Abu Dhabi Tomonkai

About the Abu Dhabi Tomonkai

Abu Dhabi Tomonkai was inaugurated on October 29th, 2014 with the aim of promoting exchange and friendship among members, encouraging further development across all existing Waseda Tomonkais and its alumni associations, and contributing to the local society in Abu Dhabi. Currently, Mr. Shunsuke Ubukata is the Chairman, and there are 29 members in all, 27 of which are male and 2 are female.

The special characteristics of Abu Dhabi Tomonkai are that, as Abu Dhabi is the second largest exporter of oil to Japan, about 80% of the members of Abu Dhabi Tomonkai are working for oil exploration companies; about 70% graduated from the School of Science and Engineering; and about 30% have master’s degrees. Having lived in Abu Dhabi as representatives of their companies more than once, many members have stayed in Abu Dhabi for more than 10 years in total. It is no exaggeration to say that the members of Abu Dhabi Tomonkai are playing a role in Japan’s stable procurement of energy.

We are planning to do what little we can to support Waseda which has just started to recruit international students from Abu Dhabi. We believe that in a general meeting a few years ahead, Waseda alumni working in a dusty, red-hot, above-water, remote oil field whose temperature could reach 50 degrees centigrade in the summertime will be singing “Miyako No Seihoku” with Waseda alumni from Abu Dhabi. We hope to make Abu Dhabi Tomonkai an association which shines like the countless stars in the sky above the desert.
Tetsuya Fukuoka (Graduated in 1983, School of Science and Engineering)

Inauguration Ceremony

The attractive points of Abu Dhabi

I will introduce to you, from the standpoint of an expatriate, three attractive points of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). First of all, Abu Dhabi is safe and its political situation is very stable. Due to the policy implemented by the former ruler of Abu Dhabi (concurrently the Founding President of the UAE from 1971 to 2004) His Highness Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which places importance on blending different tribes and fair distribution of wealth, Abu Dhabi is safe and politically stable enough for a woman to walk alone at night. Furthermore, the Abu Dhabi city is full of greenery.

Secondly, I would like to mention its natural beauty including the endless desert and the starry sky. In order to enjoy the deserts like the local people here, you should drive a 4WD on your own, enjoy the gradation of the color of the sand dunes which changes from white to red, and end the day enjoying a campfire under the starry sky. You will also enjoy rescuing stuck cars together with your friends.

Thirdly, I would like to mention the kindness of the local people in the UAE. They are even more loyal and warm-hearted than Japanese, and are willing to help any time regardless of nationality, especially when it comes to small children. Because Abu Dhabi is safe and its people are kind to children as I have explained above, it is an idealistic environment for a young family to raise small children. Please come to Abu Dhabi to see this for yourself!
Yoshiyuki Hyakutake(Graduated in 1980, School of Science and Engineering)

Driving a 4WD in the Desert

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Message from the Chairman

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven emirates that consist the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in terms of the size of its land and economy. Furthermore, the city of Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE. Abu Dhabi is supported by its rich natural resources such as oil and natural gas, which account for about 60% of the GDP of the UAE. The largest importer of its crude oil is Japan.

At Abu Dhabi, Japanese, with whom Abu Dhabi does a lot of business, are regarded very highly because of the widely-known fact that Japanese people are generally diligent and orderly, and that Japanese industrial products are mythically reliable. Recently, such reputation is becoming even higher, as the orderliness of Japanese people at the affected area of the Great East Japan Earthquake has become well-known.

By the way, the Japanese School in Abu Dhabi has accepted children from the UAE since seven years ago at the request of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. My modest dream is that in the future, some of such children will go to Waseda to study and will become a member of Abu Dhabi Tomonkai after graduating.
Shunsuke Ubukata(Graduated in 1976, School of Law)

Messages from the Members

At the end of the 1980’s, I was in London for my first overseas assignment. The U.K. Tomonkai was established then, and I attended the first general meeting there. I remember that Ms. Toshiko Marks and the then manager of the Rugby Club Mr. Hiroshi Hibino gave memorial lectures. A quarter of a century has passed since then. I was very impressed to be given the opportunity to witness the establishment of Abu Dhabi Tomonkai. Unlike England, Abu Dhabi is not yet very familiar to people other than some of those working in certain industries. However, I would like to make Abu Dhabi Tomonkai a very active group in cooperation with other members.
Yosuke Ueda(Graduated in 1981, School of Commerce)

For twelve years after I was assigned to Abu Dhabi in 2002, I have been involved in the generation of power and water here. Although Japan is the second largest importer of oil from Abu Dhabi now, twelve years ago, investment from Japan was almost entirely directed to the projects involving LNG. However, at present, out of the nine projects for generating power and water in Abu Dhabi, Japanese companies have invested in seven, and have been operating plants to generate power and water. Thus Japanese companies are contributing in Abu Dhabi to the stable supply of electricity and of water generated by converting sea water to fresh water.
Michio Hayashibara (Graduated in 1981, School of Political Science and Economics)

Many people would have the image that the Middle East is a male-oriented society. Here in the UAE, this is not true. As the people are rich, they hire maids to do the housework, and both parents work. As the western culture has spread to the region, women are not discriminated in the workplace, and I sometimes feel that the UAE is even more advanced than Japan. However, many women are modest, and usually such characteristics are highly regarded. I think Abu Dhabi is a place where Japanese women will feel more comfortable working in than the western countries where people are usually more self-assertive.
Miho Uchida (Graduated in 2001, School of Science and Engineering)

Although exchanging various information with people in other industries is very exciting, in the resources-rich Abu Dhabi, many members of its Tomonkai majored in the fields related to resources in the School of Science and Engineering at Waseda. The members may be great seniors, friends of my friends whom I had seen on the same floor at Waseda, or juniors I had seen during my training periods. In a place so far away from Japan, you may unexpectedly find your psychological distances with other members shrink. At first, you will be talking about the things that interested you, the places you went out to eat, or popular sports played by university students while you were at Waseda. However, recently we sometimes talk about raising children, and I can’t help feeling that time has passed.
Fumitoshi Sato(Graduated in 2003, School of Science and Engineering)

New Year’s Party

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