Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 114)
Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 114 October 10, 2018
- 1. Life in Japan by Photo -- Memories of Japan (Photo from a Reader)
- 2. Alumni News -- News on International Students / Current International Students / Alumni Associations / Introduction of “Support for International Students Returning Home”
- 3. Academic News -- Introducing Faculties/Graduate Schools / Scholarships/Grants/Invitations/Prizes, etc. / Symposium / Academic Societies / Japanese Language Tests
- 4. Business News -- Job Hunting Event Information / Job Hunting Reports / Job Hunting Information Article
- 5. Visit Japan -- Tourism Information of Prefectural and City Governments
- 6. NIPPON Information -- Lifestyle Information / Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government
- 7. JASSO News -- 2018-2019 Study in Japan Fairs / “Student Guide to Japan” / Official Facebook Pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices / Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) / JASSO Scholarship Programs / Web Magazine "Ryugakukoryu" / Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program) / Follow-up Research Guidance (Dispatching Research Advisors)
- 8. From the Editor
1. Life in Japan by Photo
Learn about life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to receiving memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.
1. Photo title (15 words or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
4. Name of your school in Japan
Landscape of the Study Abroad Location
The October issue’s Life in Japan by Photo feature introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorific title is omitted.)
Huynh Thi Thao (Vietnam)
Shizuoka Eiwa Gakuin University, Junior College
Title: Delicious flavor of green tea from Shizuoka
2. Alumni News
Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!
News on International Students
NEWS 1: New residence system for international professionals starts from next April
On July 24, the first Ministerial Council on Acceptance and Inclusion of Foreign Human Resources was held at the Prime Minister’s Official Residence. The meeting clarified that a new residence system for international professionals will be established from April 2019. In response to this development, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga posted an article on his blog discussing the intent behind creating the new system. The blog article discussed the severe shortage of labor which is especially prevalent at small- and medium-sized corporations, as well as the necessity to quickly secure international professionals. The article also explained “the necessity of becoming a country chosen by foreigners” by utilizing international professionals. According to the minutes of the Ministerial Council, the Ministry of Justice will play a leading role in developing an environment for accepting foreign professionals. Related government agencies will enhance their cooperation as they prepare to implement the new system.
NEWS 2: Significant delay in unofficial job offers for foreign students
This August, DISCO Corporation published the results of a survey on job hunting conditions for foreign students. The survey was held for 2,769 foreign students registered to the Career+ website, a job hunting website operated by DISCO Corporation. According to the survey, more than 80% (81.1%) of Japanese students had received unofficial job offers at the time of the survey in July. Conversely, unofficial job offers for foreign students were significantly delayed, reaching only about 40% (42.6%). The most frequent answers to the question “What systems and customs of job hunting in Japan did you find strange?” were “Clothing” and “Timing of job search” (36.5%). Many foreign students commented that “it is difficult to balance job hunting and schoolwork” due to how job hunting activities in Japan must be conducted at an early stage of the student’s university studies. When asked “How difficult is job hunting?” about 40% (39.8%) of Japanese students answered “very difficult.” In contrast, more than 80% (80.7%) of foreign students answered “very difficult.” Overall, the survey results show that job hunting in Japan is extremely difficult for foreign students.
Introduction of Current International Students
Name: Aeon Seo
I first developed an interest in Japan because I am a fan of Japanese singers, which led me to begin studying the Japanese language. Prior to studying Japanese, I had thought that Japan and South Korea were very similar countries. However, through my Japanese studies, I learned that there are actually many surprising differences between the two countries. When I first came to Japan, I felt that Japanese society is very strict. For example, it is unacceptable to make a telephone call while riding the train, and people are expected to put the feelings of others before their own. However, this type of behavior and language is aimed at showing consideration for others. Once I realized that many Japanese people think and act in this way, my impression of Japanese people changed. I realized that many Japanese people care deeply for others, despite seeming cold and aloof at first glance.
Currently, I study international relations at the School of Global Japanese Studies of Meiji University. In particular, due to how Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) supports the increase autonomy of developing nations, I would like to engage in a deep study of support provided by the Japanese government. Specifically, I hope to study the mechanisms of development support by Japan and to someday become involved in educational support using information and communications technology (ICT) in Africa. Accordingly, I am taking the class “Practical Exercises,” which consists of using ICT to create educational materials, as well as “Africa in the World,” which provides studies with a broad knowledge on Africa.
In addition to my classwork, I am enjoying my time studying abroad by actively participating in exchange events with Japanese students. For example, I participate in tea ceremonies, kimono dressing events, and other events on Japanese culture held by the university. Furthermore, as Director of the Korean Students’ Union at Meiji University, I plan opportunities for exchange between Korean and Japanese students. Through these various events, I hope to further deepen mutual understanding among students. In the future, in addition to a proficient command of the Japanese language, I hope to develop an understanding of how Japanese people think. I would like to utilize my skills and understanding to live and work in Japan.
List of Japan Alumni Associations
Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home
Ritsumeikan University Alumni Association
The Ritsumeikan University Alumni Association is composed of undergraduate and graduate students who have completed educational programs, faculty, and staff from Ritsumeikan University and Ritsumeikan University Graduate Schools. The number of members is now approximately 360,000 people. Members develop their friendship and relationships as they encourage each other to accomplish greater things. The association provides both material and spiritual support for the growth of younger students and the prosperity of their alma mater.
Becoming a member of the Alumni Association enables you to immediately connect with your alma mater, as well as younger students and senior students. The association provides an opportunity to connect with alumni who perform in a variety of fields in Japanese society and throughout the world. The Ritsumeikan University Alumni Association operates 30 organizations in 20 countries and regions, and holds a variety of activities. Please start your involvement with the association by visiting its official website. It is also possible to create your own alumni group. To do so, please bring together a group of Ritsumeikan alumni and then contact the Alumni Association Office. The members look forward to hearing from foreign alumni who have returned to their native country.
3. Academic News
Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!
Introduction of Faculties/Graduate Schools
Here we introduce you to particular faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST)
1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)
The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology is a graduate school offering a 5-year PhD program. Over half of the faculty and students are recruited from outside Japan, and education as well as research are conducted entirely in English. Education and research activities at OIST are interdisciplinary and advanced. The OIST Graduate University strives to conduct internationally outstanding education and research in science and technology, thus contributing to the autonomous development of Okinawa, and promoting the advancement of science and technology throughout the world.
2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments
OIST conducts joint research and interaction across the boundaries of academic fields. The graduate school provides a PhD program with singular graduate courses and majors. Based on the concept that close communication with instructors is essential for future success as an outstanding researcher, OIST maintains a ratio of three students to one instructor. Students can work to acquire their PhD under the attentive instruction of top-class instructors. Furthermore, OIST is one of the few educational corporations in Japan. This means that while receiving financial support from the Japanese government, the graduate school has established the autonomy and flexible management required to take innovative initiatives.
3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support and Tuition Reduction)
In order to eliminate economic concerns and enable students to focus on their research, all students enrolling at OIST are Research Assistants who receive an allowance equivalent to the cost of tuition and an annual living allowance of approximately 2.4 million yen (subject to tax). For on-campus housing, students can select from single resident rooms with a kitchen and living room, room shares, or family housing. Students also receive a discount on rent. For students with a family, bilingual education in Japanese and English is available at childcare facilities located on campus. Infants who are at least 2 months old can enroll at the childcare facilities.
4. Other Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)
In addition to research, OIST develops and promotes the knowledge and skills required for each student to develop a career, as well as to provide future leadership in scientific research and the educational environment. Held throughout the year, the Professional Development course covers basic principles of research conduct and ethics, scientific communication, and aspects of science in society. Presentations, educational training, and other practical experiences for developing skills are essential for obtaining employment opportunities.
Information about Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.
Toshi Shuppan, Diplomacy Editing Department
7th Diplomacy Essay Contest
The Diplomacy Editing Department at Toshi Shuppan is holding its 7th essay contest on the theme of Japan’s foreign diplomacy. Toshi Shuppan looks forward to your ambitious recommendations based on objective analysis. The contest will be held according to the rules listed below.
Select from one of the following themes:
- The role of Japanese diplomacy in a changing Southern Asia
- The possibility of Japanese cultural diplomacy
- The responsibility of Japanese diplomacy in stabilizing international society
Within 8,000 characters (including footnotes). Reference literature should be listed on a separate sheet. All essays must be original works written in Japanese.
4. Application Deadline:
Essays must be received by Friday, November 30, 2018
5. Application Requirements:
The contest is open to everyone.
6. Application Method:
Send by e-mail or postal mail.
- E-mail applications:
Write “Contest Essay Attached” in the subject line. Send your e-mail to the Toshi Shuppan Diplomacy Editing Department listed below in the “Inquiries” section. Clearly write your name, address, age, occupation, telephone number, and e-mail address in the body of the e-mail (on a separate sheet in the case of postal mail).
- Postal mail applications:
Send to the following address:
Foreign Diplomacy Editing Department
6F, Waizu Building, 4-4-12 Iidabashi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0072
The entry that will receive the grand prize will be featured in the Gaiko Journal (Diplomacy Journal). Winners will receive a monetary prize of 50,000 yen for the grand winner, and 20,000 yen for other outstanding entries. A courtesy call and visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will also be arranged.
Diplomacy Editing Department
E-mail: gaiko01 at mark toshishuppan.co.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail.
The Tojuro Iijima Foundation for Food Science and Technology
Research Promotion for International Students 2018
1. Requirements for Research Promotion:
International students who conduct research in food science, etc., in fields specified by the Foundation in relation to foods made from rice, barley, and other major provisions. Based on the application by the instructor responsible for said foreign student, a research grant will be issued to that instructor.
2. Application Requirements:
International students must fulfill the following requirements.
(1) Students must have the nationality of an Asian country, including China, Taiwan, Korea and ASEAN countries, and study in Japan.
(2) Students must be graduate students (PhD program) in a research area specified by the foundation. Students who are scheduled to enroll in the PhD program in April 2019 are included.
(3) Students must be under 40 years old as of April 1, 2019.
(4) Students must be recommended by a director (Dean or higher) of the institution where the responsible instructor is affiliated. Only two recommendations per director will be accepted.
(5) Student must not have received the Research Promotion for International Students from the Foundation in the past.
(6) Students must not have received any other grant from the Foundation in the past. Students must not have received any grants from another private research foundation.
3. Application Deadline:
Application must be received by Friday, November 30, 2018
4. Amount of Grant:
Up to 1,000,000 yen per grant (Eight grants will be accepted.)
5. Application Method :
Download the application form from the Foundation website listed below. Enter the required information and send directly to the Foundation by postal mail.
6. Delivery of Grants:
Grants will be delivered after the presentation ceremony (scheduled for April 2019).
The Tojuro Iijima Foundation for Food Science and Technology
Sunplaza 35 Building 6F, 1-9-2 Ichikawa, Ichikawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture 272-0034
E-mail: info at mark iijima-kinenzaidan.or.jp
*Please convert “at mark” to “@” when you send an e-mail.
Information about International Symposium
34th NIHU Symposium
Studying the Region with the People: Methods for Utilizing Regional Cultures in Japan and Taiwan
In recent years, efforts at using regional culture as educational and tourist resources for the revitalization of regions have attracted a great deal of attention in Japan. This symposium will compare the utilization of regional culture in Japan and Taiwan, while looking at techniques for utilizing regional culture in which citizens play a leading role. Regional culture fostered in the community is essential for the creation of a prosperous regional society. The symposium will consider how we should protect and utilize regional culture, as well as how to convey the culture to future generations.
Attendance is free. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in Japanese and Chinese. Advance registration is required.
Date/Time: Saturday, November 10, 2018 / 1:00 P.M. to 5:30 P.M. (venue opens at 12:30 P.M.)
Venue: TEPIA Hall (2 Chome-8-44 Kitaaoyama, Minato, Tokyo)
<Literature, Philosophy, Education, Psychology, Sociology, History>
<Economics, Commerce, Business>
<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy>
Japanese Language Tests
4. Business News
JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!
Job Hunting Event Information
The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources was launched in 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 24, 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 Students
Useful Websites for International Students
Job Hunting Report
Name: Alessandro Passarella
Ever since I was a young child, I have been interested in literature because books enable us to assimilate the experiences of other people who are far away, both in terms of distance and time. In particular, I found the slow pace and tranquil echoes of Japanese literature to be very appealing. Until one day, I realized that I had become able to empathize with the “character” of the Japanese language. Through my experience studying abroad, I have devoted a large portion of my life to Japan.
I am the type of person who always feels a little worried or uneasy. Therefore, I had always wanted to live a peaceful life in a familiar place. However, in order to enable myself to remain calm and perform in any situation, I decided to take on the challenge of finding employment in Japan, a country where I would be exposed to countless stimuli and face the challenge of communicating in a foreign language.
Although it may be a bit of an exaggeration, I would like to give the following message to younger students who will be job hunting in Japan in the future: ultimately, you hold the initiative for your own job hunting (selecting a company). Don’t fall under the mistaken impression that work is something which a company lets you perform; in truth, work is something that you create by yourself. Therefore, you must not be intimidated by a corporation. You must fully express yourself (of course, this requires confidence) and work to build a positive mutual relationship between yourself and companies. By doing so, before you know it, you will find a company that is a perfect match!
As a company employee, my dream is to increase name recognition for my company in Italy. In addition to helping my company grow, I also want to contribute to improved Japan-Italy relations. Also, as someone who loves Japan and Italy (as well as their respective languages), my personal dream is to diligently continue my hobbies of translation and writing. I hope to help Italian people achieve a deep understanding of the appeals of Japan.
Some people say that finding a company which is good match for yourself is nothing more than coincidence. However, you must never forget that the most important thing in finding a good match is how you have built up your own character. Even small episodes in daily life (for example, devotion to a daily task, conversations with people whom you meet during your travels, sudden realizations gained while reading books) are they key to finding your future work and new companies. Therefore, I hope that you will value your personal character during job hunting activities.
Here are some pointers for job hunting:
- Don’t rely on word of mouth; instead speak as much as possible with employees and human resources staff. This will enable you to directly feel the culture of the company.
- Work that matches your personality is enjoyable, so you should also enjoy that process of job hunting until you find such a work.
- Even if you possess outstanding character, it doesn’t matter if you are unable to advance to the interview stage. Therefore, make sure that you spend sufficient time preparing for written tests.
After entering a company, you will have to work according to your true personality, not a personality which you acted out for the interview. Therefore, during interviews, do not tell lies or attempt to make yourself seem more than what you truly are. Instead, it is important to show your true self.
Job Hunting Information Article
Preparing for Job Hunting Activities: Self-analysis
What is self-analysis?
Self-analysis is the process of achieving a deep understanding of yourself by reflecting on your past and summarizing your experience, interests, and opinions. Self-analysis helps you to prepare for job hunting activities and to describe yourself positively when writing entry sheets and attending interviews. From a long-term perspective, self-analysis helps you to ascertain your personal aptitudes and develop a career plan.
During jog hunting tests like interviews and entry sheets, you will be asked questions such as “What did you focus your efforts on while at university?” and “What are your strong points?” It is necessary to answer these questions by explaining your past experiences. Self-analysis enables you to find material for explaining your strengths and to describe your outstanding qualities.
During self-analysis you must consider the three time axes of past, future, and present. You must also objectively reflect on your connection with Japan. For example, one method of analyzing your past is to create what is called a “personal history.” Write a list of your accomplishments and decisions in each stage of your life from elementary school until now. When making the list, be sure to write how you acted and why you made certain decisions. This will help you look back and understand your past thought process and behavior criteria.
Methods of objective analysis include personality tests and aptitude tests. However, in many cases, your family and friends are already aware of your strong points. Asking the people around you to describe your outstanding traits is one way to gain an objective view of yourself. Try asking your friends for help when conducting self-analysis.
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 October edition looks at Tottori prefecture.
The Tottori Sand Dunes are located along the coast of the Sea of Japan in the city of Tottori, Tottori Prefecture. These are the largest coastal sand dunes in Japan that are accessible to tourists. (The largest coast sand dunes in Japan are the Sarugamori Sand Dunes of Aomori Prefecture. The majority of the Sarugamori Sand Dunes are used as a testing ground by the Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency.) The Tottori Sand Dunes are the only coastal sand dunes to be designated as a Natural Monument of Japan. The highest dune has a height of 90 meters. The terrain also has pot-shaped features known as “dai-suribachi,” the highest of which reaches 40 meters. The sand creates beautiful patterns called “saren” (sand curtains) and “fumon” (sand ripples) which further enhance the appeal of the sand dunes. The area around the sand dunes has facilities such Tottori Sand Dunes Children’s World and the Sand Museum. Numerous attractions include camel rides, paragliding, and sand yoga. The sand dunes bustle with tourists throughout the year.
This is a type of special pear produced in Tottori Prefecture. 20th Century Asian Pears are juicy and have mild sweetness. Types of Japanese pears include Russet pears, which have a brownish rind, and Green pears, which have a greenish-yellowish rind. 20th Century Asian Pears are a major variety of Green pears. Previously, 20th Century Asian Pears were the most-shipped type of pear in Japan. Today, due to the popularity of Russet pears (in particular, the kosui and hosui varieties), 20th Century Asian Pears have fallen to about third or fourth place. The vast majority of 20th Century Asian Pears are shipped from Tottori Prefecture, which has maintained its position as the No. 1 shipper for many years. Actually, 20th Century Asian Pears were originated in Chiba Prefecture: The variety was first discovered in 1888 by accident at a garbage dump in the city of Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture. Afterwards, the flavor of these pears was recognized by agricultural specialists and given the name “20th Century Asian” in the hope that it would become a leading variety of pear in the new century. Seedlings were first transported to Tottori Prefecture in 1904. Since then, the 20th Century Asian Pear has grown into a symbol of Tottori Prefecture thanks to cooperation by farmers, local governments, and agriculture cooperatives.
6. NIPPON Information
This section features enjoyable stories about pop culture, traditions, dining, cutting-edge technology, and more!
Popular events in October include sport festivals, culture festivals, and going to see colored autumn leaves. After the sweltering days of summer and the typhoon season, autumn brings a long-awaited opportunity to enjoy exercising comfortably outdoors. This article introduces sports festivals, one of the main school events in autumn.
Sports festivals are held to deepen friendship among students through sports. For the purpose of building teamwork, many schools divide all students into teams by color (red and white) or class, and then determine a winner based on the total number of points for each team. Individual events include sprints, long-distance races, and hurdles, while group events include relay races, beanbag toss, mock cavalry battles, tug-of-war, and group jump rope. Another characteristic of sports festivals in Japan are group cheers and group performances such as human pyramids.
Although we started this article by describing sports festivals as “a popular event in October,” an increasing number of schools are recently changing the timing of sports festivals to spring. Reasons for this change include unstable weather conditions, increasing cases of heatstroke due to a longer period of hot weather, and deepening friendship among students immediately after the start of the new school year (April in Japan). Another trend is that the length of sports festivals is getting shorter, with many schools ending their festivals before lunchtime.
Moreover, the events themselves have changed. In the past, there were many physically-demanding events such as pole-pulling, mock cavalry battles, and human pyramids. However, these events have been gradually replaced by more popular activities, including group performances such as dance and unique group cheers.
Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government
Providing public relations materials regarding Japan, including culture and sport.
7. JASSO News
Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation programs, Study in Japan Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).
2018-2019 Study in Japan Fairs
JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) holds Study in Japan Fairs overseas for high school and university students who wish to study in Japan. It also participates in and assists with events and company briefing sessions held by other organizations.
Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”
For all those considering studying in Japan, we recommend you to read the "Student Guide to Japan" first.
In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guidebook also includes stories about international students' experiences in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.
You can read it in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language, Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.
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!
Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)
JASSO Scholarship Programs
Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”
The October 2018 issue will be published on October 10. Please make sure to read it!
Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)
This program provides former international students who play active roles in education, research and government in their home countries with an opportunity to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.
Applications for 2019 are opened.
Deadline for Application
Applications must be received by Friday , November 30th, 2018.
New University Listing(s):
Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
The University of Tokyo
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.
Applications for 2019 are opened.
Deadline for Application
Applications must be received by Friday , November 30th, 2018.
8. From the Editor
What did you think about the October edition of the Japan Alumni eNews?
The sweltering days of summer have passed and Japan has finally entered a season of comfortable weather. Better weather can improve people’s moods, and I’m sure that many of you would like to experience Japanese nature. The Tottori Sand Dunes of Tottori Prefecture that we introduced in “Visit Japan” feature grand scenery which almost seems out of place in Japan. Under sunny skies, the color gradation of sand changes from white to yellowish-brown. This color contrast is so beautiful that one could gaze at it all day. Whether you are traveling to Japan or already live in Japan, why don’t you take advantage of autumn weather to go outside and experience nature?
The Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for people who can share their job hunting experience. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our e-mail magazine. Our next issue of Japan Alumni eNews will be distributed on November 9. Don’t miss it!
- Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their websites for the latest information.
- Copyright for this online magazine belongs to Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).
- Any copying, redistribution, reprinting, etc., of this material is forbidden.
- Follow-up Services Unit, International Scholarship Division, Student Exchange Department Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
- Address address is 2-2-1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-8630 JAPAN
- TEL (telephone) number is +81-3-5520-6030
- FAX (facsimile) number is +81-3-5520-6031
- E-mail E-mail address is alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
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