Ronald Robertson

Aaronn Avit Ajeng, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher
  • Email (Work/Ads)aaronnavit@um.edu.my
  • AffiliationUniversiti Malaya (UM)
  • ExpertiseBiology and Biochemistry
  • Contact No(+60)14-970 xxxx

Sakura Science Program (Osaka University, Japan)

Hey everyone,

Remember I've mentioned something about going to Japan in my previous 2018 review blogpost? It was like a dream come true for me and I was so thankful for the experience. Some friends thought that I was pursuing my masters degree, while some thought that I was on a vacation (which I wish I could) but I was there for a short exchange program called the Sakura Exchange Program in Science. This exchange program was started in 2014 and fully sponsored by Japan Science and Technology (JST) agency and the host institute was International Centre of Biotechnology (ICBiotech) Osaka University.

Upon my arrival in Osaka, I was greeted by a bad news that my baggage were left in Kuala Lumpur and it was 6 degree Celsius outside. I was wearing only a layer of knitted shirt. I braved the winter to Kansai airport to wait for the other participants to arrive. I was freezing but luckily a participant from Brunei (Rashmina) and Indonesia (Bhismo) borrowed me their clothing. I was so grateful for that. My begs then arrived at the 3rd day of my stay and Malaysia Airlines never really compensated me for that. Thank you Malaysia Airlines.

During our stay in Japan, we managed to visit few research labs and well-known companies such as Shimadzu and Hakutsuru sake brewing. I was very impressed by the technology that they have and how advanced their were in everything. It almost feels like a heaven for scientists and researchers. Japan is a very developed country with developed people unlike few other developed countries but with a very backward mindset. Their work ethics is something that I learned; they are not on-time but they are early. I was passing by a store in Dotonbori and there were only few people passing by that area, even when no one was there the storekeeper kept holding the banner with full enthusiasm (as if there were people passing by). We also required to attend classes in ICBiotech and the lecturers were always 15 mins earlier to arrive.

I did not take much photos because my Iphone Xs was having some issues before I departed to Japan. Most of the pictures and videos were taken using the other participants' phone. I was literally begging for their phones, lol! Each of the participant was also asked to present something on fermented food technology from our home country so I had the chance to present about Tapai (the fermented rice wine) in front of the ICBiotech director, Professor Kazuhito Fujiyama. It was such a big honor to me to be able to introduce this East Malaysia's indigenous alcoholic drink in front of them.

We were also managed to meet some of the masters-PhD students in ICBiotech and each of them was so passionate about what they are doing. They are coming from a very diverse background and culture and seeing how they overcome difficulties while studying in Japan just amazed me. They have to learn Japanese and pass certain grade (one of the students told me it was 90/100).

We were having a welcome party together with some students in ICBiotech, Osaka University.
 Overall, it was such a great experience and I had my first winter experience in Japan! It snowed on my very last day in Japan and I thought what a beautiful way to end the program. Will visit Japan again in the near future, hopefully! I've shared some photos taken in Japan on my instagram (@aaronnavit) feel free to like them and follow me :)