Environmental Sustainability in Japan 2018

Thanks to generous support from the Luce Foundation’s Initiative on Asian Studies and the Environment (LIASE), this third St. Olaf College ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN JAPAN crew will spend a month studying Japanese responses to the environmental challenges that arise from modern lifestyles.  17 students share their thoughts in text and image with you here.

Queries welcome: esj2018 <@> stolaf.edu

Beginnings | January 3-7

Travel to Japan. Explore Tokyo. Partake of mainstream food system.

Foodlife | January 8-12

Join the Asian Rural Institute. Meet farmers. Consider food life.

Rural Nagano | January 13-15

Join Nōdai professors & students. Travel to Nagawa-machi, Nagano. Taste  tradition. Hot springs!

Free time | January 16-18

Rest and relax.

Systems | January 19-31

Visit Nikkō World Heritage Site. Observe mining aftermath. Consider food systems. Ponder triple disaster.

Closing Thoughts

Truly distilling the three weeks we’ve spent at the Asian Rural Institute into one short blog post would be impossible. Early mornings, days filled to the brim with foodlife farm chores and academic work, and the constant companionship of a like-minded community all...

When Can We Be Free?

“Take my hand which has labored in the soil Together we will stand for together we must toil To build a world where hunger will not keep the people chained To build a world that will still bear fruit tomorrow.” For economists, freedom is merely the ability...

ARI, A Great Community

January 7th, the first full day at ARI. It was a day full of many presentations. We were introduced to the mission statement that was developed by staffs in order to build a peaceful community of which each person can live to their fullest potential while being at...

Happy Farmers

‘Happy?’ Mr. Tomatsu gazed back at me and my question with a bemused and slightly confused expression. ‘Of course he’s happy!’ interjected his wife and fellow farmer as the group of Oles burst into laughter at the earnestness of their reply. One aspect of good food...

What Once was Yanaka

What Once was Yanaka is now left to be forgotten. Tucked away in low, low plains of the Watarase River Basin. Hidden from the snow streaked mountains. Hours to arrive, hours to get back, time used to reflect on the lives that once lived and tended to this land and...

Japan and Tackling the Energy Problem

There are two sides of the components of the global energy problem: consumption and generation.  Our field trips in Japan have illustrated how we might tackle both sides of the issue. On January 11, 2018, our classes visited the Non-Electric Company.  The founder...

Examining Good Food

What makes food good? The biologist in me says that it’s an abundance of the carbohydrates, proteins, salts, and fats that are necessary to sustain life. That’s why, generally, we like sweet things, salty things, and things deep fried in oil. But simple nutrition is...

Fukushima: Community and Government

When you are not near a crisis, it is easy to hear about it on the news, declare to yourself how sad it is, and then dismiss it from your mind. This is how Fukushima was for me for years. I remember hearing about it when it happened, but I must admit that in the past...

What is giving in an ARI setting and the world?

A large part of my time at ARI has been spent observing others lifestyles and values.  Because I am also taking an environmental class, I have been reading a lot about the results of peoples lifestyles and values and also the results of events that  people could not...

The Watarase Basin and Remnants of Yanaka

In the late 19th century, what started out as a prosperous copper mining business quickly began to cause great harm to the surrounding town of Ashio. Smog from the mines affected the health of the villagers and significantly thinned the surrounding...

Track ESJ-2018 via Map Pins

Grids Hotel & Hostel Asakusabashi

Staying here Jan 4-7

Tokyo Central Youth Hostel

Stay here Jan 12 & 15

Un Memory Pension

Stay here Jan 13-14

Asian Rural Institute

Our home base for 3 weeks. Learn more about them from their website.

Haneda International Airport

Koiwa Itō Yōkado

Local store in large Japanese supermarket chain.  First stop in our food tour.

National Museum of Nature and Science

Visit on January 6.  Review their exhibits online.

Farmers Market @ UNU

Visit planned morning of Jan.6. Webpage in Japanese, but you can review pictures.

Kinoshi Juku

Organic farm, training, CSA.

HIdenka Kōbo

Non-electric studio founded by Dr. Fujimura.  Website in Japanese with machine translation option.

Shinrin no Bokujyo (Forest Dairy)

Organic dairy and cafe, website in Japanese with many lovely pictures.

Tokyo University of Agriculture (Nōdai)

Our hosts for visit to Nagawa-machi, Nagano.

Nikkō National Park & World Heritage Site

Many wonderful websites tell you about Nikkō: the official park site, JNTO site and UNESCO sites are full of extensive information.

Shin-Koto Incineration Plant

We'll visit here on January 12.

Ashio Copper Mine

Featured in our textbook, Bad Water, conflict over pollution at this mine gave rise to Japan's first environmental movement.

Yotsuba Co-op

Web page in Japanese, but you can get a sense for their activities in providing alternative food and consumer products by browsing.

Watarase Basin

Retention basin created to catch the "bad water" from Ashio, now touted as a tourist site and a "Ramsar site," which designates international significant wetlands supporting wildlife.

Iitate, Fukushima

We will stop here to learn more about the Triple Disaster that affected so many people in Japan in 2011.

Nagawa-machi, Nagano

We will spend two and a half days here visiting the Otaya festival, local community centers and hot springs with students and faculty from Nōdai.

Nihonbashi Takashimaya

We will visit the depachika here on Jan 5. Floor guide online - we'll be in the basement.

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi

We'll visit for the depachika on Jan. 5. Floor guide in English.

Asagaya Pearl Center Shotengai

"Traditional" shopping district.  First day of food tour, Jan. 5.  Historical pictures on their own (Japanese only) website.