Interviews with UTokyo students from all over the world
Anner de Jong
Second-year Master's degree student, Department of Precision Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering
From the Netherlands (Holland). He came to Japan to study abroad without knowing much about the country. He had difficulties getting accustomed to some things in Japan at first, but now he's eating Japanese food and even watching traditional Japanese cultural performances! He's still not used to Tokyo's hot summers, though...
Q. Why did you come to Japan/UTokyo?
My country is rather small, so I wanted to step outside of it and see the rest of the world. When I was an undergraduate student, I spent a half a year abroad in Singapore. Also, after I graduated, I took a gap year to go to Ireland, brushing up on my English skills while applying to universities around the world for graduate school. I received offers from universities in Italy and Japan, and chose to come to Japan because its culture is completely different from Holland's. The main reason I decided on UTokyo was the fact that this university offers an interdisciplinary education.
Q. What are you currently researching?
I'm researching machine learning—how to program computers to learn how to do new tasks. First, I make an algorithm learn various question and answer sets. Then, I give the algorithm a new question to come up with an answer for on its own based on what I have "taught" it. It's a process of trial and error, and I continuously have to refer to research on the subject while I'm doing this. Once I get my degree, I want to start working. I'm interested in attending job-hunting events held at UTokyo, too.
Q. What have you found difficult in Japan/UTokyo?
The Japanese language is difficult. I'm taking Japanese classes offered by the Graduate School of Engineering, but I still find keigo (honorifics) and other aspects of the language to be hard. Also, Japanese people can be too polite or vague at times, which makes them mysterious to me. (laughs) As for UTokyo, I feel that the number and variety of classes that can be taken in English is still limited.
Q. What do you like about Japan/UTokyo?
Japan is an interesting country, and it's completely different from Holland. I'm impressed at the efficiency of the country, and how things just work like they're supposed to. I also like eating and making Japanese food.
Q. Please tell us something about Holland!
I was raised in a town called Haarlem, which is the etymological origin of the Harlem in New York City. By the way, I imagine most Japanese are familiar with the character Miffy, but not with the fact that she comes from Holland! I took this picture when I went to the Miffy Museum. There were lots of Japanese people there!
* The content of this page was translated from the Ryuugakusei-san Irasshai! article printed in Gakunai Kouhou No. 1491. (Japanese language only)