On my last day in japan, after coming back from Hong Kong and staying up all night to ward off jet lag I made my journey by train to visit the World?s fastest supercomputer. I had emailed the general contact address before I left for Japan and I had tried to arrange a tour. I hadn?t heard back from my contact at the Japanese government run Earth Sciences Department, but finally in Hong Kong I got an email asking me when I could make it down. I told them that I would have maybe half an hour to visit with them while I was back in japan and that it would be cutting it very close.
I took the train starting at about 6 am to Shinjuku where I traveled to Yokohama and then caught the train from the to the station where the Earth Simulator was. I arrived about 30 minutes late and tried to explain to the non-English speaking gaurds that I had arranged a tour. I ended up having to fire up my laptop and show them the email from my contact who they promptly called and who came to meet me.
Noriko was very nice and she greeted me, and gave me a calendar and a handful of ES related literature. She then guided me through 4 magstripe card access controlled doors to a foot bridge across to the ES building which I had seen on the ES website. I was thrilled as we walked through the door to the viewing gallery. I snapped a bunch of pictures while she explained about how the ES works and what each sections', helpfully color coded, functions were.
I wanted to go down on the floor, but she said that I needed special approval to do that. I didn?t have time to watch the movie so I lucked out and she gave me a copy to take home.
On the way out she explained that I had been the first random tourist that they had ever had visit. She told me that they were afraid to mention on their website that they offered tours as there were only 3 english speaking employees of the lab. I felt very lucky to have visited the Earth Simulator. She told me to tell my friends that tours are available. So if you are in Japan and you are as nerdy as me, email me and I will give you her contact address.