Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 120 April 10, 2019

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 120

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 characters or less)
2. Name (katakana and alphabet)
3. Nationality
4. Name of your school in Japan

April of Japan

The theme of the April issue is photos that show April in Japan.

Tulips

Tulips

Matriculation Ceremony

Matriculation Ceremony

Dandelions

Dandelions

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

2. Alumni News

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

News on International Students

NEWS: Application of Blockchain Technology to Manage Data on International Student Records and Grades

Some of our readers will have taken online Japanese classes to study for their Japanese language certifications. The Japanese Language Certification Strategies Class (Nihongo dojo) offered by Fujitsu on their digital learning platform, is one of these online classes that support studying towards the certification. Starting in February, the company has begun verification testing for the application of blockchain technologies in order to save and manage the records, grades, etc., of students who take the class (as well as aspiring international students) in order to bolster security and better prevent the fraudulent manipulation of study records and grades. Blockchain technology turns data into records, called blocks, that are chained together in order to ensure the reliability of the data to all parties involved. Educational institutions, for instance, may check these blockchain records in order to verify the validity of an academic record submitted by a student. One benefit of this is that it allows universities and other educational institutions in Japan to get an accurate understanding of a student’s language ability through their academic records alone. Some educational institutions also say that having easy access to highly reliable academic data on international students will allow them to provide curricula more suited to the abilities of their international students.

Introduction of Current International Students

Liu Lipei

Name: Liu Lipei
Nationality: China
University: Tokushima University Graduate School
Major: Oral Sciences, Graduate School of Oral Sciences
Year: 2nd year PhD student
Period of Stay in Japan: October 2017 to present
Japanese Proficiency Level: Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1

One of my professors at university had graduated from Tokushima University, and had told me a lot about Tokushima. Because Tokushima University has so many different faculties, I thought I could work with all kinds of people to do research. I’d also heard that Tokushima was beautiful, quiet, and that the people were friendly. And since I’ve been here, so many people really have been so kind and helpful. One time, an elderly person I didn’t know came up to me at the supermarket and said, “This one’s cheaper, you should get this instead.” That was really touching to me.

It’s been a year and a half now since I’ve been in Japan. One thing I’ve felt really acutely is how lacking the cultural preservation is in China compared to in Japan. I’ve spent this past year trying indigo dyeing, making pottery, playing the biwa, and participating in a variety of cultural promotion efforts. I was surprised when one of the people leading the workshops said these came from China in ancient times, since I’d never seen these kinds of cultural promotion efforts while I was in China. In China, there are a lot of people who will ignore things like “No pictures allowed” signs, or who will go into roped-off exhibition areas. There’s even been some damage on the Great Wall of China, a World Heritage Site, with people stealing bricks and carving words into the wall. I think people in China should work together to promote their culture and be more like Japan: a country that prioritizes both economic growth and cultural preservation.

In the past year and a half, I’ve made friends not only with Japanese people, but with people from many different countries. My days are rich and varied, in between studying and doing research, I go out to eat and travel with my friends, and participate in a lot of school activities. I also feel like my Japanese is getting better on a daily basis, since my friends speak to me in Japanese all the time. I’ve started being able to have basic conversation, and my Japanese writing has improved as well.

My dream is to become a dentist that’s of use to society. My plan is first to go back to China after I graduate. China has an enormous population, and they really need more skilled dentists. I’d like to use my job as a dentist to bring health and joy into people’s lives. I also think I’d want to be involved in spreading awareness and knowledge of dentistry to children, so that they can prevent oral health conditions. This year, I’m observing and helping out with consultations, emergency treatments, and more at the university hospital, and I’ve noticed differences in the medical environment between China and Japan. The biggest difference for me is the emphasis on trust in the patient-physician relationship. I personally would like to work towards being the kind of dentist that patients can trust, and that they can feel safe around.

A piece of advice for those about to study abroad in Japan: when you arrive in Japan, focus first on making Japanese friends you can confide in. You’ll be able to practice Japanese and learn more about Japanese culture. So be sure to make Japanese friends.

List of Japan Alumni Associations

Introduction of Support for International Students Returning Home

Kagawa University Overseas International Student Network

Kagawa University established the Kagawa University Overseas International Student Network in order to facilitate networking and information exchange amongst former international students who have returned to their countries, and to contribute to the advancement of international exchange at the university. Currently, there are branches in China and Thailand, engaged in efforts in accordance with the local environment, the members’ characteristics, etc.

China Branch
The China Branch was established in June 2009. They met most recently on Friday, July 27, 2018, for the 5th China Branch General Assembly in Guangzhou, Guangdong.

Commemorative photo at the general assembly

Thailand Branch
The Thailand Branch was established in November 2012. They met most recently on Sunday, August 26, 2018, for the 4th Thailand Branch General Assembly in Chiang Mai, in conjunction with their joint symposium with Chiang Mai University.

Group photo

International Group, Kagawa University Education/Student Support Office
soryucet at mark jim.ao.kagawa-u.ac.jp
*Please convert "at mark" to "@" when you send an e-mail.
TEL: 087-832-1318
FAX: 087-832-1192

3. Academic News

Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!

Introducing Universities

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

Aichi University of the Arts

Campus scenery

University Profile (as of May 1, 2018)
Name: Aichi University of the Arts
Address: 1-114 Yazakosagamine, Nagakute, Aichi
Number of Students: 1,014
International Students: 42

1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)

Chamber Music Hall

The Aichi University of the Arts was established on April 1, 1966, in response to the staggering rate of industrial and economic growth in central Japan, and more specifically Aichi Prefecture, with the goal of cultivating a unique cultural identity between eastern and western Japan, and contribute to the development of local culture. The university also established a Master’s Course on April 1, 1970 and a Doctoral Course on April 1, 2009, in order to further research on art theory and its application, and contribute to the intellectual depth and advancement of culture in general. The university, with its unique appeal, aims to be a hub for the international exchange of art and culture, acting as a base for the art and culture produced in Aichi Prefecture.

2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Departments

Faculty of Art
The Faculty of Art is comprised of the Department of Fine Arts (Japanese Style Painting “Nihonga”; Oil Painting; Sculpture; Art History, Art Theory, and Conservation) and the Department of Design and Craft (Design, Ceramics). Education in the Faculty of Arts is based on one-on-one instruction, with curriculums that respect the unique elements of each major, consider the realities of each field, and are suited to the diverse ideas and modes of expression represented in modern times. In addition to the more practical classes, students are given access to a wide range of subjects, from art theory to language, liberal arts, and more.
Faculty of Music
The Faculty of Music is comprised of the Department of Music (Composition, Voice, Instrumental Music). The Composition Major is split into the Composition and Musicology Courses, and the Instrumental Music Major is split into the Piano, Strings, and Winds and Percussion Courses. These courses provide four years of hands-on, one-on-one instruction in order to maximize each student’s unique potential. Students focus mainly on basic education in the 1st and 2nd years, and go on to take a variety of more practical classes in their 3rd and 4th years, learning how to later apply their knowledge to a wider range of activities. In addition to the more practical classes, students are also given access to a wide range of subjects, from music theory to language, liberal arts, and more.

3. Support for International Students (Accommodations Support and Tuition Reduction)

The university offers a maximum 50% deduction in tuition fees for regular, self-financed international students. For more details as well as information on application documents and methods, see the “Tuition Reduction: International Students” section of the official website.

4. Other Types of Support for International Students (Employment, International Exchange, etc.)

Career Support
The university offers job hunting seminars and guidance, and also hosts a “Joint Information Session for Art Students” with other art universities.
International Exchange
The university promotes the exchange of artistic ideas and research through projects with partner universities overseas, various artists, exhibitions and concerts, and artist-in-residence programs.

Information about Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Prizes, etc.

About Scholarships in Japan

There are two types of scholarships available for international students in Japan: scholarships that cover all expenses during the study abroad period, and scholarships that are meant to cover a part of your living expenses, tuition, etc., during your study abroad period. As such, you must calculate the total expense for your study abroad period and establish a financial plan according to the types, amounts, etc., of expenses that will be covered for you.

Scholarships are offered in one of the following two time frames.
1. Scholarships where the application process and notification of results occur before you arrive to Japan (limited)
2. Scholarships where the application process and notification of results occur after you have entered the university
- Screening Process: Document screening, written tests (liberal arts and/or specialized knowledge, language skills, etc.), interviews, etc.
- Application Method: Most scholarships require you to apply through your university. Consult your school’s international student office, etc., for details.
*Some scholarships have restrictions on who can apply (age, country/region of origin, university in Japan, major/areas of study, etc.)

1. Scholarships with Application Prior to Arrival in Japan

Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship
1-1. Embassy Recommendation
Target Group and Monthly Amount:
(1) Research Students: Non-Regular: 143,000 yen / Master’s: 144,000 yen / Doctoral: 145,000 yen
(2) Teacher Training Students: 143,000 yen
(3) Undergraduate Students / College of Technology Students / Japanese Studies Students: 117,000 yen
(4) Young Leaders’ Program (YLP) Students: 242,000 yen
Contact: Japanese embassy in your country/region

1-2. University Recommendation
Target Group and Monthly Amount:
(1) Research Students: Non-Regular: 143,000 yen / Master’s: 144,000 yen / Doctoral: 145,000 yen
(2) Undergraduate Students / Japanese Studies Students: 117,000 yen
Contact: Your home university

Reservation Program for Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students by Pre-Arrival Admission (EJU Score)

Target Group: International students who have taken the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU), and who are applying for admission as regular students to a university undergraduate program, junior college, college of technology (3rd year or above), or vocational school.
Monthly Amount: 48,000 yen
Contact: The school you plan to attend in Japan

Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-Term Study in Japan)

Target Group: International students who study abroad under an inter-university student exchange agreement. Study abroad period must be within 8 days to a year.
Monthly Amount: 80,000 yen
Contact: Your home university

Local Government / Private Organization

Target Group and Monthly Amount: Differs according to local government/organization.
Contact: Local government/foundation in question

2. Scholarships with Application After Arrival to Japan

Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students

Target Group and Monthly Amount:
(1) Research Students (Graduate Level) / Master’s / Doctoral: 48,000 yen
(2) Undergraduate Students / Junior College / Special Course at University or Junior College / Non-Degree Course at University, Junior College, or College of Technology / College of Technology (3rd year or above) / Vocational School (Postsecondary Course) / Pre-Degree Course: 48,000 yen
(3) Japanese Language Institution: 30,000 yen
Contact: Your university in Japan

Scholarships from Local Governments, etc.

Target Group and Monthly Amount: Differs according to local government, etc.
Contact: Local government/organization in question or your university in Japan

Scholarships from Private Organizations

Target Group and Monthly Amount: Differs according to private organization
Contact: Foundation in question or your university in Japan

University Scholarships and Tuition Reduction/Exemption Policies

Target Group and Monthly Amount: Differs according to school
Contact: Your university in Japan

How to Search for Scholarships

Most scholarships require you to apply through your university. Consult your school’s international student office to see what scholarships are available.

Information about International Symposium

26th FCDIC Fuel Cell Symposium

This 26th edition of the FCDIC Fuel Cell Symposium will feature presentations on the themes related to fuel cells and hydrogen, and aims to convey “all you need to know about fuel cells in two days.” There will be a special lecture that outlines the current fuel cell situation in China, and following the lecture on global warming, a panel discussion (tentative) as to the state of fuel cells 50 years from now.

Date/Time: Thursday, May 23 to Friday, May 24, 2019
Location: Tower Hall Funabori (4-1-1 Funabori, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo)

Academic Societies

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

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commerce, Business>

<Science>

<Engineering>

<Agriculture>

<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

Events for International Students

Useful Websites for International Students

Job Hunting Report

Gan-Ulzii Buyandelger

Name: Gan-Ulzii Buyandelger
Nationality: Mongolia
University: Sophia University
Major: International Business and Economics, Faculty of Liberal Arts
Period of Stay in Japan: September 2014 to September 2018
Current Workplace: BlackRock Japan Co., Ltd.

I lived in Japan from when I was six months old to nine years old. Once, when I was in third grade (9 years old) and we went back to visit Mongolia, my cousin said, “You’re Mongolian! Why is your Mongolian so bad? If you can’t learn to speak it properly, I don’t want to play with you anymore!” Obviously I was hurt, but it really brought back my anxiety about not being able to speak my native language, and after discussing with my parents, I ended up transferring to a school in Mongolia and studying there.

I struggled at the time, since everything was new to me, but after learning about Mongolian culture and values, I came to really love the country. I’d decided that I would study abroad in Japan after graduating high school. I wanted to act as a sort of bridge between these two countries that meant so much to me. And so I studied abroad in Japan, and decided to find work in Japan as well.

My struggles during job hunting were with the Japanese job hunting process itself, and how rigid and standardized it is. When I was a third year at my university, everyone around me started talking about and preparing for job hunting. I didn’t want to be left behind, so I made sure to go to a lot of job hunting seminars for international students, which were generally hosted by universities and job hunting support organizations. But the more I learned about Japan’s job hunting process, the more I felt like I had to “standardize” myself, and I felt suffocated.

So then I started looking for a long-term internship. In Western countries, a lot of companies will hire an intern directly after a long-term internship; it’s become a method of hiring new employees. I thought that the kind of company that would offer long-term internships in Japan would be more flexible, that they’d devote more time to evaluating whether I was right for the company. Of course, there are also short-term internships (one-day, one-week, etc.) that are perfect for seeing what the company’s atmosphere is like. But with long-term internships (more than a month), you can really start envisioning your career path in the company, and even feel whether you’re compatible with the team you’d be working with. So I encourage those just now going into job hunting to try long-term internships. Before, they were mostly offered by foreign companies, but nowadays more and more Japanese companies are offering long-term internships as well.

And one final thing. We are international students, and we have both the strengths and weaknesses that come from not being Japanese. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find yourself left behind in this uniquely Japanese job hunting process. You’ll definitely come across a lot of obstacles, but as people who have lived and experienced two or more cultures, we have a perspective and sensibility that not many other people have. Aren’t the companies most suited to us those that will focus on and play up that strength?

Job Hunting Information Article

Company Information Sessions

Company information sessions, which are hosted by individual companies, employment agencies, local governments, etc., are events in which companies describe and promote themselves to prospective hires. At company information sessions, you can ask company representatives about information that is not listed on their website, like the company’s history and current circumstances, future direction, etc.

There are roughly two types of company information sessions: information sessions hosted by individual companies, and joint information sessions hosted by multiple companies. Some companies with individually-hosted information sessions may actually require you to attend one of their sessions to even be considered in the application process. These tend to be reservation-based, with registration closing after they hit capacity. Be careful, as information sessions for well-known companies can fill up in a matter of hours. Joint information sessions, on the other hand, will allow you to collect information more efficiently, since you can attend multiple sessions for different companies in a single venue.

Company information sessions can also be held at your university. Company information sessions held on-campus tend to bring in alumni to discuss their current employers, which means they are a great opportunity for you to collect a variety of information. These sessions tend to be hosted by the career support department (career center, etc.) at your school, so make sure you check into the department regularly to stay up-to-date.

In recent years, there have been more and more company information sessions aimed only towards international students. These events are covered here on Japan Alumni eNews, so make it a habit to read through each issue and participate in any event you’re interested in. Company information sessions are the first step of job hunting in Japan. Be sure to participate in the information sessions of companies that you are interested in.

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 April issue looks at Shizuoka prefecture.

Shizuoka Prefecture

Shizuoka Tea

Shizuoka Prefecture, known as the “tea prefecture,” produces approximately 40% of the tea in Japan, and is the #1 producer of tea in the country. Shizuoka tea is one of the Three Great Teas of Japan, alongside the uji tea from Kyoto Prefecture and the sayama tea from Saitama Prefecture. Products can only be labeled “Shizuoka tea” if they are made 100% with tea leaves produced in Shizuoka Prefecture. Tea production began in Shizuoka Prefecture in the early Meiji Era (1868 to 1912), when Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the last shogun of the Edo Period (1603 to 1868) gave up his power to the Emperor Meiji and returned to his hometown in Shizuoka, where his guards, freed of their responsibilities, established a tea garden. The chagusaba farming method, a traditional farming method practiced in Kakegawa City and its surrounding areas, was registered as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System in 2013.

Miho-no-Matsubara

Miho-no-Matsubara is a famous tourist destination located on the Miho Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture. It has received numerous accolades: it is considered one of the Three New Sceneries of Japan (Miho-no-Matsubara, Lake Onuma in Hokkaido, Yakabei Gorge in Oita Prefecture), one of the Three Great Pine Groves of Japan (Miho-no-Matsubara, Kehi-no-Matsubara in Fukui Prefecture, Niji-no-Matsubara in Saga Prefecture), and it is registered as one of the Places of Scenic Beauty in Japan, as well as a Heritage Asset for a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Mt. Fuji). The scenery, comprised of approximately 30,000 black pine trees and white sand on the 7 km stretch of land that stretches along the coast of the Miho Peninsula, and Mt. Fuji in the distance, beyond the blue of the ocean, struck a chord in the collective culture of Japan, and Miho-no-Matsubara has been featured in Japanese art since ancient times, in the form of tanka (song) collections, Japanese woodblock prints, and more. And it didn’t just stop at Japan. Helene Giuglaris, a French dancer, fell in love with Miho-no-Matsubara through her research of the Hagoromo (Legend of the Swan Maiden). The story goes that after her death, her husband came to visit Miho-no-Matsubara, and that the monument there was erected to commemorate his visit.

6. NIPPON Information

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

Lifestyle Information

Fiscal Year / Accounting Year

Fiscal Year / Accounting Year

April in Japan is filled with matriculation ceremonies for school and entrance ceremonies for companies, and the month itself is considered a time for new starts, in the same vein as New Year’s Day (January 1). But why does the “new year” for so many schools and companies start in April, and not in January? Here we will explain the background as to how this came about in Japan.

The year that starts in January is called the calendar year, and the year that starts in April is called the fiscal year, or accounting year. The fiscal, or accounting year, is a period established in order to aggregate and calculate the accounting in government offices, companies, etc., on a yearly basis. There are even laws for certain government offices that establish April to be the start of the accounting year. Companies, on the other hand, are not legally bound to start their fiscal year in April (though most companies still do) and have the freedom to choose for themselves. As such, fiscal years for companies vary, with some companies that start their fiscal year in January, others that start theirs in October, and so on.

But how did April come to be the start of the fiscal year for government offices and most Japanese companies? Before the Meiji Era (1868 to 1912), government institutions in Japan based their operations around Japan’s old calendar, the kyureki (traditional lunar calendar), which was about a month off from our current calendar. At the time, the fiscal period went from the 1st month of the kyureki (what would now be late January to the beginning of February) to the 12th month of the kyureki (what would now be late January to the beginning of February the following year). In the Meiji Era, however, the fiscal period was adjusted to go from the 10th month of the kyureki to the 9th month of the kyureki, so that it would fall after the yearly harvest of new rice in Japan. Then, when the kyureki was abolished and replaced with the solar calendar (our current calendar) in accordance with the West, the accounting period went through some drastic shifts, first going from January to December, then from July to June. Finally, around 1886, the accounting period became April to May, and became settled in this time frame. Elementary schools, etc., shifted their academic year so they would start in April, in line with the fiscal year for government offices, and in the Taisho Era (1912 to 1926), high schools and universities followed suit, establishing academic years that started in April.

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).

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

JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices 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 April 2019 issue will be published on April 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.

New University Listing(s):
Waseda University
University of Kitakyushu
Hyogo University of Teacher Education
Shibaura Institute of Technology
Tohoku University
Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
University of Toyama

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.

Job Hunting Guide for International Students

This guidebook provides a great amount of information for international students looking to job hunt in Japan. This covers everything you need to know, from the preparation process to the entry sheets, tests, changes to statuses of residence, and more, categorized by time period, and in an easy to understand language. The 2020 version of the guide is available now.

8. From the Editor

We are now officially in spring. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom, cedar pollen (the cause of many people’s hay fever) is everywhere, even more so than usual. It’s the start of a warmer season, with all the good and bad that comes with it. April tends to be packed with events, but when all that passes, Japan will go into its Golden Week (GW), a week packed with national holidays. This year’s GW was supposed to be a three-day weekend followed by a four-day weekend. Now, however, many people will be able to take vacation for a maximum of ten consecutive days, what with the ascension of the new emperor in May, and the establishment of Wednesday, May 1, as Emperor Ascension Day, a national holiday, as well as the fact that the two days on either side of that date (Tuesday and Thursday), supposed to be normal work days, were deemed public holidays according to the law. Because these holidays were designated in December 2018, many of the calendars people purchased last year don’t even have these holidays listed.

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 May 10. Don’t miss it!

- Copyright for this online magazine belongs to Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).
- Any copying, redistribution, reprinting, etc., of this material is forbidden.


Contact

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
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  • E-mail E-mail address is alumni-newsletter at mark jasso.go.jp
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