51. How do Yamanashi and University of Yamanashi reflect on the eyes of a sophisticated young man from the big city? An interview with a male student who is now enrolled in the Department of Biotechnology of the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences.

2014-12-05

Today, we interviewed T from the Department of Biotechnology of the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences. T, who leaves the impression of being rather refined, is from the city. We asked him how Yamanashi and University of Yamanashi appear to be to someone as sophisticated as he is.

・Hello. So, I hear you are from Tokyo?

Yes, my home is in Sumida-ku in Tokyo.

・Oh, I knew it!! You have that sort of “cool” aura (lol). Sumida-ku reminds me of Edo-Ryogoku, Hokusai, Tokyo Skytree, etc…It’s a place full of the “Edokko” (a true Tokyoite) spirit, right?1-1s

 Well, the sightseeing areas might have that kind of atmosphere but in the other areas,  people simply go about with their everyday life, so it’s pretty much a “normal” living sphere, so to speak…Oh, but I do like” matsuri” (a traditional Japanese style festival). 

・Oh! That’s a very “Edokko” –like episode (lol)! So does that mean you get excited when you hear the word “matsuri”?

Yes. This summer, I heard of a matsuri with fireworks taking place somewhere in Yamanashi, so I decided to go. But since I left spontaneously without knowledge of the locality of the place, the festival had ended by the time I got there (lol).

・Oh no. That’s too bad. Seeing that you’re not familiar with Yamanashi locality, was coming to the university your first time here in Yamanashi?

Yes, The very first time I placed my foot on Yamanashi soil was at the entrance exam for this university.

・How was it, walking from the Kofu Station to the Kofu campus?

 Right after I came out of the ticket gate and walked toward the north exit, my first impression was that it was very nice and clean.

(It was probably right after the completion of north exit redevelopment!)

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It was only for a moment that I was “fooled” by that new scenery. As I walked down the stairs of the pedestrian deck and came down the ground floor….

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I panicked. I thought “Holy smokes! There’s nothing here!” (lol)

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(He’s right. There are no stores or offices in that area…)

After I arrived at the Kofu campus, I thought the campus was rather small for a national university. The surrounding mountains felt very close, and I remember thinking that it didn’t feel like a university campus at all.

・There are so many famous national/private universities in Tokyo…For people who consider those to be the typical university image, I can understand the disappointment you might feel seeing the Kofu campus of University of Yamanashi (yikes!). So that makes me wonder why you chose University of Yamanashi.

I used to go to a highschool specializing in electrical engineering. I was able to study specialized knowledge there since it was a very science-centered high school, even having to create our own maglev train as our research subject. But as the studies got more and more exclusive, I started to feel something was out of place. I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t electrical engineering that I really wanted to study.

・You wanted to place your studies in the realm of science, but you started wondering whether or not you were walking in the right direction, field-wise.

Exactly. I knew I wanted to study science as a child and that hasn’t changed over the years. But I still felt that something was wrong. During that time, I had the opportunity to visit an exhibition in Tokyo, concerning the human anatomy. (*Oh, yes. The exhibition that aroused ethical controversy at the time.)  It gave me quite an impact and made me think twice about the wonders and mysteries of human life. The exhibition motivated me to pursue my studies in the field of “biology” and/or “bioscience”.

(Just for your information, the illustration has nothing to do with the exhibition.)1-5s

・That exhibition…Many people might have indeed been influenced to place an interest in biotechnology as their research field

Yes, and I was definitely one of them. But since I changed my field of studies late in highschool, I couldn’t prepare myself sufficiently for the entrance exams. Taking into consideration the level of my knowledge, and the fact that it was a national university, I chose University of Yamanashi. I also had something else in mind…

・Something else? What’s that?

To live on my own!! Something I longed to do!

・I see! Yamanashi is quite close from the Kanto area. You’re not too far nor are you too close from home so the I suppose it’s the perfect distance♪

Yes. The weather is not so different from Tokyo, but prices for commodities seem a little cheaper here. It’s also rich in nature. I admit my first day here came as a surprise, thinking “there’s nothing here.” But now, I’m really enjoying my school life here.

・Studying at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences and starting your long awaited single life. Sounds like a lot of fun♪ So now as a student of University of Yamanashi, how are you getting along with your friends?

 There are all sorts of people here, much more than I had imagined. Most of them are from different prefectures and I hear a variety of dialects. In the beginning, I was puzzled when a friend from Shizuoka refereed to himself as “orecchi” (a Shizuoka dialect meaning “I/me”) since I wasn’t sure if he was serious or just kidding. I was also often scolded by my instructor when I attended a driving school near the campus. It seems he was trying to warn me about something and so I said “yes, I understand,” although in fact, I didn’t. But when I tried to do the same thing, the instructor became very angry. Till this day, I still don’t know what made him so angry (lol).

・Oh my. Maybe you couldn’t make out the Koshu dialect “shiroshi” (do it) and “shichoshi” (don’t do it). It’s one of the typical episodes among new students in the University of Yamanashi. (lol).

Mini Lesson for the Koshu dialect:”Usetsu shiroshi”  =>  “Go right”
                           “Usetsu shichoshi” => “Don’t go right”

Oh….!!! That’s probably it! Language can be difficult sometimes, can’t it? (smirk)

・So that was T, who had his first lesson of the Koshu dialect the hard way! In our next edition, we will ask him more about his club activities and how he has become addicted to it!