Living On The Poverty Line
If you truly plan on living in Japan as an ALT, please, please, PLEASE, think seriously before you do, and do not make the mistake I did by not having at least some sort of Plan B or exit game. The salary and location of where you are located will have a huge impact on the lifestyle you can live.
That Japanese Man Yuta breaks down the salary of an English teacher quite nicely in the video above. He also does a great job of trying to make light of the situation of what could be done with what amount in this video: How Much Does It Cost To Live In Japan?
For a comical, yet frighteningly accurate, take on the stark reality of the various salary bracket levels one might live on in Japan, please visit Ken Seeroi’s post: Tokyo Salaries: All You Need to Know, as this is as comprehensive and grounded as it gets.
230,000 yen per month
If you like cold and dark, then this is the wage for you…
250,000 yen per month
Now you can keep the lights on until bedtime, and perhaps buy a blanket for warmth…
270,000 yen per month
If there were a practical poverty line, at least from a Western perspective, this would be it…
300,000 yen per month
Congratulations, you’ve finally made it off Skid Row…
350,000 yen per month
This is more money than many Japanese people will see in their lifetimes…
400,000 per month
Ah, Lives of the Rich and Famous…
Above 400,000 yen per monthKen Seeroi, japaneseruleof7.com
Now you’re entering rarified territory. I’ve made this level of coin briefly, but frankly it wasn’t worth the effort required. Which is to say that I’m a lazy bastard who prefers evenings slamming cans of malt liquor watching sunsets over the Arakawa river to sitting at a desk surrounded by dozing salarymen…
I’ll give it to you straight — my salary while working for Interac was a flat 230,000 yen living in Sapporo. Now, I don’t remember the exact details of how much I paid for everything, but here’s what I needed to factor in for my basic needs:
- student loans
- health insurance
- pension insurance
- income tax
- city tax
And all this is also not including going out at least once a week for a drink with colleagues, eating out, or just exploring in general to maintain sanity. If I remember correctly, my take home pay was well below 100,000 yen. And I’m also pretty sure there are some other miscellaneous things I’m forgetting to factor in here as well. But all I can say here is this: The Struggle. Is. Real. There was a time when I was seriously only living off of peanut butter and protein bars. Yup.