I would be remiss if I didn’t at least briefly mention the professional exchange portion of my trip. Although it seems like all we do is eat and drink (which is somewhat true—I have been full since I got off the plane), I actually am learning quite a bit about the Japanese business community. In Miyako, we took a boat ride at Jodogahama Beach in Rikuchu kaigan National Park, and met with Kenzo Kamada, a park ranger for the area. A staggering statistic: over 5% of Japanese land is designated as a National Park.
We joined the local community at Seatopia, a government funded sea water therapy center, and jogged around the circular pool in the salty water (okay, maybe that’s stretching the professional development category). We also met with Miyako’s mayor, toured a sake factory, and visited a nursing home. My favorite trip was to the meteorological weather station; the director showed us the monitoring instruments onsite and joked about mammatus being “boob” clouds.