HOME » 刊行物 » IER NEWSLETTER Vol. 12 (Column: PAUL, Saumik (Associate Professor, IER, Hitotsubashi University)



image001.jpg Nihongo Chotto, Sumimasen! image002.jpg
Back in 2011 when for the first time I set foot in the land of the rising sun, a former colleague of mine at Osaka University (my first place of work in Japan) taught me three magic words “Nihongo chotto sumimasen”, which literally means “limited Japanese, please excuse me”. I was advised to make frequent use of it while in Japan. I left Japan in 2013 and after a brief stint in Malaysia, made a “U” turn. My second innings in Japan started in April 2016 with my employment at the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi U. After five years, my Japanese proficiency is still best described by these three words. No wonder - I took my colleague’s advice seriously! 
I will write about a few things that I like in and around the Hitotsubashi University campus located in the beautiful city of Kunitachi. These are small things that we all enjoy. I took some photos (left and top) of the painted pavement tiles that are placed between the Kunitachi railway station and Hitotsubashi University campus. I guess they represent the history of Kunitachi. These are hard to miss if you are out for a short walk or trying to find a place to grab something to eat. By the way, if you are a foodie then Kunitachi offers a variety of choices from authentic Japanese food, a wide range of international cuisines, boutique coffee shops to delicious bakeries. Indulge and pamper yourself, as I often do! 
(The Anpanman photo (top left) was taken by Sayuri, my 4-year old daughter).

If you are reading this blog, then it is likely that you have been to the beautiful campus of Hitotsubashi. In autumn the riot of colors turns the whole campus into a collection of magnificent landscapes. It also attracts many local visitors all year round. I see them often with an easel, paint and brush or a camera, trying to fulfill their creative pursuits. I find it a very special attribute of Hitotsubashi U, playing an inimitable role at the crossroad of education and culture.  


I love snow and this winter for some reasons Tokyo has not received much of it. But on November 24, 2016 the news headilnes were all about “Tokyo sees first November snow in 54 years!” I was delighted, grabbed my camera and headed to my office. It was a rare opportunity to capture the mix of snow and falling leaves. 

I remember that I roamed around the campus for almost 2 hours trying to capture as many sights possible.  image006.jpg
Cherry Blossom in April is a world famous image of Japan. Around this time of the year, many visitors flock to Kunitachi city to enjoy it. The main street of Kunitachi city with blossomed cherry trees on both sides (right picture) illuminates an iconic symbol of Japan. A true feast for the eyes, and the rendition of classical music from public loud speakers (organized by the Kunitachi city council) soothes your ears as you pass by them. Please come and experience it if you have not yet! 
image009.jpg I sometimes take idle strolls around the campus. Make unintended stops near the muddy little pond filled with turtles (behind the students cafeteria, west campus), in front of the vending machines pondering over the evening snack choices or just sit quietly near the fountain area in front of the clock-tower library building (west campus).

Another thing that can’t go unnoticed is the vibrant campus life. One can take the pulse of Hitotsubashi university through myriad student activities - sports, cultural performances and scholarly pursuits, among others.  

For those interested in old architecture, Hitotsubashi campus has many things to offer. It boasts a campus filled with centuries-old historic buildings. Kanematsu auditorium (above) is arguably the legendary symbol of Hitotsubashi University. The clock-tower library building also bears the testimony of the rich architecture. 
image011.jpg Kunitachi city dresses up not only during cherry blossom but also on many other occasions. During Christmas, the big Christmas trees on both sides of the main road shape a person’s festive mood. Cultural day celebration on November 3 is another occasion when people of all ages join colorful parades, dress up in traditional Japanese outfits and celebrate with friends and family.  image012.jpg

It has been a memorable first year for me at Hitotsubashi University. I’m grateful to my wonderful colleagues at the IER for helping me strike a good balance between social and intellectual life. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of this vibrant research community and a prestigious university in Japan. I hope to continue in the same way in the years to come. If you want to know more about my research activities then please visit @
image013.jpg Please feel free to stop by my office (A308, 3rd floor of the IER building) if you like to have a chat. Arigato gozaimasu!