Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.103)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 103 November 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 103

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.


1 Photo title (15 words or less)
2 Name (katakana and alphabet)
3 Nationality
4 Name of your school in Japan

Landscape of study abroad location

The theme of the November issue is Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorific title is omitted.)

Zeng Tianran (China)
School in Japan: University of Tsukuba

Milky Way over “Hachimantai”

Milky Way over “Hachimantai”

Milky Way over “Semboku”

Milky Way over “Semboku”

Milky Way over “Gozanoishi” Shrine

Milky Way over “Gozanoishi” Shrine

Milky Way over “Sakurajima”

Milky Way over “Sakurajima”

2. Alumni News

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

1) News on International Students

Clarification of Status of Residence of International Students and Others Wishing to Find Employment in Fields Related to “Cool Japan”

In response to increased interest from other countries in Japanese-themed subjects as a result of the promotion of the Cool Japan Strategy for communicating Japan’s attractive qualities to the world, the Ministry of Justice published the thinking behind status of residence eligibility and specific examples related to approval and rejection of applications. This was done from the standpoint of clarifying the status of residence decision process and improving transparency to improve predictability for applicants in cases where international students who came to Japan to study anime, fashion and design, food, etc., wish to stay and work in Japan.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Andrea Mandinka Florendo Asistores

Name: Andrea Mandinka Florendo Asistores
Nationality: Filipino
University: Nanzan University
Major: Policy Studies
Academic Year: 3rd year
Period of Stay in Japan: March 2015 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2

I have liked Japanese anime and J-pop since I was a child, and that made me want to study Japanese. After I graduated from university in my home country, I began job hunting while studying Japanese at a Japanese language school called the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture. There I learned about the Nanzan University scholarship. I had wanted to study Japanese ever since I was a university student, and I felt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I applied. I had also received an unofficial job offer from a company at the same time, so it was a difficult decision, but I followed my dreams and came to Japan in 2015.

When I first came to Japan, the first place I went was the restroom at the airport, and that left me a deep impression. There are more buttons on Japanese toilets than ones you see elsewhere, and the lid came up automatically. I was impressed by how high-tech the toilets were.

I’m currently in the Department of Policy Studies at Nanzan University. When people hear “policy studies,” they tend to think it’s a lot of classes related to politics, but we study various fields. There are three pillars in the Department of Policy Studies: environmental policy, public policy, and international policy. I’m studying the approach on how to make improvements when analyzing a particular policy based on knowledge in each field.

My favorite place in Japan is Dotonbori in Osaka. There’s plenty of food wherever you go, and that’s highly satisfying for someone like me who likes to eat (haha). Then at night, it’s fun to walk in the lively atmosphere while looking at the neon “Glico Man” sign.

When I talk with Japanese students, I can understand what they are saying, but I sometimes feel frustrated because I can’t get my point across well. I have a bit of advice for those who experience the same frustration. First, picture yourself as a baby. At first, you listen to other people talk and try to get an idea of what those words mean. By using those words and phrases you hear for the first time in your next conversation, your communication skills will rapidly improve. If you repeat that process daily and study patiently, you will eventually be able to speak Japanese naturally.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

Tokushima University International Student Alumni Association

There are chapters of the Tokushima University International Student Alumni Association in the home countries of international students who have graduated from or completed their program at the university and former foreign researchers.
Currently, there are chapters in six countries: China, South Korea, Mongolia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. Additionally, there is an international student alumni association recommendation program for accepting outstanding international students, and it provides support such as exemption from examination fees and admission fees, and scholarships.
Tokushima University also invites former international students who have returned home to work to provide lectures at an annual symposium for promoting international development.

3. Academic News

Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!

1) Introduction of Faculties/Graduate Schools

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

Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT)

Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT)

University Profile (as of May 1, 2017)
Name: Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT)
Address: 1-1 Hibarigaoka, Tempaku-cho, Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture
Number of students: 1,162(Undergraduate),928 (Graduate)
International students: 79(Undergraduate),95(Graduate)

1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)

The mission of Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) is to conduct research and education in technological science, developing new technologies through scientific inquiry. Based on this mission, TUT targets new graduates from technical colleges and high schools for enrollment. TUT carries out research in technological science with an emphasis on postgraduate study, fostering the new generation of engineers who will find practical solutions to the challenges of tomorrow. While focusing on science, TUT nevertheless emphasizes the importance of social context. Accordingly TUT strives to promote social diversity and works to enhance collaboration with the local community. Through these efforts, TUT strives to be a top-class engineering university that is open to the world.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

TUT has established an integrated undergraduate and postgraduate education and the capacity for students in the undergraduate program and the graduate school's master's program are almost the same. Additionally, there are enough faculties to meet the needs of postgraduate education, so the student-faculty ratio is considerably smaller when compared to other universities, which allows TUT offering highly intensive and productive small-group instruction.
In the "International Degree Program" established within the graduate school, students can obtain master's degrees and doctoral degree in English language only. Japanese students can also attend the English courses.

3. Efforts to Support International Students (Living Support, Residence Scholarships and Reduced or Free Tuition)

TUT students may apply for tuition exemption or postponement of payment. Application should be submitted separately for each of the Spring and Fall semesters. Submitted applications will be reviewed by the university, then exemptions of all or half of the tuition fee for the spring or fall semester might be awarded accordingly.
Privately-financed international students are eligible to apply for scholarships from various private organizations through the university.

4. Other Efforts to Support International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)

Center for International Relations (CIR) provides a variety of support for international students at TUT. This support starts with Japanese language training, which we offer in order to help them achieve their academic goals as well as gain a better appreciation of Japanese society and culture. Additionally students can come to CIR for support and guidance regarding job-hunting in Japan, or for any challenges they may face in their daily life and studies. CIR holds an event called “International Exchange Day” for purpose of encouraging active international exchange among international students and Japanese students.

Scenery of Toyohashi University of Technology campus

Research Scenery of Toyohashi University of Technology

Students of Toyohashi University of Technology

2) Application Information for Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.

Shikohin Study Project

Program name
12th Research Award (Research Grant)

1. Eligibility
1. Cultural research with the theme of “Shikohin”: luxury (non-essential and discretionary) grocery items in various times and regions. Research covering only pharmaceutical, medical or nutritional standpoints is not eligible.
*Luxury grocery item refers to items consumed not for nutritional value but for enjoyment. Typical examples are alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, and tea, but we believe that even items that are not normally considered luxury items can be so if they fulfill a similar role.
2. Individual research. The research can also be accompanied by overseas research.
3. Students who belonged to a Japanese graduate school at the time the research was begun.
*Including international students. Those planning to continue their studies at a graduate school the next school year or who are on a leave of absence or overseas may also apply.
4. Attach a letter of recommendation from your advisor at your graduate school to your application.

2. Overview
The Shikohin Study Project is a study group started by interested parties in 2001 to study the luxury grocery item culture. Using luxury grocery items as a starting point, we hope to explore the world of various pleasures. Since 2006, we have been providing research grants to support the research of young researchers with an interest in the state of luxury grocery items and their possibilities for the purpose of promoting next-generation research on luxury grocery item culture.

3. Application deadline
Must be received by Monday, December 25, 2017

4. Amount of grant
600,000 yen per grant

5. How to apply
1. Download and use the application form from the study project website
2. Fill out the required items on the application form in Japanese using a computer or a ballpoint pen and mail it together with a letter of recommendation from your advisor at your graduate school. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for notification of selection results. Applications are not accepted in person or by e-mail or fax.

6. Contact
Shikohin Study Project Secretariat, Research Promotions Office
83 Tomoe-cho, Ebisugawadori Muromachi Higashi-iru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City 604-0863 (Inside CDI) TEL: 075-253-0660
FAX: 075-253-0661
E-mail: shikohin@cdij.org

Kanbe Foundation Inc.

Program name
Kanbe Foundation Scholarship for 2018

1. Objectives
In the history of ceramics, there has been a strong connection between Japan and various other countries in the transmission of tools and technology.
The Kanbe Foundation has established a scholarship for overseas ceramic artists with a strong desire to train, study, and learn about ceramics in Japan for the purpose of training global artists to spread and advance the modern ceramics industry through international exchange.

2. Applicant eligibility
*Must satisfy the conditions below.
I. In principle, applicants should be of a nationality other than Japanese. (Japanese people who work overseas may also apply.)
II. Must be between 18 and 39 years of age as of the application deadline.
III. Those who are in Japan on a student, trainee or cultural activities visa for research or studies or who are planning to come to Japan and can obtain a student, trainee or cultural activities visa by April 27, 2018.
The latter must submit a copy of the visa immediately upon obtaining it.
IV. The field is ceramics, and the required items must be filled out clearly on the documents to be submitted, including the designated training, study and learning application form, and designated research plan form.
V. Those whose acceptance with their residence and facility for training, study, and learning in Japan is certain.

3. Number of grants to be provided, amount, and period
I. Number of recipients
1 or 2 people
II. Amount
Up to 500,000 yen per person
III. Period
Training, studies, learning, etc., to be performed between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

4. Application procedures
I. How to obtain application form
Download the application procedures and form from the foundation’s website.
II. How to apply
Fill in the required items on the designated application form and mail the documents to be submitted to the foundation. Each applicant may submit one application per year.

5. Application deadline
Must be received by Friday, January 12, 2018

6. Contact for application
Kanbe Foundation Inc. Office
3-83 Minami-honjigahara-cho, Owari-asahi City, Aichi 488-0044 (Inside MARUWA Co., Ltd. Headquarters)
TEL: 0561-51-0841
FAX: 0561-51-0845
E-mail: info@kanbe-zaidan.or.jp

3) Information about International Symposium

Yuki Mirai Symposium

In snowy areas all over the country, there are various efforts underway, including snow removal, development of hardware and software technologies for overcoming the snow, and efforts to actively utilize snow as a resource. At the same time, however, population decline and aging of society are serious problems.
The symposium will be held in Toyama this year. It has a dynamic topography with a 4,000-meter difference in elevation, from the 3,000-meter-high Tateyama Mountain Range to the 1,000-meter-deep Toyama Bay. Surrounded by a beautiful and bountiful natural environment, there are precious natural resources and scenery where plant and animal life has thrived since the Ice Age.
On the other hand, residents have wrestled with and attempted to coexist with a harsh natural environment that includes dangerous terrain susceptible to landslides, rivers which tend to flood such as the well-known Kurobe-gawa and Joganji-gawa Rivers, cold winters, and snow accumulation. The “Yukimirai Symposium” will provide the opportunity to rediscover the “warmth of winter” through efforts in various fields within the snow country of Toyama and disseminate proposals for further refining the “charm of the snow country.”

Date & time: 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, 2018 (provisional)
Location: Second-Floor Hall, Toyama-ken Kenmin Kaikan (Toyama Prefectural Civic Centre) (4-18 Shinsogawa, Toyama City, Toyama)

4) Academic Societies

<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commercial Science, Management>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences>

5) Japanese Language Tests

4.Business News

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

1) Job Hunting Event Information

The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources is launched in 2015, as a collaborative effort of related government ministries and agencies, and other relevant organizations. The Program seeks to increase employment of international students in Japan, and hence increase the number of highly skilled international professionals in the future, following the recent trend in policy that includes the 2014 revision of “Japan Revitalization Strategy – Japan is Back” (approved by the Cabinet on June 24th, 2014). The ultimate aim is to vitalize the Japanese economy further and enhance Japan’s presence in the global economy.
Through seminars, events and other activities, the Program will strengthen the system of connecting international students and other foreign nationals looking for employment in Japan, with companies in Japan looking to recruit international employees.

Events for International Student

Useful Web Site for International Students

2) Job Hunting Report

TrZhe Lei

Name: Zhe Lei
Nationality: Chinese
University in Japan: Waseda University Graduate School
Major: Information, Production and Systems
Period of study in Japan: September 2011 to September 2013
Name of Company: Konica Minolta, Inc.
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

When I graduated from university in China, I decided to study abroad because I wanted to see the world and experience different cultures. I researched overseas universities and decided to study in Japan because the atmosphere at Japanese universities was nice, there were scholarships, and there were plenty of part-time jobs for students.

The reason I decided to job hunt in Japan was that I felt everyone has an equal opportunity here, and if you have the skills, you can find a job. Also, for an international student, I found the big companies to have an appealing global atmosphere since people here understand English.

I currently work at Konica Minolta. It has sales companies all over the world, and the business model varies depending on the country, so I always get to experience new things. My job includes learning our technologies, providing training to our employees, the employees of sales companies and vendors, providing after-sales support for our solutions, and providing support for technical marketing plans to support sales companies.

I found two job hunting measures to be effective. The first is information sharing. It’s better to engage in job hunting activities together with classmates and friends rather than on your own. The reason is that you can share information and get advice from each other. The second is talking with former students. You can get basic information on companies at job fairs and the like, but you can’t learn about specific job details or career paths just by going to such events, so it’s good to get advice from former students of the university who work at a particular company to gain a deeper understanding of the company.

There are three things to be careful about when interviewing for a job. The first is basic etiquette. As long as you observe basic etiquette, you shouldn’t have any problems at the interview. The second is that Japan has a unique culture of bowing and greetings, but it’s okay if you don’t have it all down pat as a foreigner. The third is to relax and smile during your interview. Also, make sure that you are on time. Those who don’t give up will be successful, so do your best!

3) Job Hunting Information Article

Industry and company research is an important part of preparing for job hunting. By researching industries and companies, you can find out which industries and companies interest you and would be the best fit for you.

When researching industries, 1. look into what kind of industries are out there, 2. choose the industry that interests you and look into the characteristics and what kind of companies are in it, and 3. look into industries that are peripheral to (have dealings with) the one you are interested in. For example, in the case of the cosmetics industry, there are many companies within the industry. In addition to manufacturers that make cosmetics, there is a related wholesale industry that imports raw materials and distributes products to stores. Moreover, as for peripheral industries, you can work together with various industries, such as the retail industry, including drug stores and convenience stores that sell cosmetics, the distribution industry that distributes the cosmetics to retailers, the advertising industry that lets the public know about the cosmetics, and the IT industry that enables online sales.

When researching companies, 4. choose a company that interests you in the industry you researched, 5. look into what products and services they offer, who their customers are (who they sell their products to), what their strengths and characteristics are, what kind of people work for them, the atmosphere in the workplace, etc., and 6. look into competitor companies in the same way.

By learning a lot about a single industry and company as well as looking into peripheral industries and related companies, you will gain deeper knowledge. The important thing when job hunting is to know the other party (the company) and narrow down your strategy according to the other party.

See the following resource for a detailed explanation on industry and company research:

5. Visit Japan

Have you been travelling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events, and foods from all over the country! The November edition looks at Miyagi prefecture.

Miyagi prefecture

Courtesy of Miyagi prefecture's tourism division

Katanuma is a lake formed in a former crater (crater lake) and is thought to have appeared about 1,200 years ago. It is one of the few acidic lakes in the world, and there are no fish in it. There is a sidewalk around the lake, and you can walk it in about 40 minutes. The color of the lake changes depending on the season and weather. It can be blue, emerald green or white.

Courtesy of Miyagi prefecture's tourism division

Matsushima consists of more than 260 islands in and around Matsushima Bay in Miyagi. It has some of the most scenic views in Japan and is one of the three most famous scenic places in Japan along with “Miyajima” in Hiroshima and “Amanohashidate” in Kyoto. Matsushima is an archipelago (an expanse of water with many scattered islands). The ria coastline, formed by mountains and valleys becoming submerged due to rising sea levels, has become further submerged, and sea water entering drowned valleys has left mountain peaks as islands.

Grilled beef tongue
Courtesy of Miyagi prefecture's tourism division

It is said that grilled beef tongue “Gyutan” first became popular when a cook living in Sendai grilled beef tongue, which had been used in Western-influenced cooking, with salt according to Japanese taste preferences in 1948 after the war. There are many restaurants specializing in grilled beef tongue in Sendai. Beef tongue is a good source of protein and is low in fat. At grilled beef tongue restaurants in Sendai, the standard offering is a beef tongue set meal consisting of beef tongue, pickled vegetables, steamed rice with pressed barley, oxtail soup and grated yam.

Ogatsu ink stones
Courtesy of Miyagi prefecture's tourism division

Ink stones “Suzuri” are a tool for grinding ink cakes “Sumi”. It is said that ink stones were already being produced in Ishinomaki City by around 1396. The more than 600-year history and tradition continues to this day. Ogatsu ink stones are made from hard black slate, which features homogeneous grain structure and a glossy appearance, making it well-suited for use as an ink stone.

Sendai Tanabata Festival
Courtesy of Miyagi prefecture's tourism division

The “Tanabata Festival” is an ancient custom, and the Sendai Tanabata Festival was already being celebrated during the time of feudal lord Date Masamune (17th century). The Sendai Tanabata Festival is one of three famous festivals in Tohoku region and is a summer tradition with its decorations made of Japanese paper and bamboo. More than 3,000 bamboo decorations, including streamers and decorative paper balls, make an arch throughout Sendai City.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine

First “Kogarashi” (Northerly Wind)

Kogarashi is another name for northerly wind. It is a seasonal word referring to a wind so cold that it causes the leaves to wither and fall off trees. This wind is a harbinger of winter.
The first kogarashi is a strong northerly wind that comes around the time that winter begins each year. The Japan Meteorological Agency established standards for the term in 1979 and only announces the wind in the Kanto and Kinki regions.

Strictly speaking, the first kogarashi blows in the Kanto region between mid-October and end of November and in the Kinki region between late October and late December when there is a high-pressure area to the west and a low-pressure area to the east. The Japan Meteorological Agency’s definition refers to winds with a maximum velocity of at least 8 meters per second from north-northeast to west-northwest in Kanto and from north to west-northwest in Kinki. Incidentally, in the case of kogarashi, there is no second or third as there is with typhoons.

When the first kogarashi blows, it means winter is near, so it’s time to start preparing for the cold. When the seasons change, it’s easier to catch a cold, so be prepared for the winter with thick coats and heaters to maintain your physical health.

2) Lifestyle Information

Open for Professionals

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry set up the “Open for Professionals” portal website to strengthen public relations aimed at drawing highly skilled foreign human resources.
With the cooperation of related agencies, the site publishes information needed by skilled foreign human resources already looking for or considering looking for employment in Japan, including the living environment in Japan and immigration control policies. The information will be expanded and updated over time.

3) Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government

Providing public relations materials regarding Japan including culture and sport.

7. JASSO News

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

1) Schedule, etc. for 2017 Study in Japan Fairs

JASSO holds Study in Japan 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 international 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.

You can read in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language and Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.

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”

The November 2017 issue will be published on November 10th. Please make sure to read it!

7) 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) Follow-up Research Guidance (Dispatching Research Advisors)

This program provides Japanese academic advisors with an opportunity to visit and to help further research of former international students who are teaching and/or researching at universities or research institutes in their home countries.

8. From the Editor

How did you find the November edition of Japan Alumni eNews?
November is a time when the weather grows colder, including the arrival of northerly winds. According to the Japanese calendar, winter begins in early November.
In this month’s “NIPPON Time Machine”, we covered the first “kogarashi” northerly wind. This is a weather term that you will see often in televised and online weather forecasts during this time of year. When the first kogarashi blows, it’s time to start preparing for the cold. Prepare for the winter early to maintain your physical health.

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 December 8th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.
Follow-up Services Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
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