We then visited the engineering Koganei Campus, where we stopped through their newly upgraded Nature and Science Museum and learned two monumental accomplishments:
- Much is exhibited about the history of the silk industry in Japan, which kick-started their modern industry. For example, here is some of the automation built by Nissan almost a century ago to manufacture silk. Nissan (and Toyota) began their operations not with cars but silk machines:
- We saw an exhibit featuring Professor Akira Endo of Nokodai, who "invented" statins to treat high cholesterol. He is soon slated to win a Nobel Prize.
Nokodai is 140 years old. There are 4,000 undergraduates and 2,000 postgraduates, including 400 international students. Matsunaga himself has mentored more than 50 PhD students, who have formed a Matsunaga mafia throughout the country. The Matsunaga biotechnology laboratory currently has around 50 students doing research.
The next stop was Black Cat, a Japanese restaurant featuring the best sushi and wild boar sukiyaki:
We started with beer, then went on to sake and two kinds of sochu, one, of course being from Nokodai. The larger bottle is a Nakamura sochu, and, frankly tasted very mellow and mild. Almost un-sochu-tasting. We discussed how the Nokodai sochu needs to be improved to the Nakamura quality. But that was not the end of the evening, for the next stop was Azumi, an interesting concept. Almost like a traditional Ginza type karaoke bar, but featuring staffers who are accomplished musical artists. Here we are in the middle of a Mozart concert:
Finally back at Compass Rose with my Nikka Yoichi 20-Year Old Whiskey with a Cuban:
Sitting close to me was a newlywed (tonight--and they will move to Kazakstan this Fall) couple, so I invited them to join me for some Yoichi. We talked for a long time and I learned so much about the current young generation:
Sato and Lisa invited me to join them today for a soba lunch: