Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 71 March 10, 2015

Cherry blossoms

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Life in Japan shown through photos. We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos from your experiences in Japan, including life as an international student, memories from study abroad, Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

Memories of Japan

The March issue of Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan. (Honorifics such as "Mr." and "Ms." have been omitted.)

Zeng Tianran (China)
University of Tsukuba

University of Tsukuba through the gap of cherry in evening

Title: University of Tsukuba through the gap of cherry in evening

Hojo ooike cherry petals fluttering

Title: Hojo ooike cherry petals fluttering

Matsumoto Dental University

Perfect Fall Click

Title: Perfect Fall Click

The moment we realised  we were best friends forever.

Title: The moment we realised we were best friends forever

Sakura Latte Art

Title: Sakura Latte Art

Zhang Tian Shi(China)


Title: Memories

2. Alumni News

Introduce news related to international students and student experiences!

1) News on International Students

News 1: International Students Experience Working at Japanese Companies

Kansai Gaidai University is launching a Global Internship Program (GIP) that will allow international students the opportunity to work at a Japanese company for a period of about a month. Up to this point, seven companies (including the financial, manufacturing, and railway industries) and one municipality have cooperated with the program. In 2015, around 15 students will participate.

News 2: Tochigi Launches Website for International Students

Tochigi has prepared a website to make it easier for international students and other foreign residents to obtain information in various languages, including living guides that explain procedures and how to use city halls and other public facilities and information on the abundant tourism resources and attractive agricultural and livestock products of Tochigi. The website is available in Japanese, English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

2) Introduction of "Current International Students"

Capybara at Nagasaki Bio Park

Nationality: Thailand
University: Nagasaki University
Major: Program of Mechanical Engineering
Period of Stay in Japan: April 2011 to present
Japanese skill level: JLPT 1 (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test)

My name is Soponanankij Supagin. I’m an international student from Thailand. I am currently a fourth year student of Nagasaki University’s Program of Mechanical Engineering and belong to the Machining Lab. I came to Japan after graduating from high school in Thailand. My father’s job involves dies and cutting tools, and they receive many orders from Japanese companies in Thailand. For that reason, I felt there was a need for Japanese language skills, and I decided to go to university in Japan after my third year in high school because I wanted to learn Japanese and Japanese machine technology. That was when I began studying Japanese.

Festival and fireworks display (in Kobe)

What left the biggest impression on me when I first came to Japan was the development capabilities and thoughtfulness of Japanese people. One example of that is the Washlet toilet seat. I learned that what was originally used for medical and nursing care purposes at hospitals in the US was imported by a Japanese sanitary ware company that engaged in independent research and development, studying the positions of employees’ anuses and adjusting the water temperature before launching sales of their own toilet seat with bidet functions. Another example showing the thoughtfulness of Japanese people is the goods at 100 yen shops. It’s very interesting to me how creative the products are and how the product lineup meets the needs of various people regardless of age or gender.
What I would like to communicate to people wishing to study in Japan is that if you’re from a country like mine that does not use kanji, your Japanese language studies might take some time. It’s going to require some effort. For that reason, you should be prepared to be very busy until you enter university, and know that you won’t have a lot of free time. Once you decide to study in Japan, you should begin studying Japanese immediately, and that will pay off later.
I will be graduating in March of this year. After graduating, I’ll be going to work at a machine tool company in Kanagawa. In the future, I want to study specialist terminology and learn more about specialized technology. My goal is to take advantage of the knowledge I acquired at university and have fun working with Japanese people.

Pumpkin art (Naoshima, Kagawa)

In the lab

3) Windows of Alumni

4) Introduction to Japan Alumni Associations

Study in Japan

This structure was organized to making a line of personal contract for ex-student from abroad who is studied at university in Japan and back to their mother’s country then they are contacting each other’s more easier.

3. Academic News

Introduce scholarships, grants, unique efforts by universities, and more!

1) Introducing Faculties/Graduate Schools

We introduce various faculties and graduate schools with unique features in Japan

Ochanomizu University

Ochanomizu University celebrates its 140th anniversary in 2015. It got its start as the first governmental institute of higher learning established in 1875 in the aim of educating female teachers to spread women’s education at a time when modernization of Japan was beginning in earnest. Today the university carries on under that philosophy and has thoroughly established a meticulous education system with small classes. There are three undergraduate courses, namely Letters and Education, Science, and Human Life and Environmental Sciences. Including international students, there are around 2,000 students. There are five majors for both the master’s and the doctoral programs of the graduate school. They engage in more advanced, ultramodern, and interdisciplinary research and proactively cultivate new research fields that go beyond the specialties of humanities and science.

1. Distinctive education program, research center/lab

2. Undergraduate Courses / Graduate Courses

3. Message from teaching staff in charge of accepting international students

“Ochanomizu University is blessed by a quiet environment that is perfect for studies despite its downtown location. About 10% of the students are international students and research students, and we actively promote international exchange and research.

School building



Group photo

Class landscape

2) Scholarships/ Grants/ Invitation/ Awards, etc.

Gifu International Center

  • Project name: Scholarships for Exchange Students

3) Scholarships/ Grants/ Invitation Information and Reports

Watanuki International Scholarship Foundation 20th anniversary commemoration ceremony

The Watanuki International Scholarship from the Watanuki International Scholarship Foundation
http://watanuki.org/ (In Japanese Only)

Founding philosophy of the scholarship
Considering Japan’s price of living, housing situation, and other circumstances, it is financially difficult for international students to live in Japan. We provide assistance to privately financed international students so they can serve in leading roles in the future in their own country, and believe that the important role of Japan ― as an advanced country in the Asia-Pacific region ― is to cultivate many such human resources. We also believe that this will contribute to promoting understanding of Japan in overseas countries. Sentaro Watanuki, the founder, firmly believed that, “World peace is created by all the human race possessing remarkable intelligence, and having affluent lifestyles. This is supported by education.” The Watanuki International Scholarship Foundation continues moving towards achieving its goals by carrying on this conviction.

Who can apply?
Non-Japanese people from Asian-Pacific countries in Japan, whose status of residence is “College Student,” and who are enrolled in a graduate school doctoral course (masters or doctoral) at a university, medical doctoral course, or dentistry doctoral course (excluding students who are repeating a year) at a school from which the Watanuki International Scholarship Foundation requests recommendations. This includes people who have decided to enter school in the following year by March 31st, and people who plan to proceed onward to school in or after April.

What is the amount paid?
150,000 yen per month.
In principal, this amount is paid for one year (from April to the following March). However, we permit applications for continuation and re-applications, so it’s possible to receive the scholarship for two years or more.

How will I receive the stipend?
We will transfer the funds to the designated bank account.

What are the selection criteria?
People with excellent scholarly ability, a dependable character, healthy mind and body, who plan to become leaders with a global viewpoint in the future, and who desire to contribute to international understanding and goodwill. In addition, people who have no problem communicating in Japanese.

How can I apply?
Applications are taken via the school you are enrolled in around early September to late October each year.

What should I be careful about when applying?
Please be aware that we cannot accept applications from students enrolled at schools other than designated schools, undergraduate students, or direct applications not submitted through schools.

Gathering of international students

What are the obligations for scholarship recipients?
Submission of information about their state of study and research, submission of a short essay, and participation in the scholarship student gatherings. Students also submit reports if they temporarily return to their home country, receive their doctorate, find a job, etc.

What sort of projects does the association do other than scholarships?
Student gatherings, with participation by people from related universities and graduate students, are held in June and March of each year.
Every September, socials are held for new scholarship recipients.

Comments from scholarship recipients
Chinese student
I came to feel the importance of society, myself and my family and a responsibility to them through my own re-growth and self-improvement. I returned to Beijing in the aims of earning a doctoral degree at the China Science Academy, but I got lost along the way. I joined a certain company and was in charge of distributor sales management for the North China area. This gave me lots of hands-on experience with direct marketing and general sales tools, the methods of manufacturers and other such things. Last month, a branch office was established in Beijing, and by January of next year, the inland area of China will fall under its purview. I hope to learn new things and gain much experience.
I want to clarify my personal challenges and move on to the doctoral program at the China Science Academy. I’ll do my best.
I graduated from the foundation, but it really feels like it was just yesterday. I am truly grateful for the smiles, the atmosphere at the venue, the delicious food...I look forward to continuing our relationship.

4) Academic Societies

5) Japanese Language Test

4. Business News

Provide information related to job hunting for current international students and graduates!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

2) Job Hunting Reports from Current International Students


University in Japan:Rikkyo University
Major:Department of Communications and Media Studies in the College of Sociology
Period of Stay in Japan:4 years
Name of Company:SEGA
The level of Japanese-Language:JLPT N1

Why did you want to get a job in Japan?
I have been interested in the content industry including Japanese video games from a young age. I wanted to work in a field related to this industry in the future.

Why did you choose your current workplace (prospective employer)?
This company is one of the most recognized video game companies in China. I think I can make connections between Japan and China as well as play an active role in a wide range of duties.

What are the details of your company’s operations and your future duties?
This is a general entertainment company with world-leading software assets which offers video game contents from various genres all over the world.
I am informally a game planner so my duties include planning various video game contents as well as providing fun and excitement to customers around the world.

How did you market yourself to your company?
I talked about how I could utilize my experience in the company, how I would like to grow in the company as well as my future goals and ambitions.

When did you start job hunting?
I started researching companies from my first year in university and I participated in job fairs at my university from my second year.

About how many companies did you apply to?
I applied to about 30 companies.

What specific job hunting did you do? (seminars, websites, etc.)
My job search involved activities such as using job searching websites, going to company information sessions in my university and job fairs for students studying abroad as well as researching company IR information.

What did you use as a reference for preparations or company research? What was difficult about company research?
I find out about what job hunting in Japan involves at places such as seminars held in the university and got information about industries and companies I was interested in through means such as media and job fairs.
Almost all of the information about job hunting in Japan is in Japanese so it was necessary for me to firmly improve my language skills.

What did you pay attention to when writing application forms and resumes?
I paid attention to many areas including correct Japanese, correct Japanese characters and grammar.

What did you pay special attention to during the interview?
I paid special attention to accurately communicating what I wanted to express in Japanese which is easy to understand.

What kind of questions were you asked at the interviews?
I was asked questions such as what I worked hard at in school, what type of work I would like to do in the company and what my future goals were.

What are your future ambitions and plans?
I want to be a full-fledged game creator who is always learning and applying myself diligently with the ability to provide fun and excitement to people around the world. I would like to put forth my best efforts with the hope of changing the world with video games.

Please share some advice for those who are thinking about job hunting in Japan.
Information which can be obtained through media is limited so it is important to actively participate in events such as company information sessions and job fairs as well as ask questions and have conversations. You may make unexpected discoveries and start to have interest in industries which you had not considered before. I think this can broaden your horizons. In addition, do not procrastinate when you have some time before job hunting. Look for something you can do and gain experience.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

Analyzing Values

To do your job with pleasure
Values are the criteria for determining what is held important. For example, speed or quality: Which is more important to you? Say you’re going to submit a proposal. At a company that values speed, we would recommend submitting the proposal ahead of the deadline, even if you were only 70% finished and quickly revise it while listening to feedback from the customer to get it close to 100%. However, a person who places importance on quality would be resistant to submitting something that was incomplete, right? On the other hand, at a company that is committed to quality, if the proposal was not complete, they would explain the circumstances to the customer and attempt to perfect the proposal even if it meant extending the deadline. If you’re someone who places more importance on speed, you’ll feel pressed to speed things up and will end up becoming irritated.

How to identify the values of the company and employees

So how does one analyze the values of a company and its employees? You can conduct your own research by looking at the “Corporate Philosophy” and “Code of Conduct” sections of the company’s website and pamphlets. A company’s values are the same as the brand image it presents to customers. What does the company you are applying to offer? Peace of mind? Speed? Quality? A total package? Tanita is a manufacturer that manufactures and sells health meters and other measuring instruments, but the value it offers is “health.” Toyota is an automobile manufacturer, but the value it offers is “creation of a rich society.” The conduct expected of employees in order to achieve that value is provided in the Code of Conduct. It explains in an easy-to-understand manner what employees need to emphasize in their conduct or, in other words, the values they should hold. Write these things in the “Corporate Values” and “Employee Values” section of the Company Research Sheet for the company you are applying to. If the corporate philosophy and code of conduct are not provided on the website or in pamphlets, infer the values from the company explanations and what the employees say.

Sayuri Nagao, Work Co., Ltd.
  [Source] Must-read! Real Interviews
by Sayuri Nagao (Hitotsubashi Shoten)

5. Visit Japan

Fukuoka Prefecture

Wouldn’t you like to travel and see Japan? Here, we introduce well-known areas, events, and gourmet food in each region of Japan! In the March issue, Fukuoka Prefecture is featured.

Koto Dazaifu

Koto Dazaifu is about 20 minutes by train from the center of Fukuoka. This ancient city has a long history and is now a tourist location. Dazaifu Tenmangu is bustling with visitors all year round who pray to Sugawara no Michizane, the god of wisdom. There are many sightseeing spots in this area such as the fourth national museum established in Japan, the Kyushu National Museum.

City of Water, Yanagawa

The Yanagawa River is famous for its boat tours. The view while taking a boat ride allows you to relax and forget your troubles. You can enjoy the four seasons with original traditional culture, food culture and more. Festivals held on the river such as the Hakushu Festival Waterway Parade and the Yanagawa Dolls' Festival Sangemon Meguri are must-sees.

Hakata Dontaku Port Festival

The origin of the name of this festival comes from the Dutch word zondag which means holiday. This fun event involves a Dontaku Group brilliantly parading down Fukuoka's main street and performing at about 30 other places in the city. This is one of the largest crowds of people in Japan during spring's Golden Week.

Hakata Ningyo Dolls

Hakata Ningyo Dolls have over 400 years of history and feature graceful curves and subtle expressions. These dolls have been passed down generation after generation while both maintaining the traditional techniques and making improvements. These popular and traditional works of art are known around the world as the exemplary Japanese doll.

Tagawa Horumon Nabe Hot Pot

This typical Fukuoka dish involves stir-frying innards (horumon) seasoned with yakiniku sauce and loads of vegetables such as onions, cabbage, bean sprouts and garlic chives on a uniquely shaped griddle with a depressed middle part. This dish is a regular winner at the B-1 Grand Prix.

Fukuoka Prefecture Tourist Association

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) Nippon Time Machine

Graduation Ceremonies: Completing Courses and Setting Off on New Paths

When March comes around, elementary, junior high, high school, university, and other graduation ceremonies are held. These are school events held to certify and celebrate that students have completed educational courses and are also called “diploma presentation ceremonies” because The diploma is handed to each student.


The educational ordinance establishing Japan’s first modern school system was issued in 1872. Under that system, certificates were issued to show that the student passed the test for the school year. Accordingly, graduation ceremonies came to be held to celebrate completion of each school course.

Graduation ceremonies are school events within the extra-curricular activities of educational courses like opening ceremonies, closing ceremonies, entrance ceremonies, and completion ceremonies. They are important ceremonies, so the format is mostly the same at every school.

Generally speaking, the order of ceremonies is entrance of the graduates, opening remarks, national anthem, presentation of diplomas, message from the principal, message from the guest speaker, farewell address by a representative of the underclassmen, response by representative of graduates, ceremonial song, school song, closing remarks, and exit of the graduates. The government course guidelines stipulate that “[administrators are to] recognize the significance [of the flag and national anthem], and encourage the raising of the flag and singing of the anthem,” so the flag is raised beside the podium where messages are given and diplomas are presented.

Graduation ceremonies are events to certify and celebrate that students have completed educational courses as well as send-off ceremonies for students who are leaving their school life behind and moving on to new environments such as higher education or employment.

After the graduation ceremony, graduates say farewell to their classmates, teachers, and classrooms. For students, this day is a special one of hopes and dreams for the future mixed with the loneliness of goodbyes. Various graduation ceremony pictures have been handed down as tradition depending on the times and the school customs.


At one time it was popular for male students to give the second button from their school uniform to the girl they liked following the graduation ceremony. At high schools in Takayama City, Gifu, it’s customary for graduates to tie the white band from their cap and the white scarf from their uniform together into a long string and send it down the river. This custom was even made into a drama on television. At graduation ceremonies of the University of Ishikawa Prefecture, graduating students pick up their diplomas in creative costumes.

There are also many songs about graduation ceremonies, and songs sung by graduating students and underclassmen at the ceremonies are written on the students’ hearts as memories after the ceremonies are over.

Text: Sonomi Shoji (writer)

2) Lifestyle Information

Heart-shaped chocolate

White Day: A Cheerful Spring Event

March 14 is “White Day.” What exactly is this day? It’s the day when those who received chocolate on Valentine’s Day the month before return the favor. It doesn’t commemorate anything in particular and is not a holiday, but out of nowhere it has established itself on the Japanese calendar.

Valentine’s Day in Japan developed slightly differently than how it is celebrated in most parts of the world. It took root in the latter half of the 1970s as a day for girls to give chocolate to boys to let them know of their feelings. White Day emerged in the early 1980s with the snack industry calling for candy, cookies and marshmallows to be given in return for the chocolate one month after February 14th.

There have been some cynical voices saying that the snack industry is using it to promote sales, but Valentine’s Day and White Day have become paired as a fun event that lifts spirits and adds to the sense of transition from winter to spring. As such, they have been widely accepted, especially among young people.

In Japan, nenga (New Year’s gifts), chugen (gifts given in mid-July), and seibo (year-end gifts) are exchanged to express gratitude to those who have demonstrated kindness. There are also gifts given in return for wedding gifts, baby gifts, get-well gifts, and others. White Day may have arisen out of the ancient custom of giving gifts in return for gifts received.

Heart-shaped marshmallows

As with Valentine’s Day, when White Day approaches, various gift snacks are set out in the food departments of department stores and at snack shops. In recent years, not only snacks but alcoholic beverages like wine, accessories, and other items have been added to the variety of White Day gifts sold. Choosing a gift while imagining the smile on the recipient’s face also makes it an exciting experience for the gift giver.

Something that has become somewhat of a problem is the idea that has arisen somewhere along the line that White Day gifts should be times three. In other words, the trend is to give a gift that is three times the monetary amount of the Valentine’s Day gift received. That is not the case, however. The “white” in White Day is a color that refers to “purity,” “good luck,” “good omens,” and the like. Wrap your sweet and sincere thoughts in a white package and give your gift in response to the recipient’s goodwill.

Text: Shoji Sonomi (writer)

7. JASSO News

Introducing JASSO Scholarship information, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

1) Schedule, etc. for the FY2014 Japan Education Fairs

2) Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

3) Official Facebook pages of JASSO and Overseas Representative Offices

We also provide the latest information on studying in Japan on our official Facebook pages. Check them out!

4) Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

5) JASSO Scholarship programs

6) Web Magazine “Ryugakukoryu”(In Japanese Only)

7) Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

This program provides former international students who play active roles in education, research and government in their home countries to conduct short term research at universities in Japan.

8. From the Reader

Thank you
Magdi Abdelhamid

Thanks for your email.
Irfan Muhammad

I am a young poor, but wish to study the Japanese language, I like challenges and be better in life. Appreciate your help.
Ives Miguel López Meneses

Many Thanks
Wakil Ahmad Sarhadi

Thanking you for your offering about several information to us, Please be continuing to supply us for your valuable information.
Chen Zhang

Thank you so much for this information¡¡¡¡
Lesly González

(Honorifics such as "Mr." and "Ms." have been omitted.)

[From the Editor]
We will soon coming the spring symbol in Japan, such as Cherry blossom season. How do you spend a everyday.
This season is big change the environment that can start a college and member of society. Also, it become warm and cherry blossoms became beautiful therefore, there are lot of events, go to see the cherry blossoms etc., so I get excited.
However, I have also season of the fight against hay fever.
Have a symptoms of itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing etc., which are very hard for me. If you are started suffering by hay fever, it is recommended that you take an action to take a treatment as soon as possible.
Let’s survive this season together.

Japan Alumni eNews Editorial Desk is looking for someone who can share their job searching experiences. We also welcome pictures from your life abroad as an exchange student and your comments for our email magazine. Our next issue of “Japan Alumni eNews” will be distributed on April 10th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.
  • To subscribe and to unsubscribe (for free of charge), go to http://www.jasso.go.jp/en/study_j/enews/index.html and click subscribe / unsubscribe


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【@】jasso.go.jp
  • Please convert "at mark" to @ when you send an e-mail to us.