Tag Archives: GPES

Science of Impurity & Electric Power Industry in Japan Presentations

Hello everyone,

Today I want to draw your attention towards the amazing presentations that fellow GPES member Andi presented in the cause of the “Foundations of Environmental Sciences I” class in October as well as November 2014. His presentations are summaries of book chapters, each time complemented with own additions and information.

He kindly agreed to make them available (therefore please do not reproduce or distribute without his permission) so that everyone can get and impression on both the evolution of water purity analysis in this “COUNTING THE COUNTLESS : THE TEMPTATIONS OF QUANTITATIVE BACTERIOLOGY, 1880-1890″ presentation as well being able to find a brief outline on the basic structure of the Japanese electricity in post-WWII Japan under American occupation in his “THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY: ROAD TO SELF-RELIANCE” presentation.

Without further ado, please have a look at his great work that makes those difficult topics more accessible and comprehensible:






Best regards,

The GPES Student Group

©2014 Andi & GPES Student Group

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)

Human Population Dynamics Lectures & Workshops by Guest Lecturer Prof. Joel E. Cohen from Rockefeller University (October 2014)

Hello everyone,

In October 2014, we had the immense pleasure of welcoming Prof. Joel E. Cohen as a guest lecturer at the College/Graduate School of Arts Sciences of the University of Tokyo, Komaba where he gave a series of lectures and workshops.

Prof. Cohen is currently a researcher and professor at the Rockefeller University located in New York in which he heads the Laboratory of Populations. He holds a simultaneous professorship at Columbia University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.  Please have a look at his personal websites:



During his series of lectures, he introduced the GPES/GPEAK/PEAK students to Human Population Dynamics, a research field that tries to “to understand how demographic, economic and cultural changes will interact with Earth’s physical, chemical and biological environments” (quote from official Rockefeller website). He outlined the general history and principles of human population growth and how recent developments affect the world’s natural resources.

Several mathematical models on how to predict human population were highlighted and the how certain factors can influence the outcome of predictions.

Problems of access to food and water for the majority of world population were discussed and whether or not the world will reach a certain population limit at which it is not possible anymore to sustain additional human life on this planet.

Finally the workshop assignments confronted students with the correlation between human population growth and worldwide energy consumption, as energy demand tends to increase when societies’ development level increases. Development is usually accompanied with rising industrialization and urbanization, which again puts even additional pressure on natural resources. Therefore the social impact of unmanaged population growth can have large impact on a country’s capacity to raise its general development level.

 Solutions include active natural resource management as human population growth naturally stabilizes as societies reach a critical tipping point of human development.

This was a overall a great set of lectures and workshops, and benefited from motivated students who showed a very high degree of interest and curiosity in the subject matter.

We as GPES Student Group want to extend our thanks to Prof. Cohen for his great introduction into a very complex research field as well as GPES for organizing these lectures and workshops.

Best regards,

The GPES Student Group


(Pitcures ©2014 GPES Student Group & GPES)

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


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)


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


(Pictures ©2014 GPES Student Group)

GO Global Study Abroad Website (ONLY in Japanese)


(Picture source: http://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/ja/administration/go-global/event/goglobal2014.html)


Hello everyone,

For University of Tokyo students interested in study abroad opportunities, please a have a look the “GO Global”, which lists the several short-term & long-term study abroad possibilities, inlcuding interships, summer classes or workshops.

UNFORTUNATELY, this website was, is and even after pointing this fact out to the university directorate, continues to be (for most parts) only available in Japanese.


However some information is nonetheless available in English:


We as GPES Student Group hope though that the unievrsity will make additional efforts to provide study abroad in English, so that the whole student body can profit from these amazing study abroad programs.

Best regards,

GPES Student Group