On October 16, 2014 I presented a poster at the UC Berkeley BERC Energy Summit 2014 Expo (http://www.bercenergysummit.com/#index). I was able to showcase some of my research and interact with some of the most proficient people in the energy business. They were able to provide me with valuable information on renewable energy policies in California and the United States.
My poster was titled” Legal Barriers to Environmental Regulatory Framework Optimization and Renewable Energy (RE) Development in Post-Fukushima Japan: A Comparative Analysis of Environmental Impact Assessment Laws for Large-scale RE Power Station Projects in Japan, New Zealand and California”. It provided a comparative chart outlining the Environmental Impact Assessment processes in these three territories in order to identify the strength and flaws of each system with regards to acquiring permits for the development and construction of large-scale renewable energy power projects such as wind farms.
The poster was met with genuine interest, reactions were very positive and the feedback was both thought provoking and engaging.
So please have a look at the poster (please only reproduce, copy or distribute with prior approval/authorization):
I recently I had the pleasure of being able to go California, or more precisely the San Francisco Bay Area for a conference at the University of California, Berkeley BERC Energy Summit (for more info please see the post “BERC Energy Summit 2014 Expo Poster Presentation (October 16, 2014)”, http://wp.me/p4zqTn-aU).
Since UC Berkeley is my alma mater (I studied there as a Masters student before joining the University of Tokyo), this was a particularly nice trip as I was not only able to meet some of old friends and faculty members but I also visited Stanford University in order to meet up with Mark Z. Jacobson (https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/), famous professor in environmental engineering and directing of the Atmosphere and Energy program.
Below is a selection of pictures giving you some impressions of what the Berkeley and Stanford campuses look like.
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.
I want to show you some of the impressions I got this summer while I travelled through the North of Japan. I had the privilege of being able to take some time of from my intense research and visit some of the less touristic parts of Japan. I hiked through tiny villages and enjoyed Onsen (Japanese hot spring) in giant, almost surreal hotels in the middle of nowhere.
I travelled with two great friends that I got know while being enrolled at the Todai language school.
So please have a look at these picture that were taken during two separate trips, the first in the Tohoku region of northern Honhsu (Japan’s main island). I used the a special Japan Rail discount ticket called “Seishin 18 Kippu” (http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/seishun18.html), that allows to travel an unlimited distance during 5 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) on local or rapid JR trains. This a truly awesome way to experience some more remote areas of Japan and be able to get know places far off the beaten paths. Our Tohoku itinerary was Tokyo -> Mototate (Yamagata) -> Akita -> Morioka (Iwate) -> Sendai (Miyagi) -> Tokyo.
For the second trip in Hokkaido (Japan northernmost island), we rented a car and travelled the rural east of the least densely populated island in Japan, which allowed a unique immersion into the island’s culture and the unique natural beauty of its landscapes. Our Hokkaido itinerary was Sapporo -> Obihiro -> Ashoro -> Lake Akan -> Kitami -> Asahikawa -> Asahidake -> Furano -> Sapporo.
Throughout this year I participated in activities initiated by an organization called the College Woman’s Association of Japan (CWAJ).
Despite their name, they also offer certain programs that are addressed to both genders and aim at introducing traditional Japanese culture and costums to foreign university students. The Foreign Student’s Circle (FSC) organizes several activities each year like attending cultural events or taking students to walks during which students are exposed to traditional Japanese landscapes and can truly immerse themesleves in Japanese culture, or even put their Japanese language skills into use. The nice FSC mentors are always happy to tell students intersting anecdotes about Japan and its people or history.
Earlier this year attended for example a cultural walk in the historic Tokyo neighborhood of Asakusa where the famous Sensoji shrine and pagoda are located. We were introduced into the history of the shrine and could even observe a traditional Japanese shinto wedding (no pictures allowed, sorry…).
In November, I attended a traditional martial arts festival in Yoyogi park where many ancient practices were showcased and thus one could get a very clear idea of how these were applied during past periods in Japan.
If in the future you would like to participate in one of these events, please have a look at their website, and after a quick sign-up you will be able to attend every FSC gathering.
This summer, more precisely on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, I participated in the “Grand Renewable Energy 2014 International Conference and Exhibition” held at Tokyo Big Sight in Japan.
It was a very interesting event as I would at same time hold my first conference presentation in Japan in front of an audience mostly composed of Japanese research and industry representatives. It turned to be a very valuable experience as the feedback for presentation was very positive and the members of the audience asked many questions and made numerous comments, which lead to a lively discussion on my topic.
The conference was divided into the following thematic categories:
1. Policy & Integrated Concept; 2. Photovoltaic; 3. Solar Thermal Applications; 4. Innovative Bioclimatic Architecture; 5. Wind Energy; 6. Biomass Utilization & Conversion; 7. Hydrogen & Fuel Cell; 8. Ocean Energy; 9. Geothermal Energy & Ground-Source Heat Pump; 10. Energy Network & Power Utilities; 11. Energy Conservation & Heat Pump; 12. Small Hydro & Non-Conventional Energy.
My presentation “COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE RENEWWABLE ENERGY MARKET ENVIRONMENTS OF JAPAN AND NEW ZEALAND'” was part of category 1. Policy & Integrated Concept. The topic revolved around how post-Fukushima Japan can reform its domestic renewable energy market in order to respond to the loss of nuclear power in a clean, safe and sustainable way.
New Zealand possesses one the highest shares of electricity generation from renewable energy sources. New Zealand being similar to Japan in land area and topography, and having a comparable renewable energy potential with notable sources from wind, geothermal, solar and hydro, analyzing the general policies regarding renewable energy in New Zealand can provide valuable information for a potential policy reform in Japan, despite largely differing population sizes.
I looked at the fundamental structures of Japan’s as well as New Zealand’s electricity market regulations and attempted to identify the differences in order to propose modifications that would render Japan’s renewable energy market environment more accommodating towards renewable energy investments.
I want everyone at the University of Tokyo (and beyond) to check out the website ofthe ALESS/ALESA programs that have been providing English-language education at the university since 2011 and part of the recent internationalization efforts of the university providing quality English-language education to Todai undergrads (1st & 2nd year) so that will be able communicate more easily with international students as well publish their research in English-language journals:
Furthermore I’d also like to showcase the Komaba Writer’s Studio (KWS), which help students with their English-language writing providing helpful advice on structure and overall comprehension. This is useful tool for students that still struggle a bit with the signifcant increase in English-language writing once the enter the university.
I have have been a part of KWS for almost one year helping out every week as a Treaching Assistant, and the experience and knowledge on how to assist Japanese student with their English-language academic writing has definitely allowed me to obtain a whole new perspective about English-language education within Todai, and how we can create additional opportunities for students to acquire fundamental writing skills in Academic English.
A new video by the University of Tokyo is available on the YouTube channel, check it out to get a “very rough” idea of what it is like to be a Todai student and what the opportunities are.
In any event, still bear in mind that this is a promotional video, so if you want a more clear view about student life at Todai, feel free to check out our entire student website and all of our posts, or comment or ask us questions.