Tag Archives: 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)

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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!