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Mind The Gap: September 2006

Author: Kate Neath, Issue: September 2006, Topic: Education, Mind the Gap, News, Newsletters, Students

Hi Everyone! Are you ready for 2rd Term? I hope you all had a great summer, and have returned fresh for another trimester. The weather will be getting cooler from now, so try not to catch the flu, and enjoy the warmth while it lasts before Autumn weather sets in! Talk to you soon, Kate

Welcome New Students!

A warm welcome to all the new students who have just arrived in Tsukuba this month. Good luck with your Japanese studies and adjusting to life in Tsukuba, and with preparation for your entrance exam in Feb 2007. If you have any questions about living in Tsukuba or with your studies, there are many people here to help you! The International Student Center (ISC), your faculty office, your sensei and friends can help you, and you’re also very welcome to write to us at: mindthegaptsukuba@yahoo.co.jp We are here to answer any questions you might have!

Visa Extension

Is your visa expiring in October? Every 1-2 years (for non-regular students such as kenkyusei every year, for regular students every 2 years) everyone has to renew their visa. Make sure you renew your visa 2 weeks before it expires. Go to the ISC to get the necessary forms and info for extension. Remember that it will take 3-4 working days to get the certificate from the ISC, so allow for this time. If you will be out of Japan during the 2 weeks before your visa expires, for example if you are overseas for a conference, you can ask to renew your visa earlier (up to one month before). Whatever you do, DO NOT leave this too late! Make sure you get your renewed visa and re-entry permit before you go overseas.

New Alien Registration Card

Is your Alien Registration card about to expire? I’ve been here for 4 years, and my Alien card will expire in January next year. Everyone’s card will be different, depending on when you arrived in Japan. So please check it and renew your card within 30 days of the expiry date at the Tsukuba City Hall (Sakura Branch). You’ll have to take your passport with you to show your visa status. You can ask for info at the ISC.

Bicycles and the Police

Often students are given a bicycle as a 'hand-me-down' from their friends when they arrive in Tsukuba. All bicycles in Japan have a code engraved into the frame, so bicycles can be traced if they go missing. If you are given a bicycle by a friend, ask them to write a note that the bike is a gift, with their name and the bicycle code number. Keep this note in a safe place, just in case the police pull you over and ask you questions. Apparently police in Tsukuba are checking bicycles more frequently, so be careful!

Japanese Language Classes

If you wish to attend the supplemental Japanese Language Training Programs for the 2nd trimester (September to end of November), please do not miss the following procedures at the ISC:

  • Sept. 1 to 7: Application period
  • Sept. 8: Placement Test
  • Sept. 14: Orientation
  • Sept. 15: Start of classes

Asbestos update

There were posters put up in the dormitories in August showing the schedule for removal of Asbestos. I’m sure most of you understand the schedule, and whether you have to move to another building or move to an apartment, but here is a summary just to make sure. Also, there is Asbestos in some of the University buildings, so check with your kenkyushitsu if your room will be fixed. Your classrooms may be unavailable during this period too, so check if your classroom for seminars etc has been changed.

For students living in the dormitories:

Look For These Asbestos Notices (Dorm Entrance)

Yellow - period of removal of Asbestos and construction

Red - students in these buildings have to move out to an apartment

Blue - students in these buildings can move to another dorm room (you don’t have to move again, you can stay in this room)

Pink - removal of Asbestos in 1st Floor public space


Views from the Shokudou

What’s the major difference between your country and Japan?

M. H. Kahn

Bangladesh, Research Student, Natural Science
Bangladesh, officially the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, is a small country (area as big as Hokkaido) in South Asia. It is surrounded by India on all sides except for a small area with Myanmar to the far Southeast and the Bay of Bengal to the South.

All countries have their own typical culture, heritage and identity that make its region different from others. Geographical location and availability of natural resources, along with fertile land, made our people lazy. Because you just spread a seed and bring the fruit to your home without taking any special care due to the huge flood plain. Strong family bonds as well as social structure made people happy in spite of having problems, which can be solved gradually. On the other hand geographical location, not availability of natural resources, along with natural disaster made Japanese people hardworking to fight with nature. In spite of having all these disadvantages Japan is now known as the 2nd largest economy of the world.

'Go by law' is the important factor what I can easily see a difference with my country. Irrespective of ages and classes, everyone goes by the law here in Japan, especially the traffic system surprises me a lot. Recently, people in our country have started to follow the law, but still much time to go. From my point of view, the educational system in Japan is equal everywhere. Learners achieve same levels of education no matter whether he/she studies in rural or suburban area, or whether the educational institutes are national or governmental. But in our region, it is quite difficult to have.

It goes without saying that most of the people in Japan are very much enthusiastic and keep strong intention to learn new things. Our people don't seem to me to be enthusiastic. I want to conclude by saying that like Japanese, I am proud to be a Bangladeshi. Long live Bangladesh and long live Japan.

Nargiz (Nara) Akhundova

Azerbaijan, 1st Year Masters, Area Studies, South-East Asia course
One of the main differences between Japanese and Azerbaijanian people is the emotional side. Azerbaijanian people are much more expressive in emotions while Japanese always keep some visible distance.

I was very impressed by the careful attitude of Japanese people to nature and environment. I wish many other countries, both developed and developing ones, would learn from this to preserve our universe. I really respect Japan and that's why I enjoy every day here!

Phunsiri (Oil) and Sonthaya (Nui)

Oil: Thailand, 3rd Year PhD, Life & Environ. Science
Nui: Thailand, 1st Year PhD, Bio-industrial Science

It might not be the major difference, but this is one surprising thing for me when I first arrived in Japan. At the dining table, the first lunch I had with Japanese friends, they had a meal with their own set, no sharing. But in my country, we always share and enjoy eating together, so we can taste many foods together. Anyway, now I’m getting used to the Japanese eating style and sometimes I think I can change my Japanese friends to have a meal with Thai style now ^o^.

I asked Nui-san and Oil-san where their nicknames come from:
Nui – It came from big cheek of my lovely face.
Oil - When I was born, the petrol was very expensive, so my mom and Dad called me Oil.


Comments, Questions or information?

Please email to Kate Neath at:

We will try to include them in the next issue!

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