Week 10: JSPS Closing Ceremony and Bittersweet Farewells

Konnichiwa (Hello) from Tokyo! It is amazing how fast time passes when you are experiencing an incredible culture with wonderful people and stimulating research. My time in Japan through the JSPS Summer Program has officially finished, and this was marked by the farewell program and dinner hosted by JSPS at the Tokyo Grand Palace Hotel.


Final Research Presentations 

Once all the JSPS Summer Fellows arrived from their respective cities, one representative from each nominating authority was selected to give a presentation of their summer experience in Japan. I had the pleasure of presenting my research on behalf of the USA group! We heard talks from many different academic disciplines, including those as diverse as theoretical physics and sustainable agriculture. I was the last to present. I gave an overview of my academic background, summer research outline, data collection and statistical methods, and a brief look at some initial results, including raw CT scan data and bivariate plots. 

Photo: Me, giving the presentation for the USA group.


I explained how bivariate plots revealed a general increase in macaque radial length with increase in average annual temperature, which is what I expected the data to show. However, further statistical tests (to be done when I return to Kent State University) are needed to determine whether the variation in the macaque population can be attributed to clinal differences, or gradation due to gene flow. 

Ambassadors from each of the nominating authorities commented on the respective fellow’s presentation and then presented a certificate to the designated fellow. After the certificate ceremony, the fellows headed to a different ballroom for the final dinner and reception! 

Photo: Receiving the certificate.


Farewell Dinner and Reception

The dinner and reception included wonderful dishes of both Japanese and western style. This was not only a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with fellows and hear about their research and cultural experiences, but also to meet with representatives from JSPS, SOKENDAI, and the nominating authorities. I met the president of SOKENDAI, Dr. Mariko Hasegawa, who also happens to be an anthropologist and primatologist. I was very happy to discuss research with her!

Photo: Some of the JSPS Fellows who lived in the same city as me!


Final Remarks

While at the reception, I also met one of the original founders of the JSPS Summer Program. It was then that I really stopped to think about my entire experience in Japan and how grateful I was that I had this opportunity through JSPS. The JSPS Summer Program offers not only a chance to connect and collaborate with researchers in Japan, but a unique experience that allows you to really immerse yourself into the amazing culture of this beautiful country. During my time at the Primate Research Institute working with Dr. Nishimura, immersing myself into the language, food, and lifestyles of the Japanese people, Japan became a second home to me. I really felt happy doing research and working with everyone in Japan. The people of Japan are so kind, respectful, and hard-working; it was inspiring and made me feel like I was welcome and belonged. It is bittersweet to have to leave, but I know that I have made wonderful friendships and connections during my time in Japan, and I hope to have the opportunity to return and continue collaborations with my host, Dr. Nishimura, and other colleagues far into the future. I sincerely thank JSPS, SOKENDAI, Kent State University, Dr. Nishimura and his lab, and everyone else who made this summer program not only happen, but made it an unforgettable, life-changing experience. 

Photo: Inuyama Castle, over the Kiso River.


Sayonara (hopefully not for the last time!),

This research is funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science