2023 Activity Report vol.5:Ritsumeikan University

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2023 vol.5 (Course A)

Experiences and Exchanges Concerning Japan's Latest Technology and Research in the Engineering Field

Report from Ritsumeikan University

From July 10 to 15, 2023, we accepted nine undergraduates from Nitte Mahalinga Adyantaya Memorial Institute of Technology (NMAMIT), Nitte. Ritsumeikan University has been running a Japanese science and technology study program targeted at NMAMIT, Nitte since 2015.

We adopted the field of engineering as the theme for the latest program, and held lectures and laboratory tours by Ritsumeikan University teaching staff working in specialized fields related to the theme field, a tour of Akashi−Kaikyo Bridge (maintenance technology) and a tour of a Suzuki plant (automation technology). We had the students deepen their knowledge as a result of coming into direct contact with Japan's latest research and technology, and exchanging ideas with the teaching staff and with individuals at the visited facilities.

We had four teaching staff explain the content of their research, their laboratories and their research facilities. The teaching staff's research themes are "clarifying the biosynthesis and decomposition mechanisms of plant sugar chains as the source of bioenergy"; "Structural health monitoring, dependability analysis and maintenance management planning"; "Enhancing and increasing the sophistication of human and architectural urban design through architectural informatics and human science"; and "Robot sensing and intelligence technologies focusing on vision and touch sensors." Partly in light of the NMAMIT students, who are specializing in biology, and the specialty fields of the teaching staff escorting them, we also decided to incorporate laboratory guides by teaching staff from the department of Biotechnology in the College of Life Sciences. Even though some of these topics were outside their own fields of specialization, the participants listened intently to the content of the teaching staff's research and asked a large number of constructive questions.

Activity Report Photo 1
Looking around a university research facility
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We visited of Akashi−Kaikyo Bridge (maintenance technology) and a Suzuki plant (automation technology) to enable the participants to directly experience Japanese science and technology. At Akashi−Kaikyo Bridge they viewed a VTR explaining the hidden bridge technologies and history of the construction of the bridge, one of the world's largest, and enable them to experience the top of the bridge by having them shown along a maintenance corridor that is normally off−limits, up to the bridge tower approximately 300 meters above sea level, while listening to an explanation regarding the various facilities along the way.

Given that the bridge is one of the largest in the world and adopts such a large number of sophisticated technologies, the participants expressed interest in its structure, and asked the person in charge a large number of questions. The participants also let out excited cries upon seeing the superb view from the top of the bridge.

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Looking around Akashi−Kaikyo Bridge

Students from Ritsumeikan University provided explanations on Japanese culture, in an effort to deepen friendship between the students of both universities. They held a chopstick skills contest, and folded origami paper cranes while explaining the steps.

Additionally, students also took the lead in running the welcome party and farewell party. They kindly planned an interactive calligraphy activity, a Japanese confectionery tasting event and other activities for the farewell party. Having the students proactively undertaking the planning and implementation created momentum for conversation, and served as a good international exchange opportunity for both sides, we believe. The participants even remarked that the hospitality they received from the Ritsumeikan University students was superb.

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Taking part in the chopstick skills contest in the exchange activities

With an eye to promoting future research exchanges and studying abroad by giving the students a taste of Japanese culture, history, science and technology and boosting their interest in Japan, we held Japanese language classes and Japanese cultural experiences (such as trying on kimono and hakama (skirt−like trousers)). It was impressive to see them photographing each other with smiles on their faces. Some toy swords also received a favorable reception.

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Trying on kimono in a Japanese−style room

On the final day of the program we held a results debriefing session, and the students gave presentations on the state−of−the−art science and technology and Japanese culture that they had learned during their stay.

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A presentation at the results debriefing session

We received some feedback from the Indian students who participated in the program, and would like to share some of it here.

  • The thing that impressed me most deeply was the technology. Everyone's lifestyles are made easier by harnessing the assistance of technology. Just the extent that things are automated for the general public's convenience. I was deeply impressed with Japanese culture as well. Everyone cooperates with everyone else. The discipline and the modesty. And most importantly, I enjoyed my time here thanks to the delicious, healthy and highly nutritious meals.
  • The program was really good. The staff's hospitality was really good.
  • It was a well−structured program, in spite of the short time available. Despite being a short program, we were able to come away with deeply valuable experiences that will remain with us all our lives.

The Japanese and Indian students and teaching staff will continue to keep in touch and interact following the program. I think it was a valuable program for the students and the universities alike.