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Hello. My name is Tomoki Ozawa. I am a senior research scientist at RIKEN iTHEMS. As of February, I am leaving iTHEMS and moving to Advanced Institute for Materials Science (AIMR) in Tohoku University, Sendai, to start my own group as an associate professor.

I joined iTHEMS on April 2018; I cannot believe that it has already been almost two years. Time really flies like an arrow. Before joining iTHEMS, my research career has been developed abroad (US, Italy, Belgium), and although I am a native of Japan, iTHEMS is the first Japanese affiliation I obtained as a researcher. Before coming back to Japan, I had always been worried if I could be accepted to the Japanese academic community. After joining iTHEMS, I learned that my worries were needless. I was surprised by the welcoming atmosphere of iTHEMS, and even though I was the only condensed matter physicist in iTHEMS, I could easily find somebody to discuss in the iTHEMS coffee room. What helped me even more to place myself in Japan were the various satellite offices of iTHEMS in (and also outside) Japan. These satellite offices made it easy for me to visit and know what is going on in various other places in Japan. After spending almost two years in iTHEMS, although I am still constantly surprised by cultural differences between Japan and other places I have been, I feel that I have comfortably become a part of the academic community in Japan.

In terms of research, what was great being in iTHEMS was that I could do whatever research I wanted to do, without any pressure on the selection of topic or to report what I am doing to my boss. I really appreciated the academic freedom here. I am also starting to build collaborations in Japan. The new collaborations I am building are quite interdisciplinary (including atomic physics, photonics, and even biophysics), thanks to the wide scope of interests of people in iTHEMS.

It has been a real pleasure to spend time in the beginning period of iTHEMS, and I am sure that iTHEMS will flourish even more in the coming years. AIMR has a satellite office of iTHEMS, and I expect to maintain active interactions with iTHEMS after I move to AIMR. I will also most likely come to iTHEMS offices (perhaps the coffee room in Wako) from time to time, and I am looking forward to seeing the successful development of iTHEMS in the future.