I went to the municipality of Inashiki to give a public lecture on brain and mind. In Japan, railways are big. Although Inashiki is in the Kanto plane (in which Tokyo is situated), it is at least one-hour drive from any of the railway stations around. That means, in the railway-oriented Japanese psyche, Inashiki is very very far away. Perhaps these areas are one of the best-kept secrets for an incidental traveler. I enjoyed being driven by the organizers through the endless rice fields.
The great extension of plain land in summer means that there is a risk of thunder and lightening. We had a jolly loud one during my lecture. The air conditioning of the auditorium was malfunctioning, due to a heavy thunderstorm a few days earlier, I learned. The audiences were mainly teachers of elementary and junior high schools. The questions and discussions were enjoyable, with many insights gained from a direct interaction with the modern children, despite the heat.
It is always heartening to share thoughts with school teachers. You are reminded of your own past, when you were a small kid, being given many things by the well-meaning teachers, and then disappearing from their sight without saying enough words of thanks. Many essential interactions in this world are unidirectional. Teacher-pupil relations are representative of that truth in life.
A road in the middle of rice fields--a typical rural landscape in Japan.