Last April 29 to May 8, 2015, an intercultural exchange collaboration took place in Tokyo, Japan. 23 Civil Engineering (CE) and 16 Manufacturing Engineering and Management (MEM) students from De La Salle University were invited by the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) for a 10-day socio-cultural program. DLSU faculty, Ronaldo Gallardo (CE) and Dr. Nilo Bugtai (MEM) and TIT Phils Offcie staff, Ms. Ioulany Esguerra and Dianne Buagas accompanied the students. The purpose of the program was to expose students to the cultural and the technological development of Japan as well as to promote closer ties with the TIT students and professors. The itinerary included various locations such as the TIT campus, museums, temples, and other iconic landmarks found in Tokyo.
One of the highlights of the exchange program was the TIT campus tour. Here, the students were exposed to the university life in Japan as they visited different areas in the campus. Students were able to witness projects done by the TIT students as well as Japan’s most powerful super computer known as the TSUBAME 2.5. This high-speed supercomputer is used to process and store a large amount of data. The types of data processed include the simulation of earthquakes, wind patterns, water molecule movement, and much more. One of the locations also included in the campus tour was the TIT library, which is also known as the Cheesecake Library due to its architecture. In this segment of the campus tour, students were able to observe the study habits of the TIT students as well as the structural design of the buildings at the University.
|TIT's Cheesecake Library|
Aside from the campus tour, students noted the efficiency and unparalleled public transportation scheme of Japan, particularly its railway system. With a delay rate of only 7 seconds/year, Japan’s subway system proves to be one of the most reliable transportation lines globally. The train system provides linkages among different cities and provincial towns, making pedestrian transport convenient and more accessible.
Other locations that were of note in the program were the Miraikan Museum, Rainbow Bridge, and the Tokyo Skytree. The Miraikan Museum showcased the ingenuity of the Japanese through their advanced technology. An example of this would be the famous robot called ASIMO, which had the capability to perform human movements such as walking, running, and jumping. The Rainbow Bridge can be considered as an engineering marvel by the Japanese due to its state of the art design. It is a suspension type bridge and is one of the longest in Tokyo. The Tokyo Skytree, on the other hand, stands as the tallest tower at 624 meters.
Aside from the exposure to the advanced engineering and progressive technology of Japan, students were also given the chance to look back and experience the rich culture of the country. The Meiji Shrine, situated in the heart of Harajuku, and the Asakusa Temple showcased and preserved centuries of Japanese heritage and history. Students marveled on how temples could tell stories of the Japanese people and their practices. The students also learned how to pay respect in the temples and engage in rituals to show such reverence.
The last destination for the students in the itinerary was Hino Motors, Ltd. The corporation is a leading manufacturer of trucks and buses in Japan. It has expanded to various locations around the world. One of which is in the Philippines. The tour allowed the students to observe the production of Heavy Duty Trucks (HDT) from start to finish.
All in all, the program was a fruitful experience that brought about many lessons and insights with a responsibility instilled in the aspiring engineers of DLSU. With that, students may bring home what they learned and apply it to future engineering projects in the Philippines.
Article by Kevin Atienza, Carla Gonzalez and Jorge Joaquino
Photos by Beatrice Liu and Nestor de Ocampo