22.Balancing research, career and life events A woman with a stable “axis” in her life(continued)


We would like to continue to interview Ms. M, who is in the first year of the Master’s course in Sustainable Society Studies in the Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering.
What is her study about??


Q: What kind of study are you working on as a research fellow?  

A:  I belong to one of the organizations in the Minami Alps World Natural Heritage Registration Promotion Association, which was established by three prefectures, Shiuoka, Yamanashi and Nagano.   Research fellows are selected from all three prefectures and we are from different research fields.

My research subject is amphibians and I’m researching especially on their distribution areas.  By the way, I am the only female in the group but I didn’t mind at all from the beginning.  (You don’t really care, do you?)  You’re right.  I said “Am I the only female here?” and that was it (lol)

As a research fellow and for other purposes, I go on field work twice or three times every week lately.  Must-have items are a thermometer, a strainer, a camera and a measure.  Such moments in my research activity bring happiness to me and seem to be important to keep a balance in my life.


Q:  First of all, why did you begin to study amphibians?
(I’m afraid but I have a little bit trouble with their slimy bodies…  (Θ;)phew…)

 A:  I was attracted by a salamander in a flask when I was in junior high.  The science teacher at that time advised me to study about salamanders but nobody around me knew about their ecology at all.  I had no worries touching and holding amphibians.  Questions came up one after another and I started to look into various materials. 

 In university, I met Prof. Tsukasa Nakamura (honorary professor, the University of Yamanashi)who was a good teacher and guide of my life.  Besides his physiological study of avian migration, he is a great contributor to the research and conservation of birds in Yamanashi.   He took me out to various places for biological field work.  I learned a lot from him and I believe it was truly a destiny.

In other classes, I learned about plants from teachers in a plant research group.  Every time I went out to a field, it was full of new discoveries.


Q: You resigned your job to enter graduate school.  Since when did you have that plan in mind? 

A: It’s been a very long time.
I was talking to the principal of my school when leaving, and he was surprised to know that I was going to graduate school.  I have a pile of research materials that I kept working on since university and I have been wanting to put them together.

I entered a normal two-year graduate course, which is different from one designed for working people.  The entrance exam was also a normal version.


Q: How do you like graduate course lectures and campus life? 

A: I have just started and I need some more time to see before I make any comment.  But my impression so far is that we have more discussions than I thought.  When I was in undergraduate, teaching style was more focused on listening to lectures.  (I believe you are very active in those discussions as you have a lot of experiences from teaching at schools.  Can other students follow you??)

No, I’m not that aggressive…  I think this is a good change though.  Also the whole campus changed a lot. There were few buildings before but now I get lost among all the new buildings.


Q: How do you define university?  What is your impression looking back on your days in university?

 A: I always chose what I wanted and it’s the same since when I was in university.  I have nothing to regret about my university days. University is your last opportunity to study following your free curiosities.  Once you start working, you won’t be able to take much time for something you want to do for yourself.  So I recommend students to proactively broaden you field, for instance by reading books, talking with people, traveling, studying liberal arts, etc.

On top of everything, I want you to set a steady “axis” in yourself.  Talking about young teachers who just started in these few years, they are all excellent and capable of everything without any problem.  But that   can also mean lack of “individuality.”  I want them to build up their own axis and learn to deal with issues from their own view points.


Q: Would you give a message to students who are going to become teachers? 

A:  Besides general things that you learn to become a teacher, I would like to advise you to develop your personality.  As I just mentioned, I want young teachers to be unique and attractive in their personalities.


Q: Lastly, what is your goal in the graduate school? 

A: Firstly, I will put together the research materials of my long-term research so far.  Also, I want to both expand and deepen my study.  I don’t know what comes next yet but I may go on to the doctors course if I find something that I want to study more deeply. 
Who knows? (^-^)



Thank you very much, Ms.M!!