Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2021, the Ig Nobel Prize is given each year to ten offbeat, weird, or surprising scientific achievements “that first make people laugh and then make them think.” In 2014, the Ig Nobel Prize for Physics went to Professor Kiyoshi Mabuchi and his colleagues for “measuring the amount of friction between a shoe and a banana skin when a person steps on the latter.” If you’d like to learn more about Professor Mabuchi’s research into cartoon comedy tropes, simply tune into his upcoming lecture.
The Slippery Research of an Ig Nobel Scientist
The Ig Nobel Prize may sound like a joke, but it’s only given to real scientists. Sure, you can call Professor Mabuchi’s work “a look at how people slip on banana peels,” but if you want to be more precise, you could say that he and his team studied how the lubrication of a banana’s natural polysaccharide follicular gel affects the movement of human limbs. Polysaccharide follicular gel is also found in the membranes between human bones. The professor, therefore, believes that his research may one day open doors to all new kinds of prostheses.
He will gladly tell you all about it during his upcoming, family-oriented lecture on banana peels. Hamagin Space Science Center have organized the lecture in Yokohama’s Isogo. However, due to the coronavirus, the lecture will be entirely virtual. You can watch the presentation for free via YouTube. If you have any questions for Professor Mabuchi, you can submit them here in advance (Japanese only).
When: Jul 3, 3:30pm–4:30pm
Enjoy the Lotuses at the Sankeien Garden
Sankeien, the traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward, isn’t exactly a secret, but it’s also not the most famous place in Yokohama. It’s home to 10 Important Cultural Properties and three Tangible Cultural Properties. Soon, there’s going to be another reason to visit the garden: lotus flowers.
Lotuses were one of the favorite flowers of the garden’s founder, Tomitaro Hara, as evidenced by the garden’s Rengein teahouse (named after the flower), lotus-themed artwork, and, of course, the lotuses growing around the park. They start to bloom around mid-July. You can visit the garden with the normal entrance ticket, or, for an additional fee of ¥5,200, you can take part in a Lotus Tour of the garden. You will be guided by the garden’s curator who will divulge all its lotus secrets (Japanese only). Entrance to the park and lunch are included in the price.
Lotus Tour: Jul 22–25, 31, August 1, 8am–9:30am
Where: Sankeien, 58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka-ku
Yokohama Welcomes Lane the Triceratops
The western half of North America was once a continent known as Laramidia, back when some of the most exciting dinosaurs ever like the Tyrannosaurus or the Triceratops roamed the Earth. That all happened unfathomably long ago, but “Sony Presents DinoScience, The Dinosaurs of Laramidia” aims to bring that era to life at Yokohama’s Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall right here and now.
The exhibition will last from July 17 to September 12 and include such highlights as Lane, one of the best-preserved Triceratops fossils in the world. Normally displayed at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Lane is often hailed as one the most complete skeletons of its kind ever discovered. Thanks to DinoScience, it will make its first trip to Japan in 2021. Also on display will be the skeletal remains of a T-Rex, a Mosasaurus, and the massive Quetzalcoatlus. Entrance fees are as follows:
How Much: Adults, from ¥2,800 | Middle school students, from ¥2,000 | Elementary school students, from ¥1,400
When: Jul 17–Sep 12, 9am–6pm (Mon, Tue, Thu, Sun), 9am–9pm (Wed, Fri, Sat, National Holidays)
Where: Pacifico Yokohama Exhibition Hall A, 1-1-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku
— ヨコハマおもしろ水族館/赤ちゃん水族館 (@omoshiroaq) June 19, 2021
The Olympics Everyone Can Get Behind
Starting in July, the Yokohama Omoshiro Aquarium (access from Ishikawacho Station) will hold a special exhibition loosely translated as “Fish Oceanlympics – A Tournament Under the Sea.” To get into the spirit of the Olympic Games, the aquarium has had a bit of fun by decorating some of their tanks to look like venues for several Olympic competitions. If, for whatever reason, you ever wanted to see a goatfish “play soccer” or an archerfish “practice competitive shooting,” then Omoshiro has made all your strange dreams come true. All it will cost you is ¥1,500 for an adult ticket and ¥750 for children over four.
When: Jul 17–Sep 5
Where: Yokohama Omoshiro Aquarium, 144 Yamashitacho, Naka-ku
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