The beautiful contrasts of Japan
In the summer of 2016, I had the opportunity to work for more than two months at the University of Tokyo in the laboratory of Professor Isao Shimoyama thanks to the Summer Program of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. At that time, Japan was totally new for me. Of course, I had in mind some popular beliefs about a country both technological and traditional, but I did not expect the contrasts of Japan to be so diverse. Walking in Tokyo, street after street, I was amazed by the diversity of architectures and atmospheres that you can encounter, from the futuristic Nakagin Capsule Tower（中銀カプセルタワー）, to the peaceful temples or the resplendent architecture of the Omotesando Prada building. This was for me the beginning of several trips to Japan, from Sapporo to Kumamoto, before I finally got the perfect professional opportunity to join the laboratory of Takuro Ideguchi as a project researcher.
Nakagin Capsule Tower（中銀カプセルタワー）
Architect: Kishō Kurokawa（黒川紀章）closest
train station: Shimbashi
The School of Science and the laboratory where I work are particularly good environments for research. We are always encouraged to propose new ideas, and the students I work with are very smart and always enthusiastic to discuss science. Additionally, the laboratory has cutting-edge equipment and buildings are either new or recently renovated. The facilities of the University of Tokyo, such as the Takeda Sentanchi super cleanroom, are very useful and the technical staff are highly competent, which helps a lot in the success of the research projects.
Prada Store in Omotesando. Architect : Herzog
& de Meuron. Closest train station: Omotesando
However, this would not be enough to make this place a very good research environment. Indeed, research also requires a good part of creativity and curiosity, which is fed by the life outside of the experiment room. This important aspect is very well managed by the School of Science, contrary to some popular misconceptions, we are strongly encouraged to maintain a good life balance with flexible working time and the possibility to leave the lab at healthy hours.
Besides the purely professional aspects, the University of Tokyo is a very good environment. I can continue to learn Japanese thanks to the excellent teachers at the Center for Japanese Language Education. Integration in the laboratory life was really easy, in particular, thanks to some after-work parties（飲み会, 忘年会, etc） which helped me to know my colleagues outside of work. Finally, the quality of the food from Chuo Shokudo always makes my day and if you never had Akamon Ramen, you should give it a try.