Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.97)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 97 May 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 97

1. Life in Japan by Photo

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

May of Japan

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

Sanja Festival Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo

Sanja Festival Asakusa Shrine in Tokyo



Kashiwamochi (Rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves)

Kashiwamochi (Rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves)

Tea picking

Tea picking

2. Alumni News

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

1) News on International Students

NEWS 1 : Total Consumption by Tourists in Japan Reaches 3.7 Trillion Yen

Total travel-related consumption by tourists to Japan is estimated at 3.75 trillion yen in 2016, a 7.8% increase over the previous year (3.48 trillion yen). By nationality/territory, China accounted for the largest amount at 1.47 trillion yen (39.4%), followed by Taiwan, 524.5 billion yen (14.0 %); South Korea, 357.7 billion yen (9.5 %); Hong Kong, 294.7 billion yen (7.9%); and the United States, 213 billion yen (5.7%). The top five countries accounted for 76.5% of the total. Looking at travel-related consumption by category, shopping accounted for the largest amount (38.1%) but was down compared to the previous year (41.8%). On the other hand, accommodations, dining and transportation were all up compared to the previous year.

NEWS 2 : Applications Now Accepted from Companies That Will Take in International Student Interns

The Japan Property Management Association (JPM) has begun accepting applications from member companies that will take in interns as part of the 8th JPM International Student Internship Program.
In this program, real estate management companies let international students, primarily from Asia, to experience actual operations. It was launched in 2010 for the purpose of supporting job hunting activities. The internship is for second- and third-year university students, graduate school and vocational school students who wish to work in Japan and who have at least conversational proficiency in Japanese. The internship period will last for two to four weeks from mid-July to August.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Woo Rina

Name: Woo Rina
Nationality: South Korean
University: Kansai University Graduate School
Major: Psychology
Academic Year: Second year of master course
Period of Stay in Japan: January 2011 - Present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

As a result of my father’s job, I became familiar with Japan at a young age. He also told me that if I was going to study abroad then he would be at ease if I went to Japan, so that’s why I chose Japan. Also, there are more learning options for my major, psychology, in Japan than in South Korea, so I felt that studying in Japan would also be useful for achieving my dreams.

My first impression upon arriving in Japan was that despite the familiarity I felt, it was unexpectedly foreign. The streets are clean, and the staff at restaurants, convenience stores and other facilities are accommodating. On the other hand, I remember getting very excited over many similarities in scenes from movies and television dramas.

At the Kansai University Graduate School, I am currently researching on the state of child-rearing support in single-parent households. I took a wide range of psychology classes from required subjects to theory to statistics to practical training during my first year. This year I want to focus on classes related to developmental disorders, which is my area of interest, and those that provide a lot of practical training.

I hope to become a competent child psychologist and provide useful support for child-rearing. I want to acquire expertise and techniques, and build a psychology clinic for South Koreans residing in Japan so that I can also help with multicultural policies in Japan being an advanced nation.

My favorite place in Japan is Tennoji in Osaka. That’s because the Japanese language school where I studied during my first year in Japan is located here and visiting Tennoji reminded me of my foreign friends I met and Japanese teachers who helped me. During that time, I visited many places like Kyoto, Kobe and Universal Studios Japan with those friends. With all those good memories, it’s no wonder Tennoji is my favorite.

My favorite Japanese food is teishoku (Japanese-style set menu). I like all kinds. In South Korea, the side dishes are served as all-you-can-eat at almost all restaurants. So I was surprised at first that each side dish costs money in Japan. However, there is a very strong sense of graciousness with Japanese teishoku compared to other dishes. You can sense it with every bite, and the meal makes you happy all the way through.

My advice to students planning to study abroad is that it’s good to study abroad as a personal challenge but coming without a plan or dreams will just be a waste of time and money. I think you should paint a clear picture before you study abroad of why you need to study abroad and what you hope to gain from it.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences Alumni Association (Yuho-Kai) Vietnam Chapter Launched

The Vietnam Chapter of Yuho-Kai was launched in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in December 2016. In recent years, the number of students coming to Japan from Vietnam has been steadily increasing, and there are also many students from Vietnam studying at the University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences. A chapter was established in Vietnam in the hopes that the number of enrolling and graduating students from Vietnam will continue to increase and that they will find success both in Japan and in their home country.
The new chapter will work on providing support to the association and the university in various aspects, including exchanges with alumni living in Vietnam and employment support like provision of Vietnam-based employment information to future study abroad participants.

(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.

Okayama University

Okayama University

University Profile (as of May 2016)
Name: Okayama University
Address: 1-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Kita-ku, Okayama, Japan
Number of students: 10,148 (Undergraduate), 2,951 (Graduate)
International students: 194 (Undergraduate), 408 (Graduate)

1. About Okayama University

Okayama University is a leading national university with about 150 years of history. We have 11 faculties, 1course, 7 graduate schools, 3 research institutes, university hospital and attached schools. In 2007, UNESCO approved the establishment of the UNESCO Chair in Research and Education for Sustainable Development at Okayama University. Since 2015, Okayama University has had the special honor of being one of the few higher education institutions selected by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as a "Super Global University".

2. Outline and Features of Distinctive Courses

A new 4-year bachelor’s program in English starts in October 2017.
Discovery Program for Global Learners aims to nurture inspiring young leaders who will take active roles on the global stage. We welcome students with an entrepreneurial spirit, an innovative mind, and a strong will to commit themselves to intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration.

3. Scholarships and Living Support for International Students

We have a system to deduct half of the tuition for students who face financial difficulties.

International students can apply for scholarships sponsored by various kind of funds and organizations (eg JASSO), through the university.

We have 4 dorms for international students who can live basically for a year. Furthermore, we have an insurance program in which the university can be a guarantor for international students who have difficulty finding a guarantor by themselves.

4. International Exchange and Other Support for International Students

The tutorial system is set up for international students to receive advice and help from tutors, such as Japanese students in their studies and daily life.

We have L-café, where is a multi-purpose space. In L-café, international and Japanese students can gather for a chat, mutual learning, and fun activities. There are also opportunities to interact with others at events that are held on and off campus.

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

Japan-China Friendship Center

Program name:
5th Japan-China Friendship Kishi Sekiko Award

1. Application Eligibility:
Students from Northeast China (Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang)

2. Qualified theses:
Master’s theses in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences that were successfully defended at a Japanese graduate school between 2016 and March 2017

3. Required documents (will not be returned):
- 2 copies of the master’s thesis (Clearly mark the month and year of course completion.)
- Abstract of 1,500 characters or less
- Recommendation letter from the advisory professor
- Copy of passport (page showing that student is from Northeast China)
- Copy of Residence Card
- Contact information including mailing address and email address
*No format is specified for the abstract or recommendation letter, but they should be on A4-sized paper.

4. Overview:
The Japan-China Friendship Center established the “Japan-China Friendship Kishi Sekiko Award” for human resource development to contribute to academic exchanges between Japan and China based on the last wishes of the late Sekiko Kishi. Sekiko Kishi lived through tumultuous times as the wife of a Japanese government official in Manchukuo. Based on her own experience, she was keenly aware of the importance of raising accurate historical awareness and of friendship between Japan and China. Her desire was not only to put that awareness into practice herself but also to pass on to the younger generation. The award was established in 2013 after her passing.

5. Subsidy amount:
200,000 yen per grant (one or two awards to be presented)

6. Application deadline:
Postmarked by Wednesday, May 31, 2017

7. Mailing Address and Contact for Application/Inquiries:
5th Japan-China Friendship Kishi Sekiko Award Selection Committee Secretariat 1-5-3 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0004
Tel: 03-3814-1261
E-mail: kourakuryo-k@jcfc.or.jp

Saito Ryoji Islamic Scholarship

Program name:
2017 Saito Ryoji Islamic Scholarship

1. Application Eligibility:
University students or graduate school students from Muslim countries studying in Japan who meet all of the following conditions:
(1) Have achieved excellent academic performance, of good moral character and in good health
(2) Able to communicate in Japanese
(3) Facing financial difficulties
(4) Has an interest in promoting mutual understanding and friendship with Japan and can be expected to contribute accordingly
Individuals are not eligible if they or their spouses fall under one of the following categories:
i. Recipient of other scholarship(s)
ii. Government-financed foreign student

2. Scholarship amount, period and number of recipients:
Amount: 400,000 yen/scholar
Period: 1 year beginning April 2017
Number of recipients: 6 or less

3. How to apply:
Those who would like to apply should submit the following documents to the trustee (Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank) via the International Student Office of their university.
(1) Application (Attach a copy of your passport showing your passport number, the date of issuance, your name and your photograph.)
(2) Copy of your student ID
(3) Transcript (excluding for those classes taken for the purpose of language learning)
(4) Recommendation letter (from the University President or Dean)
The application form and other documents may be downloaded from the trustee’s (Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank) website.

*Documents will not be returned. Format may not be altered.

4. Overview:
This fund is a public trust established in 1990 for the purpose of contributing to the further promotion of Islamic studies and goodwill with Muslim countries by providing scholarship support to university students from Muslim countries studying in Japan and providing assistance to Islamic researchers in Japan.

5. Application deadline:
Postmarked by Friday, May 26, 2017

6. Notes:
Use the contact information below to confirm whether the scholarship will be offered from Academic Year 2018 onwards.

7. Mailing Address and Contact for Application/Inquiries:
Saito Ryoji Islamic Scholarship Application
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Retail Fiduciary Business Department, Public Trust Group 3-33-1 Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-8574
Tel: 03-5232-8910 (Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Weekdays)
Fax: 03-5232-8919

3) Information about International Symposium

11th Symposium on Disaster Mitigation of Cultural Heritage and Historical Cities

Challenges in protecting cultural heritage sites and historical cities from natural and man-made disasters require much more immediate attention and ideas for solutions. Discussions will be held pertaining to disaster mitigation for cultural heritage sites and historical cities.

Date: Saturday, July 1, 2017
Location: Ritsumeikan University, Kinugasa Campus (56-1 Tojiin Kitamachi, Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto)

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

Xu Wenchang

Name: Xu Wenchang
Nationality: Chinese
University in Japan: Yokohama National University
Major: Accounting and Information (Department of Business Administration)
Period of study in Japan: October 2004 to March 2010
Name of Company: SK.System Co. Ltd.
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

The reason I decided to look for employment in Japan was that I had a lot of fun during my years as a student, so I wanted to live in Japan for a long time. I didn’t have any ideas or funds to start my own business, so I rode the job hunting wave together with the Japanese students around me and devoted myself to self-analysis and researching companies. I decided to work for SK.System because my major was Accounting and Information, and I wanted to establish a career in the accounting field utilizing the knowledge I had acquired, so I was looking for an accounting or finance job with a trading or manufacturing company.

SK.System is not a systems company but a company that is generally in charge of the accounting and labor operations of the Kewpie Group. The main mission of my job is to disclose the Kewpie Group’s consolidated financial statements to investors without any problems. For that reason, my main job is to provide support to the accounting and finance departments of overseas subsidiaries. My dream for the future is to improve my skills in accounting and finance, ERP systems as well as in English and Chinese. Since not many people out there who can do all of these things, I want to upgrade these skills so as to raise my worth to the company.

Writing the self-promotion and reason for application was difficult for me. When doing self-analysis, look carefully inside you, remember the past and think deeply about yourself. Self-analysis is not something you just do once. It’s important to go back and look again as necessary in your career and life. When I struggled, I talked with my friends and consulted with the staff at an organization that supports international students in finding employment. By sharing my problems with others and not feeling the burden alone I was able to get new information and new insights on things.

The important thing in researching companies is to get up and go. I attended various seminars, job fairs and company briefing sessions. So many, in fact, that my schedule was completely full. It’s important to attend with questions like what kind of business the company does, what the customer demand is, and what the company provides.

I wrote my entry sheet and résumé using simple and easy-to-understand sentences and narrowed down the keywords. When you become a working member of society, you will be judged on how well you can explain difficult concepts in simple terms. I think you should be aware of this when you engage in job-hunting activities.

My advice for students getting ready to start their job hunting activities is to remember that job hunting is a doorway to a new life. I think you’ll find it more rewarding and will be able to stick with the job longer if you choose the company that suits you best based on a thorough self-analysis rather than prioritizing a company that looks more attractive based on starting pay, name recognition, or office location.

3) Job Hunting Information Article

Written Employment Examination
Written examinations taken during the job hunting process are one of the biggest obstacles for international students. Many companies use written examinations as the first step in the selection process. It’s very difficult to make it to the next step without preparing, so be sure to prepare beforehand.

Types of written employment examinations
An aptitude test called SPI is often used as the written employment examination for job seekers. The test method varies depending on the company. There are cases where you have to go to a testing center to take it while in some cases, you take it as an online take-home exam or a paper-based exam at their own venue. SPI consists of exams on basic language (Japanese) and non-language (mathematics) skills as well as a personality test. The Tamatebako, GAB and CAB tests are similar aptitude tests. Some companies have their own written examinations (including essay writing). You should find out what test is used at the company you are applying to and prepare accordingly.

How to prepare for written employment examinations
There are workbooks sold for aptitude tests like SPI, so it’s a good idea to work through one and get used to the questions. Aptitude tests have multiple choice questions. A large number of questions have to be answered at an allotted time, which means you only get less than a minute per question, so it’s also important to increase the speed at which you come up with the answers.

The fact that the questions are written in Japanese and that there are questions on the Japanese language make these written examinations an obstacle for international students. Start your preparations early so that you won’t panic if you’re SUDDENLY given a test.

5. Visit Japan

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

Fukui prefecture

Castle in the Sky: Echizen Ono Castle

Castle in the Sky: Echizen Ono Castle
Echizen Ono Castle sits atop Mt. Kameyama in the Ono Basin, which is surrounded by mountains. The castle town spreads out at the foot of the mountain. On days that the castle town is enveloped in a sea of clouds and Mt. Kameyama seems floating, Echizen Ono Castle appears like a “castle in the sky.” This phenomenon can only be observed on days under certain conditions. Specifically, it can be seen from dawn until around 9 a.m. in the months of October to late April if the humidity is high the day before, there is a huge disparity between the temperature on the previous day and the viewing day, and the wind is light.

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum

Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum
Since 1989, many dinosaur fossils have been found in Kitadani, Katsuyama City. As a result, one of the largest dinosaur museums in Japan was opened in Fukui in 2000. The exhibit room inside the shiny silver dome consists of three zones: “Dinosaur World,” “Earth Sciences,” and “History of Life.” The exhibit includes 42 complete dinosaur skeletons and faithfully reproduced dioramas. In 2014, a “Field Station” was opened. It is the first facility in Japan where visitors can experience fossil excavation firsthand and is a part of the Dinosaur Quarry itself.

Wakasa Tilefish

Wakasa Tilefish
Branchiostegus caught in Wakasa Bay are called “Wakasa tilefish.” They have long been shipped to Kyoto and are known as an essential luxury ingredient in Kyoto cuisine. Butterflied tilefish is prepared without removing the scales and grilled slowly until the scales turn brown and crispy. The scales are eaten together with the meat. “Wakasa-yaki” is a well-known dish and is simply Wakasa tilefish grilled whole. In Kyoto, wakasa-yaki is a dish with such tradition that the skill of a chef is judged on how good he served this.

Echizen Uchi-hamono Cutlery

Echizen Uchi-hamono Cutlery
In recent years, Echizen uchi-hamono cutlery has been highly acclaimed overseas. Its origins can be traced back about 700 years ago when the renowned swordsmith Chiyozuru Kuniyasu visited Echizen for water to forge swords and made sickles for suburban farmers. The main Echizen uchi-hamono cutlery products of today are cooking knives, farming and gardening sickles, hatchets and hoes.

Wakasa Takahama Isaribiso

Wakasa Takahama Isaribiso
This event was launched in 2003 to pray for good catch and safety of the fishermen. Isaribi refers to the lights used on fishing boats at night to attract fish. At night, these lights float on the horizon and are a common feature in Wakasa during the summer. People who see the lights are reminded to pray for good catch and safety of fishermen. During the festival, which takes place in mid-August every year, there are candles covering the shore, pyrotechnic show featuring only toy fireworks, submerged firework display and other spectacles.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine



Tempura is a typical Japanese dish prepared by coating seafood, vegetables and other ingredients in a batter made from water, flour and eggs and frying them in oil. Tempura is said to have been introduced to Japan around 1573-1603 along with the coming of Christian missionaries. It became a food of the common people when rapeseed oil began to be manufactured around 1800 and people began selling it from stands. At these stands, tempura was apparently served on skewers to keep the customers’ hands from getting dirty.

Tempura is prepared and eaten in two ways known as Kanto-style and Kansai-style. Kanto-style tempura is made with batter containing eggs and fried in sesame oil. It has a golden brown color. Kansai-style tempura, on the other hand, is made with batter that does not contain eggs and fried in vegetable oil. It has a white color. Moreover, since tempura in Kansai is mostly made up of vegetables, they have come to prefer salt over sauce in order to highlight the natural flavor of the ingredients.

Delicious tempura is said to be 70% ingredients and 30% skill. First, the ingredients have to be of high quality. The rest is technique. It may look simple, but it takes very skilled technique to prepare tempura so that the outside is crispy and the inside is juicy. One tempura expert said that “tempura is a steamed dish.” Preparing tempura is not a matter of heating the ingredients in hot oil but enclosing the ingredients in batter and heating them with steam. Hence, in truly delicious tempura restaurants, tempura is cooked within a minute, taking into consideration the residual heat, and served in perfection.

2) Lifestyle Information

Useful Informational Websites

“Safety tips” app for safe travel (Japan Tourism Agency)

This app is provided by the Japan Tourism Agency for international tourists visiting Japan and foreign residents of Japan to deliver information useful for disasters. It is available in four languages: English, Chinese (Traditional/Simplified), Korean and Japanese. This push-enabled app notifies alerts about earthquake early warnings, tsunami warnings, severe weather warnings and volcanic eruptions. It also provides other useful functions, such as an evacuation flowchart showing actions to be taken in light of surrounding circumstances, communication cards for obtaining information from the people around, and website links that contain helpful information in the event of a disaster.

This website provides news in easy-to-understand language. It can also be used to study Japanese. All kanji has hiragana above it and difficult words are tagged with dictionary explanations. The news stories are written as simply as possible and comes with audio versions.

(In Japanese Only)

Multilingual Hospital Search Tool (JNTO)
In the February issue, we introduced a tool for finding hospitals that accept foreign nationals. Previously available in English only, it is now available in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Korean and Japanese. On this website, you can look up hospital procedures, symptoms and treatment, and which languages a hospital can accommodate.

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 May 2017 issue will be published on May 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 May edition of Japan Alumni eNews?
The long vacation known as Golden Week has come to an end. Known as the season of gentle breezes, May has a warmer climate making this a pleasant time of the year. In this month’s NIPPON Time Machine, we discuss the typical Japanese dish called “tempura.” Tempura is a dish people can also prepare at home, but it sure is hard to cook the batter just right. Once every few months, we will take a look at the Japanese food culture. Don't miss it!

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 June 9th. 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
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