GCD – Global Understanding

I am an avid fan of a video game series known as NBA 2K. NBA 2K is a basketball simulation game series that emulates the NBA basketball league, which I am also a huge fan of. While I was in Japan for the first four weeks of summer break, NBA 2K was a large portion of what I did in my free time.

Before summer break had started, however, I made myself a goal of working on some graphic design projects and improve on my Photoshop skills. I hadn’t really started and I wasn’t quite sure of what to do. That changed on July 27th, which was the day Giannis Antetokounmpo, a world renowned super star in the world of basketball, posted this on Instagram:

ATTENTION all graphic designers and artistic/creative individuals!! The best mashup graphic using the following 4 pictures will win a signed NBA 2K19 game!! Please tag me and my brothers in any designs!

Later, he posted that there were to be four winners. My friend, a graphic designer who was also a fan of NBA and NBA 2K sent me a message, saying I should enter.

After around 3 hours of work, I managed to use the four low resolution pictures Antetokounmpo told us graphic designers to use and created a graphic design piece. I posted my piece to Instagram with the caption:

“I need that 2K19”

Days went by and friends in my fantasy basketball league were hyping me up, telling me I had a good chance of winning it. I wasn’t really worried about it, because ultimately I was just glad I made something during the summer, and I was convinced I couldn’t beat the professional graphic designers who entered.

I was right, I didn’t win the competition. I did, however, win something. A like from Giannis Antetokounmpo. As my jaw hit the floor, I started jumping around in my room. I showed my friends and they sort of freaked out. All of that made me incredibly happy.

When put in perspective, an incredibly famous basketball player from Greece who is considered to be one the best players, who is thousands of kilometers away from me noticed what I did and connected with me by showing his appreciation via a like. This experience showed me that the world is connected more than ever before because the ever-growing social media can be used to connect your ideas and express creativity with people all around the world.



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. 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 at a few 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.


GCD – Artistic Expression

On July 4th, 2017, Gordon Hayward, a famed basketball player in the NBA, announced that he would sign with hated NBA team, Boston Celtics. He angered the basketball world with this decision, especially Washington Wizards fans as myself, as we hated the Celtics for beating us in the playoffs. He received a ton of flak for this and was called “snake,” “traitorous,” “lazy,” among other names.

However, on October 7th, in his season debut, Hayward suffered one of the most horrific injuries in sports history just less than six minutes into the first quarter. The basketball world was shocked and saddened to see such a disturbing thing happen to a player, even if he made a controversial decision in the offseason. He was ruled out for the rest of the season, as he fractured his tibia and dislocated his ankle. Very quickly after the incident, NBA players, league executives, and fans around the globe used the hashtag #PrayForHayward to show their support for Gordon Hayward. The injury even received attention outside of the sports world due to the horrifying nature of the injury.

I remember that when it happened, I saw a notification pop up in class from ESPN titled something along the lines of “BREAKING: Gordon Hayward suffers injury just six minutes into the first quarter.” When I saw that notification, I was almost happy, because I was thinking it was karma for joining the Celtics, and also because this bettered the odds of my team of having more success. But then I clicked on the notification and saw the video of his injury, and I was nauseated at what I had just seen, and my initial reaction of laughter had quickly turned into one of shock.

I decided that I should show support for this player as well, and I did this through making a graphic design piece for him during the art club at my school. No matter how much I disliked his choice to sign with the Celtics, I knew that it was an obligation for all NBA fans to show some sort of support.

The above image is the graphic design I made. I made this in support of Gordon Hayward and posted the process on my YouTube channel to express my support of Hayward.

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.


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.

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Q. What were the high points and low points of this week?  What made it a high point and a low point? (The what part of the question is most important).

A. The high points of this week was meeting again with friends after the long summer break, and getting acquainted with new students. This is because I was excited to see friends again after two months. There are no low points.

Q. How are you planning on organizing yourself to complete homework tasks this year?

A. When I come home, I will either relax or start homework, depending on how much homework I have. After dinner I definitely start homework regardless of the amount. I start out the homework depending on how important the task is. If I have a graded project for science class, and a small chapter read for English, I would start the science homework first.