NanoJapan Research Overview
The project I worked on at the Institute of Materials Research at Tohoku University was "Inkjet Printing of Carbon Nanotubes" and my advisor was Prof. Iwasa. Most of my project was based on graphene and consisted of the process of graphite to a printable graphene solution. A small portion was spent on SWCNT transistors. My project does relate to my major, but the experience in general gave me a better idea of what I want to work with and what I feel I'm good working with academically. Before applying to the program, I still wasn't 100% sure exactly which major to follow. So in that respect, the program surely made it easier to choose my academic path. I've had interests in grad school in Japan for quite some time and this definitely gave me a valuable experience of grad student life, which comprises konbini lunches and sleeping on a fold-out bed in front of your work space. There were about 18 people in my lab group, 5 were international students and the rest were Japanese. It was easiest to communicate with the international students as their communicative language was English but the Japanese students always tried their best. There were difficult times of communication between my mentor and I, but everyone in the lab was kind and always willing to stop their work and help if needed. It was surely a memorable experience.
Meaning of NanoJapan
I chose this program because it was was unique from all other programs I had seen. No other program offered international research experience for freshman and sophomore undergraduates, let alone in Japan. I had personally had interests and plans to make a career working in Japan so this program was a no-brainer. I will continue my Japanese language studies at the University of Rhode Island this year and plan to pursue further opportunities in Japan next summer.
Daily Life in Japan
Daily life in Japan is nice. I think the setting in Sendai is good for a researcher. It is relatively quiet and comfortable. Weekday activities comprised of eating a large breakfast from the dorm, riding to lab, doing various lab activities for 6-10 hours, riding back for dinner, study/ chat and sleep. On weekends, me and Daryl Spencer would usually hang out with his labmate and girlfriend. Sendai is close to the mountains and the beach so its a good spot for any outdoor activities. There are also a lot of musicians out and about in Sendai which I personally enjoyed. Overall, I was really comfortable in Sendai and hope to visit again next time I'm in Japan.
My favorite experience in Japan was...
Hanging out with new local people I met while out and about in Sendai.
Before I left for Japan I wish I had...
Not exchanged money at my US bank, you will get better rates at Narita airport.
While I was in Japan I wish I had...
Gone to a livehouse. Daryl and Il had this on our list but never got around too it.