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Thread: How to train in Japan?

  1. #1
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    Default How to train in Japan?

    I'm sorry if this is the wrong part of the forums for this. But I have always had this question about people training in Japan. How do you guys/gals get to stay for so long? I was figuring I could study abroad there for atleast 6 months and a Visa only lasts for 3 years from what I could collect. I'm just curious as to how you people who have done it or know any insight on it could let me know. Alright, well thanks in advance for anything helpful!!!
    -Nick Wimberly.

  2. #2
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    Hi Nick,

    I don't know the regulations now, since I staid in Japan some 20 years ago and things might have changed significantly (I still go back every year but with a tourist visa).

    I went to Japan with a cultural visa. I had some help from the Karate association in Belgium (I used to be in the national team so that helped) but I had a good sponsor, the direct teacher of my sensei in Europe who was willing to act as a sponsor.

    I wanted to study koryu and especially Hontai Yoshin Ryu because I was part of a demonstration team in Milan and Palermo (I was in the karate section) and got impressed by how they perceived budo (at that time "koryu" was a definition I didn't know).

    I went to Mabuni sensei's dojo (the founder of Shito Ryu) in Osaka with that visa but got re-introduced in the HYR dojo by my sponsor. The year I staid in Japan, I lived in a home stay environment, which was helpful to learn the language (I simply had no choice).

    In Japan I was teaching some French (this was possible with the cultural visa) but mainly I trained in the 2 dojo, so I was at least 4-5 hours/day involved in training.

    I hear many people who went to Japan but they trained 3 times/week. Not bad but nothing compared to devote 4 h/ day to training.

    In summary, Japan is a country of introductions (if you have the right sponsor and are directly accepted in the system, you win time) and if you go there be sure to devote enough amounts of time in high quality training (1 year of 4 hours a day is worth 5 years of 2 trainings/week).

    I do believe things were much easier 20 years ago but make sure you get the focus right. If not, may-be invest in some years in your home town to obtain the right level to be accepted in their system. If you didn’t suffer in your home town, why the hell make your life difficult in Japan.

    I was 186 cm tall and a former member of a national karate team in Belgium and still I had some real though time at some Karate training sessions, especially when I wanted to get accepted by some kumite dojo (I was too curious, so I wanted to try some other stuff besides the traditional trainings in Mabuni’s dojo).

    Now I start to idealize the time I spend in Japan, and I must say with Hontai Yoshin Ryu, I found a family. The koryu world was also very demanding (learn the traditions, high investments) but the gendai world was even more tough for the gaijin who invaded the comfort zone of Japanese system.

    Of course you can avoid all of the suffering but will it be worth the effort? When you go to Japan, go in the best dojo. Don’t avoid the hard acceptance curve. At least you will have some great stories to tell your grandchildren when you are back.

    Good luck

    Guy
    Guy Buyens
    Hontai Yoshin Ryu (本體楊心流)
    BELGIAN BRANCH http://www.hontaiyoshinryu.be/

  3. #3
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    Essentially there are various ways to do this. It will vary country by country in what you are able to do and for how long. Some countries can get a working visa (ie Australia .... etc) This allows people to do a working holiday. Others go for a short time on exchange summer/ university exchange, others have a college degree and make the life choice to come over and work in Japan. Once your over here and are set up w/ proper visa, accomdations, job etc. Then its much easier to train and practice. Although that will depend on what is by you, if you have letters of introduction, or know someone that can introduce you etc etc. Bear in mind that going through this route, may not let you train in X ryu that you want. But it does get you over for a more solid length of time and then you can plan things from there. Hope this helps.
    If your truly interested, take a look at the local Japanese embassy/ consulate webpage for your area and see what options are avaible.
    Jeff Collier

  4. #4
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    Visa's can be extended indefinitely...There are three year and one year working visas available..Both with unlimited extension periods as long as you have work in place that will support your claim when you go to get your visa renewed..
    Ben Sharples.
    智は知恵、仁は思いやり、勇は勇気と説いています。

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by fifthchamber View Post
    Visa's can be extended indefinitely...There are three year and one year working visas available..Both with unlimited extension periods as long as you have work in place that will support your claim when you go to get your visa renewed..
    Just to clarify what Ben wrote, working visas can be extended indefinitely as the person is actively contributing to Japan Inc.

    I do know of a few people who tried the cultural visa route and those most definitely will not be granted indefinitely.

    I even knew one woman who had a visa to study karate through the Japan Karate Association, but after earning her 2-dan, Immigration told her that they would not issue her another visa. Immigration's reasoning was that because it would take several more years of training for her to get her 3-dan, they would not allow her to stay that long by extending her cultural visa, so it was now time for her to go back home. Ouch!

    Regards,

    Ron Beaubien

  6. #6
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    Like most long-term budo expats I expect, I have a job, and so I have a work visa.

    If you are looking for something in the six month range, check into some of the Japanese language schools, like Yamasa. You'll probably be able to get a student visa.
    Josh Reyer

    Swa sceal man don, žonne he ęt guše gengan ženceš longsumne lof, na ymb his lif cearaš. - The Beowulf Poet

  7. #7
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    as the others mentioned there are different ways.

    i'll list the easiest to hardest common visas:

    easiest: tourist permit. just about every western nation / 1st world country citizen is eligible for a 90day/3month tourist permit upon landing in japan. if you're british you may be able to renew the permit at the end of 90 days by taking it to the immigration office nearest to you. if you're from another country, you'll be able to renew it by leaving the country for a few days then coming back in (korea is a popular choice). you can only do that 1 time. they crack down on people doing visa runs now, 180days in japan per 365 days is the max they will allow on this permit now. anything more and you risk being deported / turned away at the airport. working on this visa is absolutely prohibited. don't even try. you'll be deported and banned for years if caught.

    next: working holiday. available to citizens of most of the commonwealth countries plus a few others. basically allows any kind of work for 1 year. only issuable 1 time. i have heard of people getting new ones by changing their passports but with fingerprinting being done at entry points now, i doubt it can still be done.

    next: working visa. only available to you if you have a university degree. you'll have to find a company in japan that will sponsor your visa, then get started with the visa process. if you do not have a university degree, you'll need 3 years of provable english teaching experience, or 10 years of experience in any other field (again, must be provable).

    next: student visa. very easy to get however it costs a fortune. expect classes to run you about 150,000yen to 300,000yen for 3 months. your visa will be issued in 12 or 15 month terms. you are only allowed to work for 4hours per day if you have a pre-college student visa which is what is issued by language schools. if you go to a university your working hours will be limited by week, not day. either way, it's tough to sustain yourself on so little work.

    next up: cultural visa. the best visa in my opinion if you're studying budo. you can work on this visa up to around 28hours a week i believe. this is not an easy visa to get but if you have provable MA experience, and someone in japan will go to bat for you - they'll need to be your sponsor which is a serious undertaking requiring a strong relationship with them - it's the best way.

    lastly, the actual best of the best, but generally not an option for most people: spousal visa. marry a japanese citizen and get your spousal visa. then you're free to do just about anything you want in japan. definitely the best visa but don't go marrying japanese girls for a visa!

    hope this helps.
    Cory Burke
    ゴゴゴ!

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