It’s been nearly two and a half years since arrival. The first six months of which were spent desperately learning as much of the language as would stick. During that time I met and interacted with the most diverse group of fellow students and researchers since entering into higher eduction. It’s helpful to become the foreigner in order to meet more of them. Learning a modicum of Japanese was possible, but since all academics naturally fell back in to English, that language practice quickly fell by the wayside. It should be mentioned that (thankfully) a masters degree back home allowed me to skip ahead to conduct research without the need for additional coursework. So, Japanese wasn’t really required – only enough to get by, only enough to buy groceries and verify if this train I am sitting on is going to Kyoto and not Wakayama. And so, after formally being admitted to the department and passing the hurdle of an entrance exam/interview (where my interest in sake seemed to resonate with the faculty more than my professional work at Rocketdyne), I began down the fairly short path of studying towards a doctoral degree at Osaka University. And Now, after two years of work, here I stand looking at the last 12 months that lie ahead. There is so much to do and so little time to do it.

For the next 12 months, the last 12 months, I’ll do my best to write here again. If not for you, then for me.

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    "Grab onto life with both hands and don't let go" - Me