Nova Corporation is one of the biggest English teaching school in Japan. It could be the easiest way for you to find a job if you have a BA in any field and you are a native speaker in any of the taught languages. They teach Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

According to wikipedia

The Nova Group is the largest of the Big Four eikaiwa (or private English teaching companies) in Japan, with approximately 50% of total market share. In 2004, Nova totaled about 70.6 billion yen in sales, and as of March, 2004, there were 618 Nova branches and the Multimedia Center located in Osaka, Japan.
This sounds pretty big company and you might expect a good benefit including health insurance. But wikipedia says,
Typical monthly pay for a new instructor ranges from ¥220,000-¥290,000 before taxes, rent and utilities, according to their website. Actual salaries are about ¥180,000 for part time, and ¥220,000 for the most common 34 hour per week shift, and ¥250,000 for those who by virtue of their visa must work 40 hours per week. Nova-provided accommodation is usually about ¥55,000 per month including up to ¥8,000 in utilities.

My husband works at Nova and teaches French. He is inrolled in the employees' health insurance system called "shakaihoken" because I made a phone call and claimed so. Other normal Japanese companies proceed this process without any request from their employee or his or her family. Now Nova corporation does not take anybody who works 40 hours per week, which means they only provide only a private insurance based in New Zealand, the legality of which is not obvious. If you want to be in some health insurance system, you can be involved the National health insurance system.

At first, my husband wass enrolled in the National health insurance system and paid 5,000yen per month or so. It is relatively cheap compared with Employees' Health Insurance System Premiums. BUT next fiscal year, which start in April, the premiums went up to 50,000 yen per month!! I am enrolled in the Enployees' Health Insurance and we didn't have any child. So he needed to pay the maxmum premium in that year. Then I started wondering if this is happening to all foreigners? After I studied a bit about Health Insurance System in Japan, if an employee works more than 40 hours per month, company needs to put their employees into the Employees' Health Insurance system. As you might imagine, I picked up a phone and called Nova and demand on putting him into EHI system immediately. At that time, which is 5 years ago, a lot of English teachin schools in Japan had cases under trials. Now Nova learned things from this experience and they take people only working less than 37 hours per week. There are a lot of people who thinks they are covered by private health insurance. BUT actually when they get injured, most of the cases are not covered including breaking bones and giving birth. Pre-existing desease are also usually dismissed by the private covers.

When you are enrolled in EHI system, you will be enrolled in Employees' Pension Insurance system which company will pay the half of the premium. When you go back to your home country, you will get Lump-sum Withdrawal Payments according to number of month of your coverage under the EPI system.

This is not only the situation for Nova teachers but also other teachers teaching at English teaching schools in Japan.

Teachers take to the road for health & pension rights.

I made a few searchs in YouTube and i found a few interesting things:
Nova 1
Nova 2
Nova 3
Berlitz ?

In Kansai area, the following 4 organizations provide 新婚世帯向け家賃補助制度: A rent assistance system for newly-married households. Application qualifications depend on each organization. Generally

  1. You reported your marriage to your town office(amoung the following 4 cities) or planning to report your mariage within that fiscal year.
  2. Under 40 years old
  3. You have registered as residents(among the following 4 cities).
  4. Income of the households(depends on each organization)

If the rent is over 50,000 yens, the difference between your rent and 50,000 yen will be given, up to 20,000 yens or 15,000 yens. For example, if your rent is 70,000 yen, you will get 15,000 or 20,000 yen. The amount will depend on each organization. They will provide money for 3 to 6 years. Some of them increase the amount after a certain period of time.

Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation asks for documents every 4 months. You need to get your landlord's 印鑑(いんかん), seal or stamp, on your document. And yearly, you need to get "住宅手当支給証明書"A housing allowance provision certificate, 源泉徴収票(certificate of income and withholding tax) and other relevant documents.

Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation provides money for 6 years. So even it is troublesome to prepare all the required documents, it will pay off.

Sorry but all the following organizations DO NOT have any web page written in English. You might need somebody who speaks Japanese to deal with the process.

City Organization TEL
Osaka 大阪市住宅供給公社(Osaka Municipal Housing Corporation) 06-6355-0355
Kyoto 京都市住宅供給公社(Kyoto Municipal Housing Corporation) 075-257-4707
Kobe 神戸市住宅供給公社(Kobe Municipal Housing Corporation) 078-332-1538
Sakai City 堺市住宅供給公社(Sakai Municipal Housing Corporation) 072-226-5661


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Japan Current Event and Free Classifieds, 'WhyNot!? JAPAN' links to various aspects of life such as travel, jobs, accommodation, music, culture, friends, language exchange in Japan. They also have international parties and Open Mic Night every month in Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya. This website provides basically two different threads of information : classified ads and party announcements. Those parties you're sur to find loads of people coming for the reason than you, fun !
Next party : *WHAT'S POPPIN* @PURE on the 24th of november.
But the one to not miss is WhyNot!? Exotic Night in 大阪 on the 25th. All info on Whynot!? Japan.

From Christmas eve the Osaka Subway will open a new line called Imazatosuji. It will integrate the current network as shown on the map of this page.

You can also consult some indicative prices for travels on this line at this page, showing 2 big stations of the network and some stations of the line.

From Dec 2006 to Jan 2007 will be a special reduction period of train fares by using PiTaPa. If you use less than 9,190 yen per month, it is cheaper than using commuting pass.

Reduction fare table

  • PiTaPa valid area
  • PiTaPa looks like this

  • Here is a name table in Kanji, Hiragana and Roman letters.

    I11 井高野 いたかの Itakano
    I12 瑞光四丁目 ずいこうよんちょうめ Zuiko 4−chome
    I13 だいどう豊里 だいどうとよさと Daido−Toyosato
    I14 太子橋今市 たいしばしいまいち Taishibashi−Imaichi
    I15 清水 しみず Shimizu
    I16 新森古市 しんもりふるいち Shimmori−Furuichi
    I17 関目生育 せきめせいいく Sekime−Seiiku
    I18 蒲生四丁目 がもうよんちょうめ Gamo 4−chome
    I19 鴫野 しぎの Shigino
    I20 緑橋 みどりばし Midoribashi
    I21 今里 いまざと Imazato

13th Osaka European Film Festival

~ 3rd to 29th November 2006 ~

~ Premiere Screenings: 23rd to 26th November 2006

  • 1/ Premiere Screening of the latest films from Europe in Japan !
  • - “La Tigre e la Neve”, with Roberto Benigni.
  • - “Grbavica”, and “Dennis van Rita”post-war Bosnian movies.

A very big program, with movies from all over Europe. Not to miss .All details avaible in english and japanese here.

This website allows you to practice kanjis. You will work on recognition and meaning of kanjis as well as pronunciation. The website provides 1680 kanjis at the moment. It can be used by beginners as well as experienced students, but it is not realy a discovery tool. Several options are available such as work offline and a spanish version. You will also have a list of links and infos about the Japanese language proficiency test. Let's study kanjis !

If you are interested in Noh Theatre or Japanese culture, this is a great event for you. You can get an outline of "Dojoji" in English on 9th Dec. at Ohtsuki Noh Theatre.

You can see Noh masks as well as Costumes and Fans. When you click on thumbnails of photos, bigger photos of masks will be displayed.