The Truth About AEON: Part VII

August 3, 2009


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 my blog.

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’s 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

13 Responses to The Truth About AEON: Part VII

  1. Ariana on February 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Thanks for your bold and brutal sharing of your experiences with Aeon! hhhmmmm.Its left me both excited about going to Japan and now doubtful if Aeon is for me for a whole year! good to have other perspectives from previous employees anyway.

  2. rukia on April 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    To clarify one point, you worked for Amity branch of Aeon, correct? I want to clarify this as it doesn’t seem like Aeon provides a ticket for going back home or the cash equivalent.

    Anyways, I’m so glad I found your blog. This is exactly the information I’m searching for… The problems over a blog entry is quite something… and really, they should specify on the website that teachers are also janitors! Now I`ll really have to re-think if Aeon`s for me…

  3. Turner on April 25, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Hi rukia,

    In fact, I worked for one of AEON’s “B” schools, not Amity. I don’t believe either of them provides a return ticket anymore, but they did at the time.

  4. Tiffany on May 14, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Actually they both still provide your ticket home. I am currently in Japan working for Amity Aeon and they have already bought my ticket home!
    Also, if you work for Amity Aeon, the Airport you fly into has a small bank where yHurray!!!

  5. Tiffany on May 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Also if you work for Amity Aeon, the airport you fly into has a small bank where you can use travelers checks. I had no problems with my travelers checks and it is a lot easier than having a bunch of cash on you.

  6. Gabriel on July 7, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Wow that was really helpful!
    Uhmm I’m in my second year of University right now and I’m considering applying to either JET, AEON, or GEOS? I’m probably not ambitious enough to go alone and find my own contacts…

    What would you recommend?

  7. Tobey on July 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    First off, thank for such a thorough and helpful blog.

    Secondly, I have two science degrees (BS and MS) and a lot of accolades and publications. I have read on other blogs where individuals have downplayed these things and have even not included their MS on the CV.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do you think this might affect my chances of employment or treatment once employed?

  8. Turner on July 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I would say to go with your instincts on that one. IMHO, however, recruiters generally go for those teachers who exhibit classic “fish out of water” characteristics: out of college, eager, a little naive… having a master’s degree means stability and intelligence… two things they won’t always want.

  9. Sara on August 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you so much for your detailed experiences with this company. I had applied to all these companies in America, but had no luck and decided to just come to Japan on my own. I have been here now for about a week and have had no real luck finding teaching jobs…plus there’s the issue of getting a visa if I do happen to find a job. I guess it’s a worth a shot though, right?

  10. Turner on August 8, 2010 at 6:10 am

    It is risky, but yeah, I think it’s worth a shot. Let me know how it goes.

  11. Melissa on October 27, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Thank you again for writing this, it was very informative. I have my informational meeting coming up soon and was wondering if you know the answer to a question regarding apartments.

    How hard is it to obtain an apartment for a married couple in Japan? I only ask because it specifically says in the contract that I must live in the housing provided by them. My husband will be looking for work in Japan and we would like to live together…will this be difficult?

    Thanks again!

  12. Donnie on November 29, 2010 at 1:29 am

    Thank you for your blog! I’m currently toying between the Aeon program and another English teaching program in South Korea. It’s nice to read about the good, the bad and potentially ugly sides of these different programs. One question I did have (and I know I’m gonna come across as your typical money grubbing American) was how much did you make, how much were expenses and how much were you able to save. College loans suck and I’m looking to pay some off, lol.

  13. Mish Ishi on March 14, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    (I know your post was from years ago, but maybe this response can help someone now)

    With a masters degree, you have more job opportunities than people with just a bachelors. If you don’t have any English teaching experience, then you will want to get that 1st, (as an ALT, or private English schools), but once you gain that experience, you can apply to University jobs, international private schools, etc, which is generally hard for someone with only a bachelors to get. These jobs pay a lot more money too.

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