A Sense of Nature…?Nah.

The prevalent Japanese stereotype is that of an individual who reveres nature and generally has a greater appreciation of nature. Discussions from D.P. Martinez’s article “Is there a Japanese sense of Nature” led to the conclusion of there is not an innate-but rather an appreciation of nature perfected by human touch (Japanese artwork in which nature is manipulated to represent spirits or other aspects of nature).

Man-made vs Natural disaster:

Oguma Eiji poses an interesting and thought-provoking history of Tohoku and its relationship with Tokyo. Throughout the article there seems to be a theme of disregard of people in Tohoku by the policy-makers and maybe even the population as a whole of Tokyo. ┬áThe disaster at Fukushima and the whole of Tohoku was set up by the path in which it was placed my policymakers and directors in Tokyo since Japan’s rapid modernization in the late 20th century. This is not to say that a tsunami would not have happened, but rather the conditions in which Tohoku found itself at the time of the tsunami was that of a rather poor depopulated region. As modernization/industrialization was prioritized the continuous disregard of Tohoku as the periphery and the careless decisions concerning the population continued. Why was Tohoku the designated rice production? Knowing the devastating consequences of removing factories from this villages would ┬áhave, why did they do it? Many have asked the question of: Why were the Nuclear plants established in a earthquake proned area? Maybe because of the “open space” and its proximity to Tokyo and the fact that its not Tokyo but Tokyo’s “backyard?”

“Nuclear power and democracy are not compatible” How and why?

Oguma Eiji puts the disaster of March 11 under the light of justice and as an activist he demands answers and envisions a better future. Although mentioned in his article, I’d like to know more about what he thinks the odds are for the reconstruction and restoration of the Tohoku region.

Nan’s brief history and statistics on acid rain an Yokkaichi were examples of how serious pollution problems were during Japan’s rapid industrialization and modernization in the late 20th century. She mentions the power balances between the organizations who have economic power vs. health/wellness/environmental agencies, the economic view point is prioritized.

Particularly interesting from the Ethan’s presentation on the concept of Built Environments was Tokyo’s constant demolition and reconstruction as a new space with retention of the old. Ethan mentioned specific Tokyo neighborhoods that illustrate the idea of Built Spaces, particularly Shinjuku, which were our Airbnb is located. I can’t wait to actually see and experience Tokyo as an international city in which one can feel as if abroad (not in Japan).