Konichiwa! Echinoblog is in Tsukuba, Japan (outside of Tokyo) visiting the National Museum of Nature and Science studying the deep-sea starfishes of Japan! How many new species await?
After arriving last week, I've finally gotten settled into my temporary home away from home!
I've gotten the impression from some folks who believe/perceive that scientists who travel abroad (or anywhere really..) are somehow living in the lap of luxury. I've lived across the board when traveling on the "science dime" and at least, for folks like me, fine dining and luxury hotel rooms are for a different class o' people...
so here is a little bit on Japan but also some insight on how I live when I travel. I am not atypical for the kind of science that I do...
1. Living the Scientist's Travel Life.
By now, I'm kind of a seasoned scientist. I've got a PhD, I'm older and less inclined to sleep on people's floors. Plus, when I travel, my status as a professional (and my personal preference) leads me to a proper room with a bed and so forth.
But when I was a grad student/younger post-doc I "paid my dues" and ran the gamut: I shared cheap hotel rooms with two or three others (sometimes I knew them), lived at the YMCA in the bad part of town, slept in Greyhounds, and lived my share of research visits in roach-infested rooms without air-conditioning in the middle of the summer and slept in fishing vessel sleeping quarters with a smell that never goes away....
So, its nice to get a simple, clean dorm room like this one. My thanks to the NMNS for having decent (and affordable) dorms for their visiting researchers! Yes. There's even a washing/drying machine in there! Fancy! (and for those concerned about expense, this room was supported by the NMNS, no US tax dollars are at play...)
Here's one of my rooms when I lived in Paris. Also nice. A bed. A window. Some closet space. Its nice to have a conveniently placed bathroom with toilet AND shower! (not always the case!)
For example, one leaves ones shoes at the door outside the main residence...This typically involves trading out for a pair of slippers, but as an American my feet are pretty big, so I end up walking around with socks!
Slippers are special to special rooms! Here in the restroom, you actually have a pair of special slippers JUST for using in the "water closet" (or W.C.) /toilet room.
And finally... someone at the Museum treated me to this neat, little thing: A Shrimp chip WITH AN ACTUAL SHRIMP!!