JSPS Quarterly
No.57 2016 Autumn

Introducing Japan: Tsukuba City

Dr. Cheng-Hsiu Tsai

Tsukuba is a carefully designed academic city, which makes my research and life here both easy and enjoyable. There is "Park Boulevard," which runs through the center of Tsukuba City, extending a distance of 5 km from north to south. Wherever the Boulevard crosses main streets, there are overhead bridges for pedestrians and bicycles, relieving people of any worry about traffic accidents.

Luckily, my apartment is located along Park Boulevard. About six in the morning, I enjoy jogging along the Boulevard toward its southern end. During the winter, the surface of a large pond in Doho Park, situated along my jogging route, gets icy and slightly frozen over. In the dim light of early morning, the just-rising sunís reflection on the pond appears to be whales below the surface about to break through the ice at any moment.

Distant view of Tsukuba EXPO with rocket monument

On the other hand, the National Museum of Nature and Science, where my office is located, is in the northern part of Tsukuba. I bike along the northern end of Park Boulevard to commute there. In the spring, when sakura, Japanese cherry trees, are in full bloom, a small section of the Boulevard on my way to the museum is overhung with light pink sakura petals, a scene that reminds me of krill abundantly blanketing the ocean surface, ready to be swallowed up by baleen whales (one of the greatest shows of feeding behavior on Earth).

The history of Tsukuba City and its adjacent Mt. Tsukuba and Tsukuba-san Shrine can be readily found in tourist information sites on the Internet. I believe that their descriptions and illustrations may lure you to this fascinating city, which combines a mecca of modern science with a repository of ancient culture.

 on the map of Japan

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JSPS Quarterly No.57 2016