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Mind The Gap: December 2006

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

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope you all have a warm and wonderful Christmas break, and enjoy partying on New Year's Eve. Remember the New Year's Break for Tsukuba Uni is from 26 Dec, 2006 to 6 Jan, 2007. This month we miss our comic as our Comic-Writer is away overseas, but she will be back for our next issue. See you in the New Year! Kate

Mind The Gap Christmas Party!

We are having a Christmas Party for 'Mind The Gap'! Please come and join us! Food, drinks, music, prizes, laughter, and much much more!

  • Place: 'Bloom Bar' (2nd floor of building next to Oikoshi 711 convenience store)
  • Date: Saturday 16th December, 2006
  • Time: 7-11pm
  • Cost: 300yen + please bring traditional food from your country and drinks to share (Note: 1,000 yen if you come empty-handed!!)

You are welcome to arrive late or leave early if you're busy on Saturday night, the door will be open!

Safety Campaign - Tsukuba University

Tsukuba University has a Safety Campaign this week, from Fri 1st Dec -- Thurs 7th Dec.

Due to the high incidence of bicycle and motorcycle theft, apartment break-and-enter, and other criminal cases including sexual assault in and around Tsukuba University, there will be a Safety Campaign held for the students of Tsukuba University from 1-7 Dec, 2006. This campaign is held every year.

Safety Campaign - Tsukuba University

Tsukuba University will be patrolled during the day and at night. During the day, pamphlets will be handed out to the students recommending to always lock your bicycles and motorbikes to prevent theft. Most cases of theft of bicycles and motorbikes are due to being unlocked.

3 x Night Patrol
2 x Lunch-time Patrol

Important Safety Presentation by the Police

There will be a presentation made by the Tsukuba Central Police on crime and safe driving for the students of Tsukuba University. All participants will receive a free alarm that you can attach to your keitai or bag, which you can use in case of attack or emergency.

  • Place: Tsukuba University Assembly Hall (Daigakukaikan)
  • Date: Tuesday 5th Dec, 2006
  • Time: 18:00 – 19:45


Safe Sex and AIDS

Part of the Safety Campaign is increasing AIDS awareness and promotion of the use of condoms.

Safety Posters – Central Library

During the period of the Safety Campaign from 1- 7 Dec, there will be safety posters displayed in the entrance of the Central Library. These posters were designed by the Art students of Tsukuba University. Please go and have a look!

Theft cases

Here are some statistics on theft in Tsukuba University during the period Oct 2005 – Sept 2006:

  • Bicycles and motorbikes – 418 cases (70% of total)
  • Theft from cars (window broken and valuables stolen from car) – 46 cases (8%)
  • Theft from apartment (break-and-enter) – 23 cases (4%)

Sexual Assault cases

In the past 6 months there has been an increase in sexual assault cases around Tsukuba University. The criminal has not been caught yet, so it is extremely important to take care at night time and always double lock your door and windows, even if you are on the top floor of an apartment building. There have been two types of cases which have lead to sexual assault:

1. Man pretends to be a courier (Takkyubin) and forces his way in when you open your door.

2. Man knocks on your door and says that he has crashed (or bumped) into your car in the carpark, and asks you to come out and confirm whether it’s your car. When you open the door he forces his way in.

Do not open your door to anyone at night-time. If you are expecting a parcel delivery, ask for confirmation (with the chain on the door) before you open the door.

Double Lock your Windows!

There is a criminal recently who climbs up buildings and breaks into apartments. He is being called 'Spiderman' as he can even climb up to 4th floor apartments. Statistics show that if it takes more than 5 minutes to open the window, 70% of criminals give up. Therefore, it is important to always double lock your windows, to make it more difficult to break in. You can buy these locks at any Home Center in Tsukuba for about 1000yen.

Research Extension documents

Remember our notice from the November issue -- keep in touch with your academic advisor over the Christmas break so you don't miss important extension documents for research students!

NEW Tsukuba Uni Hall 2007

Photo: You may have seen this lovely new white building with lots of windows connected to the road-side of the Daigaku-kaikan. The new Hall will hold many events in the New Year!

Tsukuba University next year will be undergoing construction and renovation to promote its image as one of the top Universities in Japan. The University Assemby Hall (Daigaku-kaikan), located next to the ISC building, will be upgraded and improved with a bright new entrance featuring Art displays and information about the university.

Merry-go-round for kids

There is a free merry-go-round for children at Q't in Tsukuba Center (3 Nov -- 31 Jan). The following website has information on the entertainment (juggling acts, etc.) and merry-go-round: http://www.creo-sq.com/event_info/0611/cf06.html

New Bus: Tokyo - Tsukuba University

Did you know that there is a new highway bus that goes directly from Tsukuba University to Tokyo Station and back? Although the Tsukuba Express train is recommended for travelling to Tokyo (to avoid traffic jams!), the highway bus is a great option for coming back to Tsukuba University. It is comfortable, you can sleep, and it will bring you back safely to the University in just over an hour! The bus to/from Tsukuba Uni goes once per hour, and the bus to/from Tsukuba Center goes 3 times per hour.

There is a detailed schedule on the website:

Bus schedule

Tsukuba Uni to Tokyo Station
First bus leaves Tsukuba Uni at 4:45am (arrives Tokyo Station at 6:20am) and they go every hour after that until last bus at 9:45pm.

Tokyo Station to Tsukuba Uni
First bus leaves Tokyo at 7:00am (arrives Tsukuba Uni at 8:15am) and they go every hour after that until last bus at 11:00pm.

Midnight buses leave Tokyo Station at 11:50pm, 12:10am, and 12:30am.


  • Normal bus: 1,150yen
  • Midnight bus: 2,000yen
  • 1 week return ticket: 1,700yen
  • Multiple ticket (5 tickets): 4,800yen
  • Bus and JR Free Ticket: 2,000yen

Cheapest Keitais - Dayz Town!

Need to buy a new keitai? We recommend going to the keitai shop in Dayz Town 2F, located south of Creo near Ishi-Maru Denki. They have really cheap deals, even on the newest models.

Handy Hints:

1. The phone charger is not usually included with your phone (costs an extra 1000yen), but you can use the same charger as your previous phone, with some minor modifications. Ask a Japanese friend to show you!

2. Many of you may be using an AU phone with the student discount. You may have noticed that AU 'WIN' has better styles of phones but doesn't have the student discount. But don't worry! AU 'WIN' has other discounts, so the final monthly cost is nearly the same.

Christmas Lights in Tsukuba!

I must say, although Christmas is not really celebrated in Japan, they know how to create the Christmas atmosphere! Apparently it is called 'Donden' in the Japanese commercial world. 'Donden' means a quick stage change in Japanese Kabuki theater. Most of the Japanese shops will change their decorations again to New Year's decorations on the 25th Dec! The light decorations in Tsukuba Center are really beautiful, and it's lovely for an evening walk with friends. There's also the forest of Christmas Trees decorated by children of Tsukuba in the area near Joyo Bank, which is really cute and looks great at night-time!

Here is the website for the Light decorations in Tsukuba center area (2 Dec to 8 Jan). There are some photos which show the beautiful light display!


Views from the Shokudou

What are you doing for Christmas? How do usually celebrate Christmas in your country?

Many international students go home for the Christmas break and New Year. However, for those of you busy with writing your Masters/PhD thesis, or students who've decided to spend this year in Japan, don't stay home alone! Go out with friends, see the Christmas Lights, and enjoy the celebrations!

Hewan Demissie

Ethiopia, 2nd Year PhD, Life and Environmental Science, Plant Function Engineering

I belong to the Tsukuba International Church Assembly. So usually I go to church to worship, and praise my Lord. During Christmas our church organizes a special party, and we can invite people. Then we have singing, dancing, drama, and other activities. After that, we have food, which is basically from different countries. In Ethiopia, we have similar activities, but the songs and food are very traditional. And all the people will put on their traditional dress.

Grigory Misochko,

20, Russia, Japanese Language and Culture

I am from Russia, and in Russia New Year is nowadays much more important than Christmas. Maybe it is a kind of influence of our Soviet past. But we do celebrate Christmas, just not in December like the whole world. The Russian Orthodox Church has another calendar, so we celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January. People are supposed to go to the church on the eve and stay there the whole night. In Russian churches you are not allowed to sit unless you are very old or sick. So you have to keep standing for at least 4-5 hours. It’s really difficult, that’s why not everybody follows this tradition. In my opinion, it‘s very interesting how the Japanese celebrate Christmas, as they are unaware of any religious meaning, but they like this holiday very much.

Yuliya Olkhovskaya

20, Uzbekistan, Japanese Language and Culture

I’m from Uzbekistan. Usually we don’t celebrate Christmas in Uzbekistan. We celebrate the New Year. This is a family event and that’s why we try to spend it together with our families. Traditions are the same as Christmas. For example, we decorate the New Year Tree and buy each other presents, and also we put them under the New Year Tree. In Uzbekistan live a lot of nationalities and that’s why nowadays Christmas is also celebrated, but it isn't a national holiday like the New Year.

Xia Yue

China, 3rd Year, Social Engineering

Hello. I am from China. Christmas is not our traditional festival in my country, but recently young people go to some big shopping mall and spend all the night of X’mas Eve outside and enjoy with friends. There is no vacation during this period, although we have one day holiday on the New Year’s Day. Generally we spend this day with our family. The biggest celebration in China every year however is the traditional Chinese Spring Festival, in the middle or the end of January. Everyone looks forward to this festival because there is a 10-day-holidaym and we enjoy this very much. Generally people prepare everything a month before this festival and we go to meet some far relatives and friends also.

Riccardo Auteri

Italy, Exchange Student, Japanese Language and Culture

In Italy we spend Christmas Eve with family. Not only relatives and children, but also grandmothers, grandfathers, and so on... We eat many many foods that are traditional for Christmas, and this usually differs depending on which part of Italy you are from. Then we eat "Panettone" that is special sweet bread that we eat at Christmas, and we play card games or "Tombola", that is a Bingo game while we wait for the midnight. Then when midnight comes, we kiss each other saying "Merry Christmas", and then we go out to meet friends and/or go to church for midnight mise. Young people spend all night talking, drinking, eating and playing card games.

Join Tsukuba Students Mailing List!

We have a new mailing list specific for international students of Tsukuba University! To join, register at:


Everyone is encouraged to join this mailing list so that we can tell each other what's going on in Tuskuba University, we can organise parties, give advice and answer questions, send reminders about exams and visa extensions, etc.

Comments, Questions or Information?

Please email to Kate Neath at:

We will try to include them in the next issue!

<< Where to Find the Christmas Spirit in Tsukuba: December 2006 | Master Index | Tsukuba City Hall Newsletter: December 2006 >>

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