Enjoyed a really fun night of laughter with a bunch of European students I've met for the first time in my life and many of whom I will never see again after this week. We spent a long day listening to what felt like a million academic talks, 2/3 of which I understood nothing; 1/3 of which I was too tired to absorb intellectually. When the torturous sessions were finally over, a couple of locals (by locals, I mean foreigners who have spend a few years here in Japan) took us visitors to an okonomiyaki restaurant for dinner. All of us sucked at cooking these Japanese pancakes things, but the dishes still tasted great even when burnt :) We had a great time laughing at how badly the food looked in our awkward hands - hands that type well, could create complex computer programs and perform advanced statistical analysis, but could not hold metal spatulas properly to save our lives (or preserve a delicious pancake), and I was noticing how all the stress hormones seem to wash away as I chucked hard every 5 minutes. It's kind of freaky how rare I get to laugh so hard for such a long period of time (the dinner lasted like 2 hours because we were so clumsy at cooking). It makes me a little sad that my regular life involves laughter so infrequently, but I am very grateful for the opportunity to bond with a bunch of strangers in a foreign city in the name of science.