Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 85 May 10th, 2016

Japan Alumni eNews Vol. 85

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.

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 May issue is Life in Japan by Photo introduces Memories of Japan.
(Honorific title is omitted.)

Milky Way over the Kujyukuri

3rd year of Doctoral Program in Social System Engineering, Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba
Title: Milky Way over the Kujyukuri

Sun rise in Hinuma

Title: Sun rise in Hinuma

Japan under the cherry blossom

3rd year of Department of Architecture, Faulty of Engineering,
Kyushu University
Title: Japan under the cherry blossom

Cherry blossom bloom

Title : Cherry blossom bloom

2. Alumni News

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

1) News About International Students

NEWS 1: Many foreigners visiting Japan votes Mt. Fuji as their most favorite tourist spot through SNS

Two IT venture companies have analyzed 280,000 SNS submissions from foreigners, and have now made public the results on the ranking of the tourist spots most visited by foreigners traveling in Japan. The famous tourist spots that made into the top are Mt. Fuji, Universal Studios Japan, Disneyland, Kiyomizu-dera, Sensō-ji, Fushimi Inari Shrine among others. Survey results were very interesting since quite ordinary locations also made it to the list, such as the Shibuya scramble crossing, ranked at no.15.

NEWS 2: Tourism Bureau of Aichi Prefecture recruits "ninjas," a foreigner gets the job for the first time

The Tourism Bureau of Aichi Prefecture wanted to revitalize their tourism by employing the well-known figure "ninja," a tourist attraction representative of Japan. In July of last year, they formed the "Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hattori Hanzō Ninja Squad," which showed tourists the charms of Aichi Prefecture. This time, an American man living in Tokyo was among the six people who were newly recruited to work as ninjas and the first foreigner ever to be selected. "Using my former experience as an entertainer, I have always loved transmitting my passion to younger generations, and becoming a part of this Ninja Squad, it feels like my dream has come true," he explained his reason for joining.

2) Introduction of Current International Students

Ahmad Belal

Name : Ahmad Belal
Nationality : Syria
University in Japan : Kyushu Institute of Technology
Major : Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering
Academic year : 2nd year of doctorate
Period of Stay in Japan : From October 2012 to present

Syria imports many of its products from Japan, especially electrical appliances. Japan's products have a much higher level of quality and precision compared to those of other countries. Ever since I was a child, I wondered why it was that items made in Japan were of such a great quality. At my university back in Syria I studied Control Engineering, and I was very interested in developing robots and methods for robotic management. That's why I chose to come and study in Japan, since the robot technology here is so good.
I came here in October 2012, and presently I am researching microbes through the use of micro-robots in the Kyushu Institute of Technology. The topics of my research are centered on MEMS processing technology, image processing and robotic management.
My impressions of Japan before coming here was that the people's relation to foreigners was probably not too good, since it is an isolated island. However, the second I arrived to Japan, I was having trouble carrying my bags from the airport since I had so many, and yet a Japanese man who didn't know me helped me move them. This showed me that Japanese people are actually very friendly, and not as I had imagined.
The city in Japan which I like the most is Kyoto. Last year, I visited Kyoto for the first time on a trip, and it instantly became my favorite place. Kyoto is full of traditional culture and locations which had an important role in Japanese history. I recommend it to all foreign students who are interested in Japanese culture.
My favorite Japanese invention is their vending machine. I think they are the best ones in the world. Japanese vending machines are placed outside the stores, and I was surprised to see just how many places they can be found. Also, they are different from vending machines in other countries because they serve a much wider selection of drinks, from hot ones to cold ones, and all sold in the same machine. Seeing how well these vending machines work makes you really feel how safe and comfortable Japan is as a country.
In the future, I would like to make use of the major I study in university and become a robotics engineer. I would like this new robotic technology I may develop to be used for helping people, and not for any future war.
I feel like many of us who are studying abroad in Japan came here to learn much more about our areas of expertise. However, studying isn't the only thing we should do with our time here. Getting to know about Japan and its people is something very important, too. You should join many activities and events to know the Japanese culture and make Japanese friends so that you can have a better life as an international student.

3) List of Japan Alumni Associations

4) Information about programs for former international students

Kato Ex-International Student Network

Kato International Association has various projects with students from Hyogo University of Teacher Education. While developing the international exchange program of Kato city, we made valuable friendship with the Hyogo University students. In order to keep the friendship after international students return home, we set up the Kato Ex-International Student Network.


  • Exchange information - Catching up on each other's lives -
  • School student exchange - Exchange of letters and student -
  • Exchange program - Exchange of drawings, opinion through internet, and the like -

(Japanese version only)

3. Academic News

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

1) Introduction of faculties/graduate schools

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

Sophia University

University profile (as of May 1, 2015)
Name : Sophia University
Yotsuya Campus:7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Mejiro Seibo Campus:4-16-11Shimo-Ochiai, Shinjyuku-ku, Tokyo
Ichigaya Campus:4 Yonbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Shakujii Campus:4-32-11 Kamishakujii, Nerima-ku, Tokyo
Hadano Campus:999 Sannoudai, Kamiozuki, Hadano-shi, Kanagawa
Osaka satellite campus:SACRA FAMIGIRA 2F, 3-12-8 Kita-ku Toyosaki, Osaka-city, Osaka
Number of students:12,475 undergraduates, 1,330 graduates
Number of international students:913 undergraduates, 387 graduates

Sophia University

History of Sophia University

Sophia University is the first Catholic university in Japan established in 1913. The Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier came to Japan in 1549 to evangelize. His dream was to establish a university in Japan’s capital coming true in 20th century. Since then based upon Christian ideals Sophia University served as the bridge between the Eastern and Western culture having many foreign professors had developed a special identity among other Japanese universities still continuing to grow. With the spirit of Catholicism Sophia University aims to contribute to the advancement of the cultures and the wellbeing of men kind. Being the center of academics offering the wide range of knowledge and specialized studies Sophia University cultivate the human resources with the intellects, the virtues and the practical skills to be the leading persons for the society.

Undergraduate Faculties and Departments

Graduate Schools and Programs

(Japanese version only)

Distinct Faculties of Sophia University

Sophia University offer undergraduate and graduate programs taught in English.

Undergraduate faculty and departments:

  • Faculty of Liberal Arts-Liberal Arts
  • Faculty of Science and Technology-Materials and Life Sciences (Green Science Program)
  • Engineering and Applied Science (Green Engineering Program)

Graduate Schools and Programs:

  • Graduate School of Global Studies-Global Studies-Global Studies
  • International Business and Development Studies*
  • Japanese Studies*
  • Graduate School of Languages and Linguistics-Linguistics (TESOL Course*)
  • Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies-International Graduate Course in Global Environmental Studies
  • Graduate School of Science and Technology-Science and Technology-Green Science and Engineering

* M.A. program only

Scholarships and Living Support for International Student

Sophia University offers the variety of the scholarships including “Freshman Scholarship”, “Sophia University Learning Support Scholarship” which is offered for the students with the excellent academic records experiencing the financial hardships and other scholarships established by local and international benefactors. Also from 2015 the new scholarship became available to support the living expenses of the international students granting JPY 600,000 and was offered to 50 students.

Career and Other Support for International Students

Sophia University established the “Support Network for International Students” to work together cross departmentally within the university to organize the ideal environment for the international students.
Center for Global Discovery the offers support to exchange and MEXT Scholarship students such as airport pick-up and assistanae by our students who are “International Student supporters.” Also collaborating with the student group “Global-Network,” exchanges between international and local students are promoted.
At Career Center, the job searching support is available for the international students in English, Chinese and Korean. Also the opportunities such as the lecture to build the resume, the rehearsal of the interview and the global corporate seminars are offered for the international students and useful e-learning materials are available for student use.

2) Application information for scholarships, grants, appointments, prizes etc.

International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property of Japan (AIPPI·JAPAN)

Project title : The 21st AIPPI Nakamatsu Memorial Scholarship
Overview : - The International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property of Japan is an association whose aims are to investigate any activity in the area of international intellectual property, promoting international exchange in this field of expertise and contributing to the advancement of international intellectual property. This scholarship has helped promote practical business in the area of Japanese intellectual property for years, and its main aims are to transmit the achievements of the deceased lawyer and patent attorney Kannosuke Nakamatsu, as well as spreading and improving international intellectual property laws. Since the year of its founding in 1996, it has been earnestly providing help with their research to any foreign students who are specializing in this area.
Who can apply : International students (university students or graduate students) who are specializing or majoring in intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, etc) are applicable for this scholarship.
Application period : April 8, 2016 (Friday) - June 3, 2016 (Friday)
Amount of grant : 500,000 yen per year. Two students are selected each year. Free A.I.P.P.I journals for one year.
Contact :
4F Yusei Fukushi Kotohira Bldg.,
14-1, Tranomon 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 105-0001
Phone : +81-3-3591-5301
E-mail : k-yama@aippi.or.jp

(Japanese version only)

Odakyu Foundation

Project Title : Ando Kinen Syougakukin
This scholarship is available for designated schools and universities. Please contact the scholarship office of the designated school or university for procedures to apply.
* You can apply if you have financial support from other foundation.
Who can apply :
1: International student who study in undergraduate and graduate school.
2: International student who has excellent academic standing and good moral behavior.
3: International student who is hard to study because of financial problem.
Application period : April 1 to May 16, 2016
Amount of grant : 20,000 JPY/month (undergraduate) 30,000 JPY/month (graduate)
Contact :
1-8-3, Nishi-shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 160-8309
Phone :+81-3-3349-2473
E-mail : o-zaidan@odakyu-dentetsu.co.jp

(Japanese version only)

3) Information about international symposium

PRICM is a series of triennial international conferences devoted to advanced materials and processing. After being initiated in 1992, the conference has been jointly and organized in rotation by academic institutes or societies in five countries namely Australia, China, Japan, Korea and United States and attracts many researchers and students in the field of materials science.

The PRICM9, the ninth in this conference series, is hosted by The Japan Institute of Metals and Materials (JIM) and will be held for the first time in Japan. We welcome you all to attend this wonderful conference and join us for exciting discussions.

Date: August 1-5, 2016 (Monday to Friday)
Place: Kyoto International Conference Center (Takaragaike, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 606-0001)

4) Academic Societies

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

<Law, Politics>

<Economics, Commercial Science, Management>




<Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences>

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

The Program for Advancement of Foreign Human Resources is being launched from 2015, as a collaborative effort of related government ministries and agencies, and other relevant organizations. The Program seeks to increase employment of international students in Japan, and hence increase the number of highly skilled international professionals in the future, following the recent trend in policy that includes the 2014 revision of “Japan Revitalization Strategy – Japan is Back” (approved by the Cabinet on June 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.

For International students

Useful web site for International students

2) Job-hunting report

NP Kandel

Name : NP Kandel
Nationality : Nepal
University in Japan : Kyourin University
Major : The policy studies course from the policy studies department
Period of stay in Japan : From October 2015 to present
Name of company : Tomonokai Public Company
Japanese proficiency level : JLPT N1, BJT J1

The reason I decided to come to Japan is to study thanks to an encounter with a Japanese back home in Nepal. After meeting this Japanese person, I started learning about Japan and discovered that after the war it had achieved a very quick recovery. Within 20 years, it had managed to become one of the leading countries. I became very impressed with Japan's economy. Also, after the economic bubble burst in the 1990s, Japan's economy worsened drastically and the country stagnated. I felt that if I went to study in Japan, it could give me an opportunity to learn how the Japanese economy is recovering.
I am presently working at the Tomonokai Public Company, helping foreign students to find a job. Generally, what I do is help foreign students who want to get a part-time job in different fields or those who want to try getting an internship, or those who are learning about the Japanese culture all over the country and now want to find employment. Through these three ways, I help them attain employment while studying. I also hold seminars and give private counseling to these students or introduce them to the kinds of companies they would like to work at. I provide support as they will be working in a Japanese company.
I would like to share three important pieces of advice to anyone looking for an employment in Japan, some of them I have learned through my experience working in this field. The first point is internship. When we're students, we don't often know much about the world of employment, so it's good to take an internship in a big company - a medium one or a venture will be fine as well, in order to understand the business itself. Personally, I thought I want to work in venture, so I focused on venture companies when I was job-hunting.
Second point is business research. With so many businesses in Japan, it's hard to know the companies’ strong points. That's why, in my case, I always bought a quarterly journal and studied it. The third point is to find someone to talk to. I got in touch with three people who knew a lot about searching for employment as a foreign student in Japan. They gave me good advice about the process as well as information about various businesses. Also, during those moments when my career-seeking was not going well and I felt defeated, they also helped me a lot.
That's why I recommend these to anyone who is in the same position. You probably feel that your situation is very complicated, but actually if you take things one step at a time you can surmount any obstacle. Consultants can help you with that and give you information as well regarding Japanese companies active abroad.
My dream for the future is to set up a school where everyone can study - from children to elderly people. In 15 years, I would like to train 1,500 of my fellow Nepalese people to become just as passionate about changing Nepal as I am. I want to live a life without regrets. I always look ahead and always stay motivated, to become a man who will change Nepal and its inhabitants by cultivating a strong personality.

3) Job Hunting Information Corner

Student who will graduate next year starts job-hunting on March 1. From June, companies will conduct interviews, and there will be an increasing number of students who will get an official job offer from a company.
This month, we’d like to tell you about job interviews beginning in June.

In Japan, companies conduct several interviews, at least three. The purpose of interview follows. In the first interview, company chooses applicant who matches the working requirement; 2nd interview, company checks if job category desired by applicant matches his abilities; final interview, company is going to make sure about your motivation for applying, how much you want to join company, and if you are really a good match for the company.

There are three types of interview such as group discussion, group interview, and individual interview.

Group discussion
It is held with 4 to 6 applicants who will discuss certain themes decided by the company. The company staff will check how the applicants discuss or perform in a group.

Group interview
It is carried out with about six applicants as a group. It is easy for a company to filter candidates. Basically, there will be two to four interviewers.

Individual interview
One applicant will be interviewed by one to three people to evaluate him or her carefully.

3 point for successful interview

1. Entry sheet
Interviewer will ask questions based on your application form and résumé. At first, their questions will be based on your application form and résumé. If the interviewers find something interesting, they will ask more details about it. So preparing a good entry sheet will help you answer well during interview.

2. Mock interview
One point to make your interview a success is to get used to it. Everyone will be nervous for the first time. But when you do mock interviews a lot, you can be relaxed at the real one. Try to participate in as much as mock interviews organized by career centers or the Employment Service Center for Foreigners.

3. Reflect upon your interview
You have to look back at your interview during the same day. What kind of questions were you asked? How did you answer the questions? What was the reaction of the interviewer like? What were the good and bad responses? Why do you think there was a bad response? Do this total self-evaluation for another interview.

5. Visit Japan

Wakayama Prefecture

Have you been traveling around Japan? In this section, we bring you information about sights, events and foods from all over the country! The May edition looks at Wakayama Prefecture.

Mount Koya

Located at a height of about 900 meters in an area surrounded by mountains in the northern region of Wakayama Prefecture, this holy spot has a history of 1,200 years as a place to learn Japanese Buddhism and for ascetic practices. More than 100 temples are located here, and Mount Koya still continues to serve as a place for studying Japanese Buddhism and ascetic practices. Furthermore, it is beloved by many religious people who come to visit it. In 2004, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kumano Kodo

Kumano Kodo is located in the southeastern area of Wakayama Prefecture and serves as the old road to visit the so-called "Three Main Kumano Shrines," Kumano Hongu Taisha, Kumano Nachi Taisha and Kumano Hayatama Taisha. In the Edo period the number of pilgrims to these shrines increased, so the path was reconstructed as a highway. The Kii Peninsula is known for being an area in Japan with a great amount of rainfall, so the road was paved with flat stones which are still here today. Kumano Kodo is rare for being one of the few "roads" to be inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage, and many people visit it to experience its mysterious and fantastic scenery.

Kishuu lacquer ware

Kishuu lacquer ware originated in the Kuroe district of Kainan city, and is one of the three main types of lacquer ware in Japan. It began in the Muromachi period, where monks in Negorodera temple would carve wooden bowls. As years went on new ideas came up, and the bowls were coated in lacquer, In February 1978, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (now Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) designated them as "traditional artisan items." Every year in November the "Kishuu lacquer ware festival" is held. It is a large-scale event where 50,000 people attend.

Kaki no Ha Zushi

It is made with vinegared rice pressed into a mouth-sized portion, with a thinly sliced piece of mackerel or salmon or some other fish laid on top. Then, it is all wrapped up in a kaki (Japanese persimmon) leaf and pressed. Unroll the kaki leaf off before eating. The Kinokawa River, which flows down Wakayama Prefecture, is a natural growing spot for kaki trees, and it is said that kaki leaves have a sterilizing effect which keeps food fresh for several days. That is why they are used for wrapping it up. On the inland areas, mackerel is a very valuable fish, so Kaki no Ha Zushi is only prepared for festivals or public holidays.

Nachi Fire Festival

Kumano Nachi Taisha is one of the so-called "Three Main Kumano Shrines," and it hosts one of the most important festivals in the area. It is one of Japan's three biggest fire festivals. In the morning, several dances are performed as a form of religious offering, these consist of such intangible cultural assets as the Yamatomai, the Dengakumai or the Tauemai. In the afternoon, in one of the associated shrines of Kumano Nachi Taisha, 12 giant flaming torches weighing 50kg each are ascended up the staircase next to the Nachi waterfall located on the shrine road.

6. NIPPON Information

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

1) NIPPON Time Machine


In the old times in Japan, upper-class dish is basically rice as the main with side dishes in a different ceramic. The bowl, on the other hand, is used to serve the rice with fish, meat or vegetable on top. The bowl culture started about 200 years ago. Origin of Don (bowl) serving started in Muromachi period (1330-1570). It was called “Hou-han,” rice served in a bowl with vegetable on top and dashi broth. Then from the late Edo period to Meiji period (1800), the Don style was born and it was like what we eat now.
Eel is served between the hot rice so you can eat the rice hot and more deliciously with sauce.


When preparing katsudon and oyakodon, you don’t simply place the toppings. You need to cook the chicken with egg in a soup stock. The name Oyakodon comes from the words oya, meaning “parent”which is the chicken and ko, meaning “children” which is the egg.


Looking at the history of gyu-don, we come across gyu-nabe. Gyu-nabe, which came in late 1800, is the Japanese-style nabe (pot) cuisine. It was then combined with the easy and quick dish of don.
Other commonly known don are Kaisen-don (with sashimi on top of the rice), Tekka-don (with tuna toppings) and Ten-don (rice with fritters covered in sweet sauce).
There are many kinds of don in different regions. There is Ton-don in Hokkaido, Fukagawa-don in Tokyo, and Misokatsu-don in Nagoya.

2) Lifestyle Information


Tango no seku on the Fifth of May.
The origin of the Japanese Boy's Festival in Japan can be traced back to the Chinese tradition of exorcism. In this festival, Japanese armor, helmets or musha ningyo (warrior dolls) are displayed in the house, and a flying carp outside the house wishing the boys to grow strong and wise. In China, the carp symbolizes success in life. Therefore, Japanese people draw a picture of a carp on a flag and hung it outside their houses to wish the boys a successful life.


Kashiwa-mochi, rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf and Chimaki, rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves, are also famous as Japanese sweets when celebrating "Children's Day." In Japan, many people believe kashiwa-mochi as a symbol of prosperity of their descendants. On the other hand, Chimaki has been known among people as a protective charm. At first, people ate chimaki on Children’s Day. But since oak leaves don’t fall until a new sprout has emerged (Thus, regarding them as a symbol of prosperity.), kashiwa-mochi was eventually served.

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 2016 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.

You can read in 14 languages such as Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese), Korean, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, Myanmar language and Bengali, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, French, German, Mongolian, and Portuguese.

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”

The May 2016 issue will be published on May 10th. Please make sure to read it!

7) Follow-up Research Fellowship (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.

8. From the Reader

Many thanks.(Wakil Ahmad Sarhadi)

(Honorific title is omitted.)

[From the Editor]
How did you find the May edition of Japan Alumni eNews? Have you gotten used to new environment? Do you feel comfortable at your new school or company? In May edition, we featured Don (Bowl) and the Japanese seasonal culture. We will tell you more about Japanese culture and pick up familiar things, eating things, history, and origin. We hope you will be looking forward to it.
By April, the fiscal year has passed and after the Golden Week holiday, most people tend to get the May blues. So, please take care of your health.

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 May 10th. Don’t miss it!

  • Information in this issue may change without notice. Please visit their web sites for latest information.


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
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