"Amitav" starts his day at 6 a.m. He needs to get up that early to get to his job as a cook at an Indian restaurant for 9 a.m. He’ll get a two- to three-hour break during his shift before finishing up at 11 p.m., and he usually gets home at midnight. It’s a long day.

The 38-year-old from Dehradun in the Indian state of Uttarakhand gets one day off a week unless he has to work a special occasion, like a party, which he doesn’t get paid extra for. A cook’s salary at most Indian restaurants in Tokyo averages between ¥50,000 and ¥150,000 per month depending on their experience and the owner of the restaurant. Amitav makes ¥100,000.

The minimum hourly wage in Tokyo as of October last year was ¥1,013, which means these cooks should be making closer to ¥300,000 per month. On the plus side, their rent, utilities and food are usually taken care of by the employer, but the majority of them need to send between 75 and 90 percent of their take-home back to families in India.