Saturday, 20 October 2007

a Lecture about Lectures!

".. so, as you can see scientists are having problems in this side of the equation. If you want you can make this your master thesis and do your research about it. This will help this field alot because we need someone to solve this problem.. "

You can hear the above quote many times in one lecture in Tokyo University. The lecture is actually research oriented. The lecture is there to help you do your research, not to give information. They know information can be known and read from books. So the professor is there to guide you in your research and help you create something new and mark your name in the work. Its amazing how they make use of every minute in the lecture. A flood of new information every lecture are delivered in a way that is very organized and helpful. Great!

Also as a Master student you will have to read lots of papers and official publications and discuss them. That will totally strengthen your knowledge in your field.

They also start from the upfront. They started to talk about 1TB hard-disks to explain about some kind of electronics. Its really fun to connect the lecture to the up-to-date technology so the student can have ideas how to point his research to upgrade the recent technology. I also attended a presentation that talked about processors being developed and will be released in 2011 at least. FANTASTIC!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Living the future: The class room..

Since I have started my masters, I have been going to my classes regularly. Once I entered the class room, I was amazed. Every class room is equipped with internet. Every student can use internet while listening to the lecture. You can browse, chat, download the slides or do anything you want. Every class room has at least 2 42'' SONY LCD TVs and 2 SONY projectors.

Is that all?

Once the lecture started the 2 TVs turned ON and showed another class room full of students. I noticed there are cameras on the ceiling so I thought ah this is showing the class room on the TV, why?! I was wrong.

That was a class room from another university, in another city! Those students were attending the same lecture I was attending, directly LIVE from another city (Kyoto). The room they were in had 2 huge TVs that showed my room. It also had microphones and speakers to carry voice and sounds bidirectional. The professor asked the students on TV if they can hear him, they all waved their hands confirming a YES.

The lecture started with us, and students on the TV listening carefully. Once the professor started writing on the board, on the TV I saw a student carrying a remote control and start to play with it. Suddenly I felt the camera above my head moves, and focuses on the board! On the TV I saw that now the camera shows to the students a focused image of the board!!! OMG!!

Suddenly, one of the students - on the TV - raised his hand. The professor stopped talking, and the student started to ask questions. We all heard his questions through the speakers, and the professor answered him directly! amazing!

Long story short, they were living the same exact experience we were living, except they were in another city!!

I have heard alot about stories of connecting universities together on a network, but never knew this was already applied in Japan. I once attended a 3 days meeting called ICT in Jordan, that discussed this matter with the head of universities in Jordan, but from what they were talking, it felt like a dream! Coz they kept saying its hard and impossible!

My next lecture after this one has started. And guess what?
Vise Versa!!!!! We were to attend it through TVs and cameras, because the professor giving it was in a whole different campus! OMG!!

Amazing! Incredible!! Really really genius!!!

I was living the future, in a small class room!!! WOW!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

180 Days: Water, Water please!

Time: 2:00am. Place: My small room inside Tokyo.

The left overs from a very hot oily meal are still in the plate. I look around, searching for a glass of water. I am thirsty, very thirsty. No water in the fridge. In two hours, I will start an new fasting day of Ramadan and I desperately need water. How can I drink water in such a place, such a time?

Living inside the dorm of the Univerisyt of Tokyo has given me no choices. My friends in the dorm are asleep, so I have to depend on myself. Convenient stores? Oh I dont think they are THAT convenient! I have to think of something else. Another solution for my dilemma. I looked around my room, under the pile of cards on the bed I grabbed some change. Maybe I would find a store open in this hour. I took my mobile, and went outside my room, challenging the quite atmosphere surrounding the dorm.

I thought of even riding the Metreo to go to Shibuya, but its too late and no Metreo is available at this hour. Shall I ride a Taxi? It would be crazy to pay 10JDs to drink a glass of water! Maybe I should ask any Japanese person I find in the street. I started to gather all my Japanese knowledge I learned so far to build a sentence and find my way through the conversation. But it was very late and no people in the street. Ofcourse! If they are busy all day long, they probably sleep all night long!

Water right now has become one of my dreams in Japan! What should I do?

And there it was. Standing with its best glory. Shining like a piece of gold. Calling my name, come, come. I ran. I was afraid it would disappear. Please, I need you. Light my path to reach you. Light my way. I needed two seconds to take my breathe, before putting my hand in my pocket, and inserting my coins in the vending machine. The sound of the water bottle was like music to my ears. There it was, cold, full, white, shiny and beaufitul in my hand....

Its been 180 days in Tokyo. 6 Months. Half a year. Alot of memories, and yet, more still to come...