Re: English teaching business mostly collapsed
I also did well out of the eikawa business for 15 years. But that was in the 80s and early 90s. I was in the "corporate" end of the business, teaching company employees, mostly engineers. If you don't mind staying in company training centres for up to two weeks at a time, it can be rewarding. As most courses involved the students explaining aspects of their jobs and business in English, I got to learn about things as diverse as cable making, desalination plant construction and the production of lenses for compact cameras. It was also during this time I got to work with computers, at first producing training materials, then later online interactive training systems. I'm still involved in producing educationally-related software.
Like Shannon, my Japanese is pretty feeble. My in-laws can tolerate talking to me for perhaps an hour, before they get another family member to suffer in their place. (The time varies with the amount of drink consumed.) But my experience of travelling around Japan for work has made me the person the family come to for advice on whether Shimonoseki is the dump it is made out to be, and whether it's best to drive to Niihama from Osaka, or take the ferry.