Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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How I'm Spending the Rainy Season
Did I mention that I'd be going back to Japan this summer? I don't think I did, but let me make that good now. Last month I won a Visiting Scholarship at Tokyo Woman's Christian University, and I'm going to be there at the end of June and beginning of July. (In Japanese, incidentally, the name translates as Tokyo Young Woman's University, which I think an interesting difference. It was actually founded by a Japanese Quaker - perhaps a unique combination? - a century or so ago.)

What this means is that as well as a research grant (which will mostly get eaten up by translation fees) I can live on their campus for a very small amount of money for three weeks, while researching an article. I will of course also be taking the opportunity to sample Tokyo life, at a slightly less breakneck pace than I was able in my previous visits. Lectures at the National Diet Library and the university's Institute for Comparative Culture have also been slated, and maybe at a couple of other colleges. By singing for my supper I'm hoping to keep costs down.

The campus looks very pretty, perhaps more like an American campus of the early twentieth century than anything very traditionally Japanese, but lush and leafy. I'll be staying at the foreign faculty residence, which I think is housed in this building. It's not clear whether I'll need to live in black and white, though.

I'll be there for the Tanabata festival, which I'm looking forward to - but where's the best place to experience it? I will need to look into that...

So, that's all rather exciting. When I've finished my stint, the plan is to stay on another week to do a bit of exploring outside Tokyo. Since Tokyo at that time of year is said to be more or less unbearably hot and humid, I'll probably head north in search of more clement climes, but I've not broken it down more than that at the moment. Any recommendations for Hokkaido or Touhoku?

Oh, how exciting! And a chance to get a bit more integrated. It sounds wonderful, congratulations!

Thanks! I'm quite psyched, as you may imagine.

That sounds wholly delightful. Enjoy! The picture of the building looks just like some of the domestic buildings around UC Berkeley.

The one time I got an academic stipend for a trip that paid for my travel and keep, plus an honorarium, I promptly spent the entire honorarium on traveling around the area the following week, so we seem to have similar priorities, if differing tastes, here. In my case the area was East Texas, which I'd never been to before.

I think the Japanese founder had spent some time at Johns Hopkins, though I don't know what campus looks like, nor whether it had any influence on what arose in Tokyo.

Was East Texas interesting?

Interesting times in East Texas (and Arkansas).

Worth going for the giant cows alone!

Congratulations! What a wonderful opportunity!

Yes - I'm pretty excited about it!

Looking forward to your report!

It'll be right here, I promise!

I've only visited Hokkaido in the winter for skiing, but a couple of things you could look into:
- Furano is known for it's lavender which should be in season when you're there.
- Asahidake Onsen is a village in a national park with a cable car going part way up a volcano - I imagine it would be a nice place to walk in the summer.

Close to Tokyo, I really liked Kamkura, especially the giant Buddha, and it's easily visitable as a day trip from Tokyo. Nikko also has some beautiful shrines, but it was a ghost town in the evening in February.

Thank you! You're the second person in one day to recommend Nikko, so that's definitely going on my list. I like a cable car, too (I much enjoyed the one I took in Hakone a couple of years ago), and though volcanoes make me nervous, I suppose that to go to Japan is in any case to put oneself at the mercy of seismic events, so in for a penny...

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