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Alireza from Iran メール
作者 アリレザ   
2012/01/31 Tuesday 11:58:45 JST

Tokyo, Fuji Mt., cherry blossom, chopsticks, sushi, almond shape eyes, respectful people, those are some of the words that may light on your mind when you think about traveling to Japan for the first time. But here is Japan; you’ll find much more and more interesting things about these people and this place as times is elapsing. I’m Ali from Iran or Persia. I came to Japan in September 2011, and currently I’m in Waseda University as a P.h.D student. First I’m going to elaborate a little about my country, then speak about our lab, its staff, some experiences of being in Japan despite that fact that I haven’t been here so long time, and some features of Waseda University to help those who want to get a kind of whole picture about the situation here. So, coming information may be handy for those who intended to apply for Waseda University or Prof. Akaki lab .   

First, I want to talk a little about Iran to give another picture of it rather than most of non-Iranian people may have. Sometimes, it is called Persia or the “Land of the Aryans”, located in southern and western Asia with a population of around 78 million. Its area roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined together of about 1,648,000 km2. It is the home for one of the oldest civilization, with historical and urban settlements date back to 4000 BC. Current territory of it is bordered with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan , Russia , on the north , Afghanistan, Pakistan, on the east, Iraq and Turkey on the east.




Persian Gulf and sea of Oman in the South and Caspian Sea at the north are main water bodies. Persian or Farsi is the official language of the country. My hometown is at western part of Persia, Urmia. My parents speak Turkish and Azeri as well as Persian; so do I. In my hometown, there is a beautiful lake called Urmia Lake, where we used to go for swimming in summer. Below is a picture of it, like it too much. But full of salt; see those white coral like bulky masses. One should to be so cautious and careful during swimming ,笑顔!


Iran is so rich land from the view point of music, poets, cuisines, architecture, and art. Persian Carpet is so famous for disclosing a dazzling mixture of color, creativity, simplicity, and warmth. I’ve included some of the first invented things that I thought might be so intriguing. It may seem strange, but around 5000 BC, wine was invented for the first time in Iran. At the same time, Tar was invented which contribute to the invention of guitar. Ice-cream, first cultivated tulip, cookie, world's oldest Staple, and the game Polo are just some of the other examples. Among of Persian literature community, I can name outstanding Persian poets like Ferdosi , Omar Khayyam , Saadi , and Molavi.

At this part I’m going to touch on a bit about myself, our lab members, and office. I finished my B.Sc in Tabriz University in civil engineering, and M.Sc in Tehran University in Geotechnical Engineering . At the moment, I’m in Waseda University, Faculty of science and engineering . It was a bit confusing for me when I arrived at Narita for the first time; ohh, Narita is an international airport in which handles most of international passenger located in east of Tokyo. Because of the delay in my flight, I arrived late for about three hours, and that was the start point of getting scared a little. Waseda University usually appoints someone at the airport to picks up new international students and guides them straight to their dorm, thanks to this awesome system, unluckily, due to a delay, I missed this favor, so the rest of story, it took nearly 4 hour from Narita to my dorm. It is hard to bear in mind that some of the stations through my way were huge resemble an underground crowded city in which most of its habitants can’t speak English unfortunately. Anyway, after a while being in Japan you see, wow, how simple and accurate the way was 笑う. Anyway, get back to the point, I’m in Akaki sensai’s lab. Maybe need to be said that Sensai is a Japanese word and Japanese people use it to name their Professor. I was almost forgetting to tell that my thesis here about tunneling, more specifically “Neighboring underground excavation effect using FEM”. I defined my thesis subject before I came here, but, after talking with my sensai, we decided to change it a bit, change it into a more better one, of course. Below you can see the lab’s “welcome sign” dangling at the entrance door of Akaki sensai’s office.    


Waseda University was founded in 1882, so, to be honest, its buildings are a bit old, but, equipped with lots of facility and of course research tools. Waseda University is one of the private funded institutions in Japan which fully supports student’s researches financially, scientifically, as well as other aspects. It has divided into several campuses in which amongst 3 of them are famous: Waseda (Main) Campus, Toyama Campus, and Nishi-Waseda Campus.  Nisi-waseda campus is housing engineering majors including civil engineering. Among the building, Prof. Akaki’s office is located at building No.58 , and geotechnical lab at the basement of building 61. To my knowledge, Akaki sensai’s office is one of the best from the point of having clean, quiet, intimate, and friendly environment. Despite my expectation when I came here for the first time, Professor, secretary, and students literally were working at the same place but separate parts, at Akaki’s office. The place is cozy, intimate giving feeling, and spacious. Professor Akaki, himself is extremely honorable man, with a kind, agreeable, sometimes quiet attitude, in which one really relish talking to. Below you can see the Akaki sensai who is showing an ancient pottery piece during an outdoor site visit on a rainy day. I was the one who took the picture.



Akaki’s office secretary, Ariura san, is a huge contributor in office and without her aid and existence office is sort of senseless.  She is kind, always smiling, caregiver, sometimes candy distributer person. Whenever students especially international ones are facing a dilemma, or getting a problem hard to manage, she truly is a one that aids you. Personally about me, she’s been huge helper, and here I truly appreciate her efforts. Below you can see a picture of her during her birthday in one of the lab’s party.


About our lab members, they comprise graduate and, some undergraduate students who are mostly Japanese except one of them named Michael from Kiribati. Few numbers of students are working at the office, but the rest of them are at the lab. Honestly, I haven’t the exact census of students, for further information you can refer to Michael’s blog in which I concerned that convey student’s numbers, or you can try Akaki lab English webpage . Our lab manager, Hyodo san is super shy guy, but sort of affable and quiet who is cooperative if you have something to do with soil laboratory, or even other stuff. Here is the right time and place to thank him too. But the fact is that all of them including Michael are nice and cool guys. If you probably have ended at Akaki’s lab, and being fan of parties, drinking, or sport; the luck is exactly try to knock your door, because you’ll be invited to countless of parties, sport events like baseball  and bowling, dinner time gathering, new year celebration and so forth time to time. Below, you can see an image of just a few member of our lab, noteworthy that all of them aren’t our lab students, cheering shoulder to shoulder with Akaki sensai.  




Time to talk a bit about research situation in Waseda University. About the geotechnical lab itself, it has been loaded with numerous geotechnical equipment ready to use and perform various types of test from pavement scale tests up to geotechnical ones like tri-axial cyclic compression test. For more sophisticated geotechnical tests like shaking table, large scale modeling box, or other huge geotechnical test devices, I assume there’ll be no worry and limitation, because Akaki sensai has links to some research institutes like RTRI (Railway Technical Research Institute) in which contain the most recent and sophisticated geotechnical equipments as well. If you are ended up doing practical or laboratorial thesis here in Waseda University, as I told, Akaki sensai has links with outside University institutions and companies; thus, in a case of cooperating with an organization due to the data gathering, or site visiting, beside inside of university groups he can be quiet helpful.

I Hope that this short writing was able to somehow draw a true picture of what’s going on in Waseda University, Akaki office and its geo-lab.  Below I‘ve put an image of mine which I was taken when I was in Tokyo during my first arrival days.

I keep my fingers crossed for all those who read this scribble, and for those who desire to apply for a Japanese university especially Waseda University, and more specifically Akaki’s office. 笑う

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