We spent the night on futon at the Matsumotos’ house. It’s not much different than sleeping on a ThermaRest, except you have a comforter on top and a soba-filled pillow. Comforters around here have solid fabric on one side, and mesh on the other, I guess to encourage airflow in the humidity.
Early last week, I was finally added to the email list of MIT interns in Japan last summer, and so I sent out an introduction email. The first person to email me back was Ira Winder, inviting me to an MIT alumni-intern retreat in a rural town called Tane in the Shiga Prefecture. I had no idea what it would entail, but I said yes and went about looking into Shinkansen tickets.
On the trip down to Shiga last Friday, I wound up sitting next to four MIT alums (plus someone’s brother visiting from Spain), eating Shinkansen bento (ekiben), and talking in the fastest English (and Spanish) I’d spoken in a week! All quite the change from working with unpaid master’s students, homemade bento, and speaking English slowly, without adjectives or adverbs.
We spent a lot of the trip along the coast, seeing islands and green hills. The views of the Enshu-nada, while generally obscured by power lines, were beautiful.