Kenichiro Mogi would be the ideal person to find sitting next to you at a dinner party, or one bleary post-sake morning over breakfast in a Japanese mountain inn.

As a celebrity neuroscientist with a doctorate in physics from the University of Tokyo, and with postdoctoral studies at Cambridge and many books to his name, Mogi oozes intelligence and sophistication. But as soon as he opens his mouth, it's obvious that this mop-top's interests extend way beyond mere science.

Whether discussing human cognitive development, 19th-century German philosophers or the Japanese tea ceremony, this man is equally at ease — even using sparklingly cultivated English when the situation requires. What's more, as a big fan of the zany British TV comedy series "Fawlty Towers," starring John Cleese, this 44-year-old Tokyo native has a sense of humor to boot.