Well, the first week came and went. It was Saturday now. What did I want to do? I wanted to go to the shopping district, specially Uniqlo. I only brought black color shirts to Japan and I wanted to get some color graphic-Ts from from these Japanese store. Thus, me and other people from my program decided to go to Umeda, the north shopping district of Osaka.
We took a train there and well started exploring. Once there, the first thing we did was try some Takoyaki! This is snack consists of octopus inside a batter and shaped like a ball. You suppose to wait for it to cool down for a bit, as it is made in front of you, before eating.
However, I wanted to be brave, and stupid, and ate it in one bite. The outside condiments were really good, until I took an a bite of the ball. It was like eating lava! The inside was so hot that I am sure I got a third degree burn in my tongue. I was going to spit it out because of how hot it was, but it was really good!
So, I just ate it! I am pretty sure my stomach and esophagus were not happy with that. I still had a second piece, so I waited for that one to cool down. After we eat takoyaki, we decided to try Okonomiyaki. I really don’t know how to describe this dish other than being delicious. It was like eating a whole meal at once in one dish.
After eating, we had planned to watch Godzilla at the movie theater, but the tickets were sold out! So, we watched an anime movie instead. I loved it and almost made me cried. The movie was in Japanese, I don’t speak Japanese.
Once the movie was finished, we decided to meet with another group exploring Umeda. We told them to meet us at Uniqlo in 10 minutes. After 40 minutes of messaging each other, we realized that we were at different stores! So we decided to meet at restaurant. After going in circles to find a non-existing restaurant, we decided to tell them to meet us at the Uniqlo we were initially at Uniqlo we were initially at. After successfully met the other group, we ate ramen and called it a night.
Kobe Chromatin meeting
My mentor invited me to invited to the “International Symposium for Female Researchers in Chromatin Biology.” I had to wake up early to go to Kobe, a City near Osaka. Once, at the Symposium, I was really nervous to meet researchers leading the chromatin biology field. I had nothing to worry about, I did not get to interact with them at all.
As it was a symposium most of it consisted of female researchers presented their research, which looked pretty interesting. However, I had little sleep the night before and I did not had the background for the presentations, so I did not understand much. Which was okay, I was looking forward to the networking lunch to talk to presenters and understand their research a little more. The networking lunch was a lie.
There was a lunch, and we sat together, but we cold not talk to each other because there was presentation about publishing articles during the lunch. It other words, I did not get talk to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, I the symposium was great, but I was just disappointed that I did not get to talk to anyone. I was really looking forward to speaking with experienced biologist and colleagues of my age. So, I was a little disappointed.
A biology course
The members of my lab teach an intro biology course, and since I can’t help them teach it, I have to take the course. I was escorted from the lab into the classroom, nervous to meet Japanese students of my age. Once at the classroom, I was asked to introduce myself.
My hearth skipped a beat, but I proceeded to introduce my self in formal Japanese: “hajimemashite, watakushi wa Galaviz Sarmiento Brian to moushimasu. Douzo yoroshikuonegai itashimasu.” and bowed. After introducing myself , I proceeded to give all the students American candy as “omiyage” (suvenier). Everyone looked really happy as I gave them the candy, it made me happy. After the introduction, the class started. I was placed in a very talkative group. It was fun and they taught me some Japanee lingo, like “warota.”
For this weekend we decided to explore Kobe! I had already been to Kobe, but only to a conference room. I had not seen the city yet!
We decided to first visit the Kobe Earthquake Memorial Museum. The glass building looked amazing although the inside was a little intense. The tour started with a reenactment of the earthquake and was followed by a hearth wrenching story of a woman that lost her sister during the earthquake of 1995 in Kobe.
Once the tour was over, we headed to Nankinmachi (Kobe Chinatown). There we tried beef noodle soup and walked along the streets through various vendors. We tried a couple of them. Once we were done there, we decided to go to the port. At the port, more specifically Harbortland, we explored an array of shops at the MOSAIC shopping center. I personally spend my time at the SEGA arcade, where I lost 2000 Yen in a claw machine. Once we ate dinner at the MOSAIC, we decided to head to KOBE port tower before it close. The view there was great!