Welcome Greeting for Postgraduate Course Students

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Today I will try to give my welcome greetings in English. My name is Yoichi Hori. I will serve as a chairman this year for a while.

First of all, I would like to say “congratulations” to you all, because you passed the difficult entrance examination and are standing now at the main gate to the top level research in the world.

At the beginning of this new semester, I would like to ask you something.

(1) Study hard

So called Yutori Education at elementary schools, and individualized and diversified education at high schools have caused serious problem in university education. This stupid trend has destroyed Japanese basic education system. The Ministry of Education has known this mistake and is changing the system again. However it is too late, but it is also the best chance for you to study hard because everybody has stopped studying.

From a global point of view, only Japan has been doing strange things. The wonderful education at Japanese elementary schools has received high evaluation from the world. We are going to throw it away. In the contract, for example, the United States has directed much budget and power towards basic education. We can see its effect in these days. The same thing can be said for Asian neighboring countries.

Your competitor is the world. We should have sharp eyes to watch the world. Open your mind to the world. If not, the world will go to somewhere without Japan.

Please study hard on past researches in the world, before carrying out your own research. Do not make research easily based only on what you know now. If you have time to read comic magazines, please read various technical books and papers widely and deeply. This is the meaning of "study hard".

(2) Have a pride.

This means “Not to say shameful words”. There are two things which you are doing usually but I think they are very shameful.

The first one is to say "I am busy." It is equivalent to saying "I am a person without ability." Therefore, never say such. When you are asked anything from your professor or anybody else, please do not hesitate to accept them. Do it with calm. Students of the University of Tokyo can do this.

Next, do not say “I am not good at Experiments”, or “My English is poor.” and so on. You don't need to announce your weak points to public. If you can not understand something and feel small, please go back home and study it secretly. On the next day, you can pose to be the specialist.

This is the very pride of students in the University of Tokyo. A big difference will be made by whether you have this pride or not.

(3) Use your professor

Recently, technology administration changes greatly and huge research programs are intensively commanded in some limited fields according to the plan of the Council for Science and Technology. It is said that research and development should be done based on a clear target and the evaluation in every several years. I just pray that this policy works well but I am afraid that it will finish with a big mistake.

Your supervisors have become very busy and their time are taken away by miscellaneous business. Probably, there are lots of days for a professor not to come to the lab. He wants to come, but too busy. However, professors never say they are busy, due to the reason I already explained. They have a pride.

I believe that new idea will be born from useless academic, chaotic discussions without any concern on time. In the present research programs conducted by the government, we should just run on the fixed rail. Long discussion are decreasing. We should be against.

Then, what should you do? It is easy. Please attack your professor. Be a big disturbance for them. Please use your professor. To be interfered by students is professor’s duty and pleasure. If you are silent, nothing will happen.

(4) Keep deadlines.

Finally, I would like to add one practical request of mine as the chairman of the department. The number of students increases and various types of students come together. But the office workers decreases in number and the office to take care of you has reached to an extreme busyness. Un-usual situation where overtime work continues until midnight has turned most days.

In order to improve this, the support to time-consuming students must be deleted. Our department has been famous of kind care of students. However, it has been realized on office workers’ sacrifice. Time has changed.

We will not save students who are always behind the schedule. We have no “award of effort”. Result is everything in the postgraduate course. To be behind the deadline causes a serious problem to yourself.

However, I know a very easy solution to overcome this problem. It is my top secret but I will teach you specially today. It is just to set the virtual deadline one week before the actual one. Always, I can finish things one week before the true deadline.

This method is called “predictive control” in my research field. Just by using this method, we can make our own time, and use it for “new value creation” for the future, which is the big mission of university. This is the true Yutori Education. Never be a slave of deadline.

That’s all of what I want to tell you at present. I hope you will enjoy your campus life and make a great success a few years later.