Japan Alumni eNews (Vol.99)

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 99 July 10th, 2017

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 99

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

July of Japan

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





A round paper fan

A round paper fan

Shaved ice

Shaved ice

2. Alumni News

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

1) News on International Students

NEWS 1 : Job Fairs for International Students Held with Increasing Frequency

The number of job fairs for international students graduating in March 2018 is increasing nationwide. Up to now, job fairs for international students have been held mostly in major cities like Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, but an increasing number of municipalities all over the country have recently been holding them. Job fairs have even been held in Fukui, Kagoshima and Saga. Increasing demand for foreign human resources at Japanese companies in rural areas is thought to be behind this development.

NEWS 2 : Number of Cruise Passengers Visiting Japan Hits Highest Ever in 2016

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced that the number of cruise passengers visiting Japan in 2016 was an all-time high of 19.92 million (a 78.5% increase over the previous year). By port, there were 328 calls to Hakata Port, the largest for two years in a row, 197 to Nagasaki Port and 193 to Naha Port. The Japanese government has set a target of 5 million cruise passengers visiting Japan by 2020.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Isooda Ajdari

Name: Isooda Ajdari
Nationality: Iranian
University: Hiroshima Jogakuin University
Major: Global Studies in English (GSE) (Department of Liberal Arts)
Academic Year: 4th year
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2014 - Present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3

The reason I chose Japan for my studies abroad is that my family recommended it because it is a safe country. My decision was also influenced by all the Japanese anime I watched as a child. I came to Hiroshima because it is known as a City of Peace. Many people here engaged in activities for peace and study international issues so I thought of studying here. When I first arrived in Japan, there were many cherry blossoms in bloom near my house and along the river at the university. I remember thinking they were so heavenly and beautiful.

I am currently in the Global Studies in English program at Hiroshima Jogakuin University. Ninety eight percent of my classes are in English; one of which is Global Citizenship, which I took during my freshman year. In this class, I learned about the cultures and religions in various countries. Also, during my summer break, I went to Cambodia to do field work and learn about working with NPOs and NGOs.

One thing that sticks out in my mind from my experiences in Japan is getting to know a graduate of the university and being invited along with six of my friends who are also international students to their house for New Year. We received New Year’s gifts, visited a temple and made special dishes for the New Year. We were fortunate to experience New Year in Japan since other international students were busy with their part-time jobs and could not go anywhere for New Year. It felt like we found family in Japan.

My dream for the future is to take peace studies in Hiroshima and eventually teach what I had learned to the children in Iran. Elementary and junior high school students in my country don’t have the opportunity to learn about peace or experience cultural exchanges with other countries. I want more of these activities to be available in Iran.

My advice for those thinking about studying in Japan is to learn the language even if just a little before coming to the country. If you encounter any trouble in Japan, the university professors are there to help. Moreover, Japanese people value their culture, so you need to observe the cultural traditions. And when you come to Japan, it’s good to bring one of your national costumes. It’ll come in very handy!

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”

Establishment of Yamagata University Alumni Association in Malaysia

On April 22, 2017, the “General Meeting for the Establishment of a Yamagata University Alumni Association in Malaysia” was held in a suburb in Kuala Lumpur. Hironori Yasuda, university trustee, and 20 former international students of the university attended the meeting. With a total of 37 members, it is the first Yamagata University alumni association to be established outside of Japan. The association is currently considering various ideas and opinions for future activities and is expected to grow as they take shape. It is also expected that the strengthening of the network between former international students and the university will result in the acceptance of even more outstanding international students.

3. Academic News

Introduction of 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.

Kagawa University

Kagawa University

University Profile (as of May 2017)
Name: Kagawa University
Saiwai-cho Campus: 1-1 Saiwai-cho, Takamatsu-shi, Kagawa
Miki-cho (Agriculture) Campus: 2393 Ikenobe, Kita-gun, Miki-cho, Kagawa
Number of students: 5,661 (Undergraduate), 716 (Graduate)
International students: 88 (Undergraduate), 128 (Graduate)

1. About Kagawa University

Kagawa University was established as a national university in 1949. In 1978, the university merged with the independent Kagawa Medical School to become a comprehensive National University Corporation. There are currently six faculties and seven graduate schools. Under this setting, Kagawa University continues to make significant contributions to the wider world of academia and to the benefit of humankind.

We aim to educate students to be creative professionals and researchers with a deep sense of humanity through high-quality educational activities, and to serve as leaders in the local community in building a symbiotic society. In line with this philosophy, we endeavor to strengthen the university’s functions with the goal of being a center of vitalization for the local community.

2. Outline and Features of Distinctive Courses

The Faculty of Agriculture consists of the Department of Applied Biological Science, and five courses (Applied Life Science, Bioresource Production Science, Environmental Science, Bioresource and Functional Chemistry, and Food Science). Undergraduates acquire basic knowledge and skills for food, life and environment research in their first two undergraduate years. In their third year, they join laboratories for systematic studies of their majors. In this setting, individuals are developed to able to work actively in the fields of biological production and bioscience business. The Graduate School of Agriculture (master's course) consists of three divisions (Bioresource Production Science, Applied Bioresource Science and Rare Sugar Science). Rare Sugar, the “miracle sugar”, was discovered and produced by the Faculty/Graduate School of Agriculture researchers, and rare sugar research is a key initiative of Kagawa University.

One of the most prominent characteristics at Faculty/Graduate School of Agriculture is that students can foster global education through various international programs: Double Degree Program with Chiang Mai University, SUIJI-Joint Program with Three Indonesian Universities, AAP Course, taught in English, and Career Development Program on “Food Safety”. Over 60 international students are studying at the campus.

3. Scholarships and Living Support for International Students

International students with outstanding academic records and with financial difficulties may wish to apply for full or partial tuition fee waivers. Furthermore, there are various scholarships for international students including our own Kagawa University Fund Scholarships. We hold Scholarship Guidance for international students twice a year and to help with applications for scholarships.

Each international student is aided by a student supporter and tutor. We have several residential facilities for international students. One of the dormitories, the international house has its own residential tutor. Also, at the Kaminocho International Dormitory, International students share the apartments with Japanese students. Supporters and tutors are also at the dormitory to assist international students in matters concerning daily life.

4. International Exchange and Other Support for International Students

The university has Japanese language and culture instructors to guide international students to improve their Japanese language skill to meet their future employment needs at Japanese companies. In addition, we provide employment support for international students, mainly, at the Career Support Center which includes job seminars, internships and employment interview lessons. The university tries to match international students and Japanese companies according to their needs and goals.

For international exchange, welcome and international exchange parties are held in the spring and the fall. International students have so many opportunities to experience Japanese culture: Tea Ceremony lessons, Kimono lessons (how to put Kimono on) and so on. Moreover, they participate in a volunteer activity in a local elementary school, playing with and introducing their countries to the children. Every year, we hold an Open Campus/Harvest Festival Event and international students cook traditional foods from their home countries for high school students, local people and the children from elementary school where they conduct volunteer activities. We strengthen cultural exchange with the local people by introducing their cultures through food.

International Exchange and Other Support

International Exchange and Other Support

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

Inter-University Seminar House

Program name
Thesis competition for international students 2017

The Inter-University Seminar House is committed to the study and exchanges between higher education institutions, and to the development of a knowledge-based society through programs. In order to achieve these, we conduct (1) trainings to sustain the operations of the seminar house, (2) seminars to deepen the understanding between universities in cooperation with these institutions, and (3) support programs for international lodgings and education.

Applicant Eligibility
International students in a Japanese university or graduate school

Deadline of Application
Sunday, October 15, 2017

My thoughts on global issues

How to submit
(1) It should be original and has never been published.
(2) Less than 4,000 Japanese characters (including references). Each page must have a maximum of 40 characters/line and 30 lines. A4-size paper.
(3) Must be written in Microsoft Word or other text format.
(4) No restrictions on the title of thesis. Composition and development, including issue awareness, argument, and other details must be clearly arranged by chapters. References must be cited accordingly.

Gold: Commendation and 100,000 JPY prize money for 1 person
Silver: Commendation and 50,000 JPY prize money for 2 people
Bronze: Commendation and 30,000 JPY prize money for 3 people
Prize for participation: cash certificate worth 1,000 JPY for purchasing books for 100 people

Staff of Thesis competition for international students 2017, Inter-University Seminar House Foundation
1987-1 Shimoyugi, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-0372
TEL: 042-676-8512 (direct) / 042-676-8511 (main)
FAX: 042-676-1220
E-mail: ishu-r@seminarhouse.or.jp

(In Japanese Only)

RCC Broadcasting Co., Ltd.

Program name:
RCC Love Green Award

The RCC Love Green Award is an initiative to support people and groups that are engaged in activities to pass on a lush, green Hiroshima to future generations. Eligible activities are, in addition to ecological, nature conservation and environmental education activities, those that aim to make Hiroshima an environmentally friendly and easy-to-live-in area. We hope that our support will also lead to hometown creation in Hiroshima.

Target activities and groups
· Groups that are engaged in activities related to recycling, energy conservation, prevention of pollution, nature conservation, environmental education and other environmental conservation activities
· The base of activities is within the prefecture of Hiroshima (any nationality)
· The activities have been ongoing for at least a year
· There is a clear representative
· Accounting is transparent
· Activities are conducted by a private volunteer group or those in the field of education

Amount of grant
The winning group, to be selected based on its activities, will be provided with a grant of up to 200,000 yen.

Selection criteria
The group is based in the prefecture, values environmental conservation and nature, and is engaged in activities or campaigns that put that value into practice.

How to apply
1. Download the RCC Love Green Award application form from the RCC official website.
2. Send the application form through the “Application form” webpage or by mail.

RCC Love Green Suishin Shitsu (RCC Love Green Promotion Office)
TEL: 082-222-1132 (PR Department) *Hours: 10:00–17:00 (Weekdays)
E-mail: love-green@rcc.co.jp

(In Japanese Only)

3) Information about International Symposium

20th Japan Society on Water Environment Symposium

The Japan Society on Water Environment Symposium will be held as a forum to promote development of diverse research in the field of water environment and exchange of information among members. Sessions planned by the Research Committee and others will be conducted at the symposium.
*The symposium will be held only in Japanese.

Date: Tuesday–Thursday, September 26–28, 2017
Location: Wakayama University (930 Sakaedani, Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture)

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

Lee Jihyeon

Name: Lee Jihyeon
Nationality: Korean
University in Japan: Rikkyo University
Major: Intercultural Communication (College of Intercultural Communication)
Period of study in Japan: April 2011 to March 2015
Name of Company: IBM Japan
Japanese proficiency level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

I chose to find employment in Japan for two reasons. First, the increase in hiring at companies in Japan is contrary to the situation in my home country, so I did not want to pass on that opportunity. Second, I saw that Japan has greater diversity in business sizes and domains, and more new progressive initiatives and solutions.

The reason I chose IBM Japan, my current employer, is that it is a leading company in the industry with a long history of global operations. (The Japanese branch has been around for 80 years.) It continues to engage in new things according to the times, and I felt that it would provide me with the opportunity to take up challenges in those new things. My current job is in sales, and I am in charge of foreign and domestic companies engaged in the pharmaceutical industry in the metropolitan area. I look into the customer’s challenges and struggles and think about what we can do to help. My job is, together with the solutions sales reps and consultants, to deliver the latest advanced technology to the customer and not just conventional solutions.

When filling out the application, I took particular care to list traits that are suited not just to companies and the industry in general but to the specific company that I was applying to. I think it is better to provide experiences and episodes that are relevant to the company you are applying to. To do that, you have to know the characteristics that distinguish that company so you can come up with an application that communicates with the higher-ups and reflects the thoughts of someone working in that company.

Going to the interview, I got the impression that companies are looking for people with a cheerful smile and voice more than a pretty face. When you’re job hunting, it’s pretty exhausting, so you get sleepy a lot, but during the interview, it’s important to be sharp and energetic.

My advice to students getting ready to start job hunting is that the things you feel are difficult right now might be trivial when looking back on them later. The things that are happening now will be to your future benefit. Nothing is a waste of time. Losing your ability to emotionally handle things or losing your self is the worst thing that you could allow to happen, so don’t overthink things. Keep things simple and stay positive!

3) Job Hunting Information Article

What to Do When Job Hunting Is Not Going as Planned
July is when selection results generally come out. Some people will have gotten the early unofficial job offer from the company they wanted to work for, others will be having difficulty deciding after having received multiple early unofficial job offers, and still others will be continuing their job hunt because things have not gone according to plan. This time we will take a look at the things that those whose job hunting is not going as planned should reconsider.

Reconsider where you are falling short
Where are you falling short? Is it the application form, the written test or the interview (initial or final)? Identify what stage you are having difficulty with and make improvements.
If you're having trouble with the application form, have your professors or friends take a look and help you identify what needs to be revised. Have it checked by several people to see where you are not getting your point across, your answer does not correspond to the question, your grammar is incorrect, etc., so your application will gradually improve and make it through.
Those who are having difficulty with the initial interview often feel that their ability to communicate in Japanese is lacking. Do you overwhelmed in the atmosphere of the Japanese people around you or get too nervous to talk? The first thing is to get used to talking without getting nervous, so ask your professors or friends to help you with mock interviews.
If you're having difficulty with the final interview, it could be that your enthusiasm is not being recognized by the interviewer. Are you properly communicating your desire to work hard at that company? Try reorganizing your thoughts on why you want to work for that company before going to the next final interview.

Reconsider the industry or companies you are applying to
If you have narrowed your focus to a particular industry, it may be that it’s not a match for you.
Take another look at why it is that you want to work in that industry or at that particular company. The job you want to do might be available in other industries. If you’ve come up against a brick wall, applying to jobs in another industry or at another company may turn up an unexpected match, so it’s good to look at other companies as well and not narrow your focus too much.

In Japan, many students look for jobs and many companies recruit at the same time so Japanese students often line up interviews with dozens of companies. If you interview with many companies, that means you’ll be rejected by many companies, too. The important thing is to find that one company that suits you and will give you a job offer, so don’t worry about being rejected and don’t give up. Just keep up your job hunting.

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 July edition looks at Okinawa prefecture.

Okinawa prefecture

Shurijo Castle

Shurijo Castle
Shurijo Castle is the largest wooden structure in Okinawa. Until King Sho Tai, the last king, handed it over to the Meiji government, it served as the residence for the monarch of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It was the center of politics, diplomacy and culture in the Ryukyu Kingdom for roughly 500 years. The castle features a unique blend of Chinese and Japanese architectural styles suited to Okinawa’s climate. It has been repeatedly renovated and rebuilt due to natural disasters and wars, and restored in 1992. In 2000, Shurijo Castle was registered as a World Heritage Site as part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.

Remote Islands

Remote Islands
Okinawa consists of many remote islands in addition to the main island where Naha is located. There are some islands that can be reached by boat from the main island for a day trip and others that can be reached by bridge. Among these are the Kerama Islands, which consist of 20 islands of different sizes located about 40 kilometers west of Naha. Rated highly for the clarity of the water and richness of the ecosystem, they are home to about 60% of Japan’s coral. Many tourists come to the Kerama Islands for diving and snorkeling.

Okinawa Soba

Okinawa Soba
This local Okinawan dish consists of thick Okinawan noodles made with 100% flour and lye water served in a soup made with pork bone and dried bonito, then seasoned with salt and soy sauce. There are many kinds of Okinawa Soba, the most popular being “soki soba.” Toppings of spare ribs of pigs called Soki. Soki is made by adding Okinawan brown sugar, Okinawan liquor (awamori), soy sauce, dried bonito flakes and other ingredients and mix boiling them for hours.

Ryukyu Glass

Ryukyu Glass
After the war, there was no material to make glass, so empty Coke and beer bottles used on the American base on Okinawa were melted down and recycled. Because it is made of recycled glass, this unique product features deep reds and greens, with bubbles mixed in during the recycling process. Today glass-making material is readily available, and various techniques have been incorporated for coloring. In 1998, it was recognized as a traditional craft of Okinawa.

Naha Tug of War

Naha Tug of War
Some 15,000 people pull against each other on a 186-meter-long rope in this 400-year-old event that has continued since the days of the Ryukyu Dynasty and is today Okinawa’s biggest event. The large rope was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 as the world’s biggest rope made from rice straw. In 1997, the record was broken when the rope was extended to a total length of 186 meters, weighing a total of 40.22 metric tons and having a diameter of 1.58 meters with 236 smaller ropes extending from it, pulled by 15,000 people and drawing a crowd of 275,000 attendees.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine

Chinese lantern plant fairs

Chinese lantern plant fairs, a summer tradition, are held all over the country, but the one held at Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is the biggest and takes place on July 9 and 10 every year.

Normally, visiting the temple was said to bring a day’s worth of blessings, but there came to be special days said worth of blessings. That day differs depending on the temple; at Sensoji Temple, July 10 is the most special day; you are said to receive the same blessings as having visited 46,000 days. As such, many people have been visiting on this day since long ago. There are special days held for the big festival. The Chinese Lantern Plant Fair is one of them. The Chinese lantern plants are being sold at fairs due to a folk belief that it cures diseases. It is thought that if you obtain a Chinese lantern plant on this special day in July 10 worth of blessings the Buddha will heal your disease, so on this day every year there are about 100 Chinese lantern plant shops that open. It’s a lively fair where you’ll hear the cool sound of wind chimes and see the vibrant vermilion color of Chinese lantern plants and colorful yukata of the visitors.

2) Lifestyle Information

Midsummer Day of the Ox

Have you seen flyers for “Doyo No Ushi No Hi” (Midsummer Day of the Ox) at supermarkets and other places at the end of July? This month, we are taking a look at the Midsummer Day of the Ox.

“Doyo” refers to the roughly 18days period before February 4 (beginning of spring), May 5 (beginning of summer), August 7 (beginning of autumn) and November 7 (beginning of winter). (The days provided here correspond to the 2017 calendar.) There are four of them corresponding to the changing of the seasons. The summer doyo in 2017 is from July 19 to August 6. During the summer doyo, people air out clothes and books to protect them from mold and insects.

“Ushi” (“ox”) is one of the twelve signs of the Japanese zodiac (rat, ox, tiger, etc.). Zodiac is used even today to mark the year but in the past, was also used to mark quarters, months, days and hours. The Day of the Ox is on a 12-day cycle, so the summer doyo in 2017 it falls on July 25 and August 6. As with this year, there are sometimes two days of the summer doyo. The second Day of the Ox (August 6) is called “Ni No Ushi.”

The days are hot in the summer, and it’s easy to get summer fatigue, so from days of old, it has been customary to eat foods that give you strength. Also, it is said that if you eat food that begins with “u” (for “ushi”), you will be able to make it through the summer. This gave rise to the custom of eating unagi (eel) on the Midsummer Day of the Ox.

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 July 2017 issue will be published on July 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 July edition of Japan Alumni eNews?
In July, the long rainy season gradually draws to an end, and the temperature rises all over Japan for the hot summer days.
In this month’s NIPPON Time Machine, we introduced the Chinese Lantern Plant Fair, which is a summer tradition. At the Chinese Lantern Plant Fair, there are many stalls for goldfish scooping games and Japanese foods like takoyaki and yakisoba. You’ll hear the cool sound of wind chimes and see the bright vermilion color of Chinese lantern plants and colorful yukata of visitors. It’s a great place to experience traditional Japanese cultural life.

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 August 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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