How to earn money in Japan as a student in university

Earn money in Japan as a student without losing your mind or failing your classes.

Plan your life here

Japan is expensive. Going to school in Japan without much money or a scholarship is insane.

I do not have stellar grades. I didn’t graduate as a Laude nor topped the Licensure exam. In order to qualify for scholarships here, you have to have that. Trust me, I have been rejected many times, being told to study more. I have also been told that my dreams were not big enough. Yet, I am here with only so little, beating all the odds to just graduate and get a job.

My expenses (and possibly yours, too)

JASSO gave me a 48,000 yen per month scholarship, good for one year. The average required to live in Tokyo is 148,000 yen. If we slash off housing (on average a student pays 50,000 for housing and phone bills), I need to scrape 50,000 yen more from wherever. So how do I do that with negative support from home?

Possible ways to earn money

Teach English

My English is probably above average for a Filipino, given that I started to learn English since I was very young. I got books instead of toys as gifts since I can remember.

The setback of just being a Filipino is that you are not identified as a native speaker when you apply as an English teacher. Honestly, most part-time English teaching jobs require you to be a native speaker. I live in a country whose second language is English but I am not identified as British, American, Canadian, etc. Nor do I look the part. So if you apply for part-time English jobs that require you to submit a resume with photo attached – good luck even getting an interview. White Gaikokujins have better chances of surviving here. If you are pretty, or handsome, your chances go higher too. I’m sorry, it’s the truth and I’d rather not sugarcoat the fact. So how do you get students?

Register at

Make your profile as compelling as possible, saying that your English skills are at par with native speakers. Include whatever test scores you have. I have 115/120 in TOEFL-iBT. Make sure you get something high in your English proficiency exams. We are talking about advantage over native speakers here. Get the cutest picture you have. I don’t care if you don’t comb your hair at home nor take a bath daily but this time – be the best you can be, physically. Choose as many possible venues as you can, near the station but not too far that you spend all your money for the train fare. I got my first student here and nothing more. But the good thing is that I decide how much I charge here and how often I want to teach. For safety purposes, opt to teach in public areas. You don’t wanna be raped or killed somewhere. Charge low for trial classes, appear on time, and put on make-up. Be pretty or handsome to your best limit possible.

Here are other websites to check:


Drop off calling-cards in apartment complexes

I had calling cards made from home sent here. Drop off as many as you can. Honestly, though, most apartment dwellers will just trash those. I know because someone I know does so, without even a single glimpse.

Network with colleagues at school

This is how I got my second English teaching job. Some of the Filipinos I know teach English in a cram school. If you know someone doing a part-time job, ask them to help you out. The cram school’s pay is lower that when I had my own student but this one allows you to work longer within your visa limitations (i.e. 28 hours per week). Trust me, it is so hard to max out the 28 hours per week limit if you are studying your master’s degree. You will beat yourself up with exhaustion, and sacrifice school and household responsibilities which SHOULD NOT happen. Earning Master’s degree and learning Japanese is not easy. Try not to beat yourself up earning money.

Look for jobs in craigslist

Warning: jobs in craiglist can be dubious and dangerous. Some will say they will pay you the minimum wage but put you in a training position so they can pay you less than a minimum for backbreaking jobs. Training periods that lasts more than a week for menial jobs are unbelievable. Do you actually need a week to learn how to properly wash dishes or clean a hotel apartment? I do not think so. Craigslist Japan is also full of jobs that ask for ‘sophisticated ladies looking for sugar daddies’, ‘massage in a love hotel’. Sometimes I entertain myself reading these job posts. I hope to God I do not reach the point that these job posts are no longer entertaining.

Do odd jobs

I hope I am like most Filipinos who would take on any jobs just to survive but I am so picky. I never wiped somebody’s ass before so I cannot be a caregiver. If you do this, I salute you for your braveness but please do not hate on me. We all have our own level of tolerance. I do not like to wash dishes, either. I love my hand because it’s the only part of me that doesn’t look so ugly. Seriously.

A word of caution, if you do not speak conversational level of Japanese, this is not gonna be an option for you. I don’t. So I can’t take jobs such as convenience store staff, laundry store staff, restaurant staff, etc. If you do speak a tad but of Japanese, visit these websites:


There are also jobs to teach culture but you should remember that almost nobody wants to learn about the Filipino culture. We are not white, we are the lower, uncool class of gaikakujins here. I’m not bitter, it’s the truth.

If your beauty and height is above-average, you can apply in modelling agencies. That might actually land you a career here. I don’t have such an advantage and I admit I fervently wished I had. Life would have been better, creating YouTube videos with my pretty face on it talking about life in Japan and why Japan is cool. LOL.

Remember, whatever you do, make sure to get the proper part-time work permit and pay your taxes properly (if you exceed 1 million yen, I think). Good luck surviving in Japan. We need a lot of that.


To anyone reading this, I’d also like to offer my services to develop websites using wordpress, set-up your online payment system, and more. If you prefer to give donations, I’d gladly receive them too! Thanks in advance! <3

Please like us on Facebook, and react in this website by clicking on the emoticon below or commenting. It will help me earn money later when I can finally apply for ads. But that will not happen until I have 250 visitors per day. I’m too far off from that. Love lots.

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Paula Lapizar

Chemical Engineer. Daughter. Sister. Lover. Tree-Hugger. Bargain Hunter
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Paula Lapizar

Chemical Engineer. Daughter. Sister. Lover. Tree-Hugger. Bargain Hunter

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