Sayonara Amerika, Sayonara Nippon


The Coming Weekend

It’s going to be a busy weekend.

Friday, I’m planning to head downtown to catch Kids These Days, a terrific group that combines hip hop, jazz and R&B, in their set at Columbia College’s “Manifest” festival: 5:40-6:30 p.m. “Under the Big Tent” at 1001 S. Wabash Ave. There will be free music performances all day as part of the event.

Then on Saturday it’s the big “Atomic Age II” conference at the University of Chicago, with guest speakers including Kyoto University nuclear physicist Koide Hiroaki (one of the few specialists in the field willing to speak critically about Japan’s nuclear power industry and the government’s role in promoting it), Muto Ruiko (a prominent anti-nuclear activist from Fukushima), and Robert Rossner, professor of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Physics at the University of Chicago and former Director of the Argonne National Laboratory. Last year’s conference was enormously informative and energizing, and I am hoping for more of the same on Saturday.

Sunday, we’ll be visiting Site A/Plot M Disposal Site, the final resting place of Chicago Pile-1, Enrico Fermi’s first nuclear reactor. It was originally located under the grandstands of Stagg Field (currently the site of Regenstein Library) here at the University of Chicago.

In the midst of this flurry of activity, the May sumo tournament gets underway Sunday at Kokugikan in Tokyo. Yokozuna Hakuho is the favorite going in, but sumo has been pretty unpredictable as of late. I have a ticket to attend day 10, and I can’t wait. It just might take my mind off the seemingly unending miseries of the 2012 Minnesota Twins. After a dreadful 2011, Twins fans came into 2012 buoyed by one slender hope: that this season couldn’t possibly be as bad as last.

Hah!

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