My week started with a 5 hour lab discussion regarding the data of all lab members. That included me. However, since I did not have enough data to show at the moment, they asked me to present my data from lab at Santa Barbara. The only problem is that my mentor in Santa Barbara prohibited me to present my research outside the USA.
Thus, this was a stressful situation because I was basically doing a presentation of my data without my data! What I ended up doing was using my presentation from the McNair Symposium and took all the data out. So, my data presentation became a lecture on Measles virus. This was enough to please my supervisor in Japan. One the presentation was over, I walked home and found a cool park.
The following days I proceeded to participate in the intro biology class with undergraduate students of Osaka University. This time we focused in protein and DNA purification. It was really fun to try to understand what the professor wanted me to do. Since this was my last week with them, I decided to give them candy!
I had brought some candy bags from Costco to Japan and I felt like this was the correct time to give some of that candy away. Thus, at the end of class, the professor let go to the front of the class and say “Arigatou gozaimasu” to the class, since all of them were really kind to me. I proceeded to hand over the candy to each student. Once I was done handing the candy, all of the students thanked me. I felt really happy as of them seemed to enjoy the candy.
I got another chance to interact with undergraduate students at welcome party hosted my Osaka University. The party started with all of us being place in teams and playing a small quiz game. The questions were really hard. Some of the questions were, “what prefectures have the highest population of Americans in Japan?” and “when is the birthday of Dr. Wani? Osaka University’s mascot.”
My team and I ended up guessing most of them and somehow we got second place! We got special packaged coffee as a reward. Once the prizes were distributed, we were met by a dancing routine performed by the school’s idol group. It was a good performance and everyone in the audience clapped along. Once the performance was done, we were let loose to interact with local and exchange students. I brought candy to the party and started to give it away to people that talked to me. At the party, I found my friend Shinnosuke. He studied abroad in Santa Barbara. It was nice to see him again.
We started our trip to Hiroshima by waking up early and getting into a 5 hour bus ride. The ride was okay as I am accustomed to road trips with my family. The road scenery was amazingly green. I was having a blast looking at the road side as it was all mountains covered with trees.
Once at Hiroshima, our first stop was at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum. There we heard a live testimony of a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. It was a really heartbreaking story of how he survived because the school send him to pick up potatoes in a field outside the city. Once the testimony was over we were given free time to explore the park and museum. I listened to a couple more survivor testimonies, each of them equally disturbing. As I walked around the park, I wondered, what would I have done in their place?
Once our time was up, we went our next destination, Miyajima Island. Since it was an island, we had to take a ferry boat there. This was my first boat ever. It had a breathtaking view of the Itsukushima Shrine being surrounded by water. I understood why it was called “The Island of the gods.” Once the ferry docked, we were met by deer.
They were in every corner of the city and seemed really accustomed to humans. Once we walked a hill up to our hotel. We were met with a delicious dinner. From there, we left loose until morning. My friends and I decided to explore the coast area at night wearing our Yuakatas. It was nice but scary experience. The shrines looked haunted yet holy at night.
The following morning we were met with a well balanced breakfast at the hotel. After eating we headed at to Itsukushima Shrine again, but this time was not as spooky. Once our shrine visit was finished, we headed to back to the ferry. Our next destination was the Yamato Museum, a navy history museum.
The models of the ships and the planes were extremely detailed, as if you could ride one if you wanted to. However, I can’t really say much about the history that it told because most of the exhibitions were written exclusively in Japanese. After the Yamato Museum we explored a mall until it was time to go back to Osaka. During the bus back home I played video games with friend that I made during the trip. It was a nice ending to a great adventure.