Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.96)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 96 April 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 96

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

Landscape of study abroad location

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

Cherry blossom viewing

Cherry blossom viewing

Bamboo shoot

Bamboo shoot

Cherry blossom rice cake

Cherry blossom rice cake



2. Alumni News

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

1) News on International Students

NEWS 1 : Foreign Students Participate in Disaster Drill as Interpreters

On March 11, around 250 people gathered at Meiji Jingu Gaien in Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo for a disaster drill simulating an earthquake directly hitting the Tokyo area. The participants included police officers from the Metropolitan Police Department and members of the Tokyo Fire Department. Given that the number of foreign travelers to Japan is increasing, international students from Japanese school, which teamed up with the Metropolitan Police Department to provide volunteer language interpreting, also participated in the drill. These students talked to “injured” foreign nationals in English and other languages and communicated what they were saying to doctors and nurses in Japanese.

NEWS 2 : Foreign National Becomes First Foreign Female Professional Shogi Player

A Polish female has become the first ever foreign female professional shogi player. Karolina Styczyńska accomplished this remarkable feat and is now promoted to 2-kyu rank. Styczyńska discovered shogi at the age of 16 when she read a Japanese comic book. She learned how to play over the Internet and dreamed of becoming a female shogi player. In 2013, she went to Yamanashi Gakuin University to study and learned shogi while living in Japan. Next month she will be in her second year of graduate school in the said university and aims to balance her activities as a professional shogi player— playing games and providing English language commentary—with her studies.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Ma Yuejuan

Name: Ma Yuejuan
Nationality: Chinese
University in Japan: Japan Women's University Graduate School
Major: Social Welfare (Integrated Arts and Social Sciences)
Academic Year: Freshman
Period of Stay in Japan: From October 2013 to present
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2

I’ve been interested in family sociology since I was a university student in my home country. The theme of my thesis is “The Working Situation and Housework Sharing Situation of Women Working in International Trade.” However, statistical documentation in China is lacking in generality. Japanese culture is the most closely related to Chinese culture, so there are many aspects that can be used as a reference in terms of sociological tradition. It was for that reason that I decided to come to Japan to study after graduating from university.

What appealed to me about studying in Japan was that Japan is said to be the most comfortable country in the world for Asians to live in. From an economic standpoint, Japan is one of the most advanced nations in the world, and there are many things to be learned from it. From a cultural standpoint, Japan’s fusion of old and new has such beauty that is hard to express.

I’m currently studying at the Graduate School of Japan Women's University, and my major is social welfare. I’m primarily looking into factors like the percentages of dual income families, the divorce rates among dual income families, the child rearing situations, free time and distribution of community property in Japan and China. Through this, I will examine the actual situation in dual income households in modern Japan and modern China and analyze the reasons why both spouses must work to clarify the differences between the social environments of Japan and China. After I graduate, I hope to get a job that allows me to be a bridge between the countries by utilizing Japan’s welfare, culture and advanced concepts that I have learned at graduate school.

One thing that sticks out in my mind from my experiences in Japan is how I used to get lost a lot when I first got here. When I was lost, I would ask a Japanese person for directions, and they always got me safely home. I was very impressed by the kindness of the Japanese people.

My advice for others wanting to study in Japan is to actively participate in volunteer work and other community activities. You get to help others and, at the same time, learn much about Japanese culture through interaction with the people of Japan. This is useful both for the next stage of your education and career.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

Kobe University Alumni Association in Cambodia

The Kobe University Alumni Association in Cambodia was organized in the capital of Phnom Penh in September 2016. The Cambodian chapter is the 14th overseas chapter of the Kobe University Alumni Association, and with its establishment, a network has been developed that almost completely covers the rapidly growing ASEAN region. The inauguration began with greetings from the university’s Executive Vice President in charge of international exchange and included congratulatory remarks from the Japanese Embassy and the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. All graduates read in unison the founding declaration, which sets forth the principles of the association’s inauguration, and expressed their commitment to contributing to the development of both countries and of Kobe University. The inauguration of this chapter is in line with the university’s international strategy as exchange program with Cambodia expands and was an opportunity to further promote development of the overseas network and educational/research exchange related to global human resources development.

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.

Soka University

Soka University

University Profile (as of May 2016)
Name: Soka University
Location: 1-236, Tangi-machi, Hachioji-City, Tokyo, Japan
Number of students: 7,502 Undergraduate students, 413 Graduate School students
International students: 172 Undergraduate students, 71 graduate students

1. About Soka University

In 1971, Soka University opened with the following founding principles “Be the highest seat of learning for humanistic education” “Be the cradle of a new culture” “Be a fortress for the peace of humankind”. With the founding principles as the base, we are aiming to foster “creative individuals”. In order to foster creative individuals, we will engage in humanistic education to discover students’ individual potential (the possibilities that each student possesses)” by polishing their intellectual capability” and “strength of character.” For the improvement of “intellectual capability,” students will develop their basic academic abilities, and apply skills to analyze, integrate, and create. In addition, to foster their “strength of character,” we provide the opportunity for self-motivated learning through interactions with other students. These two essentials will help develop the strength to follow their dreams and to cooperate well with others, which fosters “strength of character.”

2. Overview and Features of Faculties and Graduate programs

Soka University

In 2014, as the university was selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology of Japan for the “Top Global University Project,” English Track Programs, where students can graduate by only using English, are available. The English Track Programs are available in undergraduate programs (Faculty of International Liberal Arts, Faculty of Economics), graduate school programs (Graduate School of International Language Education: TESOL, Graduate School of Economics, Graduate School of Engineering Information Systems Science Major; Bioinformatics Major; Environmental Engineering for Symbiosis Major).

Especially in the Faculty of International Liberal Arts, 11 out 17 professors are from overseas and all courses in the faculty are taught in English. Furthermore, in this undergraduate program, the teacher to student ratio is 1:19. This ratio allows professors to provide detailed learning guidance and to facilitate student learning from each other through discussions and/or small group work and active student participation.

3. Support for international students (support through scholarships and tuition exemption)

At Soka University, with support from many stakeholders, all international students that pursue studying from around the world are prepared with scholarships. By reducing financial concerns, students can focus more on their studies. All international students are provided with the “Makiguchi Foundation Scholarship for International Students” which includes a stipend of 60,000yen per month. Additionally the “Academic Fee Exemption Scholarship for International Students” is provided according to family income and students who qualify can receive full or half tuition exemption.

4. Support for international students (support through employment and international exchange)

From fiscal 2017, the university will enhance support for finding employment for international students, which includes the implementation of career development courses for international students and providing opportunities for internships during summer break. We are also planning to begin extracurricular courses for Business Japanese language courses. For international exchange, we provide, overseas study abroad programs similar to those for Japanese students. As with Japanese students, the number of international students who participate in the short-term and exchange programs has grown. The university supports all students’ international exchanges according to their needs.

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

A majority of scholarships in Japan only sponsor parts of the student’s daily expenses or tuition fee. Scholarships offering full coverage of the student’s necessary expenses are very few. As such, it is important to itemize the amount required for study in Japan and not to rely solely on scholarships. Drafting out a solid financing plan that includes self-funding is essential.

There are two patterns for the timing of application for scholarship and notification of result.
1. Able to apply and receive the result before coming to Japan (number of scholarships available is limited)
2. Applying and receiving the result in Japan upon admission into schools in Japan
● Scholarship selection process:Screening of application form, written exam and/or oral interview on general education and/or knowledge in specialized field and/or Japanese language.
● Scholarship application method:Most students apply through the schools they are enrolled in. Please enquire for details from the international student office of your school.
※ Some scholarships may impose limitations on the application (including age, country/region of origin, school in Japan and field of study)

1. Scholarships applied overseas

Type: Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship
1-1. Embassy recommendation
Eligibility and amount of given:
(1) Research students/teacher training students 143,000 for research course students, JPY 144,000 for master’s course students and JPY145,000 for doctorate course students.
(2) Students in undergraduate programs/colleges of technology/specialized training colleges/Japanese language, Japanese studies 117,000/month
(3) Students in Young Leaders' Program (YLP)

1-2. University recommendation
Eligibility and amount of given:
(1) 143,000 for research course students, JPY 144,000 for master’s course students and JPY 145,000 for doctorate course students.
(2) Japanese language, Japanese studies 117,000/month
Contact: Current school(at home country)

Reservation Program for Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students
Eligibility and amount of given:
Students who have taken the EJU Examination and plan to enroll in regular programs at universities/junior colleges /colleges of technology(over the third grade)/specialized training colleges 48,000/month

Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan)
Eligibility and amount of given:
International exchange students under a student exchange agreement or other student exchange arrangement on a short-term basis from 8 days to one year
Contact: Current school(at home country)

Local government and private organization scholarships
Eligibility and amount of given: Varies by each local government and private organization
Contact: Each local government and organization

2. Scholarships to be applied after arrival in Japan

Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship
Eligibility and amount of given:
(1) Research students 143,000 for research course students, JPY 144,000 for master’s course students and JPY145,000 for doctorate course students.
(2) Students in undergraduate programs 117,000/monthContact:Current school (in Japan)

Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students
Eligibility and amount of given:
(1) Research students(kenkyu-sei)/doctoral course/mastar's course 48,000/month
(2) Students in undergraduate programs/junior colleges/preparatory Japanese language courses/advanced courses/colleges of technology(over the third grade)/specialized training colleges/university preparatory course 48,000/month
(3) Japanese language institutions 30,000/month

Local government scholarships
Eligibility and amount of given: Varies by each local government
Contact: Each local government, organization or current school (in Japan)

Private organization scholarships
Eligibility and amount of given: Varies by each private organization
Contact: Each foundation or current school (in Japan)

On-campus scholarships. Tuition fee exemption or waiver system
Eligibility and amount of given: Varies by each school
Contact: Current school (in Japan)

How to Look for Scholarships

Generally, you will apply through the school you will attend (or are attending). Check with the international student assistance office at your school to see what scholarships are available.

3) Information about International Symposium

Safety Engineering Symposium 2017

The purpose of this symposium is to contribute to the development of safety engineering and related fields through presentation of problems in each field related to safety engineering, lectures on outstanding research results and technical exchanges. Special lectures, organized sessions, panel discussions and general lectures are planned.

Dates: Wednesday, July 5 to Friday, July 7, 2017
Location: Science Council of Japan (7-22-34 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo)

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

Liu Fang

Name : Liu Fang
Nationality : Chinese
University in Japan : Ehime University
Major : Humanities (Law and Letters)
Period of study in Japan : From April 2008 to March 2014
Name of company : The Iyo Bank, Ltd.
Japanese proficiency level : Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

I came to Japan after graduating from high school in my home country. I studied at a Japanese language school and then went to university for four years, so I was in Japan for a total of six years. I felt that I was more suited to life in Japan than in China, so after an internship over the summer, I decided to seek employment at a Japanese company.

I currently work in the Sales Department at Iyo Bank and am in charge of foreign currency exchange. My main job is checking documents pertaining to currency exchange, overseas transfers, and imports/exports. The reason I chose my employer is that it was the bank where I did my internship when I was a sophomore at university. At that time, the business policy of “enhancing services to meet customer needs and proving ourselves worthy of their trust with the best and friendliest service” resonated with me. As an international student from China, I wanted to do a job where I could use not only my language skills but also my understanding of the Japanese and Chinese cultures to support the overseas businesses of my customers. My dream for the future is to become the bank’s first ever foreign female branch manager. I also get a sense of satisfaction as a bank employee by helping various companies and individuals accomplish their dreams through my job. My biggest dream is to use my skills to make my customers’ dreams come true.

When I was filling out my application, I made sure that my handwriting was neat. People who write neatly are perceived as “tidy people who have it together.” It’s important as well to write in a formal style. Also, it’s good to make your application different than what you used as a reference. That’s because the same old thing won’t appeal to companies.

My advice to students who are going to start job hunting is to do it in such a way that you won’t have regrets. If you work hard, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Don’t just worry about the SPI Test or things you should do but instead, take twice as much time as others to prepare and do your job hunting activities without any regrets. Then, be confident and give it your best.

3) Job Hunting Information Article

It’s application time!

The key point for filling out an application is to compose sentences that are easy for readers to understand. The application also serves as material for the interview, which is the next stage, so prepare the applications for each company as carefully as possible and tie them into the next stage of the process.

“What I devoted myself to as a student”
When thinking about what you devoted yourself to as a student, sort through the episodes that you will write about first. The best episodes to include are those that you can talk about easily, such as times where you gave your all or overcame difficulties. Write down what the situation was at the beginning, what you thought when faced with the situation, what you did after thinking about it (in precise details), what the results were, and what you gained from it or in what way did it help you grow. Then, arrange these details. When starting to write, it’s good to use bullet points to summarize things first instead of sentences.
Next, connect these bullet points together in sentences and start with “What I devoted myself to as a student was ***,” communicating your conclusion first.
When you finish, show it to your Japanese teachers and friends and have them look it over to make sure it is easy to read with no typos or omissions and come up with a better composition.

“Reason for application”
When writing your reason for application, it is important to first research the industry and company, so look into the industry and companies you will apply to and understand the industry trends, the company’s products and services, the company’s vision, etc.
It will be easier to convey your reasons if you write in the following order: what attracted you to the company (conclusion), your specific reasons for applying and why you are a necessary addition to the company (how you can contribute and what strengths you can offer). When explaining what attracted you to the company, it is better not to include things that anyone else would say like “Because your company is the top in the industry” or “Because I like to eat” (if applying to a food manufacturer). They will check your enthusiasm with respect to the company, so write down the key points on what attracted you to the company genuinely after researching the industry and company.

5. Visit Japan

Akita 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 April edition looks at Akita prefecture.

Samurai Residences in Kakunodate

Samurai Residences in Kakunodate
Called the Little Kyoto of Michinoku, these historic streets on the outskirts of town were home to samurai residences and merchants. When you walk along these streets that were once the living spaces of samurai, it feels as if you have gone back in time. Some of the Japanese houses are operated as cafés and general stores, so you can spend a relaxing time here. The cherry blossoms in Kakunodate are a famous attraction second to none, and many tourists come to see the cherry blossoms lining the streets next to the samurai residences.

Nyuto Onsenkyo

Nyuto Onsenkyo
Nyuto Onsenkyo is a hot spring village consisting of seven hot spring inns located at the foot of Mt. Nyuto in Towada-Hachimandaira National Park and Lake Towada-ko. It takes about 50 minutes to get here from the nearest station, so it is not conveniently accessible. But it’s nice, secluded location makes it appealing, and so people call it a secret hot spring. Each of the seven hot springs has its own source, and you can enjoy more than 10 different types of hot springs in the area.


Kiritanpo refers to firmly cooked rice that is mashed into a cylinder shape around a skewer and then grilled. Kiritanpo nabe, a typical dish, features kiritanpo cooked with Hinai Jidori chicken, seasonal vegetables, wild vegetables, mushrooms and other ingredients from the Odate area. It is believed that kiritanpo finds its origins in mashed rice that was grilled and wrapped around a stick and carried by hunters who hunted for bears and other animals in the winter, and that kiritanpo nabe can be traced back to this rice dish being cooked in a pot together with vegetables and fowl caught on the mountain.


Fireworks were first made in Akita more than 300 years ago during the Edo period. Akita fireworks are produced mainly in Daisen City and include warimono-botan (“breaking peony”) and warimono-giku (“breaking chrysanthemum”) that explode outward in a spherical shape. The All-Japan Fireworks Competition is also held in Daisen. It is one of the three major fireworks competitions in Japan and also one of the oldest of the many fireworks competitions. Only pyrotechnicians who have been chosen from all over the country can participate. Started in 1910, it has been around for more than a century.

Akita Kanto Festival

Akita Kanto Festival
The Kanto Festival is held every summer in Akita City, Akita and is one of the three major festivals of the Tohoku region. Kanto refers to rice paper lanterns on bamboo poles hanging from horizontal bars. The biggest ones are about 12 meters long and weigh around 50 kilograms, with 46 lanterns hanging from nine horizontal bars. These large kanto are balanced on the hands, forehead or lower backs of the participants who carry them through the streets. The Kanto Festival is said to have begun in 1789 as a festival for dispelling mid-summer illnesses and misfortune.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine

Golden Week

Golden Week

Golden Week is a long holiday period in the spring. Every year from April 29 to May 5, there are four days of holidays. Sometimes the holidays fall next to a weekend, and working people often take paid vacation to add more days (in 2017, Golden Week can be up to nine days long), so many people go on trips during this time of year. Travel demand increases dramatically, so airplane tickets and hotel prices are higher during this period. Airports and terminal stations are very crowded on the first and last days of Golden Week every year. The roads also get congested, so you have to be aware of this when planning trips during Golden Week. Various events, modern and traditional festivals, flea markets, and other activities are held all over Japan during Golden Week. Theme parks, zoos, museums, shopping malls, and other facilities also hold various events, so you can have fun at leisure facilities nearby.

2) Lifestyle Information

Everyday Etiquette

Many people begin new lives or move to new places in April. There is etiquette that should be followed when living in Japan. Observe the Japanese etiquette and enjoy a pleasant study abroad experience.

◇ How to Dispose of Garbage
There are detailed rules for separating and throwing away garbage in Japan. Each municipality has its own rules for separating burnable, non-burnable and recyclable waste. When putting out your garbage, follow the rules and separate it, putting it in the designated place at the designated time. Also, in some areas, there are specific bags that you are required to purchase. The type of garbage collected varies depending on the day, so check your municipality’s website for the rules in the area where you live.

◇ Noise Pollution
In apartments, condominiums and other housing complexes, the noise passes through walls as well as through ceilings and floors, so be careful not to make loud noises or talk loudly, especially late at night or early in the morning. When you have company, it’s important to be mindful of your voices, especially after 10 p.m. The sound from television, radio, vacuum cleaner and washing machine can also be a problem, so be mindful of your neighbors.

◇ Bicycles
In principle, bicycles are to be ridden on the left side of the road by law in Japan. Also, be sure to park your bicycle in designated areas. Riding a bicycle while holding an umbrella or talking on the phone, riding double, riding while intoxicated, riding without a light at night, riding side by side, etc., are prohibited acts.

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 2017 Japan Education Fairs

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 April 2017 issue will be published on April 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 April edition of Japan Alumni eNews?
April is a season of new encounters such as school and company entrance ceremonies. Many events are held in April that offer opportunities to meet and interact with new people such as reception events like school entrance ceremonies and opening ceremonies, and cherry blossom viewing. If you’re starting a new life in Japan studying or entering a new environment after finding a job or proceeding to the next level of education, we encourage you to make an effort in April to make many Japanese friends. Making friends with Japanese people will help your Japanese language abilities and make your life in Japan many times more enjoyable.

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 May 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)
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