GCD Community Engagement

I have taken part in the service group, Chiku center for the last four years. I joined the group in 8th grade and am still a part of it today. The service group has ultimately given me an insight into the life of homeless and starving people out there who are in need of care, whether it is in the form of providing them with necessities such as blankets and clothes or giving them meals. Every friday, there is an option to visit the Chiku center in the morning, where the group departs from the school at 7am and cuts vegetables and meat at the center.  Another group leaves to go to the Chiku center at lunch to serve the meals. So far, I have paid visits to the center in both the morning and noon, and so have had the opportunity to prepare the meals as well as to serve them to the homeless. Also, I have made onigiris a few times on the onigiri making days where group members gather to make onigiri to serve to the homeless.
I enjoy being in Chiku/Sanagitachi and continue to be a group member because I believe that each Chiku member’s contribution to the activity makes a large difference to the lives of many people. Showing up early and helping to cut the vegetables and meat for the meals makes me appreciate my life more knowing that people who are in need of basic necessities are within such a close proximity of me. Knowing that the small contribution that I and other members make in the morning will help more than one person inspires me to stay an active member of this group. 

GCD Arts For Life: My Experience in Choir and YIS HS Magazine

Out of the many extra curricular activities which I take part in currently as of grade 10, two of the activities I would like to talk about are the high school choir and the high school magazine. I have been in the choir since 8th grade, and before that in my previous school, since 6th grade, so to sum it up, I have had around 5 years of experience in a choir. I started high school magazine

There is some aspect about singing that I have always liked. Something about singing as a group has always held a special place in my heart. When I sing with the other people in my choir, I love that so many unique voices from each individual blend together to create a beautiful sound which brings pleasure to the audience, as well as us, the choir who are singing. I am currently in soprano-soprano 1 to be more specific, and I have always been either soprano 1 or 2, and I feel that each group of people who are assigned to sing their own part in a song depend on each other to sing their part, and I really like that idea that we all depend on each other to sing our own part and create a beautiful piece. I think that singing as a group in a choir feels more special in many ways rather than singing alone, depending on the situation and the song, but singing together brings me a feeling of happiness and comfort. I had Ms. Bridgewater as a choir teacher from the beginning of 8th grade till the end of 9th grade, and it was not easy to see her leave because she was a great choir teacher and friend to me, although I had only known her for a mere 2 years. She made sure that rehearsal were fun and enjoyable and she taught her choir many important things, such as having spirit, energy, and enthusiasm while singing, which we did in performances using facial expressions, hand movements, and dances which we either came up as a choir or which Ms. Bridgewater kindly thought of and taught us. I really believe that having enthusiasm and spirit while singing brings a lot more meaning to a song, and it delivers the message of the song to the audience more clearly and effectively, and the song also has more meaning for the choir because each person knows that everybody is engaged in the song and so that motivates each person to sing with happiness. Our current choir teacher, Mrs.Trefren, has taught the choir how to sing with more depth and richness and how to pronounce our vowels, teaching us techniques such as rounding our mouth or stretching it out when singing “ooo.” Mrs. Trefren has helped me learn how to make my words sound more rich and full when I’m singing, which improves the sound quality of the choir. She has also helped me with breathing at the right moment during a particular song that we were practicing, Zui Zui. I have performed at the choral festival with the choir in my previous school as well as my current one a total of 4 times, and one more to come because the choral festival is coming up in March which the choir is practicing Zui Zui and Dream Keeper for. I really enjoyed performing for the orphan children at the christmas party organized by the Van der Poel group in December, where we performed Dream Keeper and Peze Kafe in the cafeteria on a Saturday. I really enjoyed performing for the children, especially because it was Christmas and I felt that it was important for us to entertain the children with music which would bring a little joy to their heart. It was nice seeing their happy, curious faces while we performed, and that was when I really thought that singing brought happiness to the audience if it was done with spirit. We also performed for concerts in school and after school, and we also performed at the Food Fair.

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Writing has been my passion ever since I could write from around the age of five, where I started off with words which were new to me and put them together into confusing, incomplete sentences and supported them with sloppy drawings and sketches which came to mind. As I read books and discovered new genres and writing styles, I took a liking to horror, non-fiction, adventure, and sci-fi, and tried to start writing similarly to the authors which I admired by mimicking their writing styles. My love for writing and my writing skills developed from reading and discovering many books recommended by my teachers as a young child, and I think that that has really helped me get to where I am today if it were not for me reading many books. This is my 2nd year in the high school magazine club, and I love the fact that we are expected to produce many pieces throughout the school year for the school magazine.  I feel that I do not get to write freely most of the time in english class, nor do I get a chance to write in my free time, so I feel that high school magazine keeps me motivated to write and continue making creative pieces, thus helping me to keep up with writing and practice new and existing skills. My current english teacher and the HS magazine director, Mr. Kew, has taught me so many ways in which I could improve in my writing.
Here is the link to my writer’s page on the HS Magazine blog:


Media Fair

The media fair was held on Thursday, June 9th yesterday for both english classes. The fair involved two groups of students, 1 and 2, with group 1 students walking around and observing their classmates’s posters and group 2 students standing by their posters and waiting for people to stop by and ask questions. The final large assignment of the year for grade 10 english this year was to produce a poster based on a topic which interested you and to analyse a minimum of 5 text types which were about that topic. My topic was about haafu in Japan, or happa/halfies, and how many people in Japan had a tendency to glorify the image of haafu and have high expectations for them.
I talked to around eight people about their posters, and five people who’s posters I thought were quite interesting were Monika, Aruna, Joe, Sophia, and Spencer.

Monika did her poster on dieting, which I already had a profound interest in beforehand, so the idea immediately drew me to her poster, not to mention the eye catching design. Through analysis of an advert, social media (instagram), an article, a blog post, a news article, and motivational quotes all about dieting, Monika showed that society encouraged women to achieve the “perfect body” through diet. For one of her text types, an advertisement for a popular women’s clothing brand (Victoria’s Secret, well known for it’s tall, skinny, almost perfect models), she explained that the advertisement for Victoria’s Secret encouraged women to diet in order to fit into their brand’s clothing sizes and to achieve the “perfect,” unrealistic body and glow which the female models on the advertisement had. I found that another one of her text types, a blog post, interesting because the blog post featured “7 positive side effects to dieting,” with one reason being “you’ll get better at math.” I felt that most of her text types were negative as they encouraged women and young girls to limit their intake of food just to look like “that girl in the advertisement.” Another interesting text type was a news article, where the author of the article included a before and after image of her when she was dieting and after she achieved a healthier weight. The author explained how her skin was of poor condition and how her hair fell out, all due to malnutrition, and so the news article was more positive compared to the other text types because it warned girls to not take dieting too far.


Spencer did his poster on LDS Missionary work, where he discussed what volunteer representatives of the LDS did on their missions and what they hoped to achieve through their missions. I found this poster interesting because I did not have any previous knowledge on the LDS church so I decided to stop by his poster and learn some background knowledge. One of his text types was a website, and I thought that the website was the most interesting text type because he explained that what he commonly saw in sources about LDS missionary work were that the representatives who went on the missions usually went in twos and were also quite young, most being in their late teens or early twenties, and in that image, there were two young men.


Aruna did her poster on bisexuality which was something I had some basic knowledge about, but I was interesting in learning what she had to say about the subject. She discussed how bisexuals were not usually accepted into society, or frowned upon (similar to my topic, how halfies/happas were not considered “Japanese” in Japan and were treated like foreigners) and seen as troubled, greedy liars with a “fetish.” One of her text types which interested me was a song which focused on how bisexuals were singled out in society. I thought that this was interesting because the song was very fast paced and had high notes although the attitude towards the topic of bisexuality was negative.


Joe did his poster on the 2016 USA election. He explained that one of his text types, a report, discussed how 90% of elections were controlled by media. Another interesting text type he chose was twitter, where he explained that if the tweets about the elections were simple, then the reaction from the public would be simple as well.


Sophia did her poster on teenage pregnancy. She explained how the media used celebrities in their promotions and advertisements to discourage early pregnancy. One of her text types was a song about a guy who found out that his young girlfriend was pregnant and strongly opposed against that because he had dreams and aspirations for the future which he felt would be taken away from him if he stayed with his girlfriend to support their child. Another interesting text type was a tv show which portrayed a pregnant girl’s struggles from carrying a child and the trouble she had at school because of it. The text type which caught my attention the most was a campaign with Carly Rae Jepsen on the left hand side, and on her right was a crib with the text above it saying “You’re supposed to be changing the world, not diapers.” This campaign conveyed the message of early pregnancy well because it featured a popular celebrity which many people looked up to.


Japanese class reflection


Ethics in human experimentation: The Guatemala Syphilis Study

The experiment
The years between 1945 and 1956 in Guatemala was a period of unethical, inhumane experiments carried out on approximately 1,500 unwilling Guatemalan men, women, and children of all different backgrounds in Guatemala. The study, which was done to benefit the US government of their understanding of the effectiveness of penicillin, involved hundreds of victims including orphans, soldiers, mental health patients, prisoners, and sex workers being subject to deliberate infection of syphilis by cruel methods such as injection of the bacterial disease into the spine, sex with commercial sex workers infected with syphilis, or by procedures such as rubbing the bacteria into scrapes on various different parts of their bodies including their genitals. Some of the participants were treated with antibiotics but by the end of the study, 128 male participants had succumbed to the disease, at least 40 of their wives infected, and around 19 of their children born with syphilis. All of the participants did not give any consent for their participation in the study. The cruel experiment, which academic institutions and government agencies in the USA were aware of, was funded by the National Institutes of Health (Yasmin).

The purpose
The experiment was carried out by American public health doctors. It was done in the purpose of benefiting the United States Public Health Service’s understanding of the effectiveness of penicillin, and who also which according to Professor Reverby (a professor who helped to bring the experiment into recognition by discussing it in a research paper which caused American health officials to investigate), “was deeply interested in whether penicillin could be used to prevent, not just cure, early syphilis infection, whether better blood tests for the disease could be established, what dosages of penicillin actually cured infection, and to understand the process of re-infection after cures” (United States Public Health Services). The United States Public Health Services had previously attempted to grow syphilis in their laboratory and test the effectiveness of penicillin on mammals such as rabbits and chimpanzees to no avail, and so decided that humans were needed to test how the penicillin worked in their bodies (Mcneil).

Why unethical?
This experiment, in so many ways, is unethical. Firstly, the participants were not willing to participate in an experiment which would put their lives in danger. They were forced to do so without their consent, and were infected deliberately with a disease. Secondly, infecting hundreds of people (or even one person) with anything which may put their lives or their health in danger, should definitely not be allowed. The fact that the academic institutions and government agencies in the USA were aware of American health doctors infecting hundreds of Guatemalan men, women, and children with syphilis and that they did nothing to interfere with it the experiment is unbelievable. This experiment was basically a terribly unsophisticated method to learn more about syphilis and how penicillin worked in human bodies. The innocent people of Guatemala were picked on to take part in the experiment simply because they were a less economically developed country and an easier, more vulnerable target in the eyes of the cruel people who were behind this.

Ethical Alternatives
There really is no ethical way to inject syphilis into a human, unless the disease was injected into the body of an already deceased person who had given permission for their corpse to be used for scientific purposes beforehand, although the experiment would then be pointless. If this experiment really was necessary, a better alternative is that the disease could be injected into a person with their consent who’s bodies were weakened already and who were close to death as it would not make much of a difference then if they were on the verge of death.

Works cited

Mcneil, Donald G. “U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala.” The New York Times.
The New York Times, 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Yasmin, Seema. “Guatemala Syphilis Study: One of Many Unethical Medical Experiments.”

      Health Blog. N.p., 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Warashibe Chouja reflection on presentation

I think that I delivered what I wanted to say in the presentation well. Sometime my sentences were a little weird, but I think that my presentation was clear and that I had a lot of information to share with everyone. My role was to discuss the first few good characters in the story and to end the presentation summarising what was said and discussing the message which the story delivered which was that if good things were done, then good would eventually come to you as well. I think my group started off quite slow in terms of progress but in the last few moments before the presentation, we really sharpened the confusing parts and assigned each other proper parts… In terms of leadership, I stepped up to help my group members when they were not sure about how to phrase a sentence correctly or when they did not know the right words to say.






Interview with Cole: Japanese Acquisition 将来の夢


Iya Travel Story (Field Studies grade 10)

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12063558_753419114762553_7387158797117350395_nI was standing there on the platform of Oboke station in Iya with my suitcase. The station was, unsurprisingly, fairly small and surrounded only by a few local shops and mountains. There were mountains everywhere. Anywhere you went in Iya, you would see greenery. Trees, mountains, forests, lakes, and crystal clear rivers, and some were even a beautiful hue of emerald green. Iya is a perfect place for nature loving people searching for some kind of strenuous but rewarding adrenaline rush and people who are looking for a trip to sweat out their stress from school and let loose and take a break from city life.

I still remember the first time I set foot onto Oboke station. I took in a deep breath, and into my lungs came some cold, crisp air, giving the feeling of freshness similar to the feeling after chewing a mint. After about an hour bus ride across rocky, gravelly ground, we were confronted by a long, narrow bridge, high above the river and the rocks which were down below.Standing on one end of the bridge gave you a magnificent view of what was in front of you: the rest of the bridge stretched out in front of you, a thick, luscious green forest which in it were the cabins that we were to stay in. The cabins were cold and damp at first, but as my three roommates and I settled in and began to get more comfortable, the warmth spread around the cabin. Although it was hard to get used to the fact that we were sharing the cabin with an incredibly huge spider which inhabited the bathroom, we tried to focus more on having fun and getting along together. The first night went by quick. We talked all night in bed, scared each other, laughed about completely random things, and lifted the covers over our heads after telling each other creepy stories. It was as if we were little kids again, and it was fun to stay in the cabin with my friends because I felt as if we were one small family living together in the cabin. I hated the fact that it was hard to stay sleeping because the cabin was pretty much, freezing cold. Mornings were not any better. My feet were numb and frozen, and I had an overwhelming, strong urge to stay in bed every morning as one step outside of my comfortable, warm blanket fort was a cold, icy world.that awaited me.

The days onward were filled with a lot of hiking up mountains, going down mountains, going down incredibly rocky, unstable hills, and a lot of cultural Japanese food. We went up a mountain on the second day before hiking up Tsurugi san which was where our temporary homes were for that night, once we reached the top of the mountain after a total of six exhausting hours uphill. Although the hiking on that day was a little bit beyond my physical abilities, I was able to keep going because I knew that I would not regret the beautiful view from the very top of Tsurugi san and the sense of accomplishment which would overcome me. People around me were also shouting words of encouragement, singing songs, and joking around, which kept my mind off the hike for a short while. I found that hiking did not only involve physical strength and mental strength to keep you going, but a lot of chatter and talk was involved during the six hours of hiking that day. I really enjoyed talking to people I did not usually talk to in school, and I particularly enjoyed talking to the three teachers who accompanied us on the trip: Mrs. Hamada, Mr. Hilbourne, and Mr.Kew, because I felt as if they were my friends during the trip since the only other time I had an opportunity to talk to them apart from on the trip was at school, and that was almost always in a formal way.

The food on the trip was good when the students made it because they were usually Western meals which I, and probably everyone else on the trip, was used to eating commonly back at home. The food during my stay in the lodge on top of Tsurugi san was not my favourite, I must admit. It was very, very Japanese, and the meals were often accompanied with tsukemono (Japanese preserved vegetables), which I was not used to eating much, even though I am half Japanese and come from a Japanese style family. Even though I did not enjoy the meals every time, I still feel as if it was a valuable lesson to me. I learnt to appreciate food more because at home I could eat whatever I want without a moment’s thought as mostly everything I wanted was accessible and was either in my fridge or was within a short walk to the grocery store, but at Tsurugi san, I sometimes had to eat food which I did not favour the taste of, but I still greatly appreciated it as I was usually starving and was deeply grateful after seeing the staff at the lodge up as early as 5 am to make our meals.

A special moment during the trip for me was when I had the opportunity to look up at the stars in the sky. Since the air was much cleaner and clearer there, the amount of stars which sparkled in the sky was unbelievably amazing. Even magical. There were a countless number of stars, all different sizes, but all of them had one thing in common. They were beautiful. Looking up at those stars, I felt very small. The sky dotted with stars seemed like a load of opportunities, miracles, and chances in life which awaited me. The rough, forceful wind and the stinging, freezing cold air did not bother me while I lay on the ground, my hair sprawled against the ground and my arms and legs open, and for the first time in a long time, I felt very carefree, and all I wanted to do was concentrate on the stars and think of magical scenarios in my head and reflect on all the things which had happened in my life.

The cultural day was our last day in Iya. We had a chance to visit Chiiori house, a 300 year old house lived in by people ever since it was built. The open-air house was pretty large, and the roof of the house was the most interesting as it was constructed using the traditional Japanese method of woven bamboo and cedar to create an amazing, historical roof. After getting to look around Chiiori, we moved to a small soba workshop to make soba, where, to our great surprise and excitement, the television crew from Tokyo NHK was. They filmed us grinding the Japanese buckwheat in grinding mills, kneading the soba dough, rolling out and cutting the soba, and boiling the soba. It was a great experience to make the soba as it was not something that we would ever get the opportunity to do, as the soba I ate was almost always prepared for me. Iya was a very memorable trip as I got to talk to the local people there whom I felt that I bonded with, and because I got to talk to friends and teachers during the hike. I learnt a lot about myself and also about living in a cabin with your friends and taking responsibility for yourself, so all in all, I would say that this trip was fantastic.

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