After "Obon" (a vacation season in Japan relating to celebration of ancestors), I went to Singapore for the meeting of board of directors of A*STAR, from Aug. 20th to 22nd. The venue was newly established Fusionopolis (The opening ceremony will be held in October). Finally, an ambitious attempt of uniting biotechnology with science and engineering field has started. On 21st, the day of meeting of board of directors, an awarding ceremony for contributors took place with high spirits in the evening. Minister of industry was also present as a Guest of Honor. There was really motivation and vigor. Many young people, both researchers and clerical workers, have also taken an active part.
Then I went to Okinawa on 24th. Had participated in the "Asian Youth Exchange Program". The original idea is from our proposal, where about 80 youths (age 14 to 17) from various Asian countries and Japan (from Okinawa and mainland) spend three weeks together in Okinawa and interact with each other. "Haisai Diary" of the program’s website was full of cheerful photographs and reports. I think the basic spirit of this program can be read from my message also.
I participated in "Scientist Symposium" on that day. Dr. Noriko Osumi who is doing brain research in Tohoku university, Dr. Tsuchiya, known for coral research is Director of Science Department in Ryukyu University (I am thankful for his kind assistance in The21st Pacific Sience Congress last year. Now, he has become executive director of this scientific society), Dr. Ishiwatari who was involved in the development of "OlycetNet", at Sumitomo Chemicals, an epoch-making mosquito net effective for malaria, have participated in this meeting. Dr. Shiomitsu of Ochanomizu University was the chairperson. Students who have participated were energetic, seemed to be in good spirits which made me very happy. Of course, the common language was "Broken English".
Some university students also helped. They were foreign students of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, which is located in Oita. Exchanges like this at the young age widens outlook, acknowledges differences, and raises friendships more than anything else. I am excited about what their future brings after 10 years, 20 years. It’s thrilling. I would like to see more of such activities like exchange home stay on summer vacations etc. start voluntarily in schools across the country.
Dr. Osumi went to the airport immediately after finishing the panel. She posted her blog in the evening of the same day, which is very fast. Photographs as well as the writing were good.
I went to see "Eisa festival" celebrated on the whole Okinawa Island with Mr. Fukui, head of Okinawa General Bureau supervised by the Cabinet Office. Especially, "Ryukyu-Country festival Taiko" was excellent(photo1-3). After that, I was invited for dinner.
Thanks to all for your help and support.