After a little bit more than 3 years at Samurai Factory, I am now working as a freelancer (the ultimate goal is to be able to work from anywhere but that's an other story). I first thought it would be difficult for a gaijin (foreigner) but as long as you have a proper visa it is really easy. It might have been more difficult in my own country ! Even if I am a married guy with a Japanese national I am still holding my engineer visa which is valid until the end of this year. Surely I will switch to a "spouse visa" soon as it opens more business opportunities. Anyway, I am ok for the visa.
Actually all I had to do was to go to the tax office and fill a one cheat document stating that I am now working as a freelancer : Kojin Jigyou 個人事業 (self-employment).

Then you want to have an insurance, you can go for the national one or a private one. I chose to keep the same that I had with Samurai Factory. It costs me 18000 yens /month to cover myself and my wife. Plus you "must"  pay for a retirement plan. In fact, from what I've understood it is up to you to pay or not (?) but I prefer to pay for it anyway. It costs about 30000 yens for both of us.
Now I have to keep all my receipts for the tax accounting... It is going to be fun... but I should be able that way to save some money on the tax.

That's it for the paper work.

Then you need some jobs to make money! After 3 years here and a regular use of the social networks like twitter or linkedIn I managed to meet (for real) the good people it seems :-)

For my first job I worked with the extremely busy and popular Storm-trooper, Danny Choo, who gave me also some good advices concerning freelancing.  Along with his CTO Chris Gaunt I worked on their CGM platform Mirai Gaia and surely I will do some more jobs with them. One of their latest project with Mirai Gaia is the photo website community for the Japan Times :

Tokyo Japan Times

Now, I am at the moment working with UltraSuperNew, for the next three months. UltraSuperNew (USN) is a creative agency based in the heart of the fashionable Tokyo in Harajuku. They work for big names like Audi, Reebok or Red Bull, to quote a few. They also support Pecha Kucha. It is a very multicultural company directed by Marc Wesseling, Michael Sheetal and Tomo Murakami.

UltraSuperNew Name Cards

Some name card I received from the USN members.

I got myself a pack of "temporary staff" name cards. Nice touch :)


I am working with their CTO, Alban on a project for Red Bull. It is kind of funny that I shot the following video few months ago (it is almost a mini Red Bull CM...) and now I am working for them.

BMX at Tokyo Cycle Mode 2009 from Jerome Sadou on Vimeo.

That said my job won't be as crazy as this guy :

... but as a web developer the task I've been asked is challenging and plus it is much safer :-) [If my Mac does not explode I should be ok!].

Finally, I have also some side projects to come, so I am pretty busy right now... which is good! 

New Mac Book Pro

Talking about Mac, being now a freelancer I was in a terrible need for a new machine. As in my previous jobs I was working on the company's computers my set at home did not evolved that much. My latest machine was a 15" powerbook G4 (last generation) that my brother gave me!(In exchange I gave him my triathlon bike that stayed in France...). So I patiently waited about two months for the new line of MacBook Pro to be released and I am now the happy owner of a 15", i5, Hi Res anti-glare Mac Book Pro.

Without any surprise as you can guess it is a totally new user experience compared to the G4 :-)
I first wanted to buy a 13" as I am always working with a secondary screen but this time the 13" were not upgraded to the i5 processor, so it might be for the next time... unless I got addicted to the Hi Res screen.

Apple stuff

I thought it was a good time for an Apple family shot...

On the right : Apple iBook G3/466 SE (Firewire/Clamshell) released on 2000-09-13. Its price was $1799 and according to if I had bought Apple stocks for the same amount of money I would now have a stock value of $16800.80. Damn Apple ...:)

PS : the title of this post is quite of a SEO stunt, I wonder how it will do ...
PS2 : and yes Red Bull provides free cans to UltraSuperNew :)

Red Bull can | Ultrasupernew

Posted on : by Freelance in Japan and new Mac Book Pro

Tags : Tokyo Freelance Apple

Add a Comment - Ask a Question

By EL Gaetano At 2010-04-29 19:34:02

Nice family shot. Who can say today that they owned a PC released 10 years ago that still work? No one. At least I am sure you can play PacMan on your ibook at reasonable speed.

By Jerome At 2010-05-01 13:20:12
,On my way to Shimokitazawa

The battery and the DVD player are dead ... and the plastic as well as the screen turned quite yellow... but yes it still works, under Mac OS 10.5 !

By Mathieu Feulavrc'h At 2010-05-01 19:05:35
from Singapore

Bonne continuation et au plaisir de te rencontrer un jour

By Jerome At 2010-05-01 21:15:15

Salut, Mathieu, merci de passer par là :) et peut-etre un de ces 4 à Singapore!

By juhani At 2010-05-04 08:45:54

Developements interessants! Je serais tres interesse d'entendre de tes experiences en travaillant freelance comme Gaijin. Bon, comme je ne suis pas marrie ca serait impossible pour moi en tous cas :P T'es encore en Kanagawa? Un de ces jours je vais devoir essayer de faire plus de networking aux differents evenements... Peut etre qu'on se reverra la.

Aussi, je n'avais pas entendu du projet Red Bull Stratos mais c'est super impressionant.

By Jerome At 2010-05-04 19:04:29
,On my way to Chinatown - Yokohama

Salut ! Biensur, il faut qu'on se retrouve et discuter à un des pub de Shibuya :-) Tu as des congés pendant la golden-week ? Je vais t'envoyer un mail...

By 75w_Til At 2010-08-18 18:06:59
from Tokyo

Sorry, I know I could refer to all those gaijin forums to ask this question, but they are all full of wrong or incomplete information and your case just matches mine perfectly. I came here in 2006, am married to a Jap. national, worked in an office for four years, still have the visa, about to become a kojin jigyo.
I hope you don't mind me asking...

I have a question regarding your short but helpful article concerning your visa and stuff. What did you do with your Alien Reg. Card after becoming a Kojin Jigyo? Did you go to the ward office to have it changed or did you leave it as it was (with the name of your previous employer on it)? It says one must report all changes (including employment) within 14 days and I wonder what to do...

Sorry again to have bothered you with that. Would be great to get an answer. Thanks!

By Jerome At 2010-08-18 21:59:10
from home ,sweating...

No problem, I can answer.

Indeed after I filled a very simple one sheet document at the tax office. I went to the city office and asked them what was next. They just took my card few seconds and added a line at the back of it. They don't change the card, so my first employer data remain on the front. I ve been told that most of people don't even bother to do that... but well it took me only 5mn...

Ganbare for your kojin jigyo!

By 75w_Til At 2010-08-20 12:29:11
from Tokyo

Thanks a lot Jerome!
That was very helpful and kind of you!

By Oreh At 2011-03-10 17:13:26
from Bali

You still have iBook? How nostalgic! I myself still keep the iMac (Graphite DV - Version) and still used Macbook G4. Sadly the iMac was broken because one of the courier I used were careless with the transport.

By Jerome At 2011-03-10 19:54:11
from Home ,Soon to have dinner

Hi Oreh,

too bad for your iMac. My ibook stays in a closet now (but is still functional)... and my wife still uses the G4!

By Riz Pista Takashi At 2012-02-24 05:07:59
from Westside in Singapore

I'm also from Interactive Media Design Department which i'v been learning such like Drawing , Web development on Dreamweaver and Flash and other creative things somehow. However, I don't recall anything on coding writing. I really hope to get some mac to work if I want to try some creative, Hope not to be lazy. your's interesting story to show up some trend things. It's good to be hype up but it's your real work. keeping working on. Dont let someone give you a hard pressure. Work.Play.Everything what you like to do. Peace

By Jerome At 2012-02-24 23:34:47
from near the futon :-) ,soon to futon

Thank you, Riz,

I like a lot my job, and the projects I work on that's fortunate indeed. I wish you good too.

I see you are in Singapore, I'd love to visit and maybe doing some business with people over there, if you know someone looking for a web/mobile app developer tell me ;-)

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