月別: 12月 2019

How Mega Cities Survive from Natural Disasters ~A Visit to Underground Discharge Channel~

This year in October, there was a huge typhoon hit the whole Kanto Area. When I went to the grocery shop to purchase food and other necessities, the shelves for all kinds of bottle water and bread were empty. Through the fear of residences in Tokyo, I realized that even big cities could be vulnerable encountering natural disasters. Luckily, most of the areas of Tokyo survived in this typhoon and the heavy rains following. But it raises the question, how mega cities like Tokyo deal with these kinds of crisis?

I happened to learn the theory about public goods and infrastructure construction in my Development class. As an example of a successful infrastructure project that protects public security, our professor reserved a tour of the Metropolitan Outer Area Underground Discharge Channel, 首都圏外郭放水路 in Japanese, in Saitama Prefecture. I have heard this place since couple of years ago. It is famous not only because it protected the capital of Japan and other areas around for lots of times from heavy rains, but also because it was the stage of lots of movies and TV shows.

Metropolitan Outer Area Underground Discharge Channel in Saitama Prefecture is a huge infrastructure project taking over a decade to complete totally. It consists of 5 water tanks in different sizes and a pressure adjusting channel, which is the only part open to the public. The length of this project is 6.3 km and it is completely underground. Compared with other cities in Saitama, according to the manager of this infrastructure operation team, the altitude of Kasukabe city is relatively low which made it often a stricken area of flood and typhoon. To protect the city and Tokyo as well, this project was launched in Kasukabe. Thanks to this infrastructure project, the city of Kasukabe could develop its local industry. Warehouses and factories were built and the local economy became more active than before.

During the heavy rain, this discharge channel gathers the water from the small rivers around this area and near Tokyo, stores it and after the water goes over a certain level inside the channel, it will be pumped into Edo River which is a big river in Tokyo with well-built embankment along it. The place I visited was the office building of the control room and other daily operation located above the pressure-adjusting channel. It has a very lovely nickname  “龍Q館”. It was chosen from hundreds of ideas raised by the public. In the ancient legend, dragon is the animal in charge of rain, lightening and thunders. Q also has a similar pronunciation with the Dragon Palace, the ball dragons always take with, forever in Japanese and AQUA in English as well. The name of 龍Q館 shows the capability of this infrastructure project to control the damage of water disasters and protect the public security.

This field trip gave me an opportunity to see something invisible in daily life but very important to the stability to our city. It was breathtaking to image the scene when huge amounts of water floating through these huge water tanks and channels. Lots of us took the stable life in big cities for granted, but the truth is that lots of people are making efforts behind the scene. To launch such a huge infrastructure, money is not the only inevitable element, the wisdom of architects and engineers, efforts of the residents, and other compromises are also needed to ensure the success of the project. It also builds an example of how infrastructure construction is related to the development of the whole area. I think when we enjoy the happiness of the life in a big city, we should always remember the people who support it in the back and thank for their efforts to make our life better.

T.L (Student Staff Leader)

オリボーレン!

こんにちは!

12月に入ってから急に一段と寒くなってきて、冬を感じるようになってきましたね!!

寒さが続くと、何がしたくなるってやっぱり温かいものが食べたくなりますよね。私は小さい頃から食べている時が一番幸せ、というタイプの人間なので、なおさらそうなんです。家だったら鍋やおでん、コンビニなら肉まん、ピザまん、焼き芋…あと、馬場下町の交差点の鯛焼き屋さんにも最近急に行きたくなることが多くて、よく鯛焼きを衝動買いしてます。どうせ厚着していて体型が目立たない今、いっぱい食べなくていつ食べる??という感じですね。まだ銀杏の黄葉が見られるので、まだギリギリ食欲の秋、好きなだけ食べても大丈夫というルールにしておきたいと思います。やったね!

そんな感じで、この時期になると食べたくなるものは色々あるわけですが、私が最近急に思い出してしまって恋しくなっている食べものがひとつあります。

オリボーレン(Oliebollen)というお菓子を知っていますか?オリボーレンは私の大好きな国オランダのお菓子で、ちょうどこの寒い時期によく食べられている食べ物の一つです。(※調べてみたところ、正式名称はOliebolで、Oliebollenは複数形だそうです。でも私が昔から慣れている名前はオリボーレンなので、勝手ながらここではオリボーレンと呼んでいきたいと思います。)

Oliebollenは「油の玉」という意味で、小麦ベースの生地を油で揚げたドーナツのようなお菓子です。大人の拳骨大の生地の中には、レーズンを中心とするドライフルーツがたくさん織り込まれていて、外側に粉砂糖がたっぷりまぶしてあります。見かけのイメージとしては、沖縄の郷土料理のサーターアンダギーに粉砂糖がかかっているような感じでしょうか。オリボーレンはもともと大晦日を祝うためのものだったようですが、寒くなってくると屋台やキッチンカーが道端で揚げたてを売るようになるので、ストリートフードとして楽しむことができます。一口齧ると、じゅわっと口の中でレーズンの酸味と砂糖の甘味、体に悪いかもしれないけどおいしい油っぽさが広がって、ほんとうに幸せな気持ちになれます。オランダの冬は極寒なので、そんな中フーフー言いながらアツアツのオリボーレンを食べる感覚はまさに至福で、月並みの表現ですが、どんな高級料理も叶わない味わいがあるんです。

しかし大変残念なことに、私が最後にこのオリボーレンを食べたのは10年以上前のことなんです。私は1歳から5歳までの間オランダに住んでいたので、その間本当によく食べていたのがこのオリボーレンなんですが、その引越しを最後に、残念ながら冬にオランダ旅行をする機会がなくて、ずっと食べられていないんです。というよりそもそも、いたのが小さいころなので、細かいことはほとんど全部忘れてしまっているんですが、その中で唯一今でもはっきり覚えているのが、オランダで食べた食べ物の味なんです!私が個人的に食べ物好きだからかもしれませんが、ほかのことは忘れてしまったのに、食べ物に関しては、どんな時に食べたか、誰がくれたか、どこで食べたかまで付随してはっきり記憶に残っています。このオリボーレンはもちろん、甘じょっぱいオランダ風のパンケーキ(Pannekoek)、ミニサイズの粉砂糖で食べるパンケーキ(Poffertjes)、どろどろしたエンドウ豆のエルテンスープ(Erwtensoep)…。まだまだあります。あげたら本当にキリがありません。オランダのグルメはチーズだけではなくて、実は奥が深いんです。

私は11月に学生スタッフになったばっかりで、まだまだICC初心者ですが、この短い間にいくつかのイベントに関わらせてもらって、さまざまな切り口から自分の知らない文化を発見できる、とっても素敵な場所だなと日々思わされています。私の大好きな食べ物に関わるイベントもたくさんあって、日本にいながら世界の食べ物を食べられるのが、私としてはとても嬉しいお得ポイントです(笑)。ちなみに、私もいつか、オランダのおいしい食文化を紹介できるようなイベントをやらせてもらいたいと、こっそり思っています。もし実現したら、是非来てくださいね。

長文になりましたが、お付き合いくださりありがとうございました!これからもよろしくお願いします!

H.S. (学生スタッフリーダー)

 

 

Miss you so much, Korean Food!

Hello everyone. This is the new ICC Student Staff Leader H.S.. Studying abroad in Japan for the first time in my life, the thing I missed for the most is not my family, nor my friends, or even my home (sorry to you all), but Korean food. When I was living in Korea for about 17 years, I had never knew that I would loved Korean food this much. There are Korean restaurants in Japan obviously, but I realized that the Korean food here is not the original taste. These days, I always dream of eating Korean food and I have started to watch Mukbang (videos eating Korean food), which I never watched when I was in Korea, because now I have reached to the level that I can feel full even just watching the Youtubers eating happily. In this article, I am going to introduce four Korean foods that I love the most.

Pork & Kimchi Jjim

First of all, the thing that I want to eat the most is Pork & Kimchi Jjim. Actually, I have never tried this before when I lived in Korea, but since it became popular among the Mukbang stars, I really want to try this delicious food. This one is a very simple dish because it’s just braising pork and kimchi, all in one dish. After watching the Mukbangs, I guess the taste is imaginable even for the ones who have ever tried pork and kimchi before. (My mom promised me to cook it when I return to Korea during the vacation. So excited!)

Makchang

I was born and lived in Daegu for the most of my life. Daegu is located in the southern part of Korea, above Busan. If you ask Koreans what is the food that first comes to their mind when they think of Daegu, definitely 7 out of 10 will say that it is Makchang which is the food symbol of Daegu. As Makchang refers to pork or beef entrails, there are many people who can’t eat Makchang. However, the people of Daegu especially love it because it was first made in Daegu. There was a really delicious Makchang restaurant in my town, but the restaurant moved to another town and it became very hard to eat Makchang there. However, I have found a new great Makchang restaurant recently, so I can’t wait to try it there!

Gukbab

During cold days like these days, when you want to have a hangover soup(Haejang-guk) after drinking, or when you do not want to eat anything, the food that Koreans probably think of the most is Gukbab. Gukbab is a word that combined Guk and Bab, which refers to soup and rice in Korean. Simply, Gukbab is the food that we can eat rice with a certain soup. There are so many types of Gukbab so I will introduce you some of the bests that I love: Dwaeji(Pork) Gukbab, Sundae(Pork intestines) Gukbab, and Kongnamul(bean sprouts) Gukbab. Dwaeji Gukbab and Sundae Gukbab are the most common ones, while Kongnamul Gukbab is especially famous as a hangover soup. Gukbab tastes are really different in every restaurant, but I get used to the taste of gukbab of the restaurant right in front of my house, that one is the most delicious to me. I will definitely eat one of those Gukbab I have mentioned above, since there is no food better than this in winter.

Korean Chicken

As Korea is famous for its fast delivery service and late-night operation of stores, Koreans love eating Yasik(Late-night food). Among those Yasik, the most favorite one is definitely Korean Chicken (both fried and ovened). Korean Chicken is famouse not only in Korea but also in the world for its various flavors and types. Korean Chicken has a lot of brands and many different popular menues from those brands. Currently, Bburinkle from BHC, Red Combo and Honey Combo from Kyochon Chicken, and Golden Olives from BBQ are the most popular ones recently. Interestingly, many of the major chicken franchises, such as Hosigi Double Chicken, Tang Tang Chicken, and Mexicana Chicken, had started from my hometown, Daegu. I strongly recommend to visit the Daegu Chimac (Chicken&Beer) Festival which is held every summer in Duryu Park, Daegu.

Good news!!! I’m going back to Korea during this winter break! I would love to eat at least five meals a day just to eat all of the foods that I have missed while staying here. I will gain a lot of weight if I eat them all, but it is okay if I am happy. Thank you for reading it all and please visit Korea and try these amazing foods!

H.S. (Student Staff Leader)

Beginning my journey again with ICC

2018 September, excited with my Waseda half-year exchange offer, I flew 11 hours from Canada to Japan. It was really like a dream come true for me as I have always wanted to study in Japan. However, not until I really got on the Yamanote-sen have I realized I am really in Japan. People were speaking really fast and I really didn’t understand the Keigo(Honorific) part of the announcement. “I wish I could turn on subtitles like I always do when I am watching Terrace House” was what I had in mind. Maybe it was the jetlag and the whole new environment, I felt a little lightheaded and nervous.

ICC was a whole new definition for me when I heard it on the orientation day. It seems like another student circle but you don’t need a membership to attend. There are various international events with different organizations and institutions that cater to all interests. I soon filled my schedule with all sorts of ICC events and was dragging a couple international friends along with me. In the beginning, it was really nerve wrecking as I was really unconfident with my Japanese. Feeling a bit awkward and not knowing what to do, I attended my first Japanese Chat Club event. Even though I couldn’t come up with proper sentences and ended up just piecing Japanese vocabularies together, I got to make a lot of friends whom I am still close with. ICC really made Japanese less intimidating and gave me a sense of belonging.

From attending chat club events, elementary school visits, cultural night events, to sports events, I met people from all around the world. These all gave me the opportunity to get to know the local Japanese culture and myself better. Other than all the evens, it is absolutely normal for someone to just drop by the ICC lounge and talk. With the friendly space, I never have to worry about where to chill or meetup with my friends. If it hadn’t been for ICC, my exchange life wouldn’t have been that colorful. I wouldn’t miss Japan that much and come back to Japan if I didn’t get “lured” by the amazing ICC staff (not saying that because I am one of them now XD).

Half a year really passed by like a blink. It was too difficult to say goodbye to this lovely country, city, campus, and most importantly, the people. Having that in mind, I decided to apply back to Waseda for Graduate program which was the only program I applied. And…now I am back! Back to this familiar place for another two year to research on labor issues. Everything seems the same but also surprisingly different in just a year. I was fortunate enough to know the opportunity of becoming one of the supporters and lucky enough to have the opportunity to join ICC team.

I still remember the conversation I had in ICC lounge with a few of my friends-every one of us is just like a playlist. We have different styles, different tones, and different stories to share. Knowing people from other cultural backgrounds really give you a new perspective of the world and whole new playlist to listen to. ICC, to us, was just like Spotify, where we can share our stories freely. It is up to you to have your own definition and make the most out of your university life. I am not saying all these because I am part of the team now; it is because I really created special memories in ICC. As a supporter now, I truly hope I can share this with each one of you. Look forward to seeing you here at ICC .

Pic: 2019/1/1 Sunrise @ Yokohama

C. Y. (Student Staff Leader)

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