I spoke at a conference in Tokyo this week, that Nature Publishing Group organized to celebrate 20 years of publishing in Asia-Pacific. I should have been in Madison for the TeraGrid '07 meeting, but I agreed long ago to speak here. It was a fun event, with participants from all across Asia. Lots of "real scientists" as I affectionately call my non-computer scientist colleagues. Indeed, the other keynote speaker was Ryoji Noyori from RIKEN, the 2001 Chemistry Nobel. A particularly large number of people praised my talk, so either (a) Asian people are very polite, or (b) it was a good talk. I estimate 80% (a) and 20% (b).
One topic that was discussed during the meeting was the relative "invisibility" of many Asian institutions and researchers, simply because they do not have good English Web sites. An example of how simple things can make a big difference.
I couldn't stay to visit any of my friends in Japan because I have to head straight back to Chicago to dress up in a funny robe and present an honorary degree to Scott Shenker. More about that later.