A friend informed me of a great opportunity. She mentioned that the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science would be hosting an open day for its K Computer. It was the world’s fastest computer not too long ago and is still among the top four. I couldn’t wait to see it.
When we arrived on Port Island, a man-made island just a quick train ride from the centre of Kobe, there weren’t too many people around. It got busier as we got closer. There were brochures and freebies galore as we searched for information about the presentation I wanted to see.
Eventually we found the presentation about the heart and a simulation of its functioning. Of course, it was presented in Japanese, but I was lucky to be with a very multilingual friend, who translated the key points for me. Also, the K computer itself was quite a sight. It was an interesting experience, which I’ll never forget.
I had the opportunity for a brief visit to Kinosaki Onsen. It’s an ideal place for anyone who loves hot springs, but it’s also a good place to enjoy Japanese aesthetics and architecture. As if that weren’t enough, the hospitality I experienced was exceptional, even by Japanese standards.
With a map, a list of recommendations and plans to meet up with friends later that evening, I was ready for a bit of exploring. A minimalist beauty was present throughout the town, from the designs of the buildings and bridges to the interiors of the hot springs. The way in which Japanese architecture embraces nature and natural materials is quite special.
The cave and waterfall features inside the hot springs and the river which runs through the town were some of the highlights. The interesting Brazilian lady and Italian guys I met, and great conversations with the owner of the ryokan I stayed at, made it even more memorable. I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with some really great friends, while checking out the local festival. The fireworks display was the perfect end to a wonderful day.