Week 10: My final days of the JSPS Summer Program

Konnichiwa! And welcome to my final days in Japan.  This week was bittersweet as I wrapped up my summer project and said goodbye to new friends, favorite restaurants, and the peaceful running trail adjacent to the Kamo River.  

 

On my final night in Japan, JSPS hosted a beautiful closing ceremony and banquet for the parting Fellows. The Fellows met and made friendships over two months ago.  Since then, our research assignments took us to different locations all over the country. Tuesday night before the conference we were brought together again, and the room was palpably buzzing with energy as we all shared the unique adventures we had over the last 10 weeks. We were anxious to share with each other everything from the research we performed, to the cultural activities we enjoyed, and the scenic venues we visited. The room quieted down as the conference began, during which six fellows delivered presentations of the research they conducted over the summer. This was particularly fascinating as most of the Fellows’ disciplines were vastly different from my own. The other Fellow from Kent State’s Anthropology program, Rose Leach, represented the Fellows from the United States and gave a spectacular presentation of her summer research!  

 

Above: Rose Leach presenting her research on Japanese macaque morphology.

 

After the research presentations, JSPS presented each Fellow with a Certificate of Completion and congratulated us on a successful summer program.  The reception following the conference was an opportunity for Fellows to reminisce and share stories in a less formal setting.  JSPS provided a fantastic multi-course buffet that we enjoyed for hours.  They also prepared a special surprise: a video compilation of photos the Fellows had taken during their journeys.

 

Other final excursions this week included a revisit to Kiyomizudera and the nearby shopping district to purchase a few parting gifts that will always “take me back” to Japan.  I bought a few sets of chop sticks, as I’ve used them frequently over the last 10 weeks, and I want to continue practicing with them. Also, matcha (green tea) is a popular flavor here, and I finally tried the matcha ice cream. It was oishii (delicious)!  The entire summer research experience in Japan was a once in a lifetime opportunity, in a myriad of ways! I saw and did many new things; I tried foods I never even knew existed! And I met many remarkable people.  The experiences I’ve had and the relationships I’ve developed I will cherish for years.  I am immensely grateful to JSPS, Sokendai, Drs. Nakatsukasa, Hirasaki, and Shintaku, and my mentors at Kent State, Drs. Lovejoy, Meindl, Raghanti, and Tosi for organizing and facilitating this wonderful experience! ARIGATO GOZAIMASHITA! (Thank you!)

 

 

Left: A Japanese woman near Kiyomizudera dressed in a beautiful yukata. 

Right: Matcha ice cream.

 

Thank you for reading along during my research adventures this summer.

 

Sayonara!

Heather

 

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