Tokyo, Japan (and my new blog, SURFing 101)!! So while it is possible to do SURF projects at campuses other than Caltech (which many people do), that is not my reason for coming here. My parents and I decided to take a vacation to see the grandparents. It’s definitely been a nice change of pace from the constant studying during Caltech final’s week.
Here’s a brief summary of what I’ve done (and what can do too if you visit) so far:
On the Monday right after I arrived, my parents and I went out shopping and stopped at this “family” restaurant at the department store. This is me with a shrimp gratin… it was very yummy! At these kind of restaurants they have a lot of Japanese-style “Western food”. Like:
This is a Japanese spin-off of the traditional omelet called “omelet rice”. It consists of ketchup fried rice (it’s tastier than it sounds… I promise!) inside an omelet. This one has beef stew next to it. There are many different versions of it with tomato sauces, traditional Japanese sauces, etc. There are even ones with hamburgers on it.
After eating, I went shoe shopping since I only brought one pair to Japan. In Japan, you really have to walk to get around.. No driving around here!!
Since it’s currently the rainy season in Japan, rubber shoes (depicted above) are really popular! I decided to buy one myself since after walking around for just a couple of minutes the rain had soaked through the shoes I came with.
The next day, I woke up bright and early (thanks to the jet-lag… Tokyo is 16 hours ahead of Pasadena time). This is in a little bakery that was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. I love the bread in Japan. They’re super buttery and soft and just delicious!
On Tuesday, I went and got my hair cut and permed. This is how I looked before the cut at a cafe near the salon….
And this is how I look afterwards… although the curls rather died after walking back to the hotel in the rain. The whole cut and perming process took 4 hours!! It was super long and involved many weird looking machines… like this one machine that had tubes that connected to the curlers and blasted hot air through them. But the staff was super fun to talk to (they tried out their English on me and knew some pretty interesting phrases) and gave me little massages now and then to combat with the weariness of having to sit in that salon chair for so long.
After the hair appointment, I was so exhausted, I decided just to buy some food at the department store and bring it back to the hotel. So, unlike in America, Japanese department stores are a multi-leveled complex that contain everything from grocery stores to bakeries and clothes and other household items. In most department stores they have one story dedicated to food that usually has all these vendor booths that sell all kinds of food. What I decided to buy was “yakitori” (like teriyaki chicken but on skewers), some onigiri (rice balls), and salad. There are also vendors that sell sweets, both traditional Japanese ones and Western styled cakes and cookies, Chinese food, other Japanese food, you name it! It’s super convenient and cheap! Well, off to eat some more food now and explore more of Tokyo. Till next time!
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.