GCD : Personal Goal

       4. PERSONAL GOAL

Being able to engage with the school community as a photographer and a videographer, has brought me a sense of personal accomplishment and boosted my motivation levels as an artist. Photography and videography is my hobby as well as my passion, I have had the opportunity to help the school’s communications department, and also other communal aspects of the school such as photographing and filming sports games, concerts, and other community events. Furthermore, I took this as an opportunity to begin experimenting with my freshly sparked passion.

4:30 AM, I awaken to the sound of my piercing alarm, dragging my consciousness out of bed. The freshly orange sunlight penetrates the curtains, left open on purpose to wake us up at this early hour. This was no ordinary school morning. This was our fourth attempt at filming a sunrise scene for a short film project. In spite of lasting only a few seconds, this scene was arguably the hardest of all, both mentally and physically, although its significance to the story made it worth the effort.  

Six months ago there was a spark inside me wanting to try filmmaking for the first time. My curiosity and rising passion for this artform was waiting to be put into action. Out of all the art forms I’ve explored in my artistic past, filmmaking was a first. While I nervously waited for the IB program to slowly begin taking over my life, I contemplated in my bed, in the train, in the bus, and especially in the shower. With no prior experience I was fearful, although I knew that there was only one way to learn: by experiencing it first hand. I challenged myself to direct, write, shoot, and edit, and convinced my friend to act the lead role. I aimed to enter the local student film festival in May. My worries were suddenly blown away by the exhilaration of my ambitions, channelling any negative stress into productive stress.

We filmed weekend after weekend at his house, where the story took place. During spring break we traveled for shots we couldn’t get where we lived. We took advantage of time and kept going back to reshoot, for that ‘perfect’ shot. We learned from our mistakes and reflected after every session, but before we knew it, two months had blown right past. Hours and hours of work only added up to a minute in the final cut, and my friend and I began to feel exhausted and frustrated. Behind all the stress however was the true taste of filmmaking, so we persisted, working past midnight every session.

By May, the deadline was around the corner along with exams, and we were still unfinished. Upon finishing scenes at the last minute, I finally submitted my piece in time. I brought my exam notes and studied while I attended the film festival, which took place on the weekend before exams. I felt crazy for spending a ridiculous amount of time on just a five minute piece of film, but I realized that the hard times are what makes it worth in the end. All the stress built up inside me transformed into joy, pride, and relief. My risky venture resulted in four awards for excellence in editing, writing, photography, and production design.

I walked out of the film festival with much more than just these awards. I learned what I love doing, what I want to strive and dream for in the future. I learned what makes filmmaking such a powerful art form. In such a highly collaborative field, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With great chemistry comes great power over the end product. I was grateful to have my partner who helped me throughout and to be able to have fun, learn about each other, and be productive simultaneously. I learned that with great freedom of time comes great responsibility of time. Especially for young students during our crucial years of education, many of us cannot help the tendency to leave important work to the last minute. We must not take time for granted, even when it feels like we have all the time in the world. I must admit I speak from personal experience, although this film project embedded the importance of planning into my head. Ironically, this was the message of my film – the consequences of procrastination.

The opportunity to pursue my passion and help the community at the same time has been a significant part of my high school career as an art student – the practice of photography has not only led me to discover a passion for filmmaking, but it has also opened up a new dream for the future. Of course, it is impossible to say what I will and will not become in the future. Nevertheless, having a passion and an area of interest that you’re willing to put more than just 100% of your time and effort into, is a priceless opportunity. My artistic goals of high school has allowed me to unveil the feeling of inspiration and aspiration, both values of which will continue to shape my future.

GCD : Inter-Cultural Communication

       3. INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION

One great advantage of playing varsity sports in an international school is the tournament that takes place at one of six schools, half of which are schools from different parts of Japan and the other half in different parts of Korea. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to travel to Seoul as a member of the varsity football/soccer squad. Despite my expeditions trip in freshmen year, this was my first time traveling to another East Asian country, other than Japan, where I live. Similar to Japan, South Korea is a first-world Asian country, much smaller in size compared to Japan, though the culture and language are quite different with some minor similarities in the social dynamics.

We were housed by an opponent player from the host school, and my three-day trip consisted of playing soccer and indulging in Korean culture such as eating Korean food. What I found most engaging about the experience was not the soccer tournament – It was experiencing and learning a new culture. I was proud to able to comfortably greet in Korean by the end of my stay – even if this may seem like an obvious skill to be able to acquire, I believe it is a big step toward indulging yourself in the culture. Being able to communicate your basic mannerisms shows that you’re making the effort to connect with the culture and the people, a crucial first step into inter-cultural communication. Attending the tournament was given to us as an option at first, given that it involves extra costs to cover travel fees, as well as having to dedicate the last few days out of the week.

As someone who’s lived in Japan for all his life and has not lived anywhere else, this opportunity to experience a new Asian culture was a very impactful experience in expanding my identity of being half Asian. Not only this, but I’ve now gotten a better sense of where my Korean friends have come from, as opposed to when I previously could not grasp a full understanding of what Korean culture is. I was in fact intimidated by the academically rigorous expectations of Korean society, as well as my lack of knowledge on the customs. Similar to Japanese culture, precise customs are hard to follow especially when in the shoes of a first-time visitor, though what I came to realize was different. In the end, though, I found that Korean culture was very similar to Japanese culture. Everything from the urban architecture to the mannerism, I found that the similarity made it easier for me to find comfort and adaptation within this new country. This is perhaps why my Korean friends adapt to Japanese culture so well.

We as international students should take this as an opportunity to be able to embrace our inter-cultural privileges, to become better communicators globally.

GCD : Global Understanding

       2. GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING

The annual expeditions week is one of the best parts of the school year, especially being given the opportunity to be together and bond within the small community of the international school I attend. My freshmen year out of all is arguably one of the most impactful trips I have experienced – a week spent in Phuket, Thailand. Unlike all other trips, this trip emphasized on interacting with and helping underprivileged Thai Children, many of whom are refugees and orphans. Not only did we get the chance to play with them through physical and artistic activities, but we also helped paint and decorate one of the few walls that sustain a small school, where the children receive education. The culture and the economic condition of the environment had left me in shock and at first and if it wasn’t for the international school that we stayed at, I most likely would have been challenged at a much higher level.

Regardless of the privileges we were given at Phuket in terms of food and hospitality, being faced with a group of kids that did not speak the same language, nor have experienced the same culture as I am, it most definitely brought nervousness and fear of not being able to do my job. Our goal however was not to learn each other’s languages, but rather to interact with each other through activities, presented with a common goal and incorporating as much engagement and joy as possible. The more time we spent, the more comfortable I got with the children and at the end of the week my friends and I teared up as we said our goodbyes, knowing we will most likely never see them again, after spending days bonding.

Verbal communication is a necessity in our evolved societies, however we must not forget that spoken language is not the only form of language. There is art, there is sports, there is music, and there is love, just to name a few. These many forms of languages are what brings us together on a global scale, and we must not completely limit ourselves to our own cultural comfort zones. No matter the economic status, language, or culture, as long as there is a common form of expression shared between you two, it is not hard to achieve cross-cultural and global understanding.

GCD : Community Engagement

  1. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

I have demonstrated community engagement in multiple ways, the first being my involvement in the Sanagitachi service club that I have been a part of since the beginning of Junior year. This club serves to help the homeless in the surrounding areas of the Yokohama Kannai and Ishikawacho area, near the school. We go out on night patrols with carts of supplies to hand out, every Thursday night during the cold winters and every other Thursday night during the summer. One of the reasons I joined this group is my urge to help the homeless when I come across them on the streets. I have always wanted to provide for them, and joining this service group has given me the opportunity to do so with the help of many other people who are on the same page as me, which is key in getting the right amount of resources.

This club does not just teach us students how to be more aware of the homeless. It is beyond that – to realize how we can contribute physically and not only mentally. I have had numerous occasions before my when I was able to physically help out the homeless by providing them, although I have always been more conservatory. We specifically target places in our city with large concentration of homelessness, and going on these patrols has given me the opportunity to not only help by give out the materials, but to talk to them in person, asking them what they specifically need.

We also collect data on what has run out and how much of those materials need to be supplied. During winter season when the temperature drops below zero celsius during nighttime, we begin the annual “Giving Tree Project.” We setup small Christmas trees around the school with many tags hanging off the branches; each tag indicates an item needed by the homeless to stay hygienic, fed, and survive the extreme temperatures. Scarce supplies recorded during each patrol is prioritized. Below the Christmas tree is a large cardboard box for people to drop off the items. It gives us all an opportunity become Santa Claus, giving and helping those in need. By engaging with the entire community of our school and not only within our service group, I have been able to broaden my level of contribution in raising the needed level awareness, to ultimately be able to help the homeless.

 

Charlie Hebdo Newspaper Editorial

 

In reaction to “I am Not Charlie Hebdo” From the New York Times on January 8th, 2015.

As we cross half way until the second decade into the 21st century, more and more people are starting to become open minded and are able to cope with how others believe in certain aspects of life. This is because more people are revealing themselves, and are not ashamed to wear something as a banner of who they are. I believe that it is almost impossible for every single civilized and educated human to alter their mindset so that they are completely in belief of that disbelief of theirs. Acceptance is something that is factored from certain kinds of cultural backgrounds, and there will be flaws that conflict with each other, so I think that through these setbacks like the Charlie Hebdo, we are able to learn and accept not only from the point of view of the victims, but the attackers as well. Taking in this case as a wake up call to end speech codes would not be an efficient way of resolving this, because societal groups cannot learn to be tolerant against hate speech out of scratch.

Sourced from Teaching with the Online Resource : The struggle to Define Free Speech – Source E

THE BREAKDOWN : Nurse Angelica reveals unspoken secrets behind Verona incident

For those who were curious as to what really went on last month in Verona, we looked into Nurse Angelica, who knew and understood Juliet and how she felt about Romeo better than anyone else. To dig deeper into the big time Capulet and Montague incident, we were able to get in contact with the nurse and had agreed to talk to us about it.

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A single teardrop   –   Photo by Anil Kumar    (source)

Q. Tell us about how you grew up, and how you ended up working at the Capulet house.

“As a child I grew up in a very poor home as a single child with a single mother. I’ve always wanted a child of my own but it was quite hard, suffering from lack of money in hand even during my youth and post-youth ages. One day I met a man and I gave birth to a child. I could not be happier until he had left me after an argument, and not long after my daughter had passed away from illness. From that point and on I almost gave up on life and even considered taking my own life, until a few years later I decided to wonder off and expose myself to the outside world a little bit. I visited Verona and there I saw a man in the streets advertising a new job as a caretaker of the new coming baby of the Capulets.”

(follow up about Juliet? – focus on childhood – she was joyful… story in play about J playing in the garden)

Q. How did you feel about Juliet later on when she grew into her youth years, compared to when you first started working at the Capulets. 

“I’ve always adored her and loved her by who she was from the moment I held her in my arms, regardless of how others like her mother wanted me to treat her.”

Q. How would you describe how your relationship was to Lady Capulet? Did you truly have a close relation?

“To tell you the truth my friend, I never really liked her although I tried not to let that idea stick to me because I obviously worked for her and Juliet was all I had in my life. I wish not to get into any more detail about that.”

Q. Rumors have said that the Capulets didn’t have the best reputation when it comes to employment, what were your thoughts on that? 

“Yes, in fact that rumor is one of the very rare rumors about the Capulets that are actually true, and gladly for me it was not as bad as how it was interpreted in the “rumors” but I did my best to keep a living here because for one thing I did not want to lose this once in a life time opportunity to work at the Capulets and to be with dear Juliet.”

(After hesitating to finish her sentence, a single tear ran down her expressionless face)

Q. Were you satisfied with where you were in terms of your work position? If you had the chance of changing your position of employment, would you have taken it? 

“How could you be so insensitive? Did you really just ask that question after answering all those question before? I have absolutely no comment.”

– Do you mind if I ask you just one more question related to Juliet?

(She had stared into space for around 10 seconds)

“Yes, you may..”

Q. We heard that you were against the idea of Juliet marrying Romeo at first. Can you explain what was wrong, and what made you change your mind? 

“I was against them at first… but I changed my mind.. for the sake of Juliet and her true love for him”

(Nurse Angelica then dropped on her knees and started sobbing with her hands on her face)

Tourism

• What were the top three countries in terms in international arrivals in 2014?

  1. France
  2. United States
  3. Spain

• What were the top three countries in terms of international receipts in 2014?

  1. United States
  2. Spain
  3. China

• Explain the difference in patterns depicted by your answers of question 1 and 2.

 

• Describe the recent trends of tourism in Africa.

By 2014, the amount of tourists visiting Africa has increased by 2%, which is about 56 million people. In this big continent, most of the countries are seen flat (0% increase) as only a few countries have increased by a small amount such as Morocco, Mauritius and Zimbabwe as opposed to decreases in Tunisia, Angola, Cabo Verde and Reunion. Major changes both negative and positive can be seen in some of the major countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Madagascar and Sierra Leone which was the biggest change in 2014 as it decreased by 46%. The not so positive change seen in 2014 and the major decrease especially in Cote d’Ivoire may have been because of the deseases such as the ebola virus that spread and were all over the news at this time.

 • Describe the changes in international tourist arrivals between 1950 and 2010. (p.14)

One obvious change is the growth of it by an unbelievably large amount throughout the years from 1950 to 2014. The arrivals had started as just 25 million which even was a lot considering the time period at that time, and had grown more than 10 times to 278 million in 1980, went twice as 527 million in 1995 then finally 1133 million in 2014. Just by looking at these numbers and years, you can see that the increase in the technology industry had done it all followed by growth in general in these countries.

• In your opinion, why has tourism increased since the 1950s?

During the 1950s, I believe that tourism was just something that had started become a trend, and people started to notice and use it as a form of personal entertainment and new way of spending time and money during given free time such as the holidays. This new trend got more and more popular technology got more and more advanced as the years went by and the 2000’s came along. This was when technology became more familiar to us and started appearing in our daily lives. This caused people to make it even more convenient and efficient to go and tour where they wanted to go. After all, the spike in technology advancement played the biggest role in regards to how tourism had increased largely now compared to the 1950’s.

 

Inspiration Collage

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As a mini design task in Drama, we have created an inspiration collage on a piece of paper describing our own personal rooms that we live in. We have taken bits and pieces of used and recycled old magazines to describe the emotions and the atmosphere that the room creates, as well as things that represent my room.

Columbus Discussion

Has my perspective of Columbus changed?

My perspective of Columbus has definitely changed now that I’ve read and watched about his true actions and what really took place, compared to what I used to think of him. He used to just be this guy from Europe that tried to sail to Asia but ended up in North America, and there there were the Native Americans willing to show him around. I now know that he wasn’t a very controlled coloniser, nor was he a good person either. From a perspective of why we are here now, he is a hero, but from a perspective of who he is, he wasn’t very much of a hero.

Has my perspective of Native Americans changed?

My perspective of Native Americans have not changed, mainly because I did not have much knowledge about who they were before. Although I have gained more information and knowledge about their history and what had happened to them.

How can I read history and be aware of bias

I think that being aware of biases is all about understanding perspectives, and how different perspectives can change the way a certain story or idea is conveyed. One way of reading history and being aware of bias, is by knowing what the theme of the reading is, and from the theme I can draw out what the author or the writer believes in.

If I were to write about Columbus, what themes would I focus on, knowing that I cannot write everything about everything.

In this case, I would focus on the theme of “It is not who Columbus is, that made him a hero. It is only what he did” As I kept reading, my perception of Columbus has completely changed compared to what I used to think if him, that many peopl still think of him as I thought of him before. This is why if I were to write about him, I would want to get message across of who he really was.

What themes did your readings choose?

One big theme that my reading focused on, was that us students and people who don’t look into what actually happened are not aware of what actually took place. These people that write history books for us, have complete control over what they can make us think what happened. This represents the theme of “Our perceptions can be changed by historians”.