I arrived at Paris in the midst of autumn at 6 am, after departing from Haneda at midnight. The purpose of this visit is to attend the final jury of 2012 L’Oreal -UNESCO Women In Science Awardees. A car from L’Oreal picked me up and took me to Hotel Concorde Opera. At the lobby, I noticed quite a number of tourists from Japan in and around the lobby. Maybe it was because of the good season. The weather was beautiful, not a single cloud in the sky, and the temperture was around 25-26℃ （77-79Ｆ）. I was told that it was rather cold until last week, though.
H.E. Kiso, the Ambassador of Japan to UNESCO kindly invited me to his official residence for lunch. I have been to this place before, but its been quite a long time since. Dr. Georges Haddad of UNESCO, former President of Sorbonne University (appointed to the presidency at young age of 37) joined us. He was a fantastic person to talk with, having amazingly broad range of topics including the situation of Japan, and we all had such a nice, enjoyable conversation.
In the evening, I had a dinner at “Kei”, a very popular restaurant recently, with Dr. and Mrs Mimura of American Hospital of Paris. Kei stands for Chief Kei Kobayashi. I was quite impressed to know his career. Every dish is wonderful not only in its taste but also in the ways how they are presented. He certainly well deserves the high reputation. Why not try this place next time you visit Paris?
The next day was the selection of 2012 L’Oreal Awardees. The discussion continued for about 7 long hours including lunch time. After the hard work, we finally succeeded in choosing the 5 wonderful scientists which made us all happy. Participating in this sort of discussions, listening to various views, is very inspiring and there is much to learn from such experience.
In the evening, we enjoyed a concert, which is now a customary event. We listened to 3 works each by Bela Bartok, Zoltan Kodaly, and Samuel Barber (Piano by Garrick Ohlsson), conducted by a much loved conductor from Korea, Myung-Whun Chung, who was appointed to the musical director of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France for this Autumn season. I find Chung’s crisp, sharp style of conducting very attractive.
At around 10 pm, after the concert, we stopped by at Drouant. It was sometime past 1 am when we finally said good bye to each other. It sure was a long day.
Anyway, whenever I come to Paris, I rediscover its beauty. People in general are not too overweighed, many smoke on streets or at cafes, and many women are dressed nicely, that is, in a chic style, regardless of their age.
I plan to return to Paris next March for the award ceremony of L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award. I very much look forward to coming back to this lovely city.