Help Navigating and Using the Blog

Hey all,

I was recently informed that some of you are having troubles navigating the WordPress website and posting for the class.

I’ve found a few tutorial websites and videos that are very easy to understand and can be used as reference guides if you feel lost on the website.

The WordPress blogsite is also found on both the Android Market and the iPhone Appstore.

To Create a New Post:

Additional Help:

The last link is probably the most intuitive, and gives a very basic walk through of most all functions you will need to use on WordPress.

I will try to continually add more resources that will help you as I find them. Until then, I hope this is of assistance to those who need some guidance.

As always, if you need help with anything regarding the course blog, please email me at



Kushiro Salmon Society on Good Morning Hokkaido

On March 30, 2016, Kushiro Salmon Society’s situation of their current activities and salmon fry breeding will be broadcasted live on television! The President of the Kushiro Salmon Society, Mr. Kosugi, is one of our many stakeholders for HER. This Wednesday, the society is broadcasting live in its local NHK program.

Every year the society organises an activity in which local people, students, and children raise salmon roe into salmon fry, individually or collectively (such in supermarkets), and releases them into the Kushiro River in May. This activity is done to revive the decreasing population of salmon in the Kushiro river. However this activity is slowly tapering off and the number of foster parents to raise the salmon roes are decreasing yearly. Yet, the society continues to strive with this activity in hopes of increasing the number of participants. Please watch this live broadcasting if you are interested 🙂
TV Program: “Good Morning Hokkaido” (NHK)
*this program only broadcasts in the Hokkaido region*
Date: March 30, 2016
Time: 7:45am ~


Thank you.

Upcoming Event: Become an Oyster Expert!

Are you interested in becoming an Oyster Expert? If so, this is your chance!

There is going to be an event held on March 20, 2016, in Akkeshi City in Hokkaido, organized by the incorporated NPO – Akkeshi Network. This event is held to promote knowledge about the delicious Akkeshi Oysters that grow in Hokkaido’s rich natural environment. The NPO’s Executive Committee has created and published a set of problems on Oysters, that would help expand our knowledge on areas such as Akkeshi city’s history, natural environment, oyster farms, fisheries, food culture and habitats. If you are interested in this event, please feel free to register and challenge yourself!

Below are the flyers for this event. English translation will be provided under.


Details on the event



Details on the event

Event: 7th Oyster Expert Authorization Exam

Date: March 20, 2016 (Sun.)

Time: Registration begins at 1:00PM, Examination begins at 1;30PM

Place: Akkeshi-Cho Seikatsu Kaizen Center (Akkeshi City Life Improvement Center)
Address: Akkeshi City, Minato City, 2-Chome, Hokkaido
TEL (0153)52-4151

Examination Requirements: Age and Sex will not be required

Examination Fee: 2,000 yen/person

Examination Questions: 30 questions from the Oyster Expert Authorization Exam Questionnaire (image of blue booklet attached below)

Examination Application dates: December 10, 2015 (Thurs.) – March 10, 2016 (Thurs.)

  1. Examination Fee + Examination Admission Ticket = 2,000 yen
  2. Examination Fee + Examination Admission Ticket + *Thank You party participation fee = 5,000 yen
  3. Examination Fee + Examination Admission Ticket + Thank You party Participation Fee + *Study Tour Participation Fee = 10,000 yen

Acceptance date: April 29, 2016 (Fri.)

Certification Ceremony: May, 2016 at the Akkeshi Sakura・Oyster Festival Site

Contact Information:
Postal Code: 088-1143,
Akkeshi Gun, Akkeshi Cho, Oota 3,
Takeda Corporation
TEL (0153)52-7600

*Thank You Party – After the examination a Thank You party will be held, where you can eat delicious Akkeshi Oysters!
– Participation fee = 3,000 yen/person
For any questions, please contact: Takeda Corporation, TEL 0153-52-7600

*Study Tour – The 6th study tour on Food, Culture, and the Environment will be held on March 19, 2016 (Sat.). “Taste the Double-Milk”
– Slots will be open only for the first 23 people
– Participation fee = 5,000 yen/person


Set of questions on Oysters created and published by the NPO’s executive committee

This Questionnaire is for sale for 1,000 yen per booklet. If you would like to do the examination, please order one.

Ordering Detail:
Akkeshi Fishery Cooperatives Association Direct Sales Store
Akkeshi Taste Terminal・Conchiglia, Tabata
Takeda Corporation
* Ordering Detail in Japanese is found on the first image.

EVENT: Zenpukuji River Clean-up & Workshop (July 26)


An event on Sunday, July 16, run by the Zenpuku Frog group, an NGO seeking to restore the Zenpukuji River in Suginami, Tokyo.  In the morning, from 10am to 12:30pm, the group will go into the waterway for a clean-up.  In the afternoon, from 2pm to 5pm, the group will hold a workshop for discussing design principles at Iogi Elementary School.

More information (in Japanese) on the group’s Facebook page or contact Professor Watanabe.

Report on the Film Screening – “Who Owns Rivers? – Waiting for Salmon at Okawa River Village” (July 10th, 2015)

The Film screening took place at Sophia University at 5pm, last Friday, July 10, 2015, followed by a panel discussion with the film producer, Ms. Fumiyo Kikuchi and University of Tokyo guest speaker Ms. Mayumi Fukunaga.


 Kodo Ryō is the name of the traditional fishing method, practiced for more than 300 years at the Okawa River in Niigata’s Prefecture. It was rather a dialogue of the fisherman and their sentiments to express why they loved so much fishing and a sense of belonging with the river. The man, mostly mid-ages, learned on how to fish at small age and the members are scarce, less than ten people in the local Fisherman’s Association. The film depicted the moment the members drew the lucky paper lottery to define which place each member would be fishing that year!

How they do it: Clearly Defining the Boundaries

Once the areas are designated, each group will clean the area such as taking off the garbage or leaves and also accommodating the tree branches to build the demarcation and make the sort of the trap, to facilitate to capture the salmons, where it is prone to spawn.

The fishing equipment is a sort of a pole, with a movable but trapped hook on its edge.  When one can catch their very fist salmon of the year, they will make a small ceremony and thank to their altar that each usually will have in their homes, placed in a high place of their house, such as above the refrigerator.  One lady said that in the past, the salmon would be mostly preserved, but nowadays she would distribute amongst the neighborhood.

Rituals for good luck

The film portrayed the thanksgiving sort of ceremony, where a man was wearing the Ebisu mask – one of the seven Fortune Gods of the Chinese Mythology, and the Shinto God of the Fisherman. The person wearing the mask would rotate among the people asking their blessings to have a fruitful year.

Ebisu                                        salmon.cultivation

A cultural surprise

Suddenly the movie reached its climax – the scene seemed a little violent for a complete novice of fishing as I am- it was almost so obvious that the fisherman who captures his bait, will perform a never-seem-before handling: quickly opening the salmon’s belly, taking all the vivid brilliantly orange colored eggs and expeditiously this time, opening the male belly and then what in nature would be an act of love, into a sort of colder way, which turned out to be the fertilized eggs.

The scene seemed emotionless for who was performing as if that was very normal of a routine like way, however the cold fish caught my eye and there was a mixed feelings – of sadness and wonder – that the act of making the efforts to return into nature, what you have taken, was the fisherman’s choice to sustain this tradition.

The work at the cultivation of salmon is not an easy task: their ‘scientists’ would keep a close eye on the eggs and monitor daily, separating the dead eggs from the living ones.

Who owns rivers? – Some said, it is the commons, the river is owned by everyone. That is why, each person has to have a strong responsibility to take good care of the river.


Panel discussion:

  • Fumiyo Kikuchi (FK)- Film Producer
  • Mayumi Fukunaga (MF)– University of Tokyo, Faculty Member

The Film Producer began her words, thanking the attendance to watch her film.  She is 85 years old and she was 15 years old when the World War ended. Soon, her family moved to the country side, where she learned the tranquility so the big city is a place where she finds more difficult to familiarize with. For Ms. Kikuchi, it is important to think with the nature and understand our connection with the living beings.  What made her produce this film, was her desire to be able to leave a message for the future generations

FK: “These three points were decisive for me to make this film:

  • Our connections with nature and connections to live;
  • Our relation with the Rivers and Oceans;
  • The human involvement in their region.

Although I had to invest my money into it, I am very satisfied with the outcome.”

MF: I am very happy to see your movie. For the issue on ‘commons’ the people from the communities have protected the river.  What stroked me was the scene of the fertilization moment where somewhat looked very rudimentary.  I have seen a professional way of fertilizing the fish eggs, where there is a thumb role not to surpass 30 seconds.  In this sense, the people of Okawa River seemed rather laid back.  Another interesting aspect by watching the film was, that the community is kind to the women; usually fishing society are gender biased.  The community must have the taste and love for this type of “Alaska Salmon” like, because they are different from the conventional salmon. I felt a strong people’s engagement with the river and a deep connection with it.

Question 1) What are the concerns for having a successor for this tradition?

Answer: FK- In order to nurture the techniques of their tradition, you could either have a partnership with the tourism bureau of Niigata Prefecture or move to live in Niigata.  However this is difficult.  Although it is not drastically, but Kodo fisherman’s are decreasing.  This year, three of them died of old-age.

Question 2) Fisherman in Okawa valued salmon as a gift from God, and were keen on giving back what they earned to God [Yebisu-sama or Japanese God of fishermen and good luck] consistently through rituals such as Hatsunagiri [offering the first cut fish]. Why has this ideology persisted in this particular area, while other areas in Japan became victims of development?

Answer: MF: My impression of the film was that the physical relationship of the fishermen, the River,  and the traditions was very strong. Therefore, this might have also enhanced the continuation of the ideology. In the film, you may have noticed one fisherman saying that no matter how well you will build your Kodo to get the fish, or if you have the best designated area to fish, one will get what he or she deserves… that is how I think, that is how I believe. It is a mystic relationship of man and the nature and their ideology are adequate because it is inherited from ages.

Question 3) What can each one of us do, to contribute for the nature?

Answer: FK- About 30 years ago, I have sort of protested to the prefecture, when there was a company who wanted to construct a golf course. Because of it, there was a time when I have suffered even would throw stones to me.  However after the 3.11 (March 11th), I had some children victims of Fukushima coming to visit my house and then, the community also began participating in the volunteering with much willingness. And by so, what once looked to be difficult, through this opportunity, the people who had persecuted me, was helping me…Wherever you live, live strongly!

Question 4) What are your views on the concerns for preserving the river against pollution?

Answer: FK- I believe that the Okawa river community preserves well the nature and we will need to have more youth to take over the elderly knowledge and understand the importance of then river and inherit their legacy.

images (1)

Report on Field Trip to Zenpukuji River (6/28)

Zenpukuji River is a 12 km tributary of the Kanda River, which is located in Suginami-ku of Tokyo, Japan. The River’s appearance is no different from any other urban river in Japan. However, its future is bright for a great number of people from a wide variety of age groups, are currently working side by side to restore the river into a more environmentally healthy river.

On the day of the field trip, we were blessed with fine weather, despite the rain of the previous few days. This time, 8 students joined the trip, along with Professor Watanabe. (We met very early in the morning, so many of the other students must have preferred to sleep in…!) Anyways, with the weather on our side, we were off to Zenpukuji Park for a nice hike around the river.

DSCN6486The morning river tour was led by Professor Shun’ichiro Nakamura of Nagoya University, who is also the current co-chair of the Committee to Restore Zenpukuji River to a Rural River, in short, Zenpuku Frog. There were about 15 participants of the tour excluding ourselves, creating a very diverse group of people, which included local environmentalists, educators, civil engineers, scientists, and even a few junior high school students. Most of them also participated in the symposium, which took place in the afternoon.


“Dream Waterway”

The Zenpukuji River tour started off by observing a 150 meter long waterway, which runs through the Zenpukuji Park. It is currently called the “Dream Waterway” by the local people, and actions for its revival, such as picking up trash, and trimming harmful plants are frequently planned and undertaken by members of the Zenpuku Frog. According to the people of the Committee, this waterway was previously called the “Firefly Waterway”, because fireflies were commonly seen in the area long ago. Now it is so far from such a clean state, that such fact is becoming more of a myth, and thus the people have renamed it.

Furthermore, the rest of the tour made apparent that despite the people’s actions, Zenpukuji River is still a very urbanized, and artificial river. Both sides of the river are mostly fixed with concrete, and surprisingly the river actually smelled pretty bad due to the sewage system. Professor Nakamura also took us to areas where the river used to run, which was now a narrow street as evidence of how the river was forcefully straightened by human construction.

DSCN6496      DSCN6515

In the afternoon, we also participated in the Zenpukuji River Symposium hosted by the Zenpuku Frog. The two and a half hour symposium was so packed with valuable information about rivers and environmental conservation that it is very difficult for me to make a full report about it on such limited space!! I will try to pick up the most prominent points discussed at the meeting, and explain it in as much detail as possible.


First of all, a presentation of “the Potential of Dream Waterway”, was made by Professor Yoshitomi Tomoyasu of Tokyo Gakugei University, followed by another lecture titled, “Waterfront Environment Made by All: Initiatives at Kamisaigo River” by Professor Hironori Hayashi of Kyushu University. The presentation by Professor Hayashi was very interesting for it traced the actual process of how Kamisaigo River was successfully transformed into a rural river by the cooperation of many different actors. Throughout the presentation, he stressed the importance of gaining the understanding, and motivating the local people to get anything done. The natural environment is a subject so vast that it cannot be changed easily by just the enthusiasm of specialists, such as scholars and scientists. In the case of Professor Hayashi, he explained to us that he made models of the river to every meeting with the locals as a means of effective communication.

IMG_6658After the panel discussion, which followed, a heat-up debate was carried out among the participants about how to get the government officials more involved in their plans for restoration. Such problems must be confronted by any non-profit organization everywhere in Japan. The debate highlighted the current social structure, in which citizens’ actions are limited to a point by the Government, but also the strong zeal of the members of the Committee, which has a potential of exceeding government restrictions. Calls for bottom-up strategies of problem solving energized the atmosphere.

In the back of the room where the symposium took place, numerous drawings of the desirable future of Dream Waterway done by students of Igusa Elementary School was put up by the members of Zenpuku Frog. The drawings were all ambitious, and very much represented the strong affection of the children towards Zenpukuji River. It was very nice to see that at least some children, in this completely urbanized city of Tokyo actually longed to play in nature.

IMG_6666  IMG_6673

Overall, throughout this field trip to Zenpukuji River, I was able to recognize the importance of the involvement of a wide range of age groups when it comes to environmental conservation. This is not a difficult task, because nature is a common resource, available to every living creature on earth. The difficulty is in its maintenance; how can the natural environment be reused and restored appropriately in the years to come?