By Hamza Abdelli (D1)
The 35th sensor symposium was my first symposium in Japan, so I was super excited to join especially that the venue of the event was in Sapporo, a city that I wanted to visit since I came to Japan. The trip started from Sendai Airport where I met other students I knew from Haga sensei’s lab. We had a chat and I found out that we were going to the same symposium on the same flight and later on our arrival our staying hotels are next to each other. Never mind, I was glad to meet them and we actually met again and again during the event. When I arrived to Sapporo I headed directly to the hotel as it wasn’t far from both the train station and the venue of the symposium, while walking I got already hooked on the city. It was impressive, it had this different style compared to other cities which I visited before in Japan. The streets felt different, big but not too big, the building also, and there was lot of shops. I can say it is a blending of Japanese style and western style. I realized immediately that it is going to be a pleasurable and memorable journey for my staying during the event. I reached the hotel and received the keys for my room, the first thing I did then was to take a nap to rest from the trip and later go explore the city.
I went that evening to downtown and Odori Park, and I tried the local food. There was a lot restaurant and many meal choices for beef and fish. But for the prices, I am not commenting on that—you can guess (It was expensive!!). I recharged my energy that night for the next day because it is important and going to be the opening of the event (I wished Sapporo a good night and went to sleep!).
In the first day of the of the symposium, I was wearing almost formal clothing but not quite there, because I was wearing a sweater (the city was cold). I was surprised that day because everybody in the symposium was wearing a suit except me. Never mind I didn’t take a big attention to that and I believe the same with the other people towards me. I attended the first lecture that day and it was great though it was in Japanese and I didn’t get much of the talk but the videos and illustrations they used were very useful. It was the lecture which I understood the most during the whole symposium. Because it was about some recent innovations in Tokyo university, and I believe they had a good enough budget to make such very good videos. Suzuki sensei was in the lecture room, he was the first guy from our lab who I met in the symposium. He was holding his tablet, I believe he was taking notes and checking some stuff. But later me and him discussed the lecture and he gave me some explanation, especially about this marker that can be used like on paper to connect electrical elements.
After the opening of the symposium and the first lecture we had posters time. It was then when I started meeting the rest of our lab members. Muroyama sensei was one of the jury, so he was checking almost all the posters, and trying to pick best posters for the event. The rest of our lab members were poster presenters; Tsukamoto-sensei, Hirano-sensei, Liu-san, Chen-san, Nomoto-san, Teranishi-san, me and also Suzuki-sensei. Our presenting sessions were spread through the three days of the event. We were all presenting posters in the hall except Shao-san who had a power point presentation in a room and he delivered it in English.
The first day of the symposium was long as there was three lectures and two sessions for poster presentations. At the end of the day fortunately there was a ceremony with food and drinks so we sat together, me, Shao-san, Lieu-san, Chen-san and Moroyama-sensei and enjoyed.
When the party finished, we decided as lab mates to go to the city to explore it. We went fast to our hotels, changed our clothing and went down town. We visited some famous spots in Sapporo city like Otori Park, Sapporo TV tower, Clock tower and Susukino. We agreed to go to karaoke that night but when we reach to a one in the city, we asked each other who is going to sing, everybody was saying I am a terrible singer, I can’t sing, I supposed that you guys are going to sing, and this was the words of everyone of us—me, Shao-san, Chen-san and Liu-san. So we canceled it at the last moment. We went just for a walk in Susukino and took pictures. At 10pm we went back to our hotels to rest from this long day and prepare for tomorrow.
The second day was almost like the first day, tough this time I suited up, because I didn’t want to look different this time or to be noticed that I am not formally dressed. The rest of the schedule was almost the same during the three days of the event. We had lecture sessions, poster sessions and presentation sessions. On this day I also saw other Tohoku University students and sensei’s like Ono-sensei, Haga-sensei. Tohoku University was well presented on force in the symposium. We had many presenters from our university with important works, which I was very proud of.
At the end of that day Hirano-sensei invited us for a dinner, I went with Teranishi-san, Liu-san, Shao-san, and Chen-san. It was my last night in Sapporo city. Hirano-sensei asked us where do we go, and what do we want to eat—I was into beef and some other members also, so we agreed to go to an izakaya downtown. Going there we passed by the Ichibancho of Sapporo (Ichibancho is like a phenomenon in all the big cities in Japan). That night was Halloween so the arcade was full of people disguised and dressed in frightening and funny characters. it was obvious that they did an elaborate work to look like Dracula, Avatar, Witches, Superheroes…There was a plenty of them. We watched them little bit, took pictures and continued looking for a place where to eat because we were hungry that night.
The place which we ended up choosing that night was cosy, with an interesting decoration. It had these big filament lumps which I didn’t see like them before. The rest of the decor was made of wood so in general it was nice place. The menu was in Japanese but it had a QR code for English translation, that was also interesting. So we ordered some good fish and beef, and other small stuff, and a lot of drinks. Liu-san looked red and glowy, so asked him “are you ok!” “why do you look like that?”. He said it is this thing so called “Asian glow”. So there is some people when they drink alcohol their skin color changes and they get some certain glow. But nothing to worry about. We talked about our lab that night and its history and we had a lot fun. At the end of the dinner Hirano-sensei payed most of the bill. Shao-san payed a little bit higher than us because he is a stuff member now, but we appreciated very much the gesture.
Later we went back to our hotels but this time we did it through these city underground tunnels. I was impressed! Sapporo city had like an other small city in its underground. There was a lot shops and small streets and subway. You need a map and you should follow signs to navigate under, it felt like a separate secret city and it was nice. I have never saw such a thing in such a scale before.
When I reached my hotel, I just changed my clothing and went to a Halloween party in the city. It was also amazing. They had this contest for best costume, and I had to see some the mind blowing ideas for disguising. The costume which I liked the most and I found funny was this group of people who tried to look like an African tribe members. I must admit, they were kind of very successful. I went late back to the hotel that night-- Also tomorrow Suzuki sensei told me he went to a party the night before but I am not sure which one was it.
The third day of the symposium was very time limited and I had my schedule a little bit tight. It was the day of my presentation so I had to be well prepared. When it was the lecture session before my poster presentation session, I couldn’t find my spot on the poster boards. the number of my poster in the pamphlet didn’t exist on all boards. So I had to look over and over in the two floors of the symposium. Fortunately I had Yoyo, a friend from Haga lab who was helping me, so he figured out that there was a mistake in my number and that my name is in an other board with a different number. Never mind, it was not a big problem and I am glad that I found my name. I fixed my poster and stand waiting for the the time of the poster session to start. People arrived and I am glad that there were many people who were interested in my work. I explained to a variety of people and I had some Japanese who listened to my presentation, some of them asked me to try to speak slowly and so I did. I explained to people from companies, students of other universities. And almost all our lab member visited me. It went well and I didn’t find much difficulties for responding to questions. I was almost finally done with the conference.
At the concluding session, the committee of the symposium rewarded the remarkable participants who did some excellent work. From our lab we had Suzuki sensei who won the award for best poster. It was a big honor for him and our lab. We were super happy for him and the work he has done. Yoshida-sensei was also nominated for best picture but unfortunately he didn't win. But we were also glad that he made it so far to get nominated.
At the end of event, they presented important dates and information concerning the next year symposium. They said it is going to be held in HAMAMATSU from 19/11/2019 to 21/11/2019 . Hopefully that time we will all also participate and try to win more awards.
I visited Hokkaido university that day in a hurry and headed to the train station to catch the train to the airport because I had my fight at 5pm. Sapporo has this very old nice university made of brown bricks. A lot trees, and because it was autumn season, colors of trees gave the campus a great scenery.
I Boarded the plane, and the view of the sky that evening was amazing. Three colors were blending together in the air, the dark blue of the night with orange beams of the sun set and the color of the ground. It felt magical—Good buy Sapporo—Thank you very much for the trip!