Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

September 4, 2018

Yuya trying to "steal" the technique of his seniors.

One downside for having only twelve students on campus is the lack of sport clubs. Many Hakusanroku campus students play sports after school. I often encounter students playing basketball, badminton, table tennis, and volleyball after the evening learning session and there is definitely an upside of living on campus. However, it is difficult to find large competition because the older students currently all study at the Kanazawa campus.

Yesterday, I visited a first-year student who is utilizing his summer vacation to overcome this situation. Yuya Kida is improving his skill by joining the Kanazawa campus badminton club during the summer. Unlike at the Hakusanroku campus where he can beat almost everyone easily (me included), his seniors are much stronger than him. It was interesting to see Yuya be the timid "youngling" when he usually plays so confident.

Even I could tell that his seniors were at a different level. Their speed, strength and precision overpowered Yuya. The sound of their smash was distinctively louder and different from his. I talked to Yuya and he said that defeating them is his current goal, however that it was far from coming true. The two seniors that practiced with him this day were kind and showed Yuya how they practiced and encouraged him to join in. The three practiced for two hours before packing up. I hope similar interaction between the two campuses increases in the future.







August 31, 2018

Hello! I am Ryan Vicencio, one of the Learning Mentors at the Hakusanroku campus. I facilitate the evening learning sessions, helping the students with their homework and various projects. Right now, the students are off campus, enjoying their summer vacation. The summer programs have ended, and many teachers are starting to go on vacation as well. Campus is very quiet.

In contrast, the michi no eki across the street is bustling with life.

This station, called Sena, is a popular rest stop for tourists looking to experience the beautiful scenery that the Hakusan area has to offer.

Sena sports an omiyage shop and several cafes, and is the site for local events ranging from musical performances to classic car meet-ups. During the summer, the cafes sell ice cream to beat the heat, and with this summer being one of the hottest, ice cream is a must.

There are three options for ice cream at Sena, but the students’ and teachers’ unanimous favorite is the ice cream at a cafe called the Kijitora Coffee Research Lab (キジトラコーヒー研究所). Students would often be found there after afternoon classes and club activities, enjoying some unique soba tea ice cream or freshly made karaage. Sometimes, even teachers would end their work day with a delicious coffee float or some silky chocolate ice cream.

If you get the chance to visit campus, you should stop by for a chance at seeing the one of the cats after which the shop is named!

Ryan Vicencio









August 23, 2018 ICT Summer School 2018

Hello, this is Jonathan the camera guy. This week ICT held its annual Summer School at Hakusanroku campus. The ICT Summer School is a program where junior high school students can come and see what it is like to study at ICT. The program was three days long, starting on August 20th. Twenty-five junior high school students from grades seven to nine came to experience design thinking and prototyping while staying at the dormitory in Hakusanroku campus.

Group photo at river near Chugu Exhibition Center

Design thinking and prototyping are an essential part of Engineering Design, ICT's core subject. In the Engineering Design course, students learn not only engineering skills to improve existing technology (1 to 2), but also to design new ideas (0 to 1). Design thinking is the method used to create these new ideas and prototyping is the hands-on process of testing them.

Maesa sensei explaining about the program


The first day began with introductions. Then, students were divided into groups of three or four. Each group was assigned one or two current ICT student as an assistant. These assistant students acted as mentors for the junior high school students. They were a huge help throughout the program because they are familiar with the design thinking process and looked after the junior high school students. Later, students participated in a scavenger hunt as an ice breaking activity. They were given a list of hints (in English) that described various places in the Hakusanroku campus. This was a fun activity that also displayed the leadership and knowledge of each assistant student.

ICT students were very helpful during the program

After the ice breaking activity, the theme of the program was finally announced. "How can we redesign our evening routine?" Each group was given the task to come up with an idea to enhance or improve their routine between returning home and going to bed. They would create a prototype and presentation to go with it. First, students began the visualization process of design thinking. Before designing a solution, the problem must clear. Students each drew a diagram of their flow before going to bed, describing their high and low moments. Then, they interviewed each other to further understand points that have room for improvement or enhancement. I use the words "improvement or enhancement" because the objective of problem solving is not only improving negatives, but also further enhancing positive experiences. This point was made clear by the facilitating teachers.

Students interviewing each other about their highs and lows

After dinner, students began the idea generation process. First, they wrote the points they discovered during the interview on post notes. Then, they clustered and broke down the targets they wished to enhance or improve. After deciding their target, they created a "need statement". A need statement is a sentence such as "I need to make a good environment for watching YouTube", "I need to get entertainment in my bath time", or "I need a way to enjoy doing my homework" that is the working point for creating ideas. Finally, they began the brainstorming process to come up with their solution.

Students brainstorming


Day two began with a warmup activity by Ryan sensei. After the warm up, students spent the first part of the morning narrowing down their final idea and beginning the prototyping process. Prototyping is the process of creating something to "show" an idea instead of telling about it. It can be a miniature, a drawing, a video, or even a skit. Each group discussed what and how they wanted to display their idea.

Prototypes "show" not "tell"

In the second part of the morning, participants moved to the maker studio to experience programming with LEGO blocks. Students were given instructions to program a LEGO car to move exactly 50 centimeters. They had to calculate how many times they wished the wheel to turn and program it as so. This activity gave participants a brief glance at various fields that were necessary for engineering and the things you can do with them. Many students later told me that they enjoyed this part of the program the most. Some of them even returned to tinker with them after hours.

Students building their LEGO car

After lunch, we took a bus to visit the Hakusan Wildlife Chugu Exhibition Center. This is a hub for experiencing Mt. Hakusan's nature. We viewed a video about Mt. Hakusan's four seasons, took a short hike into the mountains, and played at a nearby river. The Hakusanroku campus is located in an area of rich wildlife and participants had a chance to experience this beautiful nature. They discovered rare insects during the hike and enjoyed swimming and playing in the cool water of the river.

This park is only 20 minutes away from ICT

After returning to ICT, the students resumed their work on prototyping. The program is only three days long so they had to prepare their prototype and presentation by the next day. This was good practice for working with limited resources. Each group struggled to navigate what they wished to accomplish within the given time. Many groups created models using the 3D printers and drew illustrations on their presentation posters. After dinner they worked late into the night.

Students waiting for their 3D printer


Day 3 was the final day of the program. Each group rushed to finish their poster and practice their presentation. The presentation is in English and many students brought their script to me for grammar checks. They were keen to create the best presentation they could and worked vigorously until the last moment. I believe their motivation came because it was their idea and they were proud of it. Also, a project is much more interesting if it associates with you.

Putting the finishing touches on posters

The presentations began at 9:30. Each group was given four minutes to present their idea to the audience. I will post videos below. Most of the students are not native English speakers and you can tell many of the younger students practiced their part hard. After the presentations, there was a poster session. Viewers could walk around to look at the posters and prototypes, and ask questions.

Student explaining his group's project to parents and teachers

After the certificate award ceremony, students departed from the Hakusanroku campus to take a short visit to the Kanazawa campus before departing from Kanazawa station. We ate lunch in the Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) cafeteria and took a campus tour. The program had been a tight schedule and the students seemed relieved and happy from their accomplishment. I asked some of them if they were happy to return home. Many of the younger students answered yes but that they looked forward to participating in the program next year. Other older students answered that they were seriously considering applying for next year and I am looking forward to seeing them in April 2019.

All you can eat at KIT cafeteria

I believe the program was a good example of what it is like to study at ICT. In three short days, participants experienced a concentrated version of Engineering Design, the life of living in the dormitories, receiving education in English, and the overall atmosphere of the ICT community. ICT has a lot to offer depending whether you are interested in English, engineering, or both. I love this school for its enthusiastic students and faculty and look forward to seeing whom it sung to next spring.


2018年8月23日 ICTサマースクール2018






夕食のあと、アイデア創出に取り掛かりました。まず、インタビューで発見したことを書きだし、改善の余地があるものをまとめました。ターゲットを絞ったあとはNeed statementを作りました。Need statementは「Youtubeを見る環境を改善しなければならない」「お風呂の時間にもっと楽しみが要る」「宿題をする時間を楽しむ方法が必要だ」のように、「~が必要(need)である」がある、アイデア創出の起点となる文章です。最後に、解決案を考え出すブレインストーミングを行いました。













August 21, 2018

Twelve students may seem few, but when those students are not here on campus, it feels quite lonely. Our students are happily enjoying their summer vacations and working on their summer STEM projects. For the past few weeks, the Hakusanroku campus has been very quiet and desolate.

However, the campus is very lively this week! Thanks to the ICT Summer School, we have many students here from all around Japan. Many of the students were quite nervous when they first arrived for the program, but with the help of the ICT upperclassmen, they’re now enjoying their time here!

The ICT Summer School focuses on Engineering Design and the theme this year is to “Redesign the evening experience.” Students work through the engineering design process to find a problem in their everyday evening experience and then build a creative solution. The students have many great ideas and I love how the ideas they come up with are always outside of the teachers’ expectations. We are always being surprised by what they think of!


Today, the students took a field trip to the Chugu Nature Center. They took a short hike and then went down to the river to play. They got to experience Hakusanroku nature, from wild walnuts and beetles to frogs and tadpoles.

Although our time with these students is short, we treasure every moment with them and enjoy the chance to teach them about engineering design, teamwork, and innovation. It’s a joy to see
 the students getting excited and putting their all into creating something new.

Anne Isobel Tan

Learning Mentor











August 3, 2018

Sun hitting the school building

Hello, I am Inoue from the Department of Global Information and Management. Together with Yamazaki sensei and Kodaka sensei, I teach the Engineering Context 1A class at Hakusanroku campus. The first semester classes are reaching their final stages and students are working hard on their final presentation.

How is everyone doing during this nationwide heatwave? On July 23, 41.1 degrees Celsius was recorded in Kumagaya city, Saitama prefecture. Apparently, this is a national new record since five years ago. Although Hakusanroku campus is one to two degrees cooler than downtown Kanazawa, we are still experiencing high temperature around 34 degrees with strong sunshine. There is little shade to prevent the sun streaming into the school building (see picture 1). You many wonder what it is like indoors. Actually, it is quite cool and quiet. In this journal, I would like to introduce the school's air conditioning system.

First off, ICT's main building has two floors. As you may have seen in other pictures, both floors are connected under a high ceiling. It may be difficult to distinguish the two floors (see picture 2). The ceiling is so high that you could probably build a third floor (see pictures 3 and 4). In addition, the walls facing the courtyard are full framed grass windows. The whole building is feels open and quite spacious. You may wonder how we keep such a building cool.

At first glance, many fail to even find the air conditioning units. Looking up at the ceiling or wall or listening for the sound of the air conditioners will do you no good. Actually, Hakusanroku campus's air conditioning system is under the floor. There are vent holes in the floor in and out of the classrooms (see picture 5 and 6). You can feel the gentle cool air coming out of the vent holes if you put your hand near them. The air stream is not strong and does not blow up dust. The space humans can detect is only two meters from the ground. Therefore it may actually be more efficient to have air conditioning in the floor. In addition, there are multiple vent holes, which means that less airflow is necessary to circulate the cool air. This leads to the quiet sound. Removing the air conditioner from sight also increases the interior aesthetics. I doubt many schools in Japan have an air conditioning system like this.

In the classroom, students can enjoy the scenery of beautiful sky, mountains, and green grass out the windows unaffected by the heat as they study, (see picture 7). This is another streng of the Hakusanroku campus. The mountains will change red in autumn and white in winter. What will it be like then? That is a topic for next time.

Keisuke Inoue







August 2, 2018

This is Kodaka, in charge of Engineering Context. Today I would like to talk about this class. In the first half of the class, we learned about ethics needed as an engineer, the influence and background of how various technology was born, and the code of behavior we should follow when creating something new. In the second half of the class, we studied an important communication skill for engineers, drawing. Drawing is a skill of communication that is not only a valuable method of communication but also a vital process in product realization through mind development and visual thinking.

The course is reaching the stage in which students use what they have learned in the first semester to create new value. We use half of the class for group brainstorming to devise a theme. Putting yourself in other people's shoes is indispensable for this activity. However, it also cultivates engineering ethics as well as user empathy resulting in a well-balanced understanding of the idea creation process. The verbalized idea reports created by the students will be finalized as visual reports. Next week will be our last class and evaluation date for the students' presentations. I am looking forward to their final products.

Lately I feel that people's response in social media to incidents in society is somewhat off. There is a clear lack of common sense in the general public's thought process, decision making, attitude, and action toward things in society. I believe this unbalance of mind and thought is due to greed, self-interest, losing track of the essence of matter, or unconventional logic. In this age of interconnected society, it is important to retain a wide viewpoint and broad mind. However, it is equally important to look at the essence of things from multiple angles and converge diverse opinions with conscious ethical thinking. This class will continue to focus on creating honest engineering ethics, where students can contemplate together how the engineer should be in the future.

 Arihiro Kodaka




 小髙 有普


August 2, 2018

Hello everyone, my name is Hazwan Halim. I teach Basic Analysis at ICT's Hakusanroku campus and Electrical Engineering at Kanazawa campus.

 I still remember last January when we have heavy snow in some part of Japan. Some said that it is the heaviest snow in 20 years and some said 30 years. The snow falls rapidly and causes 1,500 cars stranded on the main road in Fukui as reported by the Japan Times news. Then in late June to mid-July, successive heavy downpours in southwestern Japan resulted in widespread, devastating floods and mudflows. An official at Japan Meteorological Agency describes the event as  "heavy rain at a level we've never experienced". It has cost 225 death (as of 20th July) and at least 50 are missing. Now, we are currently been struck by the phenomenal heatwave. While I am writing this journal (accompanying with air conditioner of course), BBC news just announced that the temperature in Japan has exceeded the national records. The searing heatwave has cost 40 lives and landed thousand in the hospital due to heat stroke.

This series of event is not only occurring in Japan but also in several another country in the world. These worldwide phenomena have been attributed to human-induced global warming. In 2015, the United Nation has come out with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to promote sustainable developments and to combat climate change. ICT Kanazawa takes an initiative to support the program by driving its research and education toward achieving the goals. I am very proud and keen to progress and work together to achieve the goals.

 Hazwan Halim





July 26, 2018 JOES Summer Workshop

From July 22 to 25, International Collage of Technology (ICT) hosted the JOES Summer Workshop at Hakusanroku campus. JOES (Japan Overseas Education Services) is an organization that facilitates education for Japanese students who have studied oversea. This year, their summer workshop was designed and carried out by ICT. Thirty-two students from fifth- to ninth-grade gathered at Hakusanroku campus for a four-day workshop to learn design thinking and enhance their English ability. There was also a Vietnamese program going on and the two groups sometimes joined for combined activities.

Picture taken at River at Chugu Exhibition Center

The theme of the workshop (which was not disclosed to the students in advanced), was "How can children, the age of 7 -16, have a memorable Olympic and Paralympic experience?" Students' goal was to learn and use design thinking to create a presentation to promote a product or service that would help children from other countries enjoy the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

Vice-President Mukai sensei greeting the students

Since the program was only four days long, ICT teachers asked the students to do some homework in advance. One was to bring a picture of a memorable experience and the other was to choose and do research on a sport played at the Olympics and Paralympics. The aim for this homework was to give students a starting point to define a "memorable" experience and to gain general knowledge about the Olympics and Paralympics.

Group photo of the teachers


The first day of the workshop was devoted mainly to sharing this information and getting to know each other. Students introduced themselves, their expectations for the workshop, their memorable picture, and the sport they researched. The two most recurring expectations were "improve my English" and "make new friends". This expectation and behavior of the students during the workshop showed that they understood the values of English and were keen to maintain and strengthen it. Next, the students were divided into teams of five to six. These were the teams they would work with for the rest of the workshop. To get to know each other Anne sensei designed a scavenger hunt. Each group was given hints that described places within the Hakusanroku campus. Participants had to search the campus to find the places and take a group photo. This activity gave them time to familiarize with their teammates and the campus.

Anne sensei explaining the scavenger hunt


On day two, the students began defining "memorable" experiences in detail and learning about design thinking. They interviewed other team's memorial experiences and categorized them into three groups: experience, relationship and location. Then, each team choose a category and began brainstorming and grouping the experiences in that category.

What is a "memorable" experience?

In the afternoon, we took a trip to the Hakusan Wildlife Chugu Exhibition Center. This center is dedicated to the display of the nature of Mt. Hakusan. There, we watched a video about Mt. Hakusan's wildlife, viewed the exhibitions in the center, and played at a nearby river. Mr. Shinichi Hiramatsu, who conducted the experience, showed the students many insects and frogs that live in the area. The reactions of the students varied from screaming and hiding behind other students to eagerly asking to touch and hold them. At the river, many students used box goggles to look into the river to find some of the wildlife on display. Many of the students caught tadpoles, fish, crabs, and frogs. The river water was cool and refreshing.

Students using the box goggles


After returning to ICT, students continued to brainstorm ideas for their project. They narrow them down to five, and finally to one. In the evening, there was another activity, a paper airplane design contest. Students were given paper and other items, and whoever made the paper airplane that flew the farthest won. This was another fun activity that students enjoyed.

Paper airplane contest


The third day was devoted to actually creating the presentation posters. Each team designed and created a poster that introduced their product or service to make a memorable experience for children. Each team created two posters. The first posters consist of the team name, target persona (person who would enjoy the product), and explanation of their focus area; and the second poster showed the details of the product or service. Each team divided its members into researching, drawing, writing, coloring, and decorating their poster.

Each group created a persona who would enjoy their product

After lunch, there was another activity. This time it was a cake design contest. Each team was given cake sponges, icing, and various decoration ingredients and competed on who could design the best cake. Afterwards, everyone voted on the cakes they liked and ate them. Everyone had a lot of delicious fun.

Tastes better when you made it yourself

After the cake contest, students returned to finishing their posters. There were teams that created extra material with PowerPoint, 3D printers, laser cutters and movie editing. The students were hardworking and teachers actually had to encourage them to take brakes because they were working too long. Some teams stayed after dinner and asked if they could come early the following day to improve their posters. By this time, they had become close friends, and entertained each other by joking and chatting as they worked.

Look at the camera!


The fourth and final day was presentation day. Many of the parents gathered to listen to the students' final results. Each team used the morning to prepare for their presentation. None of them seemed nervous, perhaps because they had confidence in what they had produced. You can view the presentations in the video below. They were well conducted, the ideas were impressive and each students spoke his or her part well. After the presentation there was a mini science fair, where visitors could walk around and ask questions. Later, everyone gathered in the cafeteria to have a final lunch together before departing from ICT.

Students explaining their project to the parents

I asked several of the students if they were happy to go home, if they would miss their new friends, and if they would like to participate in the workshop again. Many answered that they were relieved to return home but would miss everyone. Some of them guaranteed they would come back next year.

Group photo before leaving

I think the workshop was a success in gathering capable young minds to stimulate each other. Each participant was very capable at English and I understand why their parents would wish they would retain their ability. There are few places in Japan for these students to be pushed to improve their English. These individuals are scattered around Japan. They have a broad field of view and unique experience and knowledge. The workshop was conducted fully in English and the students used English to communicate. Their conversation often ranged from AI to politics and I could not help being impressed by their high intellectual. I believe the program was a great opportunity for these unique minds to gather and stimulate each other. I look forward to seeing them grow in the future.






















July 19, 2018

It's Ise from the Science and Technology department. Today I would like you to join me on a day at Hakusanroku campus.

  In the morning, we gathered to discuss details of the Engineering Design class in the afternoon. Today's class was the student's mid-term report of the prototyping process. The final presentation date is two weeks from now. We debated how to support the students during this period.

  After the meeting, I worked on a personal engineering design project of my own: improving the cleaning staff's working experience. This morning I built a bottle holder to attach to their tool cart. Currently, there is no space to put drinks or cellphones and the staff members do not want to put them with the cleaning utensils. I made the bottle holder from plywood, which I cut of using the laser cutter. The cleaning staff were extremely happy and I am considering making more for the remaining three carts.

After lunch, it was time for the Engineering Design class. The students gave presentations on their project's prototype and received advice from teachers and other students. Many of the students were nervous during the preparation time at the beginning of the class. However, everyone completed his or her presentation without any problems. There were many things students could not anticipate before actually creating the prototypes. I believe that they are beginning to understand the complexity of monozukuri.

We continued improving the prototypes based on the advice given. Each group divided its members depending on their strengths to increase efficiency.

After school, students worked on either the extracurricular activity Rube Goldberg machine (pitagora switch), or personal projects. It seems like they are living a fulfilling life at the campus. I hope students utilize the campus's facility fully to expand their monozukuri ability.

Ise Taisei






放課後には、クラブ活動のRube Goldberg machine(ピタゴラスイッチ) 製作、自主的なものづくり活動などを行い、充実したキャンパスライフを送っているようでした。このものづくりの環境を学生に最大限に活用してもらい、技術力を高めて欲しいと思います。

伊勢 大成

July 17, 2018 Visitors from USA and Malaysia

We had two groups of visitors on July 6. One was a group of KIT-Summer Program in Japanese (SPJ) students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, and the other was a group of students from Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT). Eleven SPJ students and thirteen MJIIT students visited Hakusanroku campus as a part of their field trip learning about Hakusan city's "Smart Satoyama City" project. ICT teachers prepared a workshop and twelve of our students joined in the intercultural activities.

Eleven SPJ students and thirteen MJIIT students

International visitor have become common at Hakusanroku lately. However, this group was truly divers in that the all three groups spoke different main languages, Japanese, English, and Malay. The language that they are currently learning is also differed. Teachers designing the activities took this into account. In the first activity, students broke up into groups of six (two of each group) and played the "broken telephone game". In this game, students choose a sentence other than their main language and take turns whispering it to each other in a straight line. If the last student can recite the sentence correctly, it is a success and the group rotates. This was a fun icebreaking game that articulated the diversity of the group.

Students playing "broken telephone game"

In the second activity, students were divided into groups of three (one of each group), and took turns explaining their country. The catch was that they had to use the language that they were studying. Also, the listener was responsible for correcting the speakers mistakes. This was an excellent activity because participants could learn about other cultures while improving their own skill. Students teaching other students is a perfect example of active learning. Teaching other students creates a deep understanding for language in general (even if it is your main language), which is surprisingly important when learning another language.

Explaining my culture in a another language is difficult

The third activity involved a ball of newspaper. Students were encouraged to communicate in the language they were learning and take turns passing the ball. The student catching the ball had to correct the mistakes and return the ball until the sentence was perfect. This was similar to the previous activity but there were no restrictions on topic.

Students taking turns passing a newspaper ball

The final stage was simple free conversation. Nearby groups were merged together and could talk about whatever they liked with no restrictions. The whole flow of the activities was a calculated guide to this stage and worked perfectly. I saw students lively talking about their hobbies, sports, animation, video games, and generally anything. It was a very relaxed environment with young adults from all over the world just chatting together. There was nothing necessary for the teachers to do and they simply walked around sometimes joining a conversation.

Students enjoying free conversation

After the activity, the SPJ and MJIIT students returned to KIT by bus after doing a little shopping at the Michi no eki across the street. I believe the program was a success. In a few quick hours, students experienced intercultural interaction, improved their language skills and had a lot of fun. I am especially happy that there was time for students to speak freely with each other. I felt this was lacking in previous visits. Thanks for coming!









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