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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MUGA Day#17: Hiroshima University

Hiroshima University was only established in 1949 and has close to 15,000 students on three campus.  The main one is in Higashi-Hiroshima, nearly 40 miles away from the middle of town.  This is where I came to participate in the 2nd International Symposium on  Marine Biomass Utilization.  

Eating was a good part of this stop, as the organizer of the symposium, Yukihiko Matsumura, took me to lunch, where we had curry rice.  


Yukihiko was at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute as a post-doc of Michael Antal in 1994-5.  Essentially the presentations were mostly by faculty of the university. They have chosen to focus on how to prepare and utilize macro algae, a very sensible focus.  The lead faculty is Yutaka Nakashimada, here speaking:


Yukihiko to the left and Tsunehiro Aki to the right.  Yoshiko Okamura and Mitsufumi Matsumoto below:


They both got their PhD's under Tadashi Matsunaga (who I had lunch with on Saturday) at Nokodai and spent periods during the later 1990's at HNEI.  Mitsufumi is now with JPower Electric Power Development Company.  I was the last speaker, and I provided my pitch about the Pacific International Ocean Station as a future site for their research.  All the presentations and questions were in English, as this was an "International" gathering, with me as the international guy.  I was quite impressed by the quality of the questions asked by their graduate students.  The group suggested having the third symposium in Hawaii this Fall.

We then went to Tengame, a traditional Hiroshima Japanese restaurant (these were mostly the speakers from the symposium):


The usual beer to start, a bottle of hot sake, then a fleet of cold sake, mostly, if not all, from Hiroshima:


Professor Nakashimada happens to be a fermentation expert and knows his sake.  The food was extraordinary.  This is just the first course:


A three-hour seminar followed by a 2.5 hour dinner, and I was more than ready to return to Hiroshima, which is only one Shinkansen stop away from Higashi-Hiroshima, with the Sheraton right at the station.  It was nice seeing old friends and meeting new ones.  I should do this more often.

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Both the Dow Jones Industrials (14,802) and Standard and Poors 500 (1,588) reached all-time highs today.  The Dow is up 13% for the year, while the S&P is 11% higher.  With sequestration, the fiscal cliff and the national debt hanging over the economy, what is happening, anyway?

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