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 After spending 5 days in Tokyo, now I am in California. Days inTokyo were full of activities, as we had monthly meeting of the Council for Science & Technology Policy with Prime Minister Fukuda and other cabinet members on Monday, and the Final examination of the Competitiveness course followed by the Get-together on Tuesday.

  CSTP meeting on Monday was full of agenda. We are now trying to get the English executive summaries of the issues decided at the meeting on the website, so that the contents of our reports would be announced to the wider audience.  

  The Competitiveness Course at ICS ended with the final examination. Our final examination is usually for four hours, and this year I gave two essay questions. One of the questions had a case and some updated materials. Students read them, analyzed them and write their conclusion with supporting analysis. Four hours may seem long, but it goes so quickly. (Most of the case study examination is four hours, including the time to read the case.) As the students are usually exhausted after the four hour-examination, I host an informal get together with some snack and drinks to celebrate the completion of the course and just to have fun. It is nice to see students relaxed after the exam. (Now it is my turn to read over 30 papers!)  

  With some more interesting meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, I am now in California. As this is the long weekend in the U.S. (Last Monday of May is Memorial Day, which marks the beginning of the summer), everyone seems to be relaxed and seem happy.  Though I expected a hot weather in the desert, it is unusually cool, almost cooler than in Tokyo. I heard from the people who live here that it was over 100 F recently, but now it is in the 60s. It even rained when I had a few-hour- layover in Los Angeles. I think it is just about the first time that it rained when I was in LA! (I always associate California with the clear blue sky.)  You can almost feel that something unusual is taking place. I suppose this is what we call climate change.

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