Media Fair – Write Up

In our Grade 10 English class, we recently had a media fair on June 8th of 2016. In this media fair, the students were asked to create a poster on a specific topic and examine at least 5 different text types and analyse each of them. We shared our posters and looked at different features and forms of media. My topic was on the retirement of Kobe Bryant.

The first poster I looked and discussed was Kosuke’s poster. His topic was on beatboxing and we discussed different types of media and perspectives people had about beatboxing. In his poster, he talked about different beatboxers and different perspectives people have on beatboxing. He mentioned it was interesting how he was able to look at different backgrounds of the beatboxers and not just about beatboxing itself. I was surprised how specific people had negative thoughts on beatboxing and there were cartoons making fun of beatboxing. Since I was listening to beatboxing as entertainment, I never thought people had negative perspective on it.

The second poster I looked and discussed was Mario’s poster. His topic was on the running man challenge. Running man challenge is a dance move that has become very well known through the world. He mentioned the negative and positive perspectives and aspects on this running man challenge. Personally, I really like watching the running man and it is something that entertains me a lot. I was surprised to see some negative comments on the running man challenge and some people look at the running man challenge as an stupid trend. I found it interesting that the running man challenge was created by a normal 2 teenage high schoolers and they weren’t famous or anything. I thought that the power of social media was big.

The third poster I looked and discussed was Tobi’s poster. His topic was on Steven Gerrard. Similar to my topic, his poster was on an athlete. Since I am not a soccer fan, I learned a lot about Steven Gerrard and the opinions soccer fans have about Steven Gerrard. Similar to my topic, Kobe Bryant, I found out that Steven Gerrard is a star player and a lot of fans respect.



Concert Kinuta Performance Reflection

On March 11th, Grade 10 Japanese Koto Ensemble group performed a piece called Kinuta in the MS & HS Hogaku concert. This blog post is a reflection of our performance.

1. What was effective about my preparation? What worked best? Why?

My preparation was fairly effective because I was able to play each part clearly and sharply compared to few months ago. As you can see in my other blog post, I can clearly see improvements of certain parts of the piece, which means that my preparation and practices were effective and actually working. I feel that the most effective way of practicing was to slow down the tempo. Whenever I couldn’t play a part or the part was challenging, I slowed down the tempo and gradually sped up the tempo. By slowing down the tempo, I was able to understand the movement of my fingers and it gradually made it easier for me to play at the original tempo. I also thought that memorising the challenging parts made it easier for me to play. Since the challenging parts had complex tempo, I had to memorise each note so I can focus more on the technique and dynamics. Memorising the piece made me able to concentrate on the small important things such as the quality of the presses and the dynamics.

2. How might I have worked differently to better prepare? What will I do differently next time?

To prepare for the concert more effectively, I would do few things differently. I would memorise the song in an earlier stage and way before concert. On this Hogaku Concert, I memorised the whole song about 3~5 days before the concert. This means I only had 3~5 days of focusing on improving my quality of my performance. If I memorised the piece a month before the concert, I could have been practicing to be able to play better in the concert for the whole month. I would also practice the piece consistently. I have been practicing the piece, but I didn’t divide my practicing well throughout the period. This means I crammed my practice instead of spreading out the practice time. As an example, instead of practicing 2 hours in one day, I should have practiced 3o minutes 4 times in the week. Working little by little would have made it easier for me to find my weak points and improve faster.

3. Your overall impressions of your class’ performance. How did you do as a group (positive aspects, areas to improve)? For you individually – how did you do? Did you meet your expectations? What went well? and what will you work on for next time?

As a group, I felt that we could have done a better job since we were able to play so much better in practices. Our performance on the concert didn’t flow as a group and didn’t sound like we were listening to each other. Even though the piece may have sounded catchy, we were not able to be in sync with each other which is essential in any kind of ensemble. To improve this, we should have listened to each other so that we sound as one group. Each one of us have made mistakes during the performance, which was a negative thing. However, we had positive aspects as well. First of all, we had fun performing in front of the audience. It wasn’t a painful thing to do and having fun motivated other group of people in the concert as well. Talking about the piece, our presses sounded good which was one of our goals to improve on. If we could perform this song again, we should play together as one group and be in sync.

As an individual, I could have played much better. I have made few mistakes during the piece and it was something I could have prevented from happening. I should have practiced more consistently before the concert and making sure I was able to play. For next time, I will try to prepare in ahead of time so I don’t make the easy mistakes I did during the concert. However, I was able to play the fast and challenging parts I’ve been focusing on. This was good because I focused on playing the challenging parts and I have accomplished my goals.

Kinuta Part 3 – Blog Post 1

The video below includes 3 parts from Kinuta that I find the most challenging out of all parts.

Part 1

This part is one of the most challenging part in the song. It requires me to attack the note with my middle finger a few times. It is important to get this right, since the accent is on the middle finger. If I don’t attack the note with my middle finger, there will be less movement on this part. In order to be able to attack the middle finger with no problem, I will have to be able to play the other parts easily so that I can focus on attacking the note. I am going to work on this part by slowing the tempo down. Slowing the tempo down makes it easier to get ready for each note and I will be able to produce the best sound for each note. I will start to gradually increase tempo as I become confident with the part. I will also try to practice exaggerating the attack so that I will be able to play the middle finger smoothly in the actual performance. I also have to work on memorising each note by heart. I believe that I am better at this part compared to last month since I have roughly memorised the part. Memorising the part makes me able to focus more on the techniques which makes the part sound better. The tempo is much closer to the original tempo. My presses are more sharp and sound accurate. However, I believe I could improve on my dynamics. Shown in the video, it sounds plain and there’s no dynamics. If I am able to play this part with more dynamics, it will help entertain the audience.

Part 2

I would say this part is the hardest part in the piece. Mainly because of the transitions of the presses. As shown in the video, I was not able to each note clearly. Since there are a lot of presses from the higher note to the lower note, it takes time for my hand to get ready for the next note. This makes it harder to focus on the notes. In order to smoothly play the transition of the presses I will start slowing the tempo down where I feel comfortable playing. From that stage, I will gradually speed of the tempo to the original piece until I am fully confident and aware of what I am playing. It is important for me to memorise this part because it will be much easier for me to play this part if I can focus more on the techniques. I believe I am able to play this part way smoother than last month because I tried to memorise the music by separating into little parts. Separating into little parts made it easier for me to memorise. I could improve on my memorisation and my ability to play each note clearly. I also have to practice keeping in tempo because the presses are slowing me down.

Part 3

This part is challenging for me because it requires to move my fingers quickly to play each note. The movement of the hand is not as complicated as other parts, but this part has lots of quick movements. I have to practice lifting up my hands each time when I play a note. This makes it sound more powerful and strong. In order to play this part, I will have to focus on my hand techniques. I will also be careful to not hit other strings when doing the sha sha tens. When i play the sha sha tens, it tends to sounds shaky because it hits other notes. I have to practice attacking the 2 notes with my index and middle finger.



Kinuta Part 2

Over the winter break, I had to practice Kinuta focusing on the 3 main parts I had trouble playing. The 3 main parts are video taped in this post. The point of these blog posts are to see if I have improved over the practices I have done. The main objectives of the 3 parts were to play each string clearly and smoothly in beat.

– Page 5 Line 2 Measure 3~4 ~ Page 5 Line 3 Measure 1~2

I believe I was able to play shit part smoothly and quicker than last time I have recorded myself playing. I feel that I was able to play with my middle finger sharper and stronger. Since I have memorised this part, I am now able to play with more dynamics and speed.

– Page 4 Line 4 Measure 3~4 ~  Page 5 Line 1 Measure 1~2

I believe I am able to play this part a little quicker. Compared to the previous video, I am playing in the right tempo. Each note of the part sounds clear and sharp. The press sounds clearer with a little vibrato which makes the part sound more interesting. I am able to play this part better since I have memorised the part and I have been practicing in a slower tempo.

– Page 3 Line 1 Measure 3~4

I believe I am now able to play this part with more speed and powerfully compared to the previous video. I am able to play my middle finger stronger by attacking the string which gives out a more powerful sound. Since I have memorised the note I have no need to look back on my music. I have been practicing to attack the string with my middle finger with a slower tempo.


In our koto class, we are currently playing a piece called Kinuta. This piece is a traditional Japanese piece with 2 parts. This piece contains lots of changes in the tempo throughout the piece and it is extremely important that everyone stays on the beat. I have identified 3 parts in the song where I need practice on.

– Page 5 Line 2 Measure 3~4 ~ Page 5 Line 3 Measure 1~2

This part is challenging since it requires you to play fast using the middle finger going up the notes. It is harder to play on the beat with the middle finger than your thumb especially when you have to play quickly. Since this part comes up a few times throughout the piece, It is essential that everyone stays together on the beat. I will have to be able to switch my fingers quickly and play the notes smoothly with my middle finger. To achieve this, I will start practicing this part on a slow tempo and gradually speed up the tempo. I will focus on the dynamics and the technique.

– Page 4 Line 4 Measure 3~4 ~  Page 5 Line 1 Measure 1~2

This part is the most challenging part for me in the piece since it requires you to press the strings while playing quickly. It is hard to press the right amount and play quickly at the same time. To be able to play this part, I have to memorise this part first. After I get the notes in my head, I will focus on getting my presses earlier so that the presses are accurate and ready to be played. This part requires a lot of repetition to be able to master this part so I will practice slow at first and gradually increase the tempo.

– Page 3 Line 1 Measure 3~4

This part is similar to Page 4 Line 4 Measure 3~4 ~  Page 5 Line 1 Measure 1~2 since it also contains presses. I will have to be able to switch my hands quickly through presses and be on time. I will practice slow at first and gradually increase the tempo.

Grade 10 IYA Field Studies Trip

My alarm went on blasting with full volume. 4:00 am it said on the screen even though my sight was blurred. It felt like I have only slept 5 minutes that day. My brain still asleep and my body felt like a stone. I dragged myself out of bed trying to be on time for the train. Everyone met at Shin-Yokohama station at 6:30 am to get on the shinkansen which was a 3 hour ride to Okayama. As we travelled to Okayama, the view was gradually changing. After an hour or so, there were a lot of rice fields and less buildings and technology. From Okayama, we took a train to Oboke station. From the station, we took a bus ride for about an hour to get to our cabinets. The view of the atmosphere was beautiful and it was something that I haven’t seen for a pretty long time especially because I live in a city. It felt very nice to breath in fresh air and I realised that this trip will make me interact with the nature and the beautiful environment in Iya. All my tiredness vanished away imagining what I will be doing for 5 days here at Iya.

The 2nd morning was rather easier to wake up. However, I realised how cold it is and how different from it is from school days. I got out my bed shivering and got ready for the hike on a 1955 meter mountain called Tsurugi-san. Since everyone in my squad played sports on a regular basis, we thought this hike would be easy. However, the hike was extremely long and took most of our day. We underestimated the hike of Tsurugi-san. The feeling when we reached the top was amazing. It is hard to explain it in words, but it was a view that I have never seen before. All the tiredness and stiffness payed of. As the sun went down at night, the coulds seemed to be at the same level we stayed at which made it look like a fog. It was my first time actually being in the clouds.  That night we planned to stay up, but our bodies did not have any energy left so we slept tight.

The 3rd morning I woke up, I felt really fresh. Since I wore a thicker clothing, I was able to get myself out of bed quickly and get ready for a hike again. Same as the 2nd day, the hiking was intense and long. While hiking, we were able to see the path we came which was a pretty long way. I was surprised how everybody came this long way together.

The 4th day, we stopped hiking and learned the culture of Japan and Iya. We visited a traditional house called the “Chiiori” which is a valuable Japanese culture protected by young generations and passed on. After learning the history of Chiiori, we experienced in soba making. The local people in Iya prepared dishes for us with the soba we made. I learned a lot about the history and Iya culture and I was really happy how the local people treated us.

The next day was our last day in Iya and it was time to go back home. As I flashed back of what we did in Iya, it was fulled with precious experiences for me and I was sad to go back to school life. Most of all, I was glad that our squad had so much fun at Iya and I felt we got closer again. I thought that Iya is a perfect place to refresh and learn new things.

Flamenco Scale Composition

When creating this piece, I was struggling to make the song sound like the flamenco and I tried many ways to play each parts. I did a lot of trial and error to find out the correct way or the way that matches the theme of flamenco. I found out that the flamenco usually has a fast tempo in the climax by listening to the flamenco songs on the internet.

PSA – Lack of Sleep

In my Design class, I made a PSA about lack of sleep between high school students of now. At the start of this unit, I wrote a design brief. Below is my design brief.

I am going to create a 30 second PSA video about the lack of sleep of highschool students all around the world. This is a problem that every highschooler had once in their lives and for some, every single day of their lives. I surveyed students from YIS about the amount of sleep they take everyday and if they want more sleep or not. The result showed that most of the people aren’t taking enough sleep that an average highschooler needs and half of the people said they needed more sleep.

In the PSA, I am planning to talk about the importance of sleep and what terrible things that can happen to the human body when you don’t take enough rest and sleep. From the survey I took, more than 50% of grade 9 students from YIS said that they don’t get enough sleep. And only 10% of the students were taking 9 hours or more of sleep which is the amount of sleep an average highschooler need for their bodies to work and function well throughout the day. After the survey, I realised how this is a issue for students all around the world and this should be changed. The PSA is not just for students but teachers who are able to control the student’s amount of sleep. One of the reasons students not having enough sleep is homework. Teachers should control the amount of homework so that students have enough time to rest and sleep.

I hope my PSA will be watched by students, parents, and teachers so that everyone will be cautious about sleep time of students and how these things can improve.

This below is my actual PSA I have created.