Japan-based job-seeking resources?

Garrett Albright's picture

I've been having a run of bad luck when it comes to contracting work recently, and was kind of hoping to transition to a full-time gig with a Japanese company anyway (so I can get that sweet, sweet visa). Maybe this is an exercise in futility, but does anyone have any suggestions for how to find web development gigs in Japan, particularly for those whose Japanese skill may not yet be "business level" (whatever that is)?

LinkedIn has a lot of stuff, but it all seems to require that aforementioned "business level" or higher Japanese skill level, and a lot of the postings seem to be from recruiters instead of directly from companies anyway, and I'd rather not deal with recruiters. GaijinPot occasionally has relevant jobs, but you have to sign up for GaijinPot and give them a ton of personal info if you want to apply for them, and I don't really want to have any presence on GaijinPot at all. Sometimes you can directly access the web site of the hiring company and find an email address you can zap a résumé to, but not always. Finally, I've occasionally gotten close with listings on the Tokyo Craigslist's jobs section, but I have to wade through a lot of job listings for scummy places like hostess bars, porn studios and English schools, and I've yet to turn a connection into a paycheck.

Anyone know of any more profitable resources?



Generic response

wizonesolutions's picture

It sounds like you've got one aspect down, but keep in mind that your chances of landing something by responding to posted ads is fairly dismal. I'm not sure if the stats are US-specific, but I learned in college that around 5% of people get a job by replying to job ads, 20% by cold-calling (!), and 75% by networking.

Which brings me to my next point. Look into local groups (of any technology), and try to build your network. Assuming you have an existing network, see if they know of anything.

I'm speaking from partial experience here since I've (fairly) recently moved to Norway. I'm still freelancing, but most of the same stuff applies, although the specific resources will be different.

I was spoiled in the US. I'd get inquiries all the time. Not the same here, so I will have to change my approach after a while (I have enough work from the US still for now). I think it has to do with the general popularity of Drupal in a place.

So, the second purpose of networking and tech events is to start talking about Drupal to people. Also, companies will tend to come to these events, so they can be a meeting point.

I probably don't need to elaborate more. Just my general thoughts.

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After reading a few good

Garrett Albright's picture

After reading a few good articles about the value of it recently, I'm right along with you with regards to the value of networking, but I'm afraid there's not a whole lot of ways to do it here. A local Drupal dev shop here was holding meet-ups once every two months, but they suddenly stopped in the fall. (Now that I think of it, I haven't seen hide or hair from anyone from Alethia either online or in meatspace in a few months recently… Are they still up and running? Their site is still up…) I really wish now that I had paid more attention to networking myself at those, because as it is I've already exhausted the tenuous connections I made there, I think. In terms of an English-speaking community, there's also this G.D.o group (which is actually mostly Japanese now), and… that's about it. We also have an IRC channel, but that's pretty much dead.

I guess this post is a form of networking, if slightly desperate. I donno, maybe someone out there knows someone who needs a developer… And as for "cold calling," I've recently been starting to do the equivalent by emailing my résumé unsolicited to dev shops, even if they don't have a job listing or "Careers" page. I don't have a lot of confidence that'll lead to anything, though. But other than that, all I can really do is try my luck with job listings. =[

Yeah, it's always a

wizonesolutions's picture

Yeah, it's always a challenge. You could look into starting a group. Other than that, I'd say just get as creative as you can. Try to put yourself culturally into the heads of the people who would be hiring. Is anyone seeing what you're saying/posting? If so, why might they not respond? How does this whole process work culturally?

Going a bit deeper, how long would it take to develop your "business Japanese?" Maybe you need that. Does the government offer any support for learning/improving Japanese to someone with your current residency status? (Since you mentioned getting a visa...probably not, but just shooting out possible questions to ask yourself.)

I speak fluent Norwegian, so language is one issue I don't run into too much here.

But I'd just sit down, do some planning, dig as deep as you can, and then do whatever comes out of that. And maybe try to track whether what you're doing is working or not. If you get negative responses (or you know someone got your message but didn't reply), try following up politely to see if they will tell you why they didn't say yes. In cultures where nobody wants to say no (it's like that here too), it sometimes still works to ask directly.

Good luck!

WizOne Solutions - http://www.wizonesolutions.com - Drupal module development, theme implementation, and more
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Just going to ping in

Dokuro's picture

Just going to ping in here.

Alethia is still up and running, offices in Akasaka now, we are doing well. We are very active in getting meet ups going. The end of the year is a hard time to get events going, but we had one in November.

Trying to setup another in February or March, I will for sure send you an invite.

Hmm, I didn't recall seeing a

Garrett Albright's picture

Hmm, I didn't recall seeing a note about a meeting in November anywhere; I checked the Facebook group to make sure, and sure enough, there was nothing there. Is there something else I should be following to stay notified of these things? Or maybe they're all invite-only now? :P

At any rate, I look forward to the next one.

Sorry I was wrong, it was in

Dokuro's picture

Sorry I was wrong, it was in September: http://groups.drupal.org/node/253788

It was open to everyone.

There was a meetup in

Dokuro's picture

There was a meetup in November, but that was a small group of developers who signed up to work on helping build Japanese Drupal community site. We are going to plan a sprint soon, it will be announced publicly of course, and you will be more than welcome to come, we try to post to the facebook page and groups.

Look forward to getting this going again!

Drupal in Japan

firecentaur's picture

Hi there,

I am a Druapl programmer living in Tokyo. I work for a Japanese company, which is not hiring from Japan at the moment.

However, I'd be interested in getting together for a meetup if you are interested.
I am working on a Drupal 6.x site currently, developing my own custom video modules for my company.

I am interested in learning more about Panels and views. If you would like to get together in Roppongi sometimes, Roppongi Hillside cafe would be a nice place to meet - they have free wifi, and free coffee refills. I am thinking of a smallish group of around 4-5 people.

Would anyone like to volunteer to talk about Panels and Views? I could certainly share experience in developing custom modules etc.

Let me know


I am the CTO of an E-learning company based out of Tokyo, Japan. I am responsible for creating custom Drupal Modules, and designing our front and backend systems architecture. I also outsource when necessary. We are currently looking to expand our team

I could talk about Views, I

Garrett Albright's picture

I could talk about Views, I suppose, though I consider myself more of a coder myself, not a front-end tweaker, and not sure if I could say anything about it which hasn't been said more interesting ways by more interesting people.

But Panels is a horrible thing which only serves the purpose of adding a big fat layer of unnecessary bloat and complexity to a site, and should never be used.

Still on D6, huh? Ouch.

I see, good to hear your

firecentaur's picture

I see, good to hear your oppinion on panels,

We are on D 6.19,

what do you find better in D7 than 6?

I am the CTO of an E-learning company based out of Tokyo, Japan. I am responsible for creating custom Drupal Modules, and designing our front and backend systems architecture. I also outsource when necessary. We are currently looking to expand our team

It's really been so long

Garrett Albright's picture

It's really been so long since I've used D6 that I can't remember all the differences, but the big day-to-day one is the new database layer which lets you write queries and such without actually touching SQL. At first, that sounds like a strange and terrible thing, but once you get used to it, it's actually very nice to work with.

Really, though, your site is overdue for an upgrade, because D8 is prepping for release later this year, and once that happens, support for D6 is going to be dropped. That means no more security updates - any holes you have in your site are there to stay. Furthermore, with third-party modules, you're going to find the latest and greatest on D7 at this point - Views 3 on D7 is an improvement over Views 2, which is as high as you can go on D6. If I recall correctly, Features is much improved for D7 as well (you are using Features, right?). And as for myself, I haven't made a release of my Pathologic module for D6 in well over a year.

Version migrations in Drupal can often be difficult, but that's why you want to do them sooner rather than later. Successfully pulling off a two-version migration (that is, D6 to D8) of a large or complicated site is a feat which is either Herculean or Sisyphean, depending on who you ask.