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Kanji Cheat Sheets

Kanji Cheat Sheets
Kanji Cheat Sheet: Applying for Part-Time Jobs
By GaijinPot Blog November 3, 2020

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.

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
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OKHei jitsu/ shuumatsu nomi OK
2 to 3 days per week OK週2・3日からOKShuu 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 (歓迎かんげい). These words mean “welcomed” and indicate what types of skills those who apply for the job are expected to have. If だい is added before, 大歓迎だいかんげい, it means “strongly welcomed.”

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
Inexperienced/beginners OK未経験/初心者OKMikeiken / 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 不要ふよう, “unnecessary,” and 不問ふもん, “irrelevant/won’t be questioned.” You’ll often see just “OK,” too, which is pretty much self-explanatory. The opposite word is 必須ひっす, or “required/mandatory.”

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
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OKFukugyou 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! 

EnglishJapaneseRomaji
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OKHige / neiru / pierce OK
Wear anything you want服装自由Fukusou jiyuu
Uniform provided制服ありSeifuku ari

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