I am traveling to Tokyo to take part in the final birthday party — that’s how he describes it — of Dr. Nakamats, the world’s most inventive inventor (more than 3500 patents, including patents for the floppy disk, the self-defense wig, and flying shoes), author, political candidate, Ig Nobel Prize winner (in 2005, for having photographed every meal he had consumed during the previous 34 years) and the closest we will ever see to a real-life Wizard of Oz.
Unlike most people’s birthday parties, this one will happen at the National Press Club, in Tokyo. Dr. Nakamats was diagnosed with a form of prostate cancer that will kill him, his doctors say, some time before the end of this year. Dr. Nakamats, in characteristic form, is choosing to make the very best of the situation. [UPDATE NOTE: See photos from the press conference / party, below.]
There will be nine days of Nakamats and Ig Nobel events — the first-ever official Ig Nobel Prize events to be held in Japan. Several other of Japan’s many Ig Nobel Prize winners will participate in some of those events.
This week’s Improbable Research podcast is largely about Dr. Nakamats, and features the adventure we had recently on a train going from Denmark to Sweden.
If, somehow, you have never encountered the wonder that is Dr. Nakamats, you can get a good introduction by watching Danish filmmaker Kaspar Astrup Schröder’s mesmerizing documentary called “The Invention of Dr. Nakamats.” Schröder is filming a second documentary, which will include footage from some of the upcoming events.
Here is the schedule of events (we will frequently update the details, on our events listing page — so check there to see the latest version of this list):
- June 26, Friday: Sir Dr. NakaMats 87 the LAST birthday party & Ig Nobel Prizes Japan Event Press Conference, @Japan National Press Club, 10th floor Nippon Press Center Bldg., 2-2-1 Uchisaiwaicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo Tel:03-3503-2721
- June 27 (Saturday) 12:00-12:30 Sir Dr. NakaMats Cancer CD Artist Debut Event @GINZA
- June 28 (Sunday) 13:30- Lecture at Tokyo City University and Setagaya-ku.
- June 29 (Monday) — special event at the Dr. Nakamats House.
- June 30 (Tuesday) Ig Nobel event at University of Tokyo – public lecture in science — featuring Dr. Nakamats and other Ig Nobel prize winners: Masanori Niimi (effect of opera songs on heart transplant patients who are mice), Yukio Hirose (why one particular bronze statue fails to attract pigeons), and the team of Shinsuki Imai, Nagatome Yoshiaki, and Tsuge Nobuaki (biochemistry of onions causing human tears), and others. Details TBA.
- July 1 (Wednesday) 15:00-16:00 — press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. Details.
- July 3 (Friday) Ig Nobel Event at Chuo-prefecture. Details TBA.
- July 4 (Saturday) 10:00. Marc Abrahams will cut the tape at the Opening ceremony of the World Genius Convention, of which Sir Dr. NakaMats is chairman.
- Other events, possibly in profusion, TBA
If you are in Tokyo, please join us at one or more of these events. If you have friends in Tokyo, please spread the word.
Here is a further look at the world of Dr. Nakamats:
UPDATE: Here are panoramic photos I took while sitting next to Dr. Nakamats at the press conference, and at the Final Birthday Party, which immediately followed the press conference (Click on each image to see an enlarged version):
UPDATE: A blogger’s account (with photos and bits of video) from the event at the University of Tokyo.
BONUS (peripherally related): A website with highlights from Dr. Nakamats’s most recent campaign for high public office.