What follows are more travails of foreign and exchange students (not to mention foreign academics employed under this system) who think that studying in Japan is like studying or working at universities in other developed countries.
Debito.org has talked about this flawed system before, as in about a decade ago, when it comes to lack of institutional support for foreign scholarships (to the point where students just give up and leave) or even having sufficient university support when being systematically rejected for an apartment for being a foreigner! Even when the GOJ signals that it wants a more “open-door policy” for more foreign students and staff, what with the Global 30 Project funding from the Ministry of Education (MEXT), the Times Higher Education reported that Japan’s “entrenched ideas hinder” that from happening. And the THE wrote that article back in 2010, meaning that nearly a decade later things still aren’t getting much better. Read on for Anonymous’s report below on the Kafkaesque ordeal he/she had just trying to transfer schools, even those anointed under MEXT’s Global 30 Project.
Forewarned is forearmed, prospective students considering Japan as a destination. Know what you’re getting into or suffer an enormous bump in the road on your way to a terminal degree in your field.
Anonymous: When I applied for an extension to transfer to the University of Kyoto, the University of Tokyo’s rival university, the University of Tokyo had full control of whether to recommend or not recommend me to MEXT. This obviously poses ethical problems, and I was pretty quick to complain to the international office. Why on earth, I asked, am I being evaluated for a scholarship selection by a university who could potentially favor its own scholarship extension applicants, and who I will not be going …continue reading
The guy goes first. He gets a nice Moleskine notebook and a fancy ballpoint pen. He thanks her. The girl goes next. She opens a small box to find a Swarovski earring and necklace set. She thanks him. They finish lunch, they get the bill at the table, and… he only has ¥2,000 in his wallet. The girl opens her wallet and pulls out ¥10,000 which more than covers the bill, and they leave together, both smiling and holding hands. The end.
This actual date happened right next to me when I was writing another article. I made a note of what happened for two reasons: one, they were both being very vocal about their gifts and their discussion of the bill, and two, because it got me thinking about the economics of dating in Japan.
The lingering debate
Traditionally speaking, “men are supposed to pay for everything” on a date, but in my opinion that’s so far out of touch, it doesn’t even bear thinking about. Things are a lot more expensive nowadays (thanks to the ever-increasing consumption tax!), women can work and earn their own living, and frankly speaking, putting the full financial burden of a relationship only on one partner is just plain wrong.
And it’s not just me who thinks that way. According to a 2015 survey conducted in the US and cited in a Sage Journal research paper on “Who Pays for Dates?”, 64% of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, while 40% of women felt annoyed if men refused to accept their contribution to the bill.
In Japan, however, there are still some remnants of this old-fashioned train of thought.
For example, a Japanese male friend of mine, while being a very forward thinker and feminist, thinks it’s …continue reading
Source: Trends in Japan
Many Japanese fashion magazines are suffering from declining sales. To boost their economic prospects and keep creditors at bay, publishers may attempt new directions and types of content, or approach different kinds of advertisers. The fashion magazine Vivi tried both by launching a recent online tie-up with the Liberal Democratic Party, the biggest political party in Japan and which has been in power with only a couple of relatively short intervals since the 1950s.
The “New Generation” tie-up features a series of young female models — the magazine’s nine “Vivigirl” official models — wearing t-shirts with messages about the kind of future they would like to live in. Examples include colorful messages in English about happiness, being a nation more welcoming to foreigners, and expressing oneself. “Happy & Smile.” “Face Your Fears.” “Open Heart.”
The t-shirts, which also feature the logo of the LDP on the shoulder, were then offered to people who posted on Twitter or Instagram their own aspirations for future society with the promotional hashtag #LDP2019.
The tie-up is promoting a vision of diversity and hope, in line with recent buzzwords and campaigns by local governments (particularly Shibuya in Tokyo) and the 2020 Olympics, and an intriguing counter-narrative to the standard conservative stance by the LDP, which usually emphasizes “restoring” values and protecting the interests of business and older voters. On the other hand, it is the LDP that has lower voter age in Japan from 20 to …continue reading