I spent ten days in September in the “Science City” of Tsukuba, an hour northeast of Tokyo. My visit was the start of a collaborative research project with the University of Tsukuba that is looking at the biomechanics of baseball hitting.
|With current and former biomechanists at the University of Tsukuba||Setting up for baseball batting research|
Before the work component of my trip I was able to spend some time travelling in Nagano Prefecture – famous for its fruit, onsen (natural hot springs), and as a gateway to the Japanese Alps – and to the city of Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture. Sendai was a base for trips to Matsushima Bay – one of three must-see views in Japan (although I thought the Zuigan-ji temple there was more spectacular than the bay!) – and the World Heritage Site of Hiraizumi.
|Matsumoto-jō – the Crow Castle (Matsumoto, Nagano)||The Hayabusa – Peregrine Falcon – Shinkansen to Tohoku|
As always, Japan offered some culinary adventures: from the delightfully-presented oyakodon in Nagano City (as recommended by Watanabe-sensei’s mother) to Sendai’s speciality – gyutan (grilled cow’s tongue).
Oyakodon with Watanabe-sensei in Nagano (left),
and Gyutan in Sendai (above)
I was also able to catch up with Ishikawa-sensei and Ochi-sensei, who are now both back living and working in Tokyo.