Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 115)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 115 November 9, 2018

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 115

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

November of Japan

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



Roasted Sweet Potato

Roasted Sweet Potato



Tori-no-Ichi Festival

Tori-no-Ichi Festival

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

International version of the Japanese College and University Portraits website published

The National Institution for Academic Degrees and Quality Enhancement of Higher Education (NIAD-QE) published the international version of the Japanese College and University Portraits website on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. The website publishes education-related information about Japanese national, prefectural, and other public universities in English. Japanese College and University Portraits provides official education-related information about these universities in a common format, through a specialized website. The Japanese version of this website, which utilizes a shared database for all of these universities, was published in 2015 to publicize and promote education-related information about national, prefectural, and other public universities. The information published is always the latest and very reliable, since it is provided by the universities themselves. The categories of information to be published in the international version of the website (the categories of information that universities need to provide to foreign students looking to study abroad in Japan) was selected by a group of specialists, including affiliates of foreign universities. We hope you can use this website if you wish to study abroad at a Japanese university. Information about private universities is to be added in the future.

Introduction of Current International Students

Cheah Joe Yee

Name: Cheah Joe Yee
Nationality: Malaysia
University: Musashino University
Major: Global Business
Year: 3rd year
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2016 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2

Japan, the land of the rising sun; the country where I have been staying for more than two years, ever since I started my undergraduate study here. I never thought of studying in Japan when I was in high school or even during my college years, but the Global Business course which is conducted in English by my university sparked my interest to study here. I am interested in the courses that the school offered and studying abroad was always on my to do list in life. Therefore, I made the decision to challenge myself and came here for my degree.

Japan is a very clean, efficient and fast paced country, especially in Tokyo (the capital of Japan), where all the business hubs are located. I am really impressed by the efficiency of the public transport system here because of their punctuality and also efficiency. There is no need to worry about transportation problems if you are living in Japan as there are trains, buses, and bullet trains which are always on time. The public transport system is very convenient and anybody can easily commute from one place to another without having their own car.

Studying in Japan is something that I consider as one of the turning points in my life. Hence, I would encourage more people to study and learn the culture here. However, it will be better and nicer if you could try to learn the language upon the arrival in Japan. Japanese language is an interesting language with a mix of hiragana, katakana and kanji. Hence, learning and picking up the language can help us understand the culture and people better as we can communicate with them more easily.

I am currently a third year student studying Global Business and I wish to find a job related to finance or marketing in the future upon my graduation. I like meeting people and communicating with others, hence I hope to be able to find and do what I like after I graduate.

Angela Lustre

Name: Angela Lustre
Nationality: Filipino
University: Musashino University
Major: Global Business
Year: 3rd year
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2016 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3
In 2014, I participated as part of the Philippine delegation sent to Japan to observe and experience its culture and industries. There, I realized that Japan is an extraordinary country because of its discipline, work ethics and state-of-the-art techniques. Hence, I decided to study Global Business in Japan two years later to learn more about how Japanese companies are working their way to achieve global standards.

After coming to Japan, the Japanese gave me an impression of being cold whenever I was commuting. However, this changed when I participated in several homestay programs. The Japanese were completely the opposite of what I thought them to be. Even though I was a stranger to them, my host families welcomed me with both arms open and showed only kindness and warmth. From then on, I have actively participated in cultural activities to learn more about the Japanese culture and in exchange, share my own roots.

Currently, I am acting as a cultural Ambassador of Matsudo City as a Philippine representative. Participating in cultural events makes my stay in Japan worthwhile and lessens my homesickness. In the future, I would like to work in Japan or in a Japanese company in other parts of the world to practice what I have learned inside and outside of school. As I am studying Global Business, I can use my multicultural background to become a productive member of the society. After gaining experience and knowledge, I want to go back to my roots in the Philippines and establish a humane and compassionate, yet competitive, company.

My advice to students who want to study in Japan is to not get scared about cultural differences because they are what makes every country interesting. Instead, try studying about the Japanese culture beforehand to prevent culture shock.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home

Confederation of International Student Associations in Japan

The Confederation of International Student Associations in Japan (CISA) supports every country’s student associations in a variety of ways, including providing venues for meetings and events, and getting them in contact with companies for their job fairs. The organization is also a part of the Kanagawa International Fan Club, a project by Kanagawa Prefecture, and assists in the operation of KANAFAN STATION, an international student activity hub located in front of Yokohama Station.

CISA also works actively to provide opportunities for international students to work with companies and develop their skills. These have included giving international students the opportunity to research and propose ideas, from their unique perspective as international students, for the operation and content of TRUNK Hotel, which opened in Shibuya in 2017, as well as a project in which international students wrote articles and created content for Fuji Television Network’s online media business.

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.

Hokkaido University

Sapporo Agricultural College Farm No. 2

University Profile
Name: Hokkaido University
Sapporo Campus: Nishi 5, Kita 8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Hakodate Campus: 3-1-1 Minatocho, Hakodate, Hokkaido
Number of students: Undergraduate: 11,346 / Graduate School: 6,339 / Undergraduate Research Students, etc.: 587 / Graduate School Research Students, etc.: 247 / Research Institute Students: 86 (as of May 1, 2018)
International students: Undergraduate: 159 / Graduate School: 1,435 / Research Students, etc.: 507 (as of May 1, 2018)

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

Hokkaido University began in 1876 as Sapporo Agricultural College, the first higher-education institute to offer a Bachelor’s degree in Japan. It then became Hokkaido Imperial University, one of the seven imperial universities in Japan, then Hokkaido University, which it still is today. Throughout its long history, Hokkaido University has held as its philosophies “Frontier Spirit,” “Global Perspectives,” “All-Round Education,” and “Practical Learning,” and worked to cultivate these in its students. With 12 undergraduate schools and 21 graduate schools, Hokkaido University encompasses almost all fields in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, and is one of Japan’s leading national universities, where students can learn high-level professional knowledge from some of the top researchers in Japan and in the world.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

Hokkaido University established the Modern Japanese Studies Program in 2015 and the Integrated Science Program (ISP) in 2017, both as undergraduate programs aimed towards international students. The Modern Japanese Studies Program is a bilingual Bachelor’s program unique in its combination of Japanese studies and the study of various areas related to modern Japanese society, including literature, education, law, politics, and economics. ISP is a Bachelor’s and Master’s program, taught in English, that aims to train science students who can succeed at an international level. The graduate school also offers seven English-taught courses in the sciences.

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

Hokkaido University has seven single-use, couples-use, and family-use dormitories for international students. The university also offers its own scholarships, including the “President’s Fellowship,” which is awarded to distinguished students from foreign universities that have student exchange agreements with Hokkaido University, and the “Special Grant Program for Self-Supported International Students,” which provides full exemption from tuition for distinguished students coming into one of the university’s doctoral programs. There is also a tuition fee waiver system that provides a 100%, 50%, or 25% tuition exemption for high-performing students in regular programs having trouble paying tuition due to financial difficulties.

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

Japanese language and Japanese culture students

Hokkaido University provides various kinds of support for international students so that they are able to live comfortably, including the “Supporter System,” a buddy program that helps jump-start the lives of international students in Japan, and the “International Student Support Desk,” which answers any questions these students may have about everyday life. The Career Center offers guidance on entry sheets and job interviews for international students who wish to work in Japan. Hokkaido University also hosts a variety of events related to international exchange, and is home to about 50 non-athletic and 60 athletic clubs. Many international students are actively involved in these clubs, where they enjoy a lot of interaction with Japanese students and more.

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

Toka Kyoiku Bunka Koryu Zaidan

Project Name
Scholarship for Self-Financed Chinese International Students
1. Objective:
Toka Kyoiku Bunka Koryu Zaidan provides scholarships and grants in order to encourage student exchange between Japan and China. It is the foundation’s hope that these scholarships and grants will contribute to the advancement of mutual understanding and friendly relations between the countries of Japan and China.
2. Application Requirements:
Applicants must be self-financed Chinese international students (including students from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau) who, as of April 1, 2019, are 3rd year undergraduate students or above at a Japanese university, or who are students in or about to enter a Japanese graduate school, and who are deemed to require financial assistance as an international student, physically healthy, and academically distinguished.
3. Application Method:
Submit the following documents via postal mail.
(1) Application form
(2) Recommendation letter by an academic advisor (must be sealed by the recommender; Japanese only)
(3) Questionnaire
(4) Research proposal
(5) One of the following:
(a) If an undergraduate/graduate school student at time of application: Certificate of enrollment
(b) If entering graduate school in April 2019: Copy of letter of acceptance
(6) Academic transcript
(7) Copy of a residence certificate provided by a municipal office, or a clear and legible copy of your residence card (one or the other)
(8) A copy of your passport
(9) If you have taken the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, Examination for Japanese University Admission, etc.: A copy of a certificate proving your score for the applicable test
(10) A self-addressed envelope
Download documents (1) to (3) on the official Toka Kyoiku Bunka Koryu Zaidan website.

4. Application Deadline:
Tuesday, November 20, 2018 (as indicated by the postmark on the envelope)
Only accepted via postal mail
5. Scholarship Amount:
100,000 yen per month
6. Scholarship Duration:
1 year, from April 2019 to March 2020 (Repeat provision OK)
7. Contact:
Toka Kyoiku Bunka Koryu Zaidan
8-2-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
TEL: 03-3571-7613
FAX: 03-3572-5943
E-mail: info at mark donghua.or.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail.

Information about International Symposium

NINJAL Symposium “Data-Based Japanese Language Research”

As an international research hub for Japanese language, linguistics, and Japanese language education, the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics works with both domestic and foreign universities, research institutes, etc., to advance a variety of joint research projects. In addition to showcasing the results of these research projects, the symposium will also go over the combination and integration of various areas of Japanese language research, as well as the creation of new areas of research, under the theme, “Data-Based Japanese Language Research.”

- Saturday, December 15, 2018 / 1:00 P.M. to 5:35 P.M.
- Sunday, December 16, 2018 / 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Venue: 8F Hall/9F Meeting Rooms, Tokyo Shoken Kaikan (1-5-8 Nihonbashi-Kayabacho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo)

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

Suhee Kim

Name: Suhee Kim
Nationality: South Korea
University: The University of Tokyo Graduate School
Major: Architecture
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2009 to March 2015
Current Workplace: Mitsubishi Chemical Engineering Corporation
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

Reason for deciding to study in Japan
I was extremely interested in the advanced education and research held in Japan. I was particularly interested in earthquake-resistant design for architecture. So I decided to study abroad in Japan in order to learn about the technological capability of this earthquake-prone country. Upon applying and being accepted for a scholarship operated by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, I immediately decided to head to Japan.

Reason why I decided to search for employment in Japan
In addition to the six years that I spent conducting research at graduate school in Japan, I wanted to gain experience as a working professional at a Japanese corporation in order to formulate a future career path. I hope to work as a global professional, and I saw an opportunity to fulfill my dream by working at a Japanese corporation which is expanding overseas.

Message to younger students who will conduct job hunting activities in Japan
Job hunting activities in Japan are difficult for foreigners due to the language barrier and the strong influence of unique Japanese culture. However, in many cases, when hiring new employees, Japanese corporations focus on future potential instead of current techniques and skills. Therefore, it is important to confidently and actively express your potential.

Future aspirations
I want to produce results in my current work and continue to embrace new challenges. Also, I want to perform in a way which will contribute to opportunities for women working in the engineering and architecture industries.

Areas of job hunting activities to treat with the greatest importance and focus
I believe that the most important aspect of job hunting is self-analysis. By thoroughly analyzing why you are searching for employment, what kind of work you want do, and your goals for the future, you will be able to discuss your strong points during interviews and to write a convincing reason for applying. This will make a good impression on corporations.

Important points of job hunting
When job hunting, it is important to understand Japanese corporations. I recommend starting your preparation early. For example, speaking with older students who are currently corporate employees will enable you to approach job hunting with a flexible stance.

Job Hunting Information Article

Preparation for Job Hunting (Researching Industries and Companies)

One of the most important things you have to do to prepare for job hunting is to research industries and companies. Doing this research gives you an idea of what kind of industries and companies you are interested in, and which ones would be a good fit for you. Choosing which companies you want to apply to at an early stage will also allow you to research what kinds of written exams these companies have given in the past, what questions they asked in the entry sheet and interviews, etc., so that you can come up with a strategy for the job hunting process.

When researching industries, you should (1) see which industries you are interested in, (2) choose an industry you are interested in and research its characteristics as well as the companies in the industry, and (3) research the industries that are “near” (do business with) your chosen industry. For instance, the cosmetics industry is home to many companies, from the manufacturers that actually produce the cosmetics to wholesale businesses that import the raw materials, supply the products to stores, and more. Industries that are “near” the cosmetics industry would be the retail industry (the drug stores and convenience stores that sell the cosmetics), the distribution industry (which transports the cosmetics to retail stores), the advertising industry (which markets the cosmetics to the public), the IT industry (cosmetics that are sold online), etc. Doing this kind of research gives you an understanding of how a job in a certain industry would require working with a variety of other industries.

When you research companies, you should (4) choose a company you are interested in from your chosen industry, (5) research what kind of products and services they provide, who their customers/clients are, their strengths and characteristics, the kind of people that work in that company, the workplace atmosphere, etc., and (6) research the company’s competitors.

The most important thing in job hunting is to get to know the companies you are dealing with, and develop strategies based on the characteristics of each company.

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 Miyazaki prefecture.

Miyazaki Prefecture

Takachiho Gorge

  • Takachiho Gorge
Takachiho Gorge is a beautiful gorge located in Takachiho Town, Nishiusui-gun, Miyazaki Prefecture, that has been designated a scenic spot and a natural monument by the Japanese government. The gorge was created when Mt. Aso, one of the world’s largest active volcanoes, located to the northwest of the gorge, erupted: once 120,000 years ago and another time 90,000 years ago. The pyroclastic flow from the eruption solidified along the Gokase River, which flows through the northern part of Miyazaki Prefecture, to form a cliff 7 kilometers in length, 100 meters at its highest, and with an average height of 80 meters. Hop onto a rental boat and you will be able to get right down to the base of Manai Waterfall, which if you look up will astound you with its immense scale, with the water falling a total of 17 meters. All throughout the year, it displays a mystical beauty that goes hand in hand with the myth that its water is provided by the gods, from the heavens

Miyazaki Jidori Chicken

  • Miyazaki Jidori Chicken (Brand Chicken)
The people of Miyazaki Prefecture have long been involved in the livestock business, and in the keeping of cows, pigs, and chickens. This is due to the prefecture’s temperature climate, suited for keeping livestock, as well as an agriculture based on non-paddy field farming, which produces crops suited for animal feed. The poultry business is particularly active, with Miyazaki Prefecture No. 1 when it comes to the number of chickens kept in the prefecture (as of February 2018). In addition to the broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat), they are also famous for their Jidori and other brand chickens. Unlike broiler chickens, which are shipped out around 40 to 50 days after they are born, Jidori chickens are shipped out after a period of 4 to 5 months. The meat, which is soft with a good amount of firmness and umami flavor, is very popular in Japan, and is used in charcoal-grilled chicken dishes and chicken nanban (deep-fried chicken with sweetened vinegar) dishes. There are also other brand chickens (chicken raised for meat with longer rearing periods as compared to broiler chickens, or that are given higher-quality feeding, etc.) raised in various areas of the prefecture, and shipped throughout Japan

6. NIPPON Information

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

Lifestyle Information

Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three)

Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Three)

Shichi-Go-San is an annual event in Japan in which people go to shrines and temples to pray for the growth and well-being of their children. In November of the year their child turns three, five, or seven years old, parents and children go together to visit the nearest shrine or temple, dressed in traditional formal wear, to celebrate the growth of their child, and to express their gratitude for the child’s well-being. The ages that are celebrated differ based on gender: typically, the celebration for girls is at three and seven years old, and the celebration for boys at five years old (there are exceptions, however).

In the Kanto region, which is said to be where Shichi-Go-San originated, there was a ritual until the Edo Period called the “kamioki,” in which three-year old children, who up until then were required to have their heads shaven, were allowed to grow out their hair. Though this mainly applied to girls, there are some regions in which it applied to boys as well. There was also a ritual called the “hakamagi,” in which boys, once they reached five years old, would begin wearing the same traditional Japanese wear as adult men. When girls reached seven years old, they went through an “obitoki,” which, like the “hakamagi” for boys, was when girls would be dressed in the same traditional Japanese wear as adult women. At the time, these three rituals were conducted separately. It was in the Edo Period that they were combined into one event, the Shichi-Go-San, and celebrated together.

Nowadays, Shichi-Go-San is celebrated in a more diverse way, in all kinds of wear and in all kinds of methods, not limited by the conventions of the past. For instance, a family might go to a photo studio to take family photos instead of going to a shrine or a temple, or they may allow the child to choose the clothes they want to wear (Western clothing like a princess dress, etc.) instead of the traditional wear. The way it is celebrated now is very different from the ritual it used to be. Even the day of the shrine/temple visits, which used to be November 15 on the traditional lunar calendar, became November 15 on the solar calendar after the Meiji Era, and has now become whatever day suits the family best in November.

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.

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 November 2018 issue will be published on November 12. 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.
Currently accepting applications for the 2019 program. (Application Deadline: Friday, November 30, 2018)

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.

Currently accepting applications for the 2019 program. (Application Deadline: Friday, November 30, 2018)

New University Listing(s):
Nagoya University

8. From the Editor

What did you think about the November edition of the Japan Alumni eNews?
In Japan, we have many events that celebrate the growth and well-being of children. For instance, there is the Oshichiya (a celebration on a child’s seventh day since they were born), the Omiyamairi (an event in which you visit a shrine when your child is one month old), the Okuizome (a celebration on the 100th day since a child was born), and the Hatsuzekku (a celebration of a child’s first traditional rite of passage, either Children’s Day or Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day). And in addition, we have the Shichi-Go-San, which was featured in our “Lifestyle Information” section. The last of these events is Coming-of-Age Day (a celebration of when a child turns 20 years old), when the child becomes an adult. Raising a child is a tremendous amount of work. For this reason as well, these celebrations, which come at the turning points of a child’s life, are filled with a special kind of joy. These are customs that we hope will stick around forever in Japan.

The Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for people 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 December 10. Don’t miss it!

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

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