Science between shrines and skyscrapers - 6 months in Japan
Hannah Lanzrath stayed for 6 months in Tokyo, where she worked as part of a DAAD/JSPS scholarship program at Department of Biological Sciences (Plant Science) of the University of Tokyo
For six months, Hannah Lanzrath lived and conducted research in the heart of the prefecture of the same name. She worked on the Hongo campus, the main campus of the University of Tokyo, where some of the structures date back to the Edo period. Although the nearest ultra-modern district is only five subway stops away, she quickly learned that Tokyo is much more than the cliché of digital progress and big-city hustle and bustle. In her immediate vicinity alone, there are centuries-old shrines and temples - mostly in the midst of botanical gardens, where she often enjoyed the tranquility. This side by side of skyscrapers and shrines is a unique experience and somewhat an allegory of Japans culture. The old next to the new – preservation of tradition in contrast to pushing progress. Throughout the whole country you will find this pattern, even in comparing the old and the new capital Kyoto and Tokyo. We sometimes tend to forget that another country cannot be described in a single sentence, with just one expression. Food, language dialects and traditions change with the celestial directions, in Japan as well as in your home country. However, what she noticed almost everywhere she went was the welcoming culture and the helpfulness of the people. Her personal recommendation is not to put too much into your research plan and also to be prepared to wait some time until you receive the decision of the scholarship committee. But especially as someone who has never travelled before, she can only wholeheartedly recommend that you take this opportunity, because it could open up a whole new world to you.
Her scholarship is called JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme (Short Term) and is aimed at PhD students and post-docs and covers airfare and living expenses. More information