Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 133 May 8, 2020
- 1. Life in Japan by Photo -- May in Japan
- 2. Alumni News -- News on International Students / Study Abroad Testimonial / Alumni Associations / Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home
- 3. Academic News -- Introducing Universities / Information About Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc. / Academic Societies / Japanese Language Tests
- 4. Business News -- Job Hunting Event Information / Job Hunting Reports / Job Hunting Information Article
- 5. Visit Japan -- Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student
- 6. NIPPON Information -- Lifestyle Information / Get to Know Japan / Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government
- 7. JASSO News -- Study in Japan Fairs in FY 2020 / “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) / Job Hunting Guide for International Students
- 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 characters or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
4. Name of your school in Japan
May in Japan
The May edition of Life in Japan by Photo introduces “May in Japan.”
2. Alumni News
Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!
News on International Students
NEWS 1: Three Ministries Publish Joint Handbook Regarding the Hiring and Training of International Students
This February, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry published a joint handbook for companies that hire international students, called the “Handbook for the Hiring and Utilization of International Students” (PDF version). The handbook includes 12 checklists, company case studies, etc., regarding the hiring of international students, and efforts that companies can make to utilize these employees in effective ways. The companies making these efforts are also listed on the pamphlet, so we encourage international students to reference it as well. You can download the handbook from the following link.
NEWS 2: Shizuoka Host Family Project Enters Test Run: Aiming to Drive Social Exchange Between Prefectural Residents and International Students
In February, the Committee for Personnel/School Cultivation and Regional Self-Reliance in Shizuoka Prefecture conducted a test run of the Shizuoka Host Family Project, in which international students visit host families on day trips, in an effort to bring in more international students, whose numbers have been growing in Japan. The committee made direct requests to residents of the prefecture and recruited host families through affiliate companies, universities, etc., in order to find host families for international students enrolled in universities and junior colleges within the prefecture. The host families will eat meals and go on outings with the international students, and propose social events to affiliate companies. The committee is also considering project-wide events where all of the host families and international students can come together.
Study Abroad Testimonial
University: Nagoya University
Major: Japanese Language Program, International Language Center
Period of Study: October 2019 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2
I came to Japan from Thailand two months before entering Nagoya University. I wasn’t nervous at the time. I just thought I’d be studying in a different place. When I got to Japan in September, I was wearing a very thick sweater, so I remember sweating while looking for my dorm. That was the beginning of my life in Japan.
The consumption tax increase happened right after I got here, so I got very good at calculating the price of things before buying them. But of course, prices here are still more expensive than in Thailand. It was also so complicated to register for anything, and there were a lot of times where I had to give up. For example, I wanted to buy a SIM card for my cell phone, but the one-year ones were all expensive, with low limits on data. So, I did encounter all kinds of difficulties, but it was all fun, and I learned a lot. And that was because the people around me always helped me out.
At Nagoya University, I studied things like conversational Japanese, as well as Japanese grammar, listening, and kanji. I studied Japanese conversation by putting different expressions into different categories based on my relationship with the person I was talking to (student-teacher, junior-senior, friend, etc.). I practiced so that I’d be able to speak Japanese naturally, and with the correct pronunciation. In terms of grammar, I focused a lot on the parts that people tend to get wrong, and for listening, I’m practicing by listening to actual spoken Japanese in my everyday life. And I’ve studied kanji from the intermediate to advanced level. I studied on my own, and gave myself tests every week.
Name: Nguyen Cong Thien
University: Tokai University
Major: Department of Applied Computer Engineering, School of Information Science and Technology
Period of Study: April 2016 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2
My dream is to come up with a robot that would help people in their everyday lives, and to actually create this robot. I went to the open campuses for a lot of different universities to find the place where I could make my dream a reality. I was drawn to the environment of Tokai University, with its wide-open, nature-filled campus and its many facilities, and so I decided to enroll here. I was a little anxious when I first entered the university, but I was able to use the tutor system they have and get advice from grad student on how to choose my classes, how to write my reports, and all kinds of other things, and so I was able to get used to student life pretty easily. It was amazing because I was able to take specialized classes and practical labs even as a first-year, and there are so many professors here who are engaged in cutting-edge research. I’m very glad that I chose to come to Tokai University.
My current research topic is the development of a drone-mounted crawler robot system. This robot system, which is based on things like crawler robots, drones, etc., can be used to gather image data from a disaster area. Then, it can use that data to produce a three-dimensional map of the area that they can use for rescue efforts. While doing this research, I was also working as a newspaper delivery boy as the recipient of an Asahi Shimbun scholarship.
Right now, I’m job hunting, and I have all of these people supporting me. My professors and the career support staff introduce me to companies they think would be a good fit, helping me practice for interviews, so that’s been very reassuring.
University is the gateway to becoming a working adult. Why not come to Tokai University, and take that first step towards realizing your dream?
List of Japan Alumni Associations
Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home
Kanazawa University: Overseas Alumni Meetings (Indonesia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam) and Overseas Alumni General Meetings
Kanazawa University provides support for the establishment of social networks for international students who have returned to their home countries, and has established alumni associations in Indonesia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Each overseas alumni association reports their activities to the university every year, with overseas alumni general meetings held every other year so that the associations can share information about their activities, the university’s efforts towards internationalization, etc., and create opportunities for members of the respective associations to engage in social exchange and build networks with each other.
3. Academic News
Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!
Here we introduce you to particular faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.
University Profile (As of May 1, 2019)
Name: Nanzan University
Address: 18 Yamazatocho, Showa-ku, Nagoya-shi
Number of Students: Undergraduate: 9,206 / Graduate School: 179 / Japanese Language Program: 115
International Students: 261
1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)
Nanzan University, first established in 1946 as the Nanzan College of Foreign Languages, is now comprised of 17 departments in 8 undergraduate faculties, 14 programs in 6 graduate schools (one is a law school), and a Japanese Language Program. It is the only co-ed Catholic school in central Japan, and has as its educational motto the idea of “Hominis Dignitati: for the dignity of all human beings,” with the goal of being one of the world’s most trusted universities, capable of cultivating personnel that will thrive out in the world. As of February 2020, the university has established agreements with 111 universities in 33 different countries.
2. Overview and Characteristic of Distinctive Facilities and Departments
Of the eight undergraduate faculties, it is the Faculty of Policy Studies that has the most international students. There, students can learn the skills needed to analyze, brainstorm, and prepare policies, while learning a balance of theory (lectures) and practical application (fieldwork) regarding various issues occurring in Japan and throughout the world, like the battle against deflation, measures to combat population decline, global warming, and terrorism. At the Faculty of Global Liberal Studies, the goal is to cultivate personnel with knowledge on international studies, capable of solving various issues in international society through a global perspective, with many of the courses for the faculty conducted in English. Each faculty also offer international student-oriented curriculums with built-in Japanese language classes, adjusted for the academic content of each faculty.
3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support and Tuition Reduction)
Nanzan University provides offers a 50% reduction of tuition and facility fees to privately-financed international students with Student visas who are enrolled in an undergraduate faculty or graduate school. International students can also apply for scholarships after entering the university. The school offers four dorms for international students, as well as share house-type residences where international students and Japanese students can live together.
4. Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)
The university offers a Career Support Office where international students who wish to work in Japan after graduation can receive career consultations. The school also provides career guidance for international students, as well as information on how international students specifically should approach the job hunting process. Nanzan University is a member of the Aigi Career Development Consortium for International Students, in which universities, local public organizations, etc., provide job hunting support to international students, which means international students can participate in programs like company visits and business Japanese courses, held by participating universities.
Nanzan University also offers many programs, facilities, etc., that are meant to improve language schools and encourage multi-cultural exchange. At the Multi-Cultural Exchange Lounge (nicknamed “Stella”), students host multi-cultural events like country presentations and academic talks, coming together and socializing in ways that transcend boundaries. There is also the Japan Plaza, where students can get to know one another through Japanese only, and where Japanese students are posted as TAs (teaching assistants) at all times. There, international students can go beyond the Japanese language education they experience in class, and come into contact with everyday Japanese as spoken by Japanese people.
Information About Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.
Kitami City International Student Financial Aid Program
A program designed to help international students at universities and other institutions in Kitami City to pursue academic/research activities in order to promote the city’s internationalization.
International students who reside in Kitami City, are enrolled at a university (including junior college and vocational schools) within the city, and who meet the following requirements.
(1) Plan to be enrolled at a university or other institution in the city as of April, until March the following year.
(2) Outstanding academic performance and character as well as recognition by the head of the university, etc., that financial aid will be beneficial to the individual’s scholastic/research achievements in Kitami.
(3) No current assistance from a Japanese Government Scholarship or any foreign government scholarships.
(4) No outstanding payments to the city (city tax, insurance, etc.)
3. Application Method:
Fill in the required information on the application form, then send the application to the mayor through the head of the university.
4. Application Period
Mid-April to mid- to late May
5. Scholarship Amount:
The payment schedule is one year (April to the following March), with payments made twice over the year.
7. Contact Information
International Exchange Representative, Social Movement Section, Citizen Environment Department, Kitami City
E-Mail: shiminkatsudo “at mark” city.kitami.lg.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail.
Japanese Language Tests
4. Business News
JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!
Information About Job Hunting Related Events
Events for International Students
Useful Websites for International Students
Job Hunting Report
Name: Mahdi Choyekh
University: Osaka University
Major: Global Architecture Engineering Major, Graduate School of Engineering
Period of Study in Japan : April 2011 to September 2016
Current Workplace: Shinkawa Ltd.
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N3
Dating back to my childhood, my father traveled a few times to Japan for business trips. He used to tell me fascinating stories about the originality of the Japanese culture in addition to its advanced technology and infrastructure.
In the following years, when I became a university student, I decided to learn the Japanese language at a private school. This would later lay the groundwork and sow the seeds for creating stronger ties with Japan. Ever since, I was actively involved in the organization of “Soroban and Origami” workshops, cultural events and homestay programs.
After graduating from university majoring in IT and automation in Tunisia, I faced the time of choosing study preferences. I resolved to continue my studies in Japan, one of the leading countries in electronics and robotics fields. Therefore, I applied to Osaka University to study underwater robotics.
In the middle of the doctoral course, I had to make a critical decision on whether to continue working in the academic sphere or find a job in a company. Despite having a dream of becoming an academic lecturer, I chose the path of a “salaryman” in technology R&D because of my preference for practical engineering over theory. Furthermore, during my university years, I admired lectures of professors who had experienced working at/for high-tech R&D companies. I had a passion to learn from their lectures. That is why I was determined to go back to academic life someday in the future once I had got extensive work experience.
Following the decision of searching for a job, I had to decide the country where I was going to work in the future. Since I had experienced 5 amazing years of studying at Osaka University, I looked for a job in the Kansai area. It is not a secret that Japan is home to several globally well-renowned companies in the electronics and robotics fields. So, I was eager to enrich my work experience and boost my career to the next level by joining a Japanese company. Moreover, before enrolling at Osaka University, I used to work at a French company based in Tunisia. I was quite curious to find out how Japanese companies are different from western ones.
One of the main obstacles I faced during my job hunting year was my Japanese communication skills which were at the level of daily conversation. As I was determined to make cover letters, entry sheets and CVs in Japanese, it required a lot of time and effort to prepare them. I also had to rely on my friends for their generous help while checking and reviewing my Japanese papers for job hunting. I had difficulties with understanding companies’ briefings and reading e-mail updates. Fortunately, Osaka University made special workshops to help foreigners to prepare for their job hunting.
It is important to stay focused while job hunting. For instance, during job fairs, it is easy to get distracted by companies’ announcers calling you to join their seminars. There are usually several companies attending a job fair, so it is impossible to attend all briefings. In my case, I would check the website of companies I was interested in before going to job fairs. Subsequently, I made a list of companies that matched my preferences and scheduled to attend their seminars. I focused more on companies that were oriented to foreign students. Applying for dozens of companies is exhausting and consumes a lot of time and resources. After the seminars, I selected the companies that had the most suitable fields and positions and made a customized Japanese cover letter for each of them. During the interviews with companies, some of them gave me the choice to speak in English. However, I was determined to do my best in Japanese. Finally, I succeeded in getting a job offer as an R&D engineer at a flexible printed circuit testing machine manufacturer in Wakayama. Among the main keys to success, there is honesty, having a clear vision and respecting time and deadlines.
In the end, I believe that Osaka University students have a comparative advantage thanks to the international environment nurtured at university campuses. In the cyber society era and with the emergence of AI and automation, it is expected that all repetitive and routine jobs will be taken over by machines. Therefore, a workplace that spurs creativity and innovation will surely be the best bet.
Job Hunting Information Article
It’s very important that you research various companies and industries before you begin the job hunting process. By looking up what companies exist in what kind of industries, what kind of characteristics companies can have, etc., you’ll be able to visualize in more detail the companies and industries you want to work in, and decide what companies and industries you’ll apply for. You should also engage in this kind of research in order to prepare for other parts of the job hunting process, like the entry sheet and interviews. Make sure to do thorough research so you can go into job hunting with all of the information you need regarding your companies and industries of interest.
“Job Hunting Guide,” a job hunting guide for international students published by the Japan Student Services Organization, goes into detail as to various methods for company/industry research, the different types of industries in Japan, etc. You can download the PDF for the Japanese version, as well as the foreign language versions (English, Chinese, Korean), from the following link. We encourage you to make use of this resource, as it also includes additional information about job hunting.
5. Visit Japan
Introducing regions in Japan with universities, and more! The May issue looks at Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student
Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, has the second largest population (approximately 3.7 million) of any city in Japan, after Tokyo. It’s also known for its popularity with tourists, with tourist attractions like the Minatomirai area, where you can see historical buildings alongside futuristic commercial facilities, and various other spots like Harbor View Park, Yamashita Park, Yokohama Chinatown, that are always filled with people. The city is also home to many leisure facilities, including soccer stadiums, baseball stadiums, multi-purpose arenas, amusement parks, and aquariums, and sees approximately 34 million visitors a year.
There are approximately 77,000 companies in Yokohama City. Many of these are major companies, including world-famous automobile companies that help support Yokohama City’s job market and economy. There are also several national research facilities located in the city. The Yokohama campus of RIKEN, for example, conducts research on life and the environment. And the Yokohama Institute for Earth Sciences at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) is home to “The Earth Simulator,” one of the world’s highest-level supercomputers, through which research is conducted on fluctuations in the Earth’s environment, climate, etc.
As of 2019, there were 17 universities/junior colleges in Yokohama City, with a total of 80,000 students. The Hiyoshi area in Kohoku Ward, Yokohama has long been known as a student town. The area is filled with stores that students like to frequent, like book stores, stationery stores, cafes, and karaoke. There are also many diners, ramen shops, etc., that offer delicious food at low prices, and keep the student population happy and well-fed. The average rent in Yokohama City varies significantly by area. Rent for a single-person apartment (1R or 1K) in the Hiyoshi area, for example, is fairly reasonable compared to the rest of Yokohama City, at around 55,000 to 70,000 yen a month (as of 2020).
The number of international students in Yokohama City is increasing every year, with approximately 6,300 international students in the city as of 2019. Many of the international students are from Asia, from countries like China, Vietnam, Nepal, Korea, and Taiwan. Both Yokohama City and Kanagawa Prefecture are engaged in various efforts to help support international students. The Yokohama Associaton for International Communications and Exchanges, for example, runs multilingual consultation centers, international exchange centers, etc., and hosts Japanese language classes. Kanagawa Prefecture runs KANAFAN STATION through the Kanagawa International Fan Club (KANAFAN), an organization that provides comprehensive support to international students, where international students can socialize with local residents, and receive consultation regarding things like employment. KANAFAN also hosts job hunting seminars at universities.
6. NIPPON Information
This section introduces information on Japan for international students!
Shopping in Japan often involves the exchange of cash. This is because it’s very easy to use cash in Japan. What with the growing popularity of cashless payments throughout the world, however, more stores in Japan are beginning to accept cashless payments. Here, we take a look at the kinds of payment methods that are used in stores in Japan.
One of the reasons why cash is still the most common form of in-store payment in Japan is said to be that paper money in Japan is designed to be extremely difficult to counterfeit. Another reason is that there are always ATMs for various banks nearby, whether they be at convenience stores or other easy-to-access locations. As such, many locally-run grocery stores, restaurants, etc., as well as gift shops in tourist spots, still only accept cash, and there are many types of payments, like usage fees for administrative services at the city office, payments for individually-run hospitals, etc., that must still be made in cash. Most Japanese people always carry cash around with them, and it’s important that you have cash (yen) if you wish to live in or go sightseeing in Japan.
Credit cards are the most commonly used form of cashless payment. Many major supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels, etc., accept credit card as payment. Note, however, that some foreign-issued credit cards may not work in Japan.
In recent years, more and more people have been using prepaid IC cards (rechargeable, pre-paid smart cards) as a form of cashless payment. These IC cards are very convenient, as they can be used not just on the train or on the bus, but at places like convenience stores, supermarkets, and cafes. You will, however, need to pay a deposit (in addition to the money you charge on the card) when you first make the card. There are IC cards available for foreign tourists that don’t require you to go through the process of refunding your deposit before you leave, so we recommend that you use this type of card if you’ll be in Japan for a visit.
Though QR code payments are also gradually becoming more common in Japan, there still aren’t very many stores where you can use them as of 2020. There are also many kinds of QR code payment services, each of which can only be used in specific stores. When paying by QR code in Japan, make sure to check, before you get in line, whether the store accepts the service you’re using.
Get to Know Japan
In this section, we will introduce topics on culture, technology, lifestyle, and more in Japan.
The May issue looks at virtual YouTubers (V-tubers).
YouTube, a video-sharing platform viewed around the world, has long been home to YouTubers, i.e. people who upload videos of themselves trying out various challenges, etc. YouTubers have been increasingly popular in Japan, mainly amongst young people, and being a YouTuber has become a dream job for children throughout the world. In recent years, however, Japan is garnering worldwide attention for a new kind of YouTuber: what’s called a virtual YouTuber, or a V-tuber.
V-tubers are YouTubers with anime-like characters (called avatars) created through computer graphics (CG). The use of CG allows these YouTubers to create their ideal avatars, and their popularity has exploded, in part due to interest amongst anime fans, fans of voice actors/actresses, etc. V-tubers use a technology called motion capture, which evaluates human movement and converts it to digital data in real-time, to make it look as if the CG characters are moving around for real.
In Japan, the catalyst for this explosion in popularity was a V-tuber by the name of Kizuna AI. Kizuna AI, who was “born” in 2016, engages in typical YouTuber activities like game livestreams, and also does work as a singer and TV personality. Kizuna AI is famous throughout the world as a V-tuber pioneer, and her official YouTube channel has approximately 2.7 million subscribers, with some of her videos boasting more than 10 million views.
As of 2020, the acceleration in image capture and video processing speeds have made it so that any individual could be a V-tuber, as long as they have access to a webcam and a computer, which means there are now more than 10,000 V-tubers on YouTube. The avatars come in different forms, like Hello Kitty, various animals, and even aliens, though many are anime-like characters. Some companies and municipalities have even come up with their own original V-tubers, and there are clubs at universities that focus solely on “running” V-tubers.
V-tubers have even transcended the world of the Internet to perform in real-world TV shows and concerts, which means if you come to Japan, you can see the latest in terms of what these V-tubers are up to. We also expect to see more Japanese V-tubers journeying out overseas, and more foreign V-tubers coming to interact with Japanese fans.
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 2020
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.
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”
Please read the May 2020 issue. It will be available on May 11.
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):
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.
The Japanese version of the “Job Hunting Guide 2021” is now complete, with distribution underway. The Japanese version, along with the other language versions (English, Chinese, and Korean) can be downloaded in PDF form from the following website.
8. From the Editor
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading throughout Japan and the whole world. We would like to extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to everyone, as well as their families, who have been affected, have suffered and still suffer from this disease. Furthermore, we would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the people, including all the doctors and health care workers, who are doing their utmost in these hard times.
In this month’s “Visit Japan,” we covered Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Yokohama is known for being a stylish city, a great casual hang-out spot that’s close to Tokyo. In the Yamate area of Yokohama, there’s a hill that’s home to churches, a foreigners’ cemetery, a school established by a foreign missionary, and many cafes in distinctive, Western-style buildings, and that’s also a great spot for a walk, with a beautiful view of the night scenery. Yokohama Station is also filled with commercial facilities, and many Hamakko (nickname for Yokohama residents) think their city is more convenient than Tokyo. Though Yokohama City tends to be packed with people, just like Tokyo, the atmosphere there is a little different. Why not come experience it for yourself?
The Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for people who can share their job hunting experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an international student, and your comments for our e-mail magazine. Our next issue of Japan Alumni eNews will be released on June 10, 2020. Don’t miss it!
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