Chapter 4:

After two years

Online Love

The monitor in front flashed and showed the image of a young man traveling with Einstein in a train.Bookmark here

"Let us consider that you are moving with Einstein in a train with a certain uniform speed. Relative to the outside environment, the train is in motion. But the two of you inside the train observe each other as stationary as both you and the train are moving at the same speed. In other words, relative to the train, you two are stationary. And the laws of physics would be the same as when the two of you are standing on the ground still."Bookmark here

The monitor flickered and now the young man was observing the train from the outside.Bookmark here

"Now, when you observe the train moving across in front of you, you are stationary, and relative to you Einstein is in motion. He is moving at the same speed as the train." Bookmark here

"This is the phenomenon of relative motion and everything in the universe observes this phenomenon. Yes, everything, Except light."Bookmark here

I again changed the slides and now a light clock with a base was shown on the monitor.Bookmark here

"Let us consider a light clock with two mirrors in the opposite direction and a light beam is bouncing between them. Let us suppose that the distance between the two mirrors is 'd' and the time taken to cover that distance is, let's say, one second. When you are holding this mirror in rest, the distance traveled is 'd' in time one second which gives us the speed 's'."Bookmark here

Now in the slide, a spaceship was shown and at the very end, the same light clock was shown.Bookmark here

"Now suppose Einstein is on this spaceship and he is traveling with a certain speed. The clock will travel at the same speed as the spaceship and in the same direction. So, in this case, light has to travel an extra distance in the same one second, and let us suppose it to be 'D' while the speed of light is considered 'S'. Since the distance traveled is more than when you were holding it in a stationary position, the speed would definitely be more, right? As speed is distance per unit time. But herein lies the problem."Bookmark here

"In the late 1800s, Michelson-Morley experiment tried to detect the relative motion of the matter through the ether and concluded that the speed of light is constant. This cosmic speed limit is known as 'C'."Bookmark here

"So, let us go back to the small scenario we made, 's' and 'S' should be equal. For the speed of light for both you and Einstein to remain constant, something has to give way. And that something is 'time'."Bookmark here

"It turns out that the time slows down when you travel faster. So, the faster one moves the slower the time becomes for you. Hence, what could be a day for Einstein in space can be as long as fifty years here on earth for you."Bookmark here

The screen turned off.Bookmark here

"This became the fundamental conclusion of the theory of relativity proposed by Albert Einstein in 1905. This theory broke the traditional concept that time is constant and it proved that time is different for different observers. This led to many groundbreaking findings. The most famous of which is the equation E=mc2. More about this has already been discussed by my friends earlier."Bookmark here

" "If you can't explain well enough, means you don't understand it well."  So, if I didn't manage to explain things properly that means that my knowledge on the matter is lacking. And I hope to improve that in the future. Mr. Tatsuya. ”
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I bowed slightly towards the audience and then quietly walked away to my seat showering in applause.Bookmark here

Once I left the seminar hall, I exhaled a long-held breath.Bookmark here

“Good work out there.”Bookmark here

Lena, walking beside me, gave me a thumbs up.Bookmark here

“I was really nervous. I felt like I would pass out any moment!”Bookmark here

Drinking the water that Lena handed me, I tried to relieve my tension.Bookmark here

“That was a really great presentation, Mr. Sam.”Bookmark here

“Ah, Mr.Tatsuya.”Bookmark here

Lena exclaimed and I turned around.Bookmark here

“Thank you so much.”Bookmark here

He was today’s seminar’s toastmaster, Mr.Tatsuya. He was a man of about 40 and he emitted a dignified aura. He was an intelligent man who was well-versed in worldly ways or so was the impression that I had of him.Bookmark here

He was a Japanese man who had also studied physics from the same university as we were studying and we had heard quite a lot about his achievements in the university. He was now the principal of a school here in Japan and was a lecturer at various universities all over Japan. For today’s seminar, he had agreed to be the toastmaster.Bookmark here

“The way you speak, your fluency, your body language. They were all so good and the contents of your presentation were equally good.”Bookmark here

I was a bit flabbergasted when someone of his standing honestly praised me. I wasn’t able to say anything except thank you and yes. Lena was chuckling slightly watching me from the sidelines.Bookmark here

“But… Ah, what I mean is after their presentation ends most people say something like “Thank you for your time” or “Thank you for your attention” but you didn’t say a single word of gratitude. Why was that?”Bookmark here

“Well, it’s my personal belief, but, I think it is the audience who should thank the presenters for sharing their knowledge with them. And when someone ends their speech or presentation with a ‘thank you’ it almost feels like saying ‘Thank you for not walking out in the middle.”Bookmark here

I tried to convey what I really thought but I noticed that he had a bewildered look on his face.Bookmark here

“Ah, um, no, sir, I mean, that’s only what I think. It may have been rude of me. I am sorry!”Bookmark here

In a hurry to correct myself, I think I spoke a bit fast. It may leave a bad impression of me. Damn it!Bookmark here

“No, no young man. There is no need for you to apologize. I just found it interesting, that’s all. But, hmm…” He paused and looked at me for a good while before speaking again, “You are a unique man.”Bookmark here

“Ah, no. Aha.”Bookmark here

I was really feeling out of place and could only manage a dry laugh.Bookmark here

“Ah, Ms. Lena, your presentation was quite good as well.”Bookmark here

“Thank you so much, Mr. Tatsuya. Those words mean a lot.”Bookmark here

She smiled naturally and didn’t look fazed at all. She must have known what I was thinking and grinned at me. This girl…!Bookmark here

“Well, if you don’t mind, will you join me for dinner?”Bookmark here

It was about 7 pm in the evening and it certainly was around dinnertime. Although I was honestly happy when he invited me to join him I was feeling a bit uncomfortable joining him. That was why I decided to decline his offer politely. Bookmark here

“Ah, no, sir-“Bookmark here

“We will be more than happy!”Bookmark here

Before I could refuse, Lena cut me short and accepted his invitation. How the hell can you agree so easily and without batting an eye?!Bookmark here

“Oh, that's great. So, shall we?”Bookmark here

He led the way and I had no choice but to follow quietly behind while Lena was grinning.Bookmark here

We went downstairs to the dining area.Bookmark here

The area was decorated exquisitely. Antique timber was scattered in the modern and sophisticated interior which seemed to embody the concept of bringing the Japanese tradition to life.Bookmark here

We sat at a table in the upper area near the kitchen.Bookmark here

A waitress arrived for taking our orders. I picked up the menu and my head started spinning. I didn’t understand what sort of cuisines were presented on the menu. There certainly were pictures alongside the names but that was nowhere enough for me to get a decent idea of the food.Bookmark here

While I was contemplating, Mr.Tatsuya and Lena had already chosen what to order.Bookmark here

“I will have a multicourse kaiseki.” Mr. Tatsuya said.Bookmark here

“We will have the same but please add this sushi as well.”Bookmark here

Lena said, ordering for the two of us.Bookmark here

“Huh? But I-“Bookmark here

“You were having difficulty choosing what to order, right?”Bookmark here

She completely sees through everything, doesn’t she? Thanking her for her aid I smiled.Bookmark here

Shortly, the waitress brought us our food.Bookmark here

“Wow.”Bookmark here

I couldn’t help but exclaim.Bookmark here

I had yet to taste the food but the presentation of the dishes immediately caught my eye.Bookmark here

It consisted of many dishes, arranged neatly on a plate, with bowls of different shapes and sizes. I looked through the contents. Bookmark here

“This is called Saki-zuke. You start with this. It stimulates your appetite.”Bookmark here

Mr. Tatsuya spoke after finishing his liquor(which I suppose was plum wine). Following his example, I picked up a small bowl that had shrimp and potato? (By the way, I didn’t have the liquor. Lena was about to try but I didn’t allow it because she would be a pain in the ass to deal with after she is drunk.)Bookmark here

“It’s a Japanese potato type, right?”Bookmark here

Lena exclaimed from beside me.Bookmark here

“You are well aware.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I am fond of food and fashion after all.”Bookmark here

I took a bite. The potato tasted somewhat sweet.Bookmark here

“Next is Ko-suimono. The soup is pureed lotus root with roasted pine nuts.”Bookmark here

I picked up the small red bowl and took a sip. The lotus root is originally crunchy in texture. But cooking for a long time into a soup, it was a bit softer but it still retained a tender bite like just-cooked potatoes.Bookmark here

We then went on to try all the dishes. Each one was exquisite and tasty. I got to taste dishes that I never knew existed. Grilled fish, conger eel, clams, yuba, shimeji mushroom, mitsuba (Japanese parsley) steam-boiled in an earthenware teapot, simmered duck meat, and small turnips, and so on.Bookmark here

“Here, eat this.”Bookmark here

Lena pointed at the sushi in front of me.Bookmark here

Since I was immersed in the joy of getting to eat so many exquisite dishes, I failed to notice Lena’s scheming. I realized it only after taking a bite. It was onion sushi. And I hated eating many onions. I could handle a small amount but too much onion was poison for me.Bookmark here

“Huh? What’s wrong, Mr. Sam?”Bookmark here

Noticing that I was acting a bit awkward, he asked.Bookmark here

“Ah, n-no, it’s nothing. The food is really delicious here.”Bookmark here

“Yes. Whenever I come to Tokyo this is usually where I eat.”Bookmark here

“Heh. Is that so?”Bookmark here

While I was suffering, the preparator was enjoying her meal as if nothing had happened.Bookmark here

You will pay for this!Bookmark here

I forced down the remaining of the onion sushi grumpily while thinking about how should I make her repay.Bookmark here

“Wasn’t that delicious?”Bookmark here

After finishing our dinner, Lena said.Bookmark here

“Yes, it was.” If not for that onion sushi!Bookmark here

“So, when are you going back?”Bookmark here

We were walking out of the dining area when Mr. Tatsuya asked us.Bookmark here

“We have a break of about a month. So, we plan to visit Japan and enjoy our vacation here.”Bookmark here

“I see. Then, why don’t you come with me?”Bookmark here

“Yes?”Bookmark here

“After about three days, I will be returning to my hometown, Izumo. I believe there are many places there that you can visit. And I want you to accompany me. I assure you it won’t be disappointing."Bookmark here

Mr. Tatsuya seemed strict at first glance but he was also generous. It was evident with how he was treating us, who were nothing more than strangers who just met today, with consideration. He invited us to join him for dinner and he was now inviting us for a visit to his homeland. But dinner was something within the acceptable range. And I didn’t want to burden him with us anymore.Bookmark here

“Wow. I would love to! We will definitely come!”Bookmark here

Show some restraint, Lena!Bookmark here

Before I could say anything, Lena had already agreed. Bookmark here

How can this girl be so easygoing? And, why do you keep dragging me with you?! Of course, we are childhood friends, but that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want to me! Do you understand that?!Bookmark here

“I am glad that you accepted my offer. Here. I will contact you after three days and we can depart together.”Bookmark here

“No, no. Thank you for your kind invitation.” Lena said.Bookmark here

Mr. Tatsuya was watching back and forth between me and Lena with a smile on his face.Bookmark here

“Is something the matter, Mr. Tatsuya?” I asked.Bookmark here

“Ah, no. It’s just that your girlfriend seems like the one with the reigns.”Bookmark here

“That’s completely wrong. She is not my girlfriend. And I have absolutely no intention of dating her.” I immediately gave an answer to his misunderstanding. Well, she does have the reigns all the time and we definitely were close but I can’t think of me dating her.Bookmark here

“Aw!”Bookmark here

I received an elbow jab on my ribs and it almost felt like my ribs were broken.Bookmark here

Mr. Tatsuya had a bewildered look on his face which was quickly replaced by a playful smile watching our banter.Bookmark here

He presented us with his card and Lena accepted that gratefully.Bookmark here

After few small exchanges, we bid farewell to Mr. Tatsuya.Bookmark here

“LE…NA.!”Bookmark here

I pinched her cheeks and pulled as hard as I could.Bookmark here

“Dat harts! Blease! Stop dis!”Bookmark here

“What the hell were you thinking? Don’t you have a bit of hesitation in you?”Bookmark here

Seriously, she is a hard one to deal with! After having my fill of picking up on her, I released her.Bookmark here

Clutching her red cheeks in her hands with tears on her eyes, she spoke like a spoiled child.Bookmark here

“That really hurt, Sam!”Bookmark here

Saying that she kicked me hard on my calves.Bookmark here

“Ouch!” I instinctively cried.Bookmark here

“Oye, wait, you little!”Bookmark here

She ran like a squirrel and I chased her down the street.Bookmark here

After I caught her, she received double the punishment and I made her drink coffee which she absolutely hated. 
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