Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 74 June 9, 2015

Tree-lined road

1. Life in Japan by Photo

Learn the life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.

Learn the life in Japan with photos posted by our readers! We look forward to your submissions of memorable photos of your experiences in Japan, including your student life, exposure to Japanese culture and history, travel, and more.
How to submit
Please send your photos with the information listed below to the following address.

1 Photo title (15 words or less)
2 Name (katakana and alphabet)
3 Nationality
4 Name of your school in Japan

Landscape of study abroad location

The theme of the June issue is Landscape of study abroad location.
(Honorific title is omitted.)

A memory of fall

Title: A memory of fall

Chubu Gakuin University

JAIST bus stop

Title: JAIST bus stop

Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Ume (Japanese apricot) in action

Title: Ume (Japanese apricot) in action

Kyushu university

2. Alumni News

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

1) News about International Students

News 1:Mongolian sumo wrestler Terunofuji promoted to ozeki

On May 27th 2015, the Japan Sumo Association announced that it has voted to promote the Mongolian-born Terunofuji, who won his first championship title at the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament, from the rank of sekiwake to that ofozeki. Ozeki is the second-highest rank in the sport, surpassed only by the supreme honor of yokozuna. Terunofuji became interested in sumo after watching the prowess of his fellow countryman Asashoryu on television, and came to Japan in 2009 to study at Tottori Johoku High School, which was recruiting sumo wrestling students from overseas. He led his school team to the championship title at the sumo games of the 2010 All-Japan Inter High School Championships.

News 2: Nepalese students appeal for donations all over Japan

It has now been over a month since the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on April 28th, 2015, and Nepalese students in Japan are continuing to appeal all over the country for donations to aid the victims. The Nepalese embassy in Japan is also accepting donations, and has released the information for their earthquake relief fund bank account on their website.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Shin Jeong In

Name: Shin Jeong In
Nationality: South Korean
University in Japan: University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Architecture
Period of stay in Japan: September 2009 to August 2010, April 2011 to March 2012, April 2014 to present
Japanese-Language Proficiency Test: JLPT N1

Many South Korean university students go abroad to study at some point during their time at university. I had my mind set on Japan, as I really enjoyed traveling around here back when I was at junior high. I had been on many student exchanges, but when I was here in 2011 – my second time studying in Japan – I attended a lecture on architectural planning studies, which set things in motion, and eventually led to my enrolling at the Graduate School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, on MEXT’s (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Japanese Government Scholarship program for international students.
Architectural planning studies is an academic field that originated in Japan, and it concerns itself with trying to discover principles about function and space that are required for designing a comfortable building to live in. It is unique in that you actually visit apartments and houses to learn about how people live, and how people use their homes.
I majored in architecture at my Korean university too, but there was emphasis on the design itself there – on the student’s taste, and designing skills. But I was interested less in architecture as works of art, than I was in the lives of ordinary people in ordinary homes; so architectural planning studies was exactly what I was after.
You need to submit a research theme to come study abroad at a graduate school. My theme of choice was something that had puzzled me since my first visit to Japan, the space called chuurouka (the ‘central corridor’ in apartments, which begins at the entrance area of an apartment, and is connected to each room); in South Korea, the front door of the apartment leads straight onto the living room without an interposed chuurouka. The topic was met with a lot of interest at the research presentation, so although I now feel a bit of pressure, I want to pursue this topic through to the doctor’s degree, to see how far I can delve into it academically.
I think that international students have a special perspective, in that we are able to notice and call into question things that are taken for granted in Japan, like I did with the chuurouka.
It’s obviously important to have a great time during your stay in Japan. But I also feel that there are a lot of opportunities to be gained from coming here with a purpose, as it could lead you on to new research and new discoveries. I recommend you all to try deciphering Japan through a fresh perspective.

3) Windows of Alumni

4) Information about programs for former international students

Waseda University Alumni Association

The Waseda University Alumni Association was set up in 1885, the year after the graduation of the inaugural class of students, and has been enlarging its organization nationwide and worldwide ever since. 2015 saw the 130th year anniversary of our establishment, and activities continue to expand in scope and scale.
As students of Waseda University automatically become a member of the Alumni Association upon graduation, there is no initiation or resignation. Currently there are two overseas branches of the Waseda Univesity Alumni Association, in South Korea and Taiwan. We have also set up the WiN (Waseda University International Network), a global network that connects the university and its former international students who studied and researched there.
WASEDA UNIVERSITY International Network

Waseda University Alumni Association

Overseas Tomonkai

“Tomonkai” is a group of Waseda University alumni that operates under the recognition of Waseda University Alumni Association. Tomonkais can receive various forms of support from the Waseda University Alumni Association, which encourages vibrant alumni activity.
Currently, there are over 1300 Tomonkai groups that notify the Waseda University Alumni Association on its activities, and in addition to the 47 registered overseas Tomonkais based in various countries, regions and cities, there are 14 registered Japanese branches of overseas Tomonkais, which are comprised of alumni who have repatriated from their respective countries.
Information about activities organized by overseas Tomonkai, and overseas offices, can be found on the WiN website and elsewhere.

3. Academic News

Introducing scholarships, grants, unique activities at individual universities, and more!

1) Introduction of faculties/graduate schools

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

Reitaku University Japanese Language Program

1 in 8 students is an international student

Since its foundation in 1935, Reitaku University has sought to nurture individuals who can contribute to the global community, following its ethos “to educate capable individuals equipped with international and global insight”. Today, besides encouraging more Japanese students to study abroad, and increasing the proportion of lessons conducted in English, Reitaku University endeavors to welcome more international students, for instance by setting up the Global Dormitory, a boarding house where Japanese students and international students can live communally. The current number of international students (as at May 1st 2014) is 327 – which works out at roughly 1 out of every 8 students.

Special Course: The Japanese Language Program

The Japanese Language Program is a special course aimed at foreign nationals, Japanese returnees, and short-term international students, who wish to enroll at one of Reitaku University’s faculties (Faculty of Foreign Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business Administrations) or graduate schools (School of Language Education, School of Economics and Business Administration), or another Japanese university. As well as teaching the Japanese language, the program aims to deepen its students’ understanding of Japanese culture and contemporary Japanese life, and to build communication skills that can cross national boundaries.
The length of the course is one year, divided into the Spring Semester (April 1st – September 19th), and the Fall Semester (September 20th – March 31st). If a student who has attended for a year and fulfilled the course requirements wishes to continue studying, he/she will be allowed to extend the term of study by one semester (half a year), or two semesters (one year).
Students will be divided into classes by ability, based on their scores on the Japanese Language Placement Test. They will consolidate the fundamentals of grammar and sentence patterns, as appropriate to their ability, and comprehensively train the four skills needed to use the Japanese language: reading, listening, speaking and writing. In the advanced classes, students will take courses that will prepare them for after the program, such as the “Japanese for Entrance Examinations” course, and the “Business Japanese” course. These courses will help the students acquire the linguistic proficiency necessary to study at a Japanese university, or practical reading, listening, speaking and writing skills that they can put into use in business situations.

Reitaku University

Reitaku University

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

Sato Yo International Scholarship Foundation (SISF)

  • Project name: ASIA International Student Scholarship: Scholarship for Self-Supporting Students
  • Overview:
  • We offer this scholarship for self-supporting international students, in the hope that by granting scholarships to overseas students of ASEAN and other Southwest Asian countries who wish to study in our country, we may support the growth of "globally-minded" personnel. Thus we hope to play a small part in realizing a 21st century society full of peace and hope, where all people can sympathize and cooperate with each other, and help each other grow.
  • Target:
  • Self-supporting international students coming to Japan from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, East Timor or Vietnam. The applicant must be a citizen of one of the aforesaid countries, and must be enrolled, or have a place confirmed, at a Japanese undergraduate or graduate institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The applicant must also meet the following criteria:
  • (1) Has interest in fostering international understanding and friendship, and is able to attend the Foundation's social events without fail.
  • (2) Does not receive any money (or goods) from other organizations such as scholarship support organizations, in a scheme akin to a scholarship, regardless of its nominal description (e.g. 'study grant').
  • (3) Has the residence status of 'international student'
  • (4) Does not have a parent employed in Japan.
  • (5) Does not possess a doctor's degree.
  • (6) Is enrolled on a program with one year or longer until completion, counting from the month when he/she expects to receive the scholarship.
  • (7) Is sufficiently competent in the Japanese language to engage in study and research without significant problem.
  • (8) Is able to participate actively in exchange activities after ceasing to be a scholarship student of this Foundation, as a graduate of this Foundation.
  • Application period:
  • Please apply from June to August onwards through your university’s international student division or similar.
  • Contact details:
  • Sato Yo International Scholarship Foundation Office
  • 〒153-0064 1-7-1, Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
  • TEL: 03-5487-2775
  • FAX: 03-5487-8632
  • URL:
  • http://sisf.or.jp/eng/

3) Information and testimonials about scholarships, prizes, appointments etc.

Atsumi International Foundation

(2014 scholarship recipient, China)
When I reached my third year on the doctoral program, I found that I no longer had the time to work part-time, because I had to concentrate on writing my thesis. However, there weren’t many scholarships that I was able to receive, and I was having trouble sustaining myself financially. Fortunately I was selected for the Atsumi Foundation’s scholarship, which was an enormous help because I was able to devote myself to research without worrying about money. Many Raccoons (alumni of the scholarship), who know and understand Japan well, are excelling worldwide, and they form a network that can contribute to global peace and amity. I was able to expand my horizons as a result of receiving the Atsumi Scholarship. So in the future, I want to make contributions not only in my specialist area, but also in deepening mutual understanding between China and Japan, with responsibility and pride as a Raccoon.

Gerelchuluun Ariungerel
(2014 scholarship recipient, Mongolia)
When I became a recipient of the Atsumi Foundation’s scholarship scheme, the first thought to cross my mind was that good things happen to those who do good things. The reason for this was something said to me by a certain patient, at a hospital where I was volunteering. The patient saw me come to the hospital on a very snowy day to help out, and said to me delightedly: "Thank you for coming, you're doing a wonderful thing. I'll be praying that something good comes your way for sure." I believe it was thanks to that patient's prayer that I managed to win the Foundation's scholarship. I’ve been shown kindness by so many people that I met through this scholarship. It's strengthened my determination to dedicate my life to support other people, so that I can repay the kindness that has been bestowed on me.

Yamaha Motor Foundation for Sports

Yamaha Motor Foundation for Sports

4) Academic Societies

5) Japanese Language Test

4. Business News

JASSO provides information about job-search for both current and graduate international students!

1) Job Hunting Event Information

1) Job Hunting Event Information

The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources is being launched this academic year, as a collaborative effort of related government ministries and agencies, and other relevant organizations. The Program seeks to increase employment of international students in Japan, and hence increase the number of highly skilled international professionals in the future, following the recent trend in policy that includes the 2014 revision of “Japan Revitalization Strategy – Japan is Back” (approved by the Cabinet on June 24th, 2014). The ultimate aim is to vitalize the Japanese economy further and enhance Japan’s presence in the global economy.
Through seminars, events and other activities, the Program will strengthen the system of connecting international students and other foreign nationals looking for employment in Japan, with companies in Japan looking to recruit international employees.

2) Job-hunting report

Bao Xiaohan

Name: Bao Xiaohan
Nationality: China
Alma mater: Tokyo Metropolitan University
Major: Faculty of Urban Liberal Arts, Division of Psychology and Pedagogy
Study period in Japan: April 2011 to March 2015
Company name: NTT DATA Corporation
Japanese proficiency level: JLPT N1

I was studying at a university in China, but as friends around me went to study abroad one by one, I began to feel restless myself. So I decided to come to Japan, a country that I’d been familiar with through manga comics and literature since I was at senior high. That’s how I ended up coming here.
As I majored in pedagogy at Tokyo Metropolitan University, and was planning to get a job in education in China or Japan after graduation, I didn’t really make much of an effort to look for jobs, until about the summer of my 3rd year. Then I went to a study group that a friend from college invited me to, which turned out to be a stimulating experience for me. I met lots of students from various universities there, who wanted to work for a start-up company or set up their own business. It changed my outlook: I decided that I wanted to work at IT company in Japan to acquire cutting-edge skills, and then set up my own company in China. After that, I applied for about 20 companies in the IT industry, and ended up joining NTT DATA, a company which would allow me to get involved in a wide range of business activities, from technology development to IT management.
In the job-searching process, I think the most important thing is to get a clear idea early on, of what you’re interested in, what you want to do, and why you want to pursue that particular path. I was lucky that I managed to find at the study group something that I wanted to do; but if I’d taken part in events like that from an earlier stage, I might have ended up on a wholly different path. Whether on the application form, or in interviews, you’d better not appeal your achievements loosely. Set your goal clearly and go for it! The words of someone who has been pursuing even just one goal, are going to be more impressive and convincing. Japan is a country that offers an environment full of stimulating opportunities. So I really recommend that you actively engage in communication with Japanese people, to get the most out of your stay and find a job that’s right for you.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

How to find information related to job-hunting

Japan has a number of information websites to support students in their job-hunting, so basic information is easy to come by. Moreover, universities have a placement office to help their students find a job, through which you can learn information about the companies where university’s alumni are employed, or about small- and medium-sized companies that are not picked up by the job information websites. You want to make sure you get your hands on essential information like this, but if you want to find out more detailed information, you need to try out different tacks.
H, from China, who works as a technician at a major electrical equipment manufacturer, advises that it’s important to belong to an academic society or a research society, if it’s a technical job or a research job that you’re looking for.
“Researchers who are employed at companies attend academic societies and research societies too. You’ll be able to learn from them about the kind of research and technology development being conducted at their company, about whether you’ll be able to make use of your research at their company, and so on – in a word, the most up-to-date information about recruitment. If you’re lucky, you might even come across information that lands you a job.”
L, from the United States, who works at an insurance company, says that it was difficult to find the information necessary for an international student to get a job.
“I used a recruitment consultancy that specializes in international students, but the community of expatriate from my country came in helpful too. People who have lived in Japan for a long time, or who have been employed in Japan, can offer a wealth of information that you can’t find online. If you come across people from your country, at your part-time job or elsewhere, why not actively exchange information?”
Japan has a distinctive job-hunting process, with many customs unique to itself. It seems that past successful applicants have won their places at their companies by utilizing “fresh information”, gathered from those with experience and those in the know.

5. Visit Japan

Kanagawa Prefecture

Why not travel around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events and foods from all over the country!
In this June edition, we introduce to you the prefecture of Kanagawa.

Yokohama Chinatown

From full-on courses of Chinese cuisine, to takeaway snacks to accompany your stroll like steamed meat buns and sesame dumplings, Yokohama Chinatown is a sightseeing spot where you can stuff yourself full of China's culinary culture. Over 500 stores, ranging from restaurants to variety stores, line the streets, and the area really looks and feels like a different country. The 10 multicolored gates, with their positions determined by feng shui, are also a must-see.


Sarushima is a desert island floating a little way off Yokosuka, with a coastline measuring roughly 1.6km. There are walking paths laid across the island, and visitors can roam the island to see its rich natural and historical heritage, or take part in activities like swimming, barbecuing and fishing.


This is a traditional handicraft made by carving patterns in wood (usually from the katsura tree or the ginkgo tree) then applying a lacquer finish. Its patterns vary from classic designs, like the peony or the chrysanthemum, to more modern ones, and the lacquer coating brings out the charm of carved wood. It is thought to have originally been inspired by handicraft imported from China, and has become a cultural heritage of Kamakura and its environs.

Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival

There's an annual festival in Japan on the 7th of July called Tanabata, when people deck bamboo trees with decorations, hang on their leaves pieces of paper with wishes written on them, and pray to the stars. The Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival is one of the most famous Tanabata festivals in Japan. Millions of people flock to the festival every year to see the spectacular decorations, ranging from lavish specimens spanning 10 meters long, to trendy ones designed after sports personalities or popular fictional characters.


The Shumai is a dumpling made by wrapping ground pork in a thin skin made of flour, then steaming it. It has been a specialty of Yokohama ever since it made its way there from China, and residents of Yokohama officially have the highest ratio of shumai expenditure to household budget in the country. They make for a great bento box, as they can be eaten in one bite, and so they can be purchased inside Yokohama Station too.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) Nippon Time Machine

Koromogae: changing clothes for changing seasons

Come June, schools, public offices and companies with uniforms undergo a fashion transformation, and families replace their winter clothes with more summery ones. This is the Japanese custom calledkoromogae, ‘changing clothing’. The kimono in particular – although fewer people now wear it – has attached to it a traditional annual routine: the hitoe (‘single layer’), a kimono without lining cloth, in June and September; the usumono (‘something thin’), a kimono made of cool, mesh-like material, in July and August; and the awase, a kimono with lining cloth, from October to the end of May.
The history of koromogae stretches back a long time. The custom is thought to have originated in the Heian period (794 - 1185), imported into Japan from China. It was then adopted at the imperial court, where outfits would be changed twice a year, on April 1st and October 1st of the old lunar calendar. Though reserved for the aristocracy for centuries, the custom spread to the samurai classes in the Edo period (1606 – 1868), and the change of outfit doubled to four times a year. And in the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Japanese government introduced Western-style uniforms for its officials and the military, and set June 1st and October 1st, in the current Gregorian calendar, as the days forkoromogae. Even today, these are still used as the benchmark dates for koromogae.
Once Japanese students shed their winter uniforms for the summer look, the atmosphere around town turns summery all of a sudden. Recently, as part of a nationwide initiative to tackle the threat of global warming and reduce electricity consumption, an increasing number of public offices and companies has been adopting the “Cool Biz” dress code. Now, more and more people can be seen commuting to work in short-sleeved shirts and no ties, in place of the conventional business suits. For the Japanese people, whose culture has always valued the sense of season, koromogae also serves as an opportunity to appreciate the turn of seasons, and to turn over a new leaf.

2) Lifestyle Information

'Minazuki', sweets to go with the shokibarai

"Shokibarai": Cooling your hot body by "beating away the heat"
This time of the year, when the weather is humid and the days are the longest in the year, you'll often come across groups of people heading to beer gardens and izakaya after work, saying: "let's go shokibarai". Shokibarai, or "beating away the heat", nowadays refers to parties where people drink ice-cold beer to forget the heat; originally, however, it signified getting rid of the heat built up in your body. In earlier times, it was customary in this season to eat types of food that have a cooling effect on the body, or pouring water on yourself, as ways to fight off the summer heat. The most popular cooling foods were vegetables of the gourd family like watermelons, cucumbers and gourd melons, as well as hiyamugi (chilled wheat noodles), somen noodles (fine white noodles), and crushed ice. It is foods that have a high water content, or are soothing to the throat and cooling to the tongue, that are the most effective in lowering your temperature.

The 1st of June in the old lunar calendar was called the Festival of Ice. On this day, back in the Muromachi Era (1337 to 1573), people used to bring ice to the old Imperial Palace in Kyoto, from caves called 'Himuro' where ice was preserved throughout the year, and engage in shokibarai by eating the ice. As ice was a luxury item back then, ordinary people used to eat sweets made to look like ice instead. This Japanese sweet, called Minazuki (the archaic word for June), is still enjoyed by the people of Kyoto as an indispensable part of shokibarai.

7. JASSO News

Information about JASSO Scholarship programs, invitation program, Japan Education Fairs, and the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).

1) Schedule, etc. for 2015 Japan Education Fairs

JASSO holds Japan Education Fairs overseas to provide information to high school students, university students and other individuals who are interested in studying in Japan. We also attend and cooperate to the events and seminars sponsored by other organizations.

2) Information about the “Student Guide to Japan”

For all those considering studying in Japan, we recommend you to read the “Student Guide to Japan” first.
In addition to information on the Japanese education system, scholarships, and daily life in Japan, the guidebook also includes stories on experience of foreign students in Japan.
You can read the guidebook on the JASSO website, so we encourage not only those who are considering studying in Japan, but also students already studying in Japan to take a look.

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)

The June 2015 issue will be published on June 10th. Please make sure to read it!

7) Follow-up Research Fellowship (Invitation Program)

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

8. From the Reader

I want to know most on scholarship of Japan. I’m a student at the National Engineering School of Mali. I study computer science and telecommunication. Thanks.
(Alou Dembele)

I can know various scholarship forms available for the Indian student. Thank you.
(Maneesh Kumar)

(Honorific title is omitted.)

[From the Editor]
What did you think of the June issue of Japan Alumni eNews?
This year, there have been big changes made to the recruitment schedule in Japan, and so the June calendar is filled with submission deadlines for applications, company information sessions and other dates and events related to job-hunting. Students looking for employment in Japan are probably starting to get busy – please take care not to get sick before the summer comes into full swing!
June also happens to be the month of the year without a single national holiday, so there’s not much time for workers to get a break. Better go recharge with a good shokibarai…
I want to know most on scholarship of Japan. I’m a student at the National Engineering School of Mali. I study computer science and telecommunication. Thanks.
(Alou Dembele)

I can know various scholarship forms available for the Indian student. Thank you.
(Maneesh Kumar)

(Honorific title is omitted.)

[From the Editor]
What did you think of the June issue of Japan Alumni eNews?
This year, there have been big changes made to the recruitment schedule in Japan, and so the June calendar is filled with submission deadlines for applications, company information sessions and other dates and events related to job-hunting. Students looking for employment in Japan are probably starting to get busy – please take care not to get sick before the summer comes into full swing!
June also happens to be the month of the year without a single national holiday, so there’s not much time for workers to get a break. Better go recharge with a good shokibarai…

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 July 10th. Don’t miss it!

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