Tsukuba Science City is a city in Ibaraki Prefecture, 60 km northeast of Tokyo, Japan. It has a population of about 190,000 people and lies in the shadow of Mt. Tsukuba which looks like Mt. Fuji with its long smooth shoulders, a volcano resting in its old age. The name Tsukuba is pronounced, to my coarse ear, tskoo-ba, the first "u" is silent.

The city is home to over 60 scientific and educational institutes, two of the most prominent being the University of Tsukuba and the national particle physics laboratory KEK.

The walk from Tsukuba Center to the Univerity is lined with trees, passing through the Tsukuba Women's University and some parks. The University campus is unusually spacious, I'm told, for one in Japan. The side walks in and around the campus are wonderful for running: they are surrounded by tall leafy trees, uninterrupted by cross streets. People are running and cycling on them early in the morning and late in the evening.

One interesting fact, which I'll share with you while I have your eyeballs, is that Japan is very far east in its time zone. That, coupled with the absense of a daylight saving time, means that in June the sun is rising around 4:30 am and setting around 7:00 pm.

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