might enjoy interning with a finger painting club while bunking in a fish warehouse, and if Zentern were a charity we could probably hook you up. Instead, we use our deep industry connections to land you a top-drawer placement, offer best-in-breed career mentorship and an unforgettable cultural experience, all while keeping you stress-free with our comprehensive living support program. And as with any awesome service, you’ve got to pay to play.
A. Yes. And this isn’t optional, because we need a copy so the 8 million Shinto deities continue smiling down on Zentern for all eternity. Probably the least hassle and cheapest way is just to get a rider on your current policy.
A. None? A ton? It all depends on you and the company you work for. There’s no better way to understand the culture than to learn the language, but if the very thought of that curls your toenails, we’ll make sure to place you in a cozy everyone-speaks-English environment.
A. Up to you. If you want to stick around and explore the country until your visa expires, go for it. We’ll even offer some travel recommendations if you like, but legally you’re on your own. (Sorry. Had to say it. Our lawyers are watching.)
A. Whether you prefer regal or roughing it, we’ll find you conveniently located accommodations to suit your budget and taste, from fully furnished apartments to share houses to home-stays. Rent starts at $600 USD a month in Tokyo – usually less in other cities.
A. No one, if you’d rather live alone. But the opportunity to do a house-share or home-stay is probably the biggest side benefit of being a Zentern. If you’re thinking about an international career, now’s your chance to start building your global network. And while your roommates may be determined in part by geographics and timing, we promise only cool peeps. There’s no such thing as a Zenjerk.
A. Half an hour, max. Anything more would be…uncivilized.
A. See the tab that says “Program”? Click that for details.
A. Kind of hard in a Japanese city, but even the shyest wallflower is bound to get swept up in all the fun stuff we’ve got going on. Locking your door is not an option (one of our resident ninjas will only bust in and dig you out).
A. Scream. Then call your Zenpal or any of your other bilingual points of contact at Zentern and we’ll either come running or scream at the appropriate authorities for you.
A. No. But we can assist searching tickets and flights for you and arrange transportation to your accommodation if you like.
A. Yes or no. If your country is on the visa exemption list, you can do a “my country is on the visa exemption list” happy dance. Otherwise you have to apply for a visa. N.B. Don’t leave this till the last minute or you might end up paying expediting fees to the man. You can check the list by clicking here: VISA EXEMPTION LIST
A. Since an unpaid internship is regarded by the government as “voluntary activity,” for this you can enter Japan on a tourist visa. Paid internships require a work visa, but Zentern can help if you get hung up in the process.