The first and second week of July has been a very precious and unforgettable memories in my life. Being born in a family with heaps of educational experience always inspire me to encounter one. I always want to reap as much benefit as possible from more advanced educational system in other countries. I was curious about how most young-adults who go abroad can engage an independent life in an unfamiliar country and transform their experience to a distinctive decent traits.
So I was overjoyed when finally I could start my journey in the National Institute of Physiological Science (NIPS) Internship of The Graduate Univesity for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), Japan. I was chosen to be one of the 20 Interns from all over the globe to participate in the NIPS Internship Program 2014, it was totally a blessing! If you want to know more about NIPS Internship program, click here.
In my case, I chose to do the internship in the Membrane Physiology Laboratory on July 1st-16th, 2014, because it was holiday period for me. This is really versatile! Because the interns can choose when they want to conduct the internship and what laboratories they desire (with some agreement between the NIPS comittee and the professor), I didn’t meey many interns on my visit, but I met one Thailand graduate students from other laboratory.
So what did I do? Basically I spent most of my time doing experiments in the lab. Everyday from Monday to Friday, I did experiments from 9 in the morning until around 6. The topics I dealt with were based on cell and molecular biology concepts and the techniques used are more or less the same as what I’ve learned in my first year in Microbiology. But of course, I learned so much new things! In term of the topics, it was completely new and advanced for me, it was a post-graduate level knowledge. My Sensei’s, Fukata Masaki Sensei, and his Associate Professor (also his wife^^), Fukata Yuko Sensei, are investigating the mechanism of synaptic plasticity and neurological diseases such as epilepsy in the lab, and they also focus on protein palmitoylation, a posttranslational lipid modification. They discovered the palmitoylating enzyme back in 2004! It was a really noble discovery because it is really useful and promising for neurological sciences and also other cell and molecular biology fields. They are really something! …I mean someone(s) XD
Anyway, this is my activity in the lab during my internship;
I used a very sophisticated equipments and instrument. There were Western Blotting Developer (the lab has their own dark room to exposed their result, how great! If you understand Western Blotting you know why this is amazing), Confocal Microscopy, and Superresolution STED Microscope which can distinguished up to 1 nm separated pixels, and not just the big instruments that astonished me; every details and the arrangement in the lab are so COOL! Like magnetic-protocol-holder, a trusty clean bench, assorted buffers solutions that you can easily take like water, coolers that can hold samples until -80 degree C, antibodies to colour cells or organeles, one-time-use pipets, fancy timers, many types of well boxes for cell cultures, incubators, coverslips until nail polishers to fix our samples. Just take a look of their lab below. I am sure a science student will soon feel really comfortable working here, guaranteed!
And this is me working in the lab!^^
I worked with the supervision of Masaki Sensei and Yuko Sensei. They were like my parents in Japan, because not only they taught me patiently regarding my work, they also care about my well-being. I talked about many topics in the lab with Masaki Sensei, not just about the experiments, but also about his opinions about everything, about important choices in our life, about his education, about his experienced and so on. I am so admired by Masaki Sensei’s dilligence and disciplines. And with Yuko Sensei, she’s like a very hard-working person, and she’s very witty, meticulous and kind to me. She’s quick and very open-minded, she shared many advices for me and I really grateful for that
Everyday was very precious for me. Besides learning new concepts and experienced the working atmosphere in the lab, I also befriend all the lab members; Tatsuro-san, Atsushi-san, Yokoi-san, Watanabe-san, Suzuki-san, and Takahashi-san. They were all really nice! My baggage was delayed during my first four days in Japan, but God nurtured me through them. Watanabe-san and Suzuki-san, who were mothers, gave me several of their outgrown clothes for me, in the end they gave me a bunch of cute Japanese things, uuuuu >….
We also went together outside the city, to Tokoname and Minami-chita, on my second weekend! How memorable, and I enjoyed the trip very much! I will tell more about my trips in Japan on the next post!
One of the lab member that I met the most was Tatsuro Murakami. Tatsuro-san was the first NIPS graduate student whom I met on my first day in Japan, on the International Conference between NIPS and Korean Students. Ever since that day, he introduced me to many Japanese students from other laboratories and also their Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors.. all of them! Because of that I acquintanced many kind people, so I always have friends everyday. Tatsuro-san also tried his best to make my weekend in Japan became superb! On my first weekend, I, together with Tatsuro and Shimizu Sensei (Assistant Professor from other lab) visited Japanese countryside located realtively nearby, and on Sunday I with Tatsuro-san visited Inuyama and Nagoya, and also met his friends in Nagoya and we had very good times there.
Oh! I almost forget to mention that I also met several international students, all of them are from the neighbouring campus of the same institute (NIPS); I met Farehan from Singapore, Eulalia from India, and Ani/Dwi from Indonesia! Masaki Sensei and Yuko Sensei initiated this encounter at first, so I thanked them very much for this also. We shared a really good chat-time, talking about international students’ life in Japan, struggling in doing research, thinking about our future, giving really good and serious advices, thus making precious moments on my last days in NIPS.
Writing about it right now had made my heart fullfilled with gratitude. Actually there’s much much more I can write, this post is not enough to express all the feelings I felt, but at least it is better, than to boast it all and pour it all, because it will be such a very long post indeed! But of course, I will continue more about my experience in Japan soon, about the places I visited and how I live during my stay, so stay tuned if you are interested to read more of my story! 🙂
With smile 😀 and hugs!