Every galactic hitchhiker knows a place in the Galaxy that is particularly special for him or her. For some it’s the mountain Magramal with cliffs perfectly suitable for base jumpling. Others are more like the planet Han Wavel type, loving to enjoy the exquisiteness of the naturally formed ultra-luxurious hotels and casinos puzzling the bizzardologists. This summer I found out what my own special place is – a city situated on the planet Earth (the replacement one I believe) that has the rather staggering population of almost 38 million human beings. So grab your towels and let me tell you about my summer in the extraordinary Tokyo!
I don’t hide that I’m really into cells and Biology, so the main reason I went to Tokyo was because I found an opportunity to get science rehab in a research lab at the University of Tokyo and mingle with some bright earthian scientists. On top of that my love for adventure, challenges and of course travelling made my feet itching to take me far away from home and made Tokyo just the perfect destination. I could barely believe that I got the position I desired and for the first few days was on the Moon… and then…
—Plan B —
When I landed back on Earth I slowly came to realise that going to Tokyo and working in a lab are not that simple things to do. Firstly, I didn’t know the local language and knowing some Klingon from high school wasn’t going to help. Secondly, though I was of course going to interact with the local humans, it was daunting that I was going to make this whole journey alone. And thirdly, ‘what if’ I am not smart enough for this Program, or don’t manage to keep up with the workload, or I lose those green paper tokens humans exchange for ice cream in the shops on Earth? Luckily everything went on smoothly, but for that I blame the good advice on the PGAF pre-departure session…good that I checked it before travelling on Earth.
The most important thing I got out of my Tokyo experience is The Answer to the question of, well not everything (we all know it’s 42), but at least of my own life for now: Am I on the right track? I’ve been dreaming of being a scientist since I was in 6th grade, but I never got that close to an actual research laboratory. And after a summer of 10-12 hours per day, 6 days a week working on experiments I can proudly say ‘yes!’, it’s the most rewarding occupation for me I can imagine.
In the lab I can let out the natural curiosity that I have to dig out pieces of a limitless puzzle. I can set my imagination free and make an experiment that’s never been done before. And I can travel around the Galaxy…even if it’s by observing a ‘simple’ cell.