Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 139 November 10, 2020
- 1. Life in Japan by Photo -- Memories of Japan (Photographs from Readers)
- 2. Alumni News -- News on International Students / Study Abroad Testimonial / Alumni Associations / Support for International Students Job Hunting in Japan and/or Returning Home
- 3. Academic News -- Introducing Universities / Testimonial on Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Awards, etc. / Symposium / Academic Societies / Japanese Language Tests
- 4. Business News -- Job Hunting Event Information / Job Hunting Report / 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
- 7. JASSO News -- Study in Japan Fairs in FY 2020 / “Student Guide to Japan” / Official Facebook and Instagram 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
Memories of Japan (Photographs from Readers)
The November edition of Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan (honorific titles are omitted).
Title: Sunset Crane
2. Alumni News
Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!
News on International Students
NEWS 1: Foreign Residents Support Center Opens its Doors to Begin Facilitating the Accommodation of Foreign Nationals
On July 6, the new Foreign Residents Support Center (FRESC) opened its doors to begin offering residency-related support to foreign nationals living in Japan (Located inside CO・MO・RE YOTSUYA, an office building in front of JR Yotsuya Station in Tokyo). Bringing together parts of the Immigration Services Agency, Tokyo Labour Bureau Consultation and Support Office for Foreigners, Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners, Ministry of Affairs Visa Information, and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the Center engages in various support initiatives for foreign nationals in a collaborative effort between affiliated agencies. More specifically, the Center will provide one-stop support for facilitating the accommodation and employment of international students, facilitating the recruitment of highly skilled foreign workers, legal consultation, and facilitating the employment of foreign nationals in Tokyo as well as provincial regions.
NEWS 2: New Website Launched for Cross-category Search of Japanese Language Educational Materials
A new website called NEWS (NIHONGO Education contents Web sharing System) was launched on June 1, allowing students of Japanese to search for various kinds of materials in one place, including study materials, curriculums, and academic papers. Run by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the website aims to share and facilitate the utilization of learning materials owned by various Japanese educational institutions. Searchable materials include “Dekiru? Dekita!! Kurashi no Nihongo” (Can You Do It? I’ve Done It! Everyday Japanese) from the Hyogo International Association, “Chiiki de Tsunagaru Nihongo Kyoshitsu” (Japanese Lessons for Community Togetherness) from the Soja City Government in Okayama Prefecture, and “Watashi ga Shiritai Seikatsu Kanji” (Useful Everyday Kanji) from Higashihiroshima F.A.C.E. (Foundation Affairs of Culture and Education) in Hiroshima Prefecture.
Study Abroad Testimonial
Name: Yun So Yeon
Nationality: South Korea
University: Kagawa University
Major: Japanese Studies
Period of Study: September 2018 to August 2019
Japanese Proficiency Level: Equivalent to Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1
In 2018, I found out about an opportunity to study in Japan as a Japanese Government Scholarship Student, so I applied and was soon on my way to Kagawa. After I arrived, I soon came to think, “I would’ve totally regretted it if I hadn’t taken this chance!” With a local community that was very welcoming to foreigners and the opportunity to socialize with other international students from various countries, I began to really enjoy myself and relished the opportunity to learn about other cultures. Another memorable experience was traveling to various regions around Japan and witnessing how the local people utilized the unique features of their natural environment to help promote their region as well as how they kept their local traditions alive. I was also able to enhance my understanding of the field of special education (one of my minors at university) by visiting a special-needs school, reading various literature on the subject, and having discussions with passionate professors as part of my minor studies in special education.
Since returning to my home country, I have been preparing to job-hunt for a position at a Japan-related company, either by working for a local Japanese subsidiary in South Korea or by working for a company in Japan. For those of you who are preparing to study abroad in Japan, I hope you will give everything a try and gain as many new experiences as possible. Living in a foreign country is such a valuable experience, so try to have faith in yourself and do your best to take advantage of this rare opportunity.
List of Japan Alumni Associations
Support for International Students Job Hunting in Japan and/or Returning Home
Gifu University International Student Employment Promotion Program
In collaboration with various universities, local governments, business associations, and chambers of commerce based in the Aichi and Gifu Prefectures, Gifu University, as a member of the Aigi Career Development Consortium for International Students (led by Nagoya University), has launched the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-commissioned International Student Employment Promotion Program. The program supports international students in job hunting by offering language courses in general and business Japanese and career education (career guidance sessions, one-on-one career counseling, preparatory courses for job hunting at basic and advanced levels) as well as organizing company tours, networking events with local companies, and a Gifu Region Workshop.
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, 2020)
Name: Shinshu University
Matsumoto Campus: 3-1-1 Asahi, Matsumoto City, Nagano
Nagano Engineering Campus: 4-17-1 Wakasato, Nagano City, Nagano
Nagano Education Campus: 6-Ro Nishinagano, Nagano City, Nagano
Ueda Campus: 3-15-1 Tokida, Ueda City, Nagano
Ina Campus: 8304 Minamiminowa-mura, Kamiina-gun, Nagano
Number of Students: Undergraduate: 8,864 / Graduate: 1,935
International Students: 365
1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)
Shinshu University is located in Nagano Prefecture, a mountain resort area famous for having hosted the Winter Olympics (The name “Shinshu” is derived from “Shinano-no-kuni,” which is what Nagano Prefecture was known as before the Meiji period [1868 to 1912]). The historic national university is the only university in Japan that uses the old name for its region. Rich nature and historic National Treasure-designated architecture are easily accessible from each of the campuses, making the location an ideal environment for learning. Shinshu University aims to become “the university most sought after by students” by proactively partnering with the local community and local industry, and by conducting cutting-edge education and research in a unique range of fields.
2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Graduate Schools
Shinshu University consists of eight faculties (Arts; Education; Economics and Law; Science; Medicine; Engineering; Agriculture; and Textile Science and Technology) and five graduate schools (Humanities and Social Sciences; Education; Medicine; Science and Technology; and Medicine, Science, and Technology). Led by the Interdisciplinary Cluster for Cutting Edge Research (a cluster of research institutes that brings together the university’s strengths and unique capabilities), Shinshu University reflects its world-class research in its educational curriculum, producing advanced professionals and researchers capable of contributing to society through deep expertise in their respective fields, excellent technical skills, and an adaptability to changing environments.
3. Support for International Students (Everyday Life Support Including Accommodations Support, Scholarships, Tuition Reductions, etc.)
4. Other Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)
“Kagayaki-Tsunagu” Hokuriku-Shinshu Employment Promotion Program for Foreign Students
Many international student graduates of Shinshu University go on to work for local Nagano Prefecture companies and other companies within Japan. The university offers business Japanese courses, career education, and internship guidance for international students who wish to work in Japan through its Employment Promotion Program for Foreign Students provided in conjunction with Kanazawa University.
Courses on Japanese Language and Culture
Shinshu University’s Center for Global Education and Collaboration offers a group of courses entitled “Japanese Language and Japanese Studies Subjects.” Japanese Language courses can be taken according to one’s level of proficiency. Students have the opportunity to showcase their improvement at local speech contests and other public settings. Those who are sufficiently proficient in Japanese can also take specialized courses in the humanities, economics, science and engineering, etc. Japanese Studies courses consist of a variety of educational opportunities including in-class courses such as “International Understanding and Multicultural Coexistence,” in which an equal number of international and Japanese students engage in discussions about global issues; experiential programs that involve interacting with the local community; courses on Japanese society and identity; and traditional martial arts training courses.
Testimonial on Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Awards, etc.
Type of Scholarship: Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students
University: Okayama Shoka University
Major: The Faculty of Economics, the Department of Economics
Period of Stay: April 2019 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1
Through the first and second semesters of my junior year, I earned 44 credits across 22 subjects, achieving excellent grades in each of my courses. Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, classes have become remote and I was contacted via e-mail by the university about the opportunity to receive the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students. After reviewing the details of the scholarship, I was very impressed about what it had to offer and decided to apply.
After graduating from the Faculty of Economics, the Department of Economics at Okayama Shoka University, I intend to study at the Graduate Schools of Economics at either Kobe University or Hitotsubashi University. Preparing for the graduate school entrance exam requires more than taking undergraduate coursework. Therefore, I am currently studying independently in the university’s study room with the support of my professors. Although it was closed at certain points this year due to the novel coronavirus, this study room is usually open both weekdays and weekends, and provides access to support from professors, making it an invaluable facility to those who hope to go on to graduate school. I believe it is part of the reason why the Department of Economics at Okayama Shoka University has the highest percentage of students who pursue postgraduate degrees in the country.
By covering my living expenses, the scholarship has allowed me to devote my full attention to studying. I am truly grateful. To my junior students, I would like to say, “Work hard and a happy future in Japan will await you.” I wish you all the best.
Information About International Symposium
The 15th RIKEN Biomanufacturing Symposium
This symposium consists of lectures and discussions about emergent academic fields and scientific technology that lie at the intersection of biotechnology, chemistry, and various engineering areas. This year, in particular, the symposium will focus on issues such as tissue engineering using medical materials, drug delivery systems, biosensors, and biomanufacturing utilizing bioinformatics.
Date/Time: Friday, December 4, 2020 / 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. (Online)
* The URL for the online symposium and other details will be sent to the e-mail address registered at the website below
2020 11th RIHE Open Seminar “Master’s Education in East Asia and COVID 19 Impacts” (Online)
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 / 2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. (Online)
* The URL for participants will be sent to those who signed up ahead of time by the day before the seminar
* Simultaneous Japanese-English interpretation available
Introducing Academic Societies
Name: Intercultural Education Society of Japan (Education)
Location: Office of Makiko Kishi at the School of Global Japanese Studies, Meiji University, 4-21-1 Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
Number of Members: Regular Members: 757 / Student Members: 102 / Other Members: 28 (As of August 2020)
Membership Fee: Regular Members: 10,000 yen (3,000-yen initial fee) / Student Members: 8,000 yen / Corresponding Members: 3,000 yen
Overview of Academic Society (History, Mission, etc.)
This interdisciplinary society was established in 1981 with the aim of advancing academic research into various issues in the field of education that arise from differences in culture. The society’s 52nd issue of its biannual journal “Intercultural Education” was published in August 2020 and is currently available at bookstores. An annual meeting is held each June, which consists of an open symposium, research paper presentations, and various verbal and poster presentations. Various events organized by the Research Committee, Event Planning and External Affairs Committee, and Young Members’ Committee are held throughout the year. Given its values and areas of interest, the society frequently interacts with those who are from overseas.
Japanese Language Tests
*Note that the tests may be cancelled. Make sure to check the official websites for these events before heading out.
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
*Note that the events may be cancelled. Make sure to check the official websites for these events before heading out.
Useful Websites for International Students
These websites have search engines for companies recruiting international students.
Job Hunting Report
University: Tokyo International University
Major: Department of Economics
Period of Study in Japan: September 2015 to September 2019
Current Workplace: Abercrombie & Fitch, Tokyo International University
Japanese Proficiency Level: Equivalent to Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2
All of these experiences were of great use when came the time to job hunt. With global business and marketing being two areas of my major that I was particularly interested in, I chose to take a position at the Japanese subsidiary of a foreign clothing company where I was involved in sales promotion and staff management in my capacity as a store manager. After a while, I came to realize that I had a stronger passion for serving the public interest than pursuing profits. Hoping to pursue this goal in the field of education, I switched jobs and currently work for TIU.
Lastly, I would like to give a word of advice to any international students who are about to enter job hunting process: To find your path, analyze your interests and capabilities objectively and have the courage to take decisive action.
Job Hunting Information Article
The first step to choosing a company to work for is examining different industries and companies. Japan has a wide variety of industries and companies, so we recommend you start by gaining a broad understanding of every industry before digging deeper into specific industries or companies where you might want to work. JASSO’s “Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2021” provides a useful overview of different industry categories and job types (The URL for the guide can be found at the end of this article).
The novel coronavirus outbreak has had significant effects on the way companies conduct their recruitment efforts, increasing the importance for job hunters to utilize online resources to gather and analyze relevant information. A lot of this information is publicly available, including reports analyzing the effect of the coronavirus by industry. Try searching for such information by combining keywords such as “求人倍率” (kyujin-bairitsu: jobs-to-applicants ratio), “業界動向” (gyokai-doko: industry trends), or “業界天気図” (gyokai-tenkizu: industry forecast). This year, students should pay especially close attention to industry trends and recruitment trends.
Once you gain an idea of where you might want to work, the next step is contacting alumni from your university who work for those companies so you can hear their perspective on what it is like working there. These are known as “alumni visits” in Japan. Through these visits, you can gain information about a company that cannot be obtained from sources such as the company website, including the actual day-to-day work environment and the workplace culture. In recent years, several apps have been released that are dedicated to helping students organize their alumni visits.
“JASSO’s Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2021” goes over why it is important to examine industries/companies and visit alumni as well as how to go about accomplishing such tasks. The guide can be downloaded from the website below, so please refer to it in addition to the information above.
5. Visit Japan
Introducing regions in Japan with universities, and more! The November issue looks at Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.
Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student
Located in the north-east of Honshu Island, Sendai City, Miyagi is the largest city in the Tohoku Region with a population of around 1.09 million, and is known as an academic city due to its many universities. With an average temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius in August and 2 degrees Celsius in January, Sendai’s winters are noticeably colder than Tokyo, although the city receives relatively small amounts of snowfall compared to other cities at similar latitudes. Sendai’s nature is remarkably rich for a large city, giving it the nickname “Mori-no-miyako” (City of Forests). On the other hand, it is also an economic hub, with around 48,000 businesses operating within the city. Easily accessible by bullet train (approximately 90 minutes from Tokyo) or through its own regional airport, Sendai is also a popular tourist destination and receives around 20 million visitors each year.
A famous figure in Sendai’s history is Date Masamune, who built Sendai Castle there in 1601. The castle town that grew around Sendai Castle forms the foundation for today’s downtown area. Many tourists visit the Sendai Castle Ruins to enjoy a majestic statue of Date Masamune, which stands at the ruins as if the erstwhile ruler were continuing to watch over the city to this day.
Around 50,000 students live in Sendai City who study at one of the city’s 10 universities, including the third oldest national university in the country and the largest private university in the Tohoku Region. These universities collaborate with various businesses in Sendai to help invigorate the region. For example, one national university in Sendai has partnered with companies to conduct cutting edge research in the field of engineering, which has helped create various new business ventures. Sendai also has thriving publishing and printing industries due to the high demand for books and magazines generated by the city’s many schools. Since it is the largest city in the Tohoku Region, Sendai is also the site of branch offices and operations for many of the country’s largest corporations.
Approximately 4,200 international students currently live in Sendai City. International students can gain tips on everyday life through a website provided by the city or participate in cultural exchange events and Japanese lessons organized by the Sendai Tourism, Convention and International Association (SenTIA). The city also makes it easier for international students to visit natural history and science museums through a system that discounts admission fees to public facilities for such students.
6. NIPPON Information
This section introduces information on Japan for international students!
Getting a Part-time Job in Japan
In Japan, employment arrangements that companies mainly use to hire students for a limited time are called “arubaito” (Japanese word for a part-time job). Many international students take these kinds of jobs, as they are not only good for earning extra money, but also for gaining a better understanding of Japanese culture and improving their Japanese. However, international students who are in Japan on a student visa must first receive a permit from the Immigration Bureau to engage in an extra-status activity and can only work up to a certain number hours (28 hours per week).
There are three main ways to look for a part-time job. First, you can look on your school’s portal site. These portal sites provide tailored lists of jobs that are well-suited for students and sometimes feature job listings that are not open to the public. The second way is to look on online part-time job listing sites. These websites conveniently allow you to narrow your search by area, job type, and hours, and some of these websites are tailored to international students. Lastly, the third way is to look for shops and restaurants around town that are seeking help. Such shops often put up posters on their storefront with details about the job. Some shops do not post job openings on listing sites, so keep an eye out as you walk around town.
To apply for a part-time job, follow the directions given on listing sites and job posters. Most employers require an interview and many also require you to hand in a resume. Resumes in Japan follow a unique format, and templates that adhere to this format can be purchased at convenience stores and stationery shops. When filling out your resume, try to use Japanese as much as possible. If you are unsure of how to fill out your resume or have concerns about interview etiquette, we recommend you ask a Japanese person you know for help.
Get to Know Japan
Japan is the origin of many world-class inventions. In this issue’s “Get to Know Japan” section, we will introduce you to a few of the inventions that were born out of Japan’s science and technology which have had an immense impact on people’s lives.
Doctors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura revolutionized lighting around the world with their invention of the high-luminance blue light-emitting diode (blue LED) for which they won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014. LED lights have always had the advantage of saving energy, lasting longer, and shining brighter. Previously, however, a blue LED with sufficient color purity and brightness had not yet been invented, making it the last of three colors needed to create a light of any color (red, green, and blue) to not be in existence. In addition, due to the physics of light, the combination of these three colors was needed to create the color white, meaning the invention of a blue LED was also crucial for achieving widespread use of white LED lights. Through the research and development efforts of these three scientests (including the creation of a process for generating high-purity crystals that are used as a material in making LEDs), the world’s first blue LED was invented in 1993, leading many lights to be replaced by LEDs in the years since.
Born out of Japan’s unique public transportation needs, the automatic turnstile is an invention that is capable of instantaneously reading the information recorded on a train ticket. Automatic turnstiles were first introduced in around 1967 when economic growth had led to high urban concentration, making congestion on trains and train stations a major issue in society. Until then, tickets had been collected by human gate attendants, creating congestion during rush hour and requiring gates to be manned by a large number of station workers. Eventually, train companies brought this issue to electric appliance companies, leading to the development of the automatic turnstile. One unique feature of Japanese turnstiles is their ability to instantaneously and automatically distinguish between tickets of passengers traveling to and from different stations. This process happens at a rate of an incredible 80 passengers per minute. Today, automatic turnstiles are installed at most train stations around Japan and have evolved to accommodate prepaid smart cards in addition to tickets.
Japanese scientists have also made important contributions to the invention of the lithium-ion battery, which are currently used around the world to produce everything from smartphones to satellites. In terms of facilitating the practical application of lithium-ion batteries, the contributions of 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Dr. Akira Yoshino are particularly significant. Along with fellow Nobel Prize winner Dr. John Goodenough and others, Dr. Yoshino utilized a unique electrode design to create a lithium-ion battery that was safe and small enough to be suitable for commercial application. Small, lightweight, high capacity, and rechargeable, the lithium-ion battery is currently used in smartphones, laptops, and digital cameras, and are expected to power electric cars in the near future.
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
Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”
Official Facebook and Instagram Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices
Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
JASSO Scholarship Programs
Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”
Please read the September 2020 issue. It will be available on November 12.
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.
Job Hunting Guide for International Students
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 “Lifestyle Information” section, we discussed part-time jobs. Part-time jobs provide excellent opportunities for students to gain a wide range of job experiences while still being in school. I myself worked various part-time jobs when I was a student. Getting real-life job experience helped me realize what kind of work I was not as well-suited for and what I enjoyed doing. At one clerical job, I was able to get a firsthand look at how office workers spend each day, which allowed me to envision my future more clearly. In addition, the opportunity to learn about business etiquette and insider industry knowledge from the employees I worked with were also invaluable experiences. Although it can be challenging to balance work with school, the knowledge and experiences you can gain from a part-time job will undoubtedly be useful to those who are considering employment upon graduation.
- 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.