Dusseldorf Tomonkai

About the Dusseldorf Tomonkai

Currently, the Dusseldorf Tomonkai has 120 members. Our main activities include a new year’s party, Waseda-Keio softball and golf competitions, as well as BBQs. We have not been able to get together during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet younger members have regularly organized online drinking parties. Please contact us if you are ever in Dusseldorf.
Yusuke Kurihara (Graduated in 2010, International Liberal Studies)


Beat Keio in the annual softball game in 2018!

The attractive points of Dusseldorf

More than 600 Japanese companies are based in Dusseldorf and about 7,000 Japanese people live in this city of 600,000 or so inhabitants. In the district around Immermann Street, which is also called “Little Tokyo,” Japanese companies and stores stand side by side. During the lunch period on weekdays, the area looks like Shimbashi, and on Saturdays, Japan devotees visit the area from all over Europe. In recent years, snacks and lunch boxes inspired by anime and manga characters, have been hugely popular. Dusseldorf is the capital of the most populous German state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, and the economic city that is home to a nationally loved mustard brand, and the Henkel brand, whose haircare products are also available in Japan.

One of the must-see attractions is the Old Town where one can stroll along the cobblestone streets to the “longest bar counter in Europe.” In Germany, which is a major beer-producing nation, different cities produce different types of beer. A typical style in Dusseldorf is stand-by drinking while ordering another small glass (200 ml) of dark brown Altbier. Waiters go back and forth between customers with a tray full of freshly-poured glasses of beer in one hand and busily exchange empty glasses for filled ones.

Another attraction is the carnival. Although it is less well-known than those in Rio de Janeiro or Venice, the Dusseldorf Carnival celebrates the fifth season following the four seasons and people celebrate by dressing up as they wish. In addition to the traditional clown or medieval-style costumes, recently an increasing number of people have been dressing up as modern anime and game characters. Numerous festival floats, themed on current event topics and political satire, are constructed to highlight current events and seasonal themes.

With its traditions, economic development, and ‘Japan in Europe’ tourist attraction, Dusseldorf will always remain a unique city.

Hisako Inomata (Graduated in 1993, School of LiteratureⅠ)


The Rhine and streets in Dusseldorf

Carnival floats moving along the streets

Message from the Chairperson

Regrettably, a Japanese restaurant which we often used in the past for our new year’s party, closed its doors at the end of May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. It was a legendary shop that had been loved for more than 40 years by Japanese people living in Dusseldorf and other cities. It was at this restaurant that our new year’s party started in the evening on the last Saturday of January, and old residents and newcomers met and mingled with each other. After about three hours of partying, when we sang the three school songs, “Waseda no Eiko (The Glory of Waseda),” Konpeki no Sora “(Deep Blue Sky),” and “Waseda’s alma mater,” we always felt fortunate to be Waseda alumni.

We are connected based only on some common backgrounds: Waseda University and Dusseldorf, yet more than 1,500 alumni have joined the Tomonkai as of last year’s 51st new year’s party. Most of the Japanese (and their families) living in Dusseldorf are expatriates and so, as might be expected, their first priority includes their work responsibilities, but once away from their job, the presence of the Tomonkai is truly appreciated. Our learning and other enjoyable activities at Waseda have helped us to find even new people more approachable. Friendly relationships overseas are exceptionally valuable.

I sincerely hope that the Dusseldorf Tomonkai will remain the spiritual home inspired by an enterprising spirit.
Hiroshi Fujita (Graduated in 1974, School of Social Sciences)

Messages from the Members

As might be expected because of the sheer number of Japanese companies operating here, the Dusseldorf Tomonkai has many members. As a result, I can meet people from various companies and of different generations, whom I could not usually meet in Japan, purely because I am a Waseda graduate. Seven years have passed since I came here but I have not felt homesick thanks to the Tomonkai, which provides a very valuable place for me to come and relax during my assignment.
Shogo Momota (Graduated in 2010, International Liberal Studies)

Initially, I was nervous when I attended my first Tomonkai gathering, but its warm and fun-filled atmosphere quickly made me feel at home. Since many of the members are expatriates, we often see replacements while, in turn, we are always meeting new people. The Tomonkai broadens my network, which I very much appreciate.
Hayato Hobo (Graduated in 2012, School of Commerce)

Tomonkai’s gatherings are always relaxing and I love its friendly atmosphere. I can get a lot out of meeting people of various ages and I am very grateful for such opportunities. Getting together with alumni in a foreign country far from Japan is both inspiring and relaxing, making me appreciate the broad and deep network of Waseda alumni.
Shohei Kameyama (Graduated in 2012, School of Commerce)

In Dusseldorf, I can drink with Tomonkai members as if I were in Takadanobaba, which, even in my late 30s, makes me feel as though I have traveled back to my school days. I am looking forward very much to going out and getting a beer as we did before, as soon as the lockdown is lifted!
Momoko Endo (Graduated in 2014, School of Law)

In the early days of my assignment here in Dusseldorf, I felt despondent as I had no acquaintances and so I joined the Tomonkai. I remember that I felt very relaxed upon seeing many people of different generations and from different fields getting together and laughing with each other just because we graduated from the same university. Meeting Tomonkai members wherever I am makes me feel as if I could go back to the days in Takadanobaba. It’s a wonderful fellowship to have.!
Hanako Uzawa (Graduated in 2016, School of Political Science and Economics)


Organizing members who met in June 2020 after the lockdown is lifted

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 / Dubai 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