The decision to move abroad isn’t an easy one! There are a lot of unknowns, and a lot of questions. The good news is that unlike other English teaching programs where you’re often the only Westerner in an otherwise Japanese school and left to fend for yourself, MeySen Academy fosters a dynamic community of over 60 American-English teachers. We also have an experienced Foreign Staff Support Team to help you with everyday issues. We’ve got you covered when it comes to making an appointment with the dentist, to deciphering the electricity bill left in your mailbox.

The following information is to help applicants get a better idea of what to expect in terms of monthly expenses here in Japan. Working with Japanese yen (¥) will be a new concept for you, and we are here to walk you through it! Also, remember that the conversion rates between Japanese yen and American dollars is constantly in flux.

When the dollar and yen are equally as strong, the conversion would look like this:

¥100 = $1.00
¥500 = $5.00
¥5,000 = $50.00
¥50,000 = $500.00
¥500,000 = $5,000.00
¥5,000,000 = $50,000.00 etc.

Of course, this is just a general rule of thumb; generally, the US dollar is much stronger than the yen.

Average Monthly Expenditures
¥250,000 – ¥290,000 Salary Range: First Year
¥50,000 Rent Subsidy
¥8,000 - ¥12,000 Utilities (Gas, Water, Electricity)
¥5,000 - ¥6,000 Internet and Land-line Phone
¥8,000 - ¥10,000 Japanese Cell Phone (Optional Expense)
Medical / ¥11,500 – ¥12,500
Pension / ¥20,500 – ¥22,000
Medical & Pension Premiums – Employee Contributions (1st year)
Varies Japanese Income and City Taxes
¥140,000 – ¥180,000 Take-Home Pay Range

250,000 – 290,000 / month or 3,000,000 - 3,480,000 per year.

One of the most important elements in moving abroad is budgeting appropriately. Salaries for teachers vary quite a bit between the United States and Japan; the starting salary for teachers in all MeySen programs is competitive within the Japanese educational system. In addition to the base salary, MeySen Academy offers furnished housing, paid training, annual completion and resigning bonuses, annual raises in salary, and a complimentary round-trip ticket with each contract year.

Sendai is the Japanese equivalent of a medium-sized city from the American mid-West – not too big, not too small; a charming blend of vibrant city life, culture, suburbs, history and nature. We’re big enough to have all the amenities of a big city, and small enough that Sendai retains a “small town” appeal, both in terms of the people here, and the low cost of living! Your money in Sendai goes much further than it would in a bigger, more expensive city like Tokyo.

MeySen Academy is also happy to wire a percentage of your monthly payroll home to your US bank account; however, we ask that you leave 100,000 yen in your Japanese bank account each month to cover your utilities, any medical needs and other costs related to living in Japan.

¥50,000 / mo.

MeySen Academy provides a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment that is move-in ready. From pots and pans, bedding and towels to milk and eggs in the fridge, we work hard to make your first few days in Japan as easy and comfortable as possible. We are excited for you to make your home with us in Japan, and knowing you are able to live in a cozy apartment you can call home, is important to us. Your rent comes straight out of your paycheck, so you won’t have to worry about paying the landlord, or dealing with the apartment companies.

It’s up to the teacher to determine how much they want to add to their living space. The apartments are set up from the beginning for the teacher to live comfortably with little personal or financial investment. Some keep it basic and invest little, while others spend more time and money to make their apartment home.

¥8,000 - ¥12,000 / mo. (Average for a single person in a one-bedroom apartment)

Electricity: ¥3,000 - ¥4,000 (estimated), but could double in the winter while using heaters.
Water: ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 (estimated)
Gas: ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 (estimated)

¥5,000 - ¥6,000 / mo.

Your MeySen apartment is already equipped with high-speed internet (both LAN and WAN), as well as a land-line phone capable of making international calls.

¥8,000 - ¥10,000 / mo.

Most teachers opt to sign-up for a Japanese cell phone. It’s cheaper than operating your US cell phone internationally. On average, an iPhone6 with a national (Japanese) calling and texting plan with a 2GB data plan will cost around ¥7,500 a month.

MeySen Academy employees are enrolled in Japan’s Private School Mutual Aid (Shigaku Kyosai) system. This package provides health insurance and pension contributions with monthly premiums that are predetermined based on your annual salary. For any covered medical care, the individual pays 30% of any medical care received, and the remaining 70% is covered by insurance. Your monthly Shigaku Kyosai payments are taken directly from your paycheck every month.

Japan has two different types of tax that all employees pay – Japanese Income tax and City Tax. The Japanese Income Tax will be deducted starting in your first paycheck. City Tax will be deducted starting in June of your first full calendar year in Japan, and it will continue through the entire calendar year in which you leave Japan. If you are leaving in the middle of the year, MeySen Academy will help you make sure your taxes are covered before leaving.

Like in the United States, the price of your groceries and household purchases varies widely on where you are shopping. There are budget-friendly grocery and home stores near both MeySen campuses! Generally, many find food prices cheaper than in the US; however, portions and packages are smaller. In addition, Japan as a country is very much into the seasonal aspect of available foods. This means that the fruits you find in the grocery store in December will be different from fruits you’ll find in the same store in April, or July.

There are several international import stores in Sendai which stock some classic American snacks, sodas and other food items that are unavailable in regular stores. They are a little taste of home, but be prepared for an expensive price tag!

Please contact any MeySen recruiter if you have any questions not covered in this website page; we are happy to share our life-tips and experiences in Japan!

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