As a senior, I’ll try to give you (my readers!) insight into the typical schedule of a Techer and update you on my process of applying to graduate schools/jobs/internships. As the time gets nearer, I’ll also elaborate on what exactly Techers mean by “Ditch Day”.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself! Second term is still weeks away, leaving me with plenty of time to recuperate in Japan…. And so, from Japan, Merry Christmas! Although the majority of the Japanese are Buddhist or Shinto, thanks to the influence of the West, they celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. So, while it isn’t considered a national holiday (meaning everyone still has to go to work and school :( ), there are plenty of Christmas decorations and Christmas parties all around.
In Japan, the “traditional” dinner consists a combination of grilled chicken, steak, and smoked salmon. This year, we did without the steak, but there was still plenty of food to go around.
And what kind of Christmas would it be without cake? Well, maybe not cake, but dessert. In lieu of the usual Christmas cake, we ate a Christmas-themedalmond-cream, fruit tart.
Before Christmas is another important day for the Japanese. December 21st is celebrated in Japan not for being the supposed “end of the world” but for being the winter solstice, the day of the shortest amount of sunlight. Being a very spiritual-based religious society, the Japanese believe that on this day the body is most prone to illness. Therefore, in order to combat this, the Japanese take what they call “yuzuyu” or “yuzuburo” – a hot, “yuzu” citrus bath. Bathing in general is a very important part of life in Japan. Even in apartments and condominiums, there is a dedicated bath room which consists of a bathing area and bathtub.In Japan, resources are more scarce than in America, so in order to conserve water they first “shower” in the bathing area to clean themselves then soak in the bathtub. I say “shower” since they only run the water to rinse off the shampoo/soap, instead of keeping it on the whole time like in America. Since the water in the tub is only used to soak, they then use this water the next day to do the laundry, making for an overall efficient use of water.
For yuzuyu, they float yuzu citrus fruits (sort of a cross between a lemon and an orange) in the soaking water. The yuzu is supposed to guard against colds by helping to improve the circulation of the body and relax the mind.
Although it may sound a bit like hocus pocus, it really is very relaxing and makes the skin very soft! Since it’s getting colder, if you have the chance, try a yuzuyu (or any kind of citrus bath if yuzu is not available) and keep warm!
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.