Interviews with UTokyo students from all over the world
Farnaz Khatibi Jafari
Third-year Doctoral degree student, Department of Integrated Biosciences, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences
From Iran. She works as a journalist as she studies for her PhD, and accordingly makes very insightful remarks at times about her experiences in Japan. Her hobby is taking pictures of people at festivals and other events.
Q. Why did you come to Japan/UTokyo?
I had been interested in Japan since I was young for a variety of reasons: the hardworking people, the advanced technology, the anime I watched when I was a child, and the fact that it is completely different from countries in the Middle East and Europe. When I heard from a friend about the MEXT scholarship, I applied for it right away. There aren't many places anywhere else in the world where I can enroll in programs like the interdisciplinary program that I am in here at UTokyo, which blends the humanities and the sciences. I'm glad that I was able to come here.
Q. What themes are you currently pursuing for your doctoral research?
I am researching anthropology and archaeology from a scientific viewpoint. I analyze human bones that are thousands of years old using scientific methods such as radiocarbon dating. Through these analyses, I work to determine people's causes of death, living environments, and ancestry. Using existing methods, it’s difficult to analyze bones that are heavily damaged, so I want to establish a better bone analysis method that can be used by researchers all over the world. After all, Iran is a literal treasure trove of archaeological sites.
Q. What did you find most difficult about Japan/UTokyo?
I feel like Japan and UTokyo still have a lot of things to improve when it comes to internationalization. For example, basically everything is done in Japanese, so if you can't speak Japanese, living here can be challenging. Also, people in Japan don't really understand Islamic culture as much as I thought they would. Another drawback for me is that fruit and vegetables here are expensive.
Q. What do you like about Japan/UTokyo?
Japan is a safe and clean country, and Japanese people are nice. Also, the technology here is amazing. I want to bring a Washlet toilet seat home with me. (laughs)
Q. Please tell us something about Iran!
I want to tell people that Iran is a normal country with normal people. We don't ride camels in deserts, live in tents, or do anything like that! (laughs) I recommend trying our pomegranate juice and any of our foods that are made with lots of saffron spice and of course visiting Iran.
* The content of this page was translated from the Ryuugakusei-san Irasshai! article printed in Gakunai Kouhou No. 1469. (Japanese language only)