Last week my research lab had a welcome party for the new members, one of them being me! I was a bit apprehensive at first, being the only non Japanese speaking person at the party, but they were awesome hosts.

They walked me over to a Izakaya just a block away from the university, where multiple labs from the Informatics department were having their welcome parties too. Basically, us techies were taking over the place :)

I ended up chatting with some undergrads and a fellow gal named Suzuki-san, who were all super friendly and happy to chat in English, especially after some Asahi ^_^ We all got a little red, and once everyone was comfortable and loosened up (hee) the newcomers introduced themselves. They did it in English, which was great! I tried to say a few words in Japanese and was happy with the response. 

Afterwards, we parted ways, upon which I learned a new expression: otsukaresamadesu. It's said to colleagues when saying goodbye and means something like "thanks for all the hard work you have done."

I'm really happy to be in such an active and social lab. Tomorrow is my first lunch meeting with the lab at school. Although I'm breaking my head over kanji and grammar for the moment, it'll be good to start getting accustomed to their lab culture. I can even post the robot photos that Colleen and Luke brought me when they visited us yesterday.  Yay cubicle decorations!

Edit: I learned in class yesterday that otsukaresamadesu stems from the same word as tsukareta, which you say when you're tired. So literally I guess the expression means "you have honorably tired yourself out (thanks)"

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