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Saturday, May 21, 2016

A GRAND 35TH ANNIVERSARY IN KICHIJOJI

I'm here in the Orient mostly to participate in President Tadashi Matsunaga's 35th year academic anniversary celebration.  The festivities had two parts:  talks by five of his most prominent professors who he mentored, followed by a party.

The major players first enjoyed an early Japanese lunch:


From the left:  Tadashi and Mayumi Matsunaga (Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology), Koji Sode (TUAT), Grant Burgess (Newcastle), Hideki Miyashita (Kyoto) and Haruko Takeyama (Waseda).  My lunch:


The five speakers with President Matsunaga:


The professor on the right is Mina Okochi of Tokyo Institute of Technology.  I could tell you what they said, but everything was written and spoken in Japanese, and my skills in this language are nil.  I was, though, really impressed with what Grant said.  He particularly remarked how much Matsunaga had influenced him to take science towards applications.  When Matsunaga and Burgess started the Journal of Marine Biotechnology, and that must have been two decades ago, I was asked to write a paper, which I co-authored with two others, entitled Marine Macrobiotechnology Systems, presenting the total picture towards commercialization, and introducing a concept called the Blue Revolution.  This was the only U.S. paper.  All the others were micro, that is, specific and fine research.  Matsunaga, Burgess and their their students continue to do good science, but now also look for marketplace opportunities.  Grant remains as editor in chief of this publication.

There might have been almost 200 at the party:


I was asked to give a short statement about my relationship with Tadashi.  I specifically mentioned that his greatest accomplishment was his family. for his son, Teipei, is in his fourth term as a Councilman in the Matsunaga home town near Chiba, and his daughter, Mariko, is a faculty member at Chuo University.  I mentioned how we traveled together, including golfing at St. Andrews.  I invited the group to join us for the World Cruise we are thinking about with a departure date of January 2018.  The real planning will begin later this year when all those involved will help decide which cruise line to take.

There was a lot food with wine, beer and whiskey.  However, the night was not over, as the entire Tanaka / Arakaki/  Yoshino laboratory staff and students moved to a large drinking pub where for two hours you can quaff as much beer as you want.  Their students entertained us.

When the time came up, everyone left, and many moved over to another Kichijoji bar.  However, Tadashi and I pulled off and went for sushi and sake:


Our next stop was to Azumi's for a nightcap, as she and Kaori came to the 35th celebration, we chatted for a while, and I said I'd see them soon.  But at 8PM the bar was still closed.  So we went to Starbuck's, where I paid, $6.  After a while we went back to Azumi's, but it was still not open, so he caught a cab home and I walked back to the Dai Ichi.  What a day!

Tomorrow, some of us are invited to spend the night at Matsunaga's cottage on Mount Fuji.   Tadashi has promised to barbecue some Japanese beef.  I lobbied for either Miyazaki or Matsusaka.  David Kisailis of UC Riverside will bring three bottles of Napa Red.  I told Matsunaga-san that I could not find an appropriate gift, so, as a down payment, I will bring a Nikka Pure Malt.  At his 25th anniversary celebration, I gave a 25-year-old scotch.  However, I could not find a 35-year-old version, and probably would not have bought it anyway, for the 30 year bottles already cost from $800 to $4000.

Then the next day I return to Honolulu.  From Napa Golf to Korean golf shirts to Japanese Wagyu Beef on the slopes of Mount Fuji.  What a life.

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