Osaka University

Professor Shirota met Robert, Sarah, Richard, Alejandra and John and I at 8.15 at the hotel and we went out to the Suita Campus of Osaka University to visit Applied Chemistry in the Faculty of Engineering. Rob, Sarah and I met with Professor Fukuzumi for the morning and gave our presentation, whilst the others went to discuss different things with different people. We all met up together for lunch at La Sensa Italian/French restaurant on the 12th Floor of the Chemistry building: run by one of the hotel chains and also open to the public, although it would be a strange place to visit for lunch. We had a western-style fish lunch, which was very good (and smothered in garlic).

Osaka University

After lunch Prof Fukuzumi drove us to the Toyonaka Campus where we had two sets of labs to visit and we gave our second presentation of the day and had some other meetings and a quick lab tour.

Osaka University

Professor Shirota took us back into town and we visited the old-style Osaka, in I think Namba, with lots of narrow streets, low-rise buildings and bright lights. It was a completely different atmosphere and was very busy and frenzied, with lots of noise. There was an amazingly long covered shopping street, crammed with lots of shops (mostly looking empty). We also stopped at a shrine, where passers by prayed and sprinckled rocks with water from a bucket, keeping lush moss on the stones and statues wet. We all had a quick go at this.

Downtown Osaka

Ale at a shrine

Headed back to a hotel restaurant close to the Granvia and Yas and Nobuka bought us an amazing meal, accompanied by Hiro.

We started with a selection of little dishes, including octopus and a green plant that looked like fern tips. This was followed by some lovely soup and then the best sashimi we’d eaten: tuna, squid and sea bass all of excellent quality. We followed this with a little pot of vegetable stew and a shared a selection of vegetable tempura. We also had a baked sea bream course. Rob, Sarah, Ale and I were in stitches over this because while three of us had decent servings Ale’s was mainly a pile of bones and a huge fish eye! She’s complained about this rather plaintively and held a bit of bony carcass up for effect: we couldn’t stop laughing. This was accompanied with beer and three flavours of sake: clear (dry and not dry) and a beautiful cloudy sake, that was wonderful. We had a great night.

Yas and GrahamAle with cloudy sakeMeal at Kuruma-YaDavid and Hiro Last night in Osaka

After dinner we headed up to the top floor of the building (35) where Professir Shirota had booked a private room and we had more drinks there, with an amazing view. Richard fell asleep (jet lag) and by 10.30 we headed off and Yas showed us how to catch buses to the airports from various spots around hotel. His hospitality was amazing.

Richard, Rob and I went to the top floor of the Hilton across the road from our hotel to the tacky Window on the Sky (or something) bar for a nightcap. The place was decorated with etched glass brightly lit by garish spotlights in yellow and pink, and accompanied by other twinkling and lit decorations, such as a stand of glasses lit internally to illustrate various cocktails. There was a Swedish singer and we ate some powerful wasabi-coated nuts.

Packed my bags and finally made it to bed about 2am