A researcher’s odyssey

O me! what eyes hath Love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight;
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s: no,
How can it? O! how can Love’s eye be true, 
That is so vexed with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not, till heaven clears.
   O cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind,
   Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.

William Shakespeare
<Sonnet 148>

1. From the ceaseless curiosity to the regular workout

Once I fall in love with a research topic, I tend to get carried away. Like many people in love, my life as a person who is enamored with research topics has been a series of the ridiculous attempt. When it was successful, I made some achievements, and when it regarded as unceasing curiosity and sincerity, luckily enough, I was recognized by others as a good student. But first and foremost, I have been an otaku (オタク) since then.

As a researcher who wants to study something for the rest of his life, however, it is not enough.

I already knew that research is energy consuming as much as strenuous exercise. However, I had to take this more seriously. Working hard can only get me so far. A regular workout routine makes the study more efficient. I have started to hike one or one and a half hour almost every day. Yoga and weight training are often included in my daily workout routine.

2. From the wildness to the civilized society

I have heard that some students have difficulty with finding a thesis topic, but luckily enough, I have not yet afflicted by that problem. I used to think it was like finding the most useful and attractive one among the various jewels on the street. My ignorance might make stones look the jewels. My advisers would want to encourage me to find topics I desire and helped me to select an appropriate topic.
What was difficult for me was, rather, to stop researching at a certain point and establish the solid structure of my paper. When I wrote my thesis I often felt like I was digging out like a mole into a colossal mine called “my thesis topic.”

Having a lot of topics and rushing forward like a tiger moth to the street light look, at first sight, advantages as a researcher. Because of these characters, however, I sometimes overwhelmed by newly discovered evidence and by attractive comments from the conference though I was already at the last stage of the paper. I have not yet been refined enough to be a researcher. I believe that my ‘wildness’ is my precious asset, but in order to actually use this ‘asset,’ I need to be reborn as a ‘civilized person’ who plans and designs the paper properly.
From what? The heathen has not yet many solutions. The first one I found is the systematic arrangement of my paper. When writing a dissertation, I was not able to fully take a look into some of the papers I have already searched for because I was pressed for time. Though they were not the core materials for my paper, my experience shows I should manage academic materials more efficiently. I am currently learning a program like Mendeley.

Here are the farthest reaches of the observable universe on the grandest scale I know. I believe that what I have discovered so far are travel necessities for a researcher’s odyssey. Traveling with them, I hope I could meet and interact with advisers and colleagues as many as possible. My journey is just beginning.


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