2011 Student-Faculty Fellows: University Of Wisconsin, Whitewater

Mentor: Marjorie Rhine
Students: Rhiannon LaVine, Heather McFarlin, Scott Nussbaum, Monica Wilson

Independent Student Research in Nagasaki and the Unzen Volcanic Area of Japan

Project Abstract

Four students from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater travelled to the Nagasaki area of Japan to undertake independent research. Two, Heather McFarlin and Rhiannon LaVine, focused their research on securing rock samples from the active volcanic areas around Mt. Unzen for analysis upon their return to Wisconsin in order to determine spatial and temporal variations in mineralogical and geochemical composition in the region. Scott Nussbaum focused his work on careful analysis of the island of Deshima in Nagasaki harbor in order to create an historically-based digital game focused on the Dutch experience in Japan from the mid-17th to mid-19th centuries. Monica Wilson undertook a comparative analysis of the Chinatowns in Nagasaki and Kobe.

Rhiannon LaVine and Heather McFarlin

Our joint research project focuses upon analysis of spatial and temporal variations of volcanic materials from Mt. Unzen on the Shimabara Peninsula. Our goal in travelling to Japan was to collect samples from multiple eruptions over hundreds of years of volcanic rock for analysis back in the United States. At the Unzen Geoparks site, we were befriended by park employees who drove us to important sites at Tatsuishi Beach to collect 500,000 year old pyroclastic flow deposits and then to Mt. Mayuyama to collect ash and pyroclastic flow deposits from the 1991-96 Heisei eruption of Fugen-dake. We are currently in the process of preparing the samples for analysis in a Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrophotometer (ICP-OES). Rock samples will be crushed with a pulverizer, then ground up with a micronizer to get the correct size of particles for analysis in the X-Ray Diffraction (XRD).

Scott Nussbaum

My research project focuses on conducting a careful analysis of Deshima, the artificial island occupied by the Dutch during Japan’s period of seclusion from the mid-17th to mid-19th centuries. The objective of my study is to use Deshima as a background setting for the creation of a video game. My goal is to capture the site visually so that I can recreate it in a digital format. I took care to photograph the surroundings, the furniture, and the miniatures on display to gain an understanding of Deshima. I secured wallpaper samples and drew out floor plans of each building marking down what wallpaper goes where. The lead archeologist at the site provided me with reports for the Deshima archeological project including the blueprints for each building that they have reconstructed. Now back in the United States, I have begun storyboarding and will begin to recreate the structures in 3D.

Monica Wilson

My research focuses on ethnic expression and identity as evidenced in the Chinatowns in Nagasaki and Kobe, Japan. My time was spent doing a geographic analysis of each area. Both are quite small but defined by neighborhood gates marking the entrance to the towns from each of four directions. The Nagasaki Chinatown seems less busy than that in Kobe and the range of shops are less diverse. The buildings in Nagasaki house mostly restaurants serving the same collection of Chinese dishes and shops selling kitschy trinkets and snacks. Occasional bakeries and fireworks peddlers can also be found. The building facades in Nagasaki’s Chinatown tend to copy the design used for the Confucian Shrine that is approximately 500 meters southeast of Chinatown. Kobe’s Chinatown is larger, occupying a few blocks and expanding into alley ways and side streets. Shops are more diverse and within the area there is also a Korean music store, a Thai restaurant, and a European style bakery. There is also a greater level of activity in Kobe’s Chinatown than in Nagasaki’s.