A giant leap for one man - part 4

So you've made your decision, studied some Japanese and read a few crappy blogs; you're ready to make your move to Japan. But how to go about it? Well, there are four, fairly obvious ways to do this.

1. Play it safe
Stay at home, keep your job and spend your waking hours writing and sending out a billion application letters and emails. You may hit upon the one company who wants to actively invest in a foreign employee and help you make the move to Japan. The upshot of this tactic is that you'll get some help from your employee when it comes to Visas, housing, moving costs, etc. The downside is that these kinds of companies are increasingly rare and you are severely limiting your chances.
This may be a viable option for those that are merely toying with the idea of moving to Japan but aren't entirely sure yet. Your hundreds of rejection letters won't hurt you much and a possible acceptance may help you make that final decision. For those absolutely Hell-bent on making the move this is the slowest and most frustrating choice of action.

2. Move sideways
Find a nice big corporation with offices in Japan. Join locally, in your home country, and try to get transferred to the Japan branch. This will take some time and it won't always be possible. Plus, again, you are limiting your choices.
The plus side is that if you succeed you will be in a very cushy position. Your wages will probably be higher and you'll have more job security.

3. The detour
Come to Japan and do something else first. Maybe become an English teacher or JET, or a model or a leafletter. There are plenty of jobs on the lower end of the market, some, like teaching, even offering pretty good money for very little work. You'll get your Visa this way and you'll be settled in Japan, making applying to development companies a lot more efficient. This is by far the safest route as a job in any other industry is fairly easy to get compared to development work.
The negative side is that, well, you may be stuck teaching English to bored housewives for a while. To be fair I've never taught, but there are plenty of stories going around. Visit any Eikaiwa forum and you'll find vitriol and hate that almost, but not quite, matches that of professional game development communities. But as a means to an end it's an option.

4. The deep end
Just pack your bags and fly over. This is impossible without some savings in your bank and a bit of luck. Companies will still need to sponsor your Visa and to validate it you'll need to leave Japan and re-enter. Being close and available for interviews at any time will count in your favour, as Japanese companies are a lot less profligate than their Western counterparts and will probably not pay for people to be flown over. It is possible to find cheap, and often dirty, digs in Tokyo for shorter periods. Don't expect to be living like a King.
This option only differs from nr. 3 in that you will have a lot of spare time to look around Tokyo, to apply and be ready for interviews. But you won't have a valid working Visa or an income.

I know for a fact all of these options are viable as I've met and worked with foreigners who have come to Japan following any of these ways.

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