Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 116 December 10, 2018
- 1. Life in Japan by Photo -- Memories of Japan (Photos from a Reader)
- 2. Alumni News -- News on International Students / Current International Students / Alumni Associations / Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”
- 3. Academic News -- Introducing Universities / Scholarships/Grants/Invitations/Prizes, etc. / Symposium / Academic Societies / Japanese Language Tests
- 4. Business News -- Job Hunting Event Information / Job Hunting Reports / Job Hunting Information Article
- 5. Visit Japan -- Tourism Information of Prefectural and City Governments
- 6. NIPPON Information -- Lifestyle Information / Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government
- 7. JASSO News -- 2018-2019 Study in Japan Fairs / “Student Guide to Japan” / Official Facebook Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices / Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) / JASSO Scholarship Programs / Web Magazine "Ryugakukoryu" / Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program) / Follow-up Research Guidance (Dispatching Research Advisors)
- 8. From the Editor
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)
4. Name of your school in Japan
Memories of Japan (Photos from a Reader)
The December issue’s Life in Japan by Photo feature introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorific title is omitted.)
Nagoya City University
Title: Noritake Garden in Autumn
Title: Purple Sunset
2. Alumni News
Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!
News on International Students
Record Number of Applications for Change of Status of Residence
According to statistics released by the Ministry of Justice on October 10, the number of applications for change of status of residence (necessary for international students to work in Japan) and of approved applications hit a record high in 2017. 27,926 international students submitted these applications with the intent of working in Japan, a 27.5% increase from the previous year, and 22,419 of these were approved, marking a 15.4% increase over the same period. The approval rate however was 80.3%, a slightly lower number compared to the 88.8% in 2016. The greatest number of these students were from China, with 10,326, though there has been a 6.5% decrease from the 11,039 seen in 2016. Vietnam was second, with 4,633 students, and Nepal third, with 2,026. Both of these countries saw significant increases, with an 86.2% and 73.6% increase from the previous year respectively. Regarding the applications that were approved, 20,486 (91.4%) were approved for the “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services” status.
Introduction of Current International Students
University: The University of Tokyo
Major: Department of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Engineering
Year: 2nd year PhD student
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2016 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Beginner
Technological and scientific advancement of Japan has impressed the whole world over the years and I was no exception. I was doing an internship during my final year of Master's programme in India when I got to know about the MEXT scholarship to study in Japan. There are so many great researches and works going on in the Physics field in Japan so I applied to do the higher study here and fortunately, I got accepted into one of the leading research labs in Japan.
The attitude of working so hard irrespective of a person's age, status and position changed the way I see people here. It's so inspiring. Another thing is that before coming here, I thought a huge city like Tokyo would be more chaotic, noisy and disorganized, like any other big city outside Japan, in general. But even with the enormous crowd, everything runs very smoothly here because of good management.
There were many things which impressed me about Japan but to choose three of the main ones are: Honesty, Social etiquettes and Cleanliness. People here are very honest and their behavior and discipline in public places are easily one of the best in the world. And cleanliness is inherent to the lives of Japanese people, that's why all places here are really clean and ordered.
For the students planning to come to Japan, I would like to say that learning Japanese beforehand would really be helpful. Be open to exploring the amazing country while respecting it's culture. And for very specific people with the vegetarian/vegan choice of food, there may not be lots of options outside so be prepared to cook yourself. But, it's getting better over the years.
Currently, I am doing research in Quantum Physics and trying to implement superconductors towards quantum computation, which is one of the very popular fields nowadays. Apart from research, I like riding on my bicycle around the city and traveling to different parts of Japan.
In the future, I would like to make use of my research expertise and skills to contribute towards the scientific community across the world as well as for my native country, India. By developing good relations between India and Japan, I would also like to work towards bringing both countries closer through science.
Nationality: British / French
University: The University of Tokyo
Major: Aeronautics and Astronautics
Year: 2nd year Masters
Period of Stay in Japan: September 2017 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Conversational (N3 level)
List of Japan Alumni Associations
Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home
Fukuoka International Student Support Center (FiSSC)
Established in April 2008 to promote Fukuoka to the world, bring in and cultivate a diverse population of talented international personnel. The institution is operated by a network of universities, local municipalities, economic organizations, and private international exchange organizations. FiSSC provides comprehensive support, from working overseas to bring in international students, to offering international students support in their daily life, student life, and job hunting, and even maintaining networks for students to use after graduation.
Areas of Activity
1. PR / International Student Recruitment
FiSSC hosts information sessions overseas for study abroad experiences in Fukuoka. They also conduct reviews, etc. of universities in Fukuoka with regards to international students studying Japanese within the country.
2. International Student Consultations
FiSSC is open every day from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. (excluding New Year’s holidays), and has English- and Chinese-speaking staff. They provide free consultations to international students, giving them advice as to their study abroad experience, introducing them to part-time jobs, and supporting their job hunting experiences in Japanese companies.
3. Promotion of International Exchange
FiSSC works with the Fukuoka Overseas Students Organization (FOSA) not only to promote social exchange amongst the international students, but also with Japanese students and with the local community as well.
4. Follow-Up Support After Graduation
FiSSC promotes the establishment of networks for former international students who have returned to their home countries, as well as networks to connect former international students that work in Fukuoka with the prefecture itself. So far, they have helped establish associations for former international students in 10 countries/regions, including Japan. Last year, in order to celebrate the institution’s 10-year anniversary, they invited representatives from each of these associations to Japan for an opportunity to connect with current international students. FiSSC will continue to provide regular opportunities for social exchange in the future.
3. Academic News
Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!
Here we introduce you to Japanese universities.
Tokyo International University
Name: Tokyo International University
Campus 1: 1-13-1 Matoba-Kita, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Campus 2: 2509 Matoba, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama
Sakado Campus: 81-1 Yokkaichiba, Sakado, Saitama
Takadanobaba Satellite: 4-23-23, Takadanobaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo (Tokyo International University Takadanobaba Satellite, 3F and 4F)
Number of students: Approximately 6,500 (as of October 15, 2018)
International students: Approximately 1,200 (as of October 15, 2018)
1. University Overview (History, Mission, etc.)
Tokyo International University was founded in 1965 with a focus on business and commerce, and upon earning accreditation from the Ministry of Education (MEXT) the college has grown into a private university that now encompasses five undergraduate schools and four graduate schools. In addition, TIU has been sister schools with Willamette University in Salem Oregon since the beginning, and has also developed deep relationships with other renowned universities across the globe.
Staying consistently true to its educational philosophy of "nurturing truly international-minded people," TIU is constantly expanding its practice-oriented international education. The University boasts a highly international learning environment: of TIU's approximately 6,500 students, roughly 1,200 are international students from over 60 countries around the world.
2. Overview of Majors and Specialized Courses Offered in English
Business Economics Major (Economics Faculty)
Due to the vast array of facets in Business Economics, the major at TIU is separated into six concentration modules. Students will learn the diverse ways of analyzing economic activities that go beyond national boundaries, such as international trade and the flow of capital, while developing the actual skills to assess and determine order for the allocation of scarce resources. In addition, the many components of business will be deeply studied, while utilizing state of the art IT to develop the skills to analyze markets and make the decisions required to build an organization with sound management. Mastery of the concepts found in the two core fields of Business and Economics will provide numerous opportunities in companies, ventures, banks, consulting firms, among other global organizations, as well as a clear path towards an MBA or other advanced degrees.
International Relations Major (International Relations Faculty)
International Relations is a field of study dealing with how nations with varying power, interest, and identity interact with each other in the absence of a global government. The discipline originated in the tragic experience of World War I, in which unprecedented devastation called for a systematic inquiry into the causes of war and conditions for peace. Since then, the range of issues covered in the discipline has expanded to include economic interdependence, international organizations, terrorism, poverty, human rights, and climate change, among others. The skills learned are extremely useful not only in the way students approach their daily lives, but also in their future workplace, be it a multinational firm, government, or international organization. The International Relations major is for students who want to contribute to international societies as global citizens.
IT and Entrepreneurial Business Course Modules (Economics Faculty)
When you are walking downtown along Main Street, you will see many stores and shops lining the sidewalks. The origin of each and every one of these shops came from a dream of the owner before it became the business it is today. Entrepreneurial Business stems from a simple idea. This module has been created after careful observation that many young students aspire to start their own businesses. Courses are comprised of practical class work, case discussions, business simulations, and presentations. Those who lack fundamental skills in mathematics, statistics, and economics also have the opportunity to learn these essential skills. These new concentration modules in TIU’s Business Economics Major allow students plenty of courses to choose from, and to become confident to enter the vibrant world of entrepreneurial business.
Information about Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.
Scholarship for 2019
The Kanbe Foundation provides scholarships to artists who demonstrate exceptional talent and deep interest in the ceramic arts, and who wish to train in, research, and/or study the field of ceramic arts in Japan. The goal of the foundation is to help promote and develop the modern ceramic arts industry through international exchange, and to cultivate international artists.
2. Application Requirements:
- In principle, the scholarship is for individuals having non-Japanese nationality. However, Japanese citizens who live overseas may also apply.
- Age: 18 to 39 years old as of the application deadline.
- Individuals who currently reside, or plan to reside, in Japan and who have, or will have, “Student,” “Trainee,” or “Cultural Activities” Status of Residence. Appropriate visa status must be gained and a copy sent to the Kanbe Foundation by April 26, 2019.
- Individuals must demonstrate through a well-articulated proposal the ability to work and carry out research in the field of ceramics.
- Individuals must secure a place of residence in Japan and register with the local ward office as per Japanese law.
3. Application Method:
Complete the application form and send it by post to the following address, along with all required documents.
The application form, as well as information on application requirements, can be downloaded via the Kanbe Foundation official website.
Documents to be Submitted
- Application form (using the Kanbe Foundation format)
- Research proposal (using the Kanbe Foundation format)
- A portfolio which includes the following A4 size documents:
a) A CV outlining education, work experience, and artistic achievements
b) Photographs of five pieces of work created during the past year (width, depth and height)
- Letter of reference from someone with expertise in ceramic art
- Copy of passport (passport photo page, clear photo)
- Copy of appropriate visa
4. Application Deadline:
Friday, January 11, 2019
5. Scholarship Amount:
Up to 500,000 yen/person
6. Scholarship Period:
April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020
Kanbe Foundation Inc. Office (in MARUWA CO., LTD)
3-83 Minamihonjigahara-cho, Owariasahi City, 488-0044 Aichi Prefecture, Japan
E-mail: info at mark kanbe-zaidan.or.jp
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Information about International Symposium
2019 Yukimirai Symposium in Shinjo
While the fruits of our advancements in science and technology have brought solutions to various aspects of our daily lives, areas with snowfall still struggle with the serious issue of how to handle snowfall in the winter. This symposium aims to promote advancements in research for snow-resistance technologies and the conceptualization of snow as an attraction and resource, and will discuss an attractive vision of the future for such “snow country” areas. The goal is to utilize the accumulated culture and wisdom of our ancestors, and to help people in these regions live more comfortable lives alongside the snow.
Date/Time: Thursday, February 7, 2019 / 1:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M.
Venue: Main Hall, Shinjo Civic Cultural Center (4-67 Horibatamachi, Shinjo-shi, Yamagata Prefecture)
<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>
<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
School: O-HARA Boki Gakko (Accountants’ School)
Major: Business Japanese
Period of Stay in Japan: October 2014 to March 2017
Current Workplace: O-HARA Japanese Language School
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1
I have graduated from two universities in Vietnam, majoring in English translations at the University of Foreign Studies, and in international trading at The University of Economics. There, I had to take a second language class as a compulsory credit. I could choose between French, Thai, Chinese, Spanish, Korean and many more, but I went for Japanese. Unfortunately, though, after graduating I had no opportunity to use my Japanese skills at all in Vietnam.
Still, seeing some of my friends participating in Japanese cultural activities like the Yosakoi Festival (a traditional dance-themed summer event) and others working for Japanese companies made me realize something: I wanted to get better at Japanese and was keen on working in Japan. And this is what drove me to come over and study here.
After arriving in Japan, I got better acquainted with the unique local culture while adapting to the Japanese way of life, and gradually became more serious about finding a job here. Honestly speaking, though, job hunting was a true culture shock: the process was so different from what I experienced in my country.
So here are two pieces of advice I would like to give you based on my job hunting experience in Japan.
First of all, self-analysis will allow you to determine what you want to do. So what’s important when you look for a job is to start by considering what you really want to do, rather than what occupation you want to get. This is particularly true for us students who majored in economics: it’s usually difficult to choose which way to go, so once you’ve found a path you want to follow, choose a job that will enable you to reach your goal. To do so, reflect on what kind of person you want to become, and seriously think about your personality as well as your strengths and weaknesses, then decide what kind of future life you want for yourself. There are many opinions when it comes to the important aspects of job hunting, but here are the two that I’d like to share.
Start by gathering accurate information. As the expression goes: "First come, first served,” so check out news on MYNAVI, Facebook and corporate websites, as well as information from advice from Seniors or Hello Work (Japanese employment service center), seminars/information sessions held by companies, etc. There’s an innumerable amount of sources of information. Then, find things you’re not good at, and start preparing.
Next, you should attend interview sessions carried out by corporations you are interested in as they are great for practicing. They’re an opportunity for you to check on the competition and compare yourself with other applicants. So if you have the opportunity to listen to the other interviewees, pay attention to their answers and learn what you can from them. Then, you have to approach the interview from the interviewers’ eyes and understand what kind of person they are looking for. Many job hunters tend to think that we’re all enemies fighting for the same position and try not to talk each other. But, on the contrary, I would recommend that you make friends and never hesitate to share your respective experiences.
My second piece of advice for job hunting is to never give up! If an interview doesn’t turn out well, don’t take it as a personal rejection: it’s simply a mismatch. When you receive a rejection letter from a company, it just means that you weren’t a match for this or that job. Don’t let it get you down. And, once again, take this opportunity to honestly analyze the reasons why you weren’t a fit for this company, then start looking for a place where you can shine.
If you still face difficulties with job hunting, try reviewing the way you discuss your qualities, there might be a hint to how you can improve your presentation pitch. Try including your strengths that you heard from third parties or friends rather than only relying on your own analysis. Comments by other people are usually objective and persuasive. Then arrange your self-presentation so that it corresponds with the type of person the company is seeking. Every corporation and position requires different types of people, so I’d recommend preparing various profiles to be sure that at least one will meet their expectations. You may want to show only one personality, but preparing a few and choosing the one that will touch the interviewers’ hearts is the most effective approach. Also, if the interview is on location at the company, then study the environment (the characteristics and atmosphere of the place) in advance before taking the interview.
Job Hunting Information Article
Written exams in the job hunting process are used by companies to see whether students possess a certain level of knowledge and academic ability, and whether they have the logical thinking skills, decision-making skills, work efficiency, information processing ability, and accuracy required for that line of work. The results of these exams are used as a supplement to the interview process, or as an efficient way to filter out applicants if there are a large number of applications. Since most written exams are administered in Japanese and require Japanese reading comprehension skills, many international students struggle with this component of the job hunting process. Though the problems themselves tend not to be very difficult, it seems many international students struggle with solving them in the allotted period of time.
There are three different types of written exams: the aptitude test, the general knowledge test, and the short response/essay. The aptitude test, administered by many companies, tests you on your basic academic ability and knowledge (Japanese language, mathematics, English, etc.) and evaluates you on your basic personality, behavioral characteristics, vocational aptitude, and more. The general knowledge test evaluates your basic academic ability and knowledge through questions from a wide range of areas, including Japanese language, mathematics, social studies, science, English, sports, and current events. The short response/essay is used to evaluate students on their logical thinking skills, point of view, creativity, and research ability.
The most commonly administered aptitude test is the SPI3. The SPI3 has two parts: a test to evaluate your basic academic ability in language (Japanese), your non-language competency (mathematics), and a personality test.
It is important that you get used to the questions on these aptitude tests through workbooks (available commercially in stores) and sample problem sets on the Internet. Many international students have particular difficulty with the language problems, so we recommend that you study those especially in advance.
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 December edition looks at Tokyo.
Tokyo Metropolitan Area
Sensoji Temple, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple, is located in Asakusa, and is the oldest temple in the Tokyo metropolitan area. With 30 million visitors every year, it is one of the top tourist attractions even in Tokyo. Spots like Kaminarimon Gate (official name Furaijinmon Gate), a popular photo spot for tourists, and Nakamise, the 250-meter shopping street lined with 89 souvenir shops, restaurants, and food stands that leads to Hozomon Gate, the main gate for Sensoji Temple, are crowded with both domestic and foreign tourists year-round. Sensoji Temple has been popular with worshippers ever since Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period, designated it a place of worship, and provided ample support from the shogunate in order to drive its prosperity. In the Edo Period, there were show tents set up in the corner of the grounds, which eventually became the root of the performance art and entertainment found in Asakusa today, including theatre, rakugo (traditional Japanese comic story-telling), and various shows.
Monjayaki is a Tokyo specialty. It is a popular dish made by dissolving a relatively small amount of flour in water to create a liquid batter, and cooking the batter on a hot iron griddle. The monjayaki is then cut up, and eaten directly from the griddle. There is even a special way to eat these: you take a spatula-shaped tool known as a “kote” or “hagashi,” and use it to press the half-cooked batter onto the griddle while you eat. In fact, the word itself is thought to come from the fact that children used to play with the liquid batter, dripping it onto the griddle to form words, so that it came to be called “monjiyaki” (word pancake), which eventually became “monjayaki.” In the 1940s to 60s, they were sold for cheap in small local candy shops, where children could buy snacks and toys, and the griddle served as a gathering place for many children at the time. In modern Tokyo, monjayaki restaurants are mostly concentrated in the Asakusa and Tsukishima areas, and are popular with both domestic and foreign tourists.
6. NIPPON Information
This section features enjoyable stories about pop culture, traditions, dining, cutting-edge technology, and more!
Recently, winter in Japan has come to be characterized by beautiful illuminations that captivate any who comes across them. Before, these illuminations were mostly Christmas-themed lights and decorations, but nowadays they tend to go on for longer, these begin as early as November, when it still feels like autumn, and can go on even after New Year’s. The practice has also spread from urban areas to more rural areas well, with some municipalities even using illuminations as a part of their local revitalization efforts.
This October, the General Incorporated Association Yakei Convention & Visitors Bureau announced their picks for the “Three Great Kanto Region Illuminations.” This was the second round of certifications, following the first in 2012. The three picks were Ashikaga Flower Park (Tochigi Prefecture), Enoshima Shonan-no-Hoseki (Kanagawa Prefecture), and Sagamiko Illumillion (Kanagawa Prefecture). These facilities were rated highly for their efficient use of LED lights, their use of space, and their shows, which are full of entertainment value, as well as the fact that they appealed to a wide range of age groups, from children to the elderly.
The catalyst behind this sudden influx of large-scale illuminations is actually a technology invented by Japanese scientists, blue LED lights, in a research that was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014, and its subsequent commercialization. Prior to this invention, illuminations had come in the form of small light bulbs and wheat grain light bulbs, which came with a series of issues, including burnouts, excessive power consumption, and harmful effects on trees due to the heat emission from the lights. This made large-scale illuminations very difficult to set up. The advent of cheap yet high-power blue LED lights, however, eliminated these issues, and also allowed for a wide range of color set-ups through various combinations of the three primary colors, paving the way for modern illuminations, with their enormous scale and highly creative set-ups.
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 December 2018 issue will be published on December 10. 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.
New University Listing(s):
University of Yamanashi
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
Yokohama National University
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies
Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
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 December edition of the Japan Alumni eNews?
Time always seems to pass incredibly quickly as soon as you get into December. There are all kinds of things you want to get done before the year is over, and yet the work seems to pile up, and not much seems to get done. So you panic, and before you know it all this time has passed with nothing to show for it... In these kinds of situations, most of us feel as if time is moving too quickly. What about you? Is there anything you want to finish before the year is up? Will you be able to finish it? Perhaps it will be okay even if it goes into next year. Next time you find yourself feeling suffocated, maybe even a little panicked, try to look up at the sky and relax: put things into perspective.
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 January 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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- Any copying, redistribution, reprinting, etc., of this material is forbidden.
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