Inter-Cultural Communication

I am half-Japanese, half-Korean, but as my father was born in Japan and raised in Japa, he cannot speak Korean and he was not able to experience Korean culture, therefore, I cannot speak Korean and I know hardly anything about Korean culture.

But in Grade 9, for the AISA Tennis Tournament, I had flown to Korea for the tournament. Before I got to Korea, I had no plans on what to do and I was only thinking about playing tennis and I did not have Korean culture in my mind. However, as we were in homestays, I was able to gain the perfect opportunity to interact with Korean culture. My homestay was a very kind person and he had shown me around the city and had taught we about Korean culture and had taught me some Korean.

To begin with, for dinner, he had brought me to a famous Korean restaurant. The restaurant was famous for their chicken and I was very excited to eat Korean food. However, the chicken that was served was extremely spicy and I had struggled to finish it as I had never eaten something as spicy in Japan. Although I knew that in Korean culture, spicy food is a specialty, I did not think that the food would be so spicy that I could not finish it.

After dinner, as seen above, we had gone to the public sauna. Unlike, the hot springs in Japan, the saunas in Korea were a mixture of the big baths, hot springs, and saunas. This was my first time in a sauna, as Japan only lets older people into saunas. Also unlike Japan, we borrow clothes and wear it, where in Japan, we would go into saunas naked. As seen above, we had been in the sauna with both boys and girls together for a very long time and I was able to talk to different people and learn more about their culture.

This trip was great, as I was able to learn a lot about Korean culture and as I am half-Korean, it is important that I know something about Korean culture as it is part of my identity. I was able to understand that culture is part of our identity, and instead of sticking to just one culture, it is important to experience/interact with different cultures to become more global. As I am a student from an International School, it is important that I experience as many cultures as I can.

A year after this trip, my homestay had come to Japan and this time, I was his homestay and I had shown him around Yokohama and I was able to introduce to him some Japanese culture to him. As I knew the importance of interacting with different cultures(from the trip the year before), I had tried my best to let him interact with Japanese culture, as he had done the same for me.

 

Above is a picture of me and my homestay.

Global Understanding

As a CAS activity, I am currently in MUN(Model United Nations). From the various conferences I have attended, I would like to talk about my first KMUN conference in Grade 11, which was held at KIST.

I had joined the MUN, halfway through Grade 10 and as I was still new and did not have too much experience, I did not participate in any conferences that year. However, as I take IB Geography as one of my courses and we talk about issues that are currently going around in the world. As I talk to my classmates about these current issues, I started to wonder if I could in someway use this knowledge in a conference. This is when I had decided to go to the KMUN.

At the conference I attended, I was representing Pakistan, which was a country, I did now know much about. In addition to this, the topic for my community was about the possession of nuclear weapons and the Mars mission.

For KMUN, we work with a partner and make a position paper together and we present the position papers in different assemblies. As my partner had prior knowledge on both Pakistan and the possession of nuclear weapons, he had given me his opinions on the possession of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. Later, in order to be able to perform well at the conference, I had to do some research on my own.

On the day of the conference, there were several people representing different countries and there were delegates who were representing big countries that possess nuclear weapons such as the United States. As the conference progressed, I was able to listen to several perspectives on the possession of nuclear weapons and the Mars mission of over 20 countries. As I had only done research on Pakistan before, the conference, I had a very biased perspective/opinion, as I had believed that Pakistans position is the correct one. However, as I had listened to other peoples position papers, I had started to see the overview of the topic and I was able to gain a global understanding of the issue that several countries are going through right now.

I believe that this first conference had taught me a lot. The biggest outcome of this conference was the fact that I was able to gain a bigger/wider perspective of the world. I had started to understand that it is always important to take into account several views and not be biased in order to gain a global understanding of what is currently going on in the world.

In IB Geography, this has helped me as we write essays on global issues and in my essay I have started to take in several views to show my global understanding and it is working as my scores on these essays have improved, as one of the criteria for the essays was to take into account several perspectives. The KMUN conference has benefited me in several ways and I would still like to participate in other conferences.

Above is a picture which was taken at KIST after all of the conferences ended. KMUN was a great experience for me and I wish to keep on participating in conferences to show my global understanding.

Community Engagement

I’ve spent 3 years in RIJ, Refugees International Japan, where we work with the RIJ headquarters and we help refugees all over the world by raising funds and donating survival goods and money to refugees who are in serious conditions. As a citizen of a country that does not really accept refugees, I believe that it is important that as a school, we care and support the refugees that are struggling. As a community, we had sold Christmas cards which we got from the RIJ headquarters. During several events such as the Food Fair and Parent Teacher Conference and we were able to raise a great amount of money, which was sent to the RIJ Headquarters.

At RIJ, we have watched several videos on refugees and we had been notified with the seriousness this global issue of refugees. After we had watched the videos, I was able to use this knowledge gained from RIJ in MUN, as one of the topics of discussion was about refugees. I was able to engage with issues of global significance, as I was able to mention several facts gained from RIJ and was able to show my engagement to the audience.

For our first event of my senior year, we sold tapioca tea during break. This event needed a lot of prior preparation and as the leader, I had to be in charge and lead the other members. In the end, we were successfully able to sell all of the tapioca and raise a lot of money to donate to the RIJ headquarters, where the money will be used to help refugees all over the world.

As the leader, I have planned not only to do fundraising but also do some research on refugees all over the world. Currently, we have split into groups and we are researching about refugees in different countries and regions. by doing this, we will be able to recognize the ethical and global issue of refugees, which is a serious issue.

As this is my last year in RIJ, I plan to host more events in order for me and RIJ, and the school as a community can be engaged in the issue of refugees.

Freedom of Expression

Many people use “Freedom of Expression” as protection when they insult others. However, using this as a shield can create conflicts such as the event which occurred in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo, the satirical cartoon, published many images of what is banned in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad. Later an attack occurred in Paris aiming for the publishers. Many say that the incident was not protected by the “Freedom of Expression”. Looking at the definition of hate speech, I believe that the depiction of Muhammad is considered as a hate speech as it “attacks a group on the basis of attributes of religion”. Since the cartoon crossed the gray line and attacked a religion it is not protected by the “Freedom of Expression”.

Many say that the incident was protected by the amendment, however, it is hard to tell if they were protected, as here is no clear line dividing the “Freedom of Expression” and “Hate Speech”. According to the Guardian, Pope Francis states, “every religion has its dignity.” As Pope states, we can not insult other religions saying that we are protected by the “Freedom of Expression”. Some say that we should get rid of this amendment, but I believe that the solution to this problem is to draw a line in which if an individual’s speech attacks a race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender, they shall be punished.

The Poison of Verona

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(Friar looking at a bottle of poison(this is the bottle he gave to Juliet)

http://inglesingg.blogspot.jp/2014/02/reading-log-romeo-juliet.html

Today, we are with the “Poison of Verona”, the famous Friar Lawrence. Now Friar Lawrence is the BIG man who was behind all the “love” between Romeo and Juliet. He married Romeo and Juliet and made all the plans. Although his plan didn’t work, Friar Lawrence accepted our interview and now all the secrets will be revealed. Today, he will tell us the “truth” behind Romeo and Juliet’s love. His poison was perfect for the plan, but his letter wasn’t as good as his poison.

 

Q: To start us off, how do you feel about the relationship between the Capulets and the Montagues?

A; Well, they are not in a good relationship. This has started since the beginning of time and I would love it if they stopped, but they just won’t. The Prince is doing his best to stop this nuisance, but as the priest, I really can’t do anything because I don’t have that authority. I was just praying for the two families to be friends, and it finally happened.

Q: Now, do you regret your decision of marrying Romeo and Juliet?

A: Not really. I’m actually quite happy about marrying the two because now, the Capulets and the Montagues are good friends. Capulet and Montague both have a statue of Romeo and Juliet, so I guess this lead to a solution for the Capulets and the Montagues. The Prince is happy with Verona and Verona is so peaceful now.

 

Q: As a priest, what do you think is the most important part of your job?

A: Now I’m a priest and I feel that getting people married is the best part and I think it is the most important part of my job. That’s why I married the two. Now, I believe that I should have told Capulet and Montague, but I did it in secret. I regret that decision.

 

Q: As a priest, you shouldn’t be doing things in secret, but how do you feel about this?

A: Yes, I have failed as a priest, but I believe that this marriage had to be kept as a secret because if one of the families found out, they would be out of their minds and this would have worsened their relationship.

 

Q: What would you do if you saw Romeo or Juliet sleeping with another man or woman?

A: Well, that would never happen because they were overly into each other. But if that did happen, I would be shocked. Not only that, I would just leave them alone.

 

Q: So, your “plan” didn’t work. How do you feel about that?

A: If Friar John had hurried up and got the letter to Romeo, he the plan would have been perfect. I have fired Friar John and hired Friar Matthew. Friar Matthew does a good job and now I regret having Friar John. I should have hired.

 

Q: People say that Romeo and Juliet died because of you. How do you feel about that?

A: it is not my fault. As I said before, to be honest, it is Friar John’s fault. I have no responsibility. Both Romeo and Juliet suicided, so I’m not in this. People say that I’m the one responsible because I’m the only living person who knew about this. People can’t blame me for that.

 

Q: Do you have anything else to tell us?

A: I am thinking of retiring in a few month, so I need someone that can inherit my job. I’m serious. After I retire, I’ll visit Romeo and Juliet’s grave so that I can remember them and have a little bit if apology to them.

 

Works Cited

 

“∗∗∗∗∗.” |Reading Log| Romeo and Juliet: Friar Lawrence. N.p., 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 22 May 2016.