I was interning at the University of Tokyo during the summer after the 3rd year of my B. Tech. This was the first time I visited any foreign country.
The University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo, Hongo campus is a beautiful place. The campus has some of the oldest yet modern looking buildings. There is a small pond (Sanshiro pond) inside the university campus. There are two co-op stores to buy souvenirs. There is a Lawson store and a Lawson 100 (Here you get most of the items for 108 yen) inside. Outside the university, there are a few Indian restaurants (especially needed if you are a vegetarian). There is also University Chuo dining hall if you want to get food at an affordable price (I ate here only once during my stay). The University has a big library. There is Shirucafe (you can get free coffee here) for international students outside the University.
The process to apply is simple. The application starts in November, and the selected students are notified by February. The IJEP Secretariat sends the required documents for the visa application. They also book the flight tickets.
I was interning under Prof. Reiji Suda at Suda Lab, Department of Computer Science, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology. My project was based on High-Performance Computing, and I am continuing to work on the same after coming back to IIT Hyderabad.
The IJEP gave an amount of 240,000 yen as the scholarship (excluding flight tickets). The scholarship is not provided at once but in three instalments. The first one was given after around 20 days of our stay. IJEP also took us to a plant of DMG Mori at Nagoya. I got to travel on the Shinkansen (bullet train). The IJEP were kind to pay for the entire trip to Nagoya. Later, we visited TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Office in Tokyo. The IJEP also organised a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony (Green tea with sweets).
Accommodation and Moving around
I stayed at Fujimi House, Tabata, Tokyo. The rent here is cheaper when compared to other Guest Houses and dorms. There are many convenient stores in Tokyo to buy things for regular needs. Generally, people working in the stores may not know English. Thanks to Google translate, I was able to manage most of the time I needed any help. Japanese people are very kind; they will patiently try to understand your problem even if they don’t understand English.
The University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus was around 2.5 km away from Tabata. Most of the days I took the metro. I used to walk till Nishi-Nippori station and took Tokyo Metro Chiyoda line to reach Nezu station. The University of Tokyo is a walkable distance from Nezu. I had bought a Pasmo card which can be recharged and used while commuting. The fare was 170 yen from Nishi-Nippori to Nezu (Actually it costs 165 yen if you use Pasmo card). During my stay at Tokyo, I never needed to take any Taxi or Cab. All of my commutes happened via trains.
Being a lover of Indian cuisine, I faced difficulty adjusting to Japanese taste. Most of the time, I had food at Indian restaurants. I didn’t bring anything from India to cook. (If you are a vegetarian, I would suggest bringing some ingredients that you can cook here. It will save you money.) The food was a little costly. It was not difficult to find Indian restaurants in Tokyo. For breakfasts, I used to eat bread (bought from one of the convenient stores). Sometimes I used to eat at Subway inside the campus for lunch. For dinner, I used to eat at Indian restaurants. I also had Japanese curry rice at CoCo curry sometimes. I also ate sushi, ramen and miso soup during my stay at Tokyo.
There are many places to see in Tokyo. I spent most of my weekends travelling and visiting sites. Some of the places I visited are Tokyo Tower, Tokyo Skytree, Enoshima Island, Zōjō-ji (Buddhist temple near Tokyo Tower), Meiji Jingu (Shinto shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji), Nokogiriyama (If you like nature and quiet place, this is one of the places to visit.), Inokashira Park, Yoyogi Park, Ueno zoo, Kahaku (National Museum of Nature and Science), Omiya Railway Museum, Omiya Bonsai Museum. For shopping, there are Don Quijote stores at Shibuya and Shinjuku. Shibuya has the busiest crossing in Japan. There is a bronze statue of Hachiko at Shibuya. Akihabara is a great place for buying electronics.
Overall I had a wonderful experience during my internship, and I would recommend everyone to visit Japan. If you have anything to ask or say, feel free to ping me on facebook.
Originally posted at IJEP Internship 2018 - Student’s Voice.