The end (nearly) of a special summer

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The end (nearly) of a special summer

Last time I posted I was approaching the end of week five of six of my summer placement in Japan. Now I have been back home for just over two weeks so I can fill you in on the rest of my time there and reflect on what an awesome experience it was.

If the first five weeks were great, the final was simply phenomenal (albeit tinged with sadness that I’d soon be leaving). At work my project all came together and I worked closely with one of the other engineers to transition the work on to him. This was a really good learning experience as not only did I have to reflect deeply on all the work I’d done, but it was also fascinating to hear about the different (and sometimes similar) ways he would have approached the problems. Outside of work I also had a packed week, visiting different people and places each night. The other weeks I’d usually had relatively quiet evenings, but since this was my last week and I wouldn’t see people again for a long time I had to be sure to make the most of it!

On Monday I went to a Japanese snooker club (where having never really played before I somehow managed to win 7 games to 1!). On Tuesday some of my Japanese friends came to visit me in my ‘home town’ of Roppongi, where we went for dinner and then to a laser-light-electric-water show of super-awesomeness! It’s difficult to describe quite how cool it was, but basically they shoot massive water cannons into the air, and then project laser patterns onto the droplets as they fall. Stunning! On Wednesday I went out for dinner with another friend and we had Japanese ‘hanbargu’, which is similar to a western-style hamburger, but without the bun. It was really good! On Thursday I went for dinner with my friend I original met in the UK (as mentioned last time around) and his family, along with one of their family friends who is the Director of Communications for Boeing and an all round nice guy. And then, finally came Friday, my last evening in Japan. I’d invited everyone I met through the course of my trip to come to Roppongi for dinner, but I was a bit worried how it was going to work out since by that point I’d had to return the mobile phone I was borrowing from the company and so had no way to contact people. To make matters worse, about 4pm the heavens opened and an enormous storm was let loose, causing problems to the hitherto impeccably perfect Japanese transportation system. Great. No way to contact people and no idea if they were going to be able to make it or not. It was my last night and I was desperate for it not to be a washout. Fortunately, when I arrived at the station a couple of people were already there and by the end almost everyone was able to make it. Phew! We went to the same restaurant I went to right at the beginning of my trip (it felt like a good closure) and had an amazing meal of udon noodles, ramen and all sorts of wonderful stuff. After that we went to Japanese karaoke for a few hours and then finally all crammed into my apartment until the first trains started and I had to leave for the airport.

It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I’m certain I will see them all again soon. This whole experience was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’d recommend it without hesitation to everyone!

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