My life in Japan

Click any picture to see its larger version. Polish version / wersja polska

On 7 February 2005 I arrived by plane at Japan for post-doctoral research. I am working now in Research Center for Integrated Quantum Electronics (RCIQE) at Hokkaido University in Sapporo.

I came to Sapporo safely and furnished my apartment. German Franciscan and the group of the Poles helped me a lot (I borrowed a refrigerator, furniture, and pots from them). My host professor and a secretary helped me a lof earlier and they still help me very much. I opened a bank account in Japanese bank (first name, family name, and address must be written in Japanese in a form) and some operations carrying out with a Japanese ATM without English explanations. An Italian man came here several days before me. He did not speak Japanese either so we felt more at ease.

The first problem to solve at work was to write a computer program for numerical solving of Poisson equation in a metal/insulator/semiconductor structure.

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There is a picture taken during Polish lunch on 23 February 2005 probably by Marcin Skowron. The second man from the left is Rafał Rzepka. He is working at Hokkaido University and manages the internet site of Polish community in Sapporo. The elder man beside me is Nobuo Tomiyama from Society of Polish Culture Friends in Hokkaido. He is a very nice man who speaks and writes in Polish a bit and remembers the visit of my supervisor (professor Bogusława Adamowicz) in Japan (1996-97).

On 27 February 2005 I went with Michał Ptaszyński, who is a specialist in Japanese studies, to a concert of Japanese music for koto and flutes.

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New researchers, PhD students and MSc students of RCIQE are oficially welcomed during a special party. In my case such a party took place on 25 March 2005... (there is a photo by Osabe Hiroshi on the right).

At Easter we met in the group of (not only) Polish people during common dinner [photos].

I and Michał Ptaszyński celebrated our birthdays on 21/22 May in student hostel Keiteki-ryo [photos].

After a short night on Sunday 22 May we met beside the building of University Museum in a circle composed of Polish, Japanese, Czech, and Russian people to have a picnic [photos].

On Saturday 28 May we (4 persons) went to Shiraoi in order to visit Ainu Museum (the Ainus are people who were living in Hokkaido before Japanese. Now few Ainus are living, we could see one of them in the museum) and the Museum of Samurais from Sendai clan. Next day was a picnic again [photos].

In the beginning of June, the students of Hokkaido University organized a festival. They were selling their national food, playing the instruments etc.

A church festival was organized on the first Sunday of July after a Mass. People were selling dishes, clothes, plants (I bought one) in front of the church. And of course they were selling food because such an event in Japan cannot be done without food.

In the middle of July 2005 had medical tests. I was impressed by Japanese organizacji: complex medical examinations (EKG, a chest X-ray, eyesight, hearing, blood, urine, weight, height, blood pressure, internal examinations) were done within an hour.

Friday 15 July was the first day of Hanabi i.e. a fireworks show on the river. A lot of Japanese women dress traditional clothes this day.

Next day I and Michał Ptaszyński attended the lesson of Polish cuisine given by Edyta Rzepka and Shin Samitsu from the Society of Polish Culture Friends in Hokkaido. We learnt how to prepare stuffed cabbage and pancakes which we ate finally [photos].

On Sunday 17 July afternoon we met under the TV tower in beer garden with Bayer band. Ulrich, who played the accordion, is a friend of Rafał, his wife is a Pole, and he speaks Polish quite well.

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In an evening I went to the cinema with my friends to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The movie was without dubbing. I did not understand Japanese subtitles but I understood dialogue in English quite well. Contrary to a Polish cinema, the lighting is switched on not until all credits are scrolled and most spectators sit on their seats up to this moment.

Pacific Music Festiwal was organized in Japan from 9 July to 4 August 2005. There were a lot of concerts in Sapporo at that time. We went to a one to concert hall Kitara.

From 4 to 6 August with researchers and students of RCIQE went to Summer Seminar to Niseko. Besides scientific presentations (I had an oral presentation about some problems from my PhD thesis) there was a lot of entertainment. In the first evening we enjoyed the hot spring (so-called onsen) near our hotel. One afternoon was devoted to sport (we played basketball, volleyball, table tennis and whatever anyone wanted). And in the evening after the dinner, the persons who attented that seminar first time presented their own artistic program. For instance, two students blowed fire after a sip of rectified spirit made in Poland, other showed salto, juggling with a soccer ball etc. I sang a song A maid was going to a small wood (Szła dzieweczka do laseczka).

On Sunday 14 August I went to the zoo in Maruyama park with entomologist Piotr Węgrzynowicz.

On 28 August I listened to the farewell concert of the Kitara organist Matthieu Magnuszewski.

I played soccer several times with my friends (from Poland, Italy, Japan, Austria, and Russia) in a sport hall on artificial grass.

We said goodbye to summer 2005 on 11 September grilling in huge park „Satorando” [photos] where townies can experience country life a little bit (to milk a cow, to make a sausage etc.).

At the night 21/22 September we said goodbye to Michał Ptaszyński in karaoke „Thriller” with the decor taken from horrors with Dracula. Michał went to Tokyo and next to Poland soon after.

A census is organized in Japan every 5 years. It was also in October 2005. I was considered in this census as a foreigner who stays in Japan for over 3 months. The secretary of RCIQE helped me to fill up the short form in Japanese.

On Saturday 1 October I talked with my friends from Poland and the USA using instant messenger Gadu-Gadu. It was 6 a.m. in Republic of Poland, 1 p.m. in Japanese Empire, and midnight in the capital of the United States of America.

12/13 October was a crazy night in Susukino ward. We warmed up our throats in karaoke at midnight and at 3 a.m. we went to a pub where we watched football match Poland versus England (qualifiers before the World Cup 2006 in Germany). Polish team failed 1:2 but Polish fans with white-and-red accessories outnumbered English and Japanese fans of England [photos]. We got back home after sunrise.

In the morning of Saturday 15 October, there were fire exercises in my house. We should run down the stairs at a signal (the elevator was swithed off that time). Next a fireman made a short speech and finally we could practice with fire extinguishers. The same day in the evening, I went to a concert to concert hall Kitara in order to listen to Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

I returned to Poland during Christmas and New Year in order to meet my family and friends. I arrived by plane to Sapporo again in the beginning of January 2006.

On 23 August 2006, my parents came to me. We visited together some places in Sapporo, Furano, Biei, and Kyoto. We met Polish priest Edward Brzostowski in Kawasaki. My parents returned to Poland on 4 September. [photos]

I went to Poland during Christmas 2006 but I came back to Sapporo before 31 December to see New Year in Japan. [photos]

On 16 and 17 February 2007 I went a trip to Sea of Okhotsk. [photos]

Our local Polish community, some Poles from Tokyo, Poland, and even Australia as well as our Japanese friends supported our ski jumpers during Nordic World Ski Championships in Sapporo. We attended all ski jumping competitions: at large hill Okurayama on 24 and 25 February, and at normal hill Miyanomori where Adam Małysz won the golden medal on 3 March. [photos]

During golden week (from 3rd to 6th May, precisely) I went to Hiroshima and Miyajima island with a big gate (o-Toori) in water. I took hundreds of pictures and I cannot decide which ones to present here...

On Sunday 17 June 2007 I went with Father Manfred and people from „House of Friendship” to Ainu Museum Sapporo Pirka Kotan. [photos]


Snow Festival 2006
Tokyo, spring 2006
Kyoto, spring 2006
My parents' visit, summer 2006
Kyoto, fall 2006
New Year 2007 in Sapporo
Snow Festival 2007
A trip to Sea of Okhotsk
A trip to Ainu Museum Pirka Kotan


The first impressions from Japan (11-12 March 2005 + later corrections) - in Polish
The second impressions from Japan (17 November 2005) - in Polish
Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary in Japanese

Some links - my homepage (in Polish)
Hokkaido. Japan without geishas and samurais - the site of a book written by my friends from Sapporo (in Polish and in Japanese)

modified on 2007-06-29