Berlin Tomonkai

About the Berlin Tomonkai

This is a very casual group, so there is no chairman. The number of members is about 10 people. With these members we started to organize activities in January 2013. When the vice president and other people related to Waseda University came to Berlin at the end of January in 2014, we hosted a meeting. We hope to host meetings when the Study Abroad Fairs take place in Berlin.



The attractive points of Berlin

It has been 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall which influenced the world greatly. This city that used to be at the forefront of the Cold War has gone through many dramatic changes. Many of the political functions are in Berlin as it is the capital of Germany, and the music, theater and art culture is one of the best in all of Europe.

Although Berlin is the largest city in Germany with a population of 35,000,000 people, the population density is just right. There are many forests and lakes in the country side, and even at the center of the city, there is a lot of green, so it is easy to forget that you are in a city. The only disadvantage is that the airlines do not offer direct flights to and from Tokyo.

The city was not originally commercial or financial so there aren’t many Japanese companies, but in Berlin, there is a great mix of the eclectic city and the relaxing country side, so a wide range of people who settle in Berlin can have a good time living there. Berlin is obviously still very special even if your visit is only a few days long.
Masato Nakamura (Graduated in 2000, School of Humanities and Social Sciences )


Remains of the Berlin Wall. The Wall once stood over the stone pavement on the street.

Brandenburg Gate

Messages from the Members

Almost a year has passed since I have started to work at the Japanese Embassy in Germany. Every day I learn something new, as I work with a variety of people, including government officials, using my awkward German. There are frustrating moments, but I feel this is the best part about cross-cultural exchange. I think that because I have my Tomonkai members I am able to think in such a positive manner.
Ryosuke Ando(Graduated in 2003, School of Law)


The Embassy of Japan and cherry blossoms

I initially came to Berlin thinking I was going to study abroad there for 1 or 2 years. It has been 13 years since. Before I knew it, I had been spending almost one third of my life here, and it has become my second home. It is because I have completely moved to a different country I am able to appreciate the greatness of the Waseda University network now. I hope that the Berlin Tomonkai continues for a long time.
Masato Nakamura (Graduated in 2000, School of Humanities and Social Sciences.)

I have been living in Berlin since I decided to study abroad here when I was in graduate school. I have been living here for a while now, but I have been seeing friends from Waseda from time to time. I have been lucky to have shared many rare experiences with not only researchers from Waseda, but the current vice president, and the two successive presidents too, who were on business trips to Berlin to participate in academic conferences and various meetings. There was a time when I was walking around the central station in Berlin, where someone asked me whether I was a student at Waseda. When I looked up, I saw my professor of one of my required courses in my first year of university. I was honored that he remembered me although years had passed after my graduation.

Waseda University is known world-wide. In Germany, Haruki Murakami’s novel has been a best seller for years. When I mentioned Waseda University at a home party, many people were shocked and intrigued, asking: “You went to the same school as Haruki Murakami?!” “Did you spend a campus life like the one in ‘Norwegian Wood’?”

In Berlin, since 2013, Waseda University hosts Study Abroad Fairs. I hope to give back to my old school one day in any possible way I can.
Tomoko Shioda(Graduated in 1995, School of Commerce; Graduated in 1999, Graduate School
of Commerce)


A press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Germany in April, 2014

Message to Current Students

Recently I had the chance to speak with a Japanese journalist about what Japan is like currently, in Berlin. I left Japan to live abroad more than 10 years ago, but he told me that since then the Japanese has lost confidence in our country. Our country used to be the only country in Asia that had an existence that could be compared to Western countries. However, now, economically we are behind China, and have been caught up by South Korea. With regards to diplomacy and foreign affairs, East Asia has a great tension between them. Many young people decide to stay in Japan and not explore other countries, and they seem to have lost confidence in themselves.

There are many ways to look at the situation, so there is no guarantee that this assumption is true. However, if there are students that feel the same way about current Japan, I would like to tell them to be more confident. I feel like this is something you learn once you are outside of Japan, but there are many foreigners that respect and love Japan. There are many westerners that are interested in the beauty of the Japanese language, the depth of our culture, and recently the young generation is interested in Japanese pop culture.

With all that said, I understand that University is a time where students are most confused and anxious, and this may cause a lack of confidence. In times like those, I think it is ok to be lost, and be confused. I also think it is a good idea to step out of your comfort zone and travel abroad. Whether it is a trip, a study abroad program, or a Working Holiday, when you step foot outside Japan, there are many chances to learn about new cultures. I personally had a lot of great experiences, but there were some experiences that made me sad. There are many obstacles when it comes to going abroad, but what you gain in the end outweighs the troubles and will be of great value to you.
Tomoko Shioda(Graduated in 1995, School of Commerce; Graduated in 1999, Graduate School of Commerce)

List of Overseas Branches/
Overseas Tomonkai/
Overseas Tomonkai
Japanese Branches

Overseas Branches
Alumni Association in China / Alumni Association in Korea / Alumni Association in Taiwan
Overseas Tomonkai
Asia
Bangalore Tomonkai / Bangkok Tomonkai / Beijing Tomonkai / Cambodia Tomonkai /
Dalian Tomonkai / Hanoi Tomonkai / Hong Kong Tomonkai / India Tomonkai /
Jakarta Tomonkai / Kanan (South China) Tomonkai / Malaysia Tomonkai / Manila Tomonkai / Mumbai Tomonkai / Myanmar Tomonkai / Saigon Tomonkai / Seoul Tomonkai / Shanghai Tomonkai / Singapore Tomonkai / Suzhou Tomonkai / Taipei Tomonkai / Ulan Bator Tomonkai
Oceania
Brisbane Tomonkai / Melbourne Tomonkai / Perth Tomonkai / Sydney Tomonkai
North America
Boston Tomonkai / Chicago Tomonkai / Georgia Tomonkai / Hawaii Tomonkai / Los Angeles Tomonkai / Michigan Tomonkai / New York Tomonkai / San Francisco Tomonkai / Seattle Tomonkai / Toronto Tomonkai / Vancouver Tomonkai / Greater Washington Tomonkai
Central and South America
Brazil Tomonkai / Chile Tomonkai / Lima Tomonkai / Mexico Tomonkai
Europe
Belgium Tomonkai / Berlin Tomonkai / Denmark Tomonkai / Dusseldorf Tomonkai /
Frankfurt Tomonkai / Geneva Tomonkai / Moscow Tomonkai / Netherlands Tomonkai / Paris Tomonkai / Stockholm Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai
Middle East
Abu Dhabi Tomonkai / Qatar Tomonkai / Tehran Tomonkai
Africa
Egypt Tomonkai / Johannesburg Tomonkai / Kenya Tomonkai
Overseas Tomonkai Japanese Branches
Bangkok Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Beijing Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Dusseldorf Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Gaoxiong Tomonkai Alumni Association / Hanoi Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Jakarta Tomonkai Alumni Association / Los Angeles Tomonkai Japan / New York Tomonkai Tokyo Branch /
Paris Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Saigon Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Shanghai Tomonkai Tokyo Branch / Singapore Tomonkai Japanese Branch / Tokyo Brazil Tomonkai / Tokyo Hong Kong Tomonkai / Tokyo Melbourne Tomonkai / UK Tomonkai Tokyo Branch