It was time to work. The trade show I was in Yokohama for, BioJapan, is not a big one, and dwarfs in comparison to the Bio show in the USA. But being so highly specialized means that there are less people attending that in other trade shows, and the people attending are all directly involved in life sciences, either as researchers or as companies commercializing life sciences research (or providing support and services).

I had meetings prearranged through a “matching system”, so it was highly productive for me work-wise. An added bonus was to be able to attend the Photonics show which was going on right next to BioJapan, so I got to experiment and learn about all kinds of cool pulse and quantum lasers, lenses, micro-robots, and optical coherence tomographers! My friend Álvaro would have really like to be there, for sure.

In the evening Boris Johnson, the Mayor Of London, came to the trade show and we talked for a bit. He’s quite a personality, hyperactive and intense.

During the group photo, I came up with an algorithm to determine the affiliation of those in a group dynamic with a high-ranking public official based on the average median distance to focal point: those constantly moving closer to be in the picture, talking with or without anything to say, and laughing hard (almost hysterically) at the celebrity’s any joke are either public servants looking for a promotion or in academia, looking to advance their careers. Then you have those “predators” who wait for the right moment and “go for the kill”, with a well prepared elevator pitch, gimmick, or gift, to get the celebrity to remember them or to say something they can use in a press release. Finally you have the “outsiders”: too shy to get under the spotlight, too cynic to participate in that circus, or too analytical to miss the fun of analyzing the complex dynamic unfolding in front of them (yes, I get to belong to the last two types: cynic-analytical, I’m that cool 😉 ).

After all that madness, we were invited to the opening ceremony (rather “party”) at the Yokohama Passenger Terminal. The organizers had a rock band playing Beatles covers, and served a western-menu buffet. I appreciate the gesture, but it was a total failure. The high point of the night was Boris giving a passionate speech about how wonderful London is, while the Japanese organizers had a “drop of cold sweat running down their temples” (OK, easier pictured with an emoji: 😓).

So I bailed out early and walked back to the room, picking up delicious sushi and domburi on my way. I could eat Japanese food every day!