I am a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying the diversity and evolution of whelks. This summer I was sponsored by the NSF (USA) and JSPS (Japan) to work with Dr. Seiji Hayashi at Nagoya University in Japan to collect buccinid gastropod (whelk) tissue samples and examine whelk shell collections at musems throughout Japan. Sugoi! Some of the snails that I study are pictured to the right.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22nd

Today was a banner day in Nagoya for buccinid tissue sampling! I unpacked the snails that I collected and froze (*thank you for donating your lives to science*) from Rikuzen-Takata, Sendai, Joetsu, and Nagoya and put small slivers of their tissue into alcohol for DNA analysis back at UC Berkeley. My goal was to sample 25 different species and I already have 17. Conclusions, (1) Japanese people demand fresh tsubu gai at their fish markets and (2) species sold are not the same throughout Japan. This is very good for my research! Here is my hand holding one of the snails.Rather than regale you with images of frozen snails, I thought that I would take you instead on a journey from one subway stop (Nagoya University) to its nearest neighbor, Motoyama. I went there today to buy apples and specimen cases (thrilling, really) and I thought to chronicle that little adventure might be more interesting than displaying a dozen or so frozen snails. Thrilling indeed! Here is one of the million+ vending machines in Japan being refilled. It was like seeing your parents put Christmas presents under the tree.Skipping then to Motoyama station...Many buildings surround Motoyama Station, most interesting perhaps is this one containing "LOOP, the place where you can realize your future."There is also a KFCand place for Pachinko as well as a Mister Donut (not pictured).The primary reason I went to Motoyama was for the "Matsuzakaya Store".In the basement is the grocery store, the first floor has imported food (where I bought a bag of pretzels that I just finished), the second floor has "Fashion" and the 100¥ store, then the third floor is for "Living." The 100 Yen store was my first stop. It is the equivalent of the dollar store in the U.S. (100 Yen=$1) All these things can be YOURS for just one hundred yen!Next I went to the basement to buy some apples. Japanese grocery stores are pretty much the same as American ones, except for; bento boxes,eel fillets (unagi),
one unfortunately named (and shaped) brand of snack,a diverse selection of cold coffee,and a curiously named creamer for said coffee.Some notworthy sites on the walk back to campus included, Beverly Hills Chicken, which of course sells...clothing, 7 Eleven,Mos Burger,and a pretty typical gas station that sells its cheapest gasoline for 158 yen per liter, which converts to a whopping $5.98/gallon, and you thought U.S. gas was expensive!Finally, the journey was capped off by cicada exuvia!Sugoi!

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