Week 2!


It’s been an exciting second week! We started the week off with a trip to Asakusa, a part of the Tokyo prefecture. We visited Sensōji, an ancient temple from around the year 645 and learned that it was initially built to provide spiritual protection from northeastern invaders. The temple itself was absolutely massive and the whole site altogether was very impressive. I went and saw the Tokyo Tower by Roppongi Hills. This was my first solo trip and completing it successfully really boosted my confidence in navigating public transportation. One day after work this past week, I took the train past the office and went to the National Garden in Shinjuku. This garden was really pretty and massive, but it felt too big. It definitely wasn’t as cool as the one I saw the week before, but still very glad I experienced it. I’m beginning to learn that oftentimes the really popular tourist attractions are not worth the money or time when compared to sites that are less known. A lot of the famous restaurants are often crowded, expensive, and not worth the high price. I’ve been enjoying going to the local family owned restaurants a lot more, and the food is just as good or even better than the famous restaurant chains. On Saturday night I went to Shibuya to experience the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The crossing is this giant intersection right in the middle of Tokyo where a bunch of roads meet. It’s estimated that about 2.4 million people pass through that intersection every day. I came out of the station and saw an endless sea of people waiting to cross the road. The neon lights from the advertisements and the crowd of people really make it an energizing experience. Then the next day I went to the National Art Center in Tokyo for another very impressive display of Japanese art. I enjoyed learning the different styles of calligraphy and seeing beautiful art from a variety of time periods. The Art Center itself was in a beautifully designed building and had a couple of restaurants and cafes throughout.

For work this week, I continued my research project and gave my presentation on the previous research I’ve done. It was really encouraging to get curious, positive feedback after the presentation. At the beginning of the week I attended an online conference organized by the Renewable Energy Institute, a non-profit think tank organization located here in Tokyo. The focus of the discussion was the potential of Japan’s ocean space to be used for offshore wind energy production. Maritime Spatial Planning, or MSP, is the term used to describe the factors and planning taken into consideration when configuring offshore wind projects. Some factors in Japan’s favor are that the oceanspace that Japan solely occupies can be considered a closed water system. This means that there’s a large degree of control that Japan has over that water space. However, there are quite a few factors that are not in Japan’s favor when considering offshore wind development. For one, there’s a lack of science communicators; people that can articulate scientific reasoning for projects such as offshore wind development from a politically neutral and logical perspective. There’s also a lack of interest among members of the public in seeking employment in offshore wind development. Suggestions to address this issue were to add courses in colleges throughout the country about offshore wind development so that students can hopefully become interested in the topic and choose to pursue a career in it. Educating students at young ages about the importance of living environmentally-conscious lives was another suggestion, one that the U.S. could benefit from as well. With maritime spatial planning, I learned that there’s a large international relations component where countries often collaborate on the planning and construction to ensure effective use of the oceanspace. The locations of fisheries, for example, will likely need to be considered when planning the location of the wind turbine platforms so that the fisheries can remain healthy. But, it was mentioned that the sea itself is changing so to outright designate certain ocean territory for certain purposes is unrealistic. Addressing this challenge will likely require a platform design that’s able to support marine life and allow for inevitable ocean life changes to occur. Overall, it was very interesting to learn about maritime spatial planning. I will continue to learn about this topic and follow Japan’s progress in pursuing offshore wind energy.

Thanks for reading!! 🙂

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