The lights finally came on, so to speak, this morning. Somehow the previous 24 hours have been conducted entirely on autopilot. I can remember hardly anything. But apparently I moderated a speaker session. And not just that – the session was punctuated by an entirely impromptu 5 minute dance and exercise session. Seriously. I kid you not. The Japanese clearly have a different way of doing things.

I’m told I also delivered a 30 slide presentation during the day. It even received a rating of four out of five which is impressive bearing in mind I have no recollection of doing the presentation.

Today was different. Today was the first day of the conference proper. 3000 attendees I’m told. Met plenty of old friends and quite a few new ones. It’s always like that on the first day. You’re so busy seeing people again that everybody is greeted with “Hi. How are you doing? Got to dash. Catch you later.” The irony is that, although it’s the first thing you say to each friend, it’s often also the last, because you never seem to find that person again over the course of the three days. You are never in exactly the same place at the same time. And in any case, suddenly you can’t remember their surname anyway. Blame that third Sapporo last night.

Today I woke up after 4 1/2 hours sleep, ready to rock and roll. My brain, even after this tiny morsel of dopamine was ready to spend it wisely. My poster was presented and the session I chaired attracted around 400 people. A decent house for a Wednesday. Especially considering the subject matter – “Depression, apathy and anxiety”

I made a brief bid for “Comic Moment of the Day” by falling asleep during parallel session 3 (Sleep Disorders). Normally I get away with this kind of thing unnoticed but apparently this time I had been snoring. In any case, my iPad and iPhone hit the ground at the same time as me. I hastily got to my feet with a sort of yes – I – really – meant – to – do – that sort of air. Still if you’re going to do something like that, do it in style. 

But the true Top Comic Moment, for sheer surreal madness, goes to the Clinical Research Village. In the middle of a panel discussion about cultural differences in research styles, they were interrupted by a band of Taiko drummers. Well I say interrupted, but that’s the point – they were determined to carry on despite the noise. And if you have ever heard Taiko drums, you will know that one is loud, ten practically deafening. Panel session versus drum ensemble… There’s only ever going to be one winner. 

Like I said, the Japanese have a different way of doing things

Kyoto diary 5. Getting down to business.