Yesterday was our first time visiting the National Institute of Materials Science (NIMS). Dressed in our formal best, the six of us walked to the Sengen campus with Nancy and Jim, the two professors representing NNiN who escorted us to Tsukuba. At Sengen, we were introduced to NIMS—-their funding, staff, objectives, results—-in excruciating detail. Many of the specifics regarding paid leave were likely for the benefit of others, but the various other minutiae could only serve to impress. Afterwards, we were whisked off to the Namiki campus and then Sakura and then Sengen again, where we were given the grand tour and saw and heard described in detail every lab that any of us could conceivably use during our 74 days here.
The tour I looked forward to seeing most was the Nano-Bio lab in Sengen, and it did not disappoint. As soon as we entered, I wanted to be trained on every machine in the lab. During our introduction to the space, our tour guide showed us images from the confocal microscope of a cell in the process of division. It was beautiful and vaguely creepy in the way that cells are.
Shortly thereafter, the tours ended and we were each picked up by remarkably punctual representatives of our various research groups. Mine was my PI’s secretary, an extremely nice and well-dressed woman who invited me to converse with her in Japanese after I’d had a few weeks of classes. Since my PI was still in Tokyo after participating in conference in China, she introduced me to members of our lab. Our first stop was a quiet room filled with periwinkle cubicles, one of which was mine, where I met several PhD students also working with my PI. Our second stop was another, slightly smaller, cubicle-filled room in another building where I met some more lab-members, and finally we visited the lab.
It was the Nano-Bio lab! I can only hope I’m lucky enough to work in it all the time! I can’t wait for the summer to begin in earnest! I will be meeting my PI in a few hours and then I will know what to expect for the next 10.5 weeks. The summer looks to be exciting in the coming months!