Monthly Archives: August 2012

Diary: 08/30/2012

30 August 2012 Thu

Washington Heights Tour
After a few introduction lectures and workshops, today we had a tour of Washington Heights, a district around our campus. Nowadays, in Washington Heights most of the residents are Dominican, but this area has a themeless history of various communities (firstly the area was started as a Jewish community, then for European immigrants, LGBT communities, for Latinos, or Hispanics and today). We started from the campus building, walked through residential building, a small park, streets with restaurants and shops, and then walked around the High Bridge Park. The park is by the Harlem River, and we can see The Bronx , northern most district of NYC over the river. Looking forward the Bronx at a higher point of the park, I was pretty impressed with the fact how widely towns continues in NYC even outside of Manhattan, and felt like going theere at some time.
A trail of the High Bridge Park was also nice. Seeing thickly grown trees and rugged granites, I felt difference of climate from that of my country. I often passed with people who are walking or running the trail. Here must be good place for exercise.
Going down the trail, finally we arrived at Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest house in NYC which was the headquarters of George Washington in the past, and had a welcome reception together with other tour groups.
On my litte regret, I forgot to bring my camera with me, but my eyes and ears enjoyed enough to feel air of the town.



いくつかのイントロの授業・グループワークを終えて、午後はWashington Heights(キャンパス周辺の地域。リンクはWikipediaの日本語記事だが内容は少なめ、興味ある方は英語記事参照のこと)の散策ツアー。ユダヤ系、ヨーロッパからの移民、LGBT、ヒスパニック…と時代ごとに異なる集団が集住していたらしい。今一番人口が多いのはドミニカ人とその子孫、という地域。確かに歩いていると、キャンパスから北上するにつれスペイン語が聞こえる頻度が高くなる。
キャンパスの図書館前に集合して出発。住宅地を抜け、公園を通り、大通りを抜けて、最後に川沿いのHigh Bridge Parkへ。Harlem River沿いのこの公園は、川向うにすぐBronx(New York City最北端の地域)が見える。公園の標高は高く、Bronxの街並みを一望出来た。いい眺め。そのうち向こうにも行ってみよう。
最後はMorris-Jumel Mansionで、他のツアーグループもみんな集合してレセプション。これは、イギリス植民地時代からある古い建物で、George Washingtonが独立戦争時に総司令部に使っていたらしい。一度再建されているから、当時そのままではないが、外観・内装は再現しているそうな。ここも、なかなか眺めが良かった。

Diary: 08/29/2012

29 August 2012 Wed.

Not So Special
Today is already the third day of the orientation week. Gradually I’ve been accustomed with the life in campus and conversation with various students, but at the same time I’ve felt a little boring with the orientation…lol The contents of today’s sessions were not so exciting; Math Review (very simple and easy review of math basics), an orientation by the offices in the Columbia Medical Center campus, and Welcome Expo by offices, shops and organizations related to the campus, and a sign up opportunity of networks or events of student organizations. There were various groups that have activities related to particular health themes, and each group seemed attractive… but the session itself was not so special. Well, that’s all for today. So, not special things in campus. But, at night I had a happy reunion with my precious friend!

I’m Back to NYC!
While I was copying enormous reading materials of the classes next week (over 100 pages!), I got a direct message from twitter, and that was from one of my friend whom I met about one and a half year ago in NYC the last time I visited Big Apple for campus visit before applying and sight seeing. She said “Are you free tonight?” and immediately I replied “Yes,” and she invited me to dinner. Our reunion was at the Grand Central station, and we went to a restaurant (Japanese Izakaya-居酒屋 style one) she booked for me(While I felt a little missing Japanese cuisine and sake, it was so delightful dinner!).
Neither of us remembered when our contacts began, but through Twitter we talked often cos both of us had the same favorite artist “Shiina Ringo” or “Incidents Tokyo,” and when I visited NYC before we met in face. It was November 2010 and I was still senior in college, and kindly she guided and helped me during my stay. Of course in this time, she is, as ever, very caring person to those coming to NYC from abroad.
This is the reunion after one and a half year, and only SECOND time meeting together, but I felt we talked as if we’ve been long-time friends. With a lot of episodes of each one’s days(most of that were just silly, small but loving ones), we had big laughs all the time. Finished the dinner with an ice cream, we left to night town. Before getting on subway, we walked several blocks to sober up a little. She said “It’s still hot.” I said “much comfortable than Tokyo(but hotter than Ishinomaki).” August ends soon, and Autumn is coming. But it is still a “Sweet Season for Ice Cream.”




夕方に連絡を受けて、二つ返事でキャンパスを飛び出し、Grand Central駅にて合流、再会。およそ1年半ぶり。以前NYに来たのは2010年の10月で、その時が最初。それ以前にTwitterでやり取りしていたのだけど、そのきっかけも覚えていない。傾倒するアーティストが一緒なもんで、なんだか意気投合していた。そんなわけで、会うのはたったの2度目。それも1年半ぶり。だけど、なんだかそんな気がしないぐらいの心地よさ。空いた期間の、お互いの日々のこと、次から次へと話題は尽きず、バカみたいに笑いながら時間が過ぎた。

この日のディナーは待ち合わせ場所からほど近くの、日本食の炉端屋。「そろそろ日本食が恋しくなってきたでしょ?」粋なチョイス、thank you so much. お腹も舌も、大満足。本人は謙遜するが、相変わらず面倒見が良くて頼もしい。「困ったことがあったらいつでも連絡するんだよ。」って、何度も繰り返し言ってくれて(この日だけじゃなくて、こっちに着いてからのメールのやり取りでも、毎回そう)、その思いやりが、とても嬉しい。


Diary: 08/28/2012

28 August 2012 Tue.

Richness and Complexity of the Word “Identity”
We had a whole day long session “Self, Social & Global Awareness” with the same members in a small group. Guided by a faculty and TA, we reflected our own background and identity and then shared that with the members. Through knowing about each one’s background, we were supposed to be aware about diversity of students’ identities and imagine the same or more various situations in social or global contexts. We talked about which element is dominant or nondominant in the group, which dimension has power or privilege, and how it changes in other situations or environments.
The group consisted of 23 members (21 women and only 2 men!) with various identity element such as physical appearance, sex, gender, economical/socioeconomical class, race, ethnisity, nationality, religion, spirituality and language… What was impressive for me was that how diverse element each student has and how complexly such element interact with various dimension to consist his or her whole identity. For example, I talked with two women students both with Chinese-origine ethnicity. But one is Canadian citizen and less speak Chinese, another is a international student from Beijing. The theme, identity of oneself is that I’ve been interested in thought for long time, so this case was not totally new or surprising for me. But anyway it was impressing to see such difference and diversity directly. In Japan, of course there are various people, but the majority of Japanese citizens have homogenous ethnicity and speak same language, and such occasion above is not so familiar with the most of Japanese.
By the way, this time I felt I did better than yesterday. Partly because the theme was familiar with me and the group was small, but mostly through the session, the group had a comfortable mood with tolerance and open to each one’s feeling and opinion. OK, I got it. I never need to worry. Just open my mind, act as usual with curiosity to others and the world, and with honesty to my own feelings.


今日はほぼ一日中同じグループでのセッション。昨日のイントロに続いてSelf, Social & Global Awarenessというテーマで、より少人数でのセッション。軽い自己紹介を終えてから、自身のアイデンティティを形成する要素を紙に書きだしていき、その中からいくつか重要だと思う要素をみんなに話すというワークショップから始まった。そこから、特定の要素を切り出して、それはこの集団の中ではdominantな要素か、あるいはnondominantな要素か(直訳すると支配的/非支配的か、となるが、多数・少数ぐらいのニュアンスでとらえてくれれば良い)、などといった話に。で、それがdominantかどうか、というのは置かれた環境によって違ってくるよね、とか、また、それぞれの要素があることで、自分がpowerあるいはprivilege(力や特権)を持っているかどうか、という質問、またそれも文脈によって違いますね、とか、異なるバックグラウンドを持つ者同士で対話・理解を進めるにはどうすれば良いか、とか、そういった話題でのワークショップを夕方5時まで延々と…
印象的だったのはレセプションでの一幕。レセプションになると、やはり親近感や不安もあるのか、顔を見て、自分と近いethnicity同士で自然と集まる(笑)で、日本人の僕一人に、 中国系の女性4名、みたいな構図になったのだけど、中国系だからといって全員が留学生というわけではなく、生まれてすぐ、あるいは生まれた時からカナダやアメリカにいて、citizenshipもカナダだったりアメリカにあるという学生も勿論いて、さらに、そういう学生の中でも、中国語もちゃんと話せるように教育を受けたか、英語しか話せないかなど、使用言語に差異がある(もっと言えば中国内でも地方によって全然言葉が違うのだけれど、今日は北京出身留学生ばかりだった)。


まぁ、そんなこと言ってりゃ出会う人の国や地域の文化全部観て回らにゃならんわけで、キリ無いのだけど、やはり感じたのは、日本人であるというだけで、こんなにも他国の人々と日本の文化について盛り上がるのだということ(あと、東大出身っていうと、アジアの留学生はだいたい日本でのそれと同じようなリアクションをするw)、それだけの求心力を日本の(とりわけ漫画・アニメ等の)文化が持ちあわせているのだということ。だから、ともすれば質問を受けて僕が日本のことを紹介するだけにもなりうるわけで、そのことにあまりに安住してしまうと、ある種の”Soft-Imperialism” に陥りかねないな、と。

Diary: 08/27/2012

27 August 2012 Mon.

The Beginning of Orientation
Today is the first day of the orientation week of my school, Mailman School of Public Health. At first, at the lounge of a building in campus in the morning, students checked in and got their ID Cards and handouts for orientation, then separated into each program or “Cohort.” MPH and Accelerated MPH(program for one year) students are arranged into a group called Cohort consisted of about 100 students, and students for other degree programstudents such as doctoral Ph.D or MS do not have cohorts and make a group for each program. They have 4 cohorts (thus I guess the number of MPH students may be about 400), 1 and 2 will have classes in the morning to early evening, and 3 and 4 in the evening. I’m in Cohort 1. After the Check-in in the morning, there was a navigation on the Core curriculum and the systems of the school. In the afternoon, Each department had a breakout session, and the there was the Dean’s Welcome at the large hall, “Alumni Auditorium.” After the welcome speech, introduction sessions of “Leadership & Innovation” and “Self, Social & Global Awareness.” At the last we had a welcome reception (too many welcome parties this week!).

MPH students are mingled in each cohort and they have same core curriculum for the first semester regardless of their department or certificate. A faculty staff said each cohort arrangement is decided with careful consideration of diversity. They believe, public health professionals have to have a wide range of basement, regardless of their certificate or speciality, and understand about diverse people and communities. This is because, the challenges of public health spread out all over the world and various dimensions, and public health professionals need to work with people or communities with various backgrounds and situations.

A Little Upset, but Self-Motivated
During the orientation days, I meet and say hello to so many students. That’s fun actually but a little upsetting. Sometimes I failed to listen to or catch up with what they are talking about… Rather than lectures or orientations (most of such speeches are clear and easy to listen), casual chatting with native English speaker students was terrible. I need to know and be accustomed with their tempo, rhythm and code to catch up. On the other hand, although I was fairly tired, I was serenely motivated and believed that I can do. Ont of the faculty staffs said that they have high expectation on us students, and that students should believe their capacity to do well because there is the fact that they are accepted to the Columbia University after competitive application process. Well I believe, there is a reason that I was accepted and I have capacity and potential to contribute to the school and the public health field. Don’t stop my steps.



今週から、自分のプログラム(MPH)あるいはメディカルセンターキャンパス(後々写真などで紹介したいと思っているが、我々のキャンパスはメインキャンパスより北、医療や看護、公衆衛生の院生のみが所属する、病院と一体となったキャンパスなのだ)としてのオリエンテーション。朝、ラウンジでチェックイン。IDカードやオリエン用の資料を受け取る。その後、自分が所属する「コホート」に分かれて移動。MPHとAccelerated MPH(1年に短縮された修士プログラム)の学生は、学部や専攻に関わらず、「コホート Cohort」と呼ばれる約100人規模のグループに分けられて最初の1学期を過ごす。コホートは4つあって(つまり、MPHとAccelerated MPHは合計だいたい400名程度だと思う。正確な数はまだチェックしていないが)、コホート1と2は午前から夕方までの時間帯、3と4は夕方から夜に授業が行われる(朝と夜、どちらが良いかは希望調査が事前にあった)。僕はコホート1。チェックインの後は、午前中にコア・カリキュラムや、学内のシステム(オンラインの履修登録やらなんやら)についての説明があり、午後は学部ごとのオリエン、その後学長からのホールでのウェルカムスピーチ、そして授業のイントロダクションとして”Leadership & Innovation”と “Self, Social & Global Awareness”というテーマのセッションが行われ、最後にウェルカムレセプション。


にしてもこの日は疲れてしまって、部屋に帰ったら朝までぐっすり眠ってしまった。オリエンの期間中は、ずっと同じメンバーで行動というわけでなく、教室ごと、レセプションごとに色んな学生と挨拶したり会話したりすることになるわけで、これがなかなか疲れる。社交それ自体というより、英語でずっと話し続けることはやっぱりまだ大変だ。英語ネイティブの人の会話やジョークになかなかついていけなくて(教職員によるオリエンはまだマシ)、少し焦る。「あ、こりゃダメだわ、会話入れん。」みたいなこともしばしば。とはいえ、多少圧倒されはしたけど、「なんとかするぞ」という気持ちの方が強まったかな。オリエン中に、教職員の方の一人が、僕たちに対して高い期待 high expectationをしていると語っていた。また同時に、競争率の高い出願プロセスを越えて、この大学に入ったということの事実、選ばれたことに理由があるということを理解してくださいとも言っていた。そうだな、何か理由があるのだろう。僕がここに入ったのも。そして他の学生にも。自分がこのコミュニティに対して、あるいは、公衆衛生の分野に対して、きっと貢献できることがあるのだと信じよう。

Diary: 08/26/2012

26 August 2012 Sun.

The Day before Orientation Week
From Tomorrow, the orientations for new students of Medical Center (including my school, Mailman School of Public Health). A short article is required pre-reading material for introduction class. The article is, Freeman, H., McCord, C. (1990). “Excess Mortality in Harlem.” The New England Journal of Medicine: Vol. 322 No. 3., and I read this one in the morning. Not so difficult itself, but felt my reading speed needs to be faster given that enormous reading materials would be on students from next week…lol

One and A Half Year Gave Us A Renewed Friendship
From the lunch time, I met another my Japanese friend, who also enrolled in grad school one year earlier than me. He and I were both in the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law, and he’s now in Fordham University in New York. Thanks to his good choice, I enjoyed pleasant jazz sound and nice lunch (not junky one!) at “One if by Land, Two if by Sea.”
After talking about our time of one and a half year, he said to me that he really enjoys talking with me, and his impression on me has changed from that of college year. Both of us honestly accepted today that each of us had an awareness of a little hard feeling to deal with to each other, but the time of one and a half year has untangled our relationship to the good one, probably because my Ishinomaki days have changed my rather obstinate and reckless mentality (thank you all those I met in Ishinomaki). Anyway, that was really great time for me (and I believe for him too) today. Thanks.


明日からメディカルセンターキャンパスでのオリエンテーション。導入の授業やウェルカムパーティー、大学院での生活についての案内などなど…クラスメイトと会えるのが楽しみだ。事前課題が一つだけ出ていたので、朝それを読み、要約したり分からない単語をまとめたり。Freeman, H., McCord, C. (1990). “Excess Mortality in Harlem.” The New England Journal of Medicine: Vol. 322 No. 3. これ単体ではそんなに難しくなかったのだけど、鬼のような分量の宿題が来週から課されると思うと戦々恐々。

今日も午後は東大法学部同期の友人と会った。同じくNew Yorkのフォーダム大学というところで政治学を学んでいる。そのままPh.Dに行くのだとか。ずいぶんNew York生活に慣れたのか、こじゃれたお店に連れていってくれた。”One if by Land, Two if by Sea.” ジャズの演奏を楽しみながら再会を喜び、お互いの日々を話す。食事も、こっちに来て初めてだろうか、そんなにジャンキーでない、美味いものを食った。今日、お互い笑いながら認めたことだけど、大学学部時代はお互い微妙な苦手意識を持っていたのだけど、彼から、ずいぶん印象が変わって、話していて楽しいし、再会出来て嬉しかったと言ってもらった。石巻での日々が僕の凝り固まった心をほぐしてくれたからだと思うけど、一年半という時間が、二人の関係を心地よいものにしてくれたな、と。ランチのあとは、タイムズスクエアの近くのお店、“Junior’s”でニューヨークチーズケーキを食べた。この店のはとても美味しかった。そういえばニューヨークチーズケーキと言えば、吉祥寺でよく行っていた、セイナカフェのニューヨークチーズケーキが美味しくて、想い出深い。その頃は、普通のチーズケーキとどう違うのか、そんなに気にしていなかったけど、本場でも濃厚な味わいで、「あぁ、やっぱりこういうものか。」と合点。チーズケーキは大満足なのだけど、珈琲はなんだか味が薄くて微妙。あと、「スープかよ!」って大きさのでっかいマグカップで出てきてビビった。Oh, アメリカサイズ…これをコーヒーカップと言うのですか、そうですか。


Diary: 08/25/2012

25 August 2012 Sat.

Hello Again!
Around the noon, I met one of my Japanese friends studying in U.S. and had a lunch, coffee and shopping. She’s now in Master Course in MIT, and studying social infrastructure, and came from Boston by bus (thank you for long ride to meet with me!). Although our major and department are different, we studied together and applied to U.S. grad schools in the end of 2010 and early 2011 when we were senior year of the University of Tokyo. After that, I deferred my enrollment into Mailman School in Columbia, but she entered her school directly in 2011. We talked lots of things about one year for each of us; for me, life and projects in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Japan, for her studies in MIT and Harvard, and her fieldwork project in Ethiopia to prevent malaria by improving water environment. Also, I heard that now she’s thinking about applying to Ph.D course. One year is short but long enough to change or train a person. Through this year each of us got new and fruitful insights and experiences and that influenced our future career plan also, but I know, we also have unchanged mind and will at the same time.

Tiger Rice Cooker
After chatting at a restaurant and cafe, she helped for me to go shopping. I need to buy lots of things for my new life in NY, such as bedding, racks, lights, and cook machine. Especially I keenly needed a rice cooker to eat Japanese rice. Actually I also like American style of cuisine, but… for me Japanese most of the American foods are too large (I can’t believe it is a “Medium” size!?) with high calorie. Both for my body and wallet, cooking and eating Japanese rice, and enough vegetables are essential matter! So, we went down to the China town around the Ground Station (She also get a bus to Boston there). At one shop by Chinese, I found rice cookers, made by familier makers such as Zojirushi and Tiger. Seeing the tags, prices range from about $40 to $150. Made in China ones are sold by cheaper prices, and the shopper said the capacity is the same with the one made in Japan. Although the shoppers were kind husband and wife… but I believe Japanese technology this time. I chose “Tiger” one made in Japan. Although it costed about $100, electric appliance is long use and I may eat rice almost every day, so I feel it was not so expensive. After walking around Chinese markets for a while, I said good bye with my precious friend, and went back to 168th street.

Anyway, I need to make  rhythms of daily life; eating, sleeping, studying, reading, writing, running etc., and also need to make a sense of money (which is cheap/expensive in U.S., or which is cheaper/expensive compared with Japanese standard). From Monday, orientation sessions will start.



昼過ぎに、大学時代からの友達と合流。彼女は現在MITの修士。社会基盤的な専攻だったかな。そう、だから大学時代の学部も違ったのだけど、2年の終わりぐらいからの付き合いで、4年生の頃は一緒に大学院出願を頑張っていた。ボストンから4時間半ほどかけてバスで来てくれた。ありがとう!約1年ぶり?の再会。同じタイミングで合格したけど、僕は入学を1年延期したから、ずいぶんと久しぶりな感覚がする。お互いの近況を語る。僕は石巻・牡鹿での暮らしと仕事のこと、彼女は、MITやハーバードでの授業、アフリカはエチオピアでのフィールドワーク(マラリア予防のために水環境を整えるプロジェクトだとか)。出願をしていたのがつい最近のようでもあり、遠く昔のようでもあり、不思議な感覚。彼女はそのままPh.Dコースを受けることを考えているらしい。1年経って、お互い変わったり成長したこともあるだろうけど、変わらない部分も間違いなくある。相変わらず快活でエネルギッシュな子だ。コロコロ変わる表情と、意思の強い眼は、変わらない。「大学時代の頃はもっとアクティブに色々なことをやっていたのに、今は研究や勉強で精一杯な部分もあってもどかしい。」と話していたけど、同時に「でも、今の自分にしか出来ないことをやらなきゃいけなくて、それがこの研究だから」とも言っていた。そう、間違いない。その時々で、自分に出来ることには限りがある。何が一番最適か、何をすべきか、究極のところは分からない。しかしある程度は、その時その時の自分の能力やセンスと、周りの環境(人や土地、資源)の組み合わせから見えてくる。さてと、僕はこれからどうなるかな。彼女に、「不安はある?」と聞かれた時、「不安、という感情はあまり無い」と答えた。いや別に楽勝と思ってるわけではなくて、勿論大変な日々が待ち受けているのだろうけど、その事に対してのprepared mindは持ちあわせているというか、大変だし苦労するし落ち込むこともあるだろうけど、そのことも織り込み済みで予想・理解・覚悟している、という心境に近い。なんていうのは、学期が始まっていないから言えることなのかもしれないけれど、今の心境が崩れてアップアップするような状況、すらも予想してはいるから、まぁ、とにかく、なんとかするさ。

合流してから、Columbiaのキャンパス近くのレストランで昼食を取った。トルコ風のランチを頼んだんだけど、ボリュームがありすぎてgive up。ランチボックスに入れて持って帰り、半分は晩飯にした。肉とヌードル入りのスープに始まり、ドレッシングダボダボのサラダ(いやほんとに、野菜じゃなくてドレッシングを食ってんじゃないかってぐらい。酸っぱいし。)、大量のお肉とマッシュポテト(塩ききすぎ…)のプレートというコース。これで$10ちょい。分量を考えればむしろ安い方かもしれないが、自炊の必要性をこの時改めて感じた。こんなもんばっかり食ってたら俺は死ぬ。栄養バランス的にもそうだが、胃腸がたぶん耐えられない。というわけで、食事の後は買い物に付き合ってもらった。チャイナタウン(そこからボストン行きのバス出ている)まで下って、お米と炊飯器を買った。色々探しまわって、タイガーやら象印やら、おなじみのメーカーの炊飯器が並ぶお店を見つけた。大きさや種類によって、値段は$40程度から$150ほどのまで色々。同じ型番なのだけど、値段が倍ほど違う、というものがあった。中国製と日本製の値段の差。聞けば「made in Chinaなだけで性能は一緒だよ!」とお店のおばちゃん。親切でいい人だったけど…ここは母国の技術力を信じることに。日本製のもの、$120ほどしたがタイガーの炊飯器を買う。消耗品じゃないし、お米は美味しいものが食べたいからね。買い物の後友達と別れる。どうもありがとう。

ともあれ、リズムを作ることが重要だ。一週間、一日の、リズム。食事・睡眠・運動・勉強・読書・書きものetc. それから、自活のためにも、金銭感覚。日々の買い物でも、どれが相対的に高いのか安いのか、またそれがアメリカ国内でなのか、日本と比べてなのか、とまだ感覚が掴みきれていない。知り合いに色々聞きながら、慣れていこう。


Diary: 08/24/2012

24 August 2012 Fri.

Good View, but No Light
From the window of my room, I can see a good scenery with the Hudson River, George Washington Bridge and riverside highways. At the same time I found a surprising fact; there is no light in my room on the ceiling(even though I can find a light switch by the door!). Anyway, I have to ask a dormitory officer about that, or buy many room light instead.

Get a Key of the Dorm
After getting up, I went to the housing office to make a lease. With other students, I attended the orientation about housing. The officer spoke so fast and I was hasten to fil in the paper and make many signature. Although I didn’t have any problem this time, I felt a little nervous by imaging the classes starting from September… Anyway, I got the key!
Our campus, Columbia University Medical Center contains several schools (School of Public Health, Medical School etc.), and women students seem to be a majority. At the session of housing orientation I attended, all of the students (about 10 this time) except me were ladies.
ISSO Orientation – Dominant Chinese! Few Japanese?
Going down to the main campus of Columbia University 122th street, I visited the ISSO (International Students and Scholars Office) to attend the orientation for the international students. But the office was closed. Oh, the orientation is at the Alfred Lerner Hall. When I visited the closed office I met a international student from Taiwan, talked about this situation and walked together to the Hall. we had about an hour before the orientation, we talked with each other for a time (home countries and cities, majors, and works…).
At the Lerner Hall the orientation for international students by ISSO started on 1:30p.m., and after that, ISSO held a welcome party for us at the restaurant near the hall. The contents of orientation itself was not so special; general information and guideline about our study, but what surprised me was how many Chinese students were here! I show you a amazing figures about the Columbia University;

For the 2011-2012 Academic Year, there are 6,536 enrolled students.

International Students by Region
Africa 2.6%
Asia 54.6%
Europe 22.3%
Latin America and the Caribbean 8.2%
Middle East 3.6%
North America 7.2%
Oceania 1.7%

Top Five Countries of Origin: Students
China 1,731
South Korea 586
India 541
Canada 484
France 224

International Enrollment by program of Study
Bachelor’s 12.9%
Master’s 57.4%
Doctoral 19.9%
Professional 2.6%
Nondegree 3.7%
Intensive English 3.6%

(Figures from the handout of the orientation)

Wow, how dominant the Chinese is!! Not only for Chinese, most of the international students were those from Asian countries (South Korea, India, Singapore etc.) On the other hand, during the orientation and the party I rarely found and met the Japanese students(finally I met only two women Japanese friends with whom I had already contacted in Japan). Actually I don’t care about that (whether majority or minority, each person is an only one and I just see and communicate with each one person), though I was a little surprised with this gap of the numbers. Anyway, the party was fun.



Housing Officeで入寮説明を受ける。担当のおばちゃんがなんかこう、まくしたてるような英語で話すもんだから、焦る。なんとかついていけたが、来月からの授業が少し心配になる。まぁがんばろう。ひとまず鍵を入手。ところで、このMedical Centerキャンパスー医学部とか公衆衛生のスクールがある、なんだけど、女性の方がマジョリティっぽい印象。このセッション僕以外全員女性(少し話した隣の席の子、超美人)。

午後はISSO(International Students and Scholars Office)のオリエンテーションへ。間違えてオフィスへ行ったが閉まっていて、オリエンはAlfred Lerner Hallという場所で行うそうな。そこで出会った台湾からの留学生と一緒に歩き、空き時間やオリエン・パーティー中によく話した。

Diary: 08/23/2012

08/23/2012 Thu. (the first day)

From Narita, Inchon, to JFK
I left my country 1:00 p.m. from Narita Airport by Korean Air, via Inchon International Airport to JFK Airport, New York. The flight went on smoothly and felt shorter than I thought. The airplane took me to the U.S. while I’m reading a novels of Natsume Soseki and a photographic collection “NIOOIN_JIN” by Junichi Takahashi (a photographer I met in Ishinomaki, North East Japan last year and he was living in NY for 19 years) and sleeping(before I start watching “The Avengers” by the movie service, the plane started his landing approach).

Titans, Toyota and LG
After leaving my country Japan, not a deep emotion happened to me (naturally I just enjoyed my trip while watching people and scenery), but finally I felt “Oh, I’ve come in!” when I saw a TV in front of the entrance gate at the JFK Airport; the TV show is an american football match, Titans vs Cardinals, sponsored by Toyota, and the TV is made by LG. The world is vast and flat.

Midnight Arrival
The minute I came out from the arrival gate of JFK, A man (maybe Arabic) suddenly spoke to me and asked where I will go, and tried to take me to his taxi. He said there is no train in this time (around 10:00 p.m.) and insisted that he can take me to the Manhattan. Feeling a risk of overcharging, I denied to ride his taxi anyhow, and go back to the Airtrain station that connects to NYC Metro. After long long train way (about one and a half hour), I finally arrived at 168th station, where my campus, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and my housing is. It was already over 1:00 a.m. and off course the office of housing was closed. Anyway I came in my dome, and talked to the officer. She was surprised with my late arrival and the fact I do not have a key yet, but kindly called to the security office. I showed my passport and acceptance letter from the office of housing, and they opened the key of my room, telling that I have to go to the office in the next morning. My roommates (I have not know the name yet) was already sleeping. I came in to my room, and slept.

2012年8月23日(木) (旅立ちの日)

13時に成田空港から日本を発つ。大韓航空(一番安かった)を使って仁川経由でJFK空港へ。特に問題も起こらず順調に旅が進み、思ったより早く到着したな、という感覚(正直、時差もあってよく分からなかった)。旅のお供に、漱石の『三四郎』を読み(熊本から東京への上京物だけど、さすがに今の僕は彼ほど青くはない、と思う 笑)、それから、石巻で出会いお世話になった、写真家たかはしじゅんいちさんの写真集『NIPPON-JIN』を眺める(じゅんじゅんさんは、19年間もNYに住んでいたのだ。そんな彼と、留学延期中の一年間で出会うとは、なんたる奇縁!)。読んでる合間に眠くなったら寝る、を繰り返している間に着いた(「アヴェンジャーズ」でも観ようかと思ったところで着陸態勢に。ああいう類の映画って、映画館で金払って観るほどでもないけど、飛行機で観るにはちょうど良いラインなのだけど、残念)。


空港の到着ゲートを出てすぐタクシーの客引きに遭う。男(たぶんアラブ系)が「どこへ行く?」としきりに訪ねてくる。マンハッタンだと答えたらすかさず、タクシーに乗せようと僕を引っ張る。「電車に乗るんだ。」と言っても、「この時間には電車が無い」とぬかす。「あ、これボッタクリタクシーちゃうか」と危険を感じて「友達が待ってるから電話する」だのなんだの言って無理やり振り切る(やっぱり俺、カモにしやすそうな顔つきしてるんだろうか…)。なんとか到着ゲートへ戻り、エスカレーターでエアトレインに乗る。途中からNew York Cityのメトロに接続する電車だ。1時間半の長い電車の旅の後、ようやく168th street、僕のキャンパス(Public Healthのスクール)と寮がある駅だ。この時すでに深夜1時を回っていて。もちろんHousing Officeは開いていない。寮の守衛さんに事情を話すと、鍵も持っていないしホテルも予約をしていない僕に半ば呆れていたが、セキュリティオフィスにつないでくださった。そこから、パスポートや寮の入居証明書を見せて、鍵を開けてもらった。部屋に入ったが、もちろんルームメイトは寝ている(まだ名前も顔も国籍も専攻も知らない)。部屋に入って、ほどなくして寝る(ベッドはあるが、シーツも布団もまだ無い。早く買い物しなくちゃ)。