Just got back from very very tiring trips. Trips because I have been to two physically exhausting and mind breaking trips.
Izu is not easy
From the 17th to 19th of August, I was in Kawana at Ito City in the beautiful Izu Peninsula at Shizuoka Prefecture. That trip was about my lab's yearly Summer Seminar Workshop where everybody are supposed to do and make presentations about their researchs. From day one, Friday starting at 8pm, the group listened to the first batch of presenters then the following day, from 9am til 10pm with a short break from 4:00pm to 7:00pm for dinner and a quick game of tennis, the group sat and listened patiently as the presenters comes in one by one.
It was really very tiring to listen to different speakers talking about different areas of research, one has to think very vast in order to grasps the topics. Not to mention the physical endurance our butts has to make sitting for that long.
JICA Summer Seminar at Nihonmatsu, Fukushima
After a few hours of rest and sleep, I was packing my things again for yet another exciting adventure. This time it will be much longer than the previous as I will be staying for 8 days starting from the 20th to 27th of August. Not to mention, the physical activities involved in the seminar.
The JICA seminar I was in was about Forest and Environmental Protection and the participation of the local community. Where would be the best place to conduct the lecture but inside the forest itself! Not really the jungle-type like what I expect, but the atmosphere is almost quite the same, with the lush trees and the singing sound of running waters with the majestic view of the mountain peaks. For about one week, we stayed at Forest Park Adatara in Nihonmatsu and learned a lot of things about Forest and Environmental Protection. At the campsite we where introduced to some of the very physical but fun (I guess for starters) ways of maintaining the environment like thinning out trees from the forest then making charcoals. Yes!! We did cut some trees and made the charcoals, and I say you, it is not that easy. Even if we cut the tree trunk into 1 meter length, still some weighs a bit heavy. Then in the charcoal process, hitting the kiln takes about 1 day, then burning the woods for the charcoal will take about yet another day. But again, when you are that enthusiastic, things are quite fun even if the weather is really really very hot!
There are some fun parts though, we did some wood crafts which I would say is quite very easy even kids can enjoy. There were also a BBQ party with new JICA staffs, not to mention the times I deep in the hot spring and beer drinking spree with my co-participants.
Early Sunday morning, we packed again and headed for a ryoukan to meet a local club Nihonmatsu Yuuhigaoka Sinka Club that also works with environmental projects. We stayed there for one night before heading back home but the stay is really quite interesting. Meeting with the club members we did a lot of activities, like clearing and cleaning the forest (again we went up the mountain though not that high), craft making using old leaves, there was even a story telling session about the Moon Princess or "Kaguyahime (かぐやひめ)". Interestingly, last year, the group traveled to Manila and the areas of San Fernando, La Union and Mt. Pinatubo for their environmental field trips. The owner by the way of the ryoukan is a member of the group.
We had an early dinner, which is actually some sort of party to get to know the members much better, after which everyone donned their costumes (witch costumes for the JICA participants) then headed for the town's main street to join the celebration of O-Bon Matsuri. In my case, I just wore a yukatta. Everyone had fun dancing to the tune of the drums, celebrating with the local people.
I'm still quite tired for now so pictures will be posted later.