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Ing. Michal Zálešák, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, ročník 3

Faculty Technology
Field of study Environmental Engineering
Field of internship Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Specialization of InternshipMolecular Biology
Internship period (from - to) 4.9.2017 - 3.11.2017
Internship duration (weeks) 9
Transport (means, price) By air from Prague to Tokyo with China Eastern for 15000 CZK
Insurance/Insurance company CSOB
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) No
Price of Visa Not applicable
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Japan, Tokyo
Internship reference number JP-2017-25-TUS

About the country

Location of the place

Japan is an archipelago located in far East Asia that consits more than 6000 islands from which over 400 are inhabited. This archipelago is surrounded by Pacific Ocean from Sout-West, Japanese Sea from East and Sea of Okhotsk in the north. Among the main islands belong Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Honshu is the largest island in Japan with population around 100 million. The most populous and largest cities such as Osaka, Yokohama and of course Tokyo are located there.

City

Tokyo is Japan's capital and political centre. Also, it is the world's most populous metropolis. It offers unlimited choice of entertainment such as shopping, variety of culture events, many excellent museums historic temples, and dining to its visitors. The city's history can be appreciated in districts such as Asakusa, and in many excellent museums, historic temples and gardens. Surprisingly, Tokyo also offers some attractive green spaces in the city centre.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

My free time after work (workdays) and during weekends differed quite substantially. After the work at university, I usually went for a good food and then I relaxed with a good book in my room at the place I lived. When it comes to talk about my free time during weekends, I went for a few trips out of Tokyo, namely: Karuizawa and Nikko. I managed both of these trips in one weekend with using Japan East Pass, which can be purchased for 10000 JPY and is valid for three days. Besides these trips, I spent majority of my free time in Tokyo, visiting museums, especially the Natural museum in Ueno, which I visited three times and I still do feel that I have not seen enough. Generally, the Ueno area became my favorite and I often went there during weekends, there is a Ueno market worth of visiting if anyone want to get some souvenirs from Japan (I bought there my watches) or you can visit a ZOO that is in front of the Natural museum. Anyway, Tokyo has much more to offer and I just mentioned a few things I liked the most.

Employer

Employer

Tokyo University of Science was founded in 1881 and it is one of the oldest private universities of science
and technology in Japan. Katsushikama campus, department of Biological Science and Technology.

Work description

I stayed mainly in labs learning how to handle with eukaryotic microbial samples. I learned how to isolate soil microbes from an environment, cultivate them on solid agar plates enriched with antibiotics to suppress the growth of unwanted bacteria so that only pure eukaryotic strains or consortia of eukaryotic species can grow on the plates. Furthermore, I learned how to prepare DNA samples for PCR analysis and how the use of different primers influence the final result of the PCR process. Further, I learn how to apply samples in the agarose gel electrophoresis (DGGE), dyeing of the gel and final determination of the eukaryotic species based on the DNA sequences obtained. Besides this, I learn how to transfer gene information of fungi species, cultivate them and check their DNA sequence again with using PCR and DGGE. Also, I helped with correction of two scientific papers aimed to be published shortly. Further, I discussed with some students preparation for an international conference, and I suggested some points to be improved. Finally, I helped with isolation of gut microbes from fish previously purchased from the Pacific ocean, and I had a chance to join a trip to Hakone for collecting lichens as well as visiting a museum archive related to the animal, plant, and mushroom species.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

My salary was 120000 JPY/month, which was sufficient enough to cover all my expenses related to the accommodation (Airbnb host house) and food. Also, I was able to buy a bike so that I could reach my working place comfortably in few minutes. Furthermore, I could afford to use a public transportation in Tokyo during weekends. So I do believe that such a salary should be sufficient for anyone in future who will live in Tokyo. However, it never will cover you the expenses, which you have with flight tickets so you should ask your university for a financial support via Freemovers programme or other similar exchange programs.

Language requirements

Excellent English. Please mention that Japan is a country where people do not speak English so everybody who wants to go to Japan should realise that this country is not English friendly one though it is enough for travelling as every station has an English mark.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

I lived in a share house, which is a brand new one with every amenity and latest equipment that made my stay very comfortable. This house has 14 rooms including 2 floors. It is located just 10 minutes from the Kanamachi station by walk. There is an Edo river around 25 minutes far away from the house (walk distance) as well as a park area next to the river. It is a good place for a walk or just to relax in a greenery area that is generally very precious in Tokyo. The accommodation itself was quite cheap based on the Tokyo living standards (10500 CZK/month = 50190 JPY/month) so I was able to save some money for good food and some short trips around Tokyo. I would recommend this house to everyone who is about to have an internship at Katsushika campus of Tokyo University of Science as it is just 15 minutes’ walk and 5-7 minutes’ ride on a bike from the house to the campus.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

As it was my third time in Japan I did not need any help with my arrival so the very first time I met my contact person from IAESTE was a starting day of my internship.

Besides this, I met with other members of IAESTE during a welcome dinner. There were more events organised by the members, which I did not join as I was busy with my work (deadlines are cruel) or I just had simply different plans to do.

Meeting other foreign students

There was a guy from Spain who was doing his internship at the same campus, so we occasionally met in a student cantine for a short talk. Further, I met other foreign students during the above mentioned welcome dinner organised by the IAESTE members. Basically there were many opportunities to meet foreign students as Tokyo is a huge city full of people from abroad, so you do not have to rely on IAESTE members or trainees and you can meet many interesting people anywhere..just keep your eyes opened :)

Sport and culture

Japan is a top country for hiking so do not miss any opportunity to go out for a hike. It is more simple than you might think..just take any train going out of Tokyo and you will find yourself surrounded by a beautiful nature in less than 1.5 hour of ride. When it comes to talk about culture, please see the section "Surroundings (possible trips, ...)"

Food, local specialties

Among my favourite kinds of food in Japan belong these: Sushi, Ramen, Udon, Miso soup, Yakitori, Gyoza, Japanese curry, cold Soba noodles with wasabi. You should try all of them! :)

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

I had a good internet access in my room so the best option to communicate with someone from the Czech Republic was via Skype.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

If you have a choice then choose an autumn season, which is along with the spring one the best in Japan. You wan't be suffering by extreme weather such us high temperature, humidity and typhoons. I would also recommend to bring enough clothes as the cost of clothing is high.

What not to forget with you

Passport, camera, Japan Rail Pass, and good shoes if your size is over 42. Other things can be bought in Japan i.e. adapter, umbrella, sun cream and so on...

Benefits of the internship

I guess that new teaching skills as well as improved confidence in labs will be useful in my future career.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

Everything fine, perfect communication and very helpful people indeed. If I need something they always helped me and their help fas truly fast and useful.

Overall experience with IAESTE

Fantastic :)

Student's website

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1105024842860956.1073741835.100000603531062&type=1&l=8339810e27

Employer's webiste

http://www.tus.ac.jp/en/

Other useful links

http://www.jrpass.com/?gclid=CICSm7b-kskCFQSVGwodssYG4Q
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/live/
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/things-to-do/top-things-to-do-in-japan
http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2164.html

Other comments

Some other comments are written in my previous final report from 2015 so there is no need to repeat myself.

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