One of the reasons why I ‘survive’ living in this country for 5 years is the people at work. I am lucky to have met open-minded, helpful, intelligent people at my lab. I remember coming to this lab as a research trainee, and mind you, I was (well, still am, technically) an internist at that time with ZERO experience in basic research as I was a pure clinician at that time. With great patience from the Professor, other faculty members and the las assistants, I survived my 6 months training, so when I came back to Japan for my PhD course, I chose to go to the same University/laboratory.
When the University offered me a full-time job as a faculty member after my post-doc, it was a kind of no-brainer decision to take the offer, since I just started a new Japan-Indonesia collaboration project for vaccine technology transfer at that time, so being a faculty member would make it easier or me to work on the joint-project.
This year, there are 14 people working at the lab, 5 full-time faculty members, 4 part-time researchers, 2 PhD candidates and 3 lab assistants. We have Indonesian trainees too from time to time (yay!) and I am ALWAYS excited whenever we have trainees from Indonesia! (Gives me a chance to speak Bahasa at work instead of English/Japanese).
This picture was taken last year, while we had 2 trainees from Indonesia:
Standing left to right: Dr. Endo (Pediatrician, PhD candidate), Dr. Ichinowatari (Faculty member), Dr. Yoshino (Faculty member), Dr. Koiwa (guest researcher), Prof. Sato (The Boss), Me, Ms. Matsukawa Naomi (Faculty member).
Bending/sitting, middle row, left to right: Ms. Furusawa (lab assistant), Dr. Matsukawa Kazushige (guest researcher), Ms. Yaegashi (lab assistant)
Sitting, front row, left to right: Annisa (Indonesian trainee), Viska (Indonesian trainee), Dr. Tsutsumi (guest researcher)
Missing from the picture: Dr. Tamura (PhD candidate, he’s graduating today!), Ms. Kurosawa (guest researcher), Ms. Takahashi (lab assistant).
There are also former lab member which I missed so much:
Dr. Takahashi (in the middle). She’s my supervisor, my PhD promotor, and my guardian. She helped me A LOT through my school years, and we spent a lot of time together, including going to Mexico for AIDS conference and ended up tagging some people from Indonesian Embassy and Metro TV to visit Pyramid Teotihuacan, LOL! She is one extraordinary supervisor, gave me all kind of freedom, including going home earlier than her most of the time, LOL (soooo uncommon in Japanese Universities). She left the lab to become the head of Iwate Prefectural Public health office, I am happy for her, but at the same time, I miss her at the lab :(. And oh, there is another cool thing about her: she is so fashionable! Elegantly fashionable 😉
Park Kyungok, my Korean co-worker. She worked as guest researcher for one year, and we became close friend instantly. She is very honest, and very kind at the same time. And she made my Japanese better lol. I remember walking in the middle of snow blizzard to go to Thai restaurant for lunch one day. I would never consider going out in the weather like that, but she made me do it, and how we laughed and laughed all the way there, fighting to walk against the strong wind and snow, and broke our umbrellas LOL! She’s back in Seoul now, and we still have a Seoul date to do someday!
Someone once told me, what you do is important, but who you encountered with in your life, is more important. Can’t agree with it more!