It's been fairly busy here, what with getting up to speed on the new job, optimising my commute and all the rest. As I wrote earlier, I will visit Okinawa fairly regularly from now on. I went there a few weeks ago, in fact, and we'll have a face-to-face project meeting there every other month or so. In the meantime I join the weekly group meetings remotely by web camera. We tried using Skype and it worked OK, but the sound was pretty bad. We tested Google Hangouts last Friday, and that worked much better. It's not quite like being there, but it's surprisingly close.
Going to Okinawa is not a problem, as there's plenty of flights and the travel time isn't all that long. The only issue is the trip from Naha to OIST. It's not really that far but Okinawa is famously car-dependent, with very little in the way of public transportation. I don't have a Japanese driving license, and wouldn't dare drive even if I had1, so renting a car is out. There's a bus line, but it's irregular and runs along a long, circuitous route that takes forever to reach Onna village and OIST. The only alternative is taking a taxi, which still takes an hour and feels pretty wasteful. A rail line would have been great, but I guess there's just not enough travellers to make it worthwhile.
One thing about the place is the lack of business hotels. It's a village, after all, not a city. But there's plenty of resort hotels along the coast so it's not a problem in practice. I think OIST has a contract with some of the nearby hotels, so we can get a room at a price similar to that of a normal business hotel in Osaka or Tokyo. Resort hotel business is pretty strongly seasonal, with peaks during summer holidays and weekends, so it's easy to get a room for weekday visits, especially during winter.
In practice, it seems that staying two nights is nearly optimal. I can leave in the afternoon and get to the hotel by dinnertime. Work two whole days, then leave in the late afternoon and return home by late evening. I could make it just one night, but that would make the travel too large a part of the time I spend away from home.