This was a small conference that is held every year, typically in October. The conference primarily hosts a variety of Japanese researchers who are working on a plethora of topics in regional science, broadly construed. However, every year, a small number of sessions are in English and these sessions frequently attract international researchers from countries such as the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Portugal.
Two of my papers were selected for presentation in two distinct English language sessions which were also known as special sessions. The first such session was called “Socioeconomic Environmental Policies and Evaluations in Regional Science: Session in Honor of Yoshiro Higano III.” This session consisted of three papers—details for both sessions are described in separate attached sheets— and I presented my paper titled “Accessibility, Vulnerability, and Resilience in a Stochastic Model of Sustainable Ecotourism” in this session. I acknowledged the receipt of a travel grant from the RSA and my presentation was well received. In particular, two discussants were assigned to my paper and both these individuals made useful comments on the substance of my research. Both discussants noted that although they were unfamiliar with queuing theory, they thought that my paper made a new and worthwhile contribution to the existing literature at the interface of transporation studies and natural resource and environmental economics.
I presented my second paper titled “Creative Capital in Production, Inefficiency, and Inequality: A Theoretical Approach” in a session called “Socioeconomic Environmental Policies and Evaluations in Regional Science: Session in Honor of Yoshiro Higano IV.” Once again, I acknowledged the receipt of a Travel Grant from the RSA. Relative to my first paper, this paper was more enthusiastically received. I believe there are two reasons for this. First, many—if not all—of the session participants were familiar with the work of Richard Florida and they understood what I was saying about the existence of inequality in regions dominated by the creative capital using creative class. Second, session participants were more familiar with the microeconomic analysis undertaken in this paper. Once again, both the assigned discussants made valuable comments and I shall use these comments to strengthen my paper.
Participation in the JS-RSAI annual conference has been professionally beneficial to me because it has allowed me to interact with a prominent group of scholars including but not limited to Kingsley Haynes, Moriki Hosoe, Lily Kiminami, Akio Matsumoto, and Yoshiro Higano. In addition, I was able to familiarize both session participants and some others with details about the Regional Studies Association. In this regard, the RSA marketing materials that were sent to my hotel proved to be very helpful. I displayed these materials as best as I was able.
In sum, I think my visit to Okayama, Japan was profitable not only for me as a researcher in regional science but also for the RSA since many more Japanese researchers now know about the RSA.