Monday, 6 October 2014

Day 6: Getting the most out of our final day at JAXA, Sensojiji and Akihabara - post by Robyn Aitken

We had a beautiful blue sky for our final day in Tokyo. In the morning we travelled to Tsukuba, the science super-city about an hour and a half out of Tokyo to visit the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Most of the residents of Tsukuba are employed in science industries, and two thousand of those people work at JAXA.

ASTA delegation outside JAXA
Try as we might, we couldn't think of a way to fit this in our luggage. Maybe next time.

So many activities are carried out at JAXA: research into docking facilities in space; improving rocket launchers; developing and testing materials that can survive the harsh conditions in space; and investigating the effect of space on the physiology of the human body and developing ways of countering the negative effects. (The findings of the latter are not only useful for astronauts but also for the elderly.) JAXA has also been observing volcanic activity and the impact of the recent Mt Ontake eruption in Japan by using earth observation satellites.

ASTA team at Jaxa
We were on our best behaviour, though Vic just couldn't help trying to touch things. (I am in the middle at the front.)

From JAXA we travelled to the Sensojuji Temple in Asakusa and learnt about the correct way to cleanse for good health from our guide, Michigo. There were many markets in front of the temple and the whole group used their time well to buy souvenirs and presents for family. The last part of the day was a quick trip to the Akihabara area, famous for it's electronics shops.

Gary Tilley at Sensojuji Temple
Gary warded off any post-trip bugs by performing a ritual cleansing at Sensojuji Temple.
Akihabara offers all the latest in technology.

We arrived back at our hotel with many bags, and spent the evening packing, and repacking, as we tried to fit our shopping into our cases, including a heap of great car kits to demonstrate energy in the classroom.

The ASTA team wrapped up our trip with serious shopping.
Can you pick who did the most shopping?
Car kit
These fantastic kits will be great to use in our Science classrooms.

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