US study tour 2018

2018.01.07-14 San Francisco & Las Vegas, US

12 HWIP students and 4 professors carried out a study tour to U.S. from Jan. 7th to Jan. 14th 2018. The tour was designed with three different activities: 1) industry and academic visits, 2) visits organized by student themselves, 3) Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES 2018).

Jan. 7 (Journey began / Student group tour)

On Sunday Jan.7 in the morning, the journey began. All participants were at the ITAMI airport by 10:30. Although, check-in 16 people took some time, everything went smooth: no late and no delay. Due to the time difference between Japan and the west coast of U.S., we arrived in San Francisco (SF) on the same day at 8:40. The main event of the day is a student group tour. Four groups of three students carried out a tour in the SF Bay Area. The tour was purely organized by students from Japan. Organizing such a short trip in a foreign country was a challenge in itself to students, and also they were requested to present the tour in English after dinner in the hotel. Students have shown an excellent job – good on you everyone! From the first day, we were nearly exhausted due to jet-leg and the tour. However, more exciting things were waiting for us in the following day.

San Francisco airport: just arrived & Group study tour at SF Bay Area

First dinner at Hotel

Jan. 8 (Hitachi America, UCB, North America Center)

What a day! The schedule was so packed on Jan.8. At 7:30, we left toward the Global Center for Social Innovation – North America (CSI-NA) of Hitachi America, Ltd. The Center is located around 40km away from our hotel. Senior Director, Yasunori Kaneda, warmly welcomed our visit to CSI. First, Dr. Kaneda introduced laboratories in the CSI-NA including the concept of NEXPERIENCE, the methodology of accommodating clients’ various demands. Then, the demonstrations of predictive maintenance and mobility solutions followed. During the demonstrations, students actively asked and discussed technical details with researchers in Hitachi America R&D. Unfortunately, there is no photo for the demonstrations due to their photo policy.

Dr. Kaneda warmly welcomed us and Mr. Horiguchi introducing NEXPERIENCE in Global Center for Social Innovation – North America

Soon after the visit to Hitachi America, we rushed toward Berkeley Institute for Data Science (BIDS) at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) where Professor Inoue organized a mini workshop for humanware participants (13:30-15:30). Dr. Stuart Geiger, who is an ethnographer, introduced BIDS as well as gave a lecture of “Work & Life of Ethnographer at BIDS”. To respond to the lecture, three humanware students, Mr. Xiao, Mr. Osugi, and Mr. Goto gave an oral presentation about their research to other participants from UCB. Director of Osaka University North America Center, Professor Hasegawa, was kind enough to attend the workshop.

Professor Inoue opening the mini workshop and Professor Fujiwara introducing Humanware

Dr. Geiger from UCB lecturing “Work & Life of Ethnographer at BIDS” and Mr. Osugi from HWIP presenting his research to UCB participants

HWIP students and Dr. Geiger are discussing the lecture & Prof. Inoue with Mr. Xiao

All together after the mini workshop in UCB

Then, we moved to the next destination: Osaka University North America Center. After the director, Professor Hasegawa, introduced the center, all participants attended a social event organized by the North America Center. Professor Inoue who organized the mini workshop in UCB also participated in the social event. During the event, HWIP students could have an opportunity to listen to valuable comments and experiences from the participants of the center.

Osaka University North America Center

Professor Hasegawa introducing North America Center & With Osaka University Mascot: Dr. Wani

It was a long day and physically demanding. However, HWIP students must have gained good experience through whole day. Thank you everyone for organizing this wonderful opportunity for our students today!

Jan. 9 (Student group tour with appointments)

In the last day of Silicon Valley, students were grouped into groups of three again, and visited laboratories of companies or universities where students made an appointment by themselves. A half of the groups made an appointment in advance to visit various places including Google, Facebook, San Jose State University, etc.

Group presentation about the visits with an appointment

Students gave an English presentation in the evening regarding their visits during the day. Surprisingly, some students were brave enough to visit some laboratories in the University without any prior appointment, and looked for other students or researchers to gather information they are interested. We were all very impressed by their braveness, positiveness, and willingness which might have been developed since we arrived in Silicon Valley. We are going to attend CES2018 in Las Vegas tomorrow.

Jan. 10 (Flying to Las Vegas to join CES 2018)

After three days in Silicon Valley, we flied to Las Vegas to attend Consumer Electronics Show 2018 (CES2018). CES is the world’s gathering place for people who thrive on the business of consumer technologies, and the global stage where next-generation innovations are presented to the world. Having registered ourselves, we participated in CES2018 from the afternoon. The day ended with having dinner all together in the city and finally we arrived at the hotel.

Jan. 11 (CES 2018)

Whole day was dedicated to explore CES2018. Professors were not with students on the day. Students were encouraged to freely explore CES as well as Las Vegas until 21:00. The ones that they had seen, felt, and experienced in the CES were piled up for the presentation tomorrow. Really looking forward to seeing the students’ presentation!

Jan. 12 (Last Presentation about CES)

Today is the last day of CES. Each group attended CES from the morning until its close at 15:00. Practically speaking, today is also the last day of our U.S. tour because we depart to Japan tomorrow early in the morning. From 16:00 to 18:00, each group presented what they have seen, felt, and experienced in the last three days in CES. It was the moment of true for professors to find out the growth of students during this tour. Although students had limited time for the preparation of the presentation, their talks were good enough to surprise us. In particular, a student has discussed with an exhibitor and even bought a device from him, which convinced us of their willingness to active participation in CES2018.

Final Group Presentation about CES2018

Jan. 13/14 (Good bye U.S.)

Everything that has a beginning must also have an end. We left Las Vegas on Jan.13 early in the morning and finally arrived at Itami airport around 20:00 on Jan.14 by way of Narita, Tokyo. This tour was physically demanding but mentally maturing. Students seem to be fully aware of the importance of the tour like this one; the growth they made is not simply from knowledge or information they study but from every single moment they experience and learn in their body during the tour, especially mingle together. Every moment with all of you during the tour was precious. Well done students!

Itami airport before dismiss: Good jobs everyone!

All participants including professors had carried out their duties and responsibilities to make this journey successfully completed. Thank you so much for all your cooperation and support. We have also witnessed that various people during the tour helped us to organize this tour, which should be appreciated. Finally, our gratitude must go to staff in the humanware office for this fabulous arrangement.


[Student comments]

■ After seeing some of the exhibits at CES, notably the small yet innovative ones, I feel like if even we students can work together and come up with creative solution and build a clear plan, we could start building towards something much bigger. Actually talking to and observing the people at CES was also a good way to realize both the good and bad practices for selling your idea and taking criticism. Some exhibitors seemed to be more successful than others, and I think this is something that we should all learn from.

[ Enzo 情報2期生 ]

■ People in the group always own different interests and habits, but we learnt how to cooperate with each other to make good team works. We can also have so much freedom to plan our visit and social activities. We learnt to contact with others by ourselves and we performed well.  Even though we also met with some problems like getting used to time difference, new environment different culture and so on, we tried hard to learn new knowledge to solve problems.

[ Xiao 情報3期生 ]

■ UCBでは自分の研究の将来的な応用を考え、発表した。時間は限られていたが、その中で、どう効率よくプレゼンの準備をするか、研究室でやらなければいけないこととの兼ね合いを考えながら行ったことは非常に勉強になった。

[ Osugi 生命4期生 ]

■ UCバークレーでは,専門研究を分野外の人に発表したが,あまりわかってもらえず,専門研究を簡単に話すことの重要さを学んだ.シリコンバレーツアーではフェイスブックを訪問し,食事補助や気晴らしのためのゲームセンターが設置されているなど,その職場環境の良さを学んだ.CESでは,最新の家電製品の動向を知ることが出来た.それらのほとんどは最新技術というよりも,成熟したひと昔前の最新技術を用いていて,将来を見据えた研究を行うことの重要さを学んだ

[ Goto 情報4期生 ]

■ 最初の三日間は学生自己主導でサンフランシスコ地区を訪問した。その時は先輩のEnzoさんを頼りすぎて、反省した。僕は一度サンフランシスコ州立大学の先生と連絡し、この先生は不在と返事を送ったら、僕はほかの方々とやり取りをしなかった。考えればもしもう一つのアポイントメントを取ったら、この旅をどれくらい加味できるのか、と、後悔した。もしまたどこに行く機会があれば、現地の先生たちや友達ともっと積極的に連絡を取ると思う。

[ Shen 情報5期生 ]

■ By visiting Silicon Valley, I learned more on how is the environment of companies that deal with the edge of innovation, about cooperation between companies and universities, and the most valuable, how to approach a highly important lab without any previous notification, talk with members and acquire information that can be relevant for future contacts. In the CES I learned that to build a startup is very easy, and that many time you don’t even need a product, just a prototype or even an idea sometimes is enough to show some new concept and attract potential partners or investors.

[ Thomas 情報5期生 ]

■ Positively.  After visiting Hitachi, Genentech, Stuart Geiger, David Martin and going to the CES, I believe I have really expanded my perspective and prospective, for a future career as a scientist.  Getting this opportunity to go to the USA with a clear focus to just try and experience as much as possible of Industry science, has really broaden my horizons of future possibilities.   Because of this trip, I now have two very important contacts with whom I will continue to contact and hopefully one-day work with.

[ Kevin 生命5期生 ]

■ 常識の範疇にとらわれない行動力も身につける必要があると感じた。例えば、一度コンタクトを取ろうとしたが失敗した企業に対し、当日の朝という直前に再度コンタクトをとったところ訪問を了承していただけたというケースもあった。どうせ〇〇だろうという自分の中に制約をかける考え方から脱却する必要性を感じた。

[ Mita 生命5期生 ]

■ 日々の研究のモチベーションであったり、英語でのコミュニケーション能力の不足といったものは現地での経験を通じて嫌というほど痛感させられた。そのような悔しい経験をもとに今まで怠惰にこなしていた生活を見直し、少なくとも修士号取得までにはインターンシップに応募してみようという意欲は湧いたことと思う。またCES見学を通じて何件かインターンを申し込んでみたいような興味深い企業を見つけられたことは大きな収穫だと思う。

[ Kang生命5期生 ]

■ サンフランシスコではSan Jose大学の研究者と会う機会があり,アメリカ西海岸の研究事情について聞いた.現地では産学の連携が活発でインターンや他大学に研究を行うことが積極的に行われていた.私もこの姿勢を見習い,今後は積極的に企業や他大学と交流し,自分の研究をアピールしていきたいと感じた.

[ Yagi 基礎工5期生 ]

■ 外国(主にアメリカ)の先進的な大学や企業の人たちと交流した結果、いつでも外国で働くことができるだろうという確信を得た。世界的に見て、自分の能力や研究の先進性を改めて理解することができた。現在の大学院での研究活動(専門研究とヒューマンウェアイノベーション博士課程プログラム)を進めることによって獲得できる知見や能力は十分に世界の最先端に通用することを納得した。また、外国で活動する上で積極的に獲得するべき自分に足りない能力というものが見えてきた。

[ Ozawa 基礎工5期生 ]

■ 海外でのインターンや就職に対するハードルが下がり,その可能性が高まったと感じた.日本にいるだけでは遠い世界と感じるが,実際にその人々と私の研究テーマについて話すと興味を持ってもらったり,アドバイスをもらったりしたため,より身近に感じることができた.上記でも述べたが,多くの有名企業や有望なスタートアップがあるため,世界の主流を感じるためにはサンフランシスコ,ベイエリアで働くことが必須であると感じた.

[ Takezawa 基礎工5期生 ]