Animo Gozaimasu by William Hong
It was in the year 2007 that I took leap of faith and landed myself in the road less travelled. Five years later, here I am, a full pledged doctor of engineering.
My name is George William C. Hong, a civil engineering graduate of DLSU-Manila, ID 101. After the licensure board exams and some months of industry experience, I underwent a 5-year integrated doctoral program in the International Development Engineering Department of Tokyo Institute of Technology – Japan. It was all made possible through the Mombusho scholarship and the TokyoTech – DLSU partnership.
The first two years I had in Japan was a learning experience. I was under the tutelage of Professor Nobuaki Otsuki. His expertise in construction materials research, specifically in concrete and steel durability, makes studying in his laboratory truly a privilege and a challenge worth undergoing. I accomplished my master’s degree with a thesis on stainless steel corrosion in concrete exposed to carbonation. Like my concrete samples, I felt happily immersed in the Japanese culture and international life in Japan. It was during this time that I realized how the discipline of research and the spirit of constant development would mold us into better individuals and professionals; the substance that our country needs. The International Development Engineering Department of TokyoTech brands its students with a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to solve social issues and pursue international development.
The last three years I had in Japan was an eye opening experience. I was given the opportunity to truly try out a multidisciplinary approach when I moved, for my doctoral studies, to Prof. Naoya Abe`s research group - environmental resource economics, policy, and planning. Though quite different from my civil engineering background, I kept focused on utilizing the discipline and skills necessary to solve social development issues at home or in international waters. I literally explored the seas as I pursued my research on the sustainable development of renewable energy systems for off-grid rural electrification in the Philippines. I enjoyed learning about an emerging industry (renewable energy) while being able to find innovative ways of applying it to the rural islands of the Philippines. You can visit my works at www.ruralenergy.org. While doing research in Japan and attending international conferences abroad, I was seeing a clearer picture of the realities of the present and the possibilities of the future.
Animo Gozaimasu is a term that I wish to share in summary of my stint in Japan. Through the years in Japan I was always reminded of the Animo spirit I put to heart in the LaSalle days. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with friends and colleagues that shared a similar passion of pursuing things for the greater good.
Gozaimasu is a term used in Japan to express the highest form of respect. It is a word that encapsulates how Japanese treat, with utmost respect and reverence, their works, the environment, and people. The respectful and perfectionist spirit of Japanese is certainly something that I have grown to appreciate through the years and it is the same sprit that I wish to bring back here in the Philippines. Animo Gozaimasu for me means pursuing the greater good with the spirit of respect and perfection. I thank all my professors, peers, and friends for sharing that same spirit in this road less travelled. Animo Gozaimasu!