So the title says it all. It:s our third day here, I:m in Minamata, there:s free internet(!?!?) and even though there is LAN in each room I left my laptop in storage because I was silly enough to presume that a rural area won:t have internet access. I mean this is Japan! So I:m stuck in the lobby where there is only one computer for the entire hotel, and I:m hogging it all to myself because my technological binge had taken it:s toll and I couldn:t contain myself much longer.
Before we arrived we spent the past day and a half in Tokyo going through all the participants presentations on their best practices in sustainability which they were either a part of or an initiative their country took on sustainable development. I had put together 5 case studies which ranged from micro to macro scale: architecture for humanity auckland chapter as the grassroots micro level sustainability practice, earthsong community, SHAC competition, right up to governmental sustainability practice such as the recent JMA (joint management agreement) with a local iwi. There are a total 24 participants in this year:s programme, from over a dozen countries in the Asia Pacific region. I was blown away by the presentations and hearing about what everyone else in Asia Pacific were doing to `be the change you want to see in the world`, and I must say I was really relieved to have volunteered to go first!
We:re in Minamata because it:s the sustainability capital of Japan, it:s kind of legendary in that it was the first city in the world to have incidence of `environmental disease on man` due to industrial pollution since world war II. Google *Minamata Disease* but do so with caution, because it:s very graphic. We:ll be going on tours of the factory, going to museums and learning more about the area, but this is as rural as Japan gets as far as the built environment goes. I saw tea and rice paddy fields as far as eyes can see, bamboo forests and lots of traditional buildings.
Food here has been simply divine. I:ve got a lot of running to do when I get back!