Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 140)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 140 December 10, 2020

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 140

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.
How to submit
Please send your photos with the information listed below to the following address.
alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
*Please convert "at mark" to "@" when you send an e-mail to us.

1. Photo title (15 characters or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
3. Nationality
4. Name of your school in Japan

December in Japan

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

Year-End Soba

Gifts Sent at the End of the Year to People Who Have Cared for You (Oseibo)


Camellia Sasanqua

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

NEWS 1: Job Hunting for International Students Supported by Educational Institutions and the Government in the Corona Crisis

The results of surveys* clearly show that support from educational institutions and the government for international students who are job hunting has increased amidst the corona crisis. At the time of the surveys, the percentage of international students with tentative or unofficial job offers was 22% to 30%, approximately half that of Japanese job hunters. As a result, since the state of emergency was ended in June, there has been an increased proportion of educational institutions accepting consultations in face-to-face meetings, by phone/e-mail, and online (each around 35% of all consultation content), and running job hunting guidance and company information sessions (each around 25% of all guidance and advice).

*Results of surveys by DISCO Inc. (period of survey: July, number of responses: 343) and ACCESS NEXTAGE CO., LTD. (period of survey: August, number of responses: 109)

NEWS 2: Aichi Prefecture Creates a Special Provision to Help International Students at Japanese Language Schools with Job Hunting

Based on the Zone Plan for the Aichi Prefecture National Strategic Special Zone set out in September by the Council on National Strategic Special Zones, Aichi Prefecture is carrying out the Job Hunting Support Project for International Students Who Graduated University Overseas. International students who have graduated from a Japanese language teaching institution in Aichi Prefecture and who meet certain requirements will be able to continue looking for jobs for up to one year after they graduate. This special provision created by Aichi Prefecture was discussed by the Council on National Strategic Special Zones on September 10, and has been approved by the Minister of State for Special Missions and the Governor of Aichi Prefecture, Hideaki Omura. “Making use of high-level foreign talent is essential in Aichi Prefecture, which is a world-leading manufacturing and industrial area. By using this special provision and encouraging international students to look for jobs in Japanese companies, I want to contribute to enhancing Japan’s ability to compete on an international level in industry,” says the Governor of Aichi Prefecture.

Study Abroad Testimonial

Byamukama Benedicto

Name: Byamukama Benedicto
Nationality: Uganda
University: Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
Major: Master’s Program of Animal Science and Agriculture, Degree of Veterinary Life Science
Period of Study: August 2017 to August 2020
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N4

As a child growing up in Uganda, I used to see several automobiles and electronics with a “Made in Japan” inscription. This kept me imagining life in Japan in relation to high technology production. In 2017, I got a chance to study a Master’s Program of Animal Science and Agriculture, under the ABE Initiative scholarship. It was such a great opportunity for me to break all my imaginations from childhood. The first impression on arrival in Japan was the high level of technological advancement and a peaceful country. Secondly, the nature of the Japanese people who I found to be very respectful, hardworking and efficient in all aspects. In general, I found Japan to be a very unique country having comprehensive and sustainable clean cities, and also rich in culture and history.

In Japan, I studied at Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine located in Hokkaido prefecture, northern Japan. The university had a unique and up-to-date method of learning and researching that motivated me for research to write 3 publications and co-author 15 more during my masters’ period. The learning environment provides for learners to acclimatize and socialize with the Japanese lifestyle. Many thanks to JICA for extending the scholarship to me and further arranging for the internship at the Japanese Research and Development company (JOKOH) where I experienced the Japanese business culture and work etiquette. Despite the outbreak of the COVID-19, studies in Japan were not much interrupted due to the quick installation of the SOPs and online learning for students, and we graduated in March 2020. However, my return to Uganda was affected and I had to stay for 5 more months after graduation until August 2020.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend others to consider studying in Japan. It is a unique destination not only for studies but also tourism and other experiences. It is safe, peaceful, with a friendly environment, supportive, and is a highly developed country with up to date technology and knowledge in various fields. The learning system and environment will impart knowledge and skills to you, which will make you a global market resource.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

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

Nagasaki International University

Nagasaki International University runs an international student company visit bus tour in cooperation with the local government and companies in the prefecture as a way of supporting job hunting for international students. During the company visits, graduates from the university offer participating students explanations based on their own experiences, and the participants get a real sense of what it means to work in Japan as a member of a company. This company visit bus tour offers international students who will be entering companies a deeper understanding of the work there, and leads to increased motivation for career formation.

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.

Asahimachi Campus (1)

University Profile (As of May 1, 2020)
Name: Kurume University
Asahi-machi Campus: 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka
Mii Campus: 1635 Mii-machi, Kurume-shi, Fukuoka
Number of Students: Undergraduate: 6,854 / Graduate School: 281 / Japanese Language Program: 34
International Students: 161

Asahi-machi Campus (2)

Kyushu Medical School, established in 1928, was the cornerstone from which Kurume University expanded and developed. It is now a comprehensive private university with 13 departments in 6 faculties, and 4 graduate schools. Kurume University is located in Kurume City in Fukuoka Prefecture, and has established campuses and facilities in four different places within the city. It also has a Fukuoka satellite office in Tenjin in Fukuoka City (6F Elgala Office) where it holds events such as public lectures for working adults. The founding spirit of the university is “The self-respect and pride of a master is always self-restraint and compassion,” and its fundamental principles are “To search for truth and justice; to aim for human love and respect; to foster people who will have practical knowledge, noble ideas and a deep sense of humanity; and to brighten the regional culture and show its brilliant results to the world, and to contribute to the peace of the world.”

Mii Campus (1)

Tuition exemption: If a full-time undergraduate or graduate student has difficulties paying tuition fees for economic reasons and is acknowledged as having excellent results, the undergraduate student will be exempted from 40% of the tuition fees for the year after their application has been screened. The graduate student will be exempted from the matriculation fee and half of the tuition fees for the year. Over 95% of undergraduate and graduate students make use of this system.
Scholarships: There are several scholarships from organizations inside and outside of the university for self-financed international students, enabling all international students to study without any financial worries. Kurume University’s own “Kurume University Scholarship for Private-Expense International Students Studying at Graduate School Scholarship” is available for graduate students.
Assistance for international students: Anyone who is an international student at Kurume University can make use of this three times a week if they want to talk about life in Japan or studying Japanese. It is run by Japanese language instructors and tutors for Japanese and international students.
Student dormitories: The university has a men’s dormitory and a women’s dormitory. These are located around five minutes’ walk from the university, and there are convenience stores and supermarkets nearby.

Mii Campus (2)

International exchange events: There are various international events held throughout the year for students to experience Japanese culture and deepen international relationships. These events are held with the cooperation of organizations within and outside of the university and members of the local community.

Testimonial on Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Awards, etc.

Ma Yingying

Name: Ma Yingying
Nationality: China
Type of Scholarship: Scholarship from the Yoshikawa Scholarship Foundation
University: Fukuoka University
Major: International Trade, Faculty of Commerce
Period of Stay: April 2016 to March 2020
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

Most scholarships require an interview. The Yoshikawa Foundation scholarship was no different. I think the interview was a very good chance for my personal development. My financial burden was reduced thanks to the Yoshikawa Scholarship Foundation’s support, and I was able to devote myself to my studies.

On top of this, I was able to meet many international students at exchange events each month, broaden my worldview through discussions on my studies and job hunting, and I even received lots of advice. During the two years I received the scholarship (2018 to 2020), I was also able to participate in several excursions. For example, I was able to see the “Wonder of Light” exhibition and experience the romance of technology, and gain a better understanding of the Yahata Steel Works and TOTO’s company history and principles through a hands-on tour of the works and TOTO Museum.

You all should definitely apply for this wonderful scholarship!
I recommend that my juniors just try going for it, without being afraid of failing.

Information About International Symposium

Ocean and Earth Symposium 2020

The Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo (AORI) and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) will hold the Ocean and Earth Symposium 2020. This symposium will serve as a meeting to report the outcomes of research and technological development carried out by researchers, engineers, and students across Japan using JAMSTEC-operated research vessels. The organizers hope that there will be a large number of participants, and await your registration.

Date: Thursday, December 17, 2020 to Friday, December 18, 2020 (Online)
*Those who have registered on the website will be contacted with a URL and other information for their participation

Introducing Academic Societies

Name: Japanese Society for Engineering Education (Engineering)
Location: 4F Kenchiku Kaikan, 5-26-20 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Number of Members: Regular Members: 2,535 / Honorary Members: 28 / School Group Members: 198 organizations / Corporate Organization Members: 28 organizations / Supporting Members: 32 organizations (as of October 2020)
Membership Fee: Regular Members: 3,000 yen to 4,000 yen / School Group Members: 700,000 yen per organization / Supporting Members: 100,000 yen per organization

Overview of Academic Society (History, Mission, etc.)
The Japanese Society for Engineering Education was established through the cooperation of higher education institutions and the world of industry in 1952. It promotes the spread of survey-based research and results in engineering education, and engineer education with the aim of contributing to the development of industry. Engineering Education, its bimonthly journal, contains research papers and case reports suitable for a new era. These cover ways of educating engineers, international relations in engineering education, quality assurance and evaluations of the effectiveness of education, and more. An annual conference is held each year in September. The conference moves around eight areas in Japan, and is jointly sponsored by the engineering education societies in each area. The annual conference’s International Sessions see presentations by teaching staff, including presentations by people invited from other countries, as well as presentations by students; prizes are awarded for excellent presentations. There are also mutual exchanges between engineering societies overseas, in countries such as the US and South Korea, and the Japanese Society for Engineering Education periodically holds engineering education symposiums with representative institutions from countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific region.

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

Song Jianyang

Name: Song Jianyang
Nationality: China
University: Kumamoto University
Major: Master’s Course - Modern Social Human Studies, Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences
Period of Study in Japan : October 2018 to present
Current Workplace: Makino J Co., Ltd.
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

The reason that I decided to study in Japan is my passion for subcultures. I have liked Ultraman since I was a child, and this gave me a favorable impression of Japan, where this wonderful “tokusatsu” (special effects) work was made. I majored in business English when I was in university, but I was influenced by the Gundam series and wanted to research the subcultures that I like in Japan, so I made the decision to study in Japan.

In graduate school, I wanted to work in a job through which I could convey my excitement and joy about my favorite characters to other people at the same time as researching the self-sacrifice seen in Mobile Suit Gundam, so I applied for an internship in the world of toys and games. I also was able to receive information on machinery manufacturers thanks to help from my academic supervisor.

I think that the most important thing when you are job hunting is to find companies with which you have a connection. Use a mind map to understand the areas in which you have hobbies or motivation. If you do this and then think about introducing yourself, I think it will be easier to write episodes about why you are interested in that company, and how you can contribute.

When creating an entry sheet for companies that deal with games and toys, I believe that imagination and creativity is invaluable. If you write your reasons for applying in words, and then express this through your own manga episode, you can make a lasting impression on the reader. Make the blank spaces on your entry sheet interesting.

When you are job hunting, you need to get used to writing entry sheets and interviews. So, don’t worry about your first failure: I recommend that you make sure you are aware of whether you can write good development on an entry sheet and whether you can talk to an interviewer as if you are having an ordinary conversation.

Job Hunting Information Article

Preparation for Written Exams

When it comes to job hunting in Japan, there are many cases in which there is a written exam after a student has applied for a company. This written exam is for the company to understand the student’s academic ability, and their abilities to think and judge, the speed of their work, their accuracy, and other skills they will need for the job. The results of the written exam are important: they affect direct recruitment, and are used as a reference for interviews. There is a tendency for the results of the written exam to be even more important now, when online interviews are increasing in number due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The written exam will have sections such as an aptitude test created by test specialists, a general knowledge test unique to the company, and a composition or a short essay. It is possible to study for the aptitude test with special test preparation materials, smartphone apps, and other resources, so you can prepare early on. As each company will have different content in the exams that they have created, it’s a good idea to prepare by searching the company’s recruitment web page or asking seniors at your school. It was common for people to gather at an external venue to take their exam, but since the novel coronavirus crisis, there has been an increase in the number of companies who are making use of formats that enable you to take the exam using a personal computer at home.

JASSO’s Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2021 introduces ways of preparing for different types of written exams and aptitude tests. You can download this using the website below, then refer to it together with other resources.

5. Visit Japan

Introducing regions in Japan with universities, and more! The December issue looks at Machida City, Tokyo Prefecture.

Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student

Location of Machida City, Tokyo Prefecture

Machida City is located in the southern part of Japan’s metropolis, Tokyo Prefecture. It prospers as an area in which people who work in the heart of Tokyo live, and its seven universities and one junior college mean that many students also reside in this neighborhood. Due to its relatively warm and agreeable climate, around 430,000 people live here. The northern part of the city has an abundant natural world, and the shopping district in the southern part offers rows of different stores, making this a convenient and easy city to live in.

In Front of Machida Station

Machida City has seven universities and one junior college, where approximately 30,000 students study. Many students gather in the area around Machida Station, the city’s central station located in the south. While there are restaurants, clothes stores, book stores, cafés, and specialist subculture stores that appeal to young people here, there are also many traditional shopping streets. A unique atmosphere in which older stores and new stores coexist is one of Machida City’s charms. The average rent in Machida City is in the range of 50,000 yen for a 1R or 1K apartment (one-room apartments suited for living on your own). One of the city’s other appeals is that the rent is cheap when compared to rent in the heart of Tokyo (as of 2020).

Bird’s Eye View Photograph of Machida City

Machida City has plenty of public facilities, with eight libraries, an art gallery, a museum, sports facilities, and parks. It offers an environment replete with both culture and sport, including the recently-established Ishibashi Foundation Art Research Center, which surveys and collects works of art. Machida Squirrel Garden, a zoological garden in which you can get close to free-roaming squirrels, is a famous leisure spot visited by over 100,000 people each year, including tourists from overseas. FC Machida Zelvia, a professional football club based in Machida City, has an enduring popularity among the residents of the area.

There are currently over 7,000 international residents in Machida City, and many international students also live here. The Machida Cultural and International Exchange Foundation in Machida City offers support services such as Japanese group lessons and an advisory service about everyday life, as well as exchange projects such as exchange parties and foreign language classes. The universities within Machida City are also developing support programs and exchange programs, so you can enjoy your life as a student in Japan with peace of mind.

6. NIPPON Information

This section introduces information on Japan for international students!

Lifestyle Information

How to Contact the Police and the Fire Service in Japan

You need to memorize the telephone numbers to make an emergency call and how to use them in case there is an emergency. In Japan, we call 110 for incidents and accidents, and 119 for fires, injuries, or illness. When you are making an emergency call, your location information is automatically sent to the organization you are calling, but the police and the fire service can send a more accurate dispatch if you tell them where you are on the phone. In Japan it doesn’t cost anything for an ill or injured person to be transported in an ambulance.

Scenarios in Which to Call 110

110 is the number that will connect you to a police station. It is free to call from any phone, including landlines, public phones, and cell phones. If you call 110, the person who answers will ask you “どうしましたか? (Dou shimashita ka: What’s wrong?)” You should calmly explain what has happened, when, where, the number of offenders or any special features, and what is happening now. You will also be asked information such as where you are, your name, and your phone number. In Japan, there are also buildings known as “koban” (police boxes) with police officers stationed inside. These are located in front of stations and in the streets, so if you are close to one it might be a good idea to go and inform the people in the koban.

Scenarios in Which to Call 119

119 is the number that will connect you to a fire station. It is free to call from any phone, including landlines, public phones, and cell phones. If you call 119, the person who answers will ask you “火事ですか?救急ですか? (Kaji desu ka? Kyukyu desu ka: Is there a fire? Is there a medical emergency?]”, and you should tell them which it is. Next, they will ask “場所はどこですか? (Basho wa doko desu ka: Where are you?]” Tell them the address of your current location. If you don't know the address, tell them about the features of nearby buildings of shops. You will also be asked for details of the situation (in the case of a fire: what is burning, is there anyone who has failed to escape, is anyone injured; in the case of an illness or injury: the state of that illness or injury), and information such as your name, and your telephone number; answer as calmly as you can.

In the past, 110 and 119 calls in Japan were only conducted in Japanese, but recently they have also come to be conducted in languages such as English, Chinese, and Korean. Arrangements for emergency calls are introduced on the websites of regional police stations, fire stations, and/or local governments, so it’s a good idea to check them before you visit Japan.

Get to Know Japan

In this section, we will introduce topics on culture, technology, lifestyle, and more in Japan.
The topic for the November issue is Japanese inventions.

Interests that are Gaining Female Fans

In Japan, there are several areas of interest that originally had a lot of male fans, and are now gaining female fans. This article introduces three examples of this: railways, history, and camping.

The “Enoden,” Popular Among Railway Fans

There was a strong perception that railways were a hobby for men, but female fans are increasing, jump-started by books, manga, games, and other media themed around railways. There are many different ways to enjoy railways, including taking photographs and collecting souvenir goods; among female fans, actually riding trains as a hobby, known as “noritetsu,” is especially popular as a way to have fun. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of events held by railway companies, making this a hobby that can be easily enjoyed by anyone regardless of age, gender, or nationality, rather than just certain fans.

Samurai Procession for Tourism

Female history fans known as “rekijo” (history girls), who research history as a hobby and visit historical sites, are also increasing in number. One major reason for this is that history-based games and anime are in fashion, and the historical figures that appear in these, especially characters inspired by sengoku busho*, are very popular among women and girls. So-called “pilgrimages”, or visits to areas and locations related to their favorite sengoku busho, are popular among rekijo as a way of enjoying their interest. These are also popular among international visitors who are interested in Japanese history, and the number of people who enjoy traveling around while learning about Japanese history is increasing.

*Sengoku busho: The people who led armies from different regions during the period from the end of the 15th century to the end of the 16th century (the sengoku period/warring states period) when there were many wars in Japan.

Solo Camping

The number of women who enjoy solo camping is also on the rise. In around 2010, there was a huge increase in the number of female mountain climbers, nicknamed “yama girls” (mountain girls), and women stepped into the world of outdoor hobbies, which had previously been overwhelmingly male. After this, camping, which can be enjoyed on a more casual level that mountain climbing, became popular. It developed in several different directions, with people enjoying camping in cities or camping in their own gardens or on their verandas as well as “tebura camping” (literally “empty-handed camping”), which people can enjoy without needing to bring anything with them. As the corona crisis spread in 2020, solo camping, which allows people to enjoy the natural world by themselves while maintaining social distancing, is now in vogue among men and women. Tebura camping, which can be enjoyed easily without any preparation, is also popular among international tourists. These people might be aiming to eventually prepare equipment and go on a full-fledged solo camping trip.

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.

Due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, usual in-person events have been canceled and replaced by a series of online sessions (Study in Japan Online Fairs).

Date/Time of online sessions:
- Saturday, December 12, 2020 / 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. university/junior college
- Sunday, December 13, 2020 / 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. university/junior college

Target Region: Worldwide (Mainly eight regions and countries including Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, China, China (Hong Kong), Vietnam, and Malaysia)
Please refer to the website below for further details.

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 and Instagram 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!

JASSO Scholarship Programs

Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”

Please read the December 2020 issue. It will be available on December 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.

  • Report on 2019 Research Fellows

New University Listing(s):
Kyushu University
Tokai University
Kagoshima University
Kyoto Institute of Technology
Kochi University of Technology
Chiba University
Shizuoka University

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

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

This month’s Lifestyle Information covered “How to Contact the Police and the Fire Service in Japan.” A police officer in a koban, a familiar police contact point, is called an “omawari-san,” (お巡りさん) and is a well-known figure in Japan. I remember that when I was a child, when I picked up some lost property and nervously went to report it to the koban, the omawari-san there responded with great attention, even though I was a child. I also had the recent experience of losing my wallet when on a trip. Once I had reported it to the local koban, it was safely found and mailed to me. Even now, if I am lost, I find a koban before I do anything else. I ask for directions, thinking, “Sorry about this, I know you're busy,” but they always treat me very politely.

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 January 8, 2021. Don’t miss it!
Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their websites for the latest information.

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Follow-up Services and Career Support Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
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