First Day in Japan : Tokodai’s Indonesian Students Association Graduation Celebration Party

Today is my first day in Japan
I arrived at 9 a.m. local time (GMT +9, 2 hours earlier than West Indonesian Time) at Narita International Airport
Little thing about Narita, I don’t know why does Narita is considered as “Tokyo”.. because actually Narita is located at Chiba Prefecture that is very far from Tokyo

I was touched that morning
My tutor, student of Tokyo Tech who’d been chosen as my “guide” for a year, and two of my friends on Lab, have been waiting in the front of arrival gate
This handsome(?) tutor’s name is Shinji Takehara, a graduate student which is on going for Master degree at Tokodai
Two other people is Reiji Takahashi, also a master student, and Adipa, an internal student from Thailand who had completed her master and now she’s going to catch her dream in Ph.D. program
Why’d I touched? I’m so happy that they rent a car for welcoming me T.T.. although the rent car’s price is high in Japan.. hiks >.<.. my friends from Indonesia who were arrived with the same aeroplane were not well-served like me.. they were also being picked, but by densha (electric train, red.)
Furthermore, tutor of one of my friend was waiting for him at Aobadai Station, eki (train station) which is nearest from my dormitory
And one more thing that makes me more touched is, the trip from Narita to Yokohama is 2 hours!! These senpai-tachi (seniors) are very very kind to pick me up with car
And near the dorm, they ask me to join lunch with them.. so happy
For thanking them, I gave them Batik, Indonesian traditional clothes that I had prepared for condition like this 😀

Takehara-senpai and Takahashi-senpai's English are good.. but they don't speak much
But Pa-san's (Adipa) English are so fluent because she is an international student..
and she talks much, so I had much conversation with her
I just know that she was also YSEP (Young Scientist Exchange Program, the program which takes me to Japan) student like me.. and then, she was asked by Sensei (professor) to have her master degree in Tokyo Tech.. and now, she'd done her master and going to Ph.D.. wow

In the evening, an agenda had been waiting : Tokodai's Indonesian Students Association Graduation Celebration Party
The schedule is 5 p.m. at Ookayama Campus..
but.. at that time, there is internet connection registration in dorm
fortunately, my room-mate is also Indonesian.. so I asked him to register my laptop to the internet
In this dorm, there are 3 Indonesian students including me.. because it was a manner, so I became the delegation of these 3 people to go to party in Ookayama

Reckless.. that what I thought that time
I'd never use the train before.. but I had been told by Takahashi-senpai that if I want to go to Ookayama from my dorm, the ticket price is 240 yen
Because I couldn't use Japanese fluently and not many Japanese can speak English, I was little bit confused when I tried to find the ticket machine
One new thing from train system in Japan
We don't buy a ticket to where, but a ticket which cost some amount of money
This kippu (ticket) only can be used to go by train from our last station to the destination station which has ticket price as same as the ticket we buy.. or the station which cost less than the ticket
This ticket is only checked in the entrance and the exit
So, with one ticket, for example from Aobadai-station to Ookayama-station (240 yen) even if we go to the end of the train line and then go back again but still inside the station and at last we go outside at Ookayama-station, we will not need any more money to go outside the station
But, if we have 240 yen ticket and we go outside station at Ooimachi (which cost more than 240 yen), we must add the price of ticket in a machine
Jadi, sebelum beli tiket, kita harus mastiin eki yang kita tuju dari eki kita berangkat biaya perjalanannya berapa..
Satu biaya perjalanan bisa dipake buat berhenti di 2 sampai 4 eki

At last, I arrived at Ookayama-eki after 40 minutes trip by train, with one time exchange line
Ookayama campus is waiting for us after going out from main gate of station
I make an appointment to meet at the entrance of the campus with my other friend from Indonesia
Because she is a girl, so we live seperately
Fortunately, this girl had been arrived since a week before my arrival
So, she knew where is the place of the party

New thing again, there is a lot of Indonesian students in Japan.. even in one campus, there are.. maybe about 30 students
That night party was attended by about 20ies Indonesian students
Don't be fooled, even they are called students, some of them are Ph.D. student who bring their family
First impression of PPI (Indonesian Students Association) Tokodai is warm
I'm glad to be here, not in my home country, with friends who also feels the same like me

The party is for celebrating PPI's members who graduated this autumn
There are some students who will go back to Indonesia, but there are some who will continue to Ph.D.
In this party, we, newbies, were also being introduced to other members

The main event of the party is eating actually.. Indonesian cuisine that were cooked by friends on PPI.. very very delicious!!

But there were also some interesting things that night : sharing from friends who will be graduated
1. From Rizki, Master in Material Engineering, got his Bachelor degree at Material Engineering Department in University of Indonesia. He will work at Japanese aluminium company. He told us about his research life. The topic was so difficult so that the Prof. told him that he wouldn't finish the research from the beginning. Although his research wasn't perfect, but he could pass the Master grade. He also told a story of 1000 frogs which challenged to jump over 1000 staircases. All animals said that it's impossible to Frogs to get 1000 staircases. But the frogs still try to jump. After some staircases, one by one, they fall. But there is one frog who can make to 1000th staircase. Soon they know that the frog is deaf.
2. From Radon, also Master.. I can’t remember what is his major, but maybe nuclear physics (as his name is radioactive matter.. hehe). He told us about a book that was written by a consultant in McKinsey, a well-known consultant company from America. The book was about how to solve problems. Example that brought by him was come from high school band which has a big dream : wants to be a professional band. They agreed to held a concert in their school, inviting their friends to it. But there is a problem : from three concerts that had been held, there were just a little spectator to the concert. In the first concert, there were 10 people from total 500 students. The second one was also attended by 10, and the third, 15. They wanted to get more attendants for their fourth concert. But first, they must know how to get the attendants. Then, they tried to solve this problem, from the analysis of the source of the problem until the methods that fits to solve this problem. They tried to find the root of the problem by conducting yes/no questions. After that, they divided all students into four groups :
a. students who don’t know about the concert : their hypothesis is only 25 students from 500 that have already known about the concert
b. students who attend the concert after knowing about it : their hypothesis is only 60% (15 from 25) that attend to the concert
c. students who had come and willing to come again : their hypothesis is all students who had attend the concert will be back
d. students who had come but have no intention about coming again : their hypothesis is 0 person in this group
They executed a survey and interviews to know about the fact. And all of their hypothesis is wrong :
a. students who know about the concert is 125 students
b. only 15 from 125 (not 60%) who attended the concert
c. from 15 students, 2 will not come again because the musics were always same
They’d found the root of the problem, so they tried to find the method to solve the problem. They listed all of the method that can be used and rearranged them to a matrix based on the impact to the problem and the easiness to apply the method. They will tried to use simplest method but have greater impact to solve the problem. At last, they could make it. The fourth concert was very crowded by students. So, anytime we encounter a problem, always make hypothesis, find the truth, then list the methods to be used, finally execute it.
3. From Nopri, Ph.D. that also a lecturer in Gajah Mada University, he brought his wife and sons here. He told us about machine learning, machine that trained to be smart by the experience as a data that we fed. Humans can also become like machine because, we were constructed by our education system and environment that surrounds us. Thereby, we must have a guidance for ourselves as awareness and religion. Those two will keep us from being a robot.
4. Bang Chandra, taruna nusantara alumnus, Ph.D. that also lecturer in Gajah Mada University. He reminded us with the courage of Indonesian Students Association when from Holland in the middle of war of independence. They were the brain of the independence. We know that as an international students from Indonesia, we have potential to reconstruct Indonesia to be a better country. He said that we must be together for brighter Indonesia.
The party was cool for me. All members have a great courage. And they have their unique potential to give to Indonesia. One last thing that had settled in my heart is Nopri’s words about that he would like to come back to his hometown, Banjarmasin, after getting his Professor. He said that he will be more useful at Banjarmasin rather than Yogyakarta because there are already a lot of great people in Yogyakarta. He will reconstruct his hometown to be better.

So that it is. See you in next post.