Japan Alumni eNews (Vol. 141)
Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 141 January 8, 2021
- 1. Life in Japan by Photo -- January in Japan
- 2. Alumni News -- News on International Students / Study Abroad Testimonial / Alumni Associations / Support for International Students Job Hunting in Japan and/or Returning Home
- 3. Academic News -- Introducing Universities / Testimonial on Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Awards, etc. / Symposium / Academic Societies / Japanese Language Tests
- 4. Business News -- Job Hunting Event Information / Job Hunting Report / Job Hunting Information Article
- 5. Visit Japan -- Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student
- 6. NIPPON Information -- Lifestyle Information / Get to Know Japan / Magazines and Brochures from Japanese Government
- 7. JASSO News -- Study in Japan Fairs in FY 2020 / “Student Guide to Japan” / Official Facebook and Instagram 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) / Job Hunting Guide for International Students
- 8. From the Editor
From April 2021, we will start a new social networking site in the place of our much-loved email magazine. All our readers can look forward to communications on social media.
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)
4. Name of your school in Japan
January in Japan
The January edition of Life in Japan by Photo introduces “January in Japan.”
2. Alumni News
Bringing you news and first-hand stories about international students!
News on International Students
NEWS 1: First Real Commercial Civilian Spacecraft Successfully Launched and Docked with Japanese Astronaut on Board
At 09:27 P.M. (JST) on November 16, the Crew Dragon, an American commercial manned spacecraft carrying four people, including the Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. Just after 1:00 P.M. (JST) on November 17, the crew succeeded in docking at the International Space Station (ISS), and began a long-duration mission of around six months. This was Noguchi’s third space flight, and is his second time participating in a long-duration mission on the ISS. During this mission, he is expected to make use of the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” attached to the ISS to deploy small satellites and carry out technical demonstrations, including life science and medical experiments.
NEWS 2: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan to Hold General Alumni Association Meeting, to Which International Students Who Have Returned Home Will Be Invited
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) is planning to hold a General Alumni Association Meeting in the 2021 academic year, made up of representatives from international alumni associations organized by former international students. More specifically, the plan is for representatives from alumni associations to be invited to Japan, and for there to be meetings to exchange opinions, lectures by external experts, observations of the current situation in Japan, visits to companies, and more. There will also be a reception, where current international students, international students who have returned home, Japanese companies, universities, and local governments can build networks. People involved from all over the world will share their know-how and information about alumni association activities, and this will allow MOFA to follow up on the alumni who are the cornerstone of future diplomacy, and to foster human resources overseas.
Study Abroad Testimonial
Name: Rath Dennis Michael
I have been fascinated by Japanese culture, including anime, history, and martial arts, since I was a child, so after I graduated high school in Germany, I wanted to visit Japan once, and spent a year here. During the time I spent in Japan, I admired the humanity of the Japanese people: in particular their spirit of cooperation and politeness. I thought that these traits were really desirable, and so I made up my mind to try and live my life in Japan.
After this, I spent my days diligently studying so I could enter my target university, and passed the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1. I then managed to enroll in Fukuoka University. In order to better understand old Japanese culture, I majored in Japanese History, and I was thrilled from the bottom of my heart to be able to grow through friendly competition with my Japanese classmates. On top of this, my Japanese language ability had improved so much as to be incomparable to my ability when I first came to Japan, and I was able to gain grades good enough to keep pace with the Japanese students, so I really felt that my efforts until then had not been wasted.
I’ve come to be interested in pursuing the true meaning of “kanji” (Chinese characters) through reading and understanding “kanbun” (classical Chinese written for Japanese readers) in the Department of History. When I entered my third year, I started seriously thinking about employment in Japan, and began job hunting. It is common for regular companies in Japan not to ask which department you studied in when you are job hunting, so you can study a subject that you like and then gain employment in an excellent company in a totally different field. This could never happen in Europe, and is a system unique to Japan. Ultimately, I decided to look for a job in a prestigious company, and in the future, I will enjoy being able to work in a global job that uses my strengths as a foreigner, while being based in Japan.
List of Japan Alumni Associations
Support for International Students Job Hunting in Japan and/or Returning Home
Kumamoto University International Student Employment Assistance Program (CDP+K)
The Kumamoto University International Student Employment Assistance Program (CDP+K: Career Development Program + Kumamoto) is aimed at full-time international students who hope to find work in Japan, especially in Kumamoto Prefecture. It provides resources such as Japanese language education, career education, internships, and job hunting seminars. It has administrative staff and four coordinators who have overall responsibility for different initiatives, and needless to say they offer thoughtful and attentive support. The program also provides remote support in the coronavirus crisis, through coordination between staff who make use of electronic records, and through the University’s original initiative of exchange via Global Student Assistant activities. This remote support is in no way inferior to support given in face-to-face meetings, and has succeeded in helping many international students gain employment (unofficial offers) in the prefecture (country).
3. Academic News
Introduction of scholarships, grants, unique activities at particular universities, and more!
Here we introduce you to particular faculties and graduate schools at Japanese universities.
Kyoto University of Foreign Studies
University Profile (As of May 1, 2020)
Name: Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS)
Address: 6 Kasame-cho, Saiin, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
Number of Students: 4,458
International Students: 144
1. Overview of University (History, Mission, etc.)
This university was established in 1947 with the founding philosophy of Pax Mundi per Linguas, World Peace through Languages. It has a two-faculty system, consisting of Japan’s top-level Faculty of Foreign Studies, where students can study 19 languages, and the Faculty of Global Engagement, where students take on the challenge of problem-solving in communities in Japan and overseas. KUFS trains leaders with an abundance of humanity who will lead the next generation and contribute to peace in international society. The campus of this university is located in Kyoto, the center of Japanese history and culture, where you will almost always cross paths with international visitors by walking through the streets. Study Japan in Kyoto, where you will have the chance to touch real tradition and culture.
2. Overview and Characteristics of Distinctive Faculties and Graduate Schools
Faculty of Foreign Studies
Students of KUFS make use of the multilingual environment only found in a university of foreign studies and thoroughly learn the language in which they major, as well as gaining a wealth of international perspectives unobtainable in a single language sphere. The university offers second and third language subjects, which students study by choosing a foreign language that is not their major from the 19 languages offered, enabling them to deepen their understanding of multiple languages according to their interests and hobbies. Required subjects are separated by skill levels and take place in classes with a small number of students, offering ample opportunities for presentations and discussions. The university develops classes in which everyone participates in a cozy atmosphere.
Faculty of Global Engagement
This faculty produces changemakers who look at problems around the world with a global perspective and lead the way in finding solutions. Community Engagement is the study at the heart of this faculty. For four to six weeks during the summer and fall of their second year, students use communities around the world (local communities) as a base for their activities, and with the cooperation of local people they tackle common issues: the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) set out by the UN. Students plan their own projects and put them into practice in communities, which allows them to foster their communication skills and their ability to understand the different cultures surviving in global society.
3. Support for International Students (Everyday Life Support Including Accommodations Support, Scholarships, Tuition Reductions, etc.)
KUFS’s own scholarship systems:
- Tuition fees Reduction System for non-sponsored International Students
- Morita Fund Scholarship
- Alumni Association Scholarship
- Parents’ Association Scholarship
- Alumni Association "Kagayaku Hoshitonaru Gakusei" Scholarship
Testimonial on Scholarships, Grants, Invitations, Awards, etc.
Name: Liu Pengyi
I am currently supported by the scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students sponsored by the Ministry of Education. This program adopts only one student per year, and I believed it was very hard to obtain. However, university staffs encouraged me to apply and I dared to do so.
Fortunately, I won the scholarship. This is because several scholarships that I received in my years as an under-graduate enabled me to reduce the time spent working a part-time job. I was able to concentrate on my studies, especially in the area of bookkeeping and accounting. I received the second class of bookkeeping capability certification and after that I was able to keep on studying higher level accounting and my graduate thesis on lease accounting. Furthermore, I was awarded as an honor student. The most valuable result, I believe, was that I got many colleagues who can share the same goals. If I had devoted more of my time to a part-time job, I could not have met with them.
I would like to tell to future students that you should not devote your precious time to part-time jobs. If you made many efforts in your studies and achieve a good result, you will obtain more favorable scholarships. Such a cycle will encourage you more!
Information About International Symposium
The 26th Kosen Symposium Online
This symposium serves as a venue for research presentations from students from regular and specialist courses in colleges of technology from across the country, and for mutual cooperation and knowledge sharing between teaching staff. It aims to popularize academic research related to technical college education, and to bring local industry, government, educational institutions, and city residents closer together. This year the symposium is to be held online in response to the corona crisis.
Date and time: Saturday, January 23, 2021 / 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. (online)
*The online venue only allows a limited number of registered participants. Please see the symposium web page for details.
Introducing Academic Societies
Name: The Japan Society of International Economics (Economics)
Location: 3F Tsukasa Building, 518 Waseda Tsurumaki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Number of Members: 928 people and institutions (as of November 2020)
Membership Fee: Regular Members: 9,000 yen / Student Members and Senior Members: 3,000 yen / Supporting Members: 30,000 yen or more
Overview and Characteristics of Academic Society (History, Mission, etc.)
The Japan Society of International Economics was started in 1950. It encompasses a comprehensive variety of research subjects in international economics, including the international economy, international trade, international finance, development economics, and regional research, and is a society with many affiliated researchers who analyze these areas from an economic perspective.
2. Name of Publication, Frequency, Research Themes, etc.
The Society produces two publications, Kokusai Keizai in Japanese and The International Economy in English. Each of these is released once a year. They are publicly available as electronic journals via J-STAGE,* and can be viewed wherever you are in the world.
3. Academic Conference (Schedule, etc.)
The Society holds two conferences a year: the Spring Conference in the spring and the National Conference in the fall. During the National Conference, researchers give presentations and there are also symposiums on common themes, award ceremonies for various academic prizes, commemorative speeches, and more.
4. Other Efforts (Seminars, Symposiums, etc.)
The Japan Society of International Economics has three branches: Kanto, Chubu, and Kansai. They each organize seminars and symposiums. At the moment, almost all of these are held online due to the effects of COVID-19, allowing people to participate from overseas.
Japanese Language Tests
4. Business News
JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!
Information About Job Hunting Related Events
Events for International Students
*Note that the events may be cancelled. Make sure to check the official websites for these events before heading out.
Employment Support for Specific Skillsets
Job and Interview Fairs
Useful Websites for International Students
Job Hunting Report
Name: Hung Pik Wun
Before I came to Japan, I majored in Japanese at a junior college in Hong Kong. I wanted to concentrate more on my Japanese and gain a closer experience of Japanese culture, so after I graduated, I decided to study in Japan.
When I was in university, I didn't just study; I met many Japanese people through a variety of exchange activities, and was able to learn about Japanese culture, traditions, and customs. During the first two years of studying in Japan, I gradually adapted to the area where I was living, and, wanting to make use of the knowledge I gained studying tourism in university in the actual tourism industry, I focused on job hunting from the fall of my third year. Through multiple job fairs and interviews, I received unofficial offers from three companies, and took up a job at the closest company to my university.
When I was a child, I was always bad at speaking to other people. However, my job hunting in Japan forced me to talk about myself in an appealing manner in Japanese. To overcome my weakness, I accepted advice from my teachers at university, and practiced again and again. It is because I had this experience that I can work at the front desk of a hotel now.
I think that the most important thing when job hunting is to have confidence. When you have an interview, the first impression that you give the other party is vital. In order to be able to make a good impression in a short time, it is essential to make an effort each day. In addition, before an interview with a company, I researched the company’s basic information on their website and pamphlets, and studied the company’s culture and policies. On top of this, sometimes I visited the company before the interview and had a tour.
In the future, I want to learn about the spirit of Japanese “omotenashi” (hospitality) as I polish my skills as a hotelier, and do my best so I can use this to contribute to the tourism industry in my home country.
Job Hunting Information Article
Procedures From Receiving an Unofficial Offer to Entering a Company
After the final selections, a company may tell you that they intend to recruit you; this is called a “naitei,” an unofficial offer. Japan’s job hunting activities begin early on, so in some cases you may receive an unofficial offer over a year before you enter a company. There are various ways you will be notified about an unofficial offer, depending on the timing and the company, but after the unofficial offer you will be sent a “naitei tsuchisho,” a notice of your unofficial offer. If you have received unofficial offers from multiple companies, you should quickly decide which company you will enter, and inform each company of your decision to join them, or decline the offer.
If you are an international student, you must change your resident status from “Student” to a resident status that allows you to work by the time you start at the company. There are documents that your future workplace needs to provide for the process to change your status, so you should ask your company to prepare these as soon as you decide that you will work for them. Depending on the company, there may also be a ceremony for unofficial job offers and/or a training session before you actually join them, or you may be assigned a task. Make sure you carefully check communications from the company.
Before you enter the company, you must also understand the social security system and the tax system. In Japan, social insurance payments and taxes are taken from your pay before you receive it. It’s a good idea to make sure you know what and how much will be taken from your pay in advance, so you don’t panic if the pay you actually receive is less than you expected.
The Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2022, published by JASSO, gives explanations of how things are likely to progress between an unofficial offer and joining a company, and what you should check before you join a company. You can download this from the website below; please reference it in conjunction with other sources.
5. Visit Japan
Introducing regions in Japan with universities, and more! The December issue looks at Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture.
Introducing Cities and Daily Life As a Study Abroad Student
Matsumoto City is located in the center of Nagano Prefecture, which is approximately in the middle of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It has a population of around 240,000 people. It is famous as an area that traditionally values education: one of Japan’s oldest elementary schools, Kaichi School, and the country’s ninth oldest high school, Matsumoto High School (now Shinshu University) were located here. There are currently three universities and one junior college in Matsumoto City, where the students work hard at their studies. Historically, Matsumoto City developed as the core of Nagano Prefecture’s economy, and it is home to branches of financial institutions and companies. As this city has a rich natural environment, surrounded by the mountains of the Japanese Alps,* it is also popular as a tourist destination.
*Japanese Alps: The term for three mountain ranges in the central part of Honshu. Derived from the Alps in Europe.
Over 8,000 students study in the universities and junior college in Matsumoto City. There are many book stores here: dozens within the city, including large book stores, historical used book stores, and book cafés where you can enjoy food and drinks. One of the features of the city is its numerous cafés, created in older buildings that have been renovated. The average rent in Matsumoto City is around 40,000 to 50,000 yen for a 1R or 1K apartment (one-room apartments suited for living on your own).
(As of 2020)
Matsumoto City also offers public facilities that allow you to enjoy art and culture, including the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, which mainly displays the works of creators connected to Nagano Prefecture, and the Matsumoto Performing Arts Centre, which is well-known as the venue of the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, an annual music event directed by the world-famous conductor Seiji Ozawa. Matsumoto Castle, towering over the streets in the center of the city, is famous as one of Japan’s few period buildings that has remained unchanged. It is a designated National Treasure of Japan, and is a tourist spot visited by large numbers of tourists every year.
At the moment, around 400 international students attend the universities and junior college in Matsumoto City. The Matsumoto International Students Supporting Families Group, established by the City over 30 years ago, is responsible for exchange projects with international students, and proactively organizes City sightseeing trips, exchange events, Japanese speech contests, and more.
6. NIPPON Information
This section introduces information on Japan for international students!
Japanese Traffic Rules
Traffic rules are different in each country. You should study a particular country’s traffic rules carefully to avoid causing traffic accidents and incidents. This month’s issue will explain Japan’s.
To start, we will explain about bicycles. In Japan, motor vehicles and bicycles are all subject to the same regulation: the Road Traffic Law. You must obey this law while cycling. Firstly, the rule is for bicycles to travel on the left side of the road. However, if there are signs permitting cyclists to ride on the pavement, you can do so. You should cycle while paying proper attention to pedestrians. It is forbidden by law for two people to ride a bicycle, for two or more bicycles to ride in parallel, to ride while holding something like an umbrella or a smartphone, and to listen to music with earphones or a similar device while riding. Drinking and riding is also not permitted. In addition, you must attach a light to your bicycle at nighttime or when it is dark outside. You must also register your bicycle against theft on the crime prevention register. The crime prevention register is a system through which you register the model and type of bicycle, and the name and address of its owner, and it is required when you buy your bicycle from a store or receive it from someone. In Japan, using a bicycle without permission, even one that has been abandoned, is considered a crime, so be careful.
Next, we will explain about driving cars and motorbikes. In Japan, cars and motorbikes are driven on the left-hand side of roads not divided according to the direction of traffic. If you are used to driving on the right, you need to pay special attention to your driving. At crossroads and T-junctions, you should watch out for cars and other vehicles coming from the right. Additionally, you must not drive after drinking alcohol: go home via taxi, bus, or train, or walk. You can also be punished if you ride in a car knowing that the driver has been drinking. Giving priority to pedestrians is also an important rule. If there is a pedestrian trying to cross at a pedestrian crossing, vehicles such as cars and motorbikes must slow down and stop before the crossing.
There are many other rules that you must obey, including driving within the speed limit, making sure that you stop where there is a Stop sign, and having the driver and others wear seat belts inside a car. Universities, local governments, and the police hold lectures about traffic rules and manners in Japan for international students, so try proactively joining in.
Get to Know Japan
In this section, we will introduce topics on culture, technology, lifestyle, and more in Japan.
Kimono Culture in Japan
Kimonos are one of Japanese culture’s most representative aspects. Even today, in Japan, where it has become normal to wear western-style clothing, the custom of wearing kimonos in various settings remains. Recently, rental services have become available, so anyone can easily enjoy wearing a kimono. This month we will introduce kimono culture in Japan.
Originally, any clothing that was worn in Japan was called a “kimono,” written with the characters for “wear” and “thing” (着物). However, around 150 years ago, people in Japan began to wear western-style clothing, i.e. European clothes, and these were adopted as everyday clothes. Then, people started using the word “wafuku” (Japanese clothes) for the clothes that had been worn in Japan in the past, and this became clothing that was mostly worn in specific settings.
Nowadays, settings in which people wear kimono chiefly consist of a variety of important events in their lifetime, such as weddings, funerals, and graduations. On celebratory occasions such as their coming-of-age ceremony, graduation, and New Year’s, women wear brightly-colored, lavish kimono called “furisode.” At her wedding, a bride may wear a very formal bright-white kimono known as a “shiromuku,” or an “iro-uchikake,” which is characterized by gorgeous patterns and gold and silver thread. Some men also wear kimono in celebratory settings such as their coming-of-age ceremony, these are called “montsuki hakama” (crested hakama).
Japan does have a culture of continuing to wear kimonos that have been passed down through the generations, but in recent years there has been an increase in the number of people who rent kimono rather than receiving them from parents or buying them. There are expensive rentals for formalwear worn at coming-of-age ceremonies and weddings, but there are also reasonably priced rental kimonos for tourists, so you should definitely try them for yourself.
Yukata are well-known as casual kimono, and even in present-day Japan there are a lot of people who wear yukata regardless of their age or gender. Yukata were originally a type of kimono worn indoors, for example after a bath. Because of this, they are breathable and comfortable, and an increasing number of people now enjoy wearing them for events such as summer festivals and firework displays. You can get a yukata cheaply at major supermarkets and other stores, making them kimonos that can be enjoyed on a casual basis.
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 in FY 2020
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.
Target Region: Worldwide (Mainly eight regions and countries including Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, China, China (Hong Kong), Vietnam, and Malaysia)
Please refer to the website below for further details.
2020 events related to the Study in Japan Global Network Project Headquarter
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.
Official Facebook and Instagram 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”
Please read the January 2021 issue. It will be available on January 12.
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.
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.
New University Listing(s):
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 Japanese PDF version of the Job Hunting Guide for International Students 2022 has been completed. You can download it from the website below.
We expect to start sending out the 2022 book from the end of February.
8. From the Editor
We covered Kimono Culture in Japan in this month’s Get to Know Japan section. Nowadays, there are not many people, even Japanese people, who can put on a kimono by themselves. Many people ask places such as beauty salons and hotels to dress them, especially when they will be wearing a formal kimono. Apparently, my great-grandmother (my grandmother’s mother) wore a kimono in everyday life. I also hear that my grandmother could also put one on by herself, but I never saw her wear one. Now, in contrast, I see a lot of young people enjoy wearing yukata and kimono casually, at places such as summer festivals, firework displays, and tourist locations.
The Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for people who can share their job hunting experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an international student, and your comments for our e-mail magazine. Our next issue of Japan Alumni eNews will be released on February 10, 2021. Don’t miss it!
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