Satoru Wakabayashi is from Tokyo, Japan and is currently working as a WASEDA PhD student in the Hoch lab at the LIMES Institute. We’ve asked him a few questions about work and life in Germany, and here’s what he said:

Interview with Satoru Wakabayashi, guest scientist from the Waseda University of Tokyo

1. Dear Satoru, why did you come to the LIMES-Institute? What is your mission?
I am here to conduct experiments for the collaborative research project between Prof. Michael Hoch's lab and Prof. Toru Asahi's lab, Waseda University. My mission is to elucidate functions of a gene using Drosophila melanogaster, whose human counterpart's functions are still not fully understood.

2. Why did you decide to join a PhD program and not a Japanese company after your Master studies?
Getting involved and taking major parts in the collaborative research sounded challenging and attractive to me than joining a company like everyone else. I really enjoy learning skills and technologies, as well as discussing about the project with my colleagues here. I am confident that this will definitely be a valuable experience in my career.

3. What might your German lab mates be surprise to learn about you?
During summer vacation of my last bachelor year, I traveled around a region named Kyushu by bicycle with my friends. We traveled about 1,200km in 3 weeks. It was lots of fun.

4. Daily life of a PhD student: are there differences between Japanese and German labs?
Japanese students tend to stay longer at the lab (10-12hrs a day) and it is not unusual for us to work in weekends and holidays, because finishing PhD program in 3 years is strongly recommended in Japan.
On the other hand, I feel my German colleagues work much faster and more productive than me.

5. What are your hobbies and can you pursue them in Germany?
Like many colleagues in the institute, I am a big football fan. I hope I will have chances to visit some stadiums to watch Bundesliga matches in the near future.

6. Do you like living in Germany? What do you like most and what do you like least?
I really love beautiful weather of Bonn during spring and summer. I always enjoy taking a walk along the Rhein in the weekend.
On the other hand, spending winter in Germany is quite tough for me.

7. Did you have encounters with German people outside the Institute and how was it like?
Unfortunately, I didn't have much opportunities to encounter with German people outside the institute yet. However, I had a chance to encounter with German history by visiting Aachen. I was very impressed by how beautiful the Aachener Dom was.

8. What would you recommend Japanese students moving to Bonn
Two recommendations for Japanese students:
1. Taking walks in the weekend. There are many places to enjoy beautiful sunny days (like Hofgarten and Botanischer Garten) and nice restaurants in Bonn.
2. Bringing instant miso soups with you. They might be a solution to overcome the homesickness.