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Mind The Gap: August 2006

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

Hi Everyone! How’s your summer holidays? I hope you’re all enjoying the time to relax, and for those of you with Entrance Exams I hope you’re study is going well. Don’t forget, August is a busy time for Matsuri’s, Hanabi, and lots of fun (you must have heard the loud drumming noises on a Sat/Sun to tell everyone the event is on!). So why not dress up in your Yukata and join one of the wonderful festivals that Japan has to offer! Also, in the middle of August from 13th is Obon Week. Talk to you soon, Kate

Entrance Exam - Results

For students doing entrance exams, your results will be posted on a big white notice-board 2 weeks after your exam. The notice-board is located in the big carpark next to the Administration building (for Medical exams, results are located in a separate carpark). Ask your kenkyushitsu friends for help to find it. Take your special exam ID number with you. First look for your department, and then look for your ID number. If your ID number is displayed, then you have passed! If your number is not there, go and consult with your sensei. Remember you have another chance in Feb 2007!

New Tsukuba Blog

Have a look at this new Tsukuba blog – it has info on the latest restaurants and news, and handy hints etc. A good way to keep up-to-date with Tsukuba and its foreign residents!


Hokkaido Health

This is a very useful website for foreigners. Many foreigner’s head up to Hokkaido for outdoor adventure in summer, and skiing in winter, so there’s always a chance you may need a Doctor. This is a really good website, so remember make a note if you’re taking a trip to Hokkaido! Even if you don’t go to Hokkaido, it has a good explanation of the Health System in Japan, and some previous experiences.


Mind the Gap - Party Interest

We had a suggestion from a reader of ‘Mind The Gap’ for holding a party for international students of Tsukuba each month to meet new students and chat. If you are interested in organising a party or participating, please send an email to: mindthegaptsukuba@yahoo.co.jp

Brastel Phone Card – call overseas

Did you know that you can also use Brastel to call to Japan from overseas? The rates are a bit more expensive than calling from Japan to overseas, but it is still a very convenient calling-card, and definitely a cheaper option than using a calling-card purchased overseas. You can also re-charge your card on the internet using your credit card.

Here's the website:

AU Update – New Service! Save!

There is a new service available from August 2006 with AU mobile phones. You may have seen from our last issue about minimizing your un-used calls (from your plan). Well, from August you can carry-over this left-over money to your next month’s bill. This means that if you went overseas during a certain month and therefore didn’t make many calls, you can use these free calls in the following month! Check out the AU website for details. There is a limit of 6,300yen carry-over for コミコミ plan, and 14,700yen for standard plan.


Look for this sign on the AU website.

Outdoor Sports in Japan!

Don’t know what to do for summer? Why not try some outdoor sports! My friends and I went White-Water Rafting in Saitama-ken (Kanute), and we had a fantastic day. The tour’s are extremely well run, with safety training and lots of team interaction. Everyone is also free to jump in the crystal clear water after the rapids and relax and cool off, so it’s a great way to escape the summer heat! Also recently, I heard about another outdoor sports company in Gunma-ken called TopMinakami. They have canoeing, rafting, canyoning, etc. and you can go for the weekend and enjoy a variety of outdoor sports, and stay overnight in their minshoku hotel. There’s also an onsen to soak after all the excitement. Here are the websites (bookings can be made by Email, and English speaking staff are available to take your calls):


Handy Hints: How do I get rid of summer MOULD?

Having trouble with kabi (mould)? Here is a question from one of our readers!


How do I get rid of mold around the house? The mold has taken over my tatami and my bathroom (though I scrub it everyday, it keeps resurfacing with a vengeance!!!!!!).


There’s no need to scrub! In your bathroom, try using a mould chemical (kills kabi - white and green bottle available in Kawachi). Spray the mould and leave it for about 2 hours (or overnight) – when you rinse it off, your bathroom will be clean! To prevent it coming back, mix it with water (1/2 chemical to 1/2 water) in an old spray bottle and spray your bathroom after every shower. This should keep the mould at bay!

For your tatami, it seems difficult to get rid of mould once you have an outbreak. Funny enough, after I received this question about kabi, I went home only to find it all over the tatami under my bed and drawers! Terrible! I’d been wondering what that strange smell was... Anyway, I asked my Kenkyushitsu friends, and they recommended to wipe the mould off with a wet towel and bleach (or kabi-spray), and open the curtains during the day to let the sunlight in. Also, open the window to let some air into your aparto, which will help prevent the kabi from re-surfacing.

Kabi-Haiter (?) and Kabi-Killer
Very effective!


Views from the Shokudou

What didn't you know about summer in Japan?


Russia, 1st Year PhD, Human Care
I didn’t know about the exact time of Obon. Traditionally it’s from 13-15 July in Kanto area, however most parts of Japan hold Obon in August to coincide with the summer holiday period. Traditionally Obon opens on 13th and finishes on 15th with Bon Odori (Bon Dance)”.


Myanmar, 1st Year PhD, Bioindustrial Science
About summer vacation, for me? No special summer vacation. Everyday I’m doing experiments to be able to publish papers in time. I wish I could have nice holidays.


France, 2nd Year PhD, Materials Science
I didn’t know that there were a lot of "bambi" in Nara in summer. I think I will go there to visit the temples and give senbei to these cute animals.


Poland, Exchange Student, Human Science
Cicada’s were too urusai last summer. Japan is heaven for hitch-hikers. I met wonderful people on my way (I hitch-hiked to Kagoshima, Kyushu) and I recommend this way of travelling to everybody.

Comments, Questions or information?

Please email to Kate Neath at:

We will try to include them in the next issue!

<< Mind the Gap: July 2006 | Master Index | Mount Tsukuba Shuttle Bus >>

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