Truth, Modernism, and Postmodernism

To what extent do you care whether your beliefs are true?

This is a question asked by Bob Korn, a software engineer, who specialised in artificial intelligence (AI). The question attempts to challenge people in thinking about whether if the contents of what we believe is important, or the action of “believing” is more important.

Before answering this question, I would like to talk about a conversation I had with my Japanese teacher, Ms.Suzuki. The conversation was about “what would be a good  essay topics for students to write about?”, and from my point of view, writing an essay is more about communicating our own opinion, while evaluating the different opinions, towards a certain topic, and yet the essay topics chosen for the students have “model answers” to it. These modern answers often relate to our ethics developed through our education and environment, and they are often already agreed upon many people.

Example Topics “Model Answers”
Global Warming Be eco-friendlyStop deforestation

Turn off lights when you can

Reduce CO2 output

Bullying in school Don’t be a bystanderDon’t bully people

Talk to teachers and adults

The purpose of writing the essay is learning how to write in Japanese, and the “model answers” to the essay topics would help achieve this purpose better, since the skills learned through this assignment is the literary techniques and essay structures in the language. (Of course, if the student wish to express their own opinion through the process of learning a language, it is a good thing. )

This would be the case where the validity of the beliefs or the opinion expressed in the essay do not matter as much, because the purpose of the “model answer” is not its validity, but how its communicated.

Then when do we need to know whether our beliefs are true? the answer is we do not. We can believe in anything, as long as it does not interfere with the purpose of what you’re intended to do. This could be keeping a group of people disciplined, which would sometimes involve publicly(maybe) punishing a member if there are rumours about him/her committing a crime. In this case, the truth, whether the member did commit a crime or not, does not matter, but the action of showing the other members how they could be punished is the key.

There are times when the knowledge needs to be “true” to achieve the goal of what the person is trying to do (eg. proving a theory in mathematics).


“Conversation with Japanese Teacher.” Personal interview. 2 Nov. 2015. 

We see the world, not as it is but as we are

“We see the world, not as it is but as we are”  Quote from Talmud.


I agree with this quote, on how we cannot see the world without any sort of lens. As a high schooler girl in Japan, I dislike taking trains in the morning, or any crowded train in anytime of the day, because of the amount of adults I see who would cut in line when boarding the train. From the perspective of a student in Japan, I would feel this is an unfair situation, since in schools we are told by adults to not cut in line and stay orderly when lining up. I would say this kind of view towards people cutting in line came from my education backgrounds, where in the Japanese elementary schools, mannerisms of working as a group. Also, emotions would have affected my views towards the action of cutting in line since it is something I was taught to be wrong when I was young. This leads to a feeling of being betrayed, and layered with the tiredness of waking up early in the morning, after the experience I would have a really negative image towards the crowded trains in the morning.


My views towards the person cutting , and morning trains are all affected by my emotions and prior knowledge.


When looking at the other side, the side of people who cut in lines, it may be a part of their nature to walk forward when there is space. I have visited China, the world expo in 2010, when lining up for the different attractions and pavilions, I found the space between the cones for lining up were filled with people. In Japan, many people would look around and recognize the order of people, and not squash each other while I found in China, people would try to move forward whenever there is a small space available. This may have caused the lining up space to be extremely crowded, and yet the people there are very used to the situation, and not have a negative image towards the experience.


From the example of lining up and crowded places, it is notable how the past experience and the emotions of one person is able to see the world differently. As someone with prior knowledge and emotions, it is hard to see the world as it is, but we see it as who we are.

I think this quote describes pretty much about how we as humans see the world, and how we will never be able to become neutral. I would add the word “who” to communicate this idea in a clearer way. 

“We see the world, not as it is but as who we are”

Anyone with an identity (or a “self”) will not be able to see the world as it is.

Medium is the Message


It is something we would all have to consider when we receive any type of information in our life. Each medium forms its own message, and its own target audience. The various media we see in our lives includes newspaper article, essay, review, blog post, photograph, illustration, and more. Political cartoons are a good example of “the medium is the message”, since cartoons are often used to convey something with humour, and yet combining humour with subversion creates irony.

Since internet has been introduced into our daily lives, the variation of medium has become more diverse. Many resources we use are not just the older text types such as books and newspaper, but resources such as YouTube videos and artworks on DeviantArt are also seen very often. One interesting feature of online resources are how they interact with one and another. Tools such as hyperlinks, the Facebook share button, and being able to embed external resources in the text has helped with this.

In our English class, we have explored the different types of medium on the same topic and analysed the perspective the source has taken on and the ways it is presented to its audiences.


The Guardians of the Galaxy by Katie

In Katie’s poster, she has focused on the comic series, Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians of the Galaxy is a science fiction story originally a comic series by Marvel, and later on made into a film.The different media she has explored in her poster are the original comic book, the honest trailer on YouTube, and online magazine articles with positive influences of the story.

One interesting thing I found through her presentation is how the honest trailer and the comic both convey a very different message towards the topic. The honest trailer, taken in a form of a video made by fans (YouTubers), is a parody of the original trailer. The medium, parody, is very interesting because it can both convey a positive and a negative image of the original topic through humour. In this particular case, it conveys both a positive and a negative image, since it has talked about how the film is very similar to another famous movie, Avengers. This sends a hidden message of how it is copying it, while because the honest trailers have taken a similar form in each episodes, the video actually sends a positive image because it is advertising the story at the same time. The comic book, being an online source and the origin of the topic, sends only a positive image towards the audiences.

Katie's Poster    


Into The Woods by Sasha

Sasha's Poster

In the second presentation, Sasha’s poster, she has focused on the topic, Into The Woods, a musical. The different sources she has explored in her presentation are an interview with the cast of the musical (an interpretation of the musical), a DVD advert, and online reviews about the musical. One interesting point I have encountered is how because the cast of the musical is speaking from the point of view of being a part of the stage. She has a lot of positive things to say about it. There were also negative reaction towards the musical, from very major newspaper source, NY Times. This source is trusted by many people, and expressing the author’s feeling on this may cause the change in perspective in many people.Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.41.39 PM


The change of perspective of “first person”(being a part of it) and “third person”(looking from the outside) has very different understanding of the topic, and Sasha’s presentation here gives a very good example of how the amount of understanding can affect one’s perspective towards it.


Body Image by Emily

In the third presentation I have seen, Emily has focused on the topic, body image. She has explored various sources such as advertisements, documentary, songs, and a magazine article about the photo shoot of a model. In the talk with her, I have found how the advertisements on fashion goods often photoshop the model to show how “looking good = having a certain type of body structure”. In the documentary she has explored, the topic “body image” is shown as how everyone could be beautiful, regardless of how their physical body look like.











Overall, through exploring the different types of media, we can see how the ways of expression is not only the content of a text, but the form and context also takes a part in the message. Now, the types of media we encounter in our daily lives are becoming more and more diverse, and it is important to pay more attention to the ways information are presented, as well as its contents.

Design – The New Design Cycle

This year’s design class have different criteria for our assessments. Here are the 4 criteria of the new design cycle.

The New Design Cycle

Criteria A: Inquiry and Analysis

In this process, we identify our problem and justify its need for a solution. We identify the research needed and prioritise them. We analyse the existing solutions to the problem, their pros and cons, and create a design brief.

Criteria B: Developing Ideas

In this process, we develop a specification of what our solution needs to have, would be nice to have and what not to have, and develop several ideas for our solution. We choose one of the best solutions, or combine several solutions and justify why the design would be the best solution for the problem. Then we create diagrams, drawings, and plans for creating the solution.

Criteria C: Creating the solution

In this process, we first construct a do-able and logical plan when creating our solution. We follow the plan when making the solution, and justify the changes we have done to the solution.

Criteria D: Evaluating

In this process, we design a way to test our complete solutions for its effects, and we reflect on its success. We also explain how the solution could be improved, and how it had impacts the community and the problem itself.

What If the Link Between Our Physical Body and Mental Thoughts were Cut?

“The moment you close your eyes, your mind is instantly filled with thoughts and memories. “

In English class, we were given a strange task as homework. We had to to lay down on a bed or sofa, and shut down most of our senses such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste (there was no way we knew how to shut off our sense of touch), and had to continue this experience for 20min. (Link to task)

If you were to do this task, the first thing you would realize is that you are reflecting on every single detail of your day. From the breakfast you’ve eaten, the number of garbage bags you have cleaned up today, and every single detail of the conversations you’ve had today. Even the small details of your life can become such a big thought when you are not physically available. After this loop of reflecting on your life, you soon realize you have run out of thoughts and you begin to spin around in the same spot in your thoughts. Thinking about what to think, you think of something then soon forget, and then start over thinking about what to think again.

As this cycle of confusing thoughts spin round and round in your head, the buzzer from your timer would interrupt your train of thoughts. It feels just like your thoughts have crashed into the alarm. As you slowly get up, you would realize you’d have to try very hard to keep track of your thoughts because they seem to slip away through the cracks of your brain as soon as we are physically available. The link between your consciousness and your physical body reconnects, and parts of your brain are occupied by your senses and movement again.

This whole experience of being “physically unavailable” seemed like having a flower to plant without a pot, having a voice without a mouth, and existing without a proof. It seemed like you have all the thoughts without a method to burst them out before they slip away. This process of ideas forming and popping seemed like bubbles in the air. When this bubble pops, you won’t be reassured the bubble has ever existed.

@Jenny Downing©Jenny Downing






This is my experience shutting off most of my senses. What about yours? Comment Below!

ART: The Visual Communicator – Reflection

This unit in art, since most of us are complete newbies in design, we started with the basics: What is design?.  We started a discussion on what the difference is between art and design. The conclusion I came up with was:

Art: More creative, no limitations, no function, represents the creator, and reflects time.

Design: Functional, limitation (having rules), and it is presented by the creator.

And I think the beauty of design is to be as playful as you can within the limitations you are given. In another words, trying to break the rules without breaking them :).

Then our discussion went on to how technology might effect art. Some ways technology can help with art in the modern times is how we gain more and more inspiration since we have so much access to other people’s art, and there are no “physical limitations” (like how sculptures have to have a support), so there are more freedom (like how we can make chess pieces and cubes float in air). It also adds movement in art. Before technology, the concept of “movement” is already a part of the principles of design, but with technology, actual movement is made possible (like computer screen savers).

Then we did our practice in design, using photoshop. Using the letters in our name, we made 1 A4 page which would represent who we are.

Font Design Plan
Font Design Plan


The Design Cycle

Using the design cycle (or the simplified version I have for myself, which only contains, design, create, evaluate), I first started with designing different possibilities for the name design. All of these designs I came up with were cool, but they all missed one key point. They did not represent me. Since sitting in front of my sketchbook for planning does not inspire me at all, I decided to follow my designing process ver.2.0: plan and create at the same time. Here is the product I came up with:

Name Design Final
Name Design Final


Our next practice was to create a poster for different art units, and I was assigned our current unit, the grade 9 graphic design unit. Each group was assigned a graphic designer and use his style in our poster design. I was assigned Gabor Palotai. His style is mostly monochromatic, and plays with space and shape. He also plays with patterns, and uses various fonts as “geometric shapes” rather than actual texts. He also cuts and connects these shapes a lot.

Since in my last practice, the name design, I used most of my time in the creation phase, so for this practice I decided to try to use my time in the planning phase, and create different thumbnails of the possibilities of this design.


After all of the thoughts I have put through all the plans, I decided to combine some of the plans.

Here is my final product:

Design Unit Poster Final
Design Unit Poster Final

Since I had several plans for this design, I have also created a reserved design in case my client did not like the first design.


Design Unit Poster (Reserved)
Design Unit Poster (Reserved)


After all the experiments with process of design, (having more in the planning phase or creating phase), I have decided to spend more time in finalizing, and less time on deciding on the “big view”.

Design Process
Design Process

In the first part of the design step, we needed to define the task. In this step of the design process, we define our client, product, limitations, and possible tools used in this project.

Client: The school

Product: Student Handbook 2014-2015

Software: Adobe Illustration, Adobe Photoshop

Limitations: Must include logo, year, and student handbook

photo 1
Design Process 1 – Define the Task


To further improve this phase of the design process, we could have interviewed our client, Mr.Pomeroy in this phase, and learn about his preferences in design choice and his expectations this year.


In the next part of the design process, we did some research needed for our design. This phase of the design process reflects a lot to the investigation phase of the design cycle. In this phase we have looked at past examples and other examples of handbooks, and analyze them. This phase of the design process reflects to my main weakness, which is to look at other people’s work and analyze them.

photo 4
Past Example – 1
photo 5
Past Example – 2

During the research, some questions came up such as where exactly does our limitation draw its line? Can we change the logo slightly?

photo 3
Questions about logo

Then the next step of the design cycle is to brainstorm. In this phase, I have brainstormed different ideas for a circular object in a vertical page. This was necessary since these layout ideas becomes the base of the phase 4, the thumbnail sketches.

Layout ideas
Layout ideas

In phase 4, sketching, to me it was more about generating rough ideas and sketch as much as possible. I took this opportunity to visually present all of my ideas, to prevent good ideas being rejected by my self before I actually see. From this phase of the design process, I began to constantly ask for peer opinions (The Daniella Box).

photo 4
Sketching 1
photo 3
Sketching 2

Phase 5, design direction. In this step I have cut my ideas down into 2 big categories. 1 with something a lot school like  and something that seems more like the past winners. Another category with something I want to make (looking for extreme simplicity). I have made both versions digital to be able to further compare them.

photo 5
Design Direction Sketch
Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 10.22.28 AM
Dragon idea Digital
First Blue Design
First Blue Design

The tight sketch and the client review part of the design process was a little mixed up in my procedure, since I have had Mr.Pomeroy look at my 2 sketches above, before the tight sketch. His opinions towards these tow design is:

Dragon:  Don’t like the dragon eating the logo, nice drawing, more school like

Blue: Retro, minimalist, interesting fonts, why not use a book cover as a background?

In my first client review, I have decided to use his idea of using an actual book cover as a background of this blue design. I have also decided not to do the dragon design since there have been too many dragons in the past winners and personally, I want the school handbook to be more relaxed.

Then moving onto my tight sketch, I have used the book cover background, just as Mr.Pomeroy suggested.

Along with the tight sketch, I have showed the 4 different variations of logos I have made in my second client review with Mr.Coutts.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.22.20 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.23.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.23.33 PM Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 3.27.49 PM


The first thing he said was “playing with logos is a dangerous thing, especially with big organizations”, so I have decided to go with the original logo, and here is my final product below.


Technology Investigation – What makes a good game?

During the investigation, we have been thinking about what makes a game, a good game. Here, I have analyzed the games I play. Here is a chart where I have analyzed on what good games have in common.

Games I like


Room Escape Games:

(Various types)

– Challenging

– Frustrating

– The feeling of accomplishment when you clear it

– Looking at different types of codes and riddles

100 Floors

– Challenging to finish all, but each stage is at a medium level so it takes about 5-10min to do.

– The feeling of accomplishment when you finish it.

Flood it

– A new type of puzzle, but its not fun anymore after you get the trick to solve the puzzles.

– Simple to learn the game.


– Challenging to beat the computer.

– The feeling of accomplishment when you win, out of 100 times of trying.


– Because my friends played it

– Because I respect the creators of the game,

Graphic Designer + Programmer = Fun Game

– You get to dress your own mouse up.

– They are opened up for any suggestions.

 Sudoku  – Competition in game with people in Japan/Global competitions- Always have a “problem of the day” which is not too hard to do.- Achievements such as level ups.
 The impossible quiz  – Simple yet confusing and annoying- The moment of “ohhh” when you look at the walkthrough- The feeling of achievement when you go through a hard stage without a walkthrough.

We found various types of educational games on Scratch for our inspiration.

This is a simple and great math game, it has good and simple graphics, it is very easy to understand. In this game you will need to answer simple math questions. One thing it could improve on is to make the numbers larger and easier to read. I am thinking about making a game like this, but with a little more action such as using the arrow key and adding cartoon characters.

 Here is another math game. The concept of the game is basically the same, and both graphics are interesting. In this one, it uses a crab to create a “personality” for the player to relate to which is the crab. Having the crab to say the problem would made the game more attractive for little children. This game also has a timer, which makes the game more challenging, and it is endless. Endless games can work out both good or bad, depending on its design. But this game also lacks in something, which is the reason for trying in the game. I think good games would have to have a reason for the player to keep trying, like a story or a competition. Making up a story to let the player help the crab, or making a ranking board for players to beat each other’s scores would give the players more “meanings” to trying the game.
Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.24.05 AM
Here is another game I found on Scratch called Number Catcher. The rules are simple and easy to understand, and this is also about addition in math. I think this is a great game since there is more action to it, and the idea of catching falling numbers with a shopping cart makes the game interesting. Since it has continuous action to it, it makes the game more addictive.
Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 6.40.24 AM
Overall, after exploring these games on Scratch, I think good educational games for little children would have these things:
– Action
– Addictive
– Character
– Simple instructions
– A “meaning” to continue or try hard in the game
– Good graphics
When I design my game, I would try to include these things, also with some originality in it.

Art Observational Drawing Reflection

This unit in art, we have been working on observation drawing, sketching. We have first working with drawing things upside down to focus on its lines, and then on composition and values. The final piece of this unit is a large drawing of a scene (object) of our choice. My drawing is an abstract styled scene, which people would not recognize what it is in their first sight. Drawing an outline for a picture is my weakness, so I chose this scene because it is mostly formed with geometric shapes.

This work I have done is better than my older works, like our shoe drawing. It had more reality in this one, and I did not simplify any part of this drawing like I did for my shoe. This drawing was all in proportion and the measurements are fairly close to the original photo. The crates method of outlining did not help me this time(I think it is better for drawing objects like wine bottles), but I used the method where you divide the paper into little blocks and fill each of them in. I have learned to not use the tortillon(the paper made pen-like tool used for shading) for the rough parts of paper, so there is a clear difference between the different parts. I have improved my outlines in this project compared to the last, where I could not capture the scene as I see it. We had a session to get feedback from my classmates during this project, and I think it had helped me a lot. One of the most helpful feedbacks were pointing out the parts that are too dark on the paper. Although this drawing has a clear boundary for light and dark colors, sometimes there are slightly lighter tones in the dark parts of this picture, which would make it look more 3D.

If I were to do this drawing again, this time I would take more time on showing the “old” parts of this photo(the paint falling off and the slightly worn off wood wall). I think the new looking ground on the sketch is good as well, but it would be interesting to add the effects of the worn off scene.


Picture Coming Soon……

Tech Design

In technology class, we have been working on making a PSA which would benefit the school. I think recycling pet bottles is a serious problem at school since I hear a lot of teachers telling students about pet bottles left behind in classrooms. I would like to create a PSA to help the teachers, as well as the cleaning ladies so we, as students, will not be leaving behind trash. This would also help us as students to learn better manners.

Design 1

This design is just a simple image of someone throwing their pet bottle inside a trash can. It is simple, noticeable (depending on the colors used in it), and there can be varieties of possibilities or variations of this poster. Each poster I print out, and be different things inside the trash, different drinks, so people will not get sick of looking at the same poster all the time.





Design 2

This design, at first glance it is very messy, but the message is hidden inside, which would be fun to search for while getting the message through. This design is not as simple as I would like it to be, and also it is too hard to read, so I will not choose this design.






Design 3

This design could be useful since looking at last year’s HS STUCO presidential election, Kelly’s poster had this design as a base and it was very catchy. This design had been tested before, it is very memorable with simple texts with impact. I chose this design and the Design 1, so I could create a mix of those or stick them next to each other, or used in different places.






Overall, I chose designs 1 and 3, so they can make up a “pair”, and these two types of posters will have the same colors, font, shapes, and style to show that they were a pair. Both of these posters are simple and memorable, while design 2 is messy and it has no pictures(or spaces for it).