Updates

Slime Mold Wins Prize! We wrote in an earlier post [see “Slime Mold Strikes Tokyo!!!” under “Train Story,” Mar. 25, ’10] about the research that found a similarity between slime mold networks and the Tokyo railway system map.  Now, the Daily Yomiuri reports (Sat., Oct. 2, ’10), the nine Japanese and British researchers have been awarded an Ig Nobel Prize, which was recently presented to them at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research.  No mention of an award for the hard-working slime mold, who the Tree thinks deserve at least some of the credit.

Bathhouse Revival. A recent Tree post [see “Bathhouse Blues,” Oct. 12, ’10]  lamented the demise of a favorite Tokyo bathhouse.  Efforts are underway in another part of town, however, to keep the tradition alive.  A story in the Daily Yomiuri (Fri., Oct. 22, ’10), “Tokyo bathhouses scrub up to lure visitors,”  informs us that the Ota Ward Public Bathhouse Association is encouraging foreign visitors to make use of the 57 bathhouses in the ward as a way of drumming up business.  Ota Ward is home to Haneda Airport, which has recently expanded its facilities to accommodate more international flights.  Thus the bathhouses hope to pick up some of the anticipated influx of tourists through the ward.   Posters in four languages illustrating how to use the baths properly have been prepared, as well as other special souvenirs for visitors.

We recommend checking out the Ota Ward bathhouses if you are coming through Haneda Airport.  A soak in the hot baths will remoisturize and refresh you after a long flight.  And if you want to know what to expect at the bathhouse, you can read all about it in our story, “Bathhouse Blues.”

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