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Interaction Asia
Seventeenth Issue
Tokyo Metropolitan University Graduation Memorial Report 1/2

Asian exchange students report on their studies at the Tokyo Metropolitan University beginning in 2008. Completing a three year period of study, two students from the first graduating class in September have written retrospectives. We will have two reports on this memorial report.

Celebrate graduation!
Speaking with graduates of the Tokyo Metropolitan University
Looking back 3 years at Tokyo
Mr. Tan Kwek Tze

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■Description of birthplace Singapore
Singapore is a small, stable, developed country with an elected parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are modern and widely available. Singapore's strategic location on major sea lanes and its industrious population have given the country an economic importance in Southeast Asia disproportionate to its small size.

Mr. Duong Du Bui

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■Description of birthplace  Hai Phong- Vietnam
Haiphong is the third most populous city and one of principal ports and trading centers in Vietnam. When the country was invaded by the French, the city became France's main naval base in Indochina. Haiphong is a famous city in Vietnam with many beautiful coastlines and beaches such as: Do Son, Cat Ba, Cat Co, Dao Khi,. Doson Casino is also a tourist attraction place.
Q1 How did your impressions of Tokyo change when you started living in Tokyo, in comparison to the impressions you previously held of Tokyo?

Mr. Tan; I found that the Japanese people are very warm and friendly. Although I was not able to speak fluent Japanese, but people living in my neighborhood were very nice and kind towards my family and I. I thought I would have difficulty communicating with the residents due to language barrier, but I was wrong. I also thought that Tokyo is just like any other big metropolitan city. Indeed this is true, but above that, Tokyo offers a lot of natural and cultural attractions, which adds on to the diversity of a modern city. This is very unique and special.

Mr. Bui; Before living in Tokyo, I have only negative impression of Tokyo that Japan in general and Tokyo in particular could be the land of many natural disasters (i.e. earthquake, volcanoes, tsunami, etc.,) so that might not be a safe place to live and study. However, after three year living in Tokyo, especially after I witnessed how is the life in Japan during the Great Earthquake 11th, March. I realized that Tokyo is one of the best places to live, even during time such disasters occur.

Q2 Have you faced any cultural/customary differences that have surprised or troubled you while living in Tokyo?

Mr. Tan; Initially there are some cultural differences which surprised me. For example, I was surprised by the fact that garbage needs to be sorted out before disposal. I was also astonished that we cannot throw garbage every day, but have to follow the city garbage calendar. This is very different from Singapore. But it was not troubling at all. Very soon, I got used to this culture and I think it is a very effective way to manage garbage in a densely populated city. I hope the Singapore government follows this aspect.

Mr. Bui; I have faced only small cultural/customary difference about lunch break that surprised me when I started living in Tokyo. In Vietnam we usually have about one hour for snap after having lunch. However, Japanese has very quick lunches without any snap that make me a bit difficult to concentrate on my work in the afternoon during my first weeks in Japan.

Q3 What would you like to do first after returning home, and why?

Mr. Bui; After returning home I will first enjoy some Vietnamese traditional foods such as Pho, Spring Roll, and so on because I miss their original tastes very much.

Mr. Tan; I would like to visit many new places in Singapore. Over recent years, Singapore has developed rapidly with many new infrastructures and nice places/buildings. Examples include the newly built Marina Bay Sands and Resort World Sentosa, which houses Universal Studio Singapore. I hope to catch up with these recent developments.

Q4 Who would you like to see first after returning home, and why?

Mr. Tan; I hope to meet my family members (my parents and siblings) and share with them my experience in Tokyo. I hope to tell them about my research and personal experience which I thoroughly enjoyed during the last 3 years. People in Singapore might not have a good understanding of Japan, and I hope to introduce the beauty and attractiveness of the country to them.

Mr. Bui; After returning home, I first of course want to visit my family members including my mother, wife and daughters, etc., who had do their best to support me during my PhD study abroad.

Q5 Please introduce any food that you seldom eat in Tokyo and you would like to eat after going back. Also, what kind of food you would like to eat whenever you have a chance to come back to Tokyo ?

Mr. Tan; Singapore has many authentic delicacies. One example is Satay, which is a dish of marinated, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce. It is relatively similar to yaki tori in Japan, but the sauce makes it very special. Another food is the Hainanese Chicken Rice. It is a classic Singaporean dish of delicately poached chicken infused with ginger with rice cooked in chicken stock served with and fresh ginger and chilli.

Mr. Bui; Japanese foods are very fresh, healthy, and delicious. Among many Japanese foods I like, Sushi, Shasimi would be the best dishes and whenever I have chance to visit Japan, I will eat them again.

Q6 What kind of impressions have you had throughout conducting your research at TMU? Please tell us about good/bad points, difficulties, troubles, etc. Also, what sort of memories have you had?

Mr. Bui; To study in leading universities in Japan like TMU has been my strong desire for a long time. During my research in TMU, I had received wonderful supervisions from my supervisor, Prof. Kawamura and great supports from TMU, especially from International Office, Student Support Office, Library that all helped me enjoy my research without any difficulty. Among many of my best memories that I had during my study in TMU, I would like to mention that I am very impressed on the way Prof. Kawamura have supervised me. Whenever I faced difficulty in my research or I met tight deadline, he spent a-day-long seminar, even during his holiday, to discuss with me on my research and then he provided me with helpful suggestions to overcome.

Mr. Tan; I have a very nice memory of my research work at TMU. Although Hino campus is a small campus, it is very conducive for research work, as it is relatively quiet. I enjoyed using the state-of-art facilities in Watanabe laboratory to perform experimental work. The only difficulty I had was that machine operation is in Japanese, but this is trivial as I could learn the operation work quickly using Japanese. I enjoyed having lunch sessions with the students in my laboratory, exchanging cultural views and learning more about Japan. The professors and students in TMU are very warm and friendly.

To be continued in the next report. Please look forward to it!

The Best Poster Award
in Switzerland, 2011

<Research topic and results of 3-year research>
■Mr. Tan Kwek Tze
My research aims to comprehensively understand the performance of through-thickness stitching in enhancing impact damage tolerance of advanced composite materials.
Over the 3-year research, 6 peer-reviewed manuscripts were published in international journals and 15 conference papers were presented in both domestic and international conferences. The Best Poster Award was received recently in the international conference in Switzerland, where only one award was given among all submitted papers from around the world.
【For more information, please refer to this website】

with Prof. Kawamura in California
for the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress, 2011

■Mr. Duong Du Bui
In the world, groundwater is the largest and most important source of potable water. Achieving sustainable management of groundwater resources is one of the essential objectives for the future of developing countries when the rising demand for clean drinking water is considered. Groundwater management is particularly important in the Red River Delta in Vietnam because water supply in the delta greatly depends on groundwater due to the uneven distribution and unfavorable quality of the surface water. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the spatial characteristics of the aquifer system and groundwater level trends in order to provide fundamental references for further groundwater analyses ensuring sustainable groundwater development in the Red River Delta. The main objectives of this study are: (1) to identify the aquifer framework and determine characteristics of the aquifer system; (2) to clarify the patterns of recent trends in groundwater levels of the identified aquifers.
After 3-year research in Tokyo Metropolitan University, the aquifer systems of the Red River Delta were identified and characterized.
【For more information, please refer to this website】