Welcome to a 3-part series, highlighting Karthik Rampalli's life. For those who didn't read Part I about Karthik Rampalli's arrival in Japan, or his experiences at Tokyo Institute of Technology, check out this article. If you are interested in learning more about Karthik's experiences of co-founding the MEXT Scholars Association (MSA), working at various part-time jobs and internships, and organizing 5 TEDx events and 1 Hackathon, then read Part II.
Now get ready to learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan and the benefits that come from it, and his overall appreciation and gratitude to those who helped him achieve everything he has accomplished thus far, as well as the MEXT Scholarship. And finally, learn some important clues to help make the best use of various opportunities in Japan.
In Part III, you will learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan, the benefits that come from it, and Karthik's overall appreciation and gratitude to those who helped him achieve everything he has accomplished thus far, as well as the MEXT Scholarship. And finally, learn some important clues to help make the best use of various opportunities in Japan.
Now let's learn more about Karthik's experiences of co-founding the MEXT Scholars Association (MSA), working at various part-time jobs and internships, and organizing 5 TEDx events and 1 Hackathon.
Welcome to a 3-part series, highlighting Karthik Rampalli's life. In Part II to learn more about Karthik's experiences of co-founding the MEXT Scholars Association (MSA), working at various part-time jobs and internships, and organizing 5 TEDx events and 1 Hackathon.
Then in Part III, you will learn about Karthik's perspective on living in Japan and the benefits that come from it, and Karthik's overall appreciation and gratitude to those who helped him achieve everything he has accomplished thus far, as well as the MEXT Scholarship. And finally, learn some important clues to help make the best use of various opportunities in Japan.
Now, let's get started on Karthik's experience of moving to Japan, diligently studying Japanese for 1 year of intensive studies, and obtaining acceptance into Tokyo Tech's Department of Information Engineering.
When Katrina Navallo first arrived in Japan in April 2016 from the Philippines with a laundry list of tasks to accomplish, such as setting up a Japan Post Office bank account, moving into her new dorm room, and starting an Intensive Japanese Language program through the MEXT Scholarship program for 5 months at Kyoto University, she had no expectations of what was to come her way.
With a wealth of diverse experiences ranging from consulting for the Asian Development Bank and Civika, a local NPO to working in the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines, Katrina Navallo was ready to embark on a fresh new challenge — one that would take her to Japan to research about migrant workers in the social sciences field at Kyoto University. But it wasn’t without challenges. In fact, she was initially rejected in her first attempt to earn the prestigious Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship.Through grit and determination, she studied how to earn the MEXT Scholarship, and crafted a winning application the following year.
After learning about her acceptance, Katrina took an enormous risk by packing her bags, saying 'goodbye' to loved ones, and moving to Japan with close to 0, Japanese language skills. All of this was done, to pursue her dream of earning a Ph.D. in the Graduate School of Asian and African Studies at Kyoto University, in a topic that she was truly passionate about.
When I visited back in June of this year prior to their official launch in August 2017, I was fortunate enough to receive a sneak preview from one of the owners — Takuji — an extremely warm, friendly, and open-minded owner. With his business partners — Onur and Amelia, the trio collaborated and designed an immaculate guesthouse called Guest House Hachi with spectacular decor.
Pouring their hearts and souls into establishing the business, the trio often worked long hours and often into the middle of the night to launch this guest house in time for its grand opening this year. Not only did I witness the result of their combined efforts to transform a traditional town house (or 町家 / まちや）into an impeccably-designed guest house in Kyoto, but I also received such a warm welcome that I couldn’t wait to publish an Instagram story about it.
Happy New Year! As we all bask in the wonderful holiday season, full of good cheer and slightly larger waistbands, we may begin to think about our New Year's Resolutions. As such, I felt like this article would potentially spark some revitalized or brand-new interest in trying to eat less meat this year. Or some readers may do something more dramatic — attempting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for an entire year. Regardless, I hope this article teaches you something new.
As part of a final presentation at Kyoto University, our group presented about the environmental impact of the meat industry. We wrapped up our presentation by sharing our key recommendations to create a more sustainable world. We did our best to answer this question:
While there are many types of Japanese-style salads that are readily available in Japan, one of the first things that I truly missed are San Francisco-style salads. In the bay area, you can easily obtain enormous, customizable salads with nuts, protein, vegetables, fruits, and even grains at places such as Sweetgreen. One of my personal favorites is a warm, friendly café called Crepevine that serves a hearty Bangkok Thai Chicken Salad with peanuts and a piece of bread on the side. On my recent trip back home, I went to this café at least 3 times with my family.
After hours upon hours of preparing and practicing the presentation, I finally presented the following speech about “My Future Aspirations” to an audience of over 50 people, including the local mayor. The Women for World Peace (WFWP) NGO organized a half day of festivities for us, replete with a sushi bento for lunch, two spectacular performances, an awards ceremony, and light dessert with the judges at the end.
"An Introduction to Silicon Valley's Landscape and Top Companies" was prepared to cater to a Japanese audience. Last week, I presented this in Japanese to Kyoto University undergraduate students.
In Japan, we receive very little news and updates about the latest in Silicon Valley technologies. As such, the purpose of this presentation was an overview of the captivating facts and fundamental information that everyone should know.
Originally, I built my website as a portfolio of what I planned to accomplish, if I were fortunate enough to earn the Monbukagakusho MEXT Scholarship. Fortunately, I did receive the scholarship, and decided to make this an online resource for Japanese women who are thinking about starting their own business. And now, it's evolved into a collection of inspirational stories of Japanese female entrepreneurs, plus my musings of living abroad as an expat in Kyoto!
World-class organizations are those that strive on a daily basis to make a positive impact on the lives of others, no matter how large. As such, the most important factor in order to become a world-class organization is the company’s leadership, as demonstrated by Google, Wantedly, and Kyocera.
Happy 8th Month Anniversary, Julie Taeko! Congratulations on lasting this long!
Even more importantly, congratulations to all of my fellow MEXT scholars and friends, who have also surmounted many obstacles, made peace with the そこびえ “penetrating cold” winters, securedアルバイト or “part-time jobs,” located barebones apartments for relatively inexpensive prices, navigated the bureaucracy of the Japanese government, discovered the most delicious restaurants for reasonable prices around town, traveled all over Japan and to nearby countries, made friends with people from literally all over the world, and most importantly, uncovered ways to truly enjoy living in Kyoto, Japan!
I’ve been taking advantage of every opportunity available to me such as visiting Taipei for Christmas with Mariko Fukui, attending yoga classes entirely in Japanese, running along the river, attending entrepreneur related events, visiting my aunts and uncle in Osaka, and literally saying “yes” to almost every opportunity that came my way. After all, I am here to learn — about Japanese female entrepreneurs, economics & business, the Japanese language, the culture, traditions, and history!
By searching Abe Hiroshi’s name in Netflix, I discovered a TV show called アットホーム・ダッド, or “At Home Dad” by Fuji TV. And of course, this show immediately sparked my interest. After all, I am researching female entrepreneurship and empowerment in Japan.
One of my first “adventures” living in Kyoto was deciphering the mesmerizingly complex trash dispensing system. No, it’s not as straightforward as “trash” versus “recycling.” Instead, there’s at least 6 different ways to separate trash. Not only do you have to learn what exactly goes into a “プラ” or plastic bag, but you also have to clean the interior of all items such as bento boxes, almond butter cans, used natto containers, etc. Most places even require you to remember what days specific types of trash can be thrown out.
What’s It Like to Ride on a Night Bus? The Essential Guide for Traveling Overnight in Japan.
Towards the end of June, I rode my first overnight yakkou bus in Japan. Although many Kyoto University students ride this inexpensive type of bus for long-distance travel, very few will recommend it. As such, I asked around, read an online blog, and figured out how I could make it the best experience possible. After all, I relish new experiences and this was most definitely, a unique experience.
Without a doubt, I am thrilled to be working in Tokyo for a Japanese startup called PhoneAppli, a company that specializes in cloud collaboration technology. I mean…how cool is that? All of my core passions are combined into this experience, as I love to learn and experience new things, and I absolutely adore the technology environment.
One of my dreams was to live and work abroad. Thus, I applied for the MEXT Monbukagakusho Scholarship. I am writing this with the hope that it will be valuable for future MEXT scholars, and anyone who is seeking to pursue a graduate degree in another country.
If you are planning to visit the Hall of the Great Vow (HoGV), please secure a Letter of Introduction from your home country’s SGI office. Otherwise, you won’t be able to visit.
Thanks to my mother’s advice, I went straight to the Josei Toda Center from Shinanomachi Station to receive my ticket for the HoGV around 10:30 am — quite early. You never how crowded the HoGV may be that day, so it’s best to go earlier than later to secure your ticket!
This is my first blog post entirely in Japanese. It was a presentation about the current status of female empowerment and leadership in Japan. I made in front of about 20 people, including professors, for my final MEXT Intensive Language Program. As such, it includes furigana for difficult words.Enjoy!
Looking for a way to de-stress, or just want to discover more places around Kyoto? Then, hike this awesome Daimoji trail. Although it’s not as clearly marked as trails in America, these pictures should help you find your way.
Unbeknownst to us, the Kansai Soka Schools' leaders had planned an exceptional experience, one befit for royalty. Although we arrived 30 minutes early, we were immediately welcomed by the Kansai Soka School’s Principal, President, and English-Japanese translator / teacher. After taking the customary photos with the magnificent building and burly lion statue, we received an extensive tour of the school’s museum.
Ever since coming to Japan, I’ve been cooking breakfast and dinner on most days. That way, I can eat healthy foods that I love and save a bit of money. Thankfully, I adore the food here. It’s healthy, mostly gluten free (except the ubiquitous soy sauce condiment and most noodles), and contained in well-designed packages.
Living abroad in any country is needless to say, difficult. Besides the obvious cultural, language, and social differences, there are a multitude of unspoken rules in Japan, four of which I’ve listed below.
First off, the care and attention given to new members is outstanding. Of course, I can't speak for everyone, but my experience thus far, has been superb. Last week, my mom visited a local Soka Gakkai International (SGI) center, and informed them about how I wanted to attend meetings, and that I would be living in Kyoto for two years. That same night, a woman called me at my dorm and invited me to a local Buddhist block meeting the following week. I gladly accepted the invite!
As a graduate of political economy at UC Berkeley and a proud marketer at three startups since college, I would like to conduct a cross-cultural analysis of female entrepreneurship in Tokyo and Silicon Valley. The hub of technology innovation, Silicon Valley is making the world a more connected place. Simultaneously, Japan is moving towards becoming a more global society,increasing the number of women in the workforce, and developing a healthier entrepreneurial environment.