Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 72 April 10, 2015

park in spring

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Learn the life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

Four Seasons Scenery

The theme of the April issue is Four Seasons Scenery. (Honorific title is omitted.)

Li Peiqi (China)
Graduate school of Osaka Dental University

Spring

Title:Spring

Summer

Title:Summer

Autumn

Title:Autumn

Winter

Ttile:Winter

2. Alumni News

Introduce news related to international students and student experiences!

1) News on International Students

News 1: Why Does Japan Attract Foreigners?

A blogger under the account 51offer Study in Japan posted a question on China’s microblogging Sina Weibo website on March 19 asking, “Why does Japan attract you?” More than 300 bloggers responded to the question. Many people pointed out the good environment and fresh air and Japanese people’s politeness, good manners, and good morals. The respondents included those who pointed out the beauty of its natural landscape, including cherry blossom, food, anime and manga (animated cartoons and comics), and Japanese entertainers.

News 2: Foreign Umpire for Spring National Invitational High School Baseball Tournament

Sujeewa Wijayanayake, a Sri Lankan man, got his wish to umpire a game at second base at the spring national invitation high school baseball tournament that started on March 31. Sujeewa, who says it was his dream to umpire in Koshien Stadium, began his baseball career as a high school player in Sri Lanka, and went onto Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. After his graduation, he started working in Japan while umpiring amateur baseball games. He umpired many baseball games, including the 2012 National Intercity Nonpro Baseball Championship Series and the 2013 All-Japan University Baseball Championship, as the first foreign baseball umpire.

2) Introduction of "Current International Students"

WangXiang

Name: Wang Xiang
Nationality: China
Host institution: Okuma School of Public Management, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University
Study period: Since April 2011
Japanese proficiency level: Level N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

I came from China in 2011 to study at Waseda, and completed the master’s course of the Okuma School of Public Management, Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University in March this year.
I became interested in Japan for the first time when I watched a Japanese anime entitled “Touch” on TV in China. I was an elementary schoolchild then, and I became a great fan of the anime. I majored in the Japanese language at Qingdao University, became able to speak Japanese, and came to Japan in the first semester when I was a senior. I was born in Hainan Island, China, and I wanted to learn about the mass media in order to publicize Hainan Island worldwide, which brought me to Japan and study.
At first, I enrolled in the Graduate School of Sociology at Kansai University and majored in mass communication. While I continued studying, I began to have an interest in the tourism policy of Hainan Island. I was encouraged by my teacher at that time as well, and I went on to the Okuma School of Public Management, a graduate school under the Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Waseda University, which matched the theme of what I wanted to research, and I learned about public management. At Waseda’s graduate school, I compared Hainan Island with other islands, such as Jeju, Okinawa, Hawaii, and Bali, and studied and researched what measures would be necessary for Hainan Island to attract foreign tourists. I interviewed people including professors at Hainan University, and summarized the results in my master’s thesis.
The difference in words between Kanto and Kansai was impressive to me in Japan. Everyone attending seminars spoke frankly in Kansai dialect at Kansai University. On the other hand, students discussed in polite language at Waseda’s graduate school, and I was surprised at the difference between the two areas.
I want to advise that people should decide their goals before they come to Japan if they are thinking of studying in Japan. I think people will waste a valuable study period if they decide what and where to study after they come to Japan.
My current goal is to go onto a doctoral graduate school. I want to learn some subjects other than tourism. I would like to pursue the areas of my interest in Japan.

meeting

research

3) Windows of Alumni

4) Introduction of Projects for Overseas Students Returning Home

Kagawa University―International Student Alumni Network

Kagawa University’s International Student Alumni Network not only promotes the friendship and information sharing of international students who graduated from or completed courses at Kagawa University but also promotes the university’s international exchanges. The International Student Alumni Network can establish regional branches wherever necessary to conduct their own activities in accordance with the regional environments and member attributes. Currently, the Network has a Chinese branch and a Thai branch.

Chinese Branch

The Chinese branch came into existence in June 2009 for the purpose of promoting friendship between Kagawa University graduates and contributing to the development of Kagawa University’s international exchanges in close contact with the university. The Chinese branch was established because of the fact that there have been many students entering Kagawa University from China. Since the foundation of the Chinese branch, the university has been proactively conducting academic and exchange activities for researchers and overseas students in cooperation with Kagawa University graduates in China.


At the time of the establishment of the Chinese branch

At the time of the establishment of the Chinese branch

Thai Branch

The Thai branch came into existence in November 2012 for the purpose of promoting friendship and information exchange between Kagawa University graduates and Kagawa University’s faculty members and reinforcing the university’s international exchange. Kagawa University received more than 120 Thai students in and after 1981. Many of them became researchers at Thailand’s leading universities, and Kagawa University has been proactively conducting research exchange with them.
The Thai branch’s second general meeting was held in Bangkok in March 2015, in which a large number of people including Kagawa University’s five faculty members participated. The meeting was a great success, where the branch was able to deepen exchanges with the university.


Thailand branch’s second meeting held in Bangkok

Thailand branch’s second meeting held in Bangkok

3. Academic News

Introduce scholarships, grants, unique efforts by universities, and more!

1) Introducing Faculties/Graduate Schools

College of Industrial Technology, Nihon University

2) Scholarships/ Grants/ Invitation/ Awards, etc.

Consortium of Universities in Kyoto

  • Project name: Kyoto Study Program: from Anime to Zen

3) Scholarships/ Grants/ Invitation Information and Reports

Sojitz Foundation
Scholarship Promotion

Scholarship student exchange

Scholarship student exchange

At a student scholarship study tour

At a student scholarship study tour

Voice of a scholarship student

Jirawan Sirigun Piraphat (Thailand)
When I was in the 9th grade, I met a Japanese girl who came to my class to study abroad for a short period. She had injured legs and I helped her with her walking. As I was surprised that she could study abroad even though she could not move her legs freely, I tried to find out what kind of country Japan is, and gradually started to become more and more interested in Japan. In Thailand, you have less access to studying abroad when you are at junior high school, and it is almost unthinkable for someone who is disabled to study abroad. Because of her, I wanted to know more about Japan and decided to study at a high school in Japan in order to gain Japanese language ability and to understand the Japanese way of thinking. My goals are to learn ‘Japanese values’ in Japan, exchange language with international students at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, and make people think more about disabled people. I also want to exchange with disabled people who have fewer opportunities to study abroad, and to help them be more able to hang in there in everyday life.

4) Academic Societies

5) Japanese Language Test

4. Business News

JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

2) Job Hunting Reports from Current International Students

Song Xu Ling

Name: Song Xu Ling
Nationality: China
Alma mater: Dalian University of Foreign Languages,Asuka Japanese Language Institute (Japanese school)
Major: Korean Language
Study period in Japan: July 2013 to February 2015
Company name: Tokushu Kinzoku Excel Co., Ltd.
Japanese proficiency level: Level N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

Originally, I majored in the Korean language at a Chinese university, and I studied in Korea as well. While I was studying in Korea, I made a Japanese friend, who invited me to Japan, where beautiful streets as well as Japanese people observing the rules impressed me. Then I began thinking of living in Japan. I had a hope to work outside China at that time, and I decided to work in Japan and came over to Japan after I graduated from the university.
While attending a Japanese school, I started job hunting using the Japanese government’s Employment Service Center (known as Hello Work) around July 2014. In those days, my Japanese language proficiency was low and I could not answer fluently in Japanese at job interviews. Therefore, I studied Japanese very hard in order to make myself clearly understood. Taking advantage of my ability to speak four languages, that is, Chinese, Korean, English, and Japanese, as a weapon, I went job-hunting again. Then I got a sales position at Tokushu Kinzoku Excel Co., Ltd. I may have matched the image that human resources wanted since the company that already had factories in Shanghai and Taiwan and intended a further overseas expansion. I would like to gain more experience to respond to the company’s expectations and become a human resource playing an active role globally for the company.
Job hunters may have to answer difficult questions at job interviews. If you answer politely and sincerely though it takes time, you will be reasonably evaluated. Please do your best.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

‘Academic background’ Japanese companies seek

The important thing about job-hunting is knowing companies’ recruitment trends and what kind of human resources they are looking for. If your goal is to find employment, you should think about your career plan, such as where and what you will study before and while studying abroad, by knowing about companies’ needs.
For example, according to the ‘Survey on recruitment and utilization of highly skilled overseas personnel in Japanese companies (December, the 23rd year of the Heisei Era)’ conducted by the Business Policy Forum Japan 4 years ago, the academic background that Japanese companies seek in foreign human resources tend to be of ‘Degree’ or ‘Masters’ level. ‘Doctorate’ level may be rare. Although even in Japan, recruitment of doctoral students may be difficult, the graduation age of foreign students is approximately 2 years older than that of Japanese students as they spend periods studying Japanese. Therefore, doctorial students tend to find work in their late 20’s to early 30’s, so that companies, who basically aim to recruit mainly younger graduates, are thought to be reluctant to recruit doctoral graduates.
Then what should be done? If you have any work experience either in Japan or in your country, you should emphasize this along with your academic background. If your experience is relevant to the job you wish to do, it will be recognized and there can be the possibility of intermediary recruitment. If you wish to work in the research and development field, you need to find companies whose research content and direction accord with your own.

5. Visit Japan

Ishikawa Prefecture

Why don’t you try traveling in Japan? Information on places of interest, events, and gourmet spots in Japan is provided on a monthly basis. The April edition features Ishikawa Prefecture.

Kenroku-en

Kenroku-en is a Japanese-style garden located in the center of Kanazawa. This garden, along with Kairaku-en and Koraku-en, is known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. Kentoku-en, which literally means “Six Attributes Garden,” was named because it has six excellent sceneries. Feudal rulers of the former Kaga Domain with the wish of longevity and prosperity developed this Japanese-style garden. Kenroku-en has large ponds, bridges, and lanterns in its big garden packed with full of attractions. Visitors can enjoy the beauty of four seasons.

Wajima Asaichi

Wajima Asaichi is a producers’ market held in Wajima-city in the morning, where more than 200 stalls are lined to deal in fresh seafood, edible seaweed, and vegetables as well as Wajima-nuri lacquerware and other crafts. Cheerful middle-aged women of Noto usually operate these stalls. Products sold directly by producers at such stalls are inexpensive, and attract tourists who want to enjoy warm communication with stall owners.

Kutaniyaki

Kutaniyaki is porcelain that represents Japan and has 360 years of tradition. Many Kutaniyaki pottery pieces are made of white porcelain with pictures or patterns boldly drawn in five colors, i.e., red, yellow, green, purple, and Prussian blue. Most kutaniyaki pieces have pictorial patterns, such as Japanese landscapes, flowers, and birds. Old kutaniyaki masterpieces are exhibited at the Kutaniyaki Art Museum.

Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival

The Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival is held in June every year in memory of Maeda Toshiie, the founder of the former Kaga Domain. The main event is a hyakumangoku parade that reproduces samurais’ marching into the castle. Company, organization, and group members participate in dances, tea ceremony, and Noh performances in the festival.

Noto Donburi

Noto donburi is a rice bowl dish made from seasonal seafood, meat, and other ingredients of Noto, including vegetables and traditionally preserved food. Chefs at hotels or restaurants in Wajima, Suzu, Anamnizucho, and Notocho compete their skills in making Noto donburi. Seafood is famous in Noto. Therefore, they mainly use seafood as toppings on rice to serve Noto donburi in a bowl with chopsticks all produced in Noto.

6. NIPPON Information

This section features enjoyable stories about pop culture, traditions, dining, cutting-edge technology, and more!

1) Nippon Time Machine

Tea Picking Heralds the Arrival of Early Summer

“Natsu mo chikazuku hachiju-hachi ya” is a part of the verse of a Japanese song entitled “Chatsumi” (tea picking). This phrase well known to Japanese people means that summer is just around the corner on the 88th day (around May 1 to 3) counting from the first day of spring after the cold winter is over (around February 4). It has been believed to be an auspicious day through the ages. It is said that people drinking tea made of tealeaves picked on this day is able to spend the year healthily.
In Japan, tealeaves are picked three to four times a year, but the best season starts on the 88th day, when the climate is steady. Tea shoots that have wintered keep nutrition and contain plenty of flavor components. New tea made from these shoots is characterized by a refreshing scent. Tealeaves picked one by one carefully by hand, in particular, are called “tetsumicha” (hand-picked tea), the fine aroma and taste of which are loved by people.
There are various types of Japanese tea, such as sencha (the most popular tea in Japan), gyokuro (known as luxury tea), and matcha (fine powdered green tea) used in the tea ceremony. Tealeaves vary in aroma and taste with the type and place of production. The season of newly picked tea will start soon. Why don’t you try to drop in a tea specialty shop and find the tea that best matches your taste?

The season of newly picked tea is the best time to taste Japanese tea.

The season of newly picked tea is the best time to taste Japanese tea.

Tea shoots that make you feel the fresh green.

Tea shoots that make you feel the fresh green.

2) Lifestyle Information

Correct Manners of Business Card Exchange

Basics of Business―Correct Manners of Business Card Exchange
In Japan, a business card is an important business tool and represents the identity of the individual. The manner of exchanging business cards is important for building good relationships with business partners. The correct manners are introduced in quiz style.


Quiz: Are the following acts correct?
1. When you visit a customer with your supervisor, you should pass out your business card before your supervisor does.
2. When you receive the customer’s business card, place the card in your business cardholder, and put the holder into your pocket.
3. Take notes on the back of the business card during the meeting.

Answer:
1. No
→ Basically, a person of low rank or a visitor should pass out his/her business card first. However, if a number of people are exchanging business cards at the same time, people of higher ranks should exchange business cards first, followed by the rest of the people in descending rank order. It is bad manners to pass out your business card before your supervisor does.
2. No
→ It is impolite to put away the customer’s business card immediately after you receive it, because the customer may think that you are not interested in him or her. Put it on your name cardholder. If there is a table, put it on the table after you sit down.
3. No
→ In Japan, a businessman’s business card is often referred to as the face of the businessman. Do not take notes on the business card or handle the card carelessly, or otherwise the customer will feel uncomfortable. You may write down the date and remarks about the person you meet after the meeting.
Carefully keep the business card that you receive. Your attitude of respecting the person will give a good impression to the person, thus leading to a business chance.

7. JASSO News

Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

1) Schedule, etc. for 2015 Japan Education Fairs

JASSO holds Japan Education Fairs overseas to provide information to high school students, university students and other individuals who are interested in studying in Japan. We also attend and cooperate to the events and seminars sponsored by other organizations.

2) Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

For all those considering studying in Japan, we recommend you to read the “Student Guide to Japan” first.
In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guidebook also includes stories on experience of foreign students in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.

3) Official Facebook pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices

We also provide the latest information on studying in Japan on our official Facebook pages. Check them out!

4) Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

5) JASSO Scholarship programs

6) Notice from Osaka Japanese Language Education Center

7) Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”(In Japanese Only)

The April 2015 issue will be published on April 10th. Please make sure to read it!

8) Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

This program provides former international students who play active roles in education, research and government in their home countries to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

8. From the Reader

Thank you for always providing us with useful information.
(Chen Zhang)


(Honorifics such as "Mr." and "Ms." have been omitted.)


[From the Editor]
It has become warm and has really started to feel like spring. How are you spending your life these days?
April is the time of a new start. Many of you may be going onto university or graduate school or starting work as a member of society. There are various events such as welcome parties and potluck parties under the cherry blossom. It is said that most Japanese people are shy, but actively introduce yourself to people around you and make many friends. You may be able to hear fun and interesting information on Japan. Start a new, rich life!

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job searching experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our email magazine. Our next issue of “Japan Alumni eNews” will be distributed on May 8th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.
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