Last November 2nd, we, once again, had a full Halloween costume party in NAIST!
The GSK and Darts Club united this year to provide a stage where students could show off their abilities in costume play and darts. A photo booth for posing, snacks, drinks, a theme-based music playlist, and free Darts lessons! A full-fledged relaxing and fun night to (for many of us) re-use our Halloween costumes from the previous weekend 😅.
After a few opening remarks from the organizers, we enjoyed a Dart Contest with a special electronic target that would show the scores and progress on a big screen! This was a great introduction for many of us to the “301 darts game.” In this team tournament, the points awarded by every dart would be summed up until… you reach zero! Yes, for this game, you would start with a certain amount of points, and your goal would be to reach zero before the other team. Quite the particular modality that requires some strategy and communication with your partner. A close fight that resulted in a double first prize!
After the Dart Contest, the stage was reserved for a cosplay catwalk! Here, cosplayers would get up to the stage, strike a pose, and appeal with their best to the audience to gain the votes of the public. Because what is a better motivator than a well-deserved prize delivered on a stage?
With this event, once more we see these activities back after a couple of years of restrain. A nice break from our daily school activities to enjoy performing as our favorite characters and learn more about formal Darts competitions. Let’s see what brings next year!
Amidst the peaceful quiet of NAIST, there are times you can hear the sounds of joyous cheers and balls bouncing on concrete. On these nights, you can trace the sound to the multipurpose outdoor court of NAIST. Upon looking, you may see several people from different countries and continents come together to enjoy a game of volleyball (and other sports). This is volleyball night and everyone is welcome here to come and join.
Volleyball in action
Established in the spring of 2022, the NAIST Sports Club has evolved into a regular weekly session of destress, rest, and relaxation. Though some would argue that playing volleyball for over 3 hours is not rest; it is definitely a much sought-after break from research and work.
What started off as a purely casual game for beginners, volleyball night has transformed into a fun competitive match between friends with moments straight out of the manga Haikyuu. At first, people didn’t even know how to receive the ball properly. A mixture of different hand gestures and positions were used to play volleyball; sometimes even feet were preferred. “It didn’t look like volleyball at the start,” says Maria from Colombia, “but eventually people started learning.” True enough, rallies became longer and matches became more intense. Despite that, funny flops and hilarious moments are still a natural occurrence. “Though we’re improving a lot, beginners are still welcome and we still make a lot of mistakes that we just laugh about.”
Not even storms and rain can stop people from playing. On several occasions, the players would continue forth and enjoy the game under the rain. “It’s a perfect way to cool off during the summer,” says Aimé from France.
Storms can’t stop us!
Since only one volleyball court is available and only a limited number of people can play at once, others also play various sports while waiting. You can see people playing basketball or soccer on the sidelines while waiting for their turn. Thus, even though some aren’t too good at volleyball, they can still enjoy other sports or also talk to people on the side.
Playing other sports on the sidelines
“It really brings people together,” says Kostja from Russia. At NAIST where often it becomes too quiet and isolating, volleyball night allows students to get together and have some fun. “I met my friends at NAIST because of volleyball. Despite it not being an official club, it’s the biggest and most popular one in NAIST.”
“As an internship student, volleyball club was the perfect opportunity to make friends at NAIST,” shared Berat from Turkey. “The club welcomes players regardless of their experience and everyone is always happy to share their knowledge.”
The NAIST Sports Club (est. 2022)
“The best decision in my entire time in Japan!” exclaimed Daniel from Germany. “Everyone here is the same, no matter where you are from, no matter what gender, no matter how good at volleyball. Having fun together is what counts.”
Indeed, no matter the season, weather, or temperature, students from all over NAIST come together to enjoy a game of volleyball and play some sports. It’s definitely one of the things people look forward to during the week.
(All NAIST members are free to join volleyball every Tuesday and Thursday from 7pm)
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!
…a wickedly awesome Halloween Party that is! This November 2, people in and around NAIST came together and dressed silly for the annual Halloween Party, organized by the Global Student Network (GSK). And for the first time ever in the history of NAIST student parties, the party was held in the Millennium Hall Lounge.
Each year, the NAIST GSK Recycling Club collects household items from graduating students, and redistributes them to the incoming students that need them most. This is a big win for the graduating students, the new students, and the environment! The club hosts the yearly Recycle Market behind the school cafeteria. This year’s event was held on April 4, and I had the chance to document all the buzz around the event.
In spite of being a Japanese graduate school, there are some extracurricular activities going on on campus. This time VSP introduces you to one of the more traditional ones, NAIST Kendo Club. Kendo, or Japanese fencing, is a martial art that literally means “the way of the sword”. Practitioners wear an armor and try to strike the opponent correctly in duel matches. It is practiced by people from all ages around the world.
At the annual Reuse Market, students can receive used appliances and goods donated by students who have graduated and left the university. In 2016, over 200,000 JPY (2,000 USD) worth of goods have been distributed to students on a pay-what-you-want basis. The Recycling Club recounts what goes into planning and organizing the event, and how it became what it is today.
On November 13th NAIST carried out his Open Campus event. Unlike the one that takes place in March, this one targets kids and is full with activities and stalls where they can interact with new technologies and try a variety of interesting demos. But in the middle of all of that, there is always a moment for some physical activity. For this, NAIST Kendo Club also participated in the event, offering an exhibition of kendo equipment, videos of current tournaments and, the most popular, a kendo try-out.