Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 76 August 10, 2015

Landscape of summer

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.
How to submit
Please send your photos with the information listed below to the following address.

Landscape of study abroad location

The theme of the August issue is Landscape of study abroad location.
(Honorific title is omitted.)

POON Man-wai

Tohoku University
Title: Come back to Sendai

2. Alumni News

Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!

1) News about International Students

News 1:NIPPON QUEST will launch on August 11th!

NIPPON QUEST is a website where Japanese people who love their hometowns discover and disseminate these treasures with foreigners who love Japan, and in doing so, invigorate Japan’s local areas. Lots of undiscovered treasures will be published on the NIPPON QUEST website. Visit our website to discover them!

News 2: Information for tourists in Japan, by international students in Japan

VACS International, who support people from ASEAN countries find jobs, is opening a new website: “YADOYA”, a travel information website about Japan, written by curent international students. Students on the VACS database will be spreading the wonder of Japan to the wider world, writing from their own experiences. Contents will include information about accommodation in the areas where the students live, and other information about surrounding areas. As it will be written by international students living in Japan, the website will offer tourists with information about Japan seen from a similar point of view.

News 3: Suggestions taken from international students on the Tokyo Olympics

On July 22nd, the “Multilingual ICT Promotion Forum—People’s Hospitality with Technology” was held. The purpose of the forum was to discuss making Tokyo more multilingually accessible through ICT, with a view to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. 13 international students attended the forum and contributed opinions. David Wilhelm, from Austria, said, “Information at stations is important. It would be great to have a simple information board in front of the station, on platforms and in trains, to tell you where you are and how to get places.”

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Kim JiHwan

Name: Kim JiHwan
Nationality: South Korea
University in Japan: Center for Japanese Language, Waseda University, specially registered student
Period of stay in Japan: September 2014 to present
Japanese-Language Proficiency Test: JLPT N1

I majored in Japanese language and literature at my university in Korea. People who study Japan generally tend to have had first-hand experience of the country, through traveling or other. But I had never been before, and subcultures like games and manga were my only points of contact with Japan.
Even after I started my course, the chance to visit Japan did not arise. I had doubts about whether it was fine for me to study Japanese, graduate, and continue living in South Korea, without ever going to Japan. It was around then that I found out that my university was holding applications for short-term language training at Kagawa University, so I jumped at the opportunity. It was only for a short period during the summer holidays in 3rd year, but the actual experience in Japan made me want to spend more time living in Japan, and studying Japanese there. So in March 2014, in my 4th year, I applied for the Japanese Government Scholarship, offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
What I have felt strongly through my study abroad, is that studying and knowing the Japanese language, and living in Japan, are very different things altogether. In South Korea, I'm a Korean studying Japanese; in Japan, I'm a foreigner who can speak Japanese. Through the shared language of Japanese, I have also made friends of many nationalities - Japanese of course, but also Chinese, American, and other backgrounds.
You could technically claim that you were studying Japanese in Japan, just going to school and living a normal life, as you would also have exposure to the language, and improve that way. This is an easy and fun way of going about it, perhaps, but also a little pointless. At the moment I am looking for a job here in Japan, as I want to see whether my Japanese ability and knowledge pass muster in Japanese society. I have to think in Japanese a lot for the interviews and for the applications, and I’m finding it a good opportunity to think about myself, and look at myself objectively.

3) Windows of Alumni

4) Information about programs for former international students

About the Japan Foundation

The Japan Foundation is Japan’s only institute dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programs throughout the world. Our three key fields of activity are Arts and Cultural Exchange, Japanese-Language Education Overseas, and Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange. We have our Headquarters (in Shinjuku, Tokyo), the Kyoto Office, and two subsidiary organizations (Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa, and Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai) in Japan, as well as 22 overseas offices in 21 countries.
Through supporting Japanese Studies overseas, we hope to spread deeper understanding of Japan among people all over the world. We also create opportunities for people from Japan and people from overseas to communicate, and engage in activities to nurture individuals who can lead future communications and exchange programs.

Supporting Japanese Studies

We aim to help maintain and develop friendly relations between Japan and other countries, by developing a deeper understanding of Japanese people and Japanese society. To this end, we help organizations in various countries and regions to strengthen their research bases in Japan, and to educate experts on Japan; we also provide a fellowship to researchers studying about Japan overseas. There are many researchers who have applied and been accepted for the fellowship, and are now accomplishing great achievements. Furthermore, we provide opportunities for researchers to meet each other and network, holding events such as international conferences and joint workshops, in order to promote dialogue between nations and organizations.

Supporting intellectual exchange

We nurture the kind of individuals who are needed for exchange between Japan and the rest of the world. We promote multi-layered, multi-faceted mutual understanding between countries, and strive to contribute intellectually to global progress and stability. More specifically, we offer assistance to various conferences and exchange programs, and provide fellowships to people from regions with relations to Japan working in research, journalism and other professional areas, to conduct research and investigations in Japan.

Waseda University

Waseda University

Waseda University

Waseda University

3. Academic News

Introducing scholarships, grants, unique activities at individual universities, and more!

1) Introduction of faculties/graduate schools

Here we introduce you to distinctive faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.

Hitotsubashi University

Research university in social sciences

Hitotsubashi University is a social sciences university founded in 1875. Since its foundation, it has continually produced prestigious leaders of Japanese industry, under its ethos of "Captains of Industry".
Hitotsubashi boasts a long history of having led the academic world, as the country’s oldest research university dedicated to the social sciences. Another characteristic is its rich selection of professors, who inherit this history, and seek to explore and explain new areas of study, in a wide range of fields including the humanities. The divide between departments is flexible, and students can take subjects from other departments. Another key difference from other universities is the insistence on a high-quality, small-class style of teaching, based on seminars consisting of 10 to 15 students.

Educating excellent individuals

96.3% of the students who graduated in March 2014 received job offers. This is because Hitotsubashi alumni have always excelled as leaders of industries, and is a testament to the strong bond between alumni.
In the 2013 academic year, the graduates of Hitotsubashi’s School of Law had the third highest pass rate overall at the bar examination.

Graduate education that meets diverse needs

The master's program seeks to meet the high academic demands, namely 1) its role as the first stage for educating researchers, 2) its role as the first stage for educating highly-specialized professionals, and 3) the diverse societal needs. As such, it has implemented a system of education that lays emphasis on coursework, rather than the conventional graduate thesis.
The doctoral program has always been concerned with educating researchers with creative and excellent abilities in research and development, to lead research institutes and educational institutes, or educating academic staff at universities who have both research skills and teaching skills. But more recently, we have been producing individuals expected to play key roles not just in research and education, but in diverse fields, including business management, journalism, administrative organizations, and international organizations.
In terms of specialist degree programs, we have the School of Law, MBA, and School of International and Public Policy. Each aims to impart advanced, specialist knowledge and skills of a global standard. Furthermore, by welcoming diverse students, such as those already in employment, we seek to improve the mobility of society as a whole, and contribute to its vitalization.

Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University

Hitotsubashi University

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

Yanmar Holdings Co., Ltd

  • Essays must be written in Japanese.
  • Please submit the application form, which can be downloaded from our website.
  • Essays are to be submitted by mail only.

3) Information and testimonials about scholarships, prizes, appointments etc.

Nitori International Scholarship Foundation (public interest incorporated foundation)

-How did the Foundation start? Please tell me more about the Foundation.

The Nitori International Scholarship Foundation was founded in March 2005, with the aim to strengthen friendly relations with other Asian nations, and to develop talented individuals, through assisting international students. We eventually expanded the scope of our assistance from just Asian students to students from across the globe, from a desire to contribute to even more people. We now offer scholarships not only to students in Japan, but to university students studying overseas as well.

-Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must meet all the following conditions. Past recipients and applicants may not re-apply.
(1)Nationality & visa
The applicant must:
*Have a nationality other than Japanese
*Have an address in Japan, and a “Study Abroad” visa status at the time of the application
(2)University course & year
*Undergraduate students: The applicant must be enrolled as a regular student on an undergraduate course, starting the 3rd or 4th year on 1st April, 2016.
*Graduate students: The applicant must be enrolled as a regular student on a graduate course, starting the 1st or 2nd year on 1st April, 2016.
(3)The applicant must be excellent both academically and as a human being, and be of good health. He/she must also be capable of communicating sufficiently in Japanese, and of contributing to mutual understanding and amity between countries.
(4)Age
*Undergraduate students: 26 or under
*Graduate students: 28 or under

-How much money do you provide?

We pay a monthly amount of 110,000 yen.

-How long is the term of the scholarship?

On principle, the scholarship lasts for one year between April 2016 and March 2017.

-When is the application period?

From 1st August to 1st November, 2015.

-How can I apply?

Please enter your information in the application form on the Foundation’s website, and submit the form. Students who pass the preliminary selection to the first round of interviews will be asked to submit the application documents.

-Are there other things to note when applying?

This Foundation does not allow students to receive multiple scholarships, with the exception of tuition fee waiver (or discount) schemes established by universities. If you are simultaneously accepted by this Foundation’s scholarship and another scholarship scheme, you will be asked to choose one of them.

-What kind of duties would I have as a scholar?

We ask that the recipients of the scholarship attend the social gatherings for scholarship students that are held periodically, and submit a scholarship student report every month. We also appeal to our students to do a prescribed number of hours (120 hours) of part-time work over the designated period (April to September). We will terminate the funding if scholarship students fail to attend the social gatherings without permission, fail to submit their report, or other such neglectful behavior.

Testimonials from scholarship students

(Scholarship student, 2014 academic year, Chinese)
It’s my 4th year in Japan now, and I found the Nitori International Scholarship Foundation unique among the programs that have kindly offered me a scholarship so far, in that it requires its recipients to work part-time. I had been working part-time since my arrival in Japan, so I didn’t find it particularly difficult; but there may be students who are hesitant about having to work, since they are applying for a fund so that they can focus on their studies and research. But the requirements are not too hard to meet, and above all, there are aspects of Japanese culture, society, and etiquette that you can only understand through working. You’ve come all the way to Japan – so I hope that you give the scholarship application to the Nitori International Scholarship Foundation ago, in order to learn about Japan thoroughly, rather than just at your university.

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 report

Baatar Undaral

Name: Baatar UndaralNationality: Mongolian
Alma mater: Hitotsubashi University
Major: Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi MBA Program (HMBA)
Study period in Japan: April 2013 to March 2015
Company name: Nitori Co., Ltd.
Japanese proficiency level: JLPT N1

In Mongolia, the most common destinations for study abroad are Russia and China. But a friend of my parents, who lived in Japan and worked for a Japanese firm, told me that Japan had an excellent education system and a great environment for research. So I made the decision to study here.
My research at graduate school was on financial accounting, and I was planning to go back after graduation to my country, and work there. But my parents suggested to me that there was no point in just studying abroad, that I should put to use the knowledge that I had gained, and experience working at that country. So I looked for work in Japan instead. Other people on my course were looking for work in professions directly linked to their area of research, such as accountancy, finance, consultancy etc. – but I wanted to work for a trading company, where I could be involved in a wide range of activities. I submitted about 10 applications. I may have narrowed my options down a little too much, but I wanted a job that I could be satisfied with. I was accepted by three companies, and eventually chose to join Nitori, which had told me that there would be a lot of opportunities for foreign national employees to thrive.
Over the job-hunting process, I felt I didn’t have as much knowledge and experience compared to other people. So I thought that I would at least try to leave a positive impression, by making sure I made them laugh at the interview. Of course the job-hunting process isn’t all fun and games, and you have to do a lot of preparation beforehand, like thinking how to sell yourself, and researching about the industry and the companies. I think that it can be helpful to have anecdotes and conversations that bring a smile to people’s faces, whether on the application form or at the interviews. At times you might lose confidence and fret, but Japan is a country where hard work and commitment are rightly appreciated. I'm sure that they will value your commitment living and studying away from home, and tackling the job-hunting process in Japan.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

“Casual clothes are allowed” – but what do you do?

Often for company information sessions, selection processes and interviews, companies inform you beforehand that ‘casual clothes are allowed’, or to ‘come in casual wear’. It’s the standard rule for job-hunting that you are supposed to wear a suit – but what do you do when the companies specify a dress code like that?
‘Casual clothes are allowed’ means that it doesn’t matter whether you wear casual clothes or suits, but we asked someone in charge of job applications for a company that actually says this to applicants, in order to confirm. The reply was as follows: “You can wear suits or casual clothes – as we state, it doesn’t matter which you choose to wear. There’s no way that applicants would be marked down in the selection process just because they come dressed in casual clothes, when the company specifically states that they can. Having said that, you need to have a certain amount of etiquette. Just because you’re allowed to dress casually, wearing actual everyday clothes like t-shirts, shorts and sandals would be a no-no. ‘More casual than a suit’ is probably a good guideline. If you’re worried about how ‘casual’ to be, then it might be a better call to just wear a suit. At information sessions, the majority of students will probably be wearing a suit, so you won’t be rated down for not dressing casually.
“If you’ve been specifically instructed ‘to come in casual wear’, then you shouldn’t wear a suit. In industries like apparel and advertising, there’s a chance that companies may be trying to assess your way of thinking and your personality through the way you dress. According to a recruiting officer at an apparels company, “If you have a particular love of suits, and consider them as casual wear, then we have no problems with your wearing a suit. But no applicant has turned up in a suit before.”
So you’ll need to research the profession and the company that you’re applying to thoroughly, and consider what level of casualness is most fitting.

5. Visit Japan

Yamaguchi Prefecture

Have you been travelling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events and foods from all over the country! This month, we look at Yamaguchi Prefecture, famous for its fugu (pufferfish) cuisine.

Shuhodo (Akiyoshido)

This is one of the largest limestone caves in Japan, found at the base of Akiyoshidai, the enormous limestone plateau. The cave is said to be around 10km long, but the tourist path is just 1km. The cave, which has been dissolved and eroded over a long time by the rainwater seeping through the earth, is full of mysterious-looking stalagmites, stalactites and travertines. This is also a comfortable trek, at a stable temperature of 17°C throughout the year.

Shoka Sonjuku

A tile-roofed, single-storied building in the precinct of Shoin Shrine, this used to be a private school run by Shoin Yoshida, who inherited it in 1857. Rare for the time, the school welcomed students regardless of social background or class. In just over a year, it became a driving force of the Meiji Restoration, producing many of the key players of the new Meiji government. In 2015, it was selected as a World Heritage Site.

Akama suzuri

This is an inkstone made from a hard rock with a close grain called akamaishi. It powders the ink stick very finely, giving you a sleek ink that runs well over the paper. The process is done almost entirely by hand, from mining akamaishi to manufacturing the inkstone. The technique has been handed down from around 800 years ago, and is a government-designated Traditional Craft.

Inaho Festival (Kitsune no Yomeiri, “the fox’s wedding”)

Since 1950, the Inaho Festival has been held every autumn in Kudamatsu, to give thanks for a big harvest. One of the highlights of the festival is the Kitsune no Yomeiri, “the fox’s wedding”. A bride and groom wearing fox masks are carried on a rickshaw down the old high street to Hanaoka Station, with their relatives and entourage trailing behind. The bustling bridal procession – nicknamed the “Strange Festival of Shimomatsu” – is a must-see.

Kawara-soba (tile soba)

This is the local specialty of Shimonoseki, where you get green tea soba noodles and other toppings on a tile that’s been heated up. Toppings include beef, thin strips of omelet, green onion, seaweed and grated radish, and you squeeze the lemon on top, dip the noodles in the soup and eat. The bits in contact with the tile are crispy and tasty. In Yamaguchi Prefecture, this dish is often made at home too, using hot plates and frying pans.

Yamaguchi Prefecture Tourist Information Page: Visit YAMAGUCHI
http://www.visit-jy.com/english/

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) Nippon Time Machine

yukata

Japanese onsen ryokan (hot spring hotels) almost always have their rooms stocked with yukata for their guests. Yukata is a type of summer kimono, and it is derived from a hemp garment called yukatabira, which was originally used at times of bathing. Yukatabira was worn by the aristocracy in the Heian era (around 9th to 11th century) to conceal skin from others when they went bathing in a group. Later, it became adopted as indoor wear for after the bath, and in the Edo era (around 17th to 19th century) became a common outfit for commoners, who would go to summer festivals and fireworks displays in matching yukata. Thus the dress became part and parcel of the Japanese way of dress, as everyday clothes and going-out clothes.
Yukata comes in all sorts of colors nowadays, but white and navy are the standard colors for classical yukata. White material is cool and summery to look at, while navy material has a smart, stylish appearance. Smartweed, which is the key ingredient of ai, the traditional navy dye, has an insect-repelling property; so it was conventional wisdom among people of yore to wear navy yukata in the late afternoon, which is the time of day when mosquitoes are most active. Modern-day yukata often come with colorful printed patterns, and many young, fashionable women coordinate accessories like the obi (the kimono belt) and the geta (sandals) with the design of their yukata.

2) Lifestyle Information

Be prepared, it’s the hurricane season!

Due to geographical reasons, Japan experiences many typhoons. Typhoons approach and hit Japan most frequently between July and October, especially between the end of August to September, when the Pacific anticyclone begins to weaken. Typhoons sometimes cause considerable damage, such as flooding from the rain, landslides, damaged buildings from the wind, and water leakage from the storm surge. Sometimes your lifelines such as electricity, water and gas may get cut off. You need to prepare yourself for typhoons on a routine basis, in order to protect yourself.

[Everyday preparation]

  • Equip yourself with emergency food, water, torch, emergency goods, change of clothing, towels etc., in case lifelines are cut off.
  • Get hold of the emergency maps available from ward offices and websites of municipalities, and check the evacuation areas and water stations. Some municipalities offer maps in foreign languages too.

[When the hurricane is approaching]

  • Frequently check the Japan Meteorological Agency website (http://www.jma.go.jp/jma/indexe.html), TV, radio news etc., for up-to-date information about the typhoon.
  • Things which may be blown away by the wind, like potted plants on the balcony, should be brought inside or somehow secured. Close any storm doors or shutters.
  • Avoid leaving the house, particularly at night, to avoid being damaged by the downpour or storm.

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

2) Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

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) Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”(In Japanese Only)

7) Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

8. From the Reader

Thanks for the news!
((Jonathan Fronda)

(Honorific title is omitted.)

[From the Editor]
What did you think of the August issue of Japan Alumni eNews?
In “NIPPON Time Machine”, we introduced the yukata. Men’s yukata in fact are made to look better on well-built, or slightly portly men. Sometimes, some thinly built men wrap towels around their waist or their stomach to widen their frame before putting on the yukata. With trousers, it’s seen as sloppy to wear them hanging low down; but the yukata is said to look more dashing, attractive and iki – ‘cool’ - with the belt tied below the hipbone. If you feel you can’t pull off tight-fitting clothing, why not try out this summer yukata style?

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 September 10th. Don’t miss it!

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

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