Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 135)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 135 July 10, 2020

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 135

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

July in Japan

The July edition of Life in Japan by Photo introduces “July in Japan.”

Umi-no-Ie (Beach Shack) on the Shore

Umi-no-Ie (Beach Shack) on the Shore

Furin (Japanese Wind Chimes)

Furin (Japanese Wind Chimes)

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

Unaju (Grilled Eel Rice Bowl)

Unaju (Grilled Eel Rice Bowl)

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

NEWS 1: Number of International Students in FY 2019 Exceeds Government Target of 300,000

A survey by the Japan Student Services Organization found that there were 312,214 international students in Japan as of May 1, 2019: a number that exceeds the target of 300,000 set by the Japanese government. This represents an increase of 13,234 (4.4%) from the survey results in FY 2018. The government had established a plan in 2008 to increase the number of international students in Japan to 300,000 by FY 2020. The highest number of international students were found to be in undergraduate programs (89,602), followed by Japanese language schools (83,811), and vocational schools (78,844). Country-wise, the highest number of international students came from China (124,436), followed by Vietnam (73,389), then Nepal (26,308).

NEWS 2: International Students Adapt as Novel Coronavirus Brings Significant Changes to Job Hunting

A survey of international students regarding the effects of the novel coronavirus on job hunting, found that many were continuing their job hunting efforts in Japan, despite 90% responding that the virus was having some effect on their efforts. The survey was conducted by Originator Co., Ltd. in April 2020, with 105 valid responses. Many international students seemed to be feeling the effects of the novel coronavirus, with 78.5% responding that an event they had planned to attend had been postponed/cancelled, and 77.4% responding that a company information session they had planned to attend had been postponed/cancelled. Despite this, they seemed to be adapting flexibly to the circumstances, with 55.9% responding that their company information sessions were or would be held in online form (at the company’s instruction). While there were students (42.9%) that said they had absolutely no problem with online information sessions and interviews, there were also many (39%) who seemed to prefer the traditional method, responding that they didn’t mind attending online information sessions, but would rather have in-person interviews.

Study Abroad Testimonial

Oner Enes

Name: Oner Enes
Nationality: Turkey
University: Tokyo Keizai University
Major: Department of Business Administration, Faculty of Business Administration
Period of Study: ABK College: October 2015 to March 2017 / Tokyo Keizai University: April 2017 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

I became interested in Japan because Japanese cars are very popular in my home country. I decided to study abroad here because I was curious about how Japan had been able to experience such economic growth and come up with such amazing technologies, despite not having very many resources. I wanted to learn about it and see it with my own eyes. For being such a small country, I think Japan offers an incredible experience for students, with amazing facilities and environments.

As an international student, the Open Campus in particular was very useful for me. Open Campus events are a great way to get a feel for a school’s atmosphere before you decide to enroll. I went to the Open Campus event for my current school, Tokyo Keizai University, and it was really good to be able to see for myself what the school’s facilities were like, how surrounded by nature it was.

Operating resources for a business can be divided into people, goods, money, and information. I’m currently studying people-based business administration, and am a part of a research seminar that focuses on human resource management. I chose to study business administration because I thought it would be very important in terms of achieving my dreams in the future. And I feel extremely lucky that I’ve been able to study human resource management, which I think will be the most important element in terms of achieving these dreams.

One thing I got to experience for the first time in Japan (something that doesn’t exist in my own country) is culture festivals. I was part of the international student club at Tokyo Keizai University, and in my third year, we set up a booth for the culture festival. The international students introduced people to popular drinks from their home countries, and we got to know a lot more about Japanese culture. It was really a valuable experience and it led to a lot of international exchange.

The things that have really left an impression on me during my study abroad is how kind Japanese people are, and how valued international students are in Japan. I recommend that you do thorough research on Japan and figure out your own goals for the future before you study abroad here. My goal for the future is to serve as a bridge between Japan and Turkey, and I’ll work as hard as I can to achieve that goal.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

Support for International Students Job Hunting in Japan and/or Returning Home

Employment Promotion Program in Yamagata

Yamagata University works with local governments, companies in the prefecture, higher education institutions, etc., to run the “Employment Promotion Program in Yamagata,” which provides job hunting support for international students. The program offers internships at local companies, career training (including training in Japanese business etiquette), and Japanese language education, etc., in an effort to support international students job hunting in Yamagata Prefecture. Though some of their events may be postponed or cancelled due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the program will continue to help international students establish themselves in the area, and work towards the internationalization of the region as a whole.

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.

Osaka Institute of Technology

Umeda Campus

University Profile (As of May 1, 2020)
Name: Osaka Institute of Technology
Omiya Campus: 5-16-1 Omiya, Asahi-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka
Umeda Campus: 1-45 Chayamachi, Kita-ku, Hirakata-shi, Osaka
Hirakata Campus: 1-79-1 Kitayama, Hirakata-shi, Osaka
Number of Students: 7,570
International Students: 69

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

Osaka Institute of Technology, established as Kansai Engineering Technical School in 1922, has worked to cultivate personnel that can answer to the needs of society, under their mission, “For the world, for the people, and for the community, develop specialists with science-based practical skills who play an important role in society.” In recent years, they have worked to promote research and educational exchange on a global scale, coordinating with major foreign universities and companies to provide project-based learning (PBL), support for foreign research endeavors, etc.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Graduate Schools

Class in the Graduate School of Intellectual Property

WIPO trainees

Osaka Institute of Technology’s Graduate School of Intellectual Property is the only professional graduate school for intellectual property in Japan. The graduate school offers a multidimensional and comprehensive education on intellectual property, with a curriculum that looks into the legal, practical, international, and business elements of intellectual property. The school has considerable experience with “borderless” degrees, having implemented online classes at an early stage, that allow international students to study in Japan for the first year only, then take their classes online in their home countries for the second year on. The school also offers classes in English for international students who cannot speak Japanese (4 lectures [8 units] on IP law, IP business usage, etc., and 2 individual-instruction research seminars [4 units]). This education system has been well-received internationally, and the graduate school is attended by international students receiving public support from organizations like the World Intellectual Property Organization and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in addition to privately-financed international students.

3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support, Scholarships, Tuition Reduction, etc.)

The university offers a school scholarship and 20% tuition reduction for regular international students who are expected to graduate within the regular term of study (with the exception of leave due to special circumstances) and who lack the funds for tuition, following a screening process. The school also recommends students for grant-based aid, such as the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students or scholarships from various private organizations, if available, according to their character, academic performance, financial circumstances, etc. The university operates student dorms in central Osaka City, and offers a rent subsidy policy for international students.

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

Language Learning Center (LLC)

The Career Department offers employment counseling sessions for international students through external lecturers. They provide advice so international students can succeed in their job hunting efforts, offering information on anything from work visas to Japanese work standards. The school makes efforts to provide individualized support, whether it be general guidance or interview practice, by maintaining a general international student representative, as well as an international student representative in each faculty. The Language Learning Center (LLC), located on the Omiya Campus, is always staffed with a native English instructor, and offers conversational practice, as well as an array of DVD educational material, games, magazines, etc., so students can receive advice on the sort of English instruction they are best suited for. The university also has an International Exchange Center, through which they provide support for students’ study abroad experiences.

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

Atsumi International Foundation

Project Name
2021 Atsumi Scholarship
1. Summary:
The Atsumi International Foundation offers a scholarship for international students enrolled in doctoral programs that are considered highly likely to contribute to the peaceful development of humanity, society, and/or nature. The Atsumi International Foundation network strives to further the peaceful development of the world, in ways however small. As such, the organization works to maintain contact with recipients even after the end of the scholarship period, in an effort to build, eventually, a global human network.
2. Application Requirements:
(1) Students who are not of Japanese nationality, who are enrolled in a doctoral program at a Japanese graduate school, and who are expected to receive their doctoral degree by March 2022 (or September 2022 for fall entry). This includes those who are enrolled in a Japanese graduate school as a researcher, etc., for exceeding their regular term of study, or in order to acquire a doctoral degree in a foreign graduate school.
(2) Those whose residence and graduate school (lab) are both in the Kanto area (Tokyo Prefecture, Kanagawa Prefecture, Saitama Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Tochigi Prefecture, and Gunma Prefecture).
(3) Those who are fluent in Japanese (application documents and interview will be only in Japanese).
(4) Those who have an interest in international understanding and goodwill, and are motivated to participate actively in the foundation’s exchange efforts.
3. Application Method:
Request the list of application requirements and application forms from the department in charge of international student scholarships at your university, or the Atsumi International Foundation Executive Office, sometime after July 2020. You can also download these from the foundation’s official website.
List of Documents for Submission
a. Application form (designated form) / b. Evaluation chart from supervisor at your university (designated form) / c. Proof of enrollment / d. Resume / e. Summary of your research / f. List of papers presented / g. Research plan
*You will also be asked to submit “h. Self-introduction” and “i. Recommendation from supervisor (designated form)” during the screening process.
4. Scholarship Amount:
200,000 yen per month
5. Scholarship Duration:
One-year period from April 2021 to March 2022, or September 2021 to August 2022.
The scholarship cannot be extended.
6. Contact:
Atsumi International Foundation
3-5-8 Sekiguchi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0014
Tel: 03-3943-7612
E-mail: office “at mark” aisf.or.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail.

Academic Societies

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

Zhu Xiaozia

Name: Zhu Xiaozia
Nationality: China
University: Kanazawa University Graduate School
Major: Graduate School of Human and Socio-Environment Studies (Pre-Doctoral Program)
Period of Study in Japan : October 2015 to March 2019
Current Workplace: The Fukui Bank, Ltd.
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

While attending university in China, I did a short study abroad program at Kanazawa University, which was a partner school for my university. For a period of about six months, I studied specialized knowledge, Japanese culture, and more. I was drawn to traditional Japanese culture, and decided to study abroad here again after graduating university.

After spending about three years at Kanazawa University, I had started to develop a sense of familiarity with Japan. Fukui Prefecture is a sister city to my hometown of Zhejiang, and, as with my hometown, I can work here with a sense of affection for the prefecture as a whole. I only got to where I am today thanks to all of the teachers and friends who supported me in Japan, as well as the help of the Otsuka Toshimi Scholarship Foundation. I chose to work at a local bank so that I could utilize the knowledge I learned in graduate school, and the experiences I’d had with local development efforts, and give back as much as I can to the community.

Job hunting isn’t just taxing physically. It’s also taxing mentally. My first interview went poorly because I didn’t think about what the interviewer was really asking, and couldn’t give answers that really responded to the question. But I went and consulted my teachers, friends, seniors, etc., and learned various tips and tricks for the interviews, and over time, I was able to solve my issues. I learned how extremely important it is to be active and forward-thinking in things like this.

My advice to international students is to have a good grasp of what you want to do, and start preparing for job hunting (industry analysis, SPI tests) early. I’d also advise you to get work experience through internships, and get a deeper understanding of Japanese workplaces. Lastly, it’s important that you keep learning, reading news from your home country or Japanese newspapers to broaden your horizons. This helps a lot in the job hunting process as well.

Job Hunting Information Article

Online Interviews

With the spread of the novel coronavirus, Japanese companies are working rapidly to implement online interviews through video interviewing systems. Even companies that had previously placed significant emphasis on in-person interviews have begun to pivot to online interviews. As such, preparing for online interviews is becoming an increasingly important part of recent job hunting efforts.

In terms of preparing for an online interview, it’s important that you maintain the proper environment. Though you can participate in online interviews through your smartphone, it’s probably better for you to use a laptop or computer. Because the camera for laptops/computers is locked into place, it’s easier for you to adjust your line of sight, and make it easier for the interviewer to see you. It’s also important that you check the speed of your Internet connection in advance, to make sure the Internet won’t cut out during the interview. If you can, download a free software like Zoom and do a practice call with a friend, to make sure your video, audio, etc., is working and getting through to them.

On the day of the online interview, wear a suit, and wait in front of your laptop/computer five minutes before the designated interview time. Make sure to place your self-introduction, the entry sheet you submitted, etc., in an easy-to-see location. If you do encounter issues (not being able to access the interview, etc.), contact the company in question through e-mail or by phone. If the company has issued instructions for handling such issues, make sure to follow these instructions.

Other information regarding the job hunting process can be found in the “Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2021,” published by the Japan Student Services Organization.

5. Visit Japan

Introducing regions in Japan with universities, and more! The July issue looks at Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture.

Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student

Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture

Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, is a city with a population of about 980,000, located about an hour’s train ride away from Tokyo. A commuter town for Tokyo, it boasts a variety of identities as an industrial city centered around the Port of Chiba, an international city featuring the Makuhari Messe, and more.

Aerial shot of the Makuhari area

The most famous area in Chiba City is Makuhari, which is closest to Tokyo. The Makuhari area is known for its international identity, with the Makuhari Messe, which serves as the venue for a whole host of international business and entertainment events; an array of multinational and international companies; and facilities for international institutions like the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific and the Institute of Developing Economies. The area also includes a number of university campuses.

Chiba Urban Monorail

In the area around Chiba Station, there are administrative institutions like the Chiba Prefectural Government Offices and Chiba City Hall; headquarters for major companies in Chiba Prefecture; and public cultural facilities like libraries, art museums, and cultural halls. On the east side of Chiba station is the Chiba Urban Monorail, an unusual type of monorail called a suspended monorail, that often astounds those who see it for the first time. The area around Nishi-Chiba Station, located next to Chiba Station, is home to the main campus of a national university, as well as various other universities, junior colleges, and high schools, and is known as a student town where young people congregate. The area around the South Exit of Nishi-Chiba Station has a lot of the kind of stores you need in your everyday life, from supermarkets to convenience stores to pharmacies, as well as the kind of food establishments, like izakaya and Chinese restaurants, that students tend to prefer. In recent years, there’s been an increase in more trendy, youth-oriented shops like cafes and variety shops as well. The average rent for the kind of 1R or 1K one-room apartments suited for living on your own is around 50,000 to 60,000 yen for Chiba City overall, but is cheaper in the area around Nishi-Chiba Station, where many students live, at around 40,000 to 50,000 yen (as of 2020).

Chiba City is home to 12 universities, junior colleges, etc., and approximately 1,200 international students. Of these students, about 900 live near Chiba Station and the surrounding area. The Chiba City International Association makes efforts to support international students in Chiba City, hosting social events with Japanese residents, providing Japanese language support and daily life/legal consultations, and more.

6. NIPPON Information

This section introduces information on Japan for international students!

Lifestyle Information

Food stockpile in case of a disaster

Preparing for Natural Disasters

It’s important, just in the course of living your daily life, to know what to do if a natural disaster were to strike. Learning in advance what to do in case of a disaster, is extremely important, in that it will allow you to act calmly even when you’re living in a country you’ve never been in before, and even if you don’t speak the language. In this edition of “Lifestyle Information,” we’re covering the kinds of disasters that occur in Japan, and how you can protect yourself from them.

First and foremost, Japan has a lot of earthquakes. If you find yourself experiencing an earthquake, don’t panic, and focus on protecting yourself. If you are indoors, hide under a desk or other object, and protect your head with cushions, magazines, etc. Try to stay away from any windows, as the glass can shatter. If you are outdoors, protect your head with your bag, backpack, or other object, and move away from any glass, signs, concrete-block walls, etc.

When the shaking subsides, check your surroundings, and evacuate to a safe place, like a shelter, in preparation for possible aftershocks. If you are indoors, check that there is no fire on any stoves, burners, etc. If there is a fire, remain calm and put it out. There is also the chance of a tsunami after an earthquake. If you are in an area that is close to the ocean, move immediately away from the ocean, and evacuate to as high an elevation as possible.

When living in Japan, you also have to be wary of things like typhoons and localized thunderstorms. These are especially common from summer to fall. If you see an alert or warning about a typhoon, localized thunderstorm, etc., make sure to close and lock any windows/doors, and try to remain indoors as much as possible. If you have to go outdoors for whatever reason, try to stay away from dangerous areas like rivers and oceans as much as possible. If there’s a risk that the area you’re in will experience flooding, make sure to evacuate to the shelter designated by your municipality. You can check where these shelters are on the municipal government website, municipal disaster prevention pamphlets, etc.

You can get information as to earthquakes, shelters, etc., through radio, TV, websites, as well as disaster alert apps for your smartphone. The apps in particular tend to provide multilingual support for foreigners, making them very helpful in disasters if you have installed them in advance. You may also find it difficult to acquire food, daily necessities, etc., following a disaster. As such, it’s important that you maintain a stockpile so you can manage at least a week without having to acquire these goods.

Get to Know Japan

In this section, we will introduce topics on culture, technology, lifestyle, and more in Japan. The July issue looks at some spots where you can experience Japan’s cutting-edge technologies.

Spots to Experience Japan’s Cutting-Edge Technologies

Japan is home to all kinds of spots where you can experience various cutting-edge technologies. Tokyo in particular boasts many sites, like museums and amusement facilities, where you can experience cutting-edge technologies in a variety of ways. These are popular not only amongst Japanese people, but amongst foreign tourists as well. Here, we’ll introduce you to some of these amazing facilities.

*The business hours, etc., of these facilities may be different due to the effects of the novel coronavirus (as of the time of writing, in July 2020). If you wish to visit these facilities, make sure to check their hours on their official website, etc., before heading out.

National Museum of Nature and Science

The National Museum of Nature and Science, located in Ueno, conducts research on the history of life and the Earth, as well as science and technology in general. The museum, which boasts over 14,000 prized pieces of literature, related mainly to natural science, allow visitors to experience the history of life and earth science in Japan. There is also a spherical facility called “Theater 36◯,” in which screens lining the inside of the sphere (which surrounds visitors in all directions) show natural science-related videos about the ocean, the history of space, and more. The National Museum of Nature and Science also occasionally hosts natural science symposiums and academic conferences, so try to participate in these if you’re interested.

“Forest of Resonating Lamps” by teamLab Borderless

Another very popular spot is “teamLab Borderless,” a digital art museum in Odaiba run by art organization teamLab. The museum features art pieces that combine cutting-edge video, sound, and physical technologies, and is a great way to experience art for yourself. The pieces, with their beautiful, almost mystical looks, have been received well across the world, and have even been featured in a U.S. news magazine.

Other popular sports include amusement facilities that utilize cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) technologies. “MAZARIA,” a new facility that opened in Ikebukuro in July 2019, is one such spot, allowing visitors to experience content from popular games, anime, etc., in VR form. VR facilities exist all over Japan, not just in Tokyo, so we recommend you visit one the next time you’re in Japan.

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.

Important notice:
The Study in Japan Fair 2020 will be canceled due to the spread of the new coronavirus. We are working on an inspiring virtual alternative instead of the conventional face-to-face event. Details will be announced as soon as it is decided.

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 July 2020 issue. It will be available on July 10.

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):
University of Tsukuba

Job Hunting Guide for International Students

New Japanese versions

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

In this month’s “Get to Know Japan,” we covered “Spots to Experience Japan’s Cutting-Edge Technologies,” introducing some facilities you can go to to experience a variety of technologies. I remember when I went to Theater 36〇 and watched a screening there called “Changes in the Mantle and the Earth” for the first time. The fact that there was all of that molten stuff underneath the ground made me nervous for a moment, and I remember clenching my hands on the railing. The area around Ueno Station, where the National Museum of Nature and Science is located, is home to lots of fun facilities, including a park, zoo, art museum, and more. There are also many cafes and booths, and it’s a famous cherry blossom viewing spot in the spring. If you’re in Japan, I recommend you visit at least once.

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 August 7, 2020. Don’t miss it!

- 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 and Career Support 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.