Postcards Home from Japan: Day Two, Part One in Rikuzentakata

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Written by Edward Yohak UAA Japanese major

Edward Yohak

Edward Yohak


The second day of our survey course in Japan was our last day in Rikuzentakata. This day involved the Normalization project and a final presentation highlighting the problems for foreigners, elderly, and handicapped peoples in Rikuzentakata.


We all woke up inside the school hostel in Rikuzentakata with the readiness for teamwork and group collaborating. The previous day was about us getting familiar with the landscape. The project today was about taking an in depth look at the populace of the city and where some parts of the city can be improved. After breakfast we gathered our belongings and headed for the fire station.


Bus travel in Japan

In Rikuzentaka, students studied how accessible the city was for elderly, visitors and disabled persons. (Photo courtesy of GEOG A490)

At the fire station we were broken into groups and given the rundown of the project. We had 5 groups that were taken into different areas of town where normalization was key in improving the city. The key points to look for in normalization were, proper handicap accommodations, adequate English description of key areas, and easy access for elderly people. The project also allowed us to eat lunch at a restaurant of our choosing which allowed each group to become more familiar with Rikuzentakata.

Edward Yohak My name is Edward, I am a second year student at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I am a Japanese major with the hopes of working and living in Japan. Why I chose Japanese: Japan as a country has always interested me. I have always loved Japanese culture with its blend of modern and past. It amazes me how the Japanese people can change so much but stay close to their history and roots of their culture. I am so excited to study with everyone on this field course. I look forward to getting to know everyone.

Edward Yohak was one of 10 students who traveled to Japan  this summer as a part of a geography class looking for tsunami lessons that Alaska could learn from Japan. Read more of their Postcards Home from Japan.

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