Meadows in the sky

Should we try to make more green roofs in Tokyo? Here are some problems they can solve:

Can you think of disadvantages or hurdles and what we can do to overcome them?

One suprising fact from the video: some rooftops can get as hot as 170 degrees (F). That’s 76.6℃. Hyperbole of course, but it feels almost that hot in Tokyo in the summer, with the humidity. Maybe more green roofs can help us cool off a little.

Four years of trash in a Mason jar

It’s an idea for a 30 Day Challenge. See how little trash you can produce in one month and how many of the changes you make to your daily life are sustainable for you.

It’s also a good research project theme: how much trash and food waste do Japanese businesses produce, and how easy would it be to change policy in ways to encourage them to produce less waste? A lot of supermarkets now charge Β₯2 or Β₯5 or Β₯10 for plastic bags, but convenience stores don’t. Should they?

“I have drawn ‘spring’.”

According to this article in the Economist, the average peak-bloom date for cherry blossoms in Kyoto is getting earlier, probably because of climate change.

Here are some ukiyo-e featuring cherry blossoms with explanations in English. This is of a hanami party from the mid-19th century:

Discussion/Writing/Research questions:

  • Did you enjoy a hanami this year? Where do you think are the best places for different types of hanami (walking around type, sitting and eating/drinking type)?
  • How would you explain the word “hanami” to someone who does not speak Japanese, has never been here, and doesn’t know much about Japan?
  • Do you associate cherry blossoms more with entrance ceremonies or graduation ceremonies? If this trend continues and cherry blossoms continue to bloom earlier, what do you think will happen to this tradition?
  • In this excerpt from The Tale of Genji, it says that they celebrated the cherry blossoms in “the second month”. But they followed a different calendar in the Heian Period, didn’t they? What would that be today? Have you read Genji? What do you remember about it?