What are doing there??? “あなたは誰ですか”

Maybe the first question sometimes asked by your friend in your own country to you after seeing some of your photo or status about Japan. Related to this question, the Japanese people maybe also ask other question to you “あなたは誰ですか” (second question)à anata wa dare desu ka? Or in English “Who are you?”.

So, after finishing Summer School, finishing movement to the Dorm, it’s the time for introducing my laboratory. As PARE Program student, I was accepted as special auditor student at Laboratory of Food Biochemistry, Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University. I will do my thesis research in this laboratory for 6 months. Not only doing research, I will also take some class to get credits. I was accepted by Kawabata sensei (Jun Kawabata) to join his laboratory. For my experiment, Kato sensei (Eisuke Kato) will be the laboratory supervisor and help me for the discussion. And now, my life in Japan was about my laboratory.
My Laboratory
Staying in Japan especially as exchange student, it will bring a great experience. Not only about daily life experience in foreign country, but also about the academic culture. In Japan, they have “welcome party”, a special party held to “accept” the new students. In my laboratory, I just already had my welcome party on October 17th 2014. Not only in intern-laboratory, but this welcome party also held by the faculty and other student organization. Starting in party, it is a good chance for us to talk and have some conversation with Japanese so we can get closer each other.
My welcome party

Other culture is about supporter. As the foreign students, Hokkaido University help us by “giving” us Japanese friend (called as Supporter) to help ourselves being settled in Japan. My supporter is Machikawa san, he is also member of our laboratory. He picked me up in the airport when I’ve arrived in Japan. He helped me to open the bank account, make resident card, pay assurance, etc. It’s very helpful. Although he is not my senpai (teaching for experiment for me) but he also like to help me in laboratory.

Beside welcome party, other academic cultures that I’ve learn here is about “senpai”. Senpai is just not “senior”. I have Japanese senpai (Takemoto san) and Indonesian senpai (Lucy san and Ines san) in my laboratory. They are not only taught me about the experiment methods, but also about the laboratory’s daily living. Just like Takemoto san, she was not only teaching me about “lipase inhibitory” assay, but she took care about my special food (Halal Food) in welcome party. She is also so kind, and help me to translate in English if someone talk me in Japan. Beside my senpai, other members also like to help me in laboratory and having some conversation. 

In my laboratory, we also have “zemi” or weekly seminar. Every week, there will be 2 presenters that will present about a journal and we discuss it together. Although they will speak in Japanese, but at least they prepare for the handout and the presentation slide in English.
In this laboratory I will have research about tempe, Indonesian traditional food. My laboratory is focusing on searching and synthesis of anti-obesity and or anti diabetes compound. But, in my research I just do the initial screening process of anti-obesity and or anti-diabetes activity from tempe. Actually I want to finish until final stage (identification of compound), but I don’t have enough time. By this short time (6 months), my sensei (Kato sensei) suggests me to only doing the initial screening but in many different assays. I do enjoy my laboratory life. I have many “funny” friends and I can learn more here.
On the laboratory
My desk :)

So, if my Indonesians friend asked me “What are you doing there?” けんきょうします。And for the second question (asked by Japanese) “あなたは誰ですか” I am PARE program student that will doing research in Laboratory of Food Biochemistry, Graduate School of Agriculture under supervisor Kawabata sensei.” 
So, Let’s enjoy your laboratory activity and being success!

Location: Hokkaido University, 5丁目 北8条西 Kita Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido Prefecture 060-0808, Japan
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