COMPETENCIES – Wilderness Engagement

Developed a skill / understanding through interaction with our natural environment :

Last spring I went on a hiking trip in the Nakasendo. The hike consisted of us walking on the roads and mountains that connected Tokyo and Kyoto in the Edo period. Many trades were made through these roads and the routes we walked on holds a lot of history which was very entertaining since it told a story about Japans past.

This trip was very useful since it helped extend my appreciation of the outdoors, but also taught me some skills when it came to hiking on snow. It was my first time hiking on snow and my first time wearing the snow cleats, which scared me a bit since the snow cleats’ area on the show was so small I questioned if it would be beneficial at all. Turns out it was very helpful, but did not mean I was able to put all the work on the cleats. I learned how to grip on to the snow, if you put a bit of pressure on the ground where the snow lies you reach beneath the surface of the snow and the cleats will be “stuck” and grip on the floor so you won’t slip.

I’ve always enjoyed hiking since it is slow way to be active as you are technically walking. But it’s also has the right amount of challenge since you have to think about your next step, or at least I did since I wanted to avoid falling as much as possible. It is also a very beautiful experience, especially this Naksendo road and has inspired me to hopefully go back and possibly make the entire trail once in the future.

CORE VALUE – Inter-Cultural Communication

Committed to connect with and understanding others within and across cultures. Engaging with people in another languages and communicate thoughtfully and appropriately :

This summer, I worked at a 海の家 which transaltes to Beach house in English. It was my first ever job, but also the first time I ever spoke Japanese for a long period of time. My mother tongue is English. Even though I grew up mostly in Japan and I occasionally communicate with my mum in Japanese, I only use very basic words and speak in a mix of English and Japanese.

WORK

So of course the biggest challenge of this job was speaking Japanese since I can’t call myself fluent in Japanese. As I mentioned before it was the first time I ever spoke Japanese for that long in that period of time so it really helped me push my boundaries and helped me show how being bilingual is a true privilege and a reward. Also as there were many tourists I learned to pick up on certain words in Chinese and Korean or use universal language like hand gestures to communicate which was very new to me but at the same time helpful.

However, most of the customers were Japanese, and since it was a beach house and not just an ice cream stand, I was expected to be able to hold long conversations in Japanese with the customers. Also to my boss I was very careful with my choice of words, and tried my best to use more formal vocabulary even though my vocabulary knowledge was limited, in Japan there are certain phrases you cannot say to people older than you, and though I am always cautious of that I wanted to impress my boss more and prepared what I was going to say before speaking.

CORE VALUE – Community Engagement

Identify and understand an authentic need in local community. Taking meaningful action to affect positive change :

Homelessness in Japan may not seem like a big topic. But it does not mean it doesn’t exists. in my school there is a service group called Sanagitachi and it informs the school community about homelessness near the Kannai, Yokohama area but also we go on weekly patrols at night to give essential items such as blankets, socks, even soup to the homeless. Going to the groups meeting every week keeps my mind fresh on the issue and as someone who recognises the problem myself, it is also good to raise awareness of this.

Some examples of raising awareness in the school community was having a trivia game set up about homelessness to see if volunteers knows the true facts about the issue. Having this booth helped attract kids and provided entertainment for them but also helps get the information through to the audience. Being apart of this service group has taught me about privileges, and how we can and should use our privileges to help improve someone else’s life.

In the photo above it shows some people in the service group and I on one of our night patrols. We not only go on the patrols but we also give the Sanagitachi organization the fundraised items we collected in out school. This patrol happens every week so all the homeless people will be able live more comfortably. By physically engaging with the homeless people and seeing them face to face it can really help people understand the living condition they are in, and individually makes me want to try my best to help out. These patrols also help me cherish the memories since it might not be so common for everyone to do but a great reminder that helping someone even a little is not hard to do and can mean more than we think.

CORE VALUE : Global Understanding

Seek a personal understanding of how life in different countries varies relative to the interaction between power/privilege and economics, ethics, politics, religion, and/or the environment.Exploring multiple contexts through experience, and reflect on the growth of your global understanding as a result :

Last spring I went to Cambodia, to help with the organization HOPE Cambodia. In this trip we helped build the school for future students and also help store a well for a family so they can have access to clean drinkable water. In the video of “Building school” and “Teaching kids” you can see that I and the rest of the team is helping the community. We are working with the kids passing rocks to make a solid floor. The issue HOPE Cambodia is solving is the lack of education available for children, so we have fundraised money, and then went there ourselves to help, so before we were helping as a secondary source, but then we were there to help as a primary source. HOPE Cambodia doesn’t only build schools but also helps build a well for families in need and are on the waiting list.

The reason why it is significant to help people in this condition is because I believe that improving one life can benefit many others. The more people out of poverty the more beneficial actions they can do, in the world they can help each other to build one another up. It is especially important to help those in need or people who had no choice but to be put in these conditions since they couldn’t have the privileges we were given. We also helped teach the kids english (Video : “Teaching Kids“). Learning english is a great opportunity for kids because it gives them a wider option in future job opportunities. They don’t have to stay in Cambodia if they don’t want to and broaden their choices. But also teaching the kids and engaging with them in person was also a great lesson for me and everyone on the trip. It is easy to feel sympathetic when you read about people in need in books or posters and everyone gets this feeling of wanting to help, but experiencing it in front of your eyes and then seeing what conditions they are under could almost make you feel guilty, but then that guilt will drive you to helping more and engage more with them. You get to truly see how strong those people are and is very inspiring.

Before going to this trip I knew I would learn something, but now I not only learned something going on this trip but I have left with the thought of how I made an impact to the people of Cambodia, and that some people in the world don’t get to experience. Being in that environment and putting rock after rock made me cherish my surroundings. It is what most people say after they go on trips like this but it truly is a real statement. You will never understand what people around the world is go through until you see it and feel with yourself so I hope everyone gets to experience this one day when they can. This trip also made me cautious of my actions. A big impact going to Cambodia had on me was when we took a visit to two families with and without a watering well.

In the photo above we are making the well for the family that was on the waiting list, the next day we visited the living area of two families without a well and witnessing and hearing their story of not having a well was heartbreaking. The stories told were stories most people hear, about traveling a long way for dirty water and having to send their kids to work and not school to survive, and it really hits you once you are in the environment with them. These stories could be labelled ‘typical’ as we hear them time after time, but seeing the pain and hearing their pain in their voices is a memory I will keep with me forever. That experience made the Cambodia trip worth it. Before the family visit we saw the kids and built the school which is also worthwhile, but seeing the family was the biggest and greatest experience I had because it changed my view of my life. It has been about half a year since the trip but I am still in the mindset of being cautious about my food and especially water. I have always tried to not waste food and water, but now I take it more seriously than ever since giving back is important but also appreciating the privileges you were given is also important so I am determined to do both.

COMPETENCIES – Work Experience

Evidence of providing work of practical value in a professional setting and building skills in a specific trade or profession :

This summer I worked part time for the first time in Fukuoka my home tow for  at a 海の家, which translates to Beach House in english. The work I had to do at the Beach House was making shaved ice, soft serve, scoop ice cream, make milkshakes, serve food, and be at my best possible convenience for customers. Since summer in Fukuoka consists of many tourists and the beach is very close to the city and where I lived it was the perfect job for me as they were only hiring during the summer and I was not going to be around once school starts.

FIREWORK SHOW SHIFT

I worked on an average of 5 hours a day, 3 to 4 times a week. Except when there was a firework show at the beach, which then I worked 11 hours morning to night due to the immense amount of people coming. In total I worked there for 2.5 months.

Since this was my first ever work experience I was not sure what I was diving in for, before this I never worked for money so I was excited about the idea of earning it myself. There were many challenges along the way since it took at least a week to understand the system and how the Beach House works, and being on someone’s constant beckon call was something I knew was mandatory but a bit of a struggle at the beginning.

Also since Japan takes a lot of pride in their hospitality, as a employee I learned the ways of being at peoples service and following the motto ‘the customer is always right’. As I was always the customer, being in the other shoe helped me understand that even with a small summer job like being at a Beach House can be very tiring and that they are doing their best.

GCD – Wellness Reflection

SOCIAL –

Since I was younger I was going through my lesson of social wellness, even now. Growing up I noticed this stigma of having more friends is better, but I don’t think I ever believed that. I was an introvert as a younger child but that got me to where I am today, which is a friendlier and more interactive version of me, but I know my boundaries of what I should say or not. I was not a social butterfly as a kid and now I can be more approachable, but I still believed that I don’t need all the people in the world to be my friend, and that I can chose who to be close with. I think it’s really important to know, the saying of “Quality over Quantity” because it’s very true I would rather have a small group of true friends than a big group of friends I don’t feel a deep connection with. I have a good understanding of friendship and it’s okay to not be everyone’s favourite.

This helps my social skills because it changes my interactions within certain people. It changes what I share and how to respond back to them. I would not want to cross the line by sharing too much information with someone I may not be true friends with, so with me having the belief of not wanting everyone as my best friend, it can help me in social situations to have limitations on what to talk about.

 

MENTAL/EMOTIONAL –

Like everyone, I go through issues, whether people interpret it as a small or big problem I go through them, we all do and throughout the years I’ve learn to collect my thoughts better. I go through the habit of getting stressed a little bit, either for school, family, even friendships/relationships so I never panic once I encounter something. But I’ve done a good job at not making it everyone’s problem and calming the situation down. I’m not saying that I hide my problems, but it’s just that I learn to change my perspective on things. What usually happens is that I encounter a problem, and I do admit I stress and panic about it for a brief moment, but then i remember to think of the bigger picture, as in the long run of my life. I remember that this one problem compared to the long run is very tiny, and I can only make things worse if I try to make it any bigger than it already is. Having this thought process can really get me back on track and has kept me calm in moments of panic.

Charlie Hebdo : Response to The Guardian – Human Rights

According to The Guardian, Charlie Hebdo’s intentions are to make a ‘casual’ joke and is not a hate speech, which can be debatable. This then begs the question what separates the act of freedom of speech to a hate speech?

Freedom of speech is the right for one to express an opinion without any restraints or censorship, this can allow many people to step out for their rights, fight for equality. However, can lead to other cases such as criticizing a religion or misjudging someone based on their appearance. This right can make people uncomfortable since it allows people so say what they believe: racists, LGBTQ activists, etc.

In regards of The Guardian, I agree that line crossed for hate speech and freedom of speech is when someone or a group of people attack a person or a certain community about their background or who they are. Additionally, criticising someone by features they can not help but be such as their gender, skin colour, and even religion.

OKINAWA 2016

For my exhibition I went to Okinawa to learn how to dive for the first time. I chose to go to Okinawa because I wanted to step out of my comfort zone, and do something I’ve never had before and do something I probably won’t get the chance to do. Diving, and getting a license was a week process and what I learned through out this trip was to be a risk taker, and also learn how to take care for myself, but also to have good communication with others.

Diving for the first time scared me quite a lot because I thought of things that could possibly go wrong, but then I collected myself and over came it which I am glad I did because now I know how to go further than what I think my limit is and be a risk taker. When I went diving, I went in a group. However, I had to learn about safety, and to take care of myself and to be independent. On the other hand, we did after all work with a group, so teamwork was also key in diving. Which meant we needed to have good communication between each other to make things run smoothly and to have good teamwork.

Box Stage Evaluation

The box set was inspired by a play that was mysterious and haunted theme to it so it was natural instincts that the stage would be like that as well. There are not a lot of furniture in the box stage and is all very simple pieces but has a historic feeling to it. It has floral cloth on top of the table and chairs, and one small black leather lounge chair. With the historic looking furniture around people can tell that it is not set in modern time. A lot of movement can be held in this box stage because there is a lot of open space. We imagined the location of the play to be in the country area of France in the era of the 19th century. The basic mood of the entire play had a eerie and dark theme to it, so it was natural for us to make the box stage like that as best as possible. We connected the stage and the historic background together by adding some pictures of families that was taken in the past and putting them in frames to decorate our stage. The colours used on the stage is all very dark and gloomy. Colours that were used were dark swampy green and black and with these two colours it will set a haunted feeling environment. We made balance on the stage by spreading out the furnitures and decorations, but at the same time because all the props have their own individual space, they are in some way emphasised as well. We distributed all of the props evenly, so even if one chair is placed on the front right of the stage, there is something near the front left so everything is equally as important.

Who’s Romeo’s Dream Girl?

 

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Photo by Mateus Lucena

The only thing that is on every teenage girl’s mind now is  to catch up with Romeo Montague’s love life. He’s all the talk, gets love from adoring fans, and is always turning heads with his jaw-dropping features. Keep on reading to find out if you can be just the right fit for him…

 

What’s the first thing you notice about someone?

Err…, let’s see. I think their eyes, yeah definitely their eyes. Eyes are the only thing that sparkle on a person’s face.

 

What qualities do you look for in a girl?

Now that I think about it, I really like elegant girls, just because there’s something fragile about them. Also girls that I just hit it off with really well. It’s a great feeling when you meet someone and click instantly, But mostly I don’t have a checklist for girls.

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What’s the cheesiest pickup line you can come up with?

“If it is not thee that will make my night shine, then let there be no stars at all.”

*Chuckles* I’m not sure, I’m better at it when I feel it in the moment.

 

No~. That was good. But also seems like they just come to you – or do you have to really think about it?

Most of the time they just spill out of my mouth. I enjoy poetry a lot and really good at it, it’s kinda a hobby now.

 

Has a girl ever used a pickup line on you?

No, not that I remember. I think that would be really cool though.

So you’d like girls to use a pickup line on you?

Ummm, yeah. It could be fun. There’s a really romantic side to pick up lines and I think that’s what I enjoy about them so it’ll be nice to share that with someone.

 

 

12804717114_96baecb87d_oDo you remember your first ‘love’ and what she was like?

I’m in love as we speak! And what’s she (Rosaline) like, she’s magical, she’s irreplaceable, she’s someone that you can’t stop thinking about and that’s why I love her.

So you’re taken? Because your fans won’t be so happy with that.

Ok, well I’m not as you say ‘taken’. She hasn’t made herself clear and she has many admirers herself. As far as my fans go, I believe that they will accept any of my decisions, and she is a lovely girl so I’m pretty sure they will be happy with her. That is of course when we become exclusive.

 

 

Have you ever gone out of your way to impress someone?

Well I don’t think I made a big romantic gesture to get girls, yet… although I have used my name (Montague) to get girls attention.

Do you do that often?

Oh no, only to the attention of girls that try to push me away.

Are you saying you don’t take ‘no’ for an answer?

Oh no no no, it’s not like that. You see, okay, I don’t view girls as prizes or some sorta mission to complete. But I like to interact with them and I would like to possibly start some sorta relationship with them, like a friend…or not.

 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Yes of course. I use to go up to girls because I found them alluring, so yeah I think love at first sight definitely exist. But it definitely doesn’t happen often, so not everyone will get to have that feeling.

Did you experience love at first sight with your girl?

Umm, no. I mean I don’t think that if I did it would feel more powerful, I believed her and I have a strong connection so I don’t mind if we experienced it or not.

 

12804315255_7dcfcaecf5_o     Romeo Montague                                                                                    Photo by Mateus Lucena