The Sakura Science Program was a scientific and cultural exchange program organised by the Japan Space and Technology Agency from the 6th to 14th November, 2016, in Tokyo. In this program, there were about a 100 students participating from all over India.
The program was aimed at giving Indian students an exposure to the education and research opportunities in Science in Japan.
Seven students from Class 11 represented Vasant Valley School in this program. We visited many interesting facilities of scientific application, such as the Particle Accelerator lab, a steel plant, matter analysis labs and even a museum concerned with sustainable development known as Miraikan.
However, the highlight of our trip was our interaction with the Nobel Prize winning experiment on organic polymers with Dr Hideki Shirakawa – a Nobel laureate and with Japan’s first astronaut, Mamoru Mohri.
We also visited educational institutions like the Shibaura Institute of Technology, Tokyo University, and even a high school known as Meikei High Schoo. At the universities, we learned about the courses and facilities available for foreign students. At the high school, we spent time with the Japanese students and even participated in a paper airplane competition known as PPAP (PaPer AirPlane)!
Moving on the cultural exchange part of the program, we visited quite a few of the iconic spots in the Greater Tokyo Area, like a local Shinto shrine, a famous Buddhist shrine called Asakusa Shrine and the Meiji Shrine. And of course, we went to the major shopping districts as well.
We also visited quite a few museums, such as the Edo-Tokyo museum elucidating Japanese history, the Sony Explora Science museum where we learned the Science behind the 21st century commonalities and the Miraikan museum, which exhibited different methodologies to achieve sustainable development, including a demonstration by the humanoid ASIMO robot.
All in all, this experience has firmly solidified our decision to pursue Science in the future.