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Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.70)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 70 February 10, 2015

Plum blossom

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Life in Japan shown through photos. We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos from your experiences in Japan, including life as an international student, memories from study abroad, Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

  • How to submit
1 . Photo and photo title (15 words or less)
2 . Name (katakana and alphabet)
3 . Nationality
4 . Name of your school in Japan

Memories of Japan

The February issue of Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorifics such as "Mr." and "Ms." have been omitted.)

ZHOU JUNJIE (China)
University of Tsukuba
Title: There autumn University of Tsukuba

Autumn of school
Autumn leaves and school
Autumn of University of Tsukuba to move to the surface of the water

KIM BOKYOUNG(Korea)
Sophia University
Title: Fuji Mountain and Kawaguchiko

Fuji Mountain and Kawaguchiko

Ding Tao(China)
Shimane University
Title: Sunset of Lake Shinji

Sunset of Lake Shinji

2. Alumni News

Introduce news related to international students and student experiences!

1) News on International Students

News 1: Industry, Government and Academia Come Together to Provide Support for Accepting International Students

Human Academy Co., Ltd., which is engaged in the education business, will open a Japanese language school in Saga Prefecture in April 2015 with the cooperation of the governments of Saga City and Saga Prefecture. To combat the situation where international students are concentrated in the Tokyo and Kansai areas, the company is putting together a system with Saga Prefecture to take in foreign nationals in which industry, government and academia come together to offer studies, lifestyle support, part-time jobs, etc. and provide an environment where international students can learn Japanese with peace of mind.

News 2: International Students Experience New Year’s in Japan

International students studying at YMCA East in Chuo-ku, Kumamoto City had fun trying their hand at traditional Japanese New Year’s events like kakizome (first calligraphy writing of the New Year) and mochitsuki (pounding boiled rice into mochi). These events are held every year to allow international students to experience traditional Japanese culture. This year there were about 60 participants from 10 different countries, including China, South Korea and Vietnam.

2) Introduction of "Current International Students"

Name: Mr. Tomasz Fajst
Nationality: Poland
University: Musashino Art University
(formerly Japanese Language Center for International Students, TUFS)
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2014 to present


Hello, everybody! My name is Tomasz, and I’m from Poland. This is my first time in Japan, so I’m still not used to it. I graduated from a major in interior design in Poland. I will begin studying furniture design at Musashino Art University in October. I’m interested in Japanese architecture and culture, so I came here to study them. I also have an interest in interior design, so I would like to speak on that topic. But you are all familiar with Japanese houses, so I’m going to talk about Polish houses and compare them with Japanese houses.

Poland 1

The biggest difference between Poland and Japan is the natural disasters. There are no earthquakes or typhoons in Poland, so the houses are built differently with thick walls, and there are many brick buildings. There is also a lot of space, so the rooms are spacious with high ceilings. Regular houses in Poland are a single story and have big yards. I drew a few pictures to show you. The first is a traditional Polish brick house. In the past houses like this were for the upper class. However, today, many people build houses like this. They are called “Dworek” in Polish. The entrance is an important part of the house.

Poland 2

Like Japan, there are many houses made of wood in Poland. This kind of house is normally found in the countryside. They belong to farmers, but they have more decorations than rich people’s houses. Usually, these decorations resemble natural items. However, they vary depending on the region. The biggest differences can be seen in the doors and windows. There are no sliding doors in Poland, only swinging doors that you push or pull.
The next is furniture. Compared to houses in Japan, Polish houses have more chairs and tables, so it’s very rare for anyone to sit on the floor. Actually, Polish people love furniture, so they buy various items. There is a popular kind of furniture with an interesting name that when directly translated means “a wall made from furniture.” It refers to very large and heavy furniture. It was invented by the Eames brothers from the United States. It’s very big and covers most of the wall. It became popular in Poland in the 70's and remains popular today. Most people have this kind of furniture, but I think it lacks elegance.

Poland 3

Another normal element of Polish houses is the radiator. Radiators are found under most windows. Air conditioners are uncommon.

Japanese and Polish houses are completely different, but the Polish population will increase, and the houses will become smaller, so I came to Japan to solve problems that Japan already deals with. I want to learn about wonderful Japanese furniture and houses through my furniture design studies and take that back with me to Poland to create a new furniture and housing culture in Poland.

3) Introduction of "Japan Alumni Associations"

Czech Network of Alumni and Students of Japanese Schools

About Czech Network of Alumni and Students of Japanese Schools

To facilitate communication and networking among students and alumni who Study or studied at universities and other institutions in Japan.
To share experience with those who are interested in studying in Japan or are about to leave for their studies in Japan.
To promote social networking with the community of Japanese citizens living, working or studying in the Czech Republic.
To promote professional contacts with Japanese companies operating in the Czech Republic and with universities and research institutions in Japan.

Activity contents

Conclude effective relations with a Czech Japanese association, then Japanese classroom、the activity of the introduction of Japanese cultures (Penmanship, tea ceremony etc.), spread Japanese culture.
In the Czech alumni network, we deepen the friendship in hiking etc.,
Others, Japan Film Festival and will have introduce the Japan photo contest.

4) Introduction to Japan Alumni Associations

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Support for International Students Returning Home
  • http://www.mofa.go.jp/policy/culture/people/student/index.html
  • (2) Provision of opportunities to former international students to present results from their studies abroad in Japan at lecture presentations and other events
  • (3) Aid for STUDY IN JAPAN alumni association facilities (offices) via international exchange fund (for STUDY IN JAPAN alumni associations in ASEAN countries)

(Excerpted from Ministry of Foreign Affairs website)

3. Academic News

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

1) Introducing Faculties/Graduate Schools

We introduce various faculties and graduate schools with unique features in Japan

Yamagata University

  • Name: Yamagata University
  • Location:
  • Yamagata Area (Kojirakawa) 1-4-12 Kojirakawa-machi, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
  • Yamagata Area (Iida) 2-2-2 Iida-nishi, Yamagata-shi, Yamagata
  • Yonezawa Area 4-3-16 Jonan, Yonezawa-shi, Yamagata
  • Tsuruoka Aea 1-23 Wakaba-machi, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata
  • Website:
  • http://www.yamagata-u.ac.jp/index.html
  • Current enrollment: 8,915 (as of May 1, 2014)
  • Total foreign students: 202 (as of May 1, 2014)
  • Countries represented: 25 (as of May 1, 2014)

Yamagata University was founded in May 1949 from Yamagata High School, Yamagata Normal School, Yamagata Youth Normal School, Yonezawa Engineering College and Yamagata Prefectural College of Agriculture and Forestry, which were part of the old education system. Since that time, it has grown steadily while responding to the demands of the times. Today there are six faculties and six graduate schools catering to around 9,000 students, making it one of the largest national universities in eastern Japan.

Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences
Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences

The Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences is one of the leading faculties of its kind in eastern Japan. It consists of two departments, namely Human Sciences and Cultural Studies, and Law, Economics and Public Policy, and the aim is to provide a unique and appealing university education that responds to the complex demands of the times. With diverse classes allowing students to study the inseparable topics of humans and society from two sides and small group instruction that develops the abilities of individual students, we turn out graduates with accurate perspectives on culture and society and comprehensive analytical skills that are capable of determined action.

Faculty of Education, Art and Science
Faculty of Education, Art and Science

The Faculty of Education, Art and Science consists of one department, eight courses, and 23 specialized programs. Among the eight courses is the Primary Education course, which equips future elementary school teachers with advanced expertise. The Intercultural Studies, Art, Music, Sports, Food Science and Nutrition, Environment and Space Design, and Systems Science and Information Studies courses each leverage the respective characteristics to train up expert professionals that will vigorously build the regional community and junior high/high school teachers that have specialist knowledge of their subjects and comprehensive practical skills.
The Faculty of Education, Art and Science aims to develop graduates that pursue their own specialties in regional community education and culture creation and tie that knowledge into practical application in order to pave the way for the future.

Faculty of Science
Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science is comprised of five departments: Mathematical Sciences, Physics, Material and Biological Chemistry, Biology, and Earth and Environmental Sciences. We work to understand the structure of the natural world, including mathematical structures and outer space, tracing it back to its origins. This faculty provides a broad perspective and research skills through education and research in the basic fields of natural science. The aim is to develop graduates who possess a sense of responsibility and ethics based on rich humanity along with specialized knowledge of natural science that can be applied to the demands of society with creativity and flexibility.

Faculty of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1973 as one of the Phase 1 schools of the Medical University in Every Prefecture Initiative in the aims of remedying the shortage of physicians in Yamagata, raising the level of regional medicine and, through these things, contributing to the improvement of the lives of prefectural residents and citizens of Japan in general. It is comprised of the two departments of Medicine and Nursing and is engaged in education and research based on the basic principle of “cultivating medical practitioners who have broad perspectives, study, learn, and create on their own, and are capable of developing those skills,” which has been in place since the founding. Since that time, the Department of Medicine has produced many physicians and medical educators and researchers equipped with advanced knowledge and technique, while the Department of Nursing has turned out many nursing personnel and nursing trainers that possess the insight and technique to keep up with advanced medical skills that evolve on a daily basis.

Faculty of Engineering
Faculty of Engineering

The Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1973 as one of the Phase 1 schools of the Medical University in Every Prefecture Initiative in the aims of remedying the shortage of physicians in Yamagata, raising the level of regional medicine and, through these things, contributing to the improvement of the lives of prefectural residents and citizens of Japan in general. It is comprised of the two departments of Medicine and Nursing and is engaged in education and research based on the basic principle of “cultivating medical practitioners who have broad perspectives, study, learn, and create on their own, and are capable of developing those skills,” which has been in place since the founding. Since that time, the Department of Medicine has produced many physicians and medical educators and researchers equipped with advanced knowledge and technique, while the Department of Nursing has turned out many nursing personnel and nursing trainers that possess the insight and technique to keep up with advanced medical skills that evolve on a daily basis.

The Faculty of Engineering has produced many engineers that have served society well with the solid engineering education they received since it was founded in 1910 when it was known as Yonezawa Higher Technical School. It is currently comprised of eight departments, namely Polymer Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and Mechanical Systems Engineering, which have been around since the founding, Biochemical Engineering, which is a field of research that has grown remarkably in recent years, Bio-systems Engineering, which creates systems useful to humans by applying bio-systems, Informatics, which develops human resources that support a computerized society, Electrical Engineering, which forms the basis for all social systems, and Systems Innovation, which offers a flexible program that allows students to freely choose their field of research. We will cultivate human resources capable of identifying and solving problems on their own on the front lines of organic electronics and the world’s other cutting-edge research and development.

Faculty of Agriculture
Faculty of Agriculture

The Faculty of Agriculture consists of one department and six courses. It is primarily engaged in specialized education and research distinctive to each course incorporating much field work and experiments in the areas of safe and reliable production, distribution, and processing of agricultural and livestock products, development and use of functional food materials, maintenance and conservation of a green environment, and regional revitalization.
The faculty aims to develop human resources with comprehensive knowledge of food, life, and the environment that solve various pressing problems of human society in the 21st century centered on human lifestyles and the environments that surround them and engage in the creation of a resource recycling, environmentally friendly society.

Graduate Schools
Graduate School of Social and Cultural Systems
The Graduate School of Social and Cultural Systems is comprised of two departments, namely the Department of Cultural Systems, which studies fields like human science, philosophy, and history, and the Department of Social Systems, which studies various problems faced by the regional and international community and various policy issues. This graduate school aims to develop human resources that have a comprehensive understanding of society and culture as a single system and possess the creative and practical skills to actively tackle and solve the challenges faced by society today. The doors are opened widely to both graduates of the university seeking to further their education and members of the local workforce already playing an active part in society.

Graduate School of Regional Education, Art and Science
The Graduate School of Regional Education, Art and Science was established in 2009 and is comprised of two departments: Clinical Psychology and Art and Culture. The Clinical Psychology program cultivates highly skilled experts that are capable of contributing to emotional care in the fields of education, welfare, medicine, health, corrections, and industry utilizing knowledge and techniques from clinical and other forms of psychology. The Art and Culture program cultivates highly skilled experts that contribute to revitalization in the three areas of musical art, art and design, and sports science. The Graduate School of Regional Education, Art and Science develops human resources that support and take on leadership roles in the growth of the regional community from psychological and cultural standpoints.

Graduate School of Medical Science
The Graduate School of Medical Science (established in 1979 and renamed in 1997) has three doctoral programs, namely Medical Science, Environmental Life Science, and Nursing. The Medical Science program cultivates medical researchers with a broad knowledge of medicine who possess advanced research skills and rich accomplishments in their specialized fields as well as human resources that will take on future leadership roles. The Environmental Life Science program develops leading researchers in medical policy, gene therapy, regenerative medicine, customized medical treatments, genome-based medicine development and other such fields as well as highly specialized medical professionals capable of clinical application. The Nursing program aims to cultivate nursing educators, researchers, and highly specialized professionals capable of logically and systematically explaining phenomena who have the basic skills to promote nursing research as well as highly specialized, research-oriented, independent nursing professionals.

Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Science)
The Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Science) offers five Master’s programs in the same major fields of study as their undergraduate counterparts and a Doctoral program. As scientific technology rapidly progresses and becomes more sophisticated, specialist fields are becoming increasingly fragmented. At the same time, new adjacent and interdisciplinary fields are being cultivated that go beyond conventional academic frameworks, so there has been a major push for integration of scientific technologies. This graduate school aims to cultivate flexible and creative scientists and engineers and equip them with advanced specialist knowledge and skills based on broad basic abilities in order to promote and develop cutting-edge scientific technology in various fields into the future.

Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Engineering)
The Graduate School of Science and Engineering (Engineering) has nine Master’s programs and five Doctoral programs. The educational philosophy of the Master’s program is to expand horizons beyond the undergraduate program, and cultivate deep knowledge with the objective of becoming a graduate school that develops in students the ability to cultivate new fields on their own in response to changes in social conditions and the industrial structure in the 21st century in order to develop human resources that are supported by research and technical skills and advanced expertise in their field. The objective of the Doctoral program is, along with that of the Master’s program, to develop independent human resources with the research and development skills to engage in highly specialized world-class research and education.

Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences
The Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences has three master's programs and six courses: Science of Bioproduction (Safe and Reliable Agricultural Production Course, Management of Food, Agriculture and Environment Course), Science of Bioresource Engineering (Food and Applied Life Sciences Course, Plant and Bioresource Sciences Course), and Science of Bioenvironment (Forest Science Course, Environmental Science and Technology for Water and Land Use Course).
The School aims to cultivate human resources who possess multifaceted and comprehensive abilities of discernment and a sense of balance to deal with various facets and specialties of agricultural science as well as sophisticated professionals who have highly specialized knowledge and skills to respond to the diverse and complex demands of society and the practical ability to engage in creative projects such as research, investigation and development.

Professional School of Education
The exclusive goal of the Professional School of Education is to prime teachers with sophisticated expertise. Graduates not only of the Faculty of Education, Art and Science but also of the Faculty of Literature and Social Science, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Engineering, and others advance to the Professional School of Education. A feature of the School is the integration of theories and practice in close collaboration with local schools. It has four fields: the school capacity development field, which develops school leaders who can invigorate the educational capacity of schools, the learning development field, which develops reliable teachers who are capable of teaching based on learning science, the major subject education enhancement field, which develops teachers who have special expertise and practical skills in the subjects of Japanese, social studies, mathematics, science, and English, and the special needs education field, which develops teachers who have high-level expertise for teaching children with special needs.

United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences
The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences was jointly established by Iwate University (the core university), Yamagata University, Hirosaki University, and Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. It is an independent graduate school for doctoral courses in agricultural science. With biological research of frigid areas as its foundation, the school conducts advanced and interdisciplinary research into biological production science, bioresource science, biological systems in frigid areas, and biological environmental science.
With cooperation from member universities, partner graduate schools, other united graduate schools of agricultural science, and overseas universities, students can study to attain high-level specialized knowledge in agricultural science for frigid areas. The school aims to produce researchers capable of conducting cutting-edge research meeting international standards, university professors who have a keen interest in, and abundant knowledge of, agricultural science, and sophisticated professionals who have the ability to be flexible in researching and solving problems.

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

Kajima Educational Society

  • Program name: Kajima Educational Society Scholarship
  • Summary:
  • International students who are enrolled at a graduate school (master’s course) at a university designated by the Kajima Educational Society, with especially excellent character and academic abilities and who are recognized as qualified by the Society, are eligible.
  • *Application Period:
  • Early April~Early May, 2015
    (Note) Please apply through your university.

13th Japanese Speech Contest (Fuji City)

Organizers: Fujisan Yoshiwara Rotary Club
Fuji Chamber of Commerce & Industry

  • *Eligibility
1 . Foreign residents of Fuji City or neighboring municipalities whose first language is not Japanese (neighboring municipalities: Entries also accepted from Mishima City, Numazu City, Fujinomiya City, Shizuoka City, etc.).
2 . Those who can participate in the final judgment round on Sunday, April 26.
3 . Those who have not won grand prize, first prize or special award (venue award) at previous contests.
  • *Manuscript
  • 2,000 characters or less (speech should be five minutes or less)
  • -Theme is up to participant
  • -Speech must be original and unpublished
  • -May be written in rōmaji
  • -Speeches on politics, religion and other personal thoughts and creeds or that slander specific people or organizations are prohibited.
  • *Awards
  • Grand prize: Certificate and monetary prize of ¥30,000 (one recipient)
  • First prize (category): Certificate and monetary prize of ¥10,000 (one recipient)
  • Children’s award: Certificate and monetary prize of ¥10,000 (one recipient)
  • Venue award: Certificate and monetary prize of ¥10,000 (one recipient) *Popular vote of audience
  • *All applicants will receive a participation prize.
  • *How to enter:
  • Mail or fax your manuscript and entry form to the Fuji International Lounge for Sharing or bring it with you.
  • *Deadline for submission: Friday, March 13, 2015
  • *Time and date of contest: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26, 2015
  • *Venue: Fuji Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • *URL:
  • http://www.fuji-cci.or.jp/groups/kokusai/
  • (In Japanese Only)

3) Scholarships/ Grants/ Invitation Information and Reports

Introduction of “Scholarships”
Scholarship that can be used when you want to study in Japan and application conditions and amount of money or application time is also different, such as application form present before you will come to Japan or after you came to Japan applied.
JASSO has the following 5 list and eligibility of scholarship organizations covering Mechanism, payment, amounts, duration, selection method were summarized in brochure, which we have issued.

List of 5 scholarship organizations following the publications in examine alone, it is very hard to check each scholarship organization by yourself, at that time it is very convenient when you want to apply it.

1 . Scholarship of Japanese government (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology)
2 . Scholarship of JASSO
3 . Scholarship of local government and relevant International Exchange Organization.
4 . Scholarship of Private scholarship Organization.
5 . Travel before the adoption of scholarship.

When you will obtain the pamphlet of scholarships for International students, please
refer the following web site.

4) Academic Societies

  • <Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences>
  • Academy of Clinical Metal-Free Dentistry
  • URL:
  • http://metalfree.net/
  • (In Japanese Only)

5) Japanese Language Test

  • BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test
  • Next test date :Sunday, June 14th, 2015
  • Application period: Sunday, March 1st, 2015 – Saturday, May 9th, 2015
  • *Application at bookstores is available until Thursday, May 7th, 2015
  • J.TEST (Test of Practical Japanese)
  • (In Japanese Only)
  • 119th
  • Test Date: Sunday, March 15th, 2015
  • Deadline: Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
  • 120th
  • Test Date: Sunday, May 17th, 2015
  • Deadline: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

4. Business News

Provide information related to job hunting for current international students and graduates!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

  • [ Object of graduate at the year of 2016 ]
  • <Sites for International Students>
  • Nikkei Shushoku Navi2016
  • “For International Students” (Nikkei Human Resources Inc./ DISCO International, Inc.) (In Japanese Only)

2) Job Hunting Reports from Current International Students

Ms. LI YANYI

Name:Mr. TRINH VAN HOA
Nationality:Vietnam
University in Japan:Shimane University
Major:Department of Architecture and Production Design Engineering
Period of Stay in Japan:7 years
Name of Company:AIKOH Co.,Ltd.
The level of Japanese-Language:JLPT N1

Why did you want to find employment in Japan?
I wanted to increase my specialist knowledge and become familiar with Japanese society.

Why did you choose your current (prospective) employer?
It’s a job I like, and the corporate culture suits me.

What kind of business does the company do, and what things will you be involved in?
At first, I’ll be working on the front lines.

How did you present your strengths to the company?
I said that I take responsibility when I do my job.

When did you start looking for employment?
I started my job hunting activities in October 2013.

How many companies did you apply with?
I applied with five companies.

What specific job hunting activities did you engage in? (What seminars, websites, etc. did you use?)
I took advantage of university and company seminars, university employment guidance, employment seminars and the MyNavi website.

What did you use as a reference for your preparations and company research? What did you find difficult when researching companies?
I researched companies by participating in company information sessions and using the Internet. The thing I struggled with in my company research was analyzing company strengths.

What were you careful about with entry forms and your resume ?
I made sure my Japanese grammar was correct.

What were you careful about in your interviews?
I presented an air of confidence and answered questions clearly.

What kinds of questions were you asked in the interviews?
Why do you want to work in Japan?
Why did you apply with our company?
How many years do you plan on working with us?

What are your ambitions and future plans?
In the future, I want to return to my home country, start my own company, contribute to society and become a bridge between my country and Japan.

What advice would you give people who are thinking of looking for employment in Japan?
Believe in yourself, have dreams and stick with things to the end no matter what kinds of obstacles you face.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

Business Description vs. Job Description

It seems there are some people that read the business description and think that is the job description. The business is what the company as a whole does. It is not your job. For example, the business description may state, “A solutions business providing complete solutions in the ICT field covering everything from development, manufacturing and sales of electronic devices to maintenance services.” That is what everyone in the company does, so your job may be “procuring materials for electronic devices,” “sales engineer in charge of maintenance services,” “new customer sales” or “plant line production.” Visit the employment opportunities page and make sure you fully understand the job openings and descriptions.

Job Openings and Descriptions

Say, for example, it says, “sales position” in the job opening field, and the company is hiring someone for “new customer sales” as mentioned in the example above. You still have not researched the job description. It is important that you understand specifically how new customers are acquired. Are original plans prepared to take to each customer individually, or do you use a product catalog to make your pitch to customers? How do you find prospective customers, and how do you split things up in your approach? Do you go by yourself or as a team? Is there a set flow for the sales pitch, or is it up to the sales rep? What do you sell besides the product (speed, quality, service or other value)? If someone that wants to express their creativity joins a company because they think the job where new customer sales looks interesting, but only find out that there is actually a catalog, and the job is to visit specific customers using a predetermined sales method offering products at a set price, are they going to be disappointed, right? Or, if a person who is proud of how they get around and does not like desk work joins a company based on the words “new customer sales” only to find out that they actually do proposal-based sales and have to prepare proposals, they will end up getting tired of their job. This scenario is not restricted to sales positions. It applies to all jobs: office positions, sales positions, development positions and specialist positions. Even if the job opening information and description is provided, you need to research and work out what kind of action is actually required on the job.

Sayuri Nagao, Work Co., Ltd.
  [Source] Must-read! Real Interviews
by Sayuri Nagao (Hitotsubashi Shoten)

5. Visit Japan

Tochigi Prefecture

Wouldn’t you like to travel and see Japan? Here, we introduce well-known areas, events, and gourmet food in each region of Japan! In the February issue, Tochigi Prefecture is featured.

Nikko Toshogu Shrine

TOKUGAWA Ieyasu- the founding Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the the Edo era, is being worshipped here. National Treasures such as Yomeimon Gate (currently under restoration), Karamon Gate, "Three Wise Monkeys" and "Sleeping Cat" assemble top mastery in carving that will amaze people with superb details and craftsmanship. It has also gained popularity as a Power Spot-spiritual place- in recent years. Audio guides are available in Japanese, Chinese and English.

Nemuri-neko at Nikko Toshogu shrine
Sanzaru at Nikko Toshogu shrine
Nasu Hot Spring
  • Nasu Onsen(hot spa)

With the history of 1,300 years background, there still lives old bathing style in Nasu Onsen. In winter, Nasu will treat you with special experience of "Yuki mi buro", which means enjoying snowy scenery while bathing.

Yunishigawa Onsen Kamakura festival
  • Yunishigawa Onsen Snow Hut Festival

A feature festival in the winder of Yunishigawa Onsen. During day time, enjoy a barbeque or snow viewing inside the snow hut. At night, the magical sight of 1,000 illuminated small snow huts is simply captivating.

Mashiko ware
  • Mashiko Pottery

Began with daily use items such as earthenware pots and bowls, Mashiko Pottery has become the leading folk craft of Tochigi. There are many pottery studios in Mashiko, where visitors can try their hands at using a potter's wheel or pottery decoration. Even beginners can enjoy authentic ceramic art in a relaxed setting.

Strawberry
  • Strawberries

Tochigi has been enjoying the most production volume of strawberries in Japan for 46 years. There are many strawberry farms catered for sightseeing, where visitors can try the all-you-can-eat option or the homemade strawberry ice cream.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) Nippon Time Machine

A snow and ice sculpture from 2012

Snow Event in Hokkaido: The Sapporo Snow Festival

In areas like Hokkaido, Tohoku and Niigata that have a lot of snowfall, there are places that hold snow festivals to exhibit sculptures made of hardened snow and ice. The most famous of these is the Sapporo Snow Festival held every year in Sapporo City, Hokkaido. In 2015, it has been holding February 5-11.

The inaugural event was in 1950. Local junior high and high school students exhibited six snow sculptures. Today more than 200 snow and ice sculptures are exhibited at three locations, namely Odori Park, the Susukino venue, and the Tsudomu venue. It’s a large-scale winter event that attracts almost 2.5 million visitors.

Giant snow and ice sculpture

Every year there are creative snow and ice sculptures of various sizes, but the main one is a giant snow and ice sculpture standing more than seven meters tall, which is built by snow sculpture volunteers from the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and residents of Sapporo City over a period of more than a month. It’s spectacularly impressive and well-sculpted.

There are also various other events held during the festival, including stage performances, skating rinks, and an international snow sculpture contest for teams from overseas. At Odori Park and the Susukino venue, the snow sculptures are illuminated at night, creating a fantastical atmosphere. Since 2013 there has also been projection mapping where images are displayed on the sculptures. At the Tsudomu venue, there are amusement facilities like ice slides and snow mobile courses, so it’s popular with families.

Crab, urchin, and salmon roe on rice

One of the things to look forward to at the Sapporo Snow Festival is the food that you’ll only find in Hokkaido. At the center of Odori Park, the Hokkaido Food Square is set up where you can enjoy choice dishes from all over Hokkaido. Susukino, home of the Susukino venue, is the best restaurant street in all of Hokkaido. After walking around to view the snow sculptures, you can warm your body and fill your stomach.

Around 6,500 five-ton truckloads of snow are brought in from all over the prefecture to make the snow and ice sculptures. After all the effort put in to sculpting them, they are all torn down early the next morning after the festival ends. It’s sad to see the beautiful, carefully built snow and ice sculptures demolished by bulldozers and other equipment and turned into piles of snow, but it’s an impressive scene and gets attention every year because of how interesting it is to watch.

The Sapporo Snow Festival allows visitors to enjoy the best part of winter, but February is the coldest time of the year in Sapporo. The average temperature in early February last year was -5.8°C. You’ll be walking outside for long periods of time to view the snow and ice sculptures, so bundle up well to protect yourself from the cold. Hats, ear muffs and gloves are essential items. The ground is slippery because of the ice, so you’ll also need shoes with good grip.

The Sapporo Snow Festival official website
http://www.snowfes.com/english/index.html

Text: Sonomi Shoji (writer)

2) Lifestyle Information

B Class Gourmet

B Class Gourmet: Cheap and Delicious Food for Ordinary People

In recent years a slightly unusual phrase describing certain dishes has become popular in Japan: B class gourmet. It started with a book published in 1985 that described it as “cheap dishes that are common yet delicious.”

In Japan today, if you pay the price, you can enjoy rare high-grade ingredients, full course meals with fine service in an elegant atmosphere, time-honored traditional cuisine, trendy experimental menus, and cuisine from all over the world. However, it’s not financially practical to eat those fancy foods every day. You also won’t have a chance to relax if you use your meal times in between work and studies for that kind of cuisine.

For daily meals, you want to eat your fill of low-priced dishes. B class gourmet is the name given to dishes that are familiar but stand apart from others in terms of taste and distinctiveness and are appealing even to food connoisseurs.

Tonkatsu

Just what kinds of dishes are called B class gourmet?

-Curry and ramen, which could even be called national dishes. There are many specialty restaurants that serve distinctive items that reflect the preferences of the chef in terms of things like the ingredients, taste, method of preparation, and appearance.
-Rice bowl dishes with toppings on a large, deep bowl of rice. The toppings might be raw, boiled, stir fried or fried. Enjoying a mouthful of somewhat rich-flavored ingredients with hot rice is nothing short of satisfying.
-Flour-based dishes like okonomiyaki (thin, flat pancake containing various ingredients), takoyaki (octopus dumpling), and monjayaki (pancake containing various ingredients, thinner than okonomiyaki). In the past, these familiar dishes were enjoyed by children as a snack. The characteristics such as the flour itself, the toppings cooked with them, and the sauce vary from region to region and restaurant to restaurant.
-Traditional Japanese fast foods like soba, udon and sushi. The traditions have been passed down over many years in each region, so you can try the different taste variations of each locale.
-There are many B class gourmet items from Western cuisine as well, like hamburgers, sandwiches, omelets with rice, and spaghetti.

Okonomiyaki

Why is it that B class gourmet can be inexpensive and delicious at the same time? One of the reasons is the relatively easy preparation methods. However, by cheaply procuring seasonal ingredients that flood the market during the peak period and specialties that are produced or picked locally, restaurants are able to make B class gourmet dishes that are pleasing to common folk in terms of both price and how filling they are.
It could also be fun to go looking for everyone’s favorite B class gourmet dishes that surprise you with how tasty they are for the price, dishes that have flavor that you never get tired of even if you go and eat them frequently, or lucky finds that you want to tell others about.

Text: Shoji Sonomi (writer)

7. JASSO News

Introducing JASSO Scholarship information, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

3) Schedule, etc. for the FY2014 Japan Education Fairs

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In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guide also includes stories on experience of foreign students in Japan.
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8. From the Reader

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[From the Editor]
The weather is still cold. How are you doing?
It was so cold over the weekend that I didn’t leave my home, but going somewhere such as a day trip to a hot spring would be fun.
There are day-trip hot springs throughout Japan, some of which have multiple types of baths. I definitely hope people who have never experienced a rotenburo (open-air bath) will go – it’s warm and feels great!
There are many volcanoes in Japan, so there are hot springs across the nation. Why not find a nearby day-trip hot spring and go have fun?

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