Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thesis Crisis of The Weekend

I woke up this morning to the sound of my cellphone buzzing.


It was from my research professor, so I know that this will be an important one because he normally sends emails ONLY when there is something really necessary to be informed; but this time I was not prepared at all for this particular email.

My professor’s father died last night, and today he is going back to his hometown in Kyoto to take care of it. Rest In Peace.

He also said in the mail that he is taking a brief break and probably will not be in Akita until next week.

I was really sad to hear this, but then I realized that I should be more shocked, worried and sad even more:

I was supposed to meet him tomorrow (Monday) so that I could present him my preparations for the coming thesis interim-presentation on Wednesday. The objective of the meeting is to make sure that the decisions and choices that I made in preparation for the presentation is in-line with his visions about the thesis; and also to check the flow of the whole presentation, confirm the data and simulation method, and also my Japanese grammar.

But now with him not being able to make the meeting, I am left to check and fool-proof my own work, which is very difficult for me to do at this point because I just got the theme of the thesis 2 weeks ago, therefore not acquiring enough knowledge and intellectual skills to do it myself.

I’m kinda fucked here.

Ok, it might not be as bad, but what worries me is not the presentation, but the ‘questioning time’ AFTER the presentation. I’m worried that the other professors, who are going to attend the presentation, are going to torture me with sarcastic critics on how half-assed my ideas were and how terrible the presentation was.

Having to do the presentation without first consulting with my research professor, I really have lost confidence to perform well, presenting and answering questions correctly. Japanese professors are pretty vicious when it comes to criticizing student’s presentations. They will rip and tear you apart if you make a dumb mistake, and that will really make you ‘down’.

Ah! Enough with the whining! I can do this! I've been in worse conditions before so bring it on bitches!


On the other hand, I’m so disappointed in myself at how bad I handle the death of the people of the people that I know. I really have a problem on what to say to them at these sad times. I really want them to know that I felt sorry for them, but I lack the proper social skills to tell them my feeling. This is because I’m always concerned that I might have a slip of the tongue and totally make it worse for him/her.

I really don’t know about what is the proper response that I should give my research professor. If anyone out there has an idea, please share it with me. Should I call him? Should I just send my condolences through email? What should I say? I'm really clueless and lost here


After thinking carefully about what I'm going to write, finally I have decided to send the professor something simple. This is what I sent him:


At first, I was going to sent him something that I later realized as being too 'formal and native' for a foreigner to write. Something like this:

突然の訃報にただ驚いております。どうかご遺族の皆様 もお気持ちを強く持って、お力をお落としになりません よう、ご自愛下さいませ。心より御冥福をお祈りいたし ます。

I hope everything will be fine with his family.

And also my interim-presentation.



  1. Anonymous10:27 PM

    i think u should say something..just something to show ur sympathy+condolences.口で伝えにくいかもしれないんで、自分の場合だったら、メールの方がいいかも。。頑張ってね!

  2. thanks for the support!


    i'm thinking about writing a simple email that sounded something like this:

    "i'm really sorry for your lost and please accept my sincere condolences."

    how do you write THAT in nihongo? do you know how a normal Japanese would say (in nihongo of course) condolences?

  3. Based on my [limited] experience, it's enough to express your condolences.

    Good luck in your thesis presentation! It's making me freaked out about mine - which is going to be in, like, 1.5 years, lol! Tell us how it goes, ya?

    (Do you have any other professor who is also close to you and whom you can ask to go through your presentation?)

  4. @Adilla:

    Thanks for the advice about condolences.

    You might think that 1.5 years is a LOT of time... he he he... ok it's too early for you to start rasa rimas and freaky about it la!

    I don't know any other professor so I just have to do it all by myself. And it will be fun because I prefer to live life dangerously.

    Man, I'm going to get burned...


Please use a constant nickname when commenting. Comments from anonymous users is not very welcomed. Select "Name/URL" from the drop-down list below (beside the 'comment as' section). Sila gunakan nickname untuk memudahkan rujukan. ニックネームを使ってコメントして下さい。

Blog Widget by LinkWithin