Dear Microsoft Word for Mac™ Project Manager,

You don’t know me. and I don’t know you. I am sure that you are a fine human being. A real person, with emotions, someone who experiences joy, sadness, laughter. You might even be a nice person, kind to animals and the elderly… Which makes it all the more difficult to tell you that I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN WHEREVER YOU MAY HIDE, FIND YOU, PEEL YOUR SKIN OFF WITH A RUSTED POTATO PEELER, WEAR YOUR SKIN, SAW YOUR HEAD OFF WITH A BUTTER KNIFE, DRINK YOUR BLOOD AND REPEATEDLY VIOLATE YOUR CORPSE THROUGH YOUR HOLLOWED OUT CERVICAL SPINE WHILE YOUR FAMILY WATCHES ON.

So, huh, yea… It appears that I have to file all my thesis documents through the mandatory MS Word templates that were sent to me. Weird formatting incompatibility bugs and all.

These days, I wonder if I’m graduating in Bioinformatics or in Petty Administrative Filing.

A tiny representative sample of the ten pages of instructions on how to file my thesis documents (bear in mind none of it has anything to do with the actual content of the thesis, this is all exclusively about how to format and present the documents, not what goes in it):

1. 60部については、表紙【様式D】をつけ、「論文内容の要旨」、「論文目録」、「履歴書」の順にセットし、左側2カ所をホッチキスで綴じてください。(2頁のものは見開きとなるように印刷) 2. 各3部については、種類別に揃え、ゼムクリップで止めてください。
(1) 2頁にわたるものは両面印刷とし、 「論文目録」、「履歴書」については、必ず捺印し てください。(綴じた60部は捺印不要)
(2) 種類毎に3部をゼムクリップで止め、クリアフォルダーに入れて提出してください。

Yes, three paperclips, not 2 or, gods forbid, 4. And for the love of Amaterasu, make sure that you use a clear folder for your stack of 60 copies of each document. We can and will fail you if you do not comply.

Yes, hello. I’d like to know the exact date on which I officially graduated from high school in 1998. No, not just the month, I imperatively need the exact day too. Yes, I need it in order to obtain my PhD. “Can’t I just put an approximate date”? Haha, you sweet thing. You have obviously never met a Japanese administrative employee, have you. I’m just happy they don’t ask for the exact hour. Can we hurry up please, I still have to get the days for the half-dozen university entrances and graduations I have had ever since.

Kotatsu: check.

Month-long supply of Thai curry: check.

Gallon-sized bottle of rum: check.

PhD Thesis submission draft: check.

Right, see you in Spring, people.

Hearing the details of the submission strategy for our next publication, feels like attending a mob meeting.

My advisor is the hidden son of Sun Tzu raised by Machiavel.

Dear PLoS editor,

I know our relationship was doomed from the start and it’s not like I did have high hopes for it.

But dumping me with an email and some very generic editorial comment? After our three months together, I feel I deserved at least a little peer review love.

Ouch, baby. Ouch.

Local campus health center is currently advertising a study on the effectiveness of TCM (漢方) vs. Western medicines as treatment for the common cold. In addition to free medications1Provided you are one of the lucky 33% landing in the one group that won’t provide you with sugar pills or dragon scale extract powder., you get a bonus ¥2,000 (in bookstore coupons) for agreeing to be their guinea pigs!

All you have to do is show first-day symptoms of the common cold and sign up.

Screw that scarf-and-winter-coat thing, I am biking home in my underwear tonight…

Post-meeting dinner with visiting Todai researcher and incidentally major wine amateur: any day, really…

Minutes from the first meeting of the organisational committee for the Joint Bioinformatics Center’s Grad Student Presentation Day:

P-san: Ok, now that we have set the presentation schedule for the day, we need to name the session chairs. And a time-keeper for each session.

Dave: That’s easy: there are three sessions, there’s three of us… We each chair one session.

K-san: Actually… The goal is to avoid doing it ourself. Chairing sessions is a real pain in the ass.

Dave: Good point.

K-san: There are three participating labs. For time-keepers, we’ll just pick the kōhai in each of the three labs…

P-san: nods in assentiment

Dave: Great idea. Stupid kōhais, gotta be good for something.

K-san: For session chair, we’ll just ask one senior member from each lab to volunteer.

P-san, Dave: Sounds good…

Dave: Wait a minute… There is only one research student in my lab: me!

K-san: Oh… that’s right.



Dave: Chotto FML.