Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day Trip To Yokohama

Lack of updates these few days was due to my tight schedule settling several important stuff. To be honest, since I came down to Chiba last Thursday, I have not gotten a free day off, doing nothing and resting at home yet. Every day was full of activities and things to settle. Pretty common I guess, when one has just moved into a new place. Physically, I am almost burned out already at the moment.
Just when I thought of having a day of rest, that will not happen yet, as for now. I will be going up to Nagaoka again tonight, as my graduation ceremony for Nagaoka National College of Technology is on Friday.
Keio University (慶應義塾大学).
Back to the main topic of this entry, it was last Saturday, that Cung and I went to Yokohama to attend the 25th Meeting of the Japanese Association of Sociolinguistic Sciences (第25回社会言語化学会大会) at Hiyoshi Campus of Keio University. This meeting might not have much relations to an engineering student like me, but Cung asked me the night before if I wanted to tag along, and since I have nothing much to do, I joined him there. Besides, the topics covered during the meeting seems to be quite interesting.
On our way there, during one of the trains exchanges, we realised that the station we were changing - JR Musashi-Kosugi Station, was a new one that was gonna be opened on that day. It was then we made out on the reason of the unusual number of people, who gathered there to witness the event.
JR Musashi-Kosugi Station.
The entrance to the station.
These boards are built for the safety of passengers when boarding and getting down from the train.
From that new station, we took a while to locate another different train line, in which we had to change into. Fortunately, we found it after going around the station a few times lol!
That however, didn't make us arrive late at the venue, as we still had about five minutes to spare before the reception counter opened for registration. So, we basically wandered around the building and checked out the university surroundings. Keio University certainly lives up to its billing as one of the most prestigious university in Japan, just by looking at the fusion of the traditional and modern architecture of the buildings.
The booklet, containing the research papers presented during the meeting.
Registration counter. We noticed that we were among the youngest ones who attended the meeting lol!
Balding tress, on the main path to the university.
Even the open-air canteen looks like some high class cafe.
This meeting spanned for a couple of days, but we only went on the first day, because the papers presented on the first day looked more interesting. Besides, traveling to Yokohama from Chiba is kinda tiring and time taxing. The morning session was slide presentations by graduate students and lecturers from various universities around Japan.
Not all of the presenters are Japanese, as there were some international students as well, including China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Camwhored inside the presentation hall haha!
Of the three presentations we heard on the morning session, I thought that the first presenter did the best, as she managed to explain her research in a way that we could understand it clearly. Her research was something regarding the quality and level required from the non-native in Japan, in getting a job as a Japanese language lecturer here.
You can tell a person is from China, when they speak Japanese from their distinguishable Chinese slang when they speak. But this lecturer spoke in such a way that one might mistaken her as a Japanese.
Cafeteria of Keio University.
Some of the dishes at the cafeteria.
Lunch of the day.
After three presentations, we went to the cafeteria to have our lunch. One interesting thing about the cafeteria here is that there is one corner, where one can take their dish according to the portion of their liking. The price goes by its weight - 1.4 yen/gram. I'm not sure about other universities, because I have never really been to any of them, but this is certainly something quite new to me.
There were of course, other sections where you can order you meal like normal food courts in the cafeteria.
The number of international students in Keio University.
Poster session.
One of the presenter presenting his research.
The session after lunch break was the poster session, which was held at a different hall. This session provided more flexibility because we could select what topic of the research which interest us, and listen to what the student or the lecturer has to say and explain about their research.
One thing that amazed me is that I have never thought how they could make such a thorough research on languages, and come out with figures, graphs and statistics. All this while, I thought only people from the engineering and actuarial science do this kind of research.
However, if there is one thing that differentiates these two fields, it has to be the analysis of the results, because there is no such thing as right and wrong when you do research about languages. One's analysis comes from his own personal opinion and thoughts, and it is hard for other people to challenge his case. It's a different case when it comes to analysing the results obtained in more technical field like engineering, because one minor miscalculations can cause a major problem in the final result.
The Head of the Japanese Association of Sociolinguistic Sciences.
The Principal of Keio University. His schedule was so tight, that he left right after his speech.
This is the common way of presenting certificates in Japan. They will read out the whole content before presenting the certificate!

The last event of the first day was the closing ceremony and prize presentation to two groups of researches whose research won the Tokugawa Prize.
The first group did a research about some memory model to predict the changing trend of the honorific language (sounds confusing, I know), while the second group's research was to record down the extincting language around the minor islands in southern Japan. The content of the first research was too difficult to comprehend, that I didn't really pay attention to him.
Here is a situation.
When a research has something to do with linguistic, and they could come out with such graph, you know it's not something as simple as it sounded like.
Cung was too lazy to listen, that he decided to doze off instead lol!
An interesting thing about the second group was that one of its member was a German, and he couldn't be bothered to present his research in Japanese. He did it fully in English, and I noticed most of the Japanese in the hall hardly paid any attention to him haha!
Just before he began his presentation, he mentioned that the reason he used English was because he wanna gain more recognition internationally, and not limited only to Japan. He also made a sarcastic comment, by saying that the Japanese loves to do self-introduction (自己紹介) when they meet for the first time, and also apologise a lot, which I agree totally lol!
Mr Heinrich Patrick; it certainly takes some guts to give such comment in front of the Japanese!
The area where they did their research.
The final event of the day was the party. Initially, we didn't plan to join it, but since we would not be attending the meeting on the next day, we thought we might just well attend it as we know there would be good food on offer.
When we entered the hall, where the party was held, we thought we had gone to the wrong place lol!
Who would've thought that this is a university. It looks more like a hotel!
Sandwiches, fresh salmon sashimi, some Korean food, salad.
All in all, I thought attending this event was quite a beneficial one, as I get to learn some stuff about languages, especially Japanese.


CLF said...

haven't been to Yokohama yet, China Town looks interesting.

Calyn Ong said...

I know that "some korean food"!It's called oyster pancake, Gul Jeon :D

calvin said...

@ clf:
yup, i have been to the chinatown in yokohama, but not the kobe one =D

calvin said...

@ calyn ojc:
you with your crazy korean fever, as always =.=