Category Archives: Amelia

Amelia and Yue Chin are now alumni + Andi is PhD + Kim and Kylie are graduating

Already 3 students graduated from the GPES master’s and 2 are on the edge of graduation.

Amelia, Yue Chin and Andi all obtained their master’s degree in september 2015, respectively writing about flows of radioactive contaminants in Japanese rivers, corals’ nutrients intake, and transcription factors involved in chloroplast differentiation. Andi however extended for a PhD program.

Only last month, both Kim (PhD) and Kylie (master) submitted their thesis, and both greatly performed during their oral defence.

Kim first resumed and interlinked the contents of his three published articles, namely “Comparative analysis of environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures of Japan and New Zealand”, “Large scale renewable energy project barriers: EIA streamlining efforts in Japan and the EU”, and finally “the determinants of wind energy shares in the United States: Drivers and Barriers”. Kim’s work provided us an in-depth understanding of legal, political and administrative burdens that might hamper renewable energy adoption in various countries, as well as how to overcome these obstacles.

Finally, Kylie elaborated an analysis of biodiversity range shifts, based on an exhaustive data set detailing the species registered at all hydraulic dams around Japan in the past 20 years. She concluded that the shifting patterns are highly variable depending on each taxon, and that the hypothesis of northwards migration due to climate change may not quite be warranted.

Congratulations guys! We thank all of you for your great contributions to GPES and hope you all the best for your professional careers!kylie-thesis

Odaiba Trip November 2014 – Karaoke, Food and Kim’s Birthday

Hello everyone,

At the beginning of November 2014, the GPES members went to together on an exciting trip to discover the mysteries of one Tokyo’s most renowned entertainment districts. Odaiba is an artificial island that is divided between the Koto, Shinagawa and Minato wards.

We stopped at Tokyo Teleport station to visit many of the most famous sights in Odaiba such as a huge Gundam robot figure, a small replication of the Statue of Liberty, whose original can be found in New York City. We visited the Fuji Television headquarters, which was filled with memorabilia for Japanese TV drama aficionados.

Then we went on to the main event, an extensive of one of Japanese favourite pastimes, Karaoke, which is  a form of entertainment that originated in Japan in the 1960’s and since has found success in many countries all over the world. It is basically a form of musical rendition of famous songs, in which the original voices and singing are muted and amateur singers then attempt to recreate the original singing parts as true to the original as possible.

As the we met on a national holiday, the place was already entirely occupied upon our arrival so we had to wait for approximately one hour. In the meantime, we explored another of Japan’s many peculiar attractions: UFO catchers. Although these are not limited to Japan anymore, the variations and sophistication of the machines in Japan is certainly unique, there was even a Haagen-Dazs ice cream (!!!) catcher. We tried our luck and some of us actually succeeded in catching one of these sought after stuffed creatures.

Soon thereafter we got the sign that our personal Karaoke booth was ready, so set a song playlist among a wide array of Japanese and English-language songs and just sang our hearts out.

After that, we went to Andi’s home to enjoy some the DELICIOUS Indonesian food that he did prepare. The taste was awesome and the whole dish underlined once again Andi’s star chef-like cooking skills:)

And to top off this great day, my fellow GPES friends surprised Kim with some very creative gifts (a Ted-dy bear and a lush wig to let Kim dwell in past and better times..;-);  and  an original cake in the form of a cup of Ramen noodles.

All in all it was an amazing day with great times shared among good friends. I hope you will enjoy the pictures, have a look.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group

(Pictures ©2014 Lewis & Amelia)

GPES/PEAK – Fukushima Investigation Committee Chairman Meeting with Kiyoshi Kurokawa (Oct. 10, 2014)

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Hello everyone,

On October 10, 2014, GPES and PEAK students of the University of Tokyo had the pleasure to welcome and meet Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa (see picture above, 4th from the left in white shirt), who is Professor of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies and is Science Advisor to the Cabinet of Japan. (Please see: http://www.who.int/social_determinants/thecommission/kurokawa/en/ & http://en.ir3s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/faculty/kurokawa/)

He chaired the “Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Company” that was set up by the National Diet of Japan in the aftermath of said nuclear disaster in order to assess whether or not this incident could have been prevented and evaluate the level of human error. This committee produced the final report in July 2012 (http://naiic.go.jp/en/).

We had great talks with him on energy policies in general and nuclear power in Japan, and how the current government is dealing with the current almost absolute dependence on energy imports due to the complete temporary shutdown of all of the country’s nuclear power reactors.

I hope we can have interesting discussions in the future again as he is one of the very public figures and national researchers that is openly criticizing the various Japanese governments (past and present) that enabled a relatively smooth operation of nuclear power stations without any significant stifling regulation such as strict safety standards or frequent security assessments.

So please check his work and his personal profile.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group

(Pictures ©2014 GPES Student Group)

GPES Soup Curry Meeting (October 2014)

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Hello everyone,

At the start of last October, the GPES Student Group members all gathered to go and enjoy some delicious “Soup Curry” in the Shimokitazawa in the western part of Tokyo (in the Setagaya-ward to be more precise). Soup curry is a dish that reputedly originates from Sapporo, Hokkaido, although that fact is hard to verify.

A restaurant called “Magic Spice” had built up quite a reputation for itself over time and we wanted to find out what all the talk was about. We went on a weekday, but to our surprise the place a packed and I doubt that we would’ve be able to get a seats for a 6-people party without prior reservation.

Please have a look: http://www.magicspice.net/

The decor and atmosphere are definitely unique and intriguing to say the least. This place seems to be literally “out of this world”. This theme does not halt at the menu either which surprises the irritated guest with strange spice combinations and denominations that only remotely relate to the actual ingredients contained in those spice mixes.

Anyway, thanks to the inspiring atmosphere and the fun conversations between the GPES students, this turned out to be truly great evening that was crowned with the birthday celebrations for Yue Chin and Amelia.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group

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(Pictures ©2014 GPES Student Group)

Third Symposium of Sultan Qaboos Academic Chairs (October 2-3, 2014)

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Image taken from the symposium website

There will be a symposium happening this Thursday and Friday (October 2-3rd) on Water Resource Management in the Middle East at Hongo campus’ Ito Kokusai Hall.

Titled “Managing Water Resources for Sustainable Development”, this will be an exciting symposium in which professors from Japan, Oman, the Netherlands, Bahrain, among others, will be presenting the latest developments in their work pertaining to water resources and its various aspects. Most talks will be in Arabic or Japanese with simultaneous translations.

The first day of this symposium (October 2) is open to only faculty and students of the University of Tokyo, but registration is required. To register, you can go to: https://webform.adm.u-tokyo.ac.jp/Forms/2014SultanQaboos/

The second day of the symposium (October 3) is open to all. The schedule of both days can be found on this website: https://park-ssl.itc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/UTCMES/en/topics/613.html

I am quite excited for this conference as I will be presenting a poster of my research thus far. If you have time, do come by to say “Hi”!

 

 

Tokyo wind and air pollution visualization

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Map screenshot from http://air.nullschool.net/map/co/current

Check out this cool interactive map of wind speeds in Tokyo (and its 23 wards), and the modeled spread of air pollutants associated with it here:

http://air.nullschool.net/map/co/current

This was coded by Cameron Beccario, who also happens to be the creator of earth.nullschool.net, a global weather visualizer. Pretty fascinating stuff, I must say!

Sushi breakfast at Tsukiji

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Photo courtesy of Kim

The one thing I appreciate about living in Japan is the availability and ease of eating fresh sushi. Back when I was in the US, sushi for me was usually considered a dinner affair, and commonly came with good ‘ole americanizations like the addition of cream cheese and mangoes, accompanied with names like “Dragon Roll” and “Caterpillar Roll”. While neither a fanatic nor a strict purist, I must admit I prefer the traditional style of sushi and since beginning my studies here in Japan, I have yet to pass up a chance to consume it.

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Photo courtesy of Kim

During our recent field trip to the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ), it was suggested that we have a little GPES bonding session by eating a sushi breakfast at the Tsukiji Market. Good company and good food first thing in the morning? How could I refuse!

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Photo courtesy of Yue Chin

Off we went to the market at 6am (it takes about 1 hour from Komaba 1 campus). Initially, we had a difficult time deciding between the various restaurants, but in the end, settled for Itadori, a cozy sushi bar located somewhere in the inner folds of Tsukiji. There, we were served by a senior sushi chef and his apprentice. Everything was prepared fresh before us, and boy, was the food better than the ones at the canteen good! There were periods of comfortable silence when everyone was just enjoying their food, and I couldn’t help but feel despite the numerous hiccups in the program, how lucky I was to be in this wonderful city, learning with and from this group of wonderful people.

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After our meal, we wondered around a little (Fun fact: Tsukiji is in fact, not only a fish market but also a vegetable market! So when you visit, please make sure to explore around. You will be sure to find some delightful shops!) before leaving the market with satisfied tummies, ready to learn at our meeting with IEEJ. You can read more about this visit from Kim’s blogpost: IEEJ INSTITUTE OF ENERGY ECONOMICS VISIT JUNE 13, 2014.

Till next time,

Amelia

Todai May Festival (五月祭)

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Picture courtesy of Cheik from MSAJ

Last weekend, I spent the bulk of my time at the University of Tokyo’s Hongo campus for the May Festival(五月祭)!

“What is the May Festival?” I hear you ask.

It is an annual event whereby students and clubs get together and throw a giant fair to gain members and club funding. There are usually two of these per year at Todai. Once at the Hongo campus(Sometime around May), and once at the Komaba campus(Sometime around October).

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This year, since I am part of the executive board of the Malaysian Student Association of Todai, I had the pleasure of helping in planning and realizing the Malaysian Student Association’s booth! We sold Cekodok, a favourite teatime snack made of smashed bananas and flour, paired with a rose tea specially imported from Malaysia.

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We purchased 36kgs of bananas for this event, and managed to sell out by the afternoon of the second day (Which was good, given the alarming amounts of “We’re going to have to eat these bananas till we graduate” jokes amongst the committee members)! In fact, demand was so great that we had to purchase some bananas from the Singaporean Student Association who were selling banana fritters. How’s that for a great example of the AFTA (Asean Free Trade Agreement)?

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All in all, it was a great experience working with fellow Malaysians from other campuses (Some came from as far as Kashiwa!), and putting our business plans into action. While the process was sometimes difficult and I had to ensure that I properly juggled my research work and this event, I am very happy that I took part in this, and got to spread a little piece of Malaysia on campus!