“Tokyo Kodai” or Life As A Student at Tokyo Tech.

It’s been a couple weeks since I’ve begun my life as a student of Tokyo Tech, or as the locals call it, “Tokyo Kodai”, and I’m loving every second of it. Some of my enthusiasm may stem from the fact that I haven’t began any real school work yet, but I’m hoping my feelings will remain the same as my work load gets heavier.

The first couple days after moving into my dorm in Aobadai consisted of the usual (excuse my bluntness) boring, but important protocols including paperwork and orientations. After settling in, I visited my supervisor for the year, professor Junji Hirota. By the end of the year, I will have completed a research project under the guidance of professor Hirota and will have to write up my research and present it to complete the YSEP program. The Hirota Lab’s research focuses on various aspects of the olfactory system in mice. I will go into detail about the various research being conducted in lab in a later blog after I become more familiar with everyone’s work.
Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying members of the lab to the 45th annual JASTS convention which was held in Kanazawa. Twelve people (myself included) from the lab went to the conference and 6 people presented their current research. Here is a picture of Yutaro and Hidefumi presenting their posters.

Professor Hirota also gave a lecture about his current work. I would like to say I learned a lot from the numerous lectures I attended in the three days, but my Japanese vocabulary is lacking (especially when it comes to science!) and it was very hard to understand most presentations. However, most lecturers had some English written on their slides so I was sometimes able to follow along. The conference ended at noon on the third day, so we took the opportunity to explore the area. Before doing any site seeing we had lunch at the local fish market. The sashimi was amazingly delicious and the dish was beautifully crafted.

We first headed to Kenroku-en, one of the three “great gardens” of Japan. It was incredibly beautiful and well kept. It was so beautiful, in fact, that I was half motivated to go back to my dorm and begin trimming bonsai trees, but realized that was way too much work and instead appreciated the immediate allure that surrounded me. After the garden we visited a modern art museum nearby. I was mostly thrilled to visit the museum solely on the fact that they had an exhibit that I’ve seen on the Internet. Maybe you’ve seen it too, take a look…..

Afterwards, our group rented two vans and headed towards Ishikawa to the house of the late grandfather of a member of our lab, Ryosuke. The house was empty at the time so we were able to have fun and be as loud as we wanted without causing gomewaku (trouble) to anyone. We feasted on sashimi, nabe (soup with lots of vegetables, mushrooms, meat, and crab), some fried food, and of course, beer and sake.