the whole reason i was in tokyo, believe it or not, was not to take in the sights while trying (somewhat unsuccesfully) to avoid seafood (breaches in the 'i don't eat that' mantra included prawns and – i think, and still feel awful – moray), but rather to visit ika-san and the squid collections at the national science museum, tokyo.  although i spent all the working hours at the offsite research facility near shinjuku, ika-san also took me to the main museum buildings in ueno, to admire the exhibits. 

before the trip, the pebbles had loaned me his lonely planet guide to tokyo, which i found absolutely invaluable at most times.  however, the lonely liar had this to say about the NSMT: 'generally nothing special: the displays are limited in scope and qualtity, and can be covered in less than an hour.'  this is patently not true – i hope the disparaging remarks refer to the museum ten years ago (it's a 1997 LP edition)  and have been updated, because i have rarely seen more engaging and well-thought-out natural history galleries.  the museum also has a spherical theater – not just imax or omnimax, but an actual full sphere, with the audience standing suspended on a walkway through the middle – which is worth seeing in itself, and while i was there, there was a very entertainig exhibition on robots that included the most advanced bipedal robot designed to date, asimo.  however, robots aren't really my thing, and photography wasn't allowed inside the exhibit, so let me divert you rather with the more esoteric things that tickle a teuthologist's fancy. sadly, i didn't get a shot of the life-sized blue whale model inside, but don't worry, i did get both the plastinated whale intestinal tract (oh, the memories – remind me to tell you about that sometime), and the whale stomach chock full of nematodes.  yummy.  oh, and both the stone carving of the ?plesiosaur (at the front of the site where i was working), and its skeleton on display – this was a new species several years ago.

AmmonitesCrazy ammonitesWhale intestinesWormy whale stomach

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