49. Associate Professor in the Faculty of Engineering, Koji TORIYAMA


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.

Today’s guest is Dr. Toriyama, who studies an efficient use of thermal engineering at the Faculty of Engineering. He also is a devoted runner. For me, who distances myself from the world of sports or athletics, this interview is really with a person from “an unknown world” (lol). 

◎ Introduction of Dr. Koji Toriyama

Organization: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering Science (Division of Engineering), University of Yamanashi

Specialty: Thermal Engineering (Heat-transfer Engineering)

・This time I rushed to his laboratory! Let me enter the room, please~

Yes, hello. Please come in. I heard that you’ll take some photos here, so I have just cleaned the room (lol).

・Being as usual would be fine, but thank for your consideration… Oh, this room is warm. (This day was the coldest in this season.)

 Yes, it is. Because this (pointing to a big black box) is working hard.

・Mmm??? Is this a heating appliance?

No, we don’t use any heater in this room. This is a PC server. (He opened the box and I saw a PC there!)

・Oh! That’s it. You must carefully control the room temperature for the server, don’t you?

Well, yes. But this is an important business tool for me, so I wouldn’t be bothererd by it. (He wipes the sweat.)

・But it’s not so hot that you perspire, were you cleaning the room so hard by any chance?

No, no! I was running on a track some time before. Just for an hour, for my rehabilitation.

・Well, I’m afraid I don’t understand (?o?) Did you say that you “ran for an hour for rehabilitation”? One-hour running will damage your legs and back. I don’t think it is called rehabilitation.”

For me, running on a level ground for about an hour is just a rehabilitation for my problem (injury). I became fond of trail running recently, of all running events. This year I ran in the summit course of Fuji Mountain Race, and I completed the full distance, barely within the time limit♪

 ・Fuji Mountain Race…, is it that race to climb up Mt. Fuji running, to the goal at the summit? (Later I learned that its completion rate is about 50%!!)

That’s right. The summit course can be entered only by the runners who have run “The fifth station course (from the city hall of Fujiyoshida to the fifth station of Mt. Fuji)” within the time limit (2h 25min) in the last three years, and I became qualified by the race last year. Even in the summit course, a runner will be disqualified by the time limit (4h 30min), but I barely managed to run off within time (with 1 second left).(See photo)

I will enter the race in Mt. Minobu late this month(*) (taking out a brochure), so I was running before this interview for a rehabilitation after my recent injury. (*) This interview was made in the middle of November.

・Let me see the flyer… “Syugyo-so (ascetic run: a pun for ascetic monk) November 30, 2014”, what a wonderful name. (Being surprised by looking into the brochure,) A whole distance: 36km, cumulative altitude: 2700m!? Ddd, Doctor, isn’t it too challenging?

Ha-ha (lol). This race has a long course and it will take me about eight hours to finish. My concern for now is what if my rechargeable racing watch will run out in eight hours. (lol)

(I don’t know what to say, the point of his concern is beyond my comprehension.. (~_~;)) Let me ask you a simple (?) question, but what are you thinking while running for such a long time as eight hours? (Sorry for my futile question.)

In trail running, I have to figure out the point to set my foot next. While running up and down rough mountain paths and rocky area, a momentary miscalculation will lead to a great loss of time and energy. Sometimes carelessness brings grave injury such as a sprain or fracture. I make every judgment in 0.2-0.3 seconds to move forward with a climbing technique using pelvis, or descending technique called a pelvic turn. So while running, I am concentrated on how to step efficiently and how to make the right decision at every moment. Meanwhile I also calculate the distribution of my energy, for if I work too hard to climb up, I’ll use up the energy for going down. The real joy of trail running is the breeziness in climbing down.…

・Hmm! Now I get it! Well, I see! That’s the enjoyment of running!! It’s natural that you don’t have time to contemplate. Whether the judgment for each of your step was right is proved by the time you make the goal.

Now you’re getting it(^^). I am from Aichi prefecture, but I held admiration for Hakone marathon relay race since when I was a child. In my middle school, I joined a track club to run, and wanted to enter a university in the area eligible for Hakone race, and I came to the University of Yamanashi. To my disappointment, the track club of this university at that time was short of members and couldn’t even enter preliminary races. Now as an advisor of the club, I brought up students who were selected to be top runners by National and Public League of Athletics, so I’m happy when I find a student who runs fast.

・I realized the pleasure of being a runner for the first time in my life. (However there wouldn’t be a day for me to actually realize it.) ^^;)Whatever it is, it’s really enjoyable to hear someone talking about what he/she really enjoys.♪

Next time we’ll introduce the inside of his laboratory! Please wait.

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