SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

JO Byeogwook “Waku-Waku feeling”

I successfully attained my doctoral course this Spring. It means I completed my nine years of university student life with graduate and PHD course. And then I initiated my academic career. While it has not been so long since I concluded my studying abroad in Japan, I would like to share my impression and experience as a teacher.   


In my childhood, when boys read Manga (Japanese comic books), they used to be excited and thrown into an uproar in their room. I had a quite similar feeling at the age of ten. When I read ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’, ten years later at my high school time, I had a feeling of excitement (Waku-Waku feeling). Although, I can’t claim to have glow mentally, there was a subtle difference comparing with ten years before. I had a feeling of expectation that I would be able to make robots of my own if I attend a prestigious university after diligent study.  


I successfully passed the entrance exam with the desired division of the university after another year. However, upon starting my university journey, I found a gap between studies and my suitability. For instance, I lacked interest in attending practical sessions and experiments, rather I acquire knowledge passively. During my undergraduate year, when I was challenged with something new, I had a sense of duty rather than Waku-Waku feeling. Despite being eligible to enter graduate school, I decided to join the army force as I struggled to find a clear conviction for my future.  


The army life was more boring than university life because there was a sense of duty only. In army life, there were scheduled events and manuals, and it was more important to keep collective behavior rather than challenge something new. For the people who prefer to live as their own term, like I do, I think they cannot be satisfied with militant life. However, I learnt a lot from army life.      


I completed my military service career and commenced my doctoral course in 2018. My research theme was cell, which proved challenging to predict in terms of result. I vividly remember I have researched this theme in my 4th year of undergraduate level. Strangely enough, after eight years pause, I experienced the same “Waku-Waku feeling” which I had in high school years and in childhood. The excitement may come from the fact that I chose and researched this theme independently, rather than it being a compulsory assignment, and it was more enjoyable than I thought. I used to return home at midnight almost every day after an intense research session. Especially, I cannot express how challenging the last half year of my preparation for examination was. However, I am thankful for my supervisors who instructed me and provided me valuable guidance. Thanks for their support, I successfully completed the doctoral course.


Today, I am working as an assistant professor in the same laboratory, guiding students their research. My duty and responsibility became bigger, surpassing those of my student days. The “Waku-Waku feeling” has diminished in comparison. Ironically, however, my boss (of laboratory) has an opinion that “Research work should be done with Waku-Waku feeling”. So, I found myself contemplating every day how I can implant this Waku-Waku feeling in my students. Recently I had an opportunity to conduct an omnibus style class for the first time. It was an hour explanation of theoretical lecture followed by thirty minutes’ simple experiments, and it was not easy to convey the truth uncovered by past scholars. Sharing this information was not easy, but it really made me happy when some students expressed that he experienced “Waku-Waku feeling”.

It was my recent Waku-Waku experience and I hope to continue enjoying such situation for a while.    



SGRA Kawaraban 751 in Japanese (Original)



JO Byeongwook/ 2022 Raccoon, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo



Translated by Kazuo Kawamura

English was checked by Sabina Koirala