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Matthew Timothy Alzaga

Matthew Timothy Alzaga
Current institution in Japan :
Tokai University, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Country and region :
Republic of the Philippines (De La Salle University-Department of Mechanical Engineerng)
Family name :
Pua

How did Sakura Science Plan play a role in your study / research in Japan?

After coming to Japan under the Sakura Science Exchange, I was able to apply what I learned in my drone research in Philippines. I was under the supervision of Tokai University for 2 weeks and really enjoyed the interaction with the students. It left a big impression on me even after coming back to the Philippines. I graduated in 2016, and switched careers from mechanical engineering to web development. I thought I would never get the chance to come back to Japan, but in 2017, I received an email from my undergraduate professor to try applying for a graduate program in Japan. I thought I had nothing to lose, so I tried applying for the program in Tokai University, and was accepted. From then until now, I've been trying to use what I have learned during the Sakura Science Exchange as well as what I have learned in web development to make robotics easier for the common person to understand.

Please describe your comments freely related to your life in Japan.

The life one experiences in Japan differs from person to person which mainly depends on if the person wants to be part of Japanese society or not. In my case, I chose to compromise. While I was adjusting to life in Japan, I found that trying to "be a Japanese" helps a lot in getting people to accept you initially. Later on in your friendship with Japanese people, you can show your true feelings. I found this a useful way in getting Japanese people to accept me. In my lab, I try to be the "senpai," (a senior member of the lab) and help those who are struggling. However, once I see that I am being used and the student feels entitled, I step back and tell him to do it on his own. Also, finding a mentor is very important in growing the knowledge of your own field. He could be the professor you would be working with for the next two years, but there can also be other professors who have specialty in something you have yet to learn. This leads to a community of experts; each covering for those who are lacking. Being in a community not only helps you grow and understand things better, but also keeps you in the loop for new updates and advancements in the research field.

Please describe your message to people who are going to participate in this program.

Take each opportunity as it comes. Most times, opportunity presents itself only once, so once you see it, grab hold and try not to let go. While it is good to plan ahead, have a goal and strive for that goal, nevertheless, take time to savor each moment. People go about doing their everyday tasks, but they rush to and from home and school without looking how beautiful the sky is or feeling how cold the breeze is or going to one-time-a-year events. These small things can help refresh your mind and answer even the most difficult questions about life.