I was asked to post more pictures. Funny thing is, I've posted as many pictures as I've taken. I also realized that I don't really have a way to transfer my camera card pictures to my computer which leaves me with whatever pictures I can manage on my permanently-in-airplane-mode smartphone. I will try to be more diligent though.
Yesterday, I made my way to my lab on a bus. Despite what that may sound like, it was quite the accomplishment. You get onto the bus, grab your ticket and then shove yourself into an already full bus and try not to overly press against anyone else around you. When people want to get off, they have to push their way through literally thirty or forty people and saying "I'm sorry; Excuse me" as you do so. Then you have to pay the driver. This proved to be difficult the first time I rode the bus as I put the money into the change machine rather than the pay slot and ended up getting my money back in smaller coins while the bus driver just watched me and the twenty people who wanted to get off as well. I managed much better on the way home.
The bus made me realize though how jealous I am of bikes. Pretending I didn't have my backpack in some poor person's face and pretending that it didn't bother me that I couldn't move an inch, I watched those bike-riders as I rode on that crowded bus. The biggest benefit, I think, of a bike though, is that I would be free to sing as I rode. I realized today that I am pretty cut off from my usual musical outlets. My apartment walls are too thin to really just sing and I have no access to a musical instrument. When I got home yesterday, I remedied it as best I could by holding a quiet dance party in my apartment.
I will write more about my lab but here's something first: yesterday we all went to lunch in the cafeteria. I looked around me and realized there were hundreds if not thousands of men all around me and only about 5 or 8 girls that I could see and about as many foreigners. I started laughing - so much for pushing for equal numbers of men and women in engineering. I was an anomaly and the other girl in Nagai's lab even more so.