I applied/began the process of applying to 3 ESL schools this morning. Sheesh. There's so much out there, but I'm trying to stay away from Tokyo. All 3 were central Honshu, W/SW of Tokyo, in the Aichi (sp?) prefecture: Nagoya, Mito and Nakakoma-gun. The one in Nakakoma-gun looks fantastic, though I'm trying to be more cautious. The reason? The school I was looking at in Takamatsu, Shikoku, has had a few nasty things said about it. Summary of nastiness: the director is extremely racist, the teachers instill a strong bias against gaijin (foreigners) especially those who are Christian or Jewish, they refuse to pay the end-of-term bonus and try to force a continued contractual obligation by threatening to have false criminal charges laid against teachers. Etc etc.
Sounds like a charming place. That said, it could be highly exaggerated, but the fact that anyone would want to exaggerate a teaching experience is indicative of a poor environment. I'm progressing with the application process, and will be very very adamant re: having numerous references from current and former teachers. If they don't like it, I say "Thanks, but no thanks".
I've abandoned the silly, whimsical hope of being in Kansai region. I just want to be over there, and I care more about the school environment than I do about the regional environment. That said, I do not want to be in a large city, but from everything I've seen, that will not be too big an issue.
The one issue that seems to arise every now and again is the need for a driver's license, as a number of schools are based in X area, but teach in R, S, Y, Z locations. So those are out for me. It's unfortunate, because of some those pay more.
So that's my update... I'm just truckin' along, watching the ESL boards carefully and applying to just about everything I see that seems hopeful in terms of job responsibilities, benefits, location and school. What I really need is a recent picture of myself. I might just go and get something done today at Black's Photography or something.