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Featured Article of the Month

Science and Technology Connecting People

By Ms Chon Hui Min

Stepping out of the terminal at Tokyo Haneda Airport after an eight-hour long flight, I stood transfixed at the imposing sight of Mt Fuji, its snow-capped peak a stark contrast to the brilliant blue of the morning sky. “Lucky you!” Our tour guide said. “It is usually difficult to see Mt Fuji as it is always shrouded by fog but today is a clear day.” I took it as the positive sign it was, a great start to an unforgettable trip it turned out to be.
Mt Fuji.

We were given the opportunity to delve into the history and advancement of science and technology in Japan, specifically in Tokyo and Nagoya. This was in addition to the sightseeing and cultural exchange aspects of the program, resulting in an all-encompassing and fulfilling trip.

One of the most memorable excursions we took was to the Toyota Automobile Museum and the Toyota Technological Institute in Nagoya. I was very much inspired by the resilient and hardworking attitude of the founder that made Toyota Corporation not only a possibility but the raging success that it is today. During our tour of the institute, we were introduced to the various ongoing projects the students and professors were currently undertaking. Some of them included self-driving cars, specialised robots to aid in disaster situations and solar nanotechnology. It was heartening to see the innovative spirit of Mr Toyoda so obviously emulated by the students of the institute.

Us with the students and professors of Toyota Technological Institute (TTI).

Self-driving car experiment in progress in TTI.

Japan is a beautiful country rich in culture and heritage. I was particularly enthralled by the sight of the Nagoya Castle as I have never seen one before. Additionally, we even partook in an abridged version of a traditional tea ceremony as the full ceremony is known to last for hours!

One of the most meaningful event on this trip has got to be the homestay with Japanese families. We all brought home with us treasured memories with our individual Japanese hosts and a deeper insight into Japanese culture and their way of life. For my partner and I, we would never forget our first onsen experience with our host family on top of a mountain.

Overall, the JENESYS programme held a lot of firsts for me personally. We came to Japan with high expectations that were easily exceeded and left with a deeper understanding and respect for the culture and the people. I speak for all of us when I say that Japan had touched us all deeply.

Nagoya Castle.

Us with our host- the Kato family.

About the Author

Ms Chon Hui Min was a participant in the Science and Technology 3rd batch JENESYS programme in Dec 2017. She is a 3rd year undergraduate currently pursuing her Bachelors in Biological Sciences in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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