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Guest Blog: Co-op, The First Days

Adam Adair just completed his third year in Computer Science Co-op at Ryerson. He was recently accepted to the Canada-Japan Co-op program via the Ryerson Co-op Office and is sharing his experience so far below!

The Beginning
On September 4, as the wheels of my airplane hit the ground, my adventure in Japan had officially began. I could already see differences from Canada as I looked out the airplane window and saw that the airport vehicles were much smaller and looked like boxes, likely due to the Japanese K-car tax reductions. Of course all the writing on the trucks was in Japanese and the steering wheels were on the other side, but these were more expected differences. Once I made it through security and customs, I needed to find my way to the Honda Research Institute (HRI). I managed to make my way there after asking several locals for assistance. I have found that the people in Japan are very friendly, and most of the time when I ask for directions they will walk me to where I’m going or to the bus stop I need to be at.

Accommodations
I am currently living in an apartment provided by HRI which is about a 10 minute walk from work. The apartment is small, but has all the essentials and then some, including a router and a washing machine. The location is very convenient since it is a 10 minute walk to work, a 5 minute walk to Wako-shi station, the nearest train station, and there is a large supermarket right across the street. In terms of accommodations, I really couldn’t have asked for more.

Work Life
I am working as a software developer doing research in the vision labs. I’m at work from Monday-Friday for 9 hours a day with a 1-hour lunch. The work is very interesting and very independent. Each worker gets their own projects to work on, and we can pick the subject of research as long as it’s in the field of our supervisor and we can make a decent argument of why we think it is worth researching.

My Welcome Party
A couple weeks into my time at the company, my supervisor organized a welcome party for me, which is a common practice in Japan. We went out to an izakaya and had dinner and drinks. This was a great chance for me to get to know my supervisor and some other colleagues. It is also customary for the new employee to give a jikoshoukai or self introduction in Japanese. Luckily we had practiced these during the training week in Vancouver. This was really a great way to get to know my colleagues better.

Delicious food at my welcome party!

Delicious food at my welcome party!

Travel
One of the biggest reasons that I decided to apply for the Canada-Japan Co-op Program was so that I could travel and explore Japan. Since I arrived, I have gone somewhere new every weekend. I feel that I have already been to lots of places and seen lots of interesting things. The highlights of my travels so far are: exploring parts of Tokyo including Akihabara, the anime and electronics district, hiking up mount Nokogiriyama, visiting shrines and collecting goshuin, a type of special signature unique to each shrine, in my goshuin cho, a book for collecting these signatures and of course trying all the different foods from each area.

Nokogiriyama

Nokogiriyama

Stay tuned for more updates from Adam’s co-op experience!