GCD Intercultural Communication – Learning Japanese Through My Peers

Ive gone to international schools my whole life. Spending time with my peers from all over the world has been a part of daily life as long as I can remember. Learning about my one relationship with the culture around me has been a big part of that. Japan is a complex location with a culture I have worked to understand my whole life. I have taken Japanese classes for the last 11 years and am still not wholly confident in the language. One of the biggest influences on my abilities here has been my classmates surrounding me. When I moved to my current school, my Japanese language skills were not fully developed but I could understand general everyday language. Some students from the school would talk to me in a mix of both Japanese and English.

This was really important to me because in general daily life the Japanese around Tokyo are much more hesitant to speak Japanese to me due to the assumption that I am a tourist. When my peers speak Japanese to me, it is both a form of acceptance and respect. They know that I have worked to learn the language and they are encouraging me to continue by speaking it at least partly with them. They trust that I am knowledgeable about the language and are also students who know that I live in this country and want to help me in learning the language. This action has helped me not only learn Japanese but also to be accepted into my new school, especially through the respect and acceptance expressed through this simple action. Since I have started learning French instead of Japanese, my language skills have deteriorated, but my Japanese peers here continue to encourage me to improve every day by speaking to me in both languages and helping me with vocabulary and grammar when I need it.

GCD Global Understanding – Voting in the USA

Voting is an essential part of democracy. As an American citizen over the age of 18, I got the chance to vote in my country for the first time in the mid term elections. Being able to do this and finally participate in the democracy of my own country led me to think about power and how it differs person to person, especially in the US.

Something I consider the US to be proud of is the aspect of freedom that shapes everyday life. This freedom is reflected in the ability to vote. However, it is important to consider the aspects of some individuals lives that allow them to vote more easily than others, showing that freedom is not simply something granted to every American but varies person to person. Some of the factors that influence this include race or socioeconomic levels. The varying levels of freedom granted to people depending on their personal identity lead me to an important question and power and democracy in the world of ethics.

In North Dakota, there is a law that voters can’t vote from a PO box. This means that each individual voting must have an address. Native americans living in reservations in North Dakota do not all have addresses. Although their IDs are accepted at some polling places (they were in the primary election), they were not valid for the general election that took place in November (Many Natives…). This law is an example of a situation where a whole ethnicity are disadvantaged in their ability to contribute to democracy through voting, showing an imbalance of power.

One of the qualifications in order to vote in the US is that the individual can not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction. There are currently three states that don’t let people with a felony conviction vote even after their sentence is completed (Hanks, Angela). This might seem like a reasonable law at first but when combined with systematic racism can lead to unfair disadvantages. Systemic racism is prevalent in the criminal justice system. While many people of color face structural barriers in regards to housing, healthcare, employment and education, these issues go on to influence daily life. As the structure of America favors white people, people of color are more likely to fall below the poverty line, individuals are more likely to get caught up in crime because of lack of options. Not only is the justice system more likely to convict people of color, but they are more likely to get blamed for issues that they had little to nothing to do with. Because of this, the law that keeps felons from voting has disadvantaged many people of color, especially black individuals in America.

If any one community is being prevented a vote because of a reason like ethnicity or race, the very system of government is being undermined and democracy as we expect to know it is not taking place.

As a white woman, I can recognize the privilege I am granted for reasons beyond my control. It is important for me to be aware of the difference in power and freedom of the people around me and all around the world and to understand the chances I might have in my life for reasons I had no say in.

Hanks, Angela, et al. “Systematic Inequality.” Center for American Progress, https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/reports/2018/02/21/447051/systematic-inequality/. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.

Lopez, German. “The Right to Vote Is under Siege in 2018.” Vox, 6 Nov. 2018, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/6/18065970/midterm-elections-voting-rights-suppression-2018.

“Many Native IDs Won’t Be Accepted At North Dakota Polling Places.” NPR.Org, https://www.npr.org/2018/10/13/657125819/many-native-ids-wont-be-accepted-at-north-dakota-polling-places. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.

GCD – Artistic Expression

Taking part in Little Shop of Horrors

Musicals are something that I’ve always liked from afar. As a person, I’m very loud and energetic but it wasn’t until the end of middle school that I realized how much I liked performing. I really love being a part of something a group of people lovingly work together on to build from the ground up. When I first joined the YIS community, it was two years until I got the chance to participate in a musical. I jumped right on it and ended up with the role of one of six skid row girls from the musical Little Shop of Horrors. We worked after school two days a week for six months and managed to pull everything together in the very last weeks before the performance.

For me, this event was very important in learning more about the kids in grades below me. I knew many kids who had graduated in years past or who are graduating soon but being a part of a group of six girls from all grades helped me to start to get to know some of the kids I hadn’t met before. Sometimes people get caught up in their own lives and grades and it was nice to see a variety of other kids who I hadn’t met but now feel comfortable talking to briefly in the hallways or at events even though the musical itself ended nearly 3 months ago.

Being in a musical also meant that I was able to be a part of the actual music process and bringing everything together from the start to the end. I really enjoyed watching the group go from confused actors to their characters and learning choreography that started out being really difficult but was easier when we could teach each other. The first run through that my group did was also done in front of our first audience. For me, this was nerve-wracking but for some of my friends, it was much more terrifying. At the end of the first performance, I was so proud that we had managed to pull everything together and how well it all went. More than anything I was proud of how hard each person had worked individually as well as together in order to pull everything off as well as it went.

GCD – Community Engagement

Community engagement – Starting the Mental and Social Health Club

CAS was something that I didn’t mind taking part of in the IB, but I found that there were no service clubs that I felt particularly attracted to. There was a great number of them, but each of them worked towards a cause that I did not feel particularly applied to me. In order to solve this issue, I contacted a friend of mine and worked to start a new club that would serve the community like no other group had before. The Mental and Emotional Health Club, also known as MEHC! I created this group in an effort to ‘raise awareness, reduce stigma, and offer anonymous help to those who may feel they are in need of support in any way’ in relation to mental health. I felt that although the school community I am in is a comfortable and positive community, it would do well to have a group that faced these things involved in it. So far, the group has 10 members and we have been planning many upcoming events although we have not yet hosted any.

This club is very important to me because it represents something that I believe is not talked about enough. I have had many friends who have struggled with all manner of mental health issues and it’s very important to me that these people are safe. It can be frustrating for me to worry that there are people around me who may need help but don’t know how or where to get it. This group is something that I spend a lot of time working with. I am careful to plan out meetings in advance to be sure that the time in the meetings are spent as well as possible. I really enjoy working with the other students and coming up with a variety of ideas to work with the school community. More than anything, this group lets me feel like I’m making a difference. Because I am really the leader of this group and the creator, it allows me to make it whatever I want and not need to follow what past leaders of the group have done. Starting the group from scratch has been very rewarding for me mainly because I get to be such a big part of every project we do from start to finish and I get to see the effect we have on the school community.

Recently, a student from a nearby school got in a car crash and was tragically killed. In order for us to support this school, we are working towards folding 1000 cranes to give to them. In the Japanese custom, 1000 cranes are a symbol of hope or a wish. We decided to do this for the school but also as a way to bring the community together. We spent one Thursday folding and although we only got to about 450 out of 1000, the folding continues. It was really nice to watch people from the community drop in and out teaching each other and having a calm Thursday afternoon. This project is one example of how I hope to see the community come together as a result of the MEHC. Although this club is only at its beginning, I’m looking forward to continuing to watch it grow and be a part of the school community.

l’nourriture de france!

Bonjour mes amis!

Je parle de mon expérience de la cuisine française! Le Français nourriture est tres bon. Mais la coculture est si vieux, la nourriture est tres développé est il y a beaucoup de variété les repas qui sont délicieux.

Au Japon, nous mangeons surtout repas avec le riz et le poisson. Ce sont aussi autre repas traditionnels comme le sushi et le porc pané, mais il y’n pas la fromage et très peu les pâtes et le pain. J’aime la nourriture de français car il y a beaucoup  pain et steak frites et aussi les pâtes et les desserts. Je recommanderais le steak-frites et les pâtes. En mangeant en france, assurez-tu delaisse tes mains sur la table tout le temps. C’est aussi important en Japon montrer que tu as rien à cacher, main je trove que c’est intérssant.

Au français, il y a aussi certians troubles de l’ailmentation: la boulimie et l’anorexie. Ceux-ci sont une maladie où la personne d’avoir honte de il corps, alors qu’ils ne mange pas correctement. C’est tres mal pour la santé, et est grave.

Et toi? Qu’est ce que tu pense de l’nourriture de france? Dites-moi dans les comments!


Charlie Hebdo Free Speech Response

In 2016, a magazine called Charlie Hebdo was attacked by terrorists. The two men who attacked them had been angered by satirical comics based on Mohammed and the Islamic culture that were created by the magazine. This terrorist attack raised bigger questions all around the world that pertained to free speech. There have been a variety of responses in the media about this topic, but there continues to be a large dispute involving the definition of ‘free speech’ and the extremes media can go to in expressing opinions and ideas. In this particular case, anyone not Islamic really has a subjective perspective on the issue, however, it is important to look at the big picture. Although this pushback has been based on media’s hurtful expressions, when it comes to the media, all thoughts should be expressed. This is because it is important for any free country that the media is as widespread in its opinions as possible in order for the country to improve and progress. This involves no or very little censoring of the media, even in controversial cases because all media created is simply an expression of an opinion. In any expression, there will always be opinions that a group of people will not agree with or get offended by. It is therefore best to let all opinions be heard, as they do not always represent the whole country or community.

Reflection on Expeditions

What were the most important parts of this trip for you?

From this hiking expedition, I learned not only how to hike but how to work together in order to get from one place to another. The hike itself was in the mountains. We each had a job. My job was time-keeper, which meant I had to keep the distance and time we had been going. I enjoyed having this job because it felt nice to be helpful to everyone and to be able to be on top of what had happened so far. I felt much more comfortable because knowing the distance and time kept me from feeling like the trip was endless and I could be fully aware of what was happening around me.

Before this trip, I had never really been on a long hike before. I had also never been camping despite my family’s love of the outdoors. Because of that, this experience was completely new for me even though I already had the majority of skills required for it. I enjoyed camping despite having difficulties at first setting up the tent as well as taking it down. Doing this, however, took teamwork, and despite taking the tent out of the bag, folding it better and putting it back about five times on the first day, when we were finally able to do it well, everyone in our tent was relieved and proud of the new skill we had acquired. Our group was also the only group with five people in a four person tent. It was tight but also cozy. As someone who tends to spend more time with boys than girls, it was nice to have a change and spend evenings talking about more personal topics for a change.

The wilderness is an important part of our lives but because we spend so much time in the city and get out so little, we often find ourselves focusing on the issues in our lives and getting very stressed. When we go into the wilderness, we all learn that the world is so much bigger than what we experience on a daily basis. This helps to clear our head and improve our overall interpertation of life.

G10 Interview Reflection Claire – Japanese


  1. うまくいったことはぜんぶのことばわったことです。へんじはできました。
  2. ことばをたくさんおぼえていないので、へんじはちよっとへたでした。
  3. きょねんの speaking skill とくらべると、もっとことばをえらべて、かいはをじょうずにできた。
  4. もっとむずかしいしつもんをかいて、もっとこうどなことばをつかえるようになりたいです。

Mercutio, Crashing Parties Again??!!

Mercutio, Lover, Fighter, and party animal, is a man beloved by Romeo and the Montagues. Mercutio is related to the Prince, and is known to be the jokester of the city. Mercurio is known to have many sweethearts and has has a reputation for being a heart-breaker. Although many of these rumours seem to be just  that, Mercutio has also been seen all over the city of Verona at all times of the night. This, however, might be due to the fact that he goes to many parties and has often been described as ‘the life of any party’, and it has been said that there is no good party without him. Most nights, he can be found at wherever celebration is taking place, entertaining others and dancing to whatever music he wants to. Mercutio has a constant positive attitude and often does his best to be there for his friends and is rumoured to have supported Romeo in his times of sadness and peril. He tends to act unworried and carefree in tense situations, and is often fun for new people to meet. Despite Mercutio’s love toward certain ladies and his loyalty to friends, he is also a fighter, and has been the cause of many a brawl between the montages and capulets. He is known to be good with a sword, and even better at jousts of words, involving wit and teasing. Mercurio’s carefree attitude helps him to be more easygoing in this tense situation, making any fight involving him more interesting, and usually, less violent.

How many times have you been to the hospital due to fight related injury?

Well, I have never actually been to a hospital for injuries related to fights, although I have sent multiple people to the emergency room for burns to their egos.

What’s the last compliment you got?

This girl I was talking to said she thought I was really brave for being unafraid in fights. Of course, I get that a lot. I’m quite popular with the ladies.

What’s happening tonight?

Party. At the Capulet’s. WE’RE GONNA CRASH IT!

Who did you hang out with most recently?

Obviously my best friends Romeo and Benvolio!

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I mean, I don’t think It’s a completely crazy idea. Although I do think that in order to fully love someone you have to know them and understand the kind of person they are.

Ever been in love?

Yeah, but it’s always been fleeting and I’m not even sure if it was real.

Who are you looking forward to seeing?

Romeo tonight! It’s gonna be a crazy night!

What are your bad habits?

Depends what you think is a bad habit. Some people think it’s not good to fight with other people, but how else could we solve conflicts? I can be very loud and flamboyant at times  and this can be annoying for the people around me. But what’s fun without a bit of noise? I’ve also been told I can be a bit misogynistic towards woman, but whatever.

Do you play sports?

Sword fighting of course. I used to go along with Prince Esculas and watch him fight crime when I was smaller, so you could say I learned from the best.

What do you think about the Capulets?

Those hot-headed bastards have hurt my friends time and time again. They do not deserve the respect they are given by both the prince and the people of Verona. One day, that Prince of Cats will get what he deserves.

Drama Stage

IMG_5765 IMG_8544

Kent and I worked on a stage based on the script for a play titled ‘The Intruder’. We both designed our own stage, but ended up using my design. In order for my stage to have everything it needed from the script, I went through the script and highlighted all the things I would need.

When I first designed the stage, It was exactly a rectangle. It was not until I began to actually build the stage that I realised it should be open a bit on the sides so all of the audience could see the walls. I also made a separate room behind the main one for the maid. Originally, I was going to only have only a little space behind the back door, but I decided to add a larger space so that lighting could be controlled better from behind the window on the back of the wall. In my stage design, I also did not have a ceiling, but at the last moment, I decided to add one. This is mostly for acoustics rather than visual appeal. It will also help the sound effects that must be used to show the character ‘death’.

I decided to include the garden as part of the stage because I wanted the house to be more intricate than just the house. The garden also shows where the house is because most houses in cities or largely populated places do not have large gardens with ponds. There are also two dog houses that are briefly mentioned when one of the daughter is looking outside. These might see m unimportant, but in reality, it is a warning because it is the first sign something strange is happening that the dogs do not stir, yet the swans swim away from the direction of the entrance of the door.

In the main room, I decided to put out seven chairs for each of the characters: 3 daughters, an uncle, a father a grandfather, a mother (although she is recovering from childbirth and does not appear in the script). I did not put out a chair for the newborn child because it is talked about negatively, and is not regarded with much respect or love, therefor does not seem to deserve a chair at the table. I also put the chairs all facing the audience, although they will never be sat in all at the same time throughout the play.

I tried to use mostly brown colors for the room, although making chairs was difficult, so I made them a little more modern. The doors are covered in material, meant to represent the intricate carvings that are often put on doors in this time. There is a large amount of space for the characters to move around. This is helpful for the director in case he wants to make the character ‘death’ an actual character and have him move around the room without actually interacting with any of the characters. It also helps the focus to stay on the characters rather than the things around them. I designed this to be more of a universal setting, although it had some European colors of the time it was set in that were used.

Because the mood of this play is darker and more negative, the brown colors used are appropriate because they are more dramatic and generally reflect less light. The ceiling also helps this mood to come across because it encloses the audience and makes the whole scene more intimate.

Most of the scene is balanced so that the audience will be more focused on the characters. This is important because there is not much that happens in the room itself, but more of it is to do with the characters used and the sound effected that effect what happens in the scene.