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Mind The Gap: November 2007

Author: Kate Neath, Issue: November 2007, Topic: Education, Mind the Gap, News, Newsletters, Students

Hi Everyone! November is very popular for viewing the Autumn leaves. There is a week vacation at the end of November too, which is a good time to get out of Tsukuba and see Japan, such as Nikko! Enjoy end of 2nd trimester, Kate

English Speakers Wanted for English Cafe

If you can speak English and are interested in meeting international and Japanese students and being paid for it, this may interest you. We are setting up an English café where students from all faculties can meet and speak in English.

Now we are looking for assistants to help us get started. You will be paid hourly rates for preparation time and café time. We hope to meet once a week and share coffee and chat.

For more information, please contact jennifermanyweathers[a]biol.tsukuba.ac.jp

You will need to send a copy of your Curriculum Vitae.

Tsukuba University Dormitory Applications

Applications to live in the student dormitories for Academic year 2008 are being accepted this month. Information regarding recruitment for student residences for next academic year are now posted on bulletin boards of each academic office, residence's administration office, and ISC. Most of application periods are in November. Please check them carefully and don't miss the application deadline!

Disaster Corner

Earthquake Early Warning

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has set up an ‘Earthquake Early Warning’ system. When a strong earthquake is detected, the early warning will be immediately broadcast on TV and radio, giving people several seconds to protect yourself before the strong tremors arrive. For details on how the early warning system works and how to protect yourself and prepare for an earthquake, see the JMA website:


Mobile Phone - Disaster Message Board

There is a service available on your keitai called the ‘Disaster Message Board’, that allows you to register a message on Ezweb when a disaster such as an earthquake measuring greater than intensity ‘6 lower’ occurs. Up to 5 addresses can be registered, and is a good way to notify family and friends that you are alright in the event of a disaster (as lines can be congested, preventing phone calls or normal email use).

Method: 1. Click on Ezweb. 2. Click on ‘Top Menu’. 3. Scroll down to bottom and click on ‘English’. 4. Click on ‘Disaster Message Board’. Read the instructions and register addresses.

NOTE: You can register your family/friends addresses now, and if a major earthquake/disaster occurs, you can then click on this service and send a message.

Fingerprinting at Narita Aiport

From 20th November, 2007, Japan will start fingerprinting and taking a photo of all non-Japanese nationals at International airports, including students, tourists, business people, and long-term residents. This means that every time we re-enter Japan, we will have to line up in the foreigner queue at customs (up until now, we could line up with Japanese passport holders and go through quickly). So, be prepared for these changes next time you go overseas and come back to Japan. For more details, check out Tsukublog:


Kimono Rental for Graduation

Are you planning on wearing traditional kimono for your graduation ceremony? Well now is the time to start planning! The graduation ceremony for Tsukuba University is 25th March, and reservations have already been filling up at hair-salons since September, so it is best to make a reservation now before you miss out!

Usually the set includes kimono and hakama rental, hair and makeup, and professional photos can be included at extra cost. The cost of kimono and hakama rental (usually stated separately, so make sure you check) is anywhere from 20,000yen-50,000yen, depending on the detail of the design and latest fashion. Basically, the latest designs and more elaborate kimonos cost more. Hair, makeup, and fitting of the kimono (all done at the hair salon on morning of graduation – very early for undergrads 6-9am, and later at around 10am for postgrads) usually costs about 20,000yen. Professional photos can cost an extra 20,000yen for 2 poses. Although it is expensive, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity!

If this is beyond your budget, there are other options such as borrowing a kimono from a friend, or buying a second-hand kimono and doing your hair/makeup yourself. The best place for buying cheap second-hand kimonos in excellent condition is ‘Off-house’, but need a car to get there. Off-house also has a range of accessories at very good prices. Your Japanese friends might know of a place where you can have your kimono fitted on the day of your graduation (called ‘kitsuke’). Guys can also wear a traditional men’s kimono on graduation, so ask at the hair salon about the options. Enjoy!

Join Tsukuba students mailing list

We have a 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 Tsukuba University, we can organise parties, give advice and answer questions, send reminders about exams, etc.

Tsukuba Mailing List recommendations

Tsukublog has posted a full outline of all the mailing list recommendations. There are mailing lists for people living in Tsukuba, women in Japan, buying and selling items, business and politics, and for people with pets in Japan. Check it out!


Cultural Festival This Weekend in Tsukuba

There is a cultural festival this weekend organised by Tsukuba City. Here is the webite (Japanese only):


There will be exhibitions and events, as well as a Sumie (Japanese ink painting) exhibition in the entrance hall of a traditional old building in central park, free of charge.

DATE: 3-4 Nov, 9am - 4pm (Sat)/3.30pm (Sun) PLACE: Sakura Minkaen (in Chuou Park/Azuma2- 7-5) CHARGE:free

Cultural Exchange Day for International Students

On November 17 (Sat), foreign students will be admitted free to the Tokyo National Museum. The museum has various exhibits, and is a great opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture. Don't forget to take your student ID card - you'll need it to get in for free!

http://www.tnm.jp/en/servlet/Con?pageId=X00&processId=00 http://www.tnm.jp/en/servlet/Con?pageId=A01&processId=02&event_id=4781

YOUGAKUSEI COMICS by Herb Fondevilla


Introducing Science Communication Sensei

Jennifer Manyweathers (Australia), Instructor in Science Communication, Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences

I first visited Japan when I came as a Rotary exchange student in 1988. I spoke no Japanese, lived with Japanese families and attended a Japanese high school for 12 months. It was a very challenging year but I loved so many things about Japan, like the sound of the gutters as I rode my bike over them, the smell of nikuman, the smell of kinmokusei and the sound of the language. I knew Japan would always be part of my life from then on.

My next visit was as a Monbushou researcher. I lived for 6 months in Hiroshima and 6 months in Matsuyama in 1993-94. I discovered that research was not for me and returned to Australia to fulfill a life long dream of studying veterinary science. After working as a large animal vet, I needed to take a break from the long hours. In 2002 I became interested in teaching science and in the communication of science to people without science backgrounds. I worked as a science performer in a science circus, travelling around Australia visiting schools and communities and doing science shows and workshops. After giving birth to my daughter, Ruby, in 2005, I saw a job advertised in Japan for a lecturer in Science Communication. My husband and I had already planned a three week trip to Japan to introduce my daughter to my host families. While we were here, I had an interview for the job and was successful. My husband has taken time off from his building business and is a house Dad, looking after our children. My son, Solomon, was born here in Japan in June.

There are many things I miss about Australia, including outdoor living, the beach and the sky. But for us, now, Japan is a great place to be. My daughter speaks both Japanese and English and she has made many great friends. My husband loves cooking Japanese food and we love exploring new places. One day soon the call of the Australian sky and ocean will be too strong and we will return home but for now, I am happy with the smells and tastes of our life here in Tsukuba.

Comments, Questions, or Information?

Please email to Kate Neath at:
We will try to include them in the next issue!

<< Nihongo Notes November 2007 | Master Index | Alien Scientist: Alien Science Paradigms >>

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