What to do as a Creative

What to do as a Creative

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This is a discussion on What to do as a Creative within the Education & Career Talk forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; So I've been living in Japan for a year and a half as an English teacher and doing alot of ...

  1. #1

    What to do as a Creative

    So I've been living in Japan for a year and a half as an English teacher and doing alot of things on the side selling and making art/t-shirts, writing raps and poems, and the usual expat stuff. I enjoy Japan alot, but don't really have any interest in teaching (especially english). I do it because I can and I learn alot from the people I interact with in Japan (about the people, lifestyle, language, culture etc.)

    I'm hoping to stay in Japan long term, I could actually see myself just living out here. But I dont want to be the English teacher. I'm going to a art and music conference/showcase in Osaka to network, build my skills, and if I get lucky find a different field of work (probably wont happen, but a boy can dream haha).

    I've also been think about going back to university but in Japan for a masters. I'm stuck between indulging in my creative avenues like art,writing, Japanese culture/language, and something along the lines of business management (there are many master programs in English in Japan, not so much for the arts program understandably). I'm also studying the language on the side (I studied for 5 years in America and have been studying by myself as well as practicing with Japanese natives from time to time).

    I'm planning to move to Osaka (cheaper and less over saturated with foreigners like myself who want to do creative stuff) to pursue more creative stuff like making music, modeling, and art. But in the mean time will probably just teach. I don't have a job lined up, but I'm not worried really. Teaching jobs are an abundance here, and I have a hefty savings atm.

    So any advice lol? I know I'm not very direct on here about what i want to do. Maybe I just needed a channel to drop my thoughts, but any advice is welcomed!

  2. #2

    I can't speak for Japan (obviously), but there are animation jobs available for those who are good at visual arts. Classic stuff like cartoons and anime, but also projects for museums or educational institutions. Or even studios like Pixar. One thing that I chose to do was branch off in directions that I never thought of, meaning I went to school for one thing, but branched into as many related areas as I could. Many will actually lead back to teaching, but teaching itself requires being heavily engaged in work outside of teaching during the "off-season". Any institutional connections should also help land gigs over part-timers and newcomers. There's also always the chance to teach music or art if your skills allow you to.

    You mention making music. That could easily branch out into sound since the skillset is sorta similar (speaking from experience here). That could easily turn into a side gig that produces a nice second income to your teaching.

    The teaching thing actually isn't bad at all, it's nice to have a job you can come back to during slow times. I got to speak with several lighting technicians that had a gig at a rental shop where the owner preserved their jobs for when they weren't on set. The way I see it, the teaching aspect is like going back into an atmosphere where you can experiment, learn from others, and just bounce ideas off your colleagues.

    Sorry if this sounds a bit disorganized, I wear several hats voluntarily on a regular basis. The one thing that stuck with me was just how many people were involved in getting an animated show ready for an audience. 20 or so on animation, and another 20, split into four person teams, for sound alone - for a short 10 minute show.

  3. #3

    Hi! I’m also in Japan 👋 I do have a couple friends here who do work in creative fields / are studying to pursue a career doing something art-animation related. A lot of them started of doing teaching as well, then moved on to part time teaching (enough to cover bills) while they started increasing their creative freelancing on the side (mainly modelling or music), which as you know can be quite bumpy at times, but can be pretty nice once you start getting a lot of good deals.

    If you are thinking of moving completely out of the teaching field and hoping to go in to a creative career, rather than just upping the level of side work, I think definitely going to as many creative related conferences and meets will be a good way for you to network.

    Going back into education is good if you decide you want to go for a more business-y type job, but it’s not necessary. You can probably pick up a lot of information in these fields by self-reading or learning online. Plus a lot of companies will offer pretty good training programs when you enter. The main thing for those kind of jobs would be your Japanese.

    Good luck 🤞I’m also trying to change jobs (but from office-work, to hopefully better office-work) so I know how you feel 😂

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  5. #4

    I have friends who either work in Japan or are going back to Japan in non-teaching related positions. Based on their experiences, the number one thing you should focus on is learning Japanese on a professional level. Pass the highest level JLPT and put it on your resume. Learn keigo. Make sure your writing is up to snuff.

    I'm sure you've got the cultural awareness down, but the language barrier can make or break a lot of job possibilities long before the skills (as a foreigner).

  6. #5

    I'm not sure this would be helpful, but as a guy who always wanted to be an artist--I've delved into various artistic pursuits, but, I've always felt stressed when doing most of them, these days as time's gone by. My favourite artist of all time's work still to this day fills me with wonder, and the lesson I've learnt from him is that you gotta do something meaningful to you. Working as a creative, express your heart.


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