Japan needs nurses, STAT

World General World


It's the Chinese characters. If you try to learn 5000 Chinese characters the hiragana and katakana alphabets, and the various levels of grammar that depend on who you are speaking to, you'll soon understand that it is nearly impossible for a busy adult to master Japanese to the point where they are able to perform a job such as RN. Most people hit a wall around 1500 kanji where they all start looking the same and no matter how many new ones you learn, you seem to forget the old ones.

Most people who get past this wall do it by living in Japan for years AND studying very hard, reading newspapers, watching TV, and engaging in conversations there. A Bachelors just brings you to the intermediate conversational level, whereas with Spanish you are already reading literature and writing complex essays, something that takes a while longer when every sentence has you digging through kanji dictionaries trying to crack a word. If a nurse has been at it for years already and spent significant time immersed, it is possible. However it's not likely that enough nurses could be provided from the US to fill the gap. And the cultural issues remain regardless of language- many Americans after getting to that point would fail to adjust to the cultural demands, leaving such a tiny residual that any program wouldn't be worth it to anyone funding it. As much as I would love to take my show to Japan, I can't imagine it happening. Japan has a long history of economic protectionism anyway. There are already many Japanese-Americans eligible for citizenship in Japan who go over that way. Without a passport, any employment there would be a temporary situation anyway.

Honestly I think the best thing to do is go ahead and study Japanese or Chinese and then work in Hawaii, LA, San Diego, or the Bay Area. You will definitely have plenty of opportunities to use it both with elderly J-Americans and also transient Japanese nationals. In this context even an intermediate grasp of Japanese could be employed usefully. Once you are pretty proficient you may find yourself getting assigned many of these patients so that you can offer this communication. The compensation is nothing in light of the effort- so it's a labor of love for the most part. The same amount of time, dedicated to becoming an Advanced Practice RN or getting one's JD or MBA, might seem like a better use of time to some people.

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