Takaoka Laboratory

It was another cloudy day in the beginning of April. I was quite nervous. I never good with new people. I don't know whether they will like me or not. I don't know whether this place will suit me or not. What if they don't like me? What if I cannot make friends? All those paranoid sounds echoing in my head. Yet, I rode the bus and then arrived at the place they told me to come to.

The place is big. Located on the top of the hill, I could feel the fresh air and I could see a magnificent view from above. I reminded myself to keep walking because they probably had been waiting for me. And so I walked, and by the time I feel like I arrived, I knocked the door. The lady who met me yesterday opened the door for me. She introduced me to everyone: teachers, staffs, and students. "Welcome to Takaoka laboratory," she said. "Do you want to join us playing baseball?" asked someone who introduced himself as Aoki-san. And that's how I met my laboratory members for the first time.

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My laboratory is different with others. Although I belong to Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies (GSGES) in Yoshida Campus, my laboratory is located somewhere else: Katsura Campus. Being the only member of Takaoka laboratory in my faculty batch, with a packed schedule and quite a distance to through, I didn't have much time to bond with my laboratory members. I visited laboratory every Thursday, a day I dedicated as "Katsura day", for the sake of attending students seminar. Some other days, I spent my time in GSGES lounge, because that was the closest place I can reach after classes finished.

I didn't spend time much with my lab mates, but I do have good memories of them.  I remember I worked together with Nishimura-san in the basement during laboratory clean-up, labeling experiment equipment with bad-handwritten kanji. It was the first time for me to enter the experiment room - the second time is the next year when we had another clean-up. Then I remember the time when we did barbecue in the river bank of Katsura river. I had to finish 2 kg of halal chicken because Mahzoon and Chady are not coming yet and that chicken was bought especially for us, the Muslims. I remember I heard Kurenai by X-Japan, played by someone else in the riverbank, then I told Toda-san that I love the song. He keeps remembering the fact that I love Kurenai song, maybe until now. And of course, I remember the sports day. The day when I decided to become a fake snake by sliding on the floor. Thank God the video is gone already. I am happy I put some entertainment to be remembered by my senpai. Oh and I-CEPEC? It was a pleasure to held international conference with lab mates! And did I mention the laboratory trip? I had a casual trip to Kanazawa with Yamada-san, Matsui, and Mahzoon where we ate gold ice cream and a farewell trip to Fukui where we enjoyed a wholehearted meal and a warm onsen. With them, I finally feel the Japanese traveling experience.
Barbeque party, June 2015
Kanazawa! March 2016
I-CEPEC the conference dinner, September 2016
Dinner at Fukui, March 2017
The end of the year has a special space in my memory. We had bonenkai, or end of the year party, where everyone exchange gift and eat lots of food. Twice, I got a gift from Buki. Twice, I saw happy faces eating cakes. I remember, Yamada-san, Nishimura-san, Kuma-san, were eating my cakes with a chopstick. If there is anything that makes me happy, it is people who eat my cooks delightedly. And my laboratory mates - they never failed me. From one of my first baking experiment "burnt strawberry cakes" to my advanced baking "chocolate cheesecake", they ate them all. And they always love them! What can I ask for more? They are a perfect laboratory mates for me.
Eating cake with chopstick!
Lab members after bonenkai 2015
But nothing I remembered like the farewell day. The day when my senpai finished their master study. The day when we sang all night long; try to forget there will be tomorrow to say goodbye. That night, I was crying. That night and several nights after that. I lost people who cheered me, teased me, guided me, helped me. They are not in the laboratory any more. But somehow, they showed us that they are there. They sent crabs, tea, winter supplements and all - to encourage us, M2 students, to work our best for our master thesis. Their support never gone away. Because I have such great seniors, I promised myself I will give the same support to my juniors.
Farewell day of my seniors, March 2016
I was sad when Takaoka-sensei said there is no new student for GSGES this spring semester. Ah, I am totally alone in the faculty now. But half a year later, Cao came. I was really happy to finally have a junior in the faculty - although only for a semester. In addition, since Paloma considering to enter GSGES, I can say now I have two juniors. I remember Nishimura-san said to us, "Please help the juniors, especially the foreigners." I might not help them a lot as I was rarely being in Katsura. But I was happy to make friends with them. Not only them, actually, but everyone in the lab. I was happy to be able to listen to Cao beautiful voice, I was happy to share Fukui with Paloma, I was happy to listen to every story Mahzoon would share, I was happy to meet Fatimah san and her two cute children, I was happy to talk to Kuma-san, I was happy to hug Yang-san every time we met. Not to mention several special Japanese students who tirelessly helped me and talked to me even though I know my Japanese suck and they don't like to talk in English but they talked anyway: Toda-san, Matsuo-san, Aoki-san, Yamada-san, Nishimura-san, Matsui, Ueura, Li-chan, Asako, Shunta, Yu-chan, Nishizono, Nitta, Mukae, Miyahara. 

It's been a great pleasure spending two years in Takaoka lab. I know the specialty of the lab is not what I actually looking for, but if anything, here I found something more precious: extremely kind supervisors and extremely nice friends. I am forever grateful and I would never regret my time spent in Kyoto University as Takaoka laboratory member.  See you again someday, dear lab mates! Wishing you a great life wherever you are, whatever you do. 
My farewell day, with the Head of the Lab, Takaoka sensei
My farewell day with Paloma & Mahzoon - team who gave me beautiful gift!
Takaoka laboratory farewell party, March 2017

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