The Year of the Typhoon

Typhoon-Trami

Typhoon Trami

2018 has been a brutal year for typhoons in Japan. Last night Tokyo felt the effects of Typhoon Trami, the 24th typhoon to impact Japan this year. Early reports indicate that although the city took a serious beating, the death toll is miraculously low. Advanced warning, brilliant infrastructure, and strong procedures help keep residents safe even in these times of increasing climate disasters, but the environment certainly appears to be upping its intensity. There have been more storms, with more rainfall than in recent memory, and more storms are predicted. Indeed, Typhoon Kong-Rey (#25!) is scheduled to hit Japan before the end of the week.

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Japan Can Become An Ocean Champion

Japan and the Sea

Stewards of the Sea

As a technologically advanced island nation with very strong ties to the ocean, it is the opinion of this author that Japan take a greater lead in becoming a champion of the seas. It’s no secret that the oceans have become a waste-bin for the world (see Ocean Health Index), with increasing amounts of plastic debris, industrial waste, and all manner of human refuse polluting the waters.

Human activity has not been kind. Off-shore drilling, over-fishing, chemical dumping, and climate change are all taking their toll. This post however is intended not to highlight all the wrongs that we have been doing, but encourage greater action on the part of those who share such vital connections with the sea. All life on the planet is dependent on the oceans, so it is certainly within everyone’s interest to do more to protect it. In Japan’s case, there exist substantial ties of national identity and culture, as well as the all the socio-economic benefits. Furthermore, Japan has the capacity to do something about the ocean’s current imbalance. This represents an excellent opportunity for Japan to do more for the welfare of the oceans and set an example for the world.

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Green Tokyo: Himonya Park

himonya-park.jpg

A Meguro Gem

My family and I rounded out our Golden Week holiday with a visit to Meguro ward’s very own Himonya Park. Tokyo is composed of 23 wards or cities, and each has it’s own unique character and specialties. Meguro ward is where we call home, and the holiday week provided an excellent opportunity to do some local exploring. Indeed, many use this time to get out of the city and travel back to hometowns or abroad. Seeing as how this was our first year in Tokyo as a family, we felt could avoid the holiday rush and get to know the local neighborhoods.

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Feeling the Japanese Enthusiasm for the UNEP

Green goblin

A Truly Global Initiative

I recently attended an event hosted by The Japan Association for the UNEP (J-UNEP) held here in Tokyo at the UN University Shibuya campus. As someone newly arrived to this country, I’ve been excited to learn more about the sustainable practices and developments that are going on in Japan. Fortunately, this forum provided me with my first inroad into connecting with some interesting people who share my passion for sustainability. It was also really helpful that the conference was in English!

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My Japanese Farming Experience

Southern Japan (Kyushu)

Organic Farming in Kyushu

Admittedly, farming is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Japan, but this country is famous for its culture of honoring traditions, and organic farming is no exception. I had the opportunity to visit Japan during the previous summer, and was excited to return and take a deep dive (literally knee deep), into a rural part of the country where I could really immerse myself in the culture.

This was to be my first trip to the southern island of Kyushu, known across Japan for its striking natural beauty, subtropical climate, and incredible food. Once there, I was to spend 6 weeks with my Japanese host family, earning my keep, and learning as much as I could. I had no prior experience on a farm (aside from our urban garden), and spoke very minimal Japanese. It was an amazing, challenging, tasty, and enriching experience!

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