Message from Mr. Prakhar Misra



Please give a short introduction about yourself.

Hello, I am Prakhar Misra. I will be starting with my second year of Doctoral studies in the Takeuchi Lab of Remote Sensing and Disaster from April,2016. I research in field of satellite applications for urban air pollution. I belong to the city of Lucknow and prior to this I completed my dual degree in Civil Engineering from IIT Kanpur in 2013.


What is your favorite thing about Tokyo?

Tokyo is always alive. There are always interesting events/shows happening at someplace or other. On top of that it is known to be very safe despite being crowded. So whenever I need to take a rejuvenating break from studies, I just plan and visit some pocket in the city and always come back excited. In any case, the sea or the mountains are just an hour and a half in either directions.

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

I had heard that people often go out on their way to help you but I often see it happening and experience that too. And with Tokyo 2020 around the corner, the government is taking steps to make information much more accessible to foreigners which shall be boon for all newcomers to Japan. However the most important thing is before coming to Tokyo, I had only seen pics on the net and Google Street view and had found to be some kind of concrete jungle. I expected a lot vehicles and traffic. Being a nature lover, I thought it would be hard to adjust. After coming to Tokyo this image changed completely when I visited huge koens at Yoyogi or Ueno. Also I am often amazed by the fact that the moment you walk just ten metres from a major street everything becomes quiet all over again.


What attracted you to choose the University of Tokyo as a place to study?

Especially for Civil Engineering, as I guess for other departments too, UT is well-renowned for its cutting edge research. My lab for example is amongst the oldest labs in Japan to start researching in Remote Sensing and access to most data or technology can usually be arranged without much problem. UT otherwise attracted me for its stress on solving problems of society and not just focusing on academic research. With strong ties ties between and industry and academia, I was sure I will work on an application based problem. Plus, being the frontrunner of all Asian universities, it provides you a global platform to choose your research problems and showcase your output. Having a MEXT scholarship for the full duration is also one of the reasons I made a final decision to come here.

                             

                    In what way did you adjust yourself to Japanese culture?

                    Well this is not recommended unless you feel adventurous and willing. So before coming to Japan, I was a complete vegetarian.

                    To truly immerse in a culture tasting its food is an important component. So I have completely changed in that respect. So, I have eaten

                    dishes that are delicious and are only authentic to Japan. On the other side, I have learnt to cook by myself and have learnt to distinguish

                    between a host of spices. The Japanese culture encourages you to become self-dependent, which initially may feel discomforting but

                    gradually makes enjoy the freedom your earn yourself.

 

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

                    Studying in Japan as much as about studying as it is about Japan. From the moment you land at the airport you just start earning  

                    experiences. Japan is a country that teaches a lot yet in its own subtle ways. One of the things you will certainly appreciate is the passion

                    for quality. And slowly you might end up absorbing it too. There is a lot of learning both within and outside the laboratory.

                    If language barrier while conducting research is a worry, you may as well leave it back home. I know scores of researchers who have

                    completed their research without even learning words apart from Konnichiwa and Ohaigozaimasu. But, if you want to enjoy research as

                    well as exploring more about the culture and country learning Japanese will take you a long way ahead. In that sense it is a good idea to

                    take the language classes. Also, since we Indian people are used to spicy food, one must come here with an open heart towards food.

                    This will help you get adjusted with food in a less time and with lesser complaining. In any case because Indian food sis well known here,

                    you will always have a restaurant not quite far. There is also very active Indian community in various campuses/cities across Japan so you

                    will never feel left out.
                    On the technical front, there are quite a lot of technological companies ever willing to hire talent. With so many collaborations happening

                    between India and Japan it has a very high probability that you may soon end up playing an important role in a future project.
                    Ultimately each country is different from the other. One should be respectful about things if they do not know initially. Maybe try and get

                    an understanding of rationale behind activities which are different from what we are used to in India.