Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 110)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 110 June 8, 2018

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 110

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Learn about life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to receiving 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

June of Japan

The theme of the June issue is photos that show June in Japan.




Teru Teru Bozu (Talisman to Bring Good Weather)

YOSAKOI Soran Festival

YOSAKOI Soran Festival

Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival

Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Festival

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

Extending an Invitation to High School Students Studying Japanese in Asia

AFS Japan announced this April that they will host the “Kakehashi program in Japan,” a new program that aims to invite high school students learning Japanese in Asia to Japan. This program had its start in Prime Minister Abe’s June 2017 speech at the International Conference on the Future of Asia, in which he stated, “We will provide opportunities for Asian high school students studying Japanese to live in Japan for ten months. This will be at a scale of 1,000 students over the next five years.” Following his statement, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) incorporated the program into the 2018 budget. This year, AFS Japan plans to welcome approximately 100 students to stay in Japan for six months, starting in August.

Introduction of Former International Students

Han Mingjun

Name: Han Mingjun
Nationality: Chinese
University: Takasaki City University of Economics Graduate School
Major: Regional Policy
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2014 to March 2016 (Privately Financed)
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

I was born in a small town in China, and I remember seeing what the world looked like on TV, and really wanting to visit Japan. After graduating high school, I started studying Japanese to fulfill my vague dream of going abroad. After four years in university, I decided to study abroad in Japan.

When I moved to Japan and started living by myself in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture, I was nervous but excited. I remember going to the supermarket and being amazed at how everything was sold individually wrapped. The packaging does feel kind of wasteful, but it’s also very convenient. I was surprised every day by little things like elementary school students wearing shorts in the dead of winter, salarymen audibly slurping their ramen noodles, and I made so many new discoveries. My study abroad experience was never boring, with every day bringing a fresh new set of experiences.

My professors were very kind to me in the two years I was at the Takasaki City University of Economics, and exposed me to so much Japanese culture. For example, I participated in a festival for a region struggling with a declining birth rate, carried the mikoshi (a portable shrine) with the local residents, and was able to liven up the festival. I also went to an elementary school in a village, spoke about my own experiences, and taught the students there about Chinese culture and the brilliance of knowing about other cultures. These are experiences I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.

Now I’m back in China and work for a Japanese company. I sometimes look back on the good food I ate in Japan, and I feel so nostalgic about it. The experiences I had studying and working part-time in my two years in Japan are still useful to me, even now.

My advice to the people coming after me is to study gairaigo (borrowed words of foreign origin that are used in Japanese). The number of these words is increasing rapidly with the globalization of business and the interactions between different cultures. Studying gairaigo now will help you when you arrive in Japan, and even after you begin working.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

3. Academic News

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

Introduction of Faculties/Graduate Schools

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

Public University Corporation Tokyo Metropolitan University

Tokyo Metropolitan University

University Profile
Name: Tokyo Metropolitan University
Minami-Osawa Campus: 1-1 Minami-Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-0397
Hino Campus: 6-6 Asahigaoka, Hino-shi, Tokyo 191-0065
Arakawa Campus: 7-2-10 Higashi-Ogu, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo 116-8551
Number of students: Undergraduate: 6,900 / Non-Degree Graduate Students: 10 / Graduate School: 2,260 (as of May 1, 2017)
International students: Undergraduate: 67 / Graduate School: 301 / Research Students: 109 (as of May 1, 2017)

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

Tokyo Metropolitan University was established in April 2005, through the reorganization and consolidation of four metropolitan colleges—Tokyo Metropolitan University (which moved from Meguro City to Minami-Osawa in 1991), the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Technology, the Tokyo Metropolitan University of Health Sciences, and Tokyo Metropolitan College. As the only university established under the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Tokyo Metropolitan University’s mission is the pursuit of an ideal image of society in a major city. Its philosophy is to focus on research that utilizes knowledge from wide-ranging fields and deeply specialized academic studies, as well as to work with educational research institutes, industry, etc., towards research achievements based on its status as an institution in a major city, and to nurture students with a rich sense of humanity and creativity in order to improve upon and contribute to the development of human society.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

Group photo taken on-campus

Tokyo Metropolitan University is currently engaged in efforts to internationalize its education, research, and campus, as well as preparing English versions of specialized subjects for international students, in addition to the Japanese language and culture subjects. In the Department of Biological Sciences, it is already possible to acquire all the credits required to graduate in English. The Tokyo Human Resources Fund for City Diplomacy is also accepting talented international students for graduate programs (master’s and doctorate) in various Asian countries, sister cities of Tokyo, etc. In 2017, the university established a Global Education Program, through which it has worked to train future global leaders with international perspectives, in addition to the high-level professional skills of their majors.

3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support and Tuition Reduction)

In addition to the on-campus student dorms, Tokyo Metropolitan University offers two sets of accommodations for international students: the ReENT tamadaira and Global House Chofu. At both of these accommodations, international students live alongside resident advisors (mainly Japanese students), strengthening their Japanese language skills and coming into contact with a diverse set of values. The goal is to nurture individuals with international perspectives, and contribute to the development of a more global region and university. High-performing students can also be exempted from half or all of their tuition fee, and the university has a system that allows payments in installments for those unable to make the one-time tuition payments every semester.

4. Other Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)

For three years in a row, Tokyo Metropolitan University has been chosen by the Nihon-Ryugaku Awards as the “School Most Recommended for International Students by Japanese Language Instructors”. In addition to its research facilities, the university also offers scholarships, social events that encourage interaction between Japanese and international students, Japanese language classes, and other support systems for international students, as well as academic writing classes and a tutoring system. The university also provides support for job hunting, with workshops on writing resumes and entry sheets, as well as Japanese etiquette and interview tips. There is also a bi-annual international student seminar (in the form of a domestic getaway), as well as “HANDs,” a club that encourages socialization amongst Japanese and international students.

Group photo wearing kimonos

Commemorative photo at Nikko

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

The Foundation for the Advancement of Life & Insurance Around the world (FALIA)


1. Overview :
The Foundation for the Advancement of Life & Insurance Around the world is holding an essay competition for international students in areas where life insurance systems are developing. Through the competition, the foundation hopes many countries will gain more interest in finance and insurance systems, and take some steps forward toward the achievement of our vision.

2. Prizes :
1st Prize: 500,000 yen (awarded to one essay)
2nd Prize: 300,000 yen (awarded to one essay)
3rd Prize: 100,000 yen (awarded to several essays)
Effort Award: 50,000 yen (awarded to several essays)

3. Applicant Eligibility :
(1) Must be an undergraduate or a graduate international student living in Japan whose status of residence is “College Student.”
(2) As a general rule, a contestant must be a national of a country that sends participants to FALIA seminars.
Countries which have sent participants to FALIA include Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and so on.
*For more details, please refer to the FALIA website or inquire directly.
(3) Must still be a student at the time of the award ceremony and must be able to attend it. (The award ceremony is scheduled in January, 2019. We will announce the finalized schedule later on our website.)

4. Theme :
(1) Any topic that is relevant to life insurance
*We expect that many students who study insurance schemes or even those who are unfamiliar with insurance will challenge themselves to enter this competition with their rich imaginations and free ideas. We accept a wide variety of viewpoints and methodological approaches when it comes to the essays.
(2) Language: Japanese or English essays that have not been published previously.

5. Application Deadline:
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 1:00 P.M.

6. Contact :
Address: Essay Competition Group, The Foundation for the Advancement of Life & Insurance Around the world (FALIA)
401 BELISTA Tower Higashi-Totsuka
91-1 Kawakami-cho, Totsuka-ku, 244-0805 Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa
TEL: 045-827-2671
E-mail: essay at mark falia.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail to us.

Information about International Symposium

12th Symposium on Disaster Mitigation of Cultural Heritage and Historical Cities

Challenges in protecting cultural heritage sites and historical cities from natural and man-made disasters still require immediate attention and ideas for their resolution. This year, the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University will once again host the "Symposium on Disaster Mitigation of Cultural Heritage and Historical Cities" and hold debates pertaining to disaster mitigation for cultural heritage sites and historical cities.
*The symposium will be conducted in Japanese.

Date/Time: Saturday, July 14, 2018, 9:30 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. (tentative)
Location: Ritsumeikan University, Kinugasa Campus (tentative)

Academic Societies

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

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commerce, Business>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy>

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 was 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 24, 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 Students

Useful Websites for International Students

Job Hunting Report

NP Kandel

Name: NP Kandel
Nationality: Nepal
University: Kyorin University
Major: Department of Policy Studies, Faculty of General Policy Studies
Period of Stay in Japan: October 2005 to March 2011
Current Workplace: UNIBIRD Inc.
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1, BJT Business Japanese Proficiency Test J1

I decided to study abroad in Japan when I met a Japanese person in Nepal, and realized I liked the way Japanese people thought. I did research on Japan, thought I wanted to study economics and business in Japan, a country that had gone through such high-level growth in a short period of time, and decided to go to Japan.

I wanted to work in Japan because the way Japanese companies operate and the way Japanese people work is so different from elsewhere, and I wanted to work with Japanese people to find out more about what makes Japan great. Specifically, I wanted to experience more of the team mentality of Japan (the relative lack of emphasis on individual achievement, the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” way of thinking) as well as the carefully designed and detailed systems that make up companies in Japan. In the future, I wanted to start a company that would take the good from foreign companies and Japanese companies respectively, so I decided to work in Japan.

I think there are three things that are important in job hunting.

1. Gathering Information
There’s all kinds of information out there, whether it be news about Japan or other countries, trends in Japanese companies, current events, etc. I think the people who are able to get naitei (job offers) in a relatively short period of time are people who are skilled at knowing what to research. I started job hunting in December and by March I still wasn’t getting any of the information I needed. I reset my mindset, started over in April, and by the beginning of May had a naitei.

2. Planning Skills and Decisiveness
My greatest issue as a foreigner doing job hunting was time. It’s very difficult to balance studying, part-time jobs, and job hunting. If you don’t plan properly, you end up prioritizing your part-time jobs. That’s why I set a goal to apply to 15 companies a month, made a plan so I could get this done, and put it into action.

3. Keeping Up Motivation
When you get rejected from ten, twenty Japanese companies and they don’t tell you why you’ve been rejected, you’ll want to give up and go home to your country. To prepare myself for moments like this, I wrote down why I wanted to work in Japan in a notebook, so that I could look through it and reevaluate when I was upset. This helped keep my motivation up.

I only realized the importance of these three things after my struggles job hunting, but they are things you should be aware of from the very beginning.

During my job hunt, I messed up more in the interview stage than in the actual application/documents stage, and I remember interviewing with almost 50 companies. At the beginning I had no idea why I was getting rejected, but over time I started to understand the differences between interviews with HR, high-level managers, and the president, and I started trying to adjust my answers to the interviewers’ responses or facial expressions, give more succinct, efficient answers, and make more eye contact. I think once I started working on these things, I started passing twice as many interviews as before.

My message to the people coming after me is this: dive into job hunting only after having really thought about why you want to work in Japan, and what you want to contribute to society, Japan, and your own country. Try not to rely on vague reasons like “I just like Japan,” “I just want to be in Japan,” “I don’t really care where I am.” Make sure you’re able to talk confidently about your plans and goals for the future before you start job hunting, and the companies you interview for will think more highly of you.

My dream is to build a school in my own country in the future. I’ve even set a plan that goes all the way until the day I die. I’ve presumed that I’ll die on my 75th birthday, on December 26, 2085, and I live every day thinking about the kind of impact I want to have on the world until that day. So far, I’ve been able to achieve all of the dreams I’ve set.
I encourage all of you to create a detailed career plan as well, as dreams are very important to keep up motivation and to succeed in the future.

Job Hunting Information Article


In June, Japanese companies begin their screening process for new hires. In Japan, most companies conduct at least three interviews. Make sure you prepare in advance, with an understanding of the different types of interviews and the things to watch out for, before you go into an interview.

- Types of Interviews

The types of interviews include group discussions, group interviews, and individual interviews. In group discussions, you will discuss a designated theme with a group of about four to six people. In these interviews, the interviewer watches from a distance and evaluates you objectively. The point of these interviews is to see how you behave in a group. In group interviews, multiple candidates are interviewed at once. These are similar to individual interviews, but you have less time to answer the questions, and interviewers will often compare you with the other candidates in the group.

-Things to Remember for Interviews

1. Your Appearance/First Impression
Companies will evaluate you on whether you have adequate manners, whether your clothing is clean and looks professional, your attitude, and whether or not you would fit the company’s atmosphere. Make sure to prepare and practice beforehand so that your facial expressions, appearance (clothing/hairstyle), demeanor (behavior/posture), and the way you talk (pronunciation/what you talk about) are ready in time for your interviews.

2. Communication
Different companies will evaluate you differently on your communication skills. What is important, first and foremost, is to be able to communicate smoothly with the interviewer. However, you may be nervous, and not be able to speak as you normally do. Make sure to practice through mock interviews, etc., so you can keep up a smooth conversation. Interviews, unlike entry sheets, do not give you much time to think about the questions before you give an answer. As such, the most important thing in interviews is be able to gain a firm understanding of the questions, and be able to respond to them in accurate, meaningful ways.

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 June edition looks at Saitama prefecture.

Saitama Prefecture

Nagatoro River White Water Rafting

Nagatoro River White Water Rafting

Located upstream of the Arakawa River that runs through Tokyo, and located in Nagatoro Town, Chichibu District, Saitama Prefecture, is Nagatoro Valley, 6 kilometers long and famous for its iwadatami (rock sheets) and “line kudari” (white-water rafting). The iwadatami (rock sheets) are rare sights, and as their name suggests in Japanese, are comprised of crystalline schists (thin, slate-like, fragile rocks) protruding from the ground near the river bank, lined one after the other like tatami mats (traditional Japanese flooring). The boats used for white-water fating are traditional Japanese wooden boats, guided by two boatmen on either end, each with a pole. This “line kudari” experience offers both the thrill of going down the rapids, as well as the calming, languid experience of the boat moving slowly through still water, and is an extremely popular activity year-round.

Koedo Kawagoe

Koedo Kawagoe

Kawagoe City in Saitama Prefecture, within an hour’s distance from the center of Tokyo, is known as “Koedo,” meaning “Little Edo,” and is famous for its townscape full of historical buildings. Famous tourist attractions include the Toki no Kane (Bell of Time) and Kashiya Yokocho (Penny Candy Alley). The Toki no Kane, which stands at a height of approximately 16 meters and is considered a symbol of Kawagoe, was built 400 years ago and has survived multiple hardships, with the current bell being the fourth one in its history. Shops also sell desserts made with sweet potato, a local specialty, so you can go around Kawagoe with your eyes and stomach sated.

6. NIPPON Information

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

Lifestyle Information



In Japan, June marks the beginning of tsuyu (the rainy season), with its long, continuous rains. During this season, you should take an umbrella with you just in case, even if it is not raining when you go out in the morning. Many people in Tokyo will choose between taking a full-sized umbrella and a folding umbrella depending on the kind of rain that day. Though it is considered absolutely normal for Japanese people to take out their umbrellas out as soon as it starts raining, foreigners often see it as a distinctly Japanese behavior. In fact, Western movies will often show scenes of Japanese people walking in the rain, all carrying umbrellas. Even for Japanese people, the idea that Japan’s most major city is so closely associated with rain is something very interesting to think about.

In the U.S. and Europe, many people do not take out their umbrella for drizzle or light rain. This may be because their climates tend to be drier than that of Japan, and their rainy seasons shorter. It may also be because their raincoats and rain hats are more advanced than those in Japan. One theory purports that Japanese people have a tendency to dislike getting wet, and in response to their high-temperature, high-humidity environment, tend to avoid wearing raincoats as they cause chafing, and that this has encouraged the use of umbrellas in Japan over time.

In the past thirty years, more and more Japanese people have begun using cheap vinyl umbrellas, and gone are the days when people would use and treasure their one umbrella over a long period of time. The advent of vinyl umbrellas, however, has also led to an increase in the number of forgotten umbrellas, with broken vinyl umbrellas often found abandoned on the road after hurricanes. Modern vinyl umbrellas are made to be sturdy, and with the proper care, can last almost as long as a regular umbrella. Just because they are cheap does not mean they should be forgotten in public places, or abandoned on the road.

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 programs, Study in Japan Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

2018-2019 Study in Japan Fairs

JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) holds Study in Japan Fairs overseas for high school and university students who wish to study in Japan. It also participates in and assists with events and company briefing sessions held by other organizations.

  • Study in Japan Fair 2018 (Taiwan)
    Kaohsiung: Saturday, July 21, 2018
    Taipei: Sunday, July 22, 2018

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' experiences 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, 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 June 2018 issue will be published on June 11th. 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 June edition of the Japan Alumni eNews?
June, in the traditional Japanese calendar, is known as the month of “nyubai,” a term made of two Chinese characters which together mean “entering tsuyu (the rainy season).” The tsuyu, when particularly long, can have it raining on and off until August, so your umbrella will be an absolute necessity in the upcoming days. As such, this month’s “Lifestyle Information” section focused on the theme of umbrellas. Though umbrellas are oft-used and very important in Japanese society, we have also heard there are many foreign countries where they do not use umbrellas nearly as often. Many people tend to shut themselves in during the tsuyu season, but we encourage you to go out and be active on rainy days, perhaps with a colorful umbrella. Maybe you’ll discover something you wouldn’t otherwise have discovered.

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job hunting experience. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our e-mail magazine. Our next issue of Japan Alumni eNews will be distributed on July 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
  • FAX +81-3-5520-6031
  • E-mail alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
  • Please convert "at mark" to @ when you send an e-mail to us.