August 4, 2016
Another early start to go to the city where we learned about state-of-the-art and environmentally friendly processing of garbage disposal at Yokkaichi's Clean Center. Everyone was very impressed by the Clean Center's zero-emission facility, how garbage is broken down and every bit is used for another purpose. This center was incredibly clean, and from behind giant windows we observed each part of the interactive process of garbage disposal. It was a seriously cool experience, especially considering the topic of garbage disposal.
We had a delicious lunch at a restaurant on our way to the Yokkaichi port, and even had some time to souvenir shop at Daiso and Aeon markets.
At the port, we boarded a very air-conditioned tour boat, which took us on a cruise of Yokkaichi's 3 industrial complexes. We saw many ships and cranes similar to those at the port of Long Beach, along with views of industrial containers and sporadic smoke stacks. In the port building, we had impressive 360 degree views of Yokkaichi, as it is the tallest building in the city.
Back at ICETT, students had a hands-on experience learning about the Hinaga Uchiwa fans. Students realized the detail and care that goes into making these fans because they had to make their own fans after learning about the history of the fans.
These past few days have been packed with adventures, and although a bit tiring, our students are doing great. I am incredibly proud of each of them.
August 5, 2016
Today was a nice change of pace. After breakfast at the ICETT, we had an hour and a half bus ride to The Akame 48 Falls in Nabari City for our International Ecology Tour. Here, we were greeted with cute shops selling food and gifts on our way up to the hike to the falls. Before the hike began, we were taught about the salamanders that occupy the area. We saw many salamanders in their aquariums at the Akame center, ranging from babies to those over 50 years old.
On our hike, we saw 3 large, beautiful waterfalls. Although the water levels are not very high this time of year, the views and sounds of the falls were spectacular. We spotted snakes, lizards, caterpillars, cicadas, and even salamanders in their natural environment. We ended our hike with authentic bento boxes. We were all very hungry from our trek.
We had an hour long bus ride to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu in Iga City, where we learned about secret hiding places and trick doors in a ninja spy’s house. We also saw a ninja show, where ninjas used weapons such as swords, ninja stars, and poisonous darts to trick and attack their enemies.
The group was allowed an hour of shopping at an open mall after leaving the Ninja Museum. The girls were so glad that they were able to get in some souvenir shopping time. After dinner at ICETT, all countries worked during the evening to prepare their environmental presentations, which are due for editing and translating tomorrow.
August 6, 2016
We spent the entire day at ICETT today. In the morning, we had an interesting lecture titled “Toward the Realization of Comfortable Living Environment”. The lecture summarized much of what we have learned through our tours of Long Beach and throughout this summit, including problems and solutions regarding the improvement of air quality and conservation of water. We realized that each city can do so much more to reduce water waste and control toxic pollution levels in our environment.
After the morning lecture, we went outside and were greeted once again by the women of the Yokkaichi Association, who prepared us a delicious lunch of Nagashi Somen (flowing somen noodles) and bitter cucumber. It was so fun to catch the somen noodles as they were flowing down a bamboo slide, and the cold noodles were refreshing on such a hot day.
The women of the Yokkaichi Association taught us how to properly wear Yukatas in preparation for wearing them at the Yokkaichi festival on our final day. The women also gave each of us traditional bags that are to be worn with Yukatas, which were handmade by the women of the association themselves. The girls are looking forward to presenting at the museum tomorrow, as well as enjoying the Yokkaichi festival.