Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Small Adventure 60

Every so often, I have an hour or two to kill between English lessons at the school, and I need some place where I can sit down and just read, or something. One day, I was working on a math problem (the Collatz Conjecture), which consisted of just writing down a bunch of long chains of numbers on a sheet of paper. I decided to hang out at Junkudo Books, the big store in the Maruya Gardens department store. Junkudo has two long tables along the front wall, one on the 5th floor, and the other on the 6th, in front of the windows. Usually, people just grab books off the shelves and read at the tables for free, before putting the books back later. There's enough space for 6 people to read at each table at a time.

When I got to the 5th floor, there were 3 people sitting and reading at the table. I got my notebook and a clean sheet of paper out, sat down, and started writing out numbers. The Collatz chains consist of sequences of numbers that branch off from one another, forming kind of a tree, and they're long enough that you have to plan out how to turn them into spirals on the page. My goal was to write out the chains for 1 through 50 (the rules are, pick the number you want to start with. If it is even, divide by 2; if odd then multiply it by 3 and add 1. Repeat, and stop when the answer reaches 1.) After about an hour, I'd gotten almost done, with maybe 5 more minutes of work left, when one of the bookstore staff came up to me and asked me to leave, saying that the tables are only for people (not customers) that want to read in the store. I looked up, and all the other chairs were empty. I was the only one at the table. Rather than argue, I left (my next class was going to be in 15 minutes and I'd have to leave soon, anyway).

Still, I guess Junkudo didn't want me bothering all the non-customers not reading at the time.

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