On the 18th of November, MEXT and JASSO co-organized a reception for MEXT scholars in Tokyo, where newly arrived MEXT scholars could enjoy speeches by representatives from MEXT, JASSO and MSA, experience Japanese culture through for example the demonstration of a Japanese tea ceremony as well as get to know fellow MEXT scholars from a range of universities in the Kanto area.
MSA was not only present at its own booth, answering questions, handing out flyers in both English and Japanese and helping new MEXT scholars in becoming members of our association; we also held seminars about the job hunting process and the daily life of international students in Japan. Furthermore, we also organized an icebreaking session during the networking party, consisting of a ラジオ体操 (radio exercise) and a quiz about fun facts about Japan.
One of our committee members gave an encouraging speech as a representative for successfully integrated alumni.
This was the first reception, where MSA played a significant role in organizing and making sure that everything runs smoothly and it sure won’t be the last one! We hope, that each and every one of the around 500 attendees has had a great time, got to know fellow MEXT scholars and got a better idea of what is going to await them in the near future in Japan.
But no matter what, don’t forget that MSA is always going to be there for you during your journey as a MEXT scholar or alumni in Japan!
On Sunday, 12th of November, the MSA Kansai Team organised an outing to enjoy the autumn colours of Kyoto. The location we chose was Mt. Hiei, a popular destination to enjoy the changing colours.
In the afternoon, 20 people assembled at Demachiyanagi station in Kyoto. It was a good mix of scholars from Osaka and Kyoto. We started our journey with a train ride to Yase-Hiezanguchi station. Right outside the station, we could already see the red and yellow colours welcoming us.
The next step of the journey involved using the Eizan Cable Car and ropeway all the way to the top of Mt. Hiei. The view on the way was simply mesmerising.
Once we reached the top, it was now time for a small hike to the temple complex. The main attraction in Mt. Hiei is Enryaku-ji, one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. On the way, there were many viewing spots. We were lucky to witness a clear view of the beautiful valley. We did stop for a group photo.
When we reached the entrance of the Enryaku-ji temple, it was already close to closing time and so we were actually allowed to go in without paying any entry fees. We utilised the short time we had and tried to absorb the atmosphere as much as we can. We took many photos of the beautiful temple complexes. However, the main temple was actually inaccessible due to ongoing repair works.
On the way back, it was quite chilly and started to get dark. However, we did see some illumination that made us feel happy and somehow compensated our struggle with the chilly weather. The outing ended with a lovely middle-eastern dinner and smiles on our faces with a hope to meet again soon.
Photographs by Fabian Hia and Anirban Chakraborty
We thank everyone for being a part of the event and turning it into a great success (despite the heavy rain). We have had an amazing turn out of MEXT scholars and alumni.
A quick snap of the event:
Alba told her amazing story of how she moved from biotechnology to entrepreneurship and what she learnt from the journey. Later, Saito san involved the participants in his talk by having them plot out their life as a graph and built meaningful discussions around the plots.
A little more on Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support:
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Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support is currently hiring interns. It is a paid internship. For further details, refer to the website. (https://www2.deloitte.com/jp/en/pages/careers/articles/tohmatsu-venture-support-internships-student-hires.html )
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We sincerely thank Deloitte Tohmatsu Venture Support for providing us with the venue and the financial support. We also thank all the DTVS staff members, especially the speakers, Alba and Saito san, for all the time and energy that they have dedicated to this event. We love all the attendees for participating in our event.
Last but not the least, we have partnered with BLINK (https://www.facebook.com/BlinkEntrepreneurs/ ) for this event. Do check out their Facebook page.
Please follow, like and sign up with MEXT Scholars’ Association in order to receive the information at the earliest. This information was first sent out in our mailing list. Do sign up with the mailing list in order to receive the event information.
MSA co-hosted TOKYO KAIGI Conference 2017 on the 30th of September, in coordination with our partner organization ZESDA. First, we held a panel discussion among notable speakers (see below) on the theme “the Future of Cities”, focusing on Tokyo’s urban development after the 2020 Olympics. Next, participants took part in group discussions about such urban issues as social isolation, discrimination in the rental housing market, and outdated hiring practices of local companies. The event was attended by over 120 participants from over 30 countries, and was well-received by both participants and speakers.
Mr. Tsunehiro Uno, a journalist and commentator
Mr. Ryosuke Toura, executive of Tokyu Corporation
Mr. Dennis Chia, founder of Sosei Partners
Ms. Nhu Quynh Tran, ex-chief officer of the ASEAN Youth Network in Japan
Mr. Cory Baird, co-founder of Tokyo Interlopers
In the next few months, the organizing committee will be compiling a white paper based on the ideas shared at the event. We hope for your continued support.
On Saturday, 5th August the Kansai Team of MSA organized an evening hang-out to enjoy the brilliant display of fireworks in Kobe Port area. Every year on the first Saturday of August around 10000 fireworks are shot at the sky and they flower into a dazzling spectacle of colors. This year was special as it is the 150th anniversary of the Port of Kobe and the fireworks was increased making it the biggest in Kansai area.
Our planning and preparations started weeks before the event day. On Saturday, the MSA volunteers reached the venue quite early to make arrangements for everyone’s accommodation and reserve a good viewing spot till the evening. The MSA especially appreciates our Japanese friends who came out to help us with the preparation. Slowly people started to come and the seemingly empty space was filled with chattering and excitement. By 5:30 pm, most of our friends joined us and the wait for the fireworks continued. This time 23 people from all over Kansai area joined the event and we were very happy to see many known faces from the last event in Kyoto.
The Kobe Port area view is amazingly beautiful even without any fireworks. As we waited, we first witnessed an amazingly beautiful sunset-show with the Port Tower area in the background. Then we were greeted by an amazing transition of the Kobe City-scape into a brilliantly lit nightscape. The view is considered one of the best in Japan.
At 7:30 pm, it was finally the time for the fireworks to start and the next one hour was dominated by the thundering display of colorful lights in the sky. It was simply awe-inspiring. The fireworks finished at 8:30 pm but as crowded as it was expected to be most of us made it to the station just in time to catch the last train back to home. It was a beautiful evening and the enthusiasm of the participants made worth all the effort that was put in. The MSA also wants to thank our friends from other scholarship organizations who decided to join us and make the time spent more beautiful.
On Sunday, 16th July, 2017 the Kansai division of MSA organized an evening walk to the Gion-festival in Kyoto. Despite the bad-weather with occasional heavy downpour, 33 people joined the event. It is important to note that this was one of the first MSA events in Kansai and so, the support shown by the fellow MEXT scholars was a great source of motivation for the organizers. People came not only from all parts of Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe) but there were 2 participants from Okayama and Kagoshima too.
Our evening started with a visit to the Yasaka Shrine which is the shrine of the Gion-festival. As it was the day of Yoi-Yama, the day before the procession of floats, there were many special events in and around Yasaka Shrine. One of those was the performance of Iwami-Kagura, an ancient Japanese dance form usually performed in shrines to please the deities. Iwami-Kagura is from the Western part of Shimane-Prefecture and depicts a fight-scene of Susanoo, the Kami of Storm with an eight-headed serpentine monster. The participants tried to blend-in with the crowd despite the hot-weather and become a part of the festive-mood.
After the performance, we started to walk towards Shijo-Karasuma area. Our next stop was the floats (or the Yama-bokos) which are the prime symbols of Gion-Matsuri. The crowded street was filled with people in yukatas and it was a beautiful sight. The Yama-bokos were all beautifully decorated and stationed elegantly as if all of them were looking forward to the procession on the next day. Our evening ended with enjoying the local street-foods which were in plenty and also another attraction of the festival.
In a short time of a few hours, many of us became friends with each-other. Most of the participants were happy as this was their first official outing with other MEXT scholars. The breaking of ice was the primary objective of organizing this event. The plan is to work towards building a very strong family of MEXT scholars in Kansai area and beyond. Before we left, we made a promise to meet again soon. The wheel has been set into motion and the Kansai team is now already discussing about their next event.
On the 24th of June, MEXT and JASSO co-organized a reception for MEXT scholars in Kobe filled with speeches by MSA and MEXT representatives, cultural program points and opportunities for networking for MEXT scholars in the Kansai area. Of course, MSA was also present with its very own booth; answering questions, spreading the word and encouraging new scholars to sign up on the spot and become a member of MSA! Furthermore, MSA also arranged a number of seminars to help new scholars getting started in Japan. Two of our committee members even traveled all the way from Tokyo to guide new scholars through the event in English as well as Japanese and to personally invite them to join our growing community!
Our regional head for the Kansai region and graduate student at Kyoto University gave a warm welcome speech to all new scholars at the event.
We would like to thank Mr. Hiroki Matsuo, Deputy Director-General of the Higher Education Bureau, MEXT, and Mr. Hideki Yonekawa, Vice President of JASSO for their words of support and for giving us the opportunity to connect with you through events like the reception for MEXT scholars in Kobe. We also greatly appreciate everyone who visited our booth and took part in our seminars and were simply overwhelmed by the great number of students taking interest in MSA. Thanks to every single one of you, our community is growing bigger and our bonds are getting stronger every day! With a bigger and stronger community, we can have a greater impact and it will be easier to give back to Japanese society!
Happy Birthday to MSA!
MEXT Scholars’ Association turned 1 on the 17th of June and what better way to celebrate than with a big cake surrounded by old and new friends! MSA organized a birthday event at the Omotesando Oval Building in Shibuya filled with both opportunities for experience exchange and for networking with fellow scholars as well as alumni.
At this event, we had the honor to listen to how the following three alumni speakers succeeded and how they give back to the Japanese society:
1. Ashraf Omer from Sudan, a Deputy Manager at Sumitomo Chemical.
2. Benson Liu, an Australian Transfer Pricing Associate at Grant Thornton.
3. Arianne Dumayas, an Assistant Professor at Chuo University from the Philippines.
Our guest speakers started off with sharing the experiences they made studying and working in Japan. Since one of our themes is “to give back to the Japanese society”, we also asked our guest speakers for their opinions and experiences regarding this matter. They seemed to be doing their best to “give back”, be it giving back to students through their job in terms of education or giving back to those in need, of which there are plenty in Japan, even though it is such a highly developed country. We then proceeded to a panel discussion, which is part of our so-called “From Scholars to Scholars” series, which features alumni with professional experiences. We opened the floor to the audience to ask each of the speakers personal questions regarding their experiences in each of the fields that they are involved in.
The discussion was followed by an annual report from our side, where we presented our achievements throughout this first year as well as introduced out plans for the future and a warm greeting from Izumi-san, our MEXT representative. A networking session over finger food, drinks, snacks and delicious birthday cake concluded this year’s birthday party. MSA’s Birthday Bash was attended by nearly 50 alumni and current undergraduate as well as graduate students, with academic fields of expertise ranging from linguistics to mathematics and international relations.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks especially to ZESDA for opening this space for us to hold this unique event to celebrate our birthday and strengthen our community of MEXT scholars together. Last but not least, a big thank you to our guest speakers and every single MEXT scholar or alumni, who joined us for our birthday party and made this event special! We look forward to seeing you at our next event!
Photography provided by Jorel Chan
For those of us who have been around for Japan for a while – we all remember how we all landed in Japan from a plane starry-eyed about what awaited us…
And how lost we were as well.
We think that if only we had links to close senpais who have been in Japan, many things would have been clearer. How to handle our first months in Japan, how to approach studying in Japan, how to save money …
This is why we visited TUFS to hang out with the new MEXT scholars there on the 23rd of April. We talked about where to shop, how to approach university applications and had a nice dinner over beloved sankichi bento.
We hope to continue these kinds of events to create links between previous and current or even graduated scholars! Thanks to all of you who came to participate and we hope to see you at our next event!
On the 19th of November, both MEXT Scholars Exchange Platform (MSEP) and MEXT Scholars’ Network (MSN) participated in the MEXT Scholars Welcome Party held at JASSO’s Odaiba dormitory.
The event was organized by MEXT and more than 300 participants from universities from all over Japan gathered.
We thank all the scholars for participating in the event and hope that the event gave everyone a chance to get to know fellow scholars, as well as MEXT scholar groups such as MSN and MSEP which aim to further and deepen the community between scholars.
The next party will be held probably in the middle of 2017 in Kansai so we hope to see you there!