Iwo Jima — the name may conjure harsh images of the famous Battle of Iwo Jima, which took place on the small island during World War II in 1945. It belongs to the Ogasawara Islands, a group of tropical and sub-tropical islands known for unique wildlife and flora, and is officially a part of Ogasawara Village, which is administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, which means technically, it’s part of Tokyo, although the island is located roughly 1,200km (about 745 miles) south of the Japanese capital city. While it isn’t inhabited by civilians, Iwo Jima is home to an air base that’s used by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
Well, it so happens this base has been the subject of some attention on the Japanese Internet recently — as a possible workplace! When you hear the job description, you’ll see just how unique a workplace it is, and you’ll never guess what kind of employee they’re looking for …
Apparently, they’re looking for a chef to work at the base canteen on the remote island, and Japanese Internet users have been intrigued by the employment information that’s been made available through Hello Work, Japan’s employment service center.
According to the employment information, you do need to be a licensed cook with an official chef’s license (chorishi menkyo) to apply, and the job offers a monthly base salary between 183,000 yen (US$1,802.55) and 185,000 yen ($1,822.25), with an additional special “remote island pay” of 40,000 yen ($394) , which comes to a monthly income of a little over 220,000 yen ($2,167). Okay, so the pay is not exactly a pittance, but it’s not a fortune either, and it seems you’re also expected to help occasionally (although we have no way of knowing how frequently) with the cooking on Minami-Torishima, another one of the remote Ogasawara islands about 1,800km (1,119 miles) southeast of Tokyo. You also definitely won’t be having any friends visit, as civilian access to Iwo Jima is limited to official business such as memorial services for fallen U.S. and Japanese soldiers or for construction work on the air base. On the plus side, you’re entitled to six paid vacation days four times a year.
But it wasn’t just the general description of the job that caught people’s attention. Here are what appear to be some of the more interesting parts of the employment ad. (Seriously, this is what it literally says in the job description!)
- The job involves working in a hard environment and location and will be physically demanding.
- Upon assignment, you will be flown in from Iruma Air Base on a Self-Defense Force aircraft (complimentary).
- There are no ATMs on the island but payment can be wired to a bank account if preferred.
- The only means of communication available from the island is by public pay phone or by post (No cell phone or Internet coverage).
- Please do not consider this a job on a tropical resort island — if you do, you will not be able to tolerate the conditions.
So, you can probably see why people have found the job description intriguing and somewhat amusing at the same time. Some Internet users seem to think that the idea of being able to spend time on Iwo Jima is extremely appealing, while others have commented that the pay may not be top-notch, but as you’ll have absolutely no way of spending money, you’re sure to be able to seriously save up. Now, while we agree the job sounds like a fascinating opportunity to go to a place where you otherwise may never be able to set foot on, we have to say that having no cell phone or Internet coverage is likely to be a serious challenge.
How do you spend your spare time on a remote island without mobile or Internet access, then? According to information on a brochure made by the Japan Self-Defense Force about seven years ago, some of the activities you can engage in include “running, tennis, swimming, picking fruits, star-gazing, outdoor baths, natural saunas, golf, bird-watching, whale-watching, outdoor barbecues and playing in a musical band”. Well, we guess Iwo Jima does have the great outdoors in its favor, if you really, really like nature.
What do you think? If you were a professional cook, would you be interested in such a remote working place, and perhaps more importantly, would you be able to survive without the Internet?
▼And just for your reference, this is how far away Iwo Jima is from mainland Japan. It takes about 25 hours by ferry from Tokyo to Chichijima, the largest of the Ogasawara Islands, by the way, and there is no public transportation route to Iwo Jima.
Note: They’ve now apparently finished taking applications for this job, so the ad is no longer on the Hello Work site, but you can still see details in Japanese here on the Job Sense Link website.