Students from University of Milan are sharing the now of Fukushima
Students observed the State of Recovery after the great East Japan earthquake and local efforts in food safety
For an approximately one-week period, beginning on July 20th 2016, Fukushima Prefecture invited eight students from the University of Milan, in Italy, to come and learn about the now in Fukushima, particularly with regard to the state of the recovery and the efforts to ensure food safety. This project was the fruit of last year’s Expo Milano 2015, which ran from May 1st through October 31st, 2015. That event fostered a relationship between Fukushima Prefecture and the University of Milan which led to continuous sharing of information.
The students visited places like the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Center, commercial peach farms, experimental fisheries stations, and renewable energy research centers. They came into contact with the various efforts specific to food safety, including monitoring and testing, and with the expectations of food producers.
Students were also able to directly experience regional lifestyles and living examples of culture through interactions with students in Fukushima, stays at the homes of farmers, the painting of traditional cow figurines, called akabeko, and observations of a local festival, the soma-nomaoi.
Surprised by the Now in Fukushima, Students Were Moved to Share Information
One of this year’s program participants, Ms. Ylenia Previti, remarked that the people in Italy have no idea of how far the recovery effort in Fukushima has progressed, and that she was very surprised. The image of Fukushima in Italy, she said, is predominantly of the earthquake damage and the immediate aftermath of the failed nuclear power plant. Her experiences deepened her understanding of the now in Fukushima, after the privations of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Ms. Anna Fumagalli indicated that her visits with farmers enabled her to experience how far the recovery efforts have come for the people living there, especially for the food they eat and their day-to-day lives. She also noted that Fukushima, with its older towns and villages and bucolic vistas, allows you to experience the greatness of Japan in ways that big cities like Tokyo can not. She went on to say that she wanted to come back to Fukushima again.
Moving forward, these students will all use various platforms, including social media, to share in their own words the things they saw, heard, and felt during their travels.
Photo caption: Memorial shot in Tsurukejo (Photo: Business Wire)