Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 108)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 108 April 10th, 2018

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 108

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

April of Japan

The theme of the April issue is photo introduces April of Japan.

Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi)

Ichigo Daifuku (Strawberry Mochi)

Fukinoto (Butterbur Sprout)

Fukinoto (Butterbur Sprout)

Suisen (Narcissus)

Suisen (Narcissus)

Yozakura (Cherry Blossoms at Night)

Yozakura (Cherry Blossoms at Night)

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

NEWS1: 78 Million Foreign Overnight Travelers, The Highest Number in Japan’s History

The Japan Tourism Agency has announced the results for their survey on overnight travelers in 2017. A total of 78 million foreign travelers stayed overnight in hotels and inns in Japan, a 12.4% increase compared to the previous year. Tokyo came in first in the prefectural breakdown, with 19.03 million travelers, Osaka second with 11.71 million, and Hokkaido third with 7.43 million. Aomori Prefecture saw the greatest increase compared to the previous year, with a 60.3% increase in foreign overnight travelers. Of these travelers, 24% were from China, 16% from Taiwan, and 15% from Korea. Korea saw the greatest increase compared to the previous year, with a 41.2% increase in foreign overnight travelers.

NEWS2: 99.2% of Foreign Exchange Students in Japan Want to Work in Japan

Pasona Inc. conducted a survey on the employment preferences of foreign exchange students currently living in Japan. There are now approximately 1.28 million foreign people working in Japan, the highest recorded number since it became mandatory for employers to notify the government as to the status of their foreign workers. When foreign exchange students were asked how long they wanted to work in Japan, the most common response was “permanently,” at 32.3%, followed by “over 10 years,” at 19.9%. In addition, 99.2% of foreign exchange students responded that they wanted to work in Japan. “To work for a Japanese company” was the most common reason for students to decide to study in Japan, at 35.8%, followed by “Interest in Japanese culture,” at 26.6%.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

3. Academic News

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

Information about Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.

About Scholarships in Japan

The majority of scholarships in Japan only sponsor part of the student’s daily expenses and/or tuition. There are very few scholarships that offer full coverage of all expenses. As such, it is important for you to calculate the total cost of your study in Japan without relying solely on scholarships, and to draft a financing plan that includes self-funding.

There are two types of scholarships with different schedules, from application to the notification of results.
1. Scholarships that ask you to apply and be notified of your results before you come to Japan (limited number)
2. Scholarships that allow you to apply and be notified of your results after you come to Japan and begin your studies
Selection Process: Screening of application form, written exam(s) on general education, specialized fields, language skills, etc., and oral interview(s), etc.
Application Method: Most students will be able to apply through the school they are currently enrolled in. Consult your school’s international student office for details.
* Depending on their type, some scholarships have certain limitations (age, country/region of origin, specific schools in Japan, specific academic fields, etc.)

I. Scholarships to Apply for Before Coming to Japan

Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Scholarship

1. Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students
Eligibility and Amount Given:
Students who have received a high score on the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU), and who will enroll as regular students in a Japanese university, graduate school, junior college, college of technology (year 3 or above), or professional training college: 48,000 yen
Contact: School you will attend (in Japan)

2. Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-Term Study in Japan)
Eligibility and Amount Given:
Foreign exchange students who are coming to Japan under a student exchange agreement, etc., on a short-term basis (from eight days to one year): 80,000 yen
Contact: Your current school

Local government and private organization scholarships
Eligibility and Amount Given: Varies by local government and foundation
Contact: Your respective local government or foundation

Reference website for the scholarships listed above:

* In some countries, your point of contact will be a government agency of your home country

II. Scholarships to Apply for After Coming to Japan

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Scholarship

Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students
Eligibility and Amount Given:
(1) Research students (graduate school level) in Master’s and Doctorate courses: 48,000 yen
(2) Students enrolled in a Japanese university, junior college, international student program, advanced program, college of technology (year 3 or above), professional training college, or teacher training programs: 48,000 yen
(3) Japanese language school students: 30,000 yen
Contact: Your current school (in Japan)

Local government scholarships
Eligibility and Amount Given: Varies according to local government, etc.
Contact: Your respective local government, organization, or your current school (in Japan)

Private organization scholarship
Eligibility and Amount Given: Varies according to private organization
Contact: Your respective foundation or your current school (in Japan)

On-campus scholarships: Tuition fee exemption or waiver system
Eligibility and Amount Given: Varies according to school
Contact: Your current school (in Japan)

Reference website for the scholarships listed above

How to Look for Scholarships

Generally, you can apply for scholarships through the school you will attend (or are attending). Consult the international student office at your school to see what scholarships are available.

Reference website for scholarships offered by local governments and private organizations:

Japanese Language Tests

4. Business News

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

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 Websites for International Students

Job Hunting Information Article

Entry Sheets

In April, you will need to start submitting your entry sheets. Submission of your entry sheet will also be considered your official job application to the company. Companies use entry sheets to get a more detailed understanding of the applicant’s characteristics. They are also used by companies during their selection process, and are thus an important part of getting to the interview stage of the hiring process. Though entry sheets for different companies often have different formats and ask for different things, most require you to give basic information like your name and address, and have space for you to write your “Shibou-douki” (Reason for Applying) and “Jiko-PR” (Self-Promotion).

This entry sheet tends to cause the most trouble for foreign exchange students job-hunting in Japan. In addition to worries about their Japanese writing skills, many foreign exchange students often realize that they are not sure about what they want to write, and how they want to write about it. Bear these points in mind, and make sure to prepare as much as possible.

Things to Remember When Filling Out an Entry Sheet

- Give one answer for each question
In the “Jiko-PR” (Self-Promotion) section of the entry sheet, students will often give multiple answers. For instance, “my strengths include my sense of responsibility, leadership, and strong determination.” Though having many strengths is, of course, a wonderful thing, writing about all of them can be a problem because the “Jiko-PR” (Self-Promotion) requires you to back up each of your points with a specific experience that you have had. Giving multiple answers gives you less space to flesh out each of your points within the character limit. So make sure to give only one answer for each question.

- Focus more on content than writing in fluent Japanese
Foreign exchange students often get so caught up in writing in natural, fluent Japanese that their responses lose all semblance of originality. Companies are not necessary looking for Japanese language skills when they read through entry sheets-they are looking at what is written, not how it is written.

- Provide all the information that companies want
When companies evaluate your entry sheet, they are not just looking at the results you have produced. They are also looking for how you get there-your behavior and thought process.

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 April edition looks at Ibaraki prefecture.

Ibaraki Prefecture

Natto (Fermented Soybeans)

In the Japanese national consciousness, natto (fermented soybeans) is very closely connected to Ibaraki Prefecture. It could even be considered an Ibaraki local specialty. Though the area had produced natto historically, it was not until midway through the Meiji Era (1868–1912), when an entrepreneur in Mito City (where the prefectural office was located) went out of his way to turn it into a local specialty, that Ibaraki became known for its natto. Natto is made by fermenting daizu (soy beans) with a bacteria known as the natto bacteria, and is enjoyed by many Japanese people as a type of health food. It is, however, also known for its strong smell, which drives away some people from regions that are not used to it (like the Kansai area).

Kairakuen Garden

Kairakuen is a famous Japanese-style garden in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture. It is known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, alongside Kenrokuen in Kanazawa, and Korakuen in Okayama. It is the site of the Mito Plum Festival, a famous seasonal event with over 120 years of history, that is held every year from late February to early March. There are approximately 3,000 plum trees of 100 different types in the garden. When spring arrives, they bloom for about a month (from the early blooms to the late blooms) a relatively long time for plum blossoms to be in bloom. Approximately 500,000 tourists visit the park during this festival.

6. NIPPON Information

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

Lifestyle Information


April is when freshly graduated new employees begin working in their new companies. The first thing that new employees are taught is how to greet people. Greetings are considered the bare minimum manners needed to work in any society. In Japan, there is an old saying, “Rei ni hajimari rei ni owaru” (begin with greetings, end with greetings) that says that all human interaction should begin with a greeting (a bow), and end with a greeting.

Bows, along with words of greeting, are essential. However, you should not bow at the same time as you say the words of greeting. The proper way is to say the greeting first, then follow these words by a bow. If you do both at the same time, you will essentially be greeting the ground, which can be considered impolite in its own way. Say the words of greeting (“Shitsurei shimasu”, “Yoroshiku onegai shimasu”, etc.), then bow.

The angle of your bow is also important. There are, generally speaking, three levels of bows: “Eshaku,” which is the most casual; the regular “Chuurei”; and the most polite, “Saikeirei.” The “Eshaku” should be at about a 15-degree angle, relative to when you are standing upright, the “Chuurei” a 30-degree angle, and the “Saikeirei” a 45-degree angle. The “Eshaku” is used when passing by people in the hallway or on the street, “Chuurei” is used after a meeting with a superior, etc., and “Saikeirei” is used for people who are much older, or during ceremonial occasions like weddings and funerals.

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).

2018-2019 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. It also attend and cooperate to the events and seminars sponsored by other organizations.

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 about international students' experience 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 it 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.

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!

Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

JASSO Scholarship Programs

Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”

The April 2018 issue will be published on April 10th. Please make sure to read it!

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 with an opportunity to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

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

What did you think about the April edition of the Japan Alumni eNews?
In Japan, April is a time for new encounters. Students go to new schools and meet new classmates, and adults go to new companies and meet new coworkers. April tests your flexibility and ability to adapt to new environments, but also gives you the joy of new encounters. In this month’s Lifestyle Information, we introduced the topic of “greetings,” which are very important in these new encounters. Though Japan has all kinds of rules with respect to manners, they are all based in the idea of showing respect to others. Instead of trying to memorize each individual, detailed rule, we believe it is more important for you to keep that core idea in mind.

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job searching experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our email magazine. Our next issue of “Japan Alumni eNews” will be distributed on May 10th. Don’t miss it!

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

- Copyright for this online magazine belongs to Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).
- Any copying, redistribution, reprinting, etc., of this material is forbidden.

Follow-up Services Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
  • Address 2-2-1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8630 JAPAN
  • TEL +81-3-5520-6030
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