Living and Training in Japan
Japanese resorts are growing fast, thanks to English speaking Australians and New Zealanders making Japan their northern hemisphere destination of choice. With courses lasting anywhere from a few weeks to several months, there are plenty of great opportunities to spend a good chunk of a season in Japan, learning how to coach skiing and snowboarding, while soaking up plenty of the incredible local culture. Obviously there is less space than the European Alps, but the resorts are great quality and Japan is a unique and exciting place to learn the teaching ropes. You are likely to be taking the NZSIA qualification, or SBINZ if you are a snowboarder, though you may need to take the SAJ Japanese qualification if you want to stay over there and teach for a local ski school – have a chat with your chosen course provider for the best advice.
Do you need a visa: Assuming you are British, to work in Japan you will need to apply for a Japanese Working Holiday Visa. Other countries also require this visa, so for full details and eligibility, please speak to your course provider.
Do you have to learn another language: If you have the time and commitment, picking up a smattering of Japanese will be appreciated, and as with visiting any country, you will certainly get more from your experience. However, English is widely spoken in ski resorts as English speaking tourists from NZ and Aus visit in big numbers. Don't worry; your course will be taught in English!
So what are Japanese ski resorts like to live in? Expensive! Well, it can be. You'll soon get the hang of where to go to get the best deals on everything from equipment to food. At most resorts there is some separation between the town or village and the ski runs but the atmosphere is still very good, with busy nightlife and good transport links. Language will not be a problem as the main resorts are quite Westernised, as already mentioned. Be prepared for extreme weather and a tonne of powder and you'll enjoy the experience immensely!