Message from Mr. Likhith Manjunatha

Please give a short introduction  about yourself.

My name is Likhith Manjunatha, an undergraduate student majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Kyushu University, Japan. I am originally from Bangalore, India where I completed my high school in Vidya Niketan School, Hebbal.

What is your favorite thing about Fukuoka?

I have been to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and many major cities, but the one thing they lack in comparison to Fukuoka is the feeling of being one with the nature. Also, there are less people compared to other cities and you will not experience the feeling of being alone or left out in a big city. More importantly, Hakata Ramen (Ramen that is distinct to Fukuoka) has every other city beat.

In what way has your impression of Fukuoka or Japan changed since coming here?

Initially, I used to live in a dormitory and had my good share of experiences, but things changed when I decided to forsake the city life and move out to explore the village life in Fukuoka. My initial impressions of Fukuoka being just like any other city, filled with buildings and generic scenery was changed, since now I was surrounded by the ocean, shrines, seemingly never-ending rice fields, scenic low-raised hills, traditional Japanese houses which I adore and more importantly kind and engaging people who take their time to interact with you.

What attracted you to choose Kyushu University as a place to study?

My aspiration to become an astronaut has led me here to Kyushu University. Koichi Wakata, one of the JAXA astronauts who flew to the ISS (international space station) in 1996, is a graduate of Kyushu University. Being taught and advised by the same faculty as an astronaut is definitely a humbling experience and a great step to get closer to my dreams. One of my favorite pastimes is to visit the Centennial Museum in the West 4 building in Kyushu University to look at the Kyushu University flag flown in space by Koichi Wakata during his time in the international space station. His presence in the halls of that museum inspires me to work towards my goals. So this has been one of my motivations to come to Kyushu University.

In what way did you adjust yourself to Japanese culture?

As I mentioned above, I moved out of my dormitory and into a fishing village near the ocean, and since I was the only foreigner living there, the local people were curious about my decision to live with them in that area and always treated me well in hopes that I would always have a good experience. And this way, I have had the opportunity to help the local people in picking plums from their farms, cut over-grown grass, help out in a fish factory and many other things (all voluntarily of course). In return they have taught me how to fish, presented me with a fridge, sofa, oven, ceramics, oysters, rice, fruits, vegetables, sake and my favorite of them all- gifted a scooter. I had never imagined that people could be so genuinely caring and selfless. This exposed me to the Japanese culture which I have deeply embraced and now take every opportunity to practice what I have learnt from them. If I could advise on anything at all, it would be to take initiative and interact with people; you never know what to expect in a place like Japan.


Please give a message to students or researchers in your home country who may be thinking about studying in Japan?

Coming to Japan has been the single most important decision in my life. My parents were against it, but I did enough research about Japan and how I could benefit from going there and finally convinced them to let me study here.
I have noticed that not many people know about the opportunities in Japan, possibly due to the fear of going to an unknown destination and the obvious language barriers; and that may be holding them back. But take it from someone who is living that life right now, it could provide you with exceptionally unique experiences that are not possible in countries like the U.S and the U.K and other popular destinations. So take that next step and do something no one has done around you and you won’t regret it. Cheers.