Thursday, November 10, 2005


Kochi University Faculty of Agriculture (Monobe Campus) is located in the suburb of Nankoku city, approximately 30 minutes by bus from Kochi city. They had what they call “open campus” last Saturday, November 5th and I spent the whole afternoon there that day.

I’m not quite sure if the “open campus” is a term commonly used in most English speaking countries, but here it means an event they do at colleges/ universities to familiarize community people with their courses/researches, facilities and students’ life. Often it is a whole-day event, or sometimes whole-weekend event, and they let visitors experience some activities related to their researches and give a tour in some parts of their facilities. When I heard about this event from a friend of mine a couple of days in advance, I felt tempted, but what really made me decide to go was his word, “There’ll be food stalls by international students.” ;)

It was already past 2 pm when I got there, and before anything, I had to have a late lunch at the international food stalls near the entrance. To read my post about the food I tried there, click here.

After lunch, my friend and I visited some places on campus. First we headed for the Center for Advanced Marine Core Research (CMCR) because I wanted to see the exhibition there. On our way there we saw some events taking place.

A big truck giving a ride to visitors. Looked like it was functioning as a kind of shuttle bus in one part of the campus that day.

Kids and their parents digging sweet potatoes. I heard they were allowed to take the potatoes home, but not for free... they had to buy them.

A boy feeding a cow.

Those farming vehicles were there for a display, but kids were allowed to climb up to the seat when adults were watching.

My friend told me that this was a charcoal-making workshop. With that much smoke, they could have made a smoked ham, too.

Then we went into the Center for Advanced Marine Core Research (CMCR). I had heard that this center is a famous institute in this field, but did not really know exactly what “core research” was. There they displayed panels explaining their research, as well as so many marine core samples. They also allowed visitors in some of the machine rooms to see the equipments they use for the research.

First a student showed us a CT scanner, and to explain us its functions, he scanned an alarm clock and a sea shell, which was OK. Then he took out a laptop computer and scanned it with the CT scanner! Boy this certainly is a well-funded department…

In another room we saw some equipments used for freezing samples(?) with liquid nitrogen. There a student demonstrated a popular experiment of shoving a balloon into the container of liquid nitrogen.

The balloon shrunk instantly in the container, and it started blowing back up right after she took it out. I've seen this experiment a couple of times on TV, but it was my first time actually seeing it in front of me. Too bad they didn't make ice-cream there, too.

In another room we were able to see samples of different kinds of ocean floor sediments in different places in the world.

After CMCR, I went to see a few more activities on campus on my own. There was a lecture going on in a classroom and the pamphlet said they’d talk about the sake yeast that came back from the space the other day. I was interested in being updated on that project, but unfortunately that part of the talk was already over. When I went inside, they were demonstrating zero-gravity experiment using a pikachu plush.

Here two girls showed me the tropical fruits being grown in the greenhouse. They told me that some farmers in Kochi started growing mango a few years ago and their products are already available at local supermarkets, which I didn’t know at all. Kochi-grown mangos are pretty sweet, they said, because the fruits can be left on trees until they ripen, but they are way more expensive than imported ones. Considering how much it would cost for keeping the greenhouse warm in winter, it probably cannot be helped.

The girls gave me this tray of dragon fruit seeds. (Now they are sprouting on the desk next to my laptop, but … what would I do with them… )

And these are the souvenirs I got on that day at the “open campus” event. The complimentary pens were given at several venues to the visitors who answered their questionnaires. The white powder in the small bottle is, according to the label, sand of the Caribbean Sea, which is a souvenir from CMCR.

As I wrote in this blog before, I’m planning to go back to my hometown in several years. There I’ll be living in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains and the ocean, and that is actually my kind of environment. I love the nature so much. The more I think about it, the more I regret that I didn’t major in agriculture or marine science when I went to university. Oh well... some universities or colleges might allow non-students to audit some classes here in Kochi. I might look into that possibility someday in the future (if my financial situation would improve somehow).
posted by obachan, 11/10/2005 02:16:00 PM


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