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Unit 6

6.1 Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges

6 min readโ€ขnovember 16, 2020

caroline-koffke

Caroline Koffke

katelyn17

Katelyn Lien


AP Japanese ย ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต

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Unit 6 Overview

In the final unit of this course, you will explore how environmental, political, and societal issues affect Japanese-speaking communities. The main theme of the unit is global challenges, and you will need to use knowledge from previous units to think critically in the target language.
๐Ÿค” Here are some guiding questions to help get you thinking for this unit:
  • How do global challenges positively or negatively affect Japanese-speaking communities?
  • What are some possible solutions to these challenges?
  • How can individuals influence the world around them?

๐ŸŒฑ Environmental Challenges

๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ Narrow Roads

Japanese roads are very narrow, semai (ใ›ใพใ„). This is because Japan is a small country, yet has a population of over 126 million people. Since so many buildings and houses are crammed close together, there is little space left for wide roads.
Some roads are so narrow that only one car can pass at a time. If another car comes from the other direction, one must momentarily back into an open space along the side of the road, which often ends up being someone's personal parking space in front of their house. In America, where roads are quite wide, this may seem unusual, but in Japan, it is quite common.
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Image Courtesy of needpix.

The Solution

Since Japanese people must often back up multiple times to make way for other cars, it can take a long time just to get out of their neighborhood. If using a car is not absolutely necessary, many people resort to other modes of transportation.
For example, many people ride their bikes to the places they need to get to. Since Japan is such a small country, local grocery stores, schools, and other buildings are often in walking or biking distance from people's houses.
Since so many people use bicycles, or jitensha (่‡ช่ปข่ปŠ), as their main method of transportation, almost all major buildings have bike racks nearby.
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Image Courtesy of Pikist

๐ŸŒŠ Tsunami and Earthquakes

Japan is an island, or shima (ๅณถ), so it is completely surrounded by water and is often affected by bad ocean conditions. A tsunami (ๆดฅๆณข) usually occurs as a result of an earthquake on or near the ocean floor.
A ๆดฅๆณข is a sequence of huge waves that are often dangerous and cause a lot of damage. Compared to regular ocean waves, ๆดฅๆณข waves are much bigger in height and wavelength. A ๆดฅๆณข last a few minutes to a few hours.
Japan is located in an area where many tectonic plates meet, so it is especially prone to earthquakes. Japan has almost 1,500 earthquakes a year according to Live Science.
A recent and devastating earthquake that occurred in Japan was the Great Sendai Earthquake in 2011, known as higashi nihon daishinsai (ๆฑๆ—ฅๆœฌๅคง้œ‡็ฝ). It was the worst earthquake ever recorded in Japan and over 15,000 people died.
The earthquake caused tsunami waves that were over 130 feet high to crash onto land, which killed many people and swept away whole towns. Roads and railways were also damaged and millions of people were left without electricity.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Solution

It is very difficult to prevent all deaths from natural disasters. However, it is possible to take preventative measures to try to keep the number of deaths and injuries at a minimum.
๐Ÿข Many Japanese buildings are built to be flexible and absorb shock. If the ground moves, the structure will be able to move with it, rather than break. There are also rigorous earthquake-proof standards that buildings and houses must comply with as stated by the law.
๐Ÿ“ฑ Every Japanese cell phone also has an app that will alert people of an earthquake or tsunami. The goal is to provide even just a few extra seconds for people to seek shelter and safety.
๐Ÿซ Schools also have monthly earthquake drills. This is similar to schools in America that have periodic practice fire drills. Japanese students are taught to crouch under their desks, or tsukue (ๆœบ) and hold on to the desk's legs in case of an earthquake. Their desk will hopefully protect them from falling debris.

Landslides

Global warming and increased rainfall have caused a rise in landslides in Japan. Landslides, called doshakuzure (ๅœŸ็ ‚ๅดฉใ‚Œ), cause terrible damage in Japanese communities.
A series of major landslides recently occurred in Hiroshima in 2014. These ๅœŸ็ ‚ๅดฉใ‚Œ, caused by heavy rain, ลame (ๅคง้›จ), triggered a massive landslide on a nearby mountain in Hiroshima that killed over 70 people and injured more than 60 people.
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Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Solution

Japanese authorities have carried out on-site research to identify high-risk areas. For areas that fall into this category, evacuation plans and hazard maps have been created.
Many families have emergency kits in case of a disaster. The kits are called saigai setto (็ฝๅฎณใ‚ปใƒƒใƒˆ) and contain items like a flashlight, batteries, canned food, and water. They are prepackaged, so in case of an emergency, families can take them and quickly evacuate.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-GwuPc1XUR2VM.png?alt=media&token=0a72ee6d-eea5-4143-9f1f-2a5836ea6351

Image Courtesy of ja.wikipedia.org

๐Ÿงน Waste and Pollution

Since Japan is a small country, it has very limited space for landfills. Trash, known as gomi (ใ‚ดใƒŸ), is often burned in large incinerators to reduce the amount that ends up in landfills, but this still causes pollution.
Also, Japan produces tons of trash per year. You might have noticed that Japanese products are often wrapped with layers of material. Although this may look nice, it creates a lot of unnecessary waste that must be dealt with.
Leaders are actively working to limit the amount of trash produced in Japan. One way that Japan is attempting to reduce its waste is through its elaborate garbage disposal system.
In some countries, people can simply throw all of their trash in a single garbage bin. However, in Japan this process is a bit more complicated. All garbage bins are labeled with different markings. Every city has a different garbage disposal system, so everyone must be careful of which bin they throw their trash in.
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Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In general, trash can be sorted into combustible, non-combustible, bins and cans, plastic bottles, and other which are ็‡ƒใˆใ‚‹ใ‚ดใƒŸใ€็‡ƒใˆใชใ„ใ‚ดใƒŸใ€ใƒ“ใƒณใ‚„ใ‚ซใƒณใ€ใƒšใƒƒใƒˆใƒœใƒˆใƒซ, ใใฎไป–, respectively.
็‡ƒใˆใ‚‹ใ‚ดใƒŸ includes paper items, like food wrappers and toilet paper. It also includes plastic wastes, like yogurt containers and toothpaste tubes. This kind of waste, as you may have guessed, is burned instead of being put in a landfill.
If an object contains more than one type of waste, it must be disassembled, washed, and disposed of in the proper trash can. For example, if a bottle is made of aluminum but has a plastic cap, it would need to be separated. The bottle would be put into the ใƒ“ใƒณใ‚„ใ‚ซใƒณ bin while the cap would be recycled.
This brings us to recycling, which is another waste management technique in Japan. Items that can be recycled have one of these symbols.
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Image Courtesy of shutterstock

Just like trash items, recyclable items must also be sorted into their own specific groups. Recycling is a great way to reduce waste, as items can be reused instead of being thrown away and never being used again.

๐Ÿ’ฅ Strive For a Five Vocabulary

  • mondai (ๅ•้กŒ): problem
  • dลro (้“่ทฏ): road
  • jishin (ๅœฐ้œ‡): earthquake
  • kลzui (ๆดชๆฐด): flood
  • hinan (ใฒ้›ฃ): evacuate
  • chikyลซ ondanka (ๅœฐ็ƒๆธฉๆš–ๅŒ–): global warming
  • setsuyaku (็ฏ€็ด„): to save
  • mudazukai (็„ก้ง„ใšใ‹ใ„): wasteful spending
  • shigen (่ณ‡ๆบ): resource
  • ten-nen shigen (ๅคฉ็„ถ่ณ‡ๆบ): natural resource
  • mamoru (ๅฎˆใ‚‹): to protect
  • denki (้›ปๆฐ—): electricity
  • bunrui (ๅˆ†้กž): to sort

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