Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.94)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 94 February 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 94

1. Life in Japan by Photo Memories of Japan (Photo from readers)

Learn the life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

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

February of Japan

The theme of the February issue is photo introduces February of Japan.

The Sapporo Snow Festival

The Sapporo Snow Festival

Butterbur sprout

Butterbur sprout

Japanese plum

Japanese plum

The last day of winter

The last day of winter

2. Alumni News

Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international studen

1) News on International Students

NEWS 1 : Period of stay after graduation of international students extended to a maximum of two years to continue job-hunting

It is now easier for international students to stay in Japan and continue job-hunting. The current system only allows international students to stay in Japan for a year after graduation to go job-hunting. Those international students who take part in the job-hunting support project of the local government may get an issued certificate, and will be allowed to stay for another year after their one-year internship is finished.

NEWS 2 : The University of Tokyo ranked as Top 10 in The Global University Employability Ranking 2016

Times Higher Education (THE) has released The Global University Employability Ranking. Along with Europe and the United States, Japan made it into the top 10, with the University of Tokyo reaching the top spot in Asia. As for the rest, Tokyo Institute of Technology (No. 20), Kyoto University (No. 65), Osaka University (No. 118), and Keio University (No. 129) placed in the top 150.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Sharon Andrea Romero Moscoso

Name: Sharon Andrea Romero Moscoso
Nationality: Bolivian
University in Japan: Yamagata University Graduate School
Major: Faculty of Engineering/ Graduate School of Science and Engineering/ Management of Technology (MOT) Master’s Program
Academic Year: 1st Year, Master's Degree
Period of Stay in Japan: From September 2015 to present
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3

I have been interested in studying foreign languages since high school. I wanted to understand the culture of other countries more, so I had a strong interest to study abroad. I thought that if I study abroad, I could increase not only my knowledge and employability but also my personal skills. So after I graduated from university, I started to research on study abroad programs. Then I found a great chance to study in Japan.

When I first arrived in Japan from Bolivia, I was very surprised to see foliage on a road while moving to Yonezawa City from Tokyo by train. I knew that Japan is high-tech and industrialized, but even though Japan already is an industrialized country, its richness in greenery and nature really surprised me.

Currently, I am researching the possibility of the international trade of Bolivia’s potassium chloride at the Graduate School of Science and Engineering in Yamagata University. Bolivia has a place called Salar de Uyuni and it can create potassium chloride in the production process. Agriculture in Brazil is flourishing and makes use of potassium chloride, but it costs a lot. There is no trade now but if Brazil imports potassium chloride from Bolivia, I think it would benefit both countries. I am analyzing this possibility. Right now, I would like to research it by making full use of IT to understand the features of the Brazilian market.

The impressive thing about life in Japan is the kindness of the Japanese people. On my birthday, I wrote “I want to eat crab in Niigata again” on Facebook, so my Japanese friend went to Niigata during the weekend to buy crab and asked me and our other friends to have a BBQ. From that experience, I understood the kindness of the Japanese very well. Japanese people really care about friendship. It’s my turn now to return the kindness I have received back to the Japanese.

My short term dream in the future is to take a doctor's degree. Since I feel joy in helping people, my mid-term dream is to be a member of a development team which socially and economically influences the countries all over the world. I have learned English, Portuguese, Italian, French, Quechua (a spoken language in South America), Japanese, and Spanish which is my native tongue. I would be happy if I could work in a global company by using these languages. I wish I could be a bridge person between my home country and other countries.

For the people who are thinking of studying in Japan in the future, you need to increase your Japanese level to N2 or N1, or at least understand English. From my experience, having studied Japanese before coming to Japan makes the experience richer. When I spoke to the Japanese ambassador to Bolivia, the ambassador said “When in Rome do as the Romans do”. That means to imitate activities of residents, so you shouldn’t harm or break the harmony of Japanese society as a foreigner. I think a foreigner always needs to show respect and gratitude for Japanese citizens.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

Establishment of the Miyazaki University Alumni Association of International Students from Vietnam

A general meeting for the establishment of the Miyazaki University Alumni Association of International Students from Vietnam by former students of Miyazaki University was held in Hanoi on October 16, 2016. Twenty four people attended including executive board members, the vice-president, and professors of Miyazaki University, a professor of Vietnam National University of Agriculture, and former international students. This alumni association was established after forming the same associations in Taiwan and Indonesia and aims to strengthen the network between former international students by deepening friendships and to connect future international students in the years to come.

(In Japanese Only)

3. Academic News

Introducing scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!

1) Introduction of Faculties/Graduate Schools

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

Showa Women's University University

Showa Women's University University

University Profile (as of October 31 2016)
Name: Showa Women's University University
Address: 1-7-57 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Number of students: 5,489 (Undergraduate), 94 (Graduate)
Number of international students: 65 (Undergraduate), 20 (Graduate)

1. About Showa Women's University

Showa Women's University (SWU) founded in 1920 is located in Tokyo, Japan, minutes away from the bustling downtown Shibuya. Since the founding, its mission has been to educate women to become self-reliant and to take a significant role in society under the motto “Be a Light to the World.”

Now, there are 2 graduate schools and 4 faculties(5 faculties from April 2017). A wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses and programs are offered to over 5,500 students. 85 international students are studying.

2. Outline and Features of Distinctive Courses

SWU has launched 1-semester "Intensive Japanese Language Program" for international students in the department of Japanese Language and Literature since 2014. This program is designed for university undergraduate or graduate students studying outside Japan, and will allow students with beginner level Japanese to improve their Japanese and experience an exciting student life in Tokyo.

3. Scholarships and Living Support for International Student

SWU offers the following financial aids and scholarships for both Degree-seeking international students and Non-degree students.

<For Degree Students>
Tuition Exemption = Annual tuition is reduced by up to 30%
International Student Support Scholarship = Monthly scholarship of JPY 20,000-30,000 to those who meet certain grades & attendance criteria.

<For Non-degree Students>
- Hirao Scholarship
Eligibility: International students from Southeast Asia to study at SWU under Academic program or Intensive Japanese Language Program. (2persons / year)
Scholarships: 500,000 yen (Exchange student from partner institutions= 200,000 yen)
- Program Fee Discount
Program fee is waived for those coming as exchange students. There is a 50% program fee discount for students coming from SWU partner institutions

4. Career and Other Support for International Students

Each international student studying at SWU for more than a semester is assigned a "Host Sister". Host Sisters are student volunteers that help international students settle in and start for their smooth start with school life. Host Sisters will accompany them to assist with documentation at the ward office, and guide them through the campus. Each student will be matched with a "Host Family". A Host Family will welcome each student to their house occasionally, and provide students with the chance to experience the typical lifestyle of a modern Japanese family. Students will enjoy going out with their Host Families on weekends and spend quality time together. SWU offers a variety of activities and events for international students to form friendships with Japanese students and experience Japanese culture.

2) Application Information for Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.

Life Insurance Culture Center Incorporated Foundation

Name of Program:
Research Subsidy for Life Insurance 2017

Application requirements:
A graduate student (doctoral program) currently enrolled in a Japanese graduate school, an assistant professor, an instructor, an associate professor, and researchers with an equivalent status. (In the case of a collaborative research, this applies for every researcher in the group.)

Provided that:
If you are a graduate student, you must have plans to work in a Japanese university in the future. You have not received subsidies in the past for the same theme either from our foundation or another foundation. (This should be the first time you apply for your research theme.)
If you are an individual researcher or a representative of a collaborative research, you should not have received subsidies from our foundation in the past for five times or more.
Either form of research whether individual or collaborative is accepted, but if it is a collaborative research, the number of researchers, including the representative, should be five or less.

Our foundation was established for the improvement and stabilization of national life and to contribute to the enhancement of the benefits of citizens through projects for the healthy development of a life insurance system. This research subsidy is to support young researchers of life insurance.

How to apply:
Download the application form from the site below and send it to our foundation.
Furthermore, if you are a graduate student and if it is an individual research or a collaborative research, you have to attach a recommendation letter from your academic supervisor

Intended Theme:
The intended research theme should be about life insurance or related fields. Related fields are, for example, studies related to the various systems of life insurance business such as law, accounting, IT, and finance. The research may also be about the fields of life security and life planning, and consumer behavior with a focus on life insurance. The research should be about “life insurance and the related studies” targeting various fields specifically, commercial science, business administration, economics, law, home economics, sociology, consumer education, mathematics, and statistics.

Application period:
We must receive your application by Sunday, April 30, 2017.

Scholarship amount:
500,000 yen (maximum)

The Research Subsidy Subsection, Insurance Research Lab, Life Insurance Culture Center Incorporated Foundation
3F Shin-Kokusai Building, 3-4-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005
Tel: 03-5220-8512
Fax: 03-5220-9090
E-mail: gakujutsu@jili.or.jp

(In Japanese Only)

EBARA Hatakeyama Memorial Fund (EHMF)

Name of Program:
Research Subsidy 2017

Application requirements:
A researcher belonging to a university or research lab inside of Japan or an individual or group permitted with scholarly acquaintance will receive aid on their research project.

Our foundation was established in 1989 by Issei Hatakeyama who was the founder of EBARA. Since then, we have worked with the aim of raising the industry and the development of culture by aiding the research of science technology, and by familiarizing and promoting, and supporting the development of education and academics through scholarships.

Intended Theme:
The theme should be about fluid machinery and systems, environment, energy, biomass, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment and process.

How to apply:
Fill out the form and send the original copy by snail mail to the contact address below. Subsidy amount: 700,000 yen per case. Basically, it can support up to ten cases, but it depends on the research content.

Application deadline:
by Monday, March 6, 2017

EBARA Hatakeyama Memorial Fund
11-1 Haneda-asahi-cho, Ota-ku, Tokyo 144-8510
Tel: 03-6275-7301
Fax: 03-5736-3121
(Available every day from 9:00 - 16:30, except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays)

(In Japanese Only)

3) Information about International Symposium

International Symposium: “Corporate Expectations for Women PhDs”

Since 2013, Ochanomizu University has been selected for the “Program for Leading Graduate Schools” to foster female scientists who can respond to rapidly changing social needs. In this symposium entitled, “Corporate Expectations for Women PhDs”, there will be lectures from alumni who have achieved great success in various industries. It will also facilitate networking between sci-tech students and the industry. There is a Japanese-English simultaneous interpreter so international students, please feel free to join.

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Place: Ochanomizu University
Symposium: Inter-faculty Building 2, Room 201
Networking Session: Student Commons Building, 2F

4) Academic Societies

<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commercial Science, Management>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences>

5) Japanese Language Tests

4.Business News

JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources is being launched from 2015, as a collaborative effort of related government ministries and agencies, and other relevant organizations. The Program seeks to increase employment of international students in Japan, and hence increase the number of highly skilled international professionals in the future, following the recent trend in policy that includes the 2014 revision of “Japan Revitalization Strategy – Japan is Back” (approved by the Cabinet on June 24th, 2014). The ultimate aim is to vitalize the Japanese economy further and enhance Japan’s presence in the global economy.
Through seminars, events and other activities, the Program will strengthen the system of connecting international students and other foreign nationals looking for employment in Japan, with companies in Japan looking to recruit international employees.

Events for International Student

Useful Web Site for International Students

2) Job Hunting Report

Chen Qinshi

Name : Chen Qinshi
Nationality : Chinese
University in Japan : YMusashino University Graduate School
Major : Language and Culture
Period of study in Japan : From September 2012 to September 2014
Name of company : Yaskawa Information Systems Corporation
Japanese proficiency level : Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

Because I like Japanese Anime, I majored in Japanese when I was in a university in my own country. Since I studied Japanese, I got exposed to the Japanese culture and became interested in Japan. I wanted to see Japan with my own eyes in the future so I chose to study in Japan.

Currently I work for Yaskawa Information Systems Corporation which is an IT company. We develop and create systems for three fields, which are business solution, medical and public benefit solution, and embedded system solution.

The reason I joined the company is because I could be exposed to a wide range of fields and widen my perspective. Also, since it is associated with my country, China, I could show them what I am capable of. The company also has excellent technology and actively works on IoT which is the trend these days. I work in the sales for the total solution of embedded software, IoT, and M2M (a system which allows machines to communicate and work with each other without human support) for a manufacturer of medical equipment.

My future dream is to be a leader who can lead the company. After that, I want to play an active role in the global field and create a new business on my own. Especially now since I’m working in an IT field related to medicine, I would like to make a breakthrough in the health care business by using IT technology.

When job-hunting, what you need to keep in mind during interviews is to have confidence. When I get nervous or worried, I made sure to speak with confidence (smile, speak in a loud voice, look the other person in the eye, and keep the back straight to maintain a good posture). I wasn’t successful the first time but after having been through interviews for a couple of times, I could manage to do it.

I didn’t know what kind of careers would be the most appropriate for me when I first started job-hunting, but as I joined the company orientations of various industries, I realized many possibilities for the future. I never dreamed that I would work in sales in the IT field since I was a liberal arts graduate. But when I tried the actual work, I felt that I entered an interesting, unknown world. So it might be good for you to think of job-hunting as a good chance to get to know the society.

3) Job Hunting Information Article

Visit OB・OG (alumni)

When job-hunting, you often hear the words “visit OB and OG”. It means to get in touch with the graduates from your university who work in the industry or company you are interested in. OB and OG are Japanese-English words. OB means old boy and OG means old girl and it both refers to the alumni of the university. The reason why we visit OB and OG is because hearing about things from a person who actually works in the industry or company you are interested in gives you a clearer image of working there. Also, you can ask them things that you may be hesitant to ask the HR such as salary, and your concerns about the company.

These are some ways to find someone to visit:
1. Ask your university to introduce you to someone
2. Ask someone from a company to introduce you
3. Ask people from your university organization or part-time job to introduce you.

There are many companies actively doing this because it improves the image of the industry and the company. Also, since it is an opportunity for a company to meet students, some companies share the contents of an interview with HR and use it as a reference in the hiring process. Therefore, if you are disrespectful and go on an interview with an attitude like “It’s ok to ask anything I want, that person is from the same university”, it might cause a bad impression during the hiring process later on. Think about what you want to ask before meeting them and thank the person who made time for you.

Visiting OB and OG is a good opportunity for students who don’t have any work experience to have a specific image of working. Why don’t you try visiting alumni who work in the industry or company you are interested in?

5. Visit Japan

Gifu Prefecture

Have you been travelling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events, and foods from all over the country! The February edition looks at Gifu Prefecture.


With its highly esteemed beautiful scenery of a preserved village with traditional Gassho-style houses, Shirakawa-go was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, along with Gokayama (Toyama Prefecture). Buildings in Shirakawa-go have a steep roof in order to avoid collapsing from the heavy snow experienced in the region. It is called Gassho-style because the shape of the roof looks like praying hands. Making the roof with Gassho-style creates a large attic space, so that space was used for silk cultivation. The Gassho-style houses in this area are larger than the regular houses so several families used to live together in the same house.

Gero-Onsen (hot spring)

Gero-Onsen (hot spring)
Gero Hot Springs gush along the Hida River and is considered one of Japan's Three Great Hot Springs, along with Arima and Kusatsu Hot Springs. In Gero Hot Springs, you can enjoy three open-air public baths, starting with Funsenchi, which flows along the Hida River. Also, there are free footbaths scattered around which you can enjoy while casually taking a walk in the hot spring resort. To fully enjoy the famous hot springs of Gero, you can get a “Yu-meguri Tegata” spa pass. With this spa pass, you can enter the three hot springs from member inns.

Hoba Miso

Hoba Miso
Hoba Miso is a local dish in Hida in which you eat grilled miso (fermented soybean paste) on magnolia leaves. The color of the miso in Hida is basically deep red but it is not too salty. It has umami and captures the sweetness of the rice molt. A common way to eat Hoba Miso is to grill it mixed with seasonings such as green onions, shiitake mushrooms, and mountain vegetables on magnolia leaves. It is then eaten with rice.


It is a traditional doll from the old times in the Hida region. It is said that the origin of this doll was a long time ago, a grandma made it for the kids in snowy Hida. In the Hida dialect, “Bobo” means baby, so the dolls have an image of a baby monkey with a red face. Due to the phonetic pair “saru”, the “saru” of “Sarubobo” can also mean to prevent sickness and accidents, praying for the safety of both mind and body. It is said if you read the character “saru” with its Chinese pronunciation, it would sound like “en”, and due to the phonetic pair “en”, it can also mean blessings for good luck, and family happiness.

Cormorant Fishing(Ukai) on the Nagara River

Cormorant Fishing(Ukai) on the Nagara River
Cormorant fishing on the Nagara River is held every season from May 11 through October 15 in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture. Cormorant fishing (Ukai) is one of the traditional fishing methods in Japan that uses 10-12 cormorants with the amazing technique to catch ayu (river fish) attached to Kagari-bi (fishing torch). Fishermen let the birds spit the ayu (fish) on a bamboo bag. It has been practiced for about 1,300 years, but these days, to pass on the traditional way of fishing, it only serves as a tourist attraction.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day
In Japan, February 14 is the day that women give chocolates to a man and confess their love. Every February, the department stores, supermarkets and places that sell chocolates are busy with female customers. In Europe and the United States, during Valentine’s Day, cards or presents are exchanged not only between a man and woman but also between family and friends. The current way of celebrating Valentine’s Day in Japan started in 1950. The chocolate given to a loved one is called “Honmei-choco” and the chocolate given to someone who takes care of you is called “Giri-choco”. The culture of giving presents is strongly rooted in Japan that is why “Giri-choco” which is chocolate given to colleagues, friends, teachers, etc., became popular. To return the favor, on March 14, White Day, the men are expected to give candies, marshmallows, or chocolates to the women who gave them gifts. During this time, Japan’s confectionery industry is able to earn half a year's worth of their sales. February 14 is the day that men and women get restless over chocolates, thinking “How many chocolates can I get this year”, “Should I give a chocolate to that person…”and all that.

2) Lifestyle Information

Tools when you have trouble

Medical Institution
The medical institution you go to changes depending on the time, urgency, and severity of the case. Also, the medical care system varies from country to country. You can avoid trouble by knowing these beforehand.

Tool to find a hospital that can provide help in many different languages

Multilingual Speech Translation Application (VoiceTra)
It is a voice translation application to different languages. It is simple and easy to use and you can even check the accuracy of the translation. It supports 31 languages.

Useful information to use in the hospital, bank, cell phone and other things for people who live in Japan

7. JASSO News

Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

1) Schedule, etc. for 2016 Japan Education Fairsd

JASSO holds Japan Education Fairs overseas to provide information to high school students, university students and other individuals who are interested in studying in Japan. We also attend and cooperate to the events and seminars sponsored by other organizations.

2) 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 on experience of international students in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.

You can read in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language and Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.

3) Official Facebook Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices

We also provide the latest information on studying in Japan on our official Facebook pages. Check them out!

4) Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

5) JASSO Scholarship Programs

6) Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”

The February 2016 issue will be published on February 10th. Please make sure to read it!

7) 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 to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

8) 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.

8. From the Editor

How did you find the February edition of Japan Alumni eNews? Starting March 1, students who will graduate on March 2018 will begin doing some serious job-hunting. In order to work in Japan, you have to understand how to job-hunt in Japan and prepare for the recruitment exam. Are you ready to go job-hunting? This E-mail newsletter also provides information for job-hunting such as columns and events. Those international students who have not prepared anything yet have a month to gather information.

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job searching experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our email magazine. Our next issue of “Japan Alumni eNews” will be distributed on March 10th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.
Follow-up Services Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
  • Address 2-2-1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8630 JAPAN
  • TEL +81-3-5520-6030
  • FAX +81-3-5520-6031
  • E-mail alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
  • Please convert "at mark" to @ when you send an e-mail to us.