GCD – Global Understanding

During the summer transitioning into 11th grade, there was a song I found that really furthered my understanding of the black community’s perspective on police brutality. I already knew that the black community was incredibly angry with the police and the shootings of unarmed black citizens, but this song really unpacked the mindset of the general black community and their view on the police.

I came across this song when I was on a subway in the DC area, listening to random rap songs on Spotify. The shuffle function on my recommended list played a song by Dave East, titled “Don’t Shoot.”

Over the song, the pitch of the voice (the age) lowers (increases), whilst the perspective of this fictitious person (intended to represent the life of a victim of police brutality) becomes increasingly more aware of police brutality.

The first time I listened to this song I was intrigued and moved by how, besides the experiences of police brutality, was relatable to me as a kid who grew up in the US for 9 years and a middle/high school student:


“I’m tryna make the varsity team, chill with Stacy and

Shop at the mall, only Ralph Lauren they’ll lace me in

I had the Moncler, remember begging moms for it”


The exposure of that relatability in contrast to the unrelatable quality of being exposed to police brutality throughout his entire life furthered my empathy of how the American black community feels. I understand that while I can only speculate as to how it must feel to be afraid of being shot by the police, I understand on a more personal level why they feel this way, because Dave East created a feeling of a relatable character in this song. All in all, what I got out of this song has been augmented to my understanding of power and privilege, which is why I believe this fits with the global engagement category.

GCD – Intercultural Communication

At the age of 9, I moved from the US to Japan. To say my ability in Japanese was limited at the time is a massive understatement: I probably had the speaking ability of a three-year-old. Other than Hiragana and Katakana, I barely knew any kanji, and just about all of the Japanese ability I had was through listening to my mom speak in Japanese to me. At the time, my Japanese mother would talk to me in Japanese and I would respond in English.

I ended up attending YIS instead of a Japanese public school, because entering third grade with an extremely limited Japanese ability would be too problematic towards my education.

Over the past 8-9 years at YIS, however, I have learned to speak Japanese at a much higher level than I used to. This occurred primarily due to me taking Japanese classes throughout, forcing me to extend my ability in speaking, writing, and reading. My ability is still limited, but I am now very much capable of making basic conversation with strangers, writing to express ideas, and am now several grades higher in the Kanji level than I used to. In order to continue to become better at Japanese, I plan on taking Japanese courses in college. One way I have actually begun to continue grow my Japanese skills is through watching Japanese animated television shows called “anime” in order to be more comfortable with understanding conversation and to expand my vocabulary.

Obtaining Japanese fluency means that one day I can speak to more people in their native tongue comfortably, which is really important to me on a personal level because I have family that speaks Japanese. I have noticed that over time that the more fluent I am in Japanese, the more comfortable the atmosphere becomes with them, as the language barrier has lowered. In general, learning Japanese has definitively showed me that learning a language is essential to acculturating to its respective culture.

GCD – Artistic Expression

When I was in 10th grade, I wanted to learn how to use Photoshop to create sports edits because I loved the NBA and I had gained an interest in digital art. This ended up being my topic for the personal project.

The first “piece” I made was pretty terrible:


I thought it looked good, but when I look back I think it looks terrible. I watched a 10 minute YouTube tutorial and spent little time on this. Although I now think it looks bad and unaesthetic, I look at this piece as my first step towards becoming a graphic designer.


Overtime I kept experimenting with Photoshop and watched more tutorials. The quality began to rise significantly:































By the end of the PP, I felt a lot more confident in my graphic design and photoshop abilities. Time went along when I got another opportunity to further my graphic design skills. In design class, our final unit was to do whatever we wanted, as long as we were passionate about it. I decided to make graphic design art posters for underrated NBA players. When I look back, I think my quality continued to improve:

When grade 11 came around, I decided that in order to continue getting better at photoshop (and fulfill CAS) I should join the YIS Art Club. I have joined and have since participated in weekly free art sessions (1 hour a week.) Since then, I have continue to not only hone my graphic design skill, but also creatively express myself in multiple ways. One way I have done this is by showing support for players, entering graphic design contests, and trying out new art styles that personally resonate with me. Here are some examples of this:

A graphic design piece I made in support of Gordon Hayward, a player who suffered one of the most horrific injuries in the NBA. 

A graphic design piece in Vaporwave style, a new format I tried out. I tried to incorporate my childhood TV show, Spongebob, into the piece. 

A graphic design piece of Giannis Antetokounmpo and his three brothers. I used this to enter his graphic design contest. I ended up getting a like from him on Instagram. 

All in all, graphic design is something that I have done for a really long time and enjoy, and I feel like it was a perfect match for the artistic expression category. Thank you for taking the time to read my reflection.





GCD – Community Engagement

During my time in Washington D.C. during the summer, I spent a total of 5 days in August (a total of 25 hours) working at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, which is a nursing home that my great grandfather and grandmother used to reside at. There, I worked at two separate buildings, the Smith & Kogod Residence, and “The Ringhouse.”

The residents at The Smith and Kogod Residence was for residents who all needed an intense level of physical care and many were not capable of speaking. Many also had mental illnesses such as dementia. There, I assisted the recreational therapist during his sessions. I had to act, I had to do puzzles with the elders, play chess, etc.

To be completely honest, I had rather mixed emotions at first about the Smith and Kogod Residence. It was rather eerie with all the mentally impaired elderly patients around me, talking to themselves, sleeping motionless in the mainroom, some would even scream and moan in their rooms. Not everyone was completely miserable, though. As mentioned earlier, I had to do recreational therapy, and acting (charades, but for some reason they called it “guess the word”) was one of the parts. I felt very silly acting for recreational therapy, because I’m rather introverted when it comes to strangers. But having grandparents who are of very old age of my own who are lucky to not have a physical/mental disability at their age, I understand from an ethical standpoint that no one would want their grandparents to be miserable, waiting to die. This was the thought that let myself know that I wasn’t throwing away my pride in introversion for nothing.

At the Ringhouse, me and another volunteer ran technical assistance sessions that were meant to help the elders that needed help with their phones, email accounts, etc.

I had never tutored or taught people before, so this was a new skill that I developed. Some of the elders there were completely new to the concept of how important remembering their passwords is, and so at first I was somewhat impatient with the minuscule amount of knowledge they had regarding the internet and technology. I assumed the understood what an “email address” was when some of them were confused when I used that term. For some of people, I had to learn to explain emailing as a whole, from the very fundamentals of creating an account and how to use one for some of the users. In the end, the elders needing assistance ended up satisfied, and I was able to develop my ability in tutoring and explaining concept and ideas to people.


Pope Francis’s “one cannot insult other people’s faith” Claim is Very, Very Debatable

According to The Guardian, Pope Francis made a statement regarding hate speech towards religion in light of the Charlie Hebdo attacks that happened in Paris, France:

“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity…in freedom of expression there are limits.”

It is understandable why a very religious person such as the Pope would believe this, religious people naturally don’t like being insulted. But if he is insinuating that Charlie Hebdo should be outlawed, then here is an argument against that idea:

  1. While Charlie Hebdo is one of the most abhorrent magazine brands out there, they are only voicing their opinions through satirical comics, and while it does make a lot of people angry because their viewpoint is very controversial, they are purely exercising their freedom of expression and it is their right if they want to convey their opinion in such a manner.
  2.  Of course, the general consensus is that Charlie Hebdo is cancerous because they are intentionally flagrant towards groups, but if we limited insults towards religion like Pope Francis suggested, then multiple detrimental things would happen. For example, there would be an overload of lawsuits filed against those who criticise religion, and at the end of the day, people voicing their negative opinion towards religion would be illegal, which is government censorship. Government censorship is a dangerous road to go down, because when we start censoring certain opinions, then it makes it more acceptable to censor other offensive opinions, which is an aspect of a fascist government.



“They’re my friends, but…”

Benvolio Interview Photo

                                               (Benvolio explaining his role in the fight)

ScreenTeamMedia. “Romeo and Juliet Kodi Smit McPhee Benvolio On Set Movie Interview.” YouTube. YouTube, 02 Oct. 2013. Web. 21 May 2016.

In this week’s copy of “Montague Moments” we grabbed an interview with the one and only – Benvolio Montague. We interviewed him on the recent brutal brawl between Romeo, Mercutio and Tybalt. To sum things up for you, it resulted in Mercutio’s death by Tybalt, and very soon after, Tybalt’s death at the hands of Romeo. Romeo immediately escaped the bloodstained scene. Benvolio’s take on the whole situation shows that he has lost some faith in his friends:


Q: What exactly was your role in the fight?

A: I must say I think my role in that fight was the man trying to break the fight up. Note the keyword “trying”. My absurdly honor-bound friend Mercutio and my soon after furious friend Romeo wouldn’t even bother listening to anything I advised them to do.


Q: One of our members witnessed the scene, and saw you said something to Romeo before he ran shortly after… What exactly did you tell him?

A: Considering that this was probably Romeo’s death sentence, I told him to run, to be gone, as far as away as he possibly could from the scene. I didn’t tell him anything else.


Q: We heard that Lady Capulet accused you of lying to the prince about the fight to protect Romeo. We even called her today about it, and she is still sure you lied about the fight. Any thoughts on that statement?

A: Well in case you haven’t figured out yet, Lady Capulet was being biased beyond belief. She thinks that all Montagues are some sort of scum willing to lie for one another, even if the person we’re saving is Lucifer in the flesh. God, I hate it when Capulets stereotype. If you know me well enough, you know I would only tell truth to Prince Escalus. Nothing biased, deceptive, or whatever other adjective Lady Capulet used to describe me.


Q: Unlike Lady Capulet, some people who prefer to stay anonymous say that your loyalty towards the Montague clan is a bit questionable, but they’re basing that idea off you telling Prince Escalus that Romeo killed Tybalt. What do you think about that?

A: Well to be fair I didn’t protect Romeo like Lady Capulet said I did, but I didn’t alter any of the truth because I know that the Prince is only trying to make the town a more peaceful place. I’d say that my loyalty generally is pretty neutral, because I would be truthful to people like Escalus, but I would never do anything that would jeopardize one of my fellow Montagues’ future. Telling Escalus truthfully what happened isn’t even remotely unloyal — there were so many witnesses, it would be impossible to pull off a big lie.


Q: Do you think that Romeo killing Tybalt was justice for Mercutio’s death?

A: Mercutio did start the fight… So Tybalt dying in such a painful way doesn’t exactly compensate for Mercutio’s death. Had Tybalt lived, he would have paid some large price for agreeing to the fight and killing Mercutio, but most likely not a price worth his life.


Q: What do you think of Romeo and Mercutio now after the fight?

A: They’re my friends, but… My friends man… Why do they believe violence is so honorable? Their mindset is so ridiculously illogical sometimes. It’s like — don’t they value their lives? I probably value their lives more than they do. I’m not sure what to think of them at this point. Mercutio’s dead, probably regretting it in hell, and Romeo is probably regretting as well, because he’s never going to see his friends or family for a long time, at least in Verona.


Q: Do you think Romeo deserves to have been exiled?

A: Honestly, probably, because he killed someone for killing someone without a fair trial, which isn’t exactly how the world should work.


Q: Do you think Romeo got off lucky, or was over-punished?

A: Legitimately I think he got off really lucky. For 1, had the Prince been in a worse mood, Romeo could have been executed, and 2, he got exiled, being forced to stay out of Verona. Had he been held in a cell in Verona, Romeo would’ve probably been lynched by the Capulets.



ぼくは日本語のクラスに、回転ずしのインフォグラフィックについてプレゼンテーションを作りました。ぼくの選んだインフォグラフィックは特に回転ずしのエチケットの事を話しました。ぼくのプレゼンテーションにぼくが回転ずしを説明をして、インフォグラフィックのがいようをして、そしてインフォグラフィックのユニークなポイントについて話したの。ぼくはぼくのがいようと回転ずしの説明はいいだと思ううけど、ぼくのユニークなポイントの説明は短かすぎだと思う、そしてぼくの声の トーンはちょっとつまらない、と興味がないみたいが思います。


Why They Didn’t Help

On February 2nd 2005, Matthew Carrington tried to get into a fraternity by doing a ritual involving drinking massive amount of water (Five gallons) and then performing calisthenics (Pushups & sit-ups).  During the calisthenics, Matthew lost consciousness and blacked out. One of the four present fraternity members was going to call an ambulance, but the rest thought that Matthew was going to be alright and thought that he was just sleeping from doing all the calisthenics, so they didn’t call for help. However, one hour later Matthew stopped breathing, in which the four fraternity brothers knew he was not okay. They called an ambulance over, but was pronounced dead in the ambulance. The four fraternity members pleaded guilty for involuntary manslaughter, the longest sentence being one year.

While Matthew’s friends should have called an ambulance, it really was just their misconception of what was happening inside Matthew’s body when he blacked out. They really believed he was going to be alright, and that calling an ambulance would be too drastic.

However, there is also another reason for them not calling the ambulance soon enough. The bystander effect, the idea that the amount of people around you can decrease your chance of making a logical choice due to pressure/diffusion of responsibility, is probably a big reason as to why they didn’t call an ambulance until he stopped breathing.

Imagine you are forcing your friend to do what the fraternity members forced Matthew Carringon to do on the day of his death, and then see him pass out. I would have called an ambulance immediately. Now imagine that three of your closest friends are around during this, and they all say that they he is okay. Not knowing the consequences or this case, I probably would have just agreed with them.

Wikipedia. “Matt’s Law.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Nov. 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.