Journals from Rikkyo University, Japan
I never put up a group picture from the Bus Hike, so here it is! At Nihonji in Chiba
For those coming to Japan for a year, it seems almost necessary to have a part-time job, otherwise known as arubaito, or more commonly baito. That is, unless the interest rates at the Bank of Mom and Dad are really low. According to an article I read a while ago, Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Food at restaurants gets pretty bucksy if you go often, and even living in the dorms is really expensive. I believe that RUID is around 600 USD per month plus 230 USD for utilities. That equals one very poor Tiffany.
But never fear! There are ways to eat at a reasonable price even for those with no money. Usually, I go to the 105 yen stores and buy food since it is a little more than 1 USD. Also, if you plan it out accordingly, you can make enough to have leftovers for a couple days, all for roughly 2 dollars. Of course, if you are planning on cooking every day for all of your meals, it is time-consuming, so it is easier to just go to restaurants.
However, if you are in desperate need of money, the best way is to get a baito. For many students, the best kind of baito would be one where we can improve our Japanese, and if your Japanese is very good, then I would suggest applying to McDonald's. For many places in Japan, they do not look highly on foreigners working for their businesses unless they are fluent and use keigo (super-ber-polite Japanese). One of my friends is working at McDonald's, though, and even though it is great for her Japanese, she really hates her job because the manager hates foreigners, and since she is from Poland, she really stands out.
The easiest way to make money, though, is to teach English. Many of my friends work at English cafes, where people pay lots of money to talk in English with people who are fluent speakers. There are also people who actually teach English (like grammar, etc.), but I think that the easiest thing to do is teach English conversation. I am teaching a girl English conversation right now, and I receive about 20 USD an hour to speak in English. I have heard of people who charge 30-40 USD an hour for English conversation, but I think that 1,500 yen to 2,000 yen is a fair price range.
Also, the best thing to do is get a baito as soon as you arrive in Japan. If you want to work at an actual business like McDonalds, the International Center makes you fill out certain paperwork, but if you would rather just teach English you do not need to fill out any paperwork. Just ask some friends if you want them to teach them English, or if they have friends that want to practice English.