If All Else Fails. . . How to Bail
1. If you need to leave your homestay
2. Bail-out tips for other newcomers
The warning signs for a homestay can be extrapolated to other situations as well. If you’re being seriously ignored, bullied, or if people around you are doing things to make your life miserable, you should leave. If your work or other environment has serious problems that are manifested in violence or other serious dysfunctions; or if sexual advances are being made toward you and you can’t get anyone to help you stop them, you should leave.
Here are the steps to take if your situation has serious warning signs and you can’t get assistance (such as a program office) to help you leave.
1. For a newcomer student member of a dorm: Your situation is relatively easy to get out of. Find an excuse that saves face all around and make arrangements for where you are going to live. Then follow all five tips for homestay guests and leave fast.
2. For a newcomer ALT, or company employee on contract. If you have to leave before the end of your contract you need a serious excuse that saves face all around: for example, that an emergency has happened at home, so you must return right away. Keep in mind that:
- If you break your contract with the organization that is your visa sponsor, you won’t lose your visa—even if you’re fired.
- You will lose your return ticket, if this was part of your contract. But you can get another job since you still have a visa, and you can try to get a job that includes a return ticket.
- **Foreign wives who leave their marriage will not be able to keep their visas (More on this below)
3. For foreign spouses of a Japanese. A foreign spouse (wife) in Devita’s situation who wants to leave must decide whether:
- She and her spouse will leave the two-generation household and set up their own household together, or whether
- She will leave the marriage altogether. If this is the case, then she will lose her visa, along with the right to be in Japan.
- Family counselors are available (free) on the Tokyo English Lifeline (TELL) for issues like this. TELL also provides professional face-to-face counseling on a flexible-fee basis. (Info available on TELL website)
- “Sources of help – eastern Japan” (google this title) gives a number of associations providing various assistance to foreign spouses in Japan.
4. A branch manager like Ms. Elainius: needs to negotiate her return with her home office.
5. A visiting faculty member like Prof. Witherspoon should try and stay to the end of his visiting term. If this is impossible, a face-saving excuse will work here too.
How to leave your situation:
- The six steps given above for leaving a homestay are useful for anyone needing to leave a situation which has serious warning signs—whether they were studying, residing, working, apprenticed, married etc. in Japan.
- You should convert these rules to your own situation and follow all of them. We have had feedback (and thank yous) from people who followed this advice and did manage to get out of bad situations. You can too!