Danielle's final report from Japan
Week 10-Final Week: Farewell, Japan!
My time in Japan has come to an end and I am not exaggerating when I say that this internship has been the most exciting and enriching experience of my life thus far. My final week seemed to pass in lightning speed, perhaps because I made sure to pack it with as many activities as possible. During my last five days I completed a final report on our MAOA project and my host lab held a farewell party for me. Dr. Goto must have remembered me telling him that I really liked okonomiyaki, the savory Japanese pancakes that I first made with my host family, because the party was held at a restaurant where we made our own delicious pancakes together. At the party, the lab presented me with a beautiful tenugui, which is a Japanese dyed cloth used for decoration, practical use, or even as a headband. The PRI researchers and administrative staff were exceptional hosts and they really made me feel at home even though I was an ocean away from my Kent State lab.
After leaving the PRI, I visited Tokyo for a few days. Here, I reunited with the other JSPS summer program interns and we shared stories about our Japan adventures throughout the closing ceremony activities. It seemed that everyone had wonderful experiences and completed fascinating projects in their host labs. While in Tokyo, I also spent time with my host mom, Asako. She lives near Tokyo, in Kamakura, so we met for dinner at a yakiniku restaurant. Yakiniku (which means “grilled meat”) is a Japanese style grill where you cook your own meat and vegetables over a coal fire. Our evening was full of catching up and good laughs; she and I seem to have a similar sense of humor and always have a fun time together. During my homestay, I grew close with the Sagara family and am so thankful to call them dear friends. After dinner, we went shopping and ended the night with donuts and coffee before saying goodbye, which is truly only a “see you later”.
My final trip in Japan was to Kamakura, which is sort of where it all began with the Sagara family during orientation week. It felt good to end my trip there; it gave me a sense that everything came full-circle. As I prepare to leave Japan, I realize just how much I have grown during my time here. I made my first scientific discovery, traveled all over a foreign country, met amazing people, and gained a new perspective on life and scientific research. I am beyond grateful to Dr. Goto, Dr. Tanaka, and the entire PRI for hosting me as an intern this summer and I look forward to working at the PRI again one day.
Until next time!
This research is funded by the National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes for U.S. Graduate Students (EAPSI) in collaboration with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).