Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 121)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 121 May 10, 2019

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 121

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 characters or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
3. Nationality
4. Name of your school in Japan

May of Japan

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

Koinobori (Carp Streamer)

Koinobori (Carp Streamer)

Bamboo Shoot

Bamboo Shoot

Skipjack Tuna

Skipjack Tuna

Skunk Cabbage

Skunk Cabbage

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

NEWS: 1st Assembly of Councils for the Recruitment of Foreign Personnel

On March 26, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held the 1st assembly for companies looking to employ foreign personnel, in the run-up to the Revised Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, which came into force in April and is expected to lead to a growing influx of foreign personnel. The assembly began with the establishment of a council for companies in the manufacturing industry. There were also explanations by the Ministry of Justice as to the proper flow for recruiting foreigners under the Specified Skills visa, which companies and organizations in the field of industrial machinery manufacturing discussed case studies of how foreign personnel had been utilized in the manufacturing industry. The assembly also involved discussions as to skills trainings, wage levels, and the integration of foreign personnel with Japanese personnel.

Study Abroad Testimonial

Huyn Thi Thao

Name: Huyn Thi Thao
Nationality: Vietnam
University: Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin University
Major: Department of Contemporary Communications
Year: 2nd year
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2015 to March 2019
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2

My first “encounter” with Japan was when my roommate from university, who had been studying Japanese, showed me how to write hiragana. As soon as she wrote the Japanese hiragana for “a,” I remember thinking to myself, “What a cute, interesting character.” Even before that, I’d often been told that I “looked Japanese,” and so I started wondering what Japanese people were like, and become so interested that I started studying Japanese for real. My family was by no means wealthy, and seeing as I was the only one amongst my siblings who’d even been able to go to junior college, I didn’t feel like I could come out and say I wanted to study abroad. Luckily, however, I was able to receive financial support from a Japanese person, and realize my dream of studying abroad in Japan.

In Japan, I spent my time very busy with my studies and my part-time jobs. I was able to meet a lot of people and experience all kinds of things, and I think I was able to really grow as a person. Looking back, I see that my understanding of interpersonal relations, my knowledge, and my level of patience in life was awful (embarrassing, really) before my time in Japan. This is kind of an extreme way to phrase it, but for me, my time studying abroad in Japan was sort of like military training at times. Other times, however, when I’d be hiking Mt. Fuji, marveling at the cherry blossoms and fall foliage, skiing and going to the hot springs, going to festivals, and more, I thought of Japan as heaven on Earth: such a unique place, with such a distinctive beauty. The Japanese mentality and its emphasis on modesty also left a very strong impression on me, and is something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

At the end of this semester*, I’ll graduate Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin College, and begin working for Charm Ltd., which is headquartered in Aomori Prefecture. After a remarkably long one-year training process, I’ll be sent out to the Vietnam Branch, where I’ll work mainly in trade, acting as a bridge between Japan and Vietnam.

I’ll also continue studying for my other dream, which is to become a Japanese language instructor. My goal is to teach as many people as possible, not just the language, but also the culture, the traditions, the etiquette, and everything else that amazed and inspired me about Japan.

My message to those looking to study abroad is this: no matter how you may feel now, try first to get used to and love the Japanese language, and when you do go, try to make as many good memories as possible. I hope all of you get to truly enjoy your study abroad experiences in Japan.

*At the time of writing, she was still a student.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home

Okayama University International Alumni Association (OUIAA)

The Okayama University International Alumni Association is comprised of former international students of Okayama University, faculty of foreign nationalities, etc. Branches of this alumni association have been established in countries throughout the world, in order to strengthen alumni’s connections to Okayama University, as well as their networks with one another. These branches drive student exchange programs and interactions amongst university faculties, and deepen alumni ties to their alma mater. As of April 2019, there are 55 branches (including 7 Communication Bases) in 28 countries. If you are an alumnus of Okayama University, please feel free to contact the OUIAA Secretariat with your comments/questions.

OUIAA Secretariat (International Affairs Department, Okayama University)
ouiaa “@” adm.okayama-u.ac.jp
*Please convert "at mark" to "@" when you send an e-mail.
TEL: +81-86-251-7039
FAX: +81-86-252-5022

3. Academic News

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

Introducing Universities

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

HOSEI University

Ichigaya Campus with cherry blossoms in full bloom

University Profile (as of May 1, 2018)
Name: HOSEI University
Ichigaya Campus: 2-17-1 Fujimi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Tama Campus: 4342 Aihara-machi, Machida-shi, Tokyo
Koganei Campus: Kajino-cho 3-7-2, Koganei-shi, Tokyo
Number of Students: Undergraduate: 29,034 / Graduate School: 1,775
International Students: Undergraduate: 649 / Graduate School: 323

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

International students spectating the Tokyo Big6 Baseball League

HOSEI University, established in 1880 as the Tokyo School of Law, is a Japanese university with a long and storied history. It was the first private university in Japan to establish faculties of law and social sciences, and the second to establish a Faculty of Business Administration. The university accepted 1,403 international students in 2018, as part of the Top Global University Project, and boasts 244 partner universities in 42 countries and regions (as of February 2019). The university is comprised of 15 faculties, 38 departments, 15 graduate schools, and 2 professional schools, and also offers English-based degree programs, meaning prospective students have a wide variety of programs to choose from.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

A particularly distinctive program at HOSEI University is the Sustainability Co-creation Programme (SCOPE), one of the English-based degree programs.

What SCOPE Offers
What is a sustainable society, and how do we create such a society? These are questions for which there are no clear answers. The purpose of SCOPE is to cultivate “glocal” (global + local) personnel capable of leading the way towards a sustainable society from both a local and global perspective. The issues we face in order to maintain a peaceful and plentiful society have been mounting: global environmental issues, unrelenting growth of the world’s population, the globalization of finance and consumer behavior, the politics and religion-based conflicts ever-present in certain areas of the world. Now is the time to take action, and build a new model for a sustainable society. Before students can work together towards this goal, however, they must understand how these issues relate to one another, and cultivate the critical thinking skills necessary to come up with solutions. SCOPE, with its research and community service efforts, as well as its focus on experiential learning, aims to do just that, driving practical solutions for a sustainable future.

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

Tuition Reduction Scholarship
Eligible undergraduate students may receive the following tuition reduction scholarships, according to their grades at the university.
- 1st year students: 30% tuition reduction
- 2nd year, 3rd year, and 4th year students with : 40% or 50% tuition reduction, according to grades

Scholarships HOSEI University Provides
- HOSEI International Fund (HIF) International Student Scholarship: 2nd year, 3rd year, and 4th year students with excellent academic performance (Humanities: 200,000 yen per year / Sciences: 250,000 yen per year)
- New HOSEI University Centennial Scholarship for International Students: 2nd year, 3rd year, and 4th year students who require financial assistance for their academics (Humanities: 200,000 yen per year / Sciences: 250,000 yen per year)
- HU Co., Ltd. Scholarship for International Students: 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year students who require financial assistance for their academics (Humanities: 200,000 yen per year / Sciences: 250,000 yen per year)

*Content of the scholarships is subject to change.

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

Career Support
International students are provided a wide array of support, free of charge, at the Career Center. With this support, many of the international students at HOSEI University have gone on to work for major Japanese companies.

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

Japan-China Friendship Center

Project Name
7th Sekiko Kishi Japan-China Friendship Award (Essay Competition)
1. Summary:
The Japan-China Friendship Center established the "Sekiko Kishi Japan-China Friendship Award," according to the dying wish of the late Sekiko Kishi, in order to nurture human resources that would be able to contribute to Japan-China academic relations. Sekiko Kishi lived through a period of upheaval as the wife of a Japanese government official in Manchukuo, the Manchurian pre-war Japanese puppet state. She very deeply felt the necessity of communicating not only her own experiences, but a proper understanding of history and its importance, and worked to communicate these herself. After her passing in 2013, the award was established in line with her wish to pass down her passion to the younger generations.
2. Scholarship Amount:
Maximum: 200,000 yen/essay (1 to 3 essays to be chosen)
3. Eligibility:
International students from the three northeastern provinces of the People’s Republic of China (Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang).
4. Essay Eligibility:
Master’s theses in the humanities and social sciences that have passed the Master’s thesis review at a Japanese graduate school, between April 2017 and March 2018, or between April 2018 and March 2019.
5. Documents for Submission:
These will not be returned.
- 2 copies of your Master’s thesis (must list the month and year the Master’s degree was completed)
- An abstract, up to 1,500 characters in length
- Letter of recommendation from your advisor
- Copy of your passport (page that shows you are from one of the three northeastern provinces)
- Contact information, including address, e-mail address, etc.
*No particular specifications of document size (A4, etc.) for abstract and letter of recommendation
6. Application Deadline:
Friday, May 31, 2019
Can be postmarked on the date of the deadline
7. Application Documents:
Delivery Address / Contact Information:
1-5-3 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, 112-0004 Tokyo
Address To: 7th Sekiko Kishi Japan-China Friendship Award Review Committee Office
TEL: 03-3814-1261
E-mail: kourakuryo-k “at mark” jcfc.or.jp
*Please convert "at mark" to "@" when you send an e-mail.

Information about International Symposium

13th 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.

Date/Time: Saturday, July 13, 2019 / 9:30 A.M. to 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

Events for International Students

Useful Websites for International Students

Job Hunting Report

Qiu Jingbang

Name: Qiu Jingbang
Nationality: China
University: Waseda University
Major: Image and Information Processing, Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems
Period of Stay in Japan: September 2007 to August 2009
Current Workplace: Japan-China Outdoor Sports Promotion Foundation
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (Pre-Revision) Level 1

Ever since I was a kid, I loved Japanese anime and was enthralled by Japan as the birthplace of popular, imaginative series like Saint Seiya and Gundam. It was one of the reasons why I eventually decided to study abroad in Japan. For university, I went to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where I majored in Image Processing. When I was in my third year, I was selected to be part of the first class for the school’s dual Master’s degree program with Waseda University. I decided to go to Japan so I could study cutting-edge image processing technologies.

While at Waseda University, I went to the civic center once a week to study Japanese and to volunteer for various projects. There, I was captivated by Japanese culture and its emphasis on the virtues of harmony and empathy. In 2011, Recruit held its first “Work in Japan” job fair in Shanghai, and that was when I decided to work in Japan so I could work to understand Japanese values and ways of thinking, and eventually act as a bridge between Japan and China.

My message to those looking to job hunt in Japan is this: working is about using what you learned in school, as well as your own thoughts, to be of use, and to create social value in society. Of course, it’s important for your own future to find a good job, but try not to focus too much on the benefits and the pay, and think wider, about what you can do for the world, and find a job where your skillsets are in demand.

I personally quit my job at a major Japanese corporation to establish the Japan-China Outdoors Sports Promotion Foundation, where I devote myself to promoting Japan’s highly advanced snow sports industry and culture to the people of China. My dream is to have as many Chinese people as possible experience snow sports in Japan, so as to deepen cultural understanding between Japan and China, and contribute to friendly relations between the two countries.

Job hunting goes both ways: companies select their employees, and employees select their companies. For you to be the best version of yourself, it’s important for you to think through and organize what you’ve done in your head, and come up with stories about your experiences and your personal growth, so you can be sincere and true to yourself when you head off into your interviews.

Another important thing to remember is to have a focus. Think holistically about your own skillsets and what you want to be doing in the future, and limit your efforts to a few target companies and/or industries. Narrowing down your targets like this allows you to manage your time better, and have a more efficient job hunting process.

Something I made sure to do with my entry sheets was to write my “stories” in a way that put the focus on my autonomy. It’s not enough just to write objectively about your past experiences. You have to explain the whole story, the background of what happened, the issues you faced, how you felt and what you thought at the time, your solution to the issue and how it panned out. Then you have to tell it in a way that reveals your values and your character.

Job Hunting Information Article

Preparing for Interviews

Interviews are generally held after you pass the document screening (entry sheets, etc.) and the written exam portion of the hiring process. Most companies conduct three interviews, with different interviewers at every stage. The final (and, most of the time, third) interview will generally be with the president or an executive of the company.

There are two types of interviews: individual interviews, where it will be just you; and group interviews, where you will be interviewed alongside multiple other students. In either case, interviewers, who will have looked through what you wrote on your entry sheet, will ask you questions to figure out what kind of person you are, what kind of experiences you have had, and what kind of characteristics (strengths, etc.) you possess.

The interviewers will ask you questions based on the questions on the entry sheet, and your responses to it. As such, make sure that you can, at the very least, explain what you wrote on your entry sheet. Better yet is providing additional details in your response. Also be aware that the further you go in the interview process, the more detailed explanations you will be asked to provide. Make sure to think about the questions you think they’ll ask you, and prepare responses to them in advance.

Many people get nervous for interviews, but most of the time, this is due to a lack of preparation. Ask your friends or a career counselor to hold some mock interviews with you, so you can practice for the interview process. Remember that interviews are for other people to evaluate you on their terms. So try to get as many people to practice with you, so you can fix any issues they point out before the real thing. Prepare well in advance and get used to the process itself, and you’ll be able to go into interviews with a level head.

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 May issue looks at Gunma prefecture.

Gunma Prefecture

Mount Tanigawa

Mount Tanigawa

Mount Tanigawa is part of the Mikuni Mountains, located at the border between Gunma and Niigata Prefectures, and is considered to be one of Japan’s 100 Most Famous Mountains. The mountain has two summits: one called “Oki-no-Mimi” (Ear of Oki; 1,977m elevation) and another called “Toma-no-Mimi” (Ear of Toma; 1,963m elevation). The hike is relatively easy, since the Tanigawadake Ropeway takes you all the way to Tenjindaira (1,319m elevation). Still, you do need proper hiking gear, like hiking boots and rain gear, since the path from Tenjindaira to the summit is full of rocky ridges. The view from the ridge, however, is incredible, with Mount Shiragemon and Mount Asahi at the forefront, and Mount Haruna, Mount Akagi, and Mount Hotaka in the distance. On the Gunma Prefecture side, there’s also Ichinokurasawa Gorge, famous for its craggy rocks, and a sort of mecca for rock-climbing, which is considered one of Japan’s Three Great Rocky Areas, alongside Mount Tsurugi and Mount Hotakadake.


  • Konnyaku
Konnyaku, made from the bulbs of the konnyaku potato (a plant from the Araceae family), is absolutely integral to Japanese cuisine. It looks like a gray, half-translucent slab with black dots, and for someone who hasn’t eaten it before, it may not even seem like something you could eat. The konnyaku potato, originally from Indochina, is now also produced in Japan, with 90% of its domestic production happening in Gunma Prefecture. Konnyaku is eaten in countries like Japan, China, Myanmar, and Korea, and is particularly popular in diets, since they are low-calorie, yet filling. It also contains a lot of fiber, which can help improve your digestion and bowel movements. Konnyaku is made by mixing an alkaline liquid (generally calcium hydroxide) into grated konnyaku potato, and heating it up until it solidifies. It has a jiggly, bouncy texture, is made 97% of water, and is often used in oden, stewed dishes, miso soup, tonjiru (pork miso soup), and hot pot dishes.

6. NIPPON Information

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

Lifestyle Information

Shinryoku (Fresh New Greenery)

  • Shinryoku (Fresh New Greenery)
In Japan, May marks the advent of shinryoku (fresh new greenery). The deciduous trees that shed their leaves in the winter sprout new leaves from April into May, coming alive with vibrant, light-green leaves. After the tsuyu (rainy season) from June to July, these leaves turn a darker green color, and the mountains turn a deep green. The trees, awash with shinryoku, are a beloved sight for many Japanese people.

But why exactly are leaves green? They’re green because plants produce carbohydrates (plant structure) through a process called photosynthesis, which utilizes light, water, and carbon dioxide. The component that is involved in photosynthesis is called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll absorbs the short (blue) and long (red) wavelengths of sunlight and uses them as energy. The rest of the wavelengths in the middle (green) are “discarded,” reflecting off of or penetrating through the leaf itself. Since the human eye sees these “discarded” colors as light, leaves appear green to us. Chlorophyll is the most active in the early stages of leaf growth, which is why younger leaves appear to be a lighter green. As it moves into autumn, the chlorophyll in the leaves begin to absorb less light, giving way to a component known as carotenoid, which absorbs only the shorter wavelengths, “discarding” the medium (green) and long (red) wavelengths. This makes the leaves appear yellow, and is the cause of the yellowing of leaves in autumn.

Though it may have seemed from our wording that shinryoku is a phenomenon unique to deciduous trees, evergreens, which have leaves throughout the year, also experience shinryoku. Though referred to as evergreens, they do shed leaves. They only seem as if they are covered in leaves all year because, unlike deciduous trees, they do not go through periods where they lose all of their leaves. Evergreens also go through their own shinryoku, sprouting new, vibrant green leaves at the beginning of spring, or before tsuyu.

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).

Study in Japan Fairs in FY 2019

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

JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices 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 May 2019 issue will be published on May 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.

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.

New University Listing(s) this Month:
Kumamoto University
Hiroshima University

Job Hunting Guide for International Students

This guidebook provides a great amount of information for international students looking to job hunt in Japan. This covers everything you need to know, from the preparation process to the entry sheets, tests, changes to statuses of residence, and more, categorized by time period, and in an easy to understand language.

8. From the Editor

In this issue’s “Lifestyle Information,” we discussed shinryoku.
This is, personally, my favorite season as well. The shinryoku season in Hokkaido, where I lived for some time, is about a month later than in mainland Japan, and is in late May to early June. This season is also the most beautiful, nature-wise, in Hokkaido, with the azaleas, lilacs, and lily of the valley in full bloom. Unlike the mainland, Hokkaido doesn’t have a tsuyu (rainy season), and the weather is perfect during this season, not too hot nor too cold. I encourage anyone who has the time to visit Hokkaido during this beautiful season. It’s not too late to book tickets!

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 June 10. Don’t miss it!

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