Kanji Cheat Sheets
In 2019, of the 56.6 million active workers in Japan, 38% were categorized as part-time, self-employed or freelance irregular employees. When I first came to Japan and looked for part-time jobs, I was amazed at the offers I found. It seemed like I could get a job doing anything I wanted: from a fashion store or hair salon staff to a fitness instructor assistant or even an animal caregiver at the zoo.
However, just like an English newspaper’s “Help Wanted” section, I’ve encountered several keywords made of only two or three kanji that hardly translate well using Google.
If you’re struggling to read a part-time job offer in Japan, our new kanji cheat sheet can be your Rosetta Stone to deciphering the lingo.
What is an arubaito?
The Japanese word アルバイト (arbaito), for a part-time job, comes from the German word “arbeit” and simply means “job” or “work.” The shortened version, バイト (baito), is more commonly used nowadays.
On average, 65% of Japanese teenagers work part-time jobs, whether for the experience or to earn money for university. They have to be careful, though: those under the age of 18 are not allowed to work between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Another term, パート (paato), also means “part-time job.” However, it usually refers to jobs targeted at homemakers as they typically start mid-morning and end around noon or early afternoon so workers can take care of their kids after school.
Not sure what to do about the taxes with your new part-time job? Check our full guide on filing taxes in Japan.
|Part-time job||アルバイト／バイト／パート||Arubaito / baito|
|Short term contract||短期||tanki|
|Flexible shift||シフト自由||Shifuto jiyuu|
|Weekdays/weekends only OK||平日／週末のみOK||Hei jitsu/ shuumatsu nomi OK|
|2 to 3 days per week OK||週2・3日からOK||Shuu ni / san nichi kara OK|
|Short working hours (up to 4h/day)||短時間勤務(1日4h以内)||Tan jikan kinmu|
|Daily pay||日払い||Hi barai|
|Weekly pay||週払い||Shuu barai|
What if I’m inexperienced?
Something I have to concede to Japan inc. is that no matter how unflexible or impractical things can seem, the work process is ready for you to start from day one. As long as you read and memorize the manual, no tasks will stray from it.
In the job description, pay attention to the kanji (歓迎). These words mean “welcomed” and indicate what types of skills those who apply for the job are expected to have. If 大 is added before, 大歓迎, it means “strongly welcomed.”
|Inexperienced/beginners OK||未経験／初心者OK||Mikeiken / shoshinsha OK|
|High-school student welcomed||高校生歓迎||Koukousei kangei|
|Exchange student welcomed||留学生歓迎||Ryuugakusei kangei|
|Housewife(husband) welcomed||主婦／主夫歓迎||Shufu / shufu kangei|
|Foreigners strongly welcomed||外国人大歓迎||Gaikokujin dai kangei|
|Senior (above 60) welcomed||シニア(60代～)歓迎||Shinia (60 dai) kangei|
|Experienced people strongly welcomed||経験者優遇||Keikensha yuuguu|
Benefits and dress code
As a part-timer in Japan, you can also benefit from social insurance and a transportation allowance to cover the cost of commuting to work. Be sure to add those features in your search too!
Two super useful keywords to know what skills are not required when applying to certain jobs are 不要, “unnecessary,” and 不問, “irrelevant/won’t be questioned.” You’ll often see just “OK,” too, which is pretty much self-explanatory. The opposite word is 必須, or “required/mandatory.”
|Transportation allowance covered||交通費支給||Koutsuuhi shikyuu|
|Social insurance provided||社会保険制度あり||Shakai hoken seido ari|
|Education irrelevant||学歴不問||Gakureki fumon|
|Resume necessary||履歴書不要||Rireikisho fuyou|
|Side jobs allowed||副業・WワークOK||Fukugyou W-waku OK|
Lastly, some places are really strict about personal appearances. Because we are foreigners, blond or red hair is totally fine even if the ad says “dyed hair not allowed.”
On the other hand, food-and-beverage related part-time jobs, for example, might require you to cut your nails, shave your beard, remove any visible piercings, not wear makeup and wear a uniform—one that you’ll have to take care of yourself!
If you’re OK with that, go ahead. If not, you can check the below keywords!
|Hairstyle and hair color non-compulsory||髪型・髪色自由||Kamigata / kamiiro jiyuu|
|Beard, nails and piercing OK||髭・ネイル・ピアスOK||Hige / neiru / pierce OK|
|Wear anything you want||服装自由||Fukusou jiyuu|
|Uniform provided||制服あり||Seifuku ari|