Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル:Engineering Design

July 2, 2019

“Technology increases at an exponential rate” was, at first, a phrase used to describe the accelerating improvement of computer transistor technology in the 20th century. However, it has come to be a theme for many different technologies in the Digital Age. From horse driven carriages to self-driving cars or from room-sized computers to smartphones that fit in a pocket, simple useful technologies quickly grow into amazing inventions that surpass even the wildest of dreams. These technological marvels can only be made possible through the hard work of scientists, engineers, and innovators with creativity and imagination.

At ICT, the students develop their creativity and imagination by experimenting with some of the innovative devices that school has to offer. Students are challenged to create unique designs and contraptions in their classes, and are able to meet those challenges by utilizing the 3D printers, laser cutters, and the other devices that the school provides.

The newest tool for the students to utilize are small-but-powerful drones, capable of being easily controlled through a smartphone app and able to record both photo and video. The participants of one of ICT’s summer programs had a great time learning about drone technology and exploring their countless possibilities, but it’s not all fun and games! Soon, the 2nd year Computer Skills students will be faced with the daunting task of programming the drones to automatically perform search-and-rescue missions. Hopefully the students can use their knowledge and imagination to tackle this problem and grow as future global innovators.

Ryan J. Vicencio





June 21, 2019


 米大統領であるトランプ氏の訪日について報じられたのは記憶に新しい。トランプ氏に同行したCNNのテレビ記者の第一報では、「Sumo, golf, and barbecue」(相撲とゴルフと炉端焼き)と日米間の懸案はそっちのけで訪日したトランプ大統領を皮肉った【注1】。

 ところで「炉端焼き」とは、日本の田舎屋風の店舗で店員が魚介類や野菜を炭火で焼いた料理を提供する居酒屋の一形態とインターネット上に説明されています。したがって「炉端焼き」を「barbecue」という言葉で報道すると情報が少々不足している感があります。たとえ「a type of Japanese barbecue-style cooking」としても訳しきれません。記者の伝えたかった事は「息抜き訪問として皮肉るため」となれば、この場合、具体的な料理形態はどうでもいいのでしょう。しかしながら私は、「日本語と英語が対を成すには難しいよね〜」と、このニュースを通じ思ったのでした。







小髙 有普

It's Kodaka, the Engineering Design II teacher. In today's journal, I would like to send a message to the second-year students.

Many of you may remember United States President Donald Trump's recent visit to Japan. A CNN reporter described this visit with the phrase "Sumo, golf, and barbecue" as a form of satire to point out how little time was devoted to business. *¹

This word "barbecue" refers to "炉端焼き (Robata-yaki)", which, according to the internet, is a Japanese-style barbecue of fish or vegetables cooked in front of the customer, and usually served in old-fashion Japanese restaurants. As you can see, the single word "barbecue" is somewhat insufficient for accurately describing it. Of course, I am sure all this reporter wanted to do was to mock the visit of being more of a vacation than business, and that the details of the dish are mostly irrelevant. However, this news report made me think about how difficult it is to find a perfect match for Japanese and English words.

Every December, "the kanji of the year" is chosen at Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto. People can submit one kanji character they feel represents the events of that year and the one with the most submissions is selected. This tradition is a nice opportunity for people to reflect on the passing year and transition into the new one. I am always impressed by kanji's ability to represent so much information in one single character.

The ability to combine two kanjis opens up endless possibilities for numerous words. For example, the kanji "雨 ame (rain)" can be combined to create the words 春雨、五月雨、梅雨、冷雨、霧雨、時雨、氷雨、村雨、慈雨、雨音、香雨、酒涙雨、and 漫ろ雨. There are even words about rain that don't even use the kanji "雨" such as 天泣、神立、秋霖、鬼洗い、and 狐の嫁入り. There are over 400 names of "rain" in the Japanese language. This is because each character has its own meaning and holds Japanese cultural perspectives such as scenes and situations that people can picture in there mind. Using kanji, we can express smell, color, emotion, and seasons. In addition, kanji can transmit this information to the reader instantaneously. How convenient kanjis are! And stylish too.

The next question is "Are the engineers of a country with such an elegant language equally elegant in their engineering?" Japanese design is a product of skillful handwork and attentive consideration for others when crafting something. The rich Japanese language is the foundation for expressive communication and enables more specific communication of details.

The second-year students are currently conducting fieldwork research to discover value here in the Hakusanroku area. The key to research is to observe the deeper meaning or history beyond what's obvious to the eye. You are in Hakusanroku, in an extremely fortunate environment to feel the essence of Japanese culture. Focus on developing your sensitivity and observe the world around you. You are smart enough to notice the hidden meaning beneath the surface of kanji. I'm sure you understand the importance of your given task and can accomplish it at a higher level.

Engineering Design education in Japan is different from that in other countries. Actively absorb experience and transfer it into creativity and productivity.

*¹: Yahoo News May 29

Arihiro Kodaka

June 10, 2019

On June 3, I had a chance to visit the "Engineering Context IIA" class at Hakusanroku campus. Engineering Context, combined with Engineering Design are the core of International College of Technology's "monozukuri" and "kotozukuri" education. The Engineering Context class is unique to the first and second year at Hakusanroku campus, and explores how to utilize various resources, while also teaching the ethical values necessary for an engineer to innovate in the age of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). 

The second year students were on their second week of studying the SDGs via cardgames designed by students of Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT). To learn more about these special SDGs classes, please read Yamazaki-sensei's journal about last week's Engineering Context IIA. On their second week, the second year students continued learning about the SDGs by playing two additional card games also designed by the KIT students: "Food Salvage" and "ESG Investment Game."

Food Salvage is a card game designed around food loss. Mizuno-san, the facilitator and main designer of this game, explained that around 1.3 billion tons of food is lost every year worldwide, which is approximately one third of the food produced. Also, it was estimated that 6.43 million tons of food was lost in Japan in 2016, which is equal to twice the amount of food aid in the world. However, one in eight people are still starving in the world today. Mizuno-san and the other KIT students designed the game to simulate this and provide an opportunity to learn and think about food loss and how to "salvage" the wasted food. Players take turns drawing food/ingredients cards with the objective of completing a randomly set dish. Each player can discards cards they don't need into the "food box", which other players can retrieve by saying "Salvage!" At the end of each round, the designated cook of the table must create a meal from the discarded cards in the food box.

The second game, ESG Investment Game, is designed to simulate investment. However, it also focuses on ESGs (environment, society, and governance). Players each have money and take turns advancing through the board, buying and investing in various businesses similar to the well-known board game "Monopoly." However, the investments and special cards are designed in consideration to the ESGs and increase awareness in the development of our real world's future. In the final round, the three teams competed in who could develop their world the most. Check the video below to see the results.

I asked the four facilitators how the ICT students preformed and they answered that they had taken the games to several events, but the ICT students were the best players at the games so far. More specifically, they were quick to understand the essentials of the game and come up with effective strategies in a short period of time. Apparently, many players struggle with creating meals out of the food box, but the ICT students effortlessly produced ideas for menus using multiple cards. I found this interesting, as at first glance it looks like they are simply having fun (as you can see in the video). However, my guess is that their ability to innovate and come up with ideas has grown in the past year here at ICT, perhaps without them or me even noticing it. Next week, in the final SDGs focused Engineering Context class, students will create their own original version of the "THE SDGs Action cardgame X (Cross)" designed by Takayuki Shimada and Itsuki Kameda of KIT. I cannot image that there are many schools that take this much effort and time (three whole dedicated classes) to study the SDGs. It is truly a characteristic of ICT and KIT's education.



この日の授業では、2年次の学生が金沢工業大学(KIT)の学生が制作したカードゲームを通してSDGsについて学ぶ集中講座の第2回が行われました。このSDGs集中講座について詳しくは先週の「エンジニアリングコンテキストIIA」を紹介した山崎先生の白山麓ジャーナルをご覧ください。2週目となる今日は、KITの学生が制作した2つのカードゲーム「Food Salvage」と「ESG投資ゲーム」をプレイしてSDGsの理解を深めました。

最初にプレイした「Food Salvage」はフードロスがテーマです。メインデザイナーの水野裕太さんによれば日本のフードロスは年間約643万トンで、これは世界の食料援助量の約2倍に相当するものです。さらに、世界のフードロスは年間約13億トンで、これは世界全体で生産された食料のおおよそ3分の1です。しかし、現在でも世界では8人に1人が飢餓で苦しんでいます。KITの学生はこのカードゲームで世界のフードロスの現状をシミュレートし、世界で失われる食糧の理解を深めたり、サルベージ(再利用)する方法を探るのが目的です。各プレイヤーは順番に食材か調味料のカードを引いていき、ランダムに設定された料理の完成を目指します。不要なカードはテーブル中央のフードボックスに捨てますが、他のプレイヤーは「サルベージ!」と宣言することでそれを回収することができます。各ラウンドの最後には指定された料理長がフードボックスにある食材を使って創作料理をひとつ完成させます。


ファシリテーターとして参加してくれた4人のKITの学生に感想を伺ったところ「今まで様々なイベントでプレイしてもらったが、国際高専の学生が一番上手い」という答えがありました。詳しく聞くと「短時間でゲームの本質を見抜き、効率よく目標を達成するのがとにかく上手い。例えば、フードボックスから料理を作る時によく戸惑う人がいますが、国際高専の学生はたくさんのカードを使ってクリエイティブな料理を作る」のだそうです。動画で見てわかるように、一見楽しそうにプレイしているだけなので、興味深い観察点だと思いました。もしかしたら、この1年間でイノベーターとしてアイデアを生み出す能力が伸びているのかもしれません。来週はSDGs集中講座の最終日になります。この授業ではKITの島田高行さんと亀田樹さんが開発した「THE SDGs Action cardgame X(クロス)」のオリジナルバージョンを制作します。3週に渡る集中講座を行い、これほどSDGsに注力する学校は珍しいと思います。この集中講座は金沢工業大学と国際高専の連携教育の取り組みです。


May 31, 2019 Studying SDGs in Engineering Context

現在2年生が履修しているEngineering Context IIAでは、SDGs集中講座が行われています。授業のテーマは「技術者倫理としてのSDGs」です。これは、世界の課題である貧困、格差、環境などの問題から国内の課題である人口減少や地方創生に対処する倫理観を養うためのアクティブラーニング型授業です。正解がない複雑な問題に対して、自ら考え判断し行動していく力を養うために、SDGs関連のカードゲームを用いた体験型授業ならびに、SDGsと関連の深い地方創生の実践サイトの見学を実施しています。


1) 2030 SDGs

2) SDGs de 地方創生

3) THE SDGs Action cardgame X(クロス)





In the Engineering Contect IIA class, the second-year students are taking a SDGs crash course titled "SDGs as Engineer Ethics." This is a class in which students learn the ethical values necessary to solve global problems such as poverty, inequality, and the environment, and local problems such as depopulation and the need for regional revitalization. We are studying the SDGs using card games and actually visiting sites of regional revitalization to develop our mind and learning how to take action to solve such complicated problems that have no easy answer.

The following are the three card games we used in class. Each have a history of being used in both Japan and overseas.

1) 2030 SDGs

2) SDGs de Regional Revitalization

3) THE SDGs Action cardgame X (Cross)

For the first two card games, players try to fulfil the goals of the world indicated by variables such as environment, economy, welfare, and population while balancing their own goals at the same time. This game is designed to give the player the experience of trying to create a world "where no one is left behind (the philosophy of the SDGs)" in a simulated society. If players concentrate too much on fulfilling their personal goals, the condition of the world will deteriorate, so they have to learn to work together with other players who have different motivations. This is also an opportunity for students to practice their negotiation and communication skills.

The third card game was designed by Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT). In this game, the player faces tradeoffs each time a SDGs is put into effect and has to learn how to innovate and overcome these consequences. Hiramoto-sensei and the KIT students who designed the game visited us at Hakusanroku campus to conduct a special class. Students developed their innovative mind through coming up with ideas of how to utilize the resources they have to overcome the tradeoff effects. In the next class, we plan to tryout our own original card game with the facilitating KIT students.

To deepen our understanding of the SDGs that we learned from the card games, we decided to visit an actual site of regional revitalization. The "Strawberry Farm Hakusan" is a tourist farm in Kamino-machi about twenty minutes by car from the Hakusanroku campus. This farm was open last year with the cooperation of the Hokuryodenko Co. who have experience with strawberry farming and small-scale hydropower generation. The farm's popularity has grown in the past year to the point of fully booked reservations on the weekends. There are repeating visitors from in and out of Ishikawa prefecture which help draw people to the Kamino-machi area. The electricity of the greenhouse is generated from a waterway nearby and prevents the release of CO2. The greenhouses temperature can be remote-controlled from a tablet and is an example of IT farming of the future. We were able observed firsthand the collaboration between Kamino-machi and Kanazawa city and how it contributes to drawing people to rural areas. The fusion of regional capital is a practice conducted not only national but also as a form of collaboration between nations. This was an opportunity for students to glimpse this form of regional revitalization.

Shuntaro Yamazaki

March 4, 2019 Engineering Design Final Presentation

Hello, it's Jonathan the camera man. In today's journal, I would like to share the first-year students' final presentation for Engineering Design. Engineering Design is a project-based course in which students learn various engineering skills using design thinking. In this semester's Engineering Design, students were divided into teams of three and given the task of creating a toy that surprises adults using biomimicry. Biomimicry is a method of innovation by taking inspiration from nature. Earlier this semester, students visited Ishikawa Insect Museum to get ideas for their projects. Since then, students worked on their projects for several months. In addition to actually making and refining the actual product, students created a timetable and management sheet, planned and designed their concept, budgeted and purchased the material, and created a presentation poster and PowerPoint. The Engineering Design course is the "real meat" of ICT, and students put many hours in working on their project.

On, February 21, students, teachers and staff gathered to watch the teams' final presentation. Each group explained which insect they took inspiration from, told their story of development, and demonstrated their final product. Please check out their presentations if you are interested in the video's below.

I had the several chances to watch the students work on their projects over the course of the months leading up to this presentation. Therefore, I know the effort they put into them, the difficulties they encountered, and how far they improved since their first prototype. The students came a long way and the audience applauded their success. However, as you can see in the videos, they are not perfect. I cannot help but relate to some of the teachers unable to not think they could have done better. This is probably how parents feel about their kids sometime. You know they are capable and the projects were great, so you wish they were even better. The students seemed satisfied and proud of their projects and I am happy they feel a sense of achievement. I also hope that they gained many experience points from this project to grow and learn from. You will cease to grow the moment you are satisfied. I also would like to implement this lesson into my life and always ask myself if I can do better.


2019年3月4日 エンジニアリングデザイン1B 最終発表





January 30, 2019

Last week, we heard about the students’ Engineering Design project to create a surprising toy incorporating the use of biomimicry. Several months after their first visit to the Ishikawa Insect Museum to gain inspiration, the students finally finished their first prototypes, and had a chance to present them to their teachers and classmates in class.

The base material for the students’ creations was a Lego EV3 kit, but each group added their own creative flair by 3D printing, laser cutting, and machining additional parts to complete their projects. The results may look unassuming at first glance, but that’s because the students engineered in the element of surprise as well.

An important part of product development is presenting that product to an audience, so during class the students practiced that skill with their own short presentations in English, followed by a short demonstration of their prototypes. Some of the demonstrations went well, but prototypes don’t always work as intended and some projects suffered some technical difficulties. However, these young engineers still have another month to tweak and improve their prototypes before the project deadline, and I can’t wait to see the results!

Ryan Vicencio



学生の作品のベースとなるのはLego EV3のキット。そこに各グループがそれぞれ3Dプリンター、レーザーカッター、機械工学を使ってオリジナル要素を加えます。プロトタイプの一見地味に見えるかもしれませんが、それはサプライズ要素が含まれているからです。



January 28, 2019 Biomimicry

Biomimicry: the design and production of solutions that are modeled on elements and ideas found in nature.

The students learned this word during the first half of the semester and have been striving to use biomimicry in their Engineering Design class. The task is to create a toy with some surprising element while using biomimicry.

In order to study biomimicry and find inspiration, the students visited the Ishikawa Insect Museum earlier in the semester. There, they saw specimens of insects from around the world and also observed live insects native to Ishikawa. In The Butterfly Garden, students had the chance to walk among the butterflies as they flew around freely. Yuya even made a few butterfly friends who landed on him and would not leave! Some of the students were even brave enough to touch some of the insects as they observed them. They recorded videos in slow motion, sketched drawings, and took pictures. Hopefully, the students are no longer afraid of insects!

Returning to class, students have been working on incorporating biomimicry into the toys they are designing. With various elements of surprise, it’s been fun to see how the students are taking their observations and coming up with new designs and ideas. One group even put a lot of time into gluing and cutting sheets of paper to create their own paper honeycomb. The students are finishing up their prototypes this week and I can’t wait to see how their ideas turned out!
on him and would not leave! Some of the students were even brave enough to touch some of the insects as they observed them. They recorded videos in slow motion, sketched drawings, and took pictures. Hopefully, the students are no longer afraid of insects!

Anne Isobel Tan

2019年1月28日 バイオミミックリー






November 1, 2018 Fighting Robots

Hello, it's Jonathan the camera guy. Today, I would like to introduce this week's activity in the Engineering Design class. You can read more about Engineering Design here. It is the course where students use design thinking and engineering skills to make things for society. This week, we are building robots using Lego Mindstorms. Lego Mindstorms is a platform for robots that can be programmed and built using Lego blocks, motors, gears, sensors, tires, etc.

This week's Engineering Design class was divided into two parts. In the first part, students were given a list of challenges to program their robot; such as "turn exactly 90 degrees", "move forward and bring back a box" or "move along a fixed path." Mindstorms has a visualized programming interface, and users can program their robot simply by connecting orders on a computer and uploading them to the robot. Students could do the challenges in any order they wished. There was much trial and error. However, students completed the challenges one by one thanks to Mindstorms' user-friendly interface.

Mindstorms' interface is visually intuitive

The second part was more interactive. The goal was to build and program a robot to fight Sumo wrestling style. Students were given 45 minutes to build and program their robot. Afterwards, they would hold a single elimination tournament. Students quickly began preparing their robots for battle. Many students added weapons to the front, while some worked on reworking the tires. 45 minutes passed in no time, and many students rushed to finish up their programs. Students could not control the robots after the battle started and they had to predict and program their robots as best they could. Students completed their robots and the tournament began.

Student working on robot

It was interesting to see the individual strategies each student came up with for exterior and movement. Some students programmed their robot to advance forward, while others took a more "clever" approach and programmed their robot to back off to the side and flank the opponent. You can see a couple of the battles in the video below. As you can see, things do not always go as planned. The robot that won the tournament looks innocent without any added weaponry. However, its secret is in the tire mechanism. The builder explained that working with the gear ratio of the motor and tires, he was able to create a robot that moves slow but powerfully. After the tournament, students gave a presentation on their robot and about what they would do differently next time.

I asked the students about the class and many answered that they enjoyed it. It was an intense schedule, but a fulfilling one. Ogawa sensei, who is in charge of the class, explained that Mindstorms is a perfect way to prepare students for more complex programming and robot building in the future. This technology can be utilized to create robots for manufacturing lines, rescue robots, etc. in the future. There is a distinct muscle in the brain for programming robots the way you wish them to move and I believe this class was a fun and effective way to tap into that field. Thanks for watching. See you next time.


2018年11月1日 戦うロボット

こんにちは、ジョナサンです。今日は今週のエンジニアリングデザインの授業内容を紹介したいと思います。エンジニアリングデザインは学生がデザインシンキングや、ものづくりの技術を使って社会に役に立つものを作ることを学ぶ科目です。今週はLEGO Mindstormsを使ってロボットの製作をしました。LEGO Mindstormsはロボットのプラットフォームで、ブロック、モーター、ギア、センサー、車輪などを使ってロボットを組み立て、プログラミングを使って動かすことができます。





July 9, 2018

Matsushita from the science and technology department here. Today, I would like to give you a brief look into our Engineering Design class. The first semester is ending; and students are working actively to finish their project.
Since the second half of this semester, students are working in groups of three. First, they discussed inconveniences and problems within their studies, everyday life, and methods of communication. Next, they designed ways to solve them.
Now, students are creating prototypes of their solution. Not only do they use paper, pens, tape and magnets to create simple prototypes, but different tools and material such as the handsaw for woodwork, 3D printer, sticker cutting, compact motherboards and sensors to realize their ideas. In addition to what they learned in the class, they are applying knowledge and skill that they have accumulated from Compute Skills, afterschool activities, and personal projects. However, this knowledge and skill is never enough. During the process, there are many mistakes and things they do not know yet. When this happens, students revise their strategy by asking teachers or learning from trial-and-error. That is the spirit of conscious prototyping.
I am very excited for the final presentation where they will display their creation/user experience.

Omihito Matsushita



May 7, 2018

Learning to process metal

In today's Engineering Design, we learned how to use some of the tools for prototyping. Making a prototype is an important process in the problem-solving process. The class was divided into two groups. One group learned how to use the 3D printer, while the other group learned how to process metal in the Maker Studio. Students used the handsaw, drill, and many other tools to make the final product in picture three. Then, we connected all the metal tablets into a chain. The chain would not work if any of the tablets were manufactured incorrectly. However, as you can see in picture four, they were a perfect match! It's nice to have an end result that you can see and feel good about after all that hard work. I hope to show you more of the 3D printer group in the future. Stay tune.

Jonathan April 26, 2018

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