I have studied at the Department of Japanese Studies in the School of Cultural and Social Studies since April 2013, and have done research at my base institution, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken). In the School of Cultural and Social Studies, students have several opportunities to conduct their research from an interdisciplinary perspective, and they integrate arts and sciences across different majors and departments. At this school, students receive extensive support for carrying out surveys and presenting research results in different research institutions, belonging to Sōkendai. Also, team research projects and seminars are often held, and students have opportunities to become acquainted with specialists from various fields within and outside of Nichibunken. I believe that the knowledge and experience obtained during my enrollment here will significantly contribute to my future research.
I am working on black holes and galaxies as a PhD student in NAOJ.SOKENDAI and the institute provided me a lot of opportunities to talk to researchers working on related topics, not only in NAOJ but outside Japan. There are grants to cover travel expense to attend a conference abroad, which helped me to find a collaborator for several times. Conferences are also often held in the NAOJ campus, which helps you to interact with people. The best part of SOKENDAI is that researchers in the institute encourage students to be independent and responsible for your work. It is demanding but enjoyable and one of the best environments to learn how is it like to be a researcher.
Department of Materials Structure Science is positioned at High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK). KEK exudes an image of particle physics research institute. But, this department research material physics and life science. This department students use almost freely neutron, muon and synchrotron radiation. That experience is very rare and exciting. Neutron, muon and synchrotron radiation is very strong research proves. But, a lot of researchers confuse using that experimental equipment. The students can conduct their desired experiment because they have discussions with specialists of the equipment. Please make out your scientific ideas by neutron, muon and synchrotron radiation. And enjoy your research life.
SOKENDAI has a good research environment for Ph.D students. The Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM), the parent institution of the department of Statistical Science, often holds workshops and academic conferences, and so you have many chances to listen to famous researcher's presentations. In daily life, we often discuss about our research in students room and sometimes take "drinking party". It is a refreshing change of pace. Surprisingly, the number of professors is more than that of all students in ISM. You can take each professor's lecture. Moreover, there are many supports to continue research. For example, research assistant, equipment grants for research and so on.
I belong to Department of Genetics in National Institute of Genetics (NIG). NIG provides wonderful environment for research because student can work on forefront studies using latest equipments. In addition, students have opportunities to discuss with researchers including foreigners since there are many seminars by worldwide researchers. Besides, there are many foreign students in NIG. Thus, we have many chances to use English in journal club and party for students and post-docs. Therefore, we can improve English speaking ability on a daily basis and learn diverse thinking of others. Moreover, we can get financial support by employment as research assistant (RA) and for attending conferences, making possible for students to devote to exiting own study.
In our department (Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems: ESB), the first year students must engage in short-term research in three laboratories before they decide their doctoral theses. In the limited time of doctoral course this may sound disadvantage. However according to my experience, what I have learned during this rotation period later helped me to solve problems in my research and people I met in each lab support me greatly in my research life. Therefore I now consider it as advantage. In ESB, it is very easy to get advice from faculties and researchers in other laboratories. Also students can have enough economical support for attending conferences and short-term research in abroad. Through interaction with various researchers both inside and outside the department, I believe students could gain wider view and find their own style of research.