Thursday, February 10, 2005


Kyoto University is the second oldest university of Japan (since 1897) and one of the leading national universities having a total of roughly 22000 students. The university has three campuses in Yoshida, Kyoto; in Gokasho, Uji; and in Katsura, Kyoto.

For homepage, click :

The Yoshida Campus has been at the core of the university's activities since its founding.

The main campus is home to structures of varying architecture, ranging from brick buildings dating back to the time of the institution's establishment - such as the Clock Tower Centennial Hall.

The Kyoto University Library was established more than 100 years ago in 1899. The library has more than 800000 books and all libraries in Kyoto University contain more than 6 millions books.

The university gymnasium - in the evenings of summer, many students gather outside the gymnasium practising dance steps and musical instruments. Quite lively.

Renovation work of Clock Tower was completed in December 2003. There are now facilities set up for unique purpose; a Centennial Hall, International Conference Hall and a University Lounge and the University Archives.

The back of the Clock Tower Centennial Hall and reflection of the Faculty of Law and Economics Main Building.

The camphor tree that stands in front of the Clock Tower.

The Center for Student Exchange was established in June 1990. As of May, 2004 the number of students from abroad was approximately 1250. Only 16 were from Malaysia.

The Yoshida Campus is subdivided into seven sections. Above is the North Campus, and heading to the Faculty of Agriculture.

The Faculty of Agriculture was established in November 1923. And meanwhile the Research Institute for Food Science was established in September 1946.

Yoshida Shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Yoshida, just adjacent to the university. Surrounded by a deep forest, the shrine stands quietly amid an undisturbed stillness. An elderly man more than 90 years old who graduated from Kyoto University many years ago once visited the shrine and said, 'The university has changed completely since my day; it was only when I visited Yoshida Shrine that I felt I had finally returned to my alma mater.' And the shrine continues to watch over Kyoto University.

Nearby the university, the Kamo River flows through the city of Kyoto from north to south.

Formerly owned by the Imperial Army, the site of the Uji Campus came into the possession of Kyoto University in 1949.

The Uji Campus is now home to a collection of research institutes and centers, including the Graduate School of Agriculture.

This is the Uji Campus cafeteria. The place we have our lunches and dinners. Miserable (same varieties of food everyday) but convenient.

In April 2001, the Research Institute for Food Science was closed to merge with the Graduate School of Agriculture. The former was where I have intended to enrol, but ended up with the agricultural department instead. Can you see my name (in Chinese) ? The names are arranged according to seniority. I am on the top half of the list (Ahem !).

Very small laboratory but very productive team of members. Last year, we have about 30 publications.

When I was a research student (kenkyusei), due to lack of tables for students in the laboratory, I was allocated a seat in front of my professor in his office. Phew.

This is where I am currently sitting. The plants were dead though.

This is where I conduct most of my experiments, especially when I am dealing with DNAs. When I work on proteins, then I will conduct experiments elsewhere. There are also other common use laboratories in the building, which house many sophisticated instruments.

Finally, I graduated with a Master degree.

"Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing." -- Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Nikko National Park

Nikko is located in the mountains of Tochigi Prefecture. It is most famous for the Toshogu, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex and mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

The main shrine buildings were built by the third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1636. Skills of the highest level available at the time were applied in building Toshogu Shrine. Eight buildings have been designated as National Treasures, whereas further thirty-four buildings as Important Cultural Properties.

One could enjoy the intricate carvings of the Yomei-mon Gate. The walls are decorated with intricate patterning, coloured carvings and paintings. It is a grand spectacle. Worrying that its perfection might arouse envy in the gods, those responsible for its construction has the final supporting pillar on the left-hand side of the gate placed upside down as a deliberate error.

The inner section of the Honden, the shrine building where Tosho Daigongen, or the deified image of Tokugawa leyasu, is enshrined.

The Sorinto Pillar is a bronze memorial pillar of 15 meters high and 3 meters in circumference. It contains in it 1000 volumes of holy sutra. A symbol of peace.

The Five-storied pagoda (Gojunoto) where a statue of Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana Buddha) is enshrined.

The Shoyo-en garden displays its grace and beauty throughout the year.

For more information of Nikko Temples and Shrines, click :

Nearby Toshogu, you can visit :

Kegon Falls is one of the most famous and powerful waterfalls in Japan. It drops 318 ft (97 m) from Lake Chuzenji. It gives forth a thunder-like noise together with twelve minor falls nearby. There is a long elevator ride you can take down to get to the lower viewing platform where you can observe the full force of the plunging water.

It is also called the Sea of Happiness. Lake Chuzenji is situated at an elevation of 4060 feet (1237 m). The lake was formed by lava flows of the now extinct volcano several thousand years ago.

It was a good late summer vacation sponsored by the Foreign Student Center of Kyoto University. Only selected students participated in this event. However, it was my first and last time as the center changed the rules. Only new comers are eligible to apply for field trips from then on.

Ryokan is a type of traditional japanese inn. A room in a ryokan is constructed using traditional Japanese materials; flooring is tatami and doors are sliding rice-paper (washi) doors.

Many ryokan offers dinner and breakfast as optional meals. Typically the meals available are mostly Japanese foods.

Several of my Thai friends (Kung, Nuok, Sorapong, Um and Eaow)