When I was growing up (not there yet), I wanted to be a ninja. Don't laugh, I know you were making paper throwing stars in class too.  Even though I searched the classified ads in the paper, and scoured the internet job boards - I never found one a single help wanted ad that was anywhere close to the words "Ninja Wanted," contained within it. I was left to believe that being a stealthy, martial artsy, night assassin wasn't a viable job option. I was crushed!

Imagine my surprise when I learned I could not only train to be a real ninja, I could get paid!  That's right, there are several official job openings in Japan for ninjas right now. Why? Business Insider reports that the Japanese city of Iga is suffering from a critical ninja shortage, and they are on the hunt for mystical and stealthy warriors who seek fortune in exchange for their ancient and secretive combat skills. To sweeten the deal, officials have put together some pretty impressive salaries for a ninja. The pay has been increased to the $25,000 - $85,000/yr range, and you don't have to assassinate anyone!  If you compare that to what ninjas made in feudal Japan ($8,000 - $17,000/yr), and take into account that far less people are trying to kill you on a daily basis - it has to be the cushiest ninja gig ever!

Iga sits about 250 miles from Tokyo, and claims to be the birthplace of the ninja. The  ninja shortage has put the town's annual festival at risk. It's a ninja festival, which may explain why you have never heard of it. Yearly, the event draws somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 tourists.

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