News Letter

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #7

International hopefuls+
Issue 7
November 20, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

On November 14th, we held the “Site Visit to Takenaka Research & Development Institute” and three international DC students visited the institute in Inzai city, Chiba prefecture.
It was a one day trip and they had a pretty busy day. The participants had a special tour to observe the institute research facilities, in addition there was a presentation session with the employees where they had the opportunity to discuss their own research. I believe it was a great experience for the participants.

According to the career plan survey in these years, I found that international students are seeking information regarding jobs and companies in Japan. I will try to provide you with opportunities to communicate with the companies.
As one of those challenges, "CAREER LINK MEETUP -For international DC and PDs-" will be held on Dec. 10th. 6 companies' representatives are coming to Hokkaido University. The application deadline has already past and the participants are preparing for the event.
I hope that all participants will communicate the companies and appeal their skills and their personality.

2.I-HoP event information

- Learning Japanese: Why now and how to start it (11/25)
In this seminar, you will learn about “How to learn Japanese and why it is necessary to do so” in English. Join and get pointers for learning Japanese!
The Lecturer, Dr. Yumiko Enyo is a part-time instructor at Hokkaido University and other universities, teaching Japanese language for non-native speakers.

- Writing for Academic Journals (12/17)
This transferable skills seminar is targeted for researchers (MC, DC, PD, Faculty member/staff).
Seminar will be conducted in English and have two sessions, "Basic" and "Advanced".
You can attend one or both session(s)!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor Y. Iida

My dear International Researchers,
More than 60 DC students and post-doctoral researchers from abroad have responded positively to our question in the career plan survey in July, regarding career counseling. I-HoP sent out invitations to each of them to schedule a face-to-face one-hour session with me. A total of 21 time-slots in October and November has filled up very quickly, and we will have to schedule another round in December and January. Contents of the counseling vary from academia to the industrial sectors, and you do not need to prepare something specific to the career, such as your resume or CV before coming to the counseling. Of course, if you have a particular purpose, such as questions on the job hunting process, preparation of documents, business manner, etc., you can use this opportunity to clarify these.
If you have any questions on your career or want to experience a career counseling session with the consultant (Prof. Iida or Assistant Prof. Katagaki), do not hesitate to contact:
and ask for individual career counseling. We will schedule a session either by Skype or in-person, depending on the availability of the consultant.
If you are with the Graduate School of Engineering, please come and join the seminar entitled "YOUR CAREER DESIGN - Career Guidance Seminar for International Graduate students," in which I will give a lecture on careers in Japan. Date and Venue are as follows:
Date: November 27 (Wed), 2019
Time: 15:00-17:00
Venue: Academic Lounge 3 (2F, Graduate school of Engineering Building)

4. Hult Prize Social Business Competition

One of the privileges of Hokkaido University students is to attend the campus level competition of this global business idea contest. Use your study result or a unique idea to change the world and save the earth. Do you consider this a big mouth? "Aquamou," one of the competing teams of Hokkaido University, won the regional competition in Tokyo last April, and the entire team members had spent five weeks in London to accelerate their business idea together with the other 40 teams from all over the world. Be a changemaker. You will learn by experiencing business management, leadership, presentation, and how you can change the world through the process. To learn more about this year's competition, please access the following facebook page:

5. Career Management Process for PhD

We have been explaining the seven steps of the Career Management Process since May. Before we start this month's explanation, the seven steps are shown below again for your reference:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Recognize yourself and your value (Self-Assessment)
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks (Occupations)
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

We will explain the Step-6 "Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education" this month. By the time you reach this step, you must understand yourself, your skills and strength, as well as your weak points in comparison to the qualification requirements of your selected few target companies. The Transferable Skills Seminar by I-HoP deals with a wide variety of non-research related skills such as Communication, Leadership, Negotiation, Career Management, etc. Taking these seminars will make you aware of the shortcomings, if any, in your skills portfolio. Once the gap is clearly defined, set the goal, and implement the mitigation plan. Let's pick Japanese language skills as an example. If your current JLPT score is N3 and want to reach to N1 in two years, imagine how you would be communicating with others in Japanese 24 months from now. This exercise will set a clear goal of your "to be" image, and you will look back to your current status from this goal point to recognize the gap in between. Then breakdown the difference into eight three-month segments to set up your quarterly target. I-HoP provides a "Borrowing Japanese Language Books" program with which you can borrow Japanese textbooks for 30 days. Even if you have your book, we recommend that you join this program because you must report to the office of I-HoP every 30 days to renew your rental. A small encouragement by a third party who is monitoring the progress of your study is beneficial and rewarding. Many Japanese companies still require N1 or N2, as a minimum for the Japanese language proficiency level to join the company. In the case of Ph.D. holders, some companies started to consider N3 acceptable if the candidate has the desired skillset.

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #6

International hopefuls+
Issue 6
October 11, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

The CEO of the company supporting international students for their job hunting is coming to Hokkaido University and talk to you about "How’s like to work in Japan?" and the "Important things to work in Japan" on October 31st.
Also, you will have the opportunity to discuss with him about your career.
Join and get the tips for job hunting in Japan!!

- Career Seminar How’s like to work in Japan? (10/31)

- Career consultation days (10/31-11/1)

*We apologize that the application button had not shown on the website, but it was already recovered on Oct.10th.
We are looking forward to your application!

2. Memo from the Visiting Professor (by Y. Iida)

My dear International Researchers,
Negotiations by Dale Carnegie Training was held on September 20. Dale Carnegie Training is 107 years old training firm specialized in communication skills. They rarely come to Hokkaido and are providing seminars primarily for big companies. But thanks to the long-standing relationship with I-HoP, they care to visit Hokkaido for the past five years. The topic we have chosen this year was Negotiations. Dr. Greg Story, president of Dale Carnegie Training Japan, was the lecturer. He has carefully tailored the contents to Ph.D. students and researchers by inserting examples of cases which are familiar to the academic person. Negotiation takes place very often. For example, you will negotiate on "Choosing a restaurant for dinner with a friend", "Asking your professor to purchase a new test equipment", or "Permission for taking day off". The objective of the seminar with the workshop was to make the participants achieve the following goals:
1. Recognize the four dominant behavior styles; Expressor, Driver, Amiable, and Analytical.
2. Identify your style and how you react under pressure
3. Sell effectively to people of different styles
They consider every negotiation a sales opportunity, and you better accomplish your objective (i.e., sell your idea) by strengthening the relationship with your counterpart.

3. Career Management Process for PhD

We have been explaining the seven steps of Career Management Process since May. Before we start this month's explanation, the seven steps are shown below again for your reference:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Recognize yourself and your value (Self-Assessment)
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks (Occupations)
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

We will explain the Step-5 "Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets" this month. Before you narrow down the target, you must maximize the opportunities and options. Because you do job hunting while you do your research activities, which is your priority, you must use your time effectively. A combination of reactive and proactive approaches may be an effective use of your time. The reactive approach is to let someone else search for opportunities for you. There are many match-making sites to which you register your data. Based on the information you have disclosed and registered, the agent or match-making companies will search their database to see if there is any matching with open positions information that they receive from their client companies. There is no cost for job-seekers because the agent will receive a contingency fee from the client company once the candidate joins the company. Some of them have English homepages and are capable of consulting in English, such as;
Active Connector (
Glassdoor (
CareerCross (
There are a handful numbers of matching agents who are dealing with international students. Due to a huge demand for IT and AI-related job, you will have wider options if you have skills in programming, statistical analysis, or mathematics.

If you want to keep your career option open for academic jobs in Japan, it is always recommendable to register yourself to JREC-IN ( This is a career support portal site managed and operated by JST, Japan Science and Technology Agency. All of the open academic posts and research staff positions in Japan can be found here. If you read Japanese, try to log-in to the Japanese page. You will discover ten times more open jobs than in English. A similar database with much global coverage is Euraxess (

While you are reactively waiting for any input from these third-party services, you may proactively search for the companies as explained in Step-4. Regardless of reactive or proactive pursuit, you will expose yourself to the open labor market to some extent. Once you are exposed, you will have a higher probability to get connected with somebody or some company. That will give you, hopefully, handful options for your potential target companies.

Based on the conditions and career vision that you have established in Step-1, you will be narrowing down the number of target companies to 3 or 4 at most. You will have to put some serious efforts to prepare yourself for seeking positions, so it is better to concentrate to the selected few. Please keep in mind, however, that always leave your door open for any incoming opportunities that the third party (matching agent, your professor, I-HoP, etc.) may bring to you. When narrowing-down the target, remember that the larger the target company is, the harder the competition will be. The total number of companies in Japan is 4,210,000. So-called large companies count 12,000, which is merely 0.3% of the entire companies. There are many excellent mid-sized companies whose total employees are less than 300 (in the case of the manufacturer).

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #5

International Hopefuls +
Issue 5
September 5, 2019

1. I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

-Career Plan Survey 2019
Regarding I-HoP Career Plan Survey 2019, almost 300 students have responded. We greatly appreciated your participation and we will use the collected data for future career support programs.

2. Japanese Language information

-General Japanese Language Course Second Semester 2019
(Hokkaido University Institute for the Advancement of Higher Education)
The Second Semester class will be start from October 2nd. The application will be open from Sep. 10th (15:00-) to Sep. 24th (-15:00). The paper-based syllabus is available at I-HoP.
Do not miss the chance to study Japanese!

As informed in the previous Newsletter, the next chance for JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) is December and the application period will be August 20 (Tue) – September 20 (Fri), 2019 (-17:00).
We strongly recommend checking the website and apply!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor (Y. Iida)

My dear International Students and Researchers,
Hokkaido Foreign Resident Support Center is open and has started its operation on August 29. The multi-language web site covers 11 different languages besides Japanese, and the center provides free on-call or walk-in support services. For the details, please visit
The municipal government of Hokkaido operates the center. Establishment of the center is a part of activities by the government to make Japan a friendlier place to live for the foreign residents. Likewise, a job fair for international students and residents is organized by Career Bank on Saturday, September 28 at Asty 45 (Kita-4 Nishi-5). Ten Japanese companies who are interested in hiring international talent will give a short introduction of their company (in Japanese), which is followed by an individual face-to-face meeting with the applicant. If you are interested in this "all in Japanese" event, please register at the following URL:

4. Hult Prize Social Business Idea Competition
Be a part of 200,000 student teams in the world. Are you interested in solving social problems as defined by SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of the United Nations? Your career option may not be limited to work for an existing company or research institution. Launching your own business is a possible alternative. Students of Hokkaido University is lucky because we will be holding a campus level competition whose winner is assured of advancing to the regional tournament. Even if you don't win the campus level competition, your team of 3 or 4 can still apply through the general application on the web. Attending the campus level competition will significantly increase the probability of being selected through this web-based application. For example, the team "Aquamou" the winner of Tokyo Regional competition 2019 was No.2 in the campus level competition last year. Endurance and enthusiasm are the essential skills of an entrepreneur.
Keep your calendar open for Saturday, December 14, which is the date of Campus Level competition at Hokkaido University this year. Stay tuned and watch for further notification at the following Facebook page of the Hult Prize @ Hokkaido University.
The theme of the Challenge of year 2019/20 will be announced in the middle of September.

5. Seven Steps of Career Management Process

Starting from May, this section deals with the seven steps of Career Management Process that you need to follow through when you plan to start job hunting or change your career path. The process outlines the cases for non-academic career pursuit but it in general covers most of the academic career as well. The seven steps of Career Management are defined as follows:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Assess your value
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

We will explain the Step-4, Gather Information on companies/institutions this month. There are around 4,210,000 private companies in Japan. The number of large companies by definition of having more than 300 employees (in case of the manufacturer) or capital fund of 300 million yen or above makes up only 0.3% (12,000 companies) of it. 99.7% (number-wise) of companies are SMEs (Small to Medium business Entities). SMEs have their unique technologies or services that many of the large companies heavily rely on for their final product. SMEs used to deal only with its controlling company (financially or supply-chain-wise). But the latest global competition forced the controlling companies to open-up their supply chain to non-affiliated or non-related companies which caused SMEs to find alternative business sources other than the controlling companies to survive. Some SMEs are eager to expand their business globally and are willing to hire international talents.
In the case of Japanese students or those who can read Japanese, Kaisha Shikihou (会社四季報) is the most comprehensive database of major corporations. There is no English version of it to our regret. Second-best database in English of some company listing can be found at:
This is a listing of the winners of "Good Company Award" of the SMEs. They are listed by industrial category in alphabetical order. The list only leads you to the company's English homepage, but this may be a good entry point.
To find companies closer to your research topic, check the authors of research papers of your academic discipline. If you find authors from companies or research institutions, check the company profile. It is too optimistic to assume that there would be any research position at such a company for you, but this may be the closest company where your research skills and specific knowledge can be utilized.
Most of the English homepage of the company is prepared for its customers. There is a unique link for "Recruiting" or "Job Opportunities," but most of them are connected to the Japanese page. To find information on the company's future plans or strategic objectives, which defines their resource needs for highly skilled talent such as Ph.D., can be found at "IR" or Investors Relationship links. Most companies disclose their strategic objectives (such as mid-range plans) to their potential or existing investors to s

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #4

International Hopefuls +
Issue 4
Augusut 9. 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)
-I-HoP summer holiday
I-Hop will be closed from August 13 to August 19 during the summer holidays.
Responses to any inquiries received during this period, will be sent after 20th of August. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

- Career Plan Survey 2019
Web-based Career Plan Survey 2019 for all the international MC & DC students and Postdocs is now open. You have until August 31st to input your response to the survey.
The survey is essential for planning and fine-tuning career support programs such as “Career Consultation”, “Japanese Language Learning Support” and “Transferable Skills Seminar” which I-HoP provides.

You can access the following URL from your smartphone or PC to answer. We kindly ask for your cooperation
*The survey may not work properly in Internet Explorer 8 and 11.

-JLPT Online Half Test
As we sent the information by another email, the application is open until August 22.

2.JLPT information
As you know, the JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) will be held only twice a year.
The next chance is December and the application period will be August 20 (Tue) – September 20 (Fri), 2019 (-17:00).
We strongly recommended that you check the website and apply!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor (Y. Iida)

My dear International Students and Researchers,

From July 26 through August 31, I-HoP will conduct the annual career plan survey. We appreciate your active participation in this survey by responding to the questionnaire on the web or through your smartphone. The survey is anonymous except for the case when you accept contact by I-HoP for making an appointment for the individual career counseling. The survey is a bi-directional communication tool between you, all the international graduate course students and postdoctoral researchers of Hokkaido University, and I-HoP because we will learn from you what your future career plan is, and the programs or seminars you want us to provide for supporting your career plan, while you will deepen your understanding of our services such as individual career counseling in English or in Japanese.

4. Dale Carnegie Seminar - Negotiations
Registration is open now for one of the most premium seminars that I-HoP provides, "Negotiations" by Dale Carnegie Training. Book your full day on Friday, September 20 and immerse yourself into the world of active learning by the president of Dale Carnegie Training Japan, Dr. Greg Story. If and when you join one of the biggest corporations such as Fortune 500 companies, and you are treated as a candidate of executive management, you will probably have a chance to attend the Dale Carnegie Training. They have been providing this executive training to world major corporations for more than 100 years. Graduate school students and postdoctoral researchers of Hokkaido University are all qualified as a candidate of leadership in academia, business or government in the future, and you deserve to attend this piece of seminars which most of the business leaders have taken. You will learn Negotiations, especially focusing on resolving disagreements with others and establishing a win-win relationship.
Seats are limited, so hurry and register through the Hi-System.

5. Seven Steps of Career Management Process

Starting from May, this section deals with the seven steps of Career Management Process that you need to follow through when you plan to start job hunting or change your career path. The process outlines the cases for non-academic career pursuit but it in general covers most of the academic career as well. The seven steps of Career Management are defined as follows:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Assess your value
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

The topic of this month is Step-3, "Identify Jobs and Tasks". In this step, you will have to understand what kind of jobs and tasks (occupations) that you want to be engaged in. Many of you may want to become "Researcher", "Scientist", "Analyst", "Scholar" or another scholastic profession. If you want to enlarge your area of search for an occupation to the limit, visit . This database contains all the occupations available in the United States. In reality, you will have to narrow down your search options. What Ph.D. students may want to recognize is the versatility of your "transferable skills". From the human resource management viewpoint, Ph.D.'s transferable skills can be defined as follows:
1. Can identify and find a problem. (not waiting for a problem to be given or identified)
2. Can create solutions for the problem. (logical and critical thinking and methodology for validation)
3. Can validate the solutions relentlessly with many trials and errors until it reaches to a conclusion.
4. Can explain the conclusion logically (by publishing paper which can withstand peer review)
5. Can disperse the conclusion effectively and widely (by paper presentation in a conference, etc.)
This is a major difference between undergraduate or master course students. The afore-mentioned skills are essential for corporate staff such as Marketing, Business Planning, Intellectual Property Right management, Quality control, etc. in the world of business. The best way to understand what the jobs and tasks are in the real business is to ask seniors who are actively engaged in the occupation. The next practical method is to attend any internship programs by yourself. If you are not sure what occupations are suitable for you, use Career Counseling by I-HoP (English and Japanese), by Career Center (basically for Master Course students in Japanese), or register to job-matching agencies for PhDs such as the following:
1. アカリク就活サポート ( if you are fluent in Japanese
2. Active Connector ( )

International Hopefuls + #3

International Hopefuls +
Issue 3
July 5, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

We are in July now, but it is still cool and comfortable in Sapporo.
I-HoP will be organizing useful Events as follows!

(1) Evening Japanese Language Course: Advanced
“How to explain your research in Japanese “(7/25)

(2) USA Site Visit in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (10/13-20)
This is a trip for your carrer support to North Carolina, USA, and is a special event for Doctoral Course Students and PDs. Five applicants will have the opportunity of giving a presentation and discussion in English about your research to the various companies in the USA.
*There will be a document screening process for those who apply.

2. Japanese business etiquette for job hunting (Online Video)

Front Office for Human Resource Education and Development (Jinzai ikusei honbu) has distributed a useful video intended for the job interview in Japan. Although it is all in Japanese, it is worth seeing before attending a job interview. You can watch the video in the URL below.
Furthermore, if you would like to practice the interview in Japanese, please contact I-HoP.


3. Memo from the Visiting Professor(by Yoshichika Iida)

My dear International Students and Researchers,

June 1st was the official start of formal job interviews at major companies. The Japanese economy, in general, is stable and the job opportunities are bigger than the number of job seekers (this situation is called the "seller's market"). Because of this situation, middle to small size companies is having a tough time securing talented new employees. For international students, it is not so easy to find and learn about these small companies. If there is a company in which your lab is constantly dealing with, and you are interested in working for that company, you may want to ask for an internship opportunity for that company. In case there are no such companies, using a job-matching agent (so-called "head-hunters") is another option. Once you are registered with the agent, which is no cost to you, they will look for companies that may fit for your interest. A list of a job-matching agent is available at
If you want to learn more, or have specific questions on your job hunting, feel free to make an appointment for career counseling at I-HoP by sending email to

4. Short-Cut Akai Ito Kai (SCAIK)
Akai Ito Kai (Gathering for "Red String of Fate") is a matchmaking event organized by S-cubic, a sister organization of I-HoP which is supporting the career development of DC and PD researchers who are fluent in Japanese. The event is held four times a year, three times in Sapporo and once in Tokyo. Each event is attended by 15+ companies who are interested in hiring PhDs from Hokkaido University. Around 40~50 DC and PD researchers will spend a whole day by attending the following events all in Japanese:
10 minutes introduction from each company
Poster session (each researcher promote themselves using a specially prepared poster of their research objectives and personality)
Corporate booth session (each researcher will visit 6 different companies' booth)
Dinner party (to mingle with corporate people)
I-HoP is providing opportunities for the international researchers (DC and PD) who do not have Japanese proficiency enough to personally attend this event to make contact with these participating companies by submitting documents (SCAIK report and resume) in English. In the case of Sapporo events (in September, October, and November), a face-to-face meeting in English/Japanese may be arranged during lunch break if the company is interested in your documents. Here are the steps for Shot-Cut Akai Ito Kai:
Study the business of the companies coming to the next Akai Ito Kai by checking their homepage information, etc.
If you want to challenge to SCAIK, contact I-HoP ( for the appointment of career counseling (in English or in Japanese) by two months before the event (by July 19, this time).
Instruction will be given during the counseling how to prepare a resume and SCAIK report (explaining why you are valuable for the target company).
Prepare and submit your documents to I-HoP (brush-up by email may be given).
HoP will submit your documents to the target company by email for their review (by two weeks before the event which is September 19 this time).
HoP will inform you one week before the event if a meeting in person is arranged during the lunch break.
List of the companies coming to the Akai Ito Kai on September 19 is as follows:

-Asahi KaseiCreating
-EisaiHuman Healthcare
-Cambridge ConsultantsWorld-Changing Innovation
-JSRMaterials Innovation
-Sumitomo ChemicalThe
-Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma
-Tecnos Data Science Engineering
-Nitto Denko
-IBM Japan
-Nippon Steel
-Yahoo Japan

5. Seven Steps of Career Management Process

Starting from last month, this section deals with the seven steps of Career Management Process that you need to follow through when you plan to start job hunting or change your career path. The process outlines the cases for non-academic career pursuit but it in general covers most of the academic career as well. The seven steps of Career Management are defined as follows:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Assess your value
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

The topic of this month is Step-2, "Assess your value".
Step-2 is the most important preparatory step whose depth of thoughtfulness will determine the quality of your document that you will prepare in the Step-7. In this step, you will look into yourself and describe in writing the following elements of your character. Note that the list is not complete and you can add/delete items to best describe yourself:
Assessment of the strength and weakness
Things you value most in your life
Certificates, Licenses
If you are not confident with what you can describe by yourself, you may want to rely on assessment tools such as MBTI, Enneagram, CPS-J, etc. These tools are based on certain psychological studies and theories so it may help you widen your recognition of your characteristics that you are not aware of. Please note, however, that tools are always basting on samples and statistical procedure which means "NOT EXACTLY A PERFECT FIT FOR YOU". My recommendation is to use the method called "Johari Window" which you need at least one trusted partner, such as your close friend, family members or professional career counselor. This method will enable you to learn from the partner what others know about you which you are not aware of. The following website, which is dealing with team building, can be a good reference for this method:
If you do not have a partner for this method, make an appointment with I-HoP for career counseling. Prof. Iida and Assistant Prof. Katagaki are the certified career consultant who is obliged by the law for protecting your privacy.

When you finish listing up the characteristics of yourself, make sure to put them in writing and rationalize by example or episode especially for your strengths. A simple word like "Enthusiastic", "Aggressive", "Positive" and so on are so generic that the reader or the recipient of your document simply ignore when they see these words in your CV. We will discuss this topic of rationalization in the Step-7.

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #2

International Hopefuls +
Issue 2
May 21, 2019

1.I-HoP News (by Mariko Katagaki)

As you may be already aware from the emails sent via Hi-System, some of I-HoP’s new approaches have been started, “JLPT Online Practice Half-test (E-learning)” and “Evening Japanese Language Course: Beginner (5/30,6/6,6/30)”.
The deadlines for registration are getting closer, do not miss the opportunity to start/practice Japanese!

Dates to watch out for:
*Application deadline for the “JLPT Online Practice Half-test (E-learning)” is 5/21 (Today!)
*Application deadline for the “Evening Japanese Language Course” is 5/24.

Especially, the “Evening Japanese Language Course” has been organized for MC, DC students and PDs, who are currently carrying out their academic life mainly in English.
According to the I-HoP’s annual “Career Plan Survey” in these three years, there were many requests for support learning the Japanese language.
In Hokkaido University, several classes are already available, however, the response of the survey said researchers can hardly participate in the available morning classes since they have other engagements, such as meetings or experiments, during the same time.

In response to such voices, I-HoP will hold beginner level course in the EVENINGS on May 30th, June 6th, and 13th.
The course consists of 3 lectures considering the busy schedule of researchers at Hokkaido University. Looking forward to your registration!

2. Memo from the Visiting Professor (by Yoshichika Iida)

My dear International Students and Researchers,

I was an audience of an auditorium in Shibuya, Tokyo among 200+ young students from all over the world anxiously waiting for Justin Tull, representative of the judges, made the announcement of the winner. "Team Aquamou – Hokkaido University is the winner of Tokyo quarter-final". First time ever in the history of Hokkaido University's relentless challenge to the Hult Prize, so-called "Nobel prize of students" for creation of a new social business idea to solve global social problems, to win the regional summit competition which was held in 25 cities in the world. Member of the team Aquamou led by Ifeanyi Chukwu, a master-course student of School of Fishery Sciences, will attend 6 weeks "Startup Accelerator" program in London from the end of July where they will receive coaching and mentorship, opportunities for networking and team-building with MBA course lecturers, business executives and venture capitalists or investors.
If you wish, which is your Vision, to solve global social issues such as defined by UN's SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), and have a unique talent, which is your Mission, that you or your team can provide, then challenge to your objective with Passion will make yourself an entrepreneur. Vision, Mission, and Passion are the three most important elements of a successful venture company.

3. Seven Steps of Career Management Process

In the coming seven months, this section will explain the seven steps of Career Management Process that you need to follow through when you plan to start job hunting or change your career path. The process outlines the cases for non-academic career pursuit but it in general covers most of the academic career as well. The seven steps of Career Management are defined as follows:

Step-1 Make up your mind for the change
Step-2 Assess your value
Step-3 Identify Jobs and Tasks
Step-4 Gather Information on companies/institutions
Step-5 Initial Decision to narrow down to a few targets
Step-6 Recognize the gap and catch-up with training/education
Step-7 Apply for a Job

The topic of this month is Step-1, "make up your mind for the change". Career Management is dealing with yourself and your life. You own the process in principle but if you have a family and dependents, you may have to take the requirements and expectations of those dependents into your consideration. Because of the aforementioned nature, the career management process requires a high level of your dedication and endurance once you have started the process. In order to achieve a satisfactory outcome at the end, you will have to proactively decide, with your strong will, to start the Career Management Process, rather than being forced to do so. In making your mind up, you may want to explicitly state your Career Vision in writing. Career Vision is an image of your long-term goal in your life. Even though the current or upcoming job may force you to divert from your Career Vision, it will encourage you to think about positive co-relations to your vision if it is put in writing and is visible to you all the time. In this Step-1, you need to define, at least, the following conditions:

a. Schedule (important if you have time limitations such as visa validity, graduation, end of your current term, etc. which defines the critical decision date)
b. Minimum income
c. Plan-B (if continuing what you are currently doing after the critical decision date is not feasible, and you do not find any other tangible opportunities, you must be prepared for Plan-B in which you can survive)
Because life is the relentless continuation of unexpected or unplanned happenings which may give either positive or negative impacts to your career pursuit especially at the turning points, career management may not proceed as planned. If you have a clear career vision and are better equipped with skills, mindsets, and versatility, you may be able to turn even "critical unwanted events" into "once-in-life opportunity". This is called "Planned Happenstance Theory" If interested, please read the article such as the following:

News Letter - International Hopefuls+ #1

International Hopefuls +
Issue 1
May 7, 2019

1. Greetings

This is Mariko Katagaki, specially appointed assistant professor in I-HoP.
I just started this position here this April and I am very excited to support international students and researchers’career in Hokkaido University.

Let me introduce myself a little.
I have worked in Hokkaido University as an administrative staff over the past 8 years, at Faculty of Engineering, Office of International Affairs (former name) and Northern Campus Joint Administration. I have had the opportunity to work with many students and staff from Japan and abroad.
However this is my first time working as an academic staff and I would like to put my CDA (Career Development Adviser) skills to help as many people possible to achieve their career goals.
I will do my best to help and encourage you to make your days memorable in Hokudai. If you have any questions or discussions, feel free to contact me.

2. Our new approach

From this April I-HoP is planning to focus on supporting your Japanese Language skills.
Some new approach will be started shortly, do not miss our information! Stay tuned!!

3. Memo from the Visiting Professor

My dear International Students and Researchers,

Those who joined with Hokkaido University in April, welcome onboard. This is visiting professor Yoshichika Iida. Like most of the readers of this newsletter, I have started a new stage of my life after spending exciting and fruitful five years with Hokkaido University as the founder of I-HoP. I have moved my primary place of business from Sapporo to Tokyo where I originally came from to start my own business as an independent contractor, and started to visit Sapporo one week per each month. During my stay in Sapporo, I use the same old desk and PC at the I-HoP office, so nothing in surface has been changed. A difference in my own perspective is a balance between subjective and objective observation of workplace, Hokkaido University. Spending three quarters of my time in Tokyo and started to develop new relationships with business and social community, it is imperative that my observation of “used to be one and only place of work” be somewhat objective. Having multiple viewpoint of your surrounding and situation and stay objective is essential skill for pursuing your career as well. You are the citizen of your home country, a student of Hokkaido University, a PhD candidate or researcher of your subject matter expertise, a resident of Sapporo city, and may be a member of your cultural activities. When you face with a company or a job opportunity and are requested to present your value proposition, consider from multiple viewpoints and create a unique combination of a few key elements that no one else would be comparative.

4. Tokyo Summer Career Forum 2019 (June 29th and 30th)

If you are comfortable with Japanese and English conversation, and want to learn about Japanese companies who are willing to employ bilingual staff, come to Tokyo Big Site on June 29 and 30 (travel expense will be on you). This is an event organized by DISCO, a job matching agent and is experienced with dealing with bilingual individuals. Registration is free but is required and access the following for further information:
If you need a help in Tokyo during the event, contact prof. Iida at before June 21 so that he will provide a face-to-face consultation in Sapporo from June 25 through 28. He will be back to Tokyo on 28 to assist you during the event.

International Hopefuls #54

International Hopefuls
Issue 54
March, 2019

1. Memo from the Professor

My dear International Students and Researchers,

It took me too much longer than usual to release this LAST issue of the International Hopefuls. A new assistant professor will be on-board on April 1 whose name will be announced later. Although I will be leaving Sapporo in April, I will continue to support I-HoP as a visiting professor. I will be an independent contractor with my own private business that will support career development of international students in the graduate schools in Japan. Because my place of business will be in Tokyo, I hope to provide useful information on the career events, matching opportunities or seminars for the international students more often to the international students and researchers of Hokkaido University. You may consider that I-HoP will have a Tokyo branch office in April.

My new contract with Hokkaido University will include, but not limited to, provision of career counseling in English/Japanese in person (by appointment for one week per each month at Sapporo), or by Skype (by appointment, any time of the month), or by email (anytime). Feel free to contact for appointment or ask any questions related to your career development. Messages received at this email address is only viewed by me and the new assistant professor.

Lastly, but not of the least, I will continue to provide a chapter of the “International Hopefuls+” which will be issued monthly from April.

2. Free Video Lecture for SHUKATSU

If you need to learn how to conduct interview for recruitment in Japan, free video clip has been posted by JAPI, Japan Association for Promotion of Internationalization, which is providing useful supports for international students. The video is provided only in Japanese. If you are interested, I-HoP provides mock interview lesson as a part of the career counseling. You can make appointment with I-HoP for such a purpose as well.

Video Clip for Interview:

3. The Report “Employment and Utilization of Highly Skilled Foreign Professionals in Hokkaido”

Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and industry (METI Hokkaido) has released the subject report on the web which can be accessed from the following link:

The pdf file contains English translation of its major contents with which you may understand how highly-skilled international talents are contributing to the local Hokkaido companies.

International Hopefuls #53

International Hopefuls
Issue 53
February, 2019

1. Memo from the Professor

My dear International Students and Researchers,

It took me six months to start writing this monthly newsletter after establishing I-HoP back in 2014. Because my term at Hokkaido University will end in March, the next issue (No. 54) will be the last International Hopefuls that I issue. Although it was not intentional, name of this newsletter can be abbreviated as I(nternational)-HoP(efuls), and I have been enjoying writing to you all on whatever is beneficial for your career development.
Although we have held many seminars, workshops and events related to your career development in the past five years, the most essential service that I-HoP provides is the individual Career Counseling for international students and researchers in English or Japanese. This service will be continued next fiscal year and I may be able to support Assistant Professor Ms. Maejo by providing the counseling service via Skype or in person.
Career Counseling is a service that you can take whenever you feel like talking with someone whom you can trust on your career. Both I and Ms Maejo are the certified career consultant which owes confidentiality obligation. Not only learning the Japanese recruiting process or finding open positions for international students, but you can come and talk with us if you want to find yourself, discuss options for your future career, or whatever is related to your career life. If you want to make an appointment, feel free to send a message entitled “Career Counseling Request” to “”. We will make an appointment for one hour with you.

2. Important news on Japanese E-learning

As was reported in the last issue, we have closed the last call for application for ALC NetAcademy 2 Japanese E-Learning. Those who have registered, please make your effort to fully utilize this on-line education service until January, 2020.
Another registration for JSST, oral Japanese communication skills test by using your own telephone was also closed with 20 applicants. Due to our budget restriction, we will no longer be able to host this testing. If you are interested in having a private Japanese lesson by using on-line tools, use of “ALC Online Japanese School (” may be an option. Although I-HoP will no longer be able to support your Japanese learning financially, we may disseminate information on recommended Japanese learning services.

3. Entry Sheet Preparation

Official job-hunting (SHU-KATSU) season for undergraduate and master course students will start on March 1 with on-campus corporate seminar which is based on the guideline of recruiting, that is mutually agreed between companies and universities.
Companies trying to capture talented PhD students have been actively hiring since last autumn because this activity does not violate the guideline. The first official screening process that you will encounter with is the “Entry Sheet”. This web-based data entry process is the first gateway for your employment application to your target company.
Although most of the companies require entries in Japanese, this seminar will explain the contents in English. Proper representation of yourself onto this document will lead to the next recruiting process which is interview. Learn from the expert who has long been supporting international students trying to enter Japanese companies what the companies expect from the applicant and how best you describe yourself on this Entry Sheet.

Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Time: 15:00 – 16:30
Venue: Mid Campus Open Laboratory #1 (I-HoP Conference Room)
Language: English

To register, please visit and use “Apply” button in the bottom.

4. Quick help for job seekers

Some of you may come close to your graduation. In Japan, unlike any other part of the world, you need to start your job hunting 12 months before your graduation which I have been communicating to you. Nevertheless, some international students still come to our Career Counseling a few weeks before their graduation. One thing I need to remind all of the international students is “Your student Visa will be void upon your graduation, even if it is valid for some extended period”. You have to report to the immigration office as soon as your status is changed, and the graduation definitely is a change of status.
If your economic situation allows you to prolong your stay in Japan, you may apply for extending the staying permission for 6 months for job hunting. Because the type of visa and application for your work permission is closely related, discuss with your administration office staff, officers of immigration services, or I-HoP Career Counseling before graduation.

International Hopefuls #52

International Hopefuls
Issue 52
January, 2019

1. Memo from the Professor

My dear International Students and Researchers,

Happy New Year. Allow me to send this greeting message at the end of December because I want to convey news about events and seminars that will take place early part of the new year. Do you make New Year’s resolution regularly? In the process of management in general, especially in Japan, we use PDCA cycle which stands for Plan, Do, Check and Action. It is proven management process otherwise known as Deming cycle which is considered to be effective for control and continuous improvement. Considering the New Year’s resolution being a Plan, what you have, or have not done through the year is Do. It is good practice to Check what you have accomplished out of your list of new year’s resolution, and more importantly, Check what you did not complete. Then analyze the causes why you did not accomplish the objective and prepare the Action plan which will lead to your next new year’s resolution. The PDCA cycle must be repeated regularly and the review cycle can be short or long. For example, if you set a goal to obtain JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) level N1 in three years from the scratch, plan to achieve N5 or N4 in the first 6 months. Apply the PDCA cycle when you receive the JLPT test result to adjust your study plan. Check the progress regularly so that you can adjust your Do activities soon enough to reach to your objective in a timely manner.

2. Important news on Japanese E-learning

Registration for ALC NetAcademy 2 Japanese E-learning is in progress (12/25/2018-1/17/2019). If you are interested in taking this course, please apply from the link below:

By applying for this course, you will receive an on-line account to access to this E-learning service effective from February 1, 2019 through January 31, 2020. Because ALC will cease from supporting this E-learning service at the end of March, 2020, I-HoP has regretfully decided to discontinue the provision of this free Japanese E-learning service. Therefore, the current registration is the last chance for you to obtain this E-learning account free. If you are already enrolled to the existing 12 months account which may expire sooner than December, 2019, you are not eligible for application this time, and there will be no renewal of your account.
It is regretful that we no longer provide Japanese E-learning program as a part of our service. Please note, however, that there are many free e-learning contents on the web or on TV, some of which are safe, trustworthy and useful. For example, JF Japanese e-learning Minato ( which is operated by the Japan Foundation (an outfit supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is friendly to both the beginners and advanced learners. Doctoral course students who are studying in English may not have enough time to attend Japanese language classes which is available in or outside the campus because most of them require mandatory attendance of a few hours a day. As the language learning requires consistency, it is highly recommendable if you dedicate certain hour(s) a day (like early morning or late in the evening) to concentrate on Japanese learning or practicing in which e-learning can be a practical and flexible media.

3. Entrepreneur Seminar and Events

3.1 How to Launch your Own Business (1/11/2019)
Be your own boss, by creating your business to accomplish what you want to achieve in your life. A new addition to our Transferable Skills Seminar is dealing with “How to launch your own business”. I-HoP is inviting a mentor of many start-up companies and an entrepreneur, Mr. Kazuaki Oda. The seminar is followed by a small party (free) where you can continue your dialogue with the lecturer. Reservation can be made by accessing the following site:

3.2 Japan Business Model Competition (Due at 18:00pm Friday, February 4, 2019)
World largest social business model competition, Hult Prize whose campus level final at Hokkaido University was already held on Saturday, December 15. A similar global competition of university students which is specialized in lean start-up is called IBMC, International Business Model Competition. You may apply directly to this global competition by submitting your presentation by April 1, 2019 to:
A local level competition in Japan for IBMC which is called Japan BMC is also inviting contestants. Japan BMC will be held in Kawasaki city on March 2, 2019. Students applying from outside Tokyo, once selected as a winner, will receive 50,000 yen per team to cover a part of their domestic travel cost. The winning team of the Japan BMC, which is qualified as a Quarterfinalist, will receive full travel expense support by the organizer to join the global competition to be held on May 10 in the US. Registration for the Japan BMC can be made at:
You can make entry and compete in English but the entry form on the web is only in Japanese.

4. New Scholarship Program for Life Science

IGP, International Graduate Program, of Graduate School of Life Science has been awarded by MEXT for recruiting graduate students with scholarship for the following two programs. If you have friends in your home country who might be interested in the life science, please disperse this information.

5. Science Writing Skills & Presentation Skills Seminar for Graduate Students & Young Researchers

There will be two sessions targeted for graduate students and
researchers in both Life Sciences & Medicine, and Natural
Sciences & Engineering. (in English ONLY)
You will be also possible to participate in either one session only.

2019/1/16 Wed
Sci 13:10-16:00、Med 17:30-20:20

Large Auditorium, 2nd Flr. Science Bldg. #5 200 participants
Lecture Room III, 1st Flr. Clinical Medicine Lecture Bldg. Graduate
School of Medicine 100 participants
Graduate students and researchers in both Life Sciences & Medicine, and
Natural Sciences & Engineering.

Session1:Science Writing Skills
*13:10-14:40 (Sci) / 17:30-19:00 (Med)
Session2:Presentation Skills
*15:00-16:00 (Sci) / 19:20-20:20 (Med)