Honda Y-E-S Award in India
Partnership with Honda Cars India Ltd.
* Information concerning affiliation/profile of the awardee is current at the time he/she received the award.
Y-E-S Award Plus Recipient
Host institution/organization in Japan:
High-dimensional Statistical Modeling Unit
Makoto Yamada, Ph.D.
"When I first landed in Kyoto, I was waiting for a cab to reach my apartment, as I had lots of luggage and was unaware of public routes. There were 2 lines - one was for a foreign-friendly taxi(drivers know English) and 0ther a normal one. None of the taxies was actually stopping in foreign-friendly so after a considerate wait, I went to the other one and tried showing the driver my destination. Although he wasn’t able to understand, he was trying hard. Then, a local gentleman stepped in, asked me my concerned drop, and explained the driver about the same and set me on my way. This experience basically sets the tone - you might face difficulties because of language, but people of Japan are always on their toes to help you - always sweet and compassionate. Japan is a beautiful country. Apart from being clean and well-organized, what makes the place endearing is its people. My internship was at Kyoto University. Kyoto is known as the cultural capital of Japan. Apart from relics and marvel architectural works in the form of temples and shrines, there are streets you can roam at night and get the “cultural vibes” Japan is known for. A river flows through the downtown, where you can sit with friends under the moon and enjoy the soothing experience. There are not many skyscrapers but people are in there - living life. It can easily be called the heart of Japan - a must go for every traveler visiting Japan. Shinkansen a.k.a Bullet train is one thing Japan is known all over the world for. These trains run at record speeds, from the heart of one city to another, making traveling to far distances very convenient. The coverage is wholesome and they are quite frequent - almost every 5 minutes, there was a bullet shot from Kyoto to Tokyo and vice versa! But the downside is they are quite expensive. I visited Tokyo on a bullet train, on occasion when Honda organized a get together for all YES Plus winners. It was really smooth and in less than 2.5 hours I reached Tokyo station. Tokyo, as you would imagine is completely modern - tall skyscrapers dotting the city, and the city never sleeps! I spent a weekend there and visited cool places and streets which I surely recommend - Shibuya, Tokyo Skytree, Teamlab Planets, Asakusa and many others. Public transport in Japan is meticulous. Subways, trains, and buses criss-cross the entire city, living no area untouched. Apart from being cheap, they are punctual. And the best thing was that there were many cities, which one can visit on a day trip from Kyoto - Osaka, Kobe, Nara,Takahama and many others. Takahama is famous for it has a blue-flag beach - Wakasa-Wada beach - waters are translucent and sunset would leave you awestruck. Just to add Osaka = (Kyoto+Tokyo)/2 :D so I frequented Osaka (as bullets were expensive :p) and enjoyed half Tokyo there. Kobe-beefs are world-famous (although I couldn’t eat cause I am vegetarian [semi now - more on it below ;)]) And at last, coming to food. Being primarily a vegetarian, I feared managing food in this meat-land. But, Japan has a few vegetarian options, especially Indian restaurants. Many of the Japanese restaurants too, had at least one dish which was vegetarian - although finding “the one” was at times hard (it always is! ;) ). I visited many different restaurants (I and other co-intern were foodies and tried different cuisines daily - was at times difficult for me but I managed by becoming semi [ ;) ]). I carried a few ready-to eat packets, as I contacted an Indian in my lab and he mentioned about the presence of an Indian restaurant near my university. I never cooked (but you should - saves you a lot!) I can go on writing since it is 10 weeks I am penning down but I must stop. I didn't much mention about my lab, but my supervisor was the coolest amongst all professors, I ever met. In all, though you may face difficulty understanding or communicating, the people here are charming and with spotless hospitality, always there to save you and make your trip a memorable one. I would end with another interesting snippet. I remember I had 2 minutes to board the bullet train from Tokyo back to Kyoto, and I entered Tokyo station. Station was huge and I had lost hopes, and then I contacted a group of students for help. 2 of them ran alongside me, asking guards and fellow people, seeing me till the very end. I was able to locate the platform and catch - I entered the train and the doors closed! "