In ‘Conahana-san of the Month’, we discuss the experiences of senior researchers who have successfully managed to balance their research/work with life events such as childbirth, child care and family care.
This interview is with Dr. Misa Otoguro, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Life and Environment Sciences.
She is one of our alumnae, a mother of two children who utilizes the Female Researchers Supporting System and a researcher who deeply loves microorganisms.
◎Introduction of Dr. Sayaka Yamashita
Organizations: Local Food Science Course, Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Domain of Life and Environmental Sciences (Local Food Science), Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Yamanashi Specialized field: Applied Microbiology
●Thank you for your utilizing this office, and thank you for coming for this interview today! I’m going to ask you various things….
Okey-dokey! Any question that I can answer.
●(Wow! She speaks like a dependable big sister!)
Ha-ha, I’m the second of four sisters, but I‘ve been called big sister. The kanji character for this is not “姉(sister)” but “姐(bossy sister)”.
●(Did she hear what I thought…?! And she was a big sister with a nuance of “姐”)
What will you ask to start?
●W, well, I hear that you are from the University of Yamanahsi, but does it mean you had studied here until you finished your doctorate?
Yes, yes. I graduated from the department of Chemical Biological Engineering, which doesn’t exist anymore, at the Faculty of Engineering and went on to graduate school. After I obtained a doctoral degree, I became a research associate at an incorporated administrative agency’s research organization. Then I applied for a job at the University of Yamanashi when the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences was set up, and have been working here until now.
Dr. Otoguro is now utilizing the researcher supporting (Career Assistants) system.
This is a scene from her doing an experiment with a career assistant.
●Are you originally from Yamanashi prefecture?
My parents’ home is in Yamanashi, but I was born in Katsushika ward in Tokyo. I grew up there until I was a junior high school student, so I regard myself as a genuine “Edokko (Tokyo downtowner)”!!
●Edokko! That’s why you don’t sound like a Koshu (Yamanashi) member.
What’s that? (lol)
●You don’t use Koshu dialect at all, and you speak at a different speed.
Ha-ha, I see what you mean.
●But you chose the University of Yamanashi, which was so-called “a course selection nice to parents”.
Yes, I’m very nice to them. (lol) In Yamanashi prefecture, going to a university in the prefecture is regarded as a love for your parents. (lol)
●Were you conscious about it when you chose this university?
This university was close to my parents’ house, actually, but I came here not just because of that. I had always been interested in biology. I selected biology, not physics, at high school, too. About that time, the term biotechnology was becoming general, and it made me want to study about it. I chose the University of Yamanashi for biology research because this university had conducted zymotic and botanical research from a long time ago.
●Like “I can make it here!”?
Yeah, “I can make it here.”(lol)
●What was your impression after entering this university?
I enjoyed it~! I studied a lot, taking notes properly when attending classes. When it was time to play I played properly. I managed to switchover these two.
●Wonderful! What do you think, everyone? (I wanted to make the other staff comment on this. No comment from me.)
(lol) When a lecture was canceled, I used to go out driving with three friends. One day, someone said “Let’s go to Lawson”, and we were in Kiyosato when we noticed. In those days there was only one Lawson shop in Kofu city, and another was in Kiyosato. “Wasn’t it a Kofu shop we set out for? Aren’t we in Kiyosato?!”. (lol) Now there’s even one on this campus.
※Kiyosato is one hour away by car from this university. It’s the strength of youth!
●That episode tells the development of this prefecture (lol) It was a shocking story.
Wasn’t it? (lol) Another thing I remember is that I enjoyed people watching having lunch on a bench in front of A2 building. I watched a variety of people there.
I joined a ski circle “Whistler”, which was unfortunately discontinued, and went on day trips to ski in Yatsugatake and Hakuba area every week in winter. I’m not so good at it but I passed the test of SAJ2 grade.
● Oh, there’s a certification for skiing. (I’m sorry for my ignorance…I’ve found out that SAJ2 grader must make large parallel turn on the slope of over 25 degrees and small parallel turn on the slope of over 15 degrees. Surprising! Unbelievable! I always go straight! (whiz)
Plus you went skiing every week!! Your university life was so vibrant and fulfilling! Having such a joyous student life, what made you decide to go on to the master’s and doctoral courses? Did your life change after entering these courses?
I had decided to go on to the master’s course before I entered university. I had wanted to take a more difficult option, but I fell short for it. So when I decided to enter this university I was determined to complete a master’s degree. But I hadn’t thought about going on to the doctoral course, and I did job search in my second year of the master’s course. At such time my father suggested that I go on to the doctoral course, considering what I had studied so far.
●Oh! Your father did a good job! That was the moment when the number of female researchers in this country increased by one.
The photo from her laboratory.
This is when they ate somen for lunch.
She told me that eleven people ate up thirty portions!
So much for this time!
Next time she introduces her worthwhile work, and ideas to manage her time!