Category Archives: Event

Recycling Market 2020: A Treasure Trove For New and Old Students Alike

Each year, the NAIST Global Student Network (GSK) Recycling Clubs hosts the Recycling Market with the aim of helping old and graduating students dispose of reusable and good condition appliances and providing support to new local and international students in helping them furnish their dormitory. This year’s event was hosted last April 2, 2020 at Dorm 1 East Wing. 

The GSK Recycling Club strongly coordinates with the International Student Affairs Division which allows them to inform incoming students and to schedule the event at the beginning of the semester to welcome new students and provide support at the start of their graduate studies.

Donations are usually received from old and graduating students. Lots of choices for new NAIST to student to kickstart their student life!

As a new student in NAIST, one of the initial challenges coming to a new country  was purchasing needed appliances to furnish my dormitory. Having the GSK Recycling Market was a godsend event. Not only did it reduce the financial burdens of allocating my budget to new appliances for my dormitory and at the same time, I also got to know other students and made new friends.

The line started even before the venue opened and many new students were eager to get a hold of useful items that they can use for their stay in NAIST. Given the current COVID situation at this time, the event organizers also made it a point to provide guidelines such as only having one person at a time in the storage area to look for an item, and providing hand sanitizer for the participants. 

A happy student finding the rice cooker of her choice!

Lots of items were stocked and were ready for the taking for whoever is in need of them. Students happily picked items that they needed ranging from induction cookers, microwaves, ovens, and refrigerators. GSK members readily assisted the students when handling large appliances. This year’s event was successful both in terms of donation volume and providing for the demand of incoming students. Given the huge amounts of donated items, GSK prompted a re-run the following week, on April 6, 2020. 

Getting your ideal fridge type for your dorm is always a good reason for a thumbs up!

Transitions are hard and scary especially for students coming from abroad. However, it does not have to be difficult as the NAIST community works hand in hand to provide assistance for new students to make an easier transition towards their life as graduate students.  This upcoming October 2020 marks another semester with new incoming students, we hope to see you in the next run of this event! 

NAIST Division of Materials Science Holds 11th Mid-term Evaluation Symposium

The Mid-term Evaluation Symposium 2019 was held in NAIST, last Nov 26 and 27. It is an annual event where a large portion of Materials Science course students present their research in conference-style oral and poster sessions. Now on its 11th year, it is one of the biggest internal events in the MS Division.

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International Students Tour: An Excursion in Tawaramoto Town

In a recent tour led by the Nara Prefecture International Exchange Salon, twelve international students joined other universities located in the Nara Prefecture. The tour is based in Tawaramoto (田原本町), a town blessed with great history and rich natural environment, including Karako-Kagi archaeological site (唐古・鍵 総合サイト) and Momotaro’s birthplace (桃太郎生誕の地).

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A Trip Back to Ancient Japan: Tamba Sasayama International Students Excursion

Old and new NAIST international students were in for a treat as the International Student Affairs brought them to Tamba-Sasayama, an old castle town located in the heart of Hyogo, on May 12, 2019. A group of 41 eager students, from all three divisions of NAIST, joins us today! The event opens with soba-making lessons, followed by a refreshing afternoon walk around the garden, all conveniently located at Eitakuji.

We tried our hand at soba-making at Eitakuji Soba Dojo, under the guidance of a master soba maker. We were taught that traditional soba-making follows a rigorous procedure, which can be categorized into three major steps: (1) dough-making (水回し, mizumawashi), (2) flattening (丸出し, marudashi), and (3) cutting (切り, kiri).

Step 1: mizumawashi — thoroughly mixing buckwheat flour and water to make a dough.
Step 2: marudashi — rolling out the dough to make a large thin sheet.
Step 3: kiri – cutting the sheet evenly into thin soba noodles.

As a reward for our hard work, for making fresh soba from scratch–a hearty soba and tempura lunch!

Students enjoying the soba that they have just made themselves, along with some tempura and rice.

After lunch time, the group then went to the Sasayama Castle Great Lecture Hall (篠山城大書院), which is said to be comparable to Kyoto’s Nijo castle in terms of architecture. It was built on the orders of the 16th century shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Inside the structure are replicas of samurai armor, which are said to weigh around ten kilos each. Although this already sounds heavy, the original ones used in the ancient times are believed to be twice or thrice this weight.

Samurai armor replicas displayed in the Sasayama Castle Oshoin.

Following this is a stroll around the Aoyama Historical Village. Housed in this area is the Tamba Sasayama Dekansho Museum, where students got to enjoy a VR experience featuring a dance to the “Tamba Sasayama Dekansho Song – The Memory of One’s Home Sung with Folk Song,” which became a heritage of Japan in April 2015.

An attendee tests out the VR experience at the museum.

The last stop was the Samurai Residence Anma Family Historical Archive Hall, where the participants took a glimpse of a samurai’s humble abode. Descendants of the samurai are said to still reside in some of the houses within the vicinity.

An old samurai head gear displayed at the Samurai Residence Anma Family Historical Archive Hall.

To cap off the informative and enjoyable excursion, the students enjoyed some ice cream made from the popular Tamba Sasayama black soybeans.

Tamba Sasayama black soybean ice cream being enjoyed by the students.

This excursion is one of the many activities organized by the International Student Affairs for the NAIST international students. Such activities are aimed towards promoting camaraderie among international students while deepening their knowledge of the Japanese culture. Come join us next time!

Blue Valentine’s at Nara Park

Nara Rurie Illumination’s main attraction, Winter Tanabata Road, at the Kasugano International Forum .

The week of Valentine’s Day glowed anew as the annual Nara Rurie illumination event was held nightly from February 8 to 14, 2019 in the surrounding areas of Nara Park (奈良公園), Todaiji Temple (東大寺), and Kasuga Taisha Shrine (春日大社). Although it offers a romantic scene and is popular among couples, this event is not dedicated for the celebration of Valentine’s Day. It is actually for honoring the “happiness corridors” (しあわせ回廊, shiawase kairō), which are the pathways connecting Todaiji temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and Kofukuji Temple (興福寺): Nara’s three important sacred sites. “Rurie” (瑠璃絵) is a term meaning “azure corridor,” which alludes to the Silk Road trade where azure, a blue-colored mineral was introduced to Japan. It has ever since been regarded as a sacred color associated with happiness. Illuminating the “happiness corridors” with a sacred azure hue has then been a tradition to bring happiness and clarity of mind in prayer for its visitors.

What a deer sight among blue lights.
Visitors hanging tanzaku on the trees (left). Early bloom of pretty plum blossoms also get attention (right).

Located at the heart of the area is Kasugano International Forum, which houses the main event attraction. Named the Winter Tanabata Road, it is a garden covered with of blue and white LED lights. Not to be missed are some deer prancing amidst the lights, which in no better way represents Nara Park. Entrance to this main attraction can be either free or paid. The free-zone gives access to a remote viewing of the LED-clad gardens, while the paid area allows a close up experience for a minimal fee of ¥500. As a form of ticket, visitors are provided with a tanzaku (短尺), which is an apple-shaped paper where they can write wishes. The tanzaku can then be hung on trees situated at the end of the Winter Tanabata Road.

Other events outside of the Kasugano International Forum includes special night admissions to the surrounding museums, shrines and temples, Fortune Cocoa selling (or しあわせココア – shiawase cocoa) , Lighting Yorukagura (光の夜神楽, a sacred Shinto dance), and Sky Lantern Anniversary event. Capping off each year’s event on Feb 14th is a ten-minute fireworks display at the Kasugano Park to commemorate the Nara Park anniversary (turning 139 years this 2019).

Visitors can’t get enough of the sea of blue lights.

This annual tradition, now on its 10th year, is just one of the many events that are held within the vicinity of NAIST. Aside from visiting famous tourist attractions, students should not miss cultural events such as the Nara Rurie in order to absorb and appreciate Japanese culture.

One Groovy Afternoon: Mahoroba Dance Festival 2018

Culture and dance met onstage during the Mahoroba Dance Festival 2018, which was held last November 25th at the Nara Centennial Hall. This three-hour annual event started in 2009 as a pre-event for the 1300th anniversary of the Heijō transition capital, with an aim to showcase traditional Japanese culture, particularly during the Tenpyo era, through various types of dances.

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