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The 20th Biocatalysis Symposium of Japan

Hello everyone!

 

I am writing this post from my dorm room in… Russia! Yes it has been such a lovely days here in Moscow State University! I am quite happy since  I am the only non-Japanese representative for this program this year, so happy !

So let’s put Russia aside for a while. In this post I would like to talk about the conference that my laboratory will arrange this December.

 

Yes, Matsuda Laboratory is arranging The 20th Biocatalysis Symposium of Japan at December 12-13, in Tokyo Institute of Technology, Suzukakedai Campus! You can go to the official website here.

 

biocat

 

So since I would like to promote this symposium, I would like to list up why you should attend this symposium :

 

  1. Great invited speakers from academia and industry

We have a great line up from academia and industry; from Japan and beyond.

From academia we have Professor Harald Gröger from Bielefeld University for a bit of touch of chemo-enzymatic processes, Professor Zhi Li from National University of Singapore bringing you latest update of his cascade reaction study, and Professor Kazlauskas from University of Minnesota, of course known for his Kazlauskas rule and lipase!

We also proudly present to you one of the best from Japan, Professor Ikuro Abe from Tokyo University with his polyketide synthase study. From industry, we have two speakers (up to now) from Codexis and Pfizer!

 

  1. Official language is English

Whether you are a Japanese trying to brush-up your English or you are a non-Japanese student looking for English-friendly conference : this symposium is a great choice! We try our best to make the official language of the conference English and encourage participant to make their abstract, and do their talk or poster in English, also engage in discussion in English.

Our committee also consists of many international students with some of them speaking both English and Japanese, so you will definitely not feel lost!

 

  1. The credibility of this symposium, of course

This symposium is one in the series of annual symposium by Society of Biocatalysis Japan. Although small, this society is solid and consists of all experts in biocatalysis field in Japan (proud to say, my supervisor as well).

In addition to that, we are also supported by many other scientific societies in Japan, such as The Chemical Society of Japan.

 

  1. Warm atmosphere of this symposium

Yeah, based on my own experience this conference always have very warm atmosphere that foster fruitful discussions and further collaborations. Although you might be new in this society, don’t worry! You will end up with many new friends and connections afterwards!

 

 

So yes, if your research is related into biocatalysis; whether it is more in the chemical side or biology side you are very welcome to register for this symposium!

 

Registration for participant will end at October 5, 2018 and you can register here.

If you would like to present the early bird registration will end at October 5 and as a student you can only register with only 2000 JPY! If you just want to participate, the participation registration will end at November 9.

So, we are looking forward for your participation in The 20th Biocatalysis Symposium of Japan!!! 待ってますね!

 

Love,

 

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

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Food Review : 100 Spoons Futakotamagawa

Hello everyone, I hope you have good weekend!

This weekend, I went to a new restaurant in Futakotamagawa (located close to the 109 Cinemas) called 100 Spoons (100本のスプーン).

You can see the detailed explanation of this restaurant in their official website here.

What made me interested with this restaurant is actually their unique menu which is called “Little big plates”

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Little big plates

Yes, as depicted by its name this dish contain of mini dishes (in total 10 dishes mixed) from appetizer until dessert. The price is 1980 JPY.  Let me explain about the content one by one (please note that the content might change due to the season, this version is Autumn-Winter 2018 version)

Appetizers

  • Shrimp bisque and french bread rolls (shrimp bisque tastes nice, although the bread roll is a little hard it will be better if you dunk it inside the bisque)
  • Stir-fry fusilli with green veggies (it is a little bit bland to be honest)
  • Marinated salmon and potato salad (very refreshing!)
  • Garden salad with balsamic vinegar and parmesan (standard)
  • Mushroom bruschetta (standard)

Main dish

  • Fried-potato (as a potato lover, this disappointed me a lot 😦 I understand that they make their own fried-potato (not a frozen-package) but they just did not fry it well. It is not cruncy and very dry, and lack of salt)
  • Hamburg Steak with Demi Glace Sauce (it is located in a little teppan, covered in foil. To be honest it tasted really really good! The steak was chewy and demi glace sauce tastes very rich. There is also moisture inside because I think they combined the cooking technique with steaming!)
  • Chicken curry with rice (standard)

Dessert

  • (they said it is) Tiramisu (i really do not know what cake it is. Yes it got a little bit of dash of mascarpone and coffee powder on top, but also with berry sauce and berry chunks? Maybe this is meant to be a berry tiramisu, but i really still like the classical tiramisu better)

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Well, it looks like a lot of food, but actually it is not. Especially when you are sharing. We also ordered Hamburg Steak with Gravy which also tasted excellent.

So, tips from me if you go here : do order only their beef-related dishes since they are excellent!

 

Another thing which is cute about this restaurant is they provide coloring paper in the first page of menu book and colored pencil, so me and my boyfriend went crazy coloring! 🙂

Also, they have relaxing atmosphere and open-kitchen with friendly chefs that will smile when you take their photo!

 

So I guess, I will visit again sometimes if I go to Futakotamagawa.

 

That’s it for tonight guys!

 

With loads of love,

 

 

Afifa

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Review : Setia Darma House of Mask and Puppets

Hello everyone!

How are you? I have just finished my 2 weeks summer holiday in Indonesia and it was really fun! I went to Bali for 4 days (staying in Ubud and Kuta, so that I can enjoy both mountain and beach atmosphere).

I would like to divide my experience in Bali into 2 parts. I would like to share about my experience visiting Setia Darma House of Mask and Puppet in Ubud, and reviewing about two new hotels I’ve been to this holiday.

 

So let’s get started!

 

General information

Setia Darma House of Mask and Puppet is located in Ubud area, Bali, around 10 minutes drive from the city center.

Address : Jalan Tegal Bingin, Mas, Ubud, Kemenuh, Gianyar Sub-District, Gianyar, Bali 80582, Indonesia

Phone : +62 361 8987493

Open daily from 8 AM to 4 PM

Admission fee : free (but I recommend you to give donation, since this place is really nice and informative)

 

In my opinion, this place is such a hidden jewel. The collections are extensive consisting of several Indonesian traditional houses (not only from Bali) fully packed with masks and puppets collection. You will not only be able to see masks and puppets collection from Indonesia, but also several selected collections from overseas. Not only from neighboring southeast Asian or Asian country, you can even see puppet from Italy.

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Traditional houses where they display the collection of masks and puppets

Service

Despite of its excellent collection, I do not think this place attracts many tourists yet (especially local tourist). When my family arrived there, we are the only guests there. A guide guided use from one house to the other and he explains really well about the collection. I am also impressed about the cleanliness of the facility. When we arrived there we spot at least 5 staffs are cleaning the garden and area. Washroom is also exceptionally clean!

One café and one souvenir shop is also available. In the souvenir shop you can get a really good mask miniature (for around 20 USD, the quality is really good)

 

A little bit more about the collection

Since I am actually not artsy at all, I will only explain some collections that I can understand.

  • Barong collections

They have barong collections from all over Indonesia. From the guide, I was told that actually barong has a good role in the folklore (although in my perspective it looks scary like a monster). Barong looks scary because he is a lion-like creature.

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Barong collection from all over Indonesia

The next picture is the barong from Bali area (located in the middle), the one on his left and right side are the enemies called Rangda, she is a female witch. We can see this set usually in Kecak dance performance.

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Bali barong! middle is the barong, left and right side is his enemy

  • One sad story called Barong Landung  : a story about Chinese princess who married a Balinese king. The king, however, ask The Gods of Batur to look for a women that can deliver his heir. He lied about his marital status however, condemning himself and the Chinese princess to be barong 😦

 

  • Shadow puppets, from all over Indonesia as well as other country. The one that I show here is from Indonesia and China.
  • Chinese string puppets and finger puppets
  • Extensive collections of masks, the one that I took the picture is from China, Japan, and Indonesia

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  • Other puppets collections

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  • One Japanese artist also donated Noh (classical Japanese drama) masks (sorry, i do not have the picture)
  • Wayang beber collection (where the story is told based on scroll-paint presentation (sorry, i do not have the picture)

 

In overall, I really recommend you to visit this museum!

This museum really tries to preserve the beauty heritage of Indonesian masks and puppets. Make sure you do visit this museum next time you go to Bali and spread the news! 🙂

 

With a lot of love,

Afifa

 

 

 

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Biocatalysis-related Conferences Review [Domestic]

Hello everyone!

It is the obon holiday here in Japan, I have just finished labwork today, though. Catching up some wet-lab datas so I can go back to Indonesia for summer vacation peacefully ^^ This week, I would like to share about the review of biocatalysis-related conferences that I have been to (since some of my kouhai ask me about this as well)!

For the convenience of the post-length, I would like to share only my domestic conferences experience in this post. So, conferences in Japan are mainly held by certain society (yearly or biennially). Do expect a quite formal atmosphere (only suit is acceptable, i guess), and sessions mainly held in Japanese (although people are encourage to use English more and more).

Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ) Annual Meeting

link, next conference : March 2019, Kobe.

Japanese name : 日本化学会年会

In a glimpse : One word for this annual meeting, it is a really huge! It is held every Spring by Chemical Society of Japan. Every aspect of chemistry will be discussed in this conference. Conferences are usually held for 4 days with sessions held in parallel.

The conference location will always move from year to year. It rotates from Kanto (mostly Chiba, Nihon University) to Kansai, and to Yokohama

Attendances : 4 times, all oral A presentation (7 minutes presentation, 3 minutes Q&A)

Personal experience :

CSJ 2015 (Nihon University, Chiba) and CSJ 2016 (Doshisha University, Kyoto)

CSJ 2017 (Keio University, Yokohama) and CSJ 2018 (Nihon University, Chiba)

My experience attending this conference is always as an oral speaker. The one that i haven’t tried is oral B (20 minutes in total, only for PhD students 2nd and 3rd year).

I am almost always attending only the day where the biocatalysis sessions are held. Most of the presentations are in Japanese, still. So if you want to engage more, it is better to have Japanese ability. Because of the time limitation and scale of the conference, to be honest I did not really receive a lot of feedback from this conference.

If you have time to go to the poster session, I guess you can engage more! But do remember that the scale of the poster session is quite huge. If your research also involves new methodology you can also join the ATP (Advanced Technology Program Session). The next conference? I should go with oral B, I guess (20 minutes presentation).

 

The Society of Biocatalysis Japan : Biocatalysis Symposium of Japan

link, next conference : December 2018, Yokohama

Japanese name : 生体触媒化学シンポジウム

In a glimpse : Quite different from the huge society of Chemistry Society of Japan, the Society of Biocatalysis Japan offers more “homey” and warm atmosphere. My academic supervisor is a member of this society.  This society board members are only around 25 Professors altogether with people from industry, so it is more like a “family gathering” :). This conference is held every year (around winter) for 2 days.

Attendances : twice, 1 oral presentation (20 minutes in total) and 1 poster presentation

Personal experiences : 

Oral presentation

Oral presentation at 第18回生体触媒化学シンポジウム@ Tokyo

My experience as oral presenter was 2 years ago, when the conference was held in Meisei University, Tokyo (near Sanrio Puroland, lol). It was really thrilling since I use  English for my presentation language despite the conference was 100% held in Japanese that time (even now my Japanese is not enough for formal academic presentation, yet). The hall was quite big and inside the student session I was the only foreigner Doctoral 1st year presenter >.<  Nevertheless, I felt very honored to be the representative of my laboratory that time (one laboratory can only give only delegation).

Feedback was quite good, I think my Sensei gave me the opportunity for this to boost my confidence and train me to present big data (it was my first time presenting all my mutant library data orally).

Poster presentation

Poster presentation at 第19回生体触媒化学シンポジウム@Sasebo

The following year i participate again as poster presenter (I started a new research topic so I still have few datas that time). The feedback was way better, I think that was  the best poster session that I had so far 🙂 The conference this year was held in Sasebo, Nagasaki (so as expected the attendee decrease). Although the venue was remote, it was really beautiful. One more tips, the mixer (懇親会, in Japanese) is a very good way for networking and looking for your next academic position, tee-hee.

IMG_0594the most beautiful mixer venue, ever.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

By the way, actually my academic supervisor is hosting the next conference, The 20th Biocatalysis Symposium of Japan. Indeed, this is a great responsibility and seems like this year gonna be BIG, with BIG names coming, lol.

But I am all pumped up for this and ready to be my supervisor’s sidekick!

Up to now I have learned so many things even from the preparation. For example : how to keep a good Minutes of Meeting (MoM), how to write sponsorship invitation letter in Japanese, how to write the content of conference website, until how to order poster in publisher in Japan 😀

Nonetheless, this will be my last contribution for my laboratory, before graduating I hope I can give my best!

I will keep you updated for the next update of this conference, we are almost launching the website and flyer! I will also give you another story for my international conference experiences next week, so stay tune! 🙂

 

Love,

 

Afifa Ayu Koesoema

 

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Gordon Research Conference in a Glance

Hello all!

It’s just after typhoon number 12 here now in Japan, and it has been approximately 2 weeks after I went back from my academic honeymoon this year. So yes! *drumroll* finally I’ve got the chance to attend the conference I’ve been dreaming of since my first year of doctoral degree.

Gordon Research Conference – Frontiers of Science : Biocatalysis 🙂

So how what makes this conference so special?

It is a science concentration camp (in a good way of course)

The biocatalysis one is held every 2 years in Maine, USA. Different than other conferences that I have ever been to this conference is always located in a remote area. It was 2 hours bus-ride from Boston and practically there is nothing there (except the super pretty scenery!). Kudos to them for their aim to make the participant pretty much focus on the conference. We slept in the same dorm, eat 3 meals a day together, had sport activities during free time together, basically everything together! Indeed it is a science concentration camp, lol!

But let’s take a look! This concentration camp is really beautiful (The University of New England with its beautiful red-brick architecture is just located beside Biddeford Pool, beach, and Atlantic Ocean)

There is also so many delicious food everyday. And…. LOBSTER! LOL. And sometimes rice, I cannot live without rice…..

It is indeed, overwhelming (again, in a good way)

But well, yes, it is a little overwhelming (in a good way of course). Meeting faces you only read in the journal article. Seeing them presenting and really talking to them. (this year I finally met the author that I’ve been fan-girl-ing since 2015, Professor Musa M. Musa).

The sessions were not too long but the cutting-edge science inside it? It is quite overwhelming and sometimes could be heavy. Everyone is presenting the best research/technology/innovation in their field! It is like a biocatalysis all you can eat. Any enzyme you need? any new technique you’ve been curious about? any reaction? anything you want, you will find it in Gordon!

But i cannot deny, it is really tiring (at least for me). For me to be sober and to be able to take good notes on the next day, I have to skip the bar session every night. Nevermind, I do not drink alcohol as well 🙂

It is secretive, somehow exclusive

Researcher got to present their cutting-edge unpublished data here, so yes, no picture and no uploading to social media. The Gordon principle also lies on not trying to copy the idea you have learned or heard from here.  Yes secretive.

But you also have the chance to talk directly to those popular professors, and scientists. I got a lot of chance to talk with my idols, not a chance that you will have everyday. Indeed it is somehow exclusive.

By the way, I also attended the Gordon Research Seminar one day prior to the Conference. It is an excellent melting pot for young scientists to discuss their career path. The participants are mainly graduate students, post-doctoral research, and early career researcher. We also had a mentorship session with experts in many fields (also with many backgrounds, i.e : people going from academia then to industry or people going back to academia from industry). It was a very very nice experience for me!

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Participants of Gordon Research Seminar, just a day before Gordon Research Conference

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Matsuda Research Group in Gordon Research Conference

It made me feel worthy

Sometimes when you are in a cramped space (although you love that space too much) you will somehow limit and compare yourself in the sample size as small as that particular space. I am just meticulous old-fashioned me who like to draw with colored felt pen, put a lot of sticker in the experiment book cover, and personify my enzymes.

I am definitely not gonna achieve as lot as my Doctoral student peers in my lab, well, that is the reality that I have accepted. But in Gordon, somehow I feel more alive and worthy.

I asked questions in forum. Maybe my questions was stupid, but I still raise my hand everyday. Seeing how the professors respond me or how some people got to remember me because of me asking questions everyday definitely boosted my confident.

There was a mentorship session also in the conference. I got a one-to-one session with a female Professor from UK. She is really sweet and charming and of course super witty. Based on our sharing she valued me as a girl that had courage to learn crystallography despite of her originally microbiology background. She said that i should not feel down not having gazillions of publication. One solid publication is OK, one publication that can really explain what you are doing. There is nothing to be ashamed of 🙂 The conversation is too sweet.

So here I am now, home from Gordon.

I know I am pumped up because of this. I am excited because of this. I realize that science is really an interesting thing because of this.

But you know? I have to give a big thumbs up to myself because actually I am always feeling like this right? I love doing research just because I love doing it 🙂 I just need confidence boost to keep on doing this. I just need some confidence for me to think that it is okay to keep going on although slowly and not as good as other people.

Ok, so next will be Doctoral progress report. and next destination will be… Russia! ❤

I will participate in a short term student dispatch to Moscow State University next September as one of the Tokyo Tech’s participant. I am thrilled because this might be my last exchange opportunity as a student. Next October I will already be doctoral third year student. Probably will be my last year of formal education.

It’s been (let me count…) almost 23 years of non-stop studying. Fruitful years with many ups and downs :’) But what can i say? I love science and study so much 🙂

So no matter what your research level are, don’t give up and keep on going!

Love

Afifa