Sadly, it seems as I get further into my Doctor's course for my P.H.D. I have less and less time to do interesting things. Also, since my scholarship money ended in March of 2014, financially I have been unable to travel or go places as easily as I use to. So, I apologize to the few readers of my blog if you have been waiting anxiously for me to post something... but unless you would like to hear about the hours I spend doing experiments, or crocheting at home, there is just not much to report. So, in this post, I will summarize what I did most of the summer.
In June, the school semester is starting to end, as classes will be finishing so students can prepare for their final exams in July. The Engineering department always has undergraduate juniors (3rd year students) come tour the various departments during this time period. This is so when undergraduate students enter their senior year (4th year) of undergraduate school they can go ahead and enter the laboratory of their choosing. 'Laboratory' in this sense doesn't necessarily mean research or science experiments, but rather the group of students and Professors a student will be studying with when they enter Graduate school. I think this is a good system if a student intends to enter Graduate level at the same school, but it's often difficult for them to choose a good laboratory. So, to help these students the Engineering Department holds a 'nomikai' to have the students introduce their own labs. The combination of alcohol and showmanship can often have a comical result.
During this time period, I held an 'English Nomikai' at a local pub in order to promote Japanese students and International students to interact. There are very few events provided by the school to promote this kind of interaction, so I usually try to make one or two parties a year to help this. The owner of the restaurant where we held the event at is also an English teacher, so she was very supportive in allowing us to have this party at her business. While we didn't have the best turn-out, the few people who did come seemed to have a very good time. We played several easy word games and finished off with a classic game of Charades, or in Japan it is known as the 'Gesture Game'.
In July, most of the students are in examination season, so the laboratory was nearly empty. I did most of my experimentation during this time period, so I wasn't expecting to do much during the month of July. However, one of Japanese friends had a request that was rather interesting: "Jane, do you want to be in a fashion show?" There was a yukata (summer kimono) fashion show happening in the second week of July. My friend was participating, but some of the girls who were also supposed to be part of this show dropped out suddenly, so he was short two members. He asked one other Taiwanese girl, and me to help him out in his yukata show 'skit'. I agreed, but I severely misjudged how complex this show was! I was thinking something rather informal, since the whole event is organized by college students. However, this was not the case! This was a very well-planned professional event, and lasted nearly 8-hours from start to finish. Also, my friend, was dressing as a girl in this show, and not as a boy! Sadly, I think he was probably the most cute out of the group... can you guess which one he is?
Hopefully my next post about my vacation in Yakushima will be posted shortly! Thanks for waiting!