New Kyurizukai

Then do you mean you devoted yourself to mathematics during your undergraduate years?
      Not at all times. Besides studying mathematics, at the invitation by one of the reading circle friends, I took up a part time job as a math lecturer at a cram school, teaching university-class mathematics to junior and senior high school students. I was actively involved in the cram school, drawing up original curricula and creating textbooks of our own, for example. The experiences I gained at the time seem to have paved the way for what I’m doing now – teaching students.
      I was also a member of an inter-college mountaineering circle, mingling with students from other universities. In a typical itinerary of three nights and four days, we climbed 3000-meter-class mountains such as those in the Southern Japan Alps, carrying a tent of our own. Some of the circle members were from Keio University. I made a friend of Mr. Kenichi Tanaka from Keio (now Associate Professor, Keio University Department of Administration Engineering) in the circle activity. Just as with the case of Dr. Tanaka, I met my future wife through this circle.

You skipped a grade when you were an undergraduate, didn’t you?
      Yes. Again at the invitation of those friends, I challenged the grade-skipping exam, an opportunity allowed only for juniors. All of us passed the exam, so we quit the undergraduate course halfway in the third year and advanced to the master’s course. While two of my friends chose the number theory, I joined the lab of Professor Yasuyuki Kawahigashi who specialize in the operator algebras theory.
      At the Kawahigashi lab, we were required to speak without looking at notebooks. At my own lab, we are following suit with this style of learning. It was a tough practice in the beginning, but I soon found that it is a superb method to accurately understand the problem and nurture the ability to restructure the problem – far from compelling us to memorize things. Not limited to mathematics, training yourself in this way will be surely useful even after you go out into the world.
      In the second year of my master’s course, I studied abroad at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute (MSRI) near the University of California, Berkeley for a little less than a year.
      Returning to Japan, I completed two years of doctoral course before getting married. Then I continued research activity at the Graduate School of Mathematical Sciences, the University of Tokyo in the capacity of a postdoctoral fellow (PD) of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). During this period, I also experienced an extended stay in Oregon, U.S.A. Then, I had an opportunity to spend three enjoyable years of research at the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Science (Faculty of Science) as Superlative Postdoctoral Fellow (SPD) of JSPS. Those three years were fruitful as I could fly around the world and cultivate valuable human relationships, which became the foundation supporting my current research activities.
      There is one more thing I gained during the years at the Hokkaido University. Inspired by the manga “Hikaru-no-Go,” I was awakened to the fun game of “Go”. Currently, I’m a third grade rank holder of Go.