Excursion to JAXA & Cycling tour along Tokyo rivers

July 2008

[HDR] With the laboratory we went to JAXA (the Japanese NASA). I had been to JAXA in Chofu, where they have big wind tunnels, jet turbine test facilities, flightsimulators etc., but this time we went to Tsukuba, to see the clean room :-)

By the way, in the "museum" which is open to the general public I saw the biggest disco ball I had ever seen! Keep up the good work guys! We also went in the press/vip-room which looks directly at the mission control (like what you see in the Apollo 13 movie and on the news, all the guys with the computer screens) but no photos allowed there... (Weird press-room don't you think?)

I just love the way Japanese communicate their instructions

By the way, somewhere in the cleanroom I saw a note posted on the wall saying that the gravity constant is 9.7994869 m/s² I thought it was kind of funny, because in the Netherlands we learn 9.81 as a value. I asked my lab mates, and in Japan apparently they learn 9.80 (which of course is better than 9.8, a value some in the Netherlands may also use). Some lab mates were surprised to hear we learned 9.81 and didn't understand why (others did)... Luckily I had a good physics teacher who also told us that not only the attraction due to the mass of the earth plays a role, but that the spinning of the earth slightly counter-acts this attraction (often called "centrifugal force"). As the speed of a point on the equator is high and the speed on the poles is zero, the netto effect of forces makes that the value of g is higher closer to the poles (Tokyo is approximately on the same latitude as the north of Morocco).

This is a copy of the Kibo module of the international space station. They use it for training and testing.

Yeah.. those japanese really all look the same! Even the foreigners look the same here!

Some weekend I had gotten tired of staying inside (although the aircondditioner is a good reason to do so) and I decided to take my bike and "get out of tokyo". Well, that is practically impossible, but still you can get to some point where the notion that you are in a city with 33 million others disappears.

Generally I headedd eastward from my hose in Honkomagome until I reached the river, then followed the river in north-west direction. I got a bit mixed up with which river I was following, as the Arakawa and Sumidagawa are very close at that point and there were some streets where cycling was not allowed so I had to make some quick decisions. Well, without too much trouble I came where I wanted to be.

Except for the enormous highway constructions, it's just like the Netherlands

After cycling along the river for a long time, I came to the Akabane floodgate, where I went back into the city and did some shopping in Akabane before returning home.