After a long four-year hiatus due to the pesky pandemic, MEXT and JASSO teamed up with MSA to throw the ultimate comeback bash for new MEXT scholars in Tokyo’s buzzing Odaiba! It all went down on December 16, 2023, at the JASSO Tokyo International Exchange Center (TIEC), where the doors swung wide open for sign-ups at 12:15, and the good times rolled until 17:30.
Picture this: students from all over the globe, enrolled in various Japanese universities, making a beeline for Odaiba to celebrate their first moments in Japan. It was like a mini United Nations of scholars! But here’s the twist – only a fortunate few could physically show up. Fear not, though! Those who missed out in person got front-row virtual seats through a snazzy Zoom link. Because who says you can’t party from afar?
The main reception is set to kick off at 13:00, giving our Muslim friends the perfect window to peacefully observe their afternoon prayer. We’ve got it all covered for you—there’s a dedicated prayer space ready on the third floor, ensuring a hassle-free experience.
The event was packed with various activities, as illustrated in Table 1.
The main reception kicked off at 13:00 with a captivating Wadaiko (Japanese drums) performance by the talented Rikkyo University Gashodan Ahirukai.
Following the beat of the drums, Mr. Yoshino and Ms. Shimooka, esteemed representatives of JASSO and MEXT, took the stage to share their insights.
Next up, the dynamic president of MSA, Mr. Haris, gave a rundown of MSA activities, extending a warm invitation for everyone to join our vibrant social media platforms. (Find us on our Facebook group, Facebook page, Linkedin, YouTube, and in our monthly MSA newsletter.)
Adding a touch of inspiration, Ms. Paula, a seasoned MEXT scholar, graced us with her presence, delivering an engaging seminar on how to carve out your unique path in Japan, urging students to embrace their dreams.
The show was flawlessly orchestrated by our dedicated MSA members and the charismatic duo of Ms. Zhansaya and Ms. Anastasia, who not only provided seamless English and Japanese interpretation but also offered a sneak peek into the upcoming lectures and booths.
Wrapping up the festivities, a group photo captured the collective spirit of the event at 13:50.
MEXT and JASSO have lined up a series of delightful Japanese-style workshops, ensuring attendees get a hands-on taste of Japanese culture.
These engaging workshops are categorized into three main sessions, each subdivided into four segments (except the first workshop only had 3). This thoughtful arrangement guarantees that every participant has the opportunity to dive into all three workshops. Keep in mind that a few of these sessions require prior registration, so be sure to secure your spot upon arrival. It’s a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t miss out on the chance to partake in these cultural experiences!
The first workshop featured the artistry of origami, courtesy of the Origami club “Orist” from the University of Tokyo.
Following that, the second workshop immersed participants in the serene beauty of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, hosted by the Tea Ceremony ICU Club.
The third and last workshop was a captivating exploration into ‘Noh,’ a classical Japanese dance-drama. While the enchanting performance prohibited photography to preserve its essence, numerous attendees enthusiastically shared their delight in this session.
MSA was an active participant, bringing a wealth of knowledge through engaging seminars featuring inspiring speakers. The interactive sessions covered a range of topics, from research and job hunting to navigating the general student life in Japan.
In a standout session, Austin delivered an incredible talk on networking with Japanese professionals, going beyond the customary “yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” For those eager to delve deeper, the presentation slides are available: here
Our president, Haris, shared indispensable insights on learning Japanese quickly and effectively. Check out ‘Tips to learning Japanese quickly and effectively’ to unlock the secrets.
Despite the distance, two outstanding team members virtually joined us to share their expertise. Jadz Jevz (JJ) took us on a fascinating journey through her 6-year academic adventure in Japan, complemented by valuable insights into her job-hunting experience. You can find her presentation slides [here]. Meanwhile, Karthik Rampalli offered essential advice on what not to do when job hunting in Japan.
Adding a unique touch, our Head of Finance, Ashutosh, delivered an exceptionally informative presentation on uncovering part-time jobs, internships, research grants, and scholarships in Japan. Attendees unanimously agreed that this was one of the most insightful seminars they had ever attended.
The attendees had the freedom to roam, soaking in the knowledge from various seminars and workshops until 4 pm.
The MSA booth buzzed with activity, drawing a steady stream of visitors seeking information, advice, and answers to their burning questions from our dedicated members handing out flyers.
Meanwhile, the staff prepared a delightful spread featuring soft drinks for toasting, an array of sandwiches, snacks, and a selection of halal and vegetarian options.
At 4 pm, the doors swung open for the networking party, and the hall swiftly filled with excited attendees.
For this year’s toast, the honor went to former MEXT scholar Austin. With each attendee raising their drink, the lively party officially kicked off with exuberant cheers!
It was a day etched in memory for all involved. Attendees showered us with compliments on the event’s informativeness and overall interest. We wholeheartedly encourage future students not to miss out on this spectacular gathering!
We sincerely hope everyone had a fantastic time, and we eagerly anticipate the pleasure of welcoming you again at one of our upcoming events!