Core Value: Inter-Cultural Communication

I have finally found the answer to the meaning of these movements. Not hugging or kissing. Have you ever thought the meaning of movement you see and do nowadays? I was curious about the meaning of Ojigi (bowing) and gasshou (putting our hands together.) Also, I was curious about how the movements affect them modern Japanese Society. I even see these two movements done by kindergartens in Japan. In the morning, while bowling we say “O-ha-you-go-za-i-masu”. In addition, before eating we put our hands together then thank what we have by saying “ita- da-ki-ma-u” Like the picture below. The movement following can show respect but it may affect positively and negatively.

Firstly, I’ll be explaining the meaning of going and putting her hands together. Firstly by bending your waist in front and putting your head down and represent, you don’t have any hostility. Additionally,  when we put our heads down, can we see the opponents movement? No, have by putting our heads we can’t infer what the opponent will do.

Another factor that changes the meaning of bowing is how low we put our upper body. Also, the deepness depends on the opponent. If the opponent has a higher status we bow lower. Please look at the picture below.

Secondly, looking closely to our hands the right and left hand is different and we even do different movements at the same time. For example, when writing something by putting the pen in your right the left hand would support the paper. Also if we hold chopsticks in our right hand, the left hand would hold the bowl. In simple terms in Buddhism, right-hand means ourself while the left-hand means our god. Which means when we put our hands together we unite with the god. As you can see bowing represents no hostility to the opponent and putting our hands together means to become one with God.

To conclude I noticed our these simple actions are not done in certain cultures, just like the word “itadakimasu” can’t be translated fully with its original meaning.

Competency: Wellness

Another regular practice I engage in to support your wellness in being social was practicing koto towards a big event like a recital. For my recent racial, I was proud of my improvement of performing a solo at the G11 Music Recital. This was my first time to play two solo pieces and this enhanced my ability to give a speech about my song and to perform in front of a big audience. In addition, I was proud of myself when my drumstick fell but I still continued to play as if nothing happened. Also, it was the first time to record my own performance. However, I am still learning to love any note I play on the koto since I react to my mistakes which affects me to become hesitant. Participating and performing at this recital helped me become more socially balanced since I had much support from my friends, parents, and teachers.

Competency: Management

By accomplishing this Long Distance Walking I would like to achieve a healthier lifestyle by physically walking outside. By walking I will have more opportunities to interact with local people who live near my area and I will create a constant fit body. In addition, I will measure this by using a pedometer and I will start by aiming to walk 3-6km once a week. Eventually in autumn and winter breaks, since I have more time I will aim to run a 1-5 km once a week. However, when I have school, I will aim to walk. This is an initiative planned goal because I am the one who chose to walk or not.

Below are my reflections on each walking experiences.

On December 21st Ayaka and I went to Meiji Jingu Shrine. Then we also walked through Omotesandō and went to Yoyogi Park. In total, we walked approximately 2.6 km. As mentioned in my goal, I was to interact with local people in Tsunashima. However, this walking experience gave me an opportunity to not only increase interactions with local people but with my friends!! Hence I accomplished to enjoy and learn about the Meiji Jingu. Therefore I developed a new skill to plan a route and go out with my friends at the same time accomplish the goal of exercising. Also, a strength I grew is to control the pace of my walk. This is because I noticed walking a flat surface with a slow pace is meaningless. Therefore to challenge myself I asked Ayaka to walk a bit faster.

On October 23 since Saturday and Sunday was a very rainy day so I did not have a long walk. However on Monday the weather was better and because I had an autum break I decide to run from 1-5km. Therefore I ran 2.4 km. Honestly running 2 km was very challenging since I’ve never pushed my self to run. Also during the run I felt very tired and more tired after I finished running. However, while I was running it was enjoyable because the temperature was just right. Even though it was windy it never stopped me from running. Also I thought it was a good idea to bring a bottle of water because I was dehydrated after the run. Afternoon I ran I stretched at home to get blood to flow through my body and can poll down taking care of my body.

On October 14th I did my third long distance walking. This time in total I walked 5.7 km. Since today was 16° I chose an appropriate clothes having gloves and an umbrella to keep myself dry. Even though it was harder than usual I kept the routine to continue walking. It was a new experience defined patterns as you can see in one of the pictures. I never knew there would be footprints on the road. Overall I think I would try and increase the distance because I want to challenge myself.

Core Value: Global Understanding

On June 9th and 10th, the Underwater Explorer group went to Atami to dive.

The goal of this diving was to become an Advanced Open Water Diver. At the first level, Open Water Diver, we gained a basic knowledge of skills, equipment, and theory for diving to a recommended depth of about 18 meters. The AOWD is described by PADI as refining these skills, allowing the divers to explore a broader variety of diving to a maximum depth of 30 meters. Therefore, we earned the nitrox course which was to analyze our own gas in order to dive 30m and check whether the oxygen percentage increased from 21% to 32%. On the first day, we learned to have advanced buoyancy control this was an essential skill in order to minimize the harm towards the natural environment. Specifically, since we dove near a wrecked ship, there were lots of corals on the boat and being parallel to the ship without damaging the coral was accomplished by controlling my buoyancy. Furthermore, we learned to use the compass to navigate our self for an emergency situation. Another new experience through this trip was using a flashlight underwater. Personally, by having a flashlight we were able to have a better view of the aquatic life which increased our awareness. On the other hand, this leads me to be interested in researching the effect of divers increasing the ocean acidification.

A memorable event during this trip was when I was left with 20 bars of air, my instructor Mr. Murakami, decided to “air share” which is the act of sharing air from his own tank. And this was possible since the instructor had two tanks. However, I was able to keep calm and receive air in the depth of 12m. Throughout this experience, I learn that keeping a healthy mental state in situations of emergency is essential in diving.

Overall achievements in UE: I’ve achieved to participate in all meeting with my great enthusiasm and achieved two new certificates for diving which will be explained below.

I succeeded to achieve to become the enriched air diver and an advanced diver which expanded the depth I could dive. Hence this allows me to dive to a maximum depth of 30m, gaining the opportunity to observe a different aquatic life. A memorable event during the trip at Atami when I was left with a small bar of air left, my instructor Mr. Murakami, decided to “air share” which is the act of sharing air from his own tank. The smooth communication between Mr. Murakami and I made it possible to receive air in the depth of 12m. Therefore, throughout this experience, I learn that keeping a calm mental state with communication underwater in situations of emergency is essential in diving.

The experience in Underwater Explorer leads me to research about ocean acidification for my ESS IA and was also a topic that came up in Geography class. I was astonished to know that the whole ocean was becoming more acidic. So for my ESS IA, I’ve explored how ocean acidification affects the growth of different types of shells. And if I had more time I’d like to seek into how diving could worsen ocean acidification.

This is a picture of myself in the depth of 10m.
Taken by OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The diver in the back is me. The white circle indicates a small octopus which it might be the blue ring octopus that has poison.
All the member of UE!
Myself and our supervisor (Mr. Broughton) going to dive.

Competency: Personal Goal

For my personal project, my topic was to teach complex knowledge of the similarity and difference between a disease that both human and cats can have.

I was inspired to do this topic because I felt like a continuous journey from my fifth-grade exhibition which I researched the history of cats. Therefore this was a great chance to enhance my knowledge from a new perspective. Also because I had a real-life experience, this was the start of my project. It was when one of my cats become diabetes than my mom also become diabetes. I was surprised to know the treatment was totally the same. They had to inject insulin directly and have a controlled lifestyle.

My goal of the whole project was to understand the similarities between diseases that humans and cats are prone to. In addition, I wanted to do spread awareness to help other people who have cats. The goal was highly challenging and inappropriate for me because first I had to understand and explain the causes, symptoms without cue cards to directly talk towards the audience. Moreover, it was challenging to explain diseases with simple terms to teach small kids such as 4th grades. Lastly, I had the challenge to explain my project in front of people who are expert related to my topic. I wanted to explore the research question “what are the similar diseases both human and cats can have? To an extent which diseases are more serious towards humans or cats. Why?” The product I created which was a poster had helped me meet my goal. I was able to show and point out keywords that were important throughout my whole presentation by writing down on the poster and pointing it out. Also, I had visual references for specific treatments this directly help me to communicate my goal to the audience. The global context: Scientific and Technical Innovation, guided me because in the back of my mind I always have the question “How can I understand about the world I live in?”  So whenever I try to learn facts about cats I was able to make myself go back on task. Whenever I got information from the site I always check whether it was created by a vet to increase the reliability. I’d also research the vet on its own to check whether it was a useful site. As I said before I already knew the treatment for diabetes and knew that cats can have cancer. The knowledge from science class taught me that there are specific diseases that can happen in eyes. From this prior knowledge, I had to know basic facts about cats from a general point of view from a pet owner.

Before researching, I learned that even the Wikipedia is not recommended for an academic source we can check the reliability of a Wikipedia page as a source. Then I looked at Wikipedia page about the cat and checked the ranking. The site for the cat was GA ranked which was the highest rank. This meant the Wikipedia page was a reliable source. However, I thought this wouldn’t be the best source because Wikipedia can be edited by everyone. Then I bought a book by Yuuki Hattori who runs a vet only for cats in Tokyo. This provided me the basic information about cats such as the reasons behind the action acts take. This source was one of the best because I’ve seen him on the tv as a specialist for cats. Also Reading a Japanese magazine help me remember the evolution of cats and bone structure of cats. I learned from this that cats lick their body to decrease its body temperature and how cats can’t see color green, yellow and orange. This source was not reliable because The source wasn’t cited and I know magazines can exaggerate information. The main resource is used were online sites. To evaluate the source I’d always check whether the site was created from a professional veterinary. One of the best sites was PetMD because it told what the disease is and the cause, symptoms, and treatments. Every site had a doctors name which increased the reliability. I was able to develop a skill to check rankings of Wikipedia sites to get reliable sources through Personal Project. On the other hand, I wasn’t able to manage my time well I had to rush at the end.

Overall my product was a poster with a section that I can get a new question from the audience and a small activity and a section.

Therefore I set my criteria

  • The major element is a poster that can communicate complex information about diseases towards the audience.
  • The major elements is an activity that can increase the level of creation between the audience with me.
  • Also, a space that will include the question of the audience that I couldn’t answer which will help me enhance the knowledge towards cats.

And there are specifications

  • My element will look like a poster that has two doors and one side will show the similarity between the symptoms/treatment for both humans and cats.
  • My activity will look like a scale that is created by paper and will have two whiteboards on each side. Then I will create a magnet with names of diseases and ask them this question “Which of this disease are more serious for humans? Or cats?” and have the answer in the poster.
  • Then if I had any questions that I cannot answer I will have a space that the audience will be able to write down.

And overall I would measure my success by checking whether the audience understands I will record how many got the correct answer on the activity. If people get a correct answer over 75% will be the line weather my poster has achieved or not.

Comparing my results to the criteria I’ve created above, I’d say I was very successful because in all of my criteria I have highly achieved all the criteria. Firstly my criteria was how if I can create a poster that will communicate complex diseases about diseases, looking at the appendix. Also, I can say that my poster was very close to what I’ve planned as you can see in picture 1. To check weather the audience understood my presentation the results of my activity was 82% of the people were able to get a full score and the 18% had one or two incorrect answer. Overall when I look at the percentage it is higher than 75% with means my product was successful. In addition, my second criteria about the criteria was very close to what I’ve created. Please look at appendix J. Also in appendix J it provides the evidence of how there was a space to add additional information.

By completing the Personal Project it extended my knowledge towards cats which game me the skills to save my own cats if I see any symptoms that I’ve learnt. I was able to interact with my social community by sharing and getting prepared. In addition, I have learned a very small part of the world I live in and I was successful to communicate with a wide range of audience.

Picture 1

Competency: Work Experience

I’ve done a part-time job this summer. I have worked for a lifeguard at a pool near my house called the “Tsunashima Park Pool”. I was suggested last year from the owner of the pool since I went swimming three times a week. I was able to work with people from the same age to people who were university students. The experience was fascinating to learn traditional Japanese to some extent strict rules. For example, it was definite to come at least 10 min before the time told. Moreover, I was surprised to notice there were lots of foreigner in Tsunashima. Therefore I had some occasions which I had to translate and explain some rules to foreigners. In addition, it was refreshing to be called by my last name which was Otani since at my school we are called by our first name. Personally, I thought to work for 8 hours from 8:30 to 17:30 was very exhausting. However, the experience of learning how to use the AED and to rescue people in the pools was special. Furthermore, I learned to manage my own wages from working.

This was my locker with my last name.

Area of Expertise: Multilingualism


Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims is an NPO that works to eliminate the issue of human trafficking, especially sex trafficking, in Japan. We are committed to fighting for a society without human trafficking. Like a lighthouse that guides people who are lost in the dark to safe harbors, we hope to be the beacon of hope for survivors of human trafficking and to be their voice. This group is based in Tokyo, Lighthouse aims to eliminate human trafficking in Japan by:

Providing confidential consultation services for survivors of human trafficking via a toll-free multilingual hotline, email, and LINE”

In addition, recently Light house published a manga booklet that aims to safeguard juveniles from what it calls the increasingly serious reality of teen sexual exploitation in Japan.

All in all by contributing in this group I was able to participate in translating the manga. Personally, I was surprised to hear the new of publishing after 3 years, since I’ve helped to translate when I was 9th grade. Throughout this experience, I was glad to have some level of both English and Japanese. Furthermore, I believe understanding two languages, in my case Japanese and English developed myself to be a person that will transfer more knowledge to one another, just like this manga revealing the reality of teen exploitation in Japan.

This is the actual cover of the manga. This is the cover of the manga. Overall believe that I learned how translating was time consuming and difficult since there are many words and onomatopoeia that can’t be directly translated. In addition, I had to think ethically when translating since there were phrases and words that could be taboo. Hence I tried to incorporate the meaning more than directly translating.

This picture demonstrates how I’ve participated in translating the manga called “Blue Heart” published from the NGO Light House. The white line shows that it was from YIS, and the red line is my name printed on the last page of this manga!! 😀

The comment in the white and red square is my comment from 9th grade and I am glad to see my own comment being published!

Core Value: Community Engagement

Overall achievements in Combating Human Trafficking Group.

Throughout the whole experience, I’ve achieved to do my best in participating in many meetings which could still be improved and I also gained much knowledge by being more aware of Japan’s human trafficking.

I believe I’ve put in the effort to check the news specifically the column/category of sexual harassment. Overall I’ve noticed human trafficking is happening constantly in Japan. I was also shocked by the incident which a member of the famous male group in Japan forced a sexual relationship with a high school girl. I felt anger by the fact that people were criticizing both of the idol and the high school girl when it was clear that the idol was the one to be blamed. In addition, since I am a high school student this made me empathizes more towards the girl because this event must be a trauma.

I remember when I was in the situation when I had to explain what human trafficking was to a small young girl. Hence, this made me think I must choose better words that won’t be too direct because I understand it is taboo for some to know. Also, I thought about the examples that I’ll explain to give a brief idea. Therefore I chose the words and examples towards a small girl that I hope will learn more in the future. In other words, I had to make ethical choices.

I researched actual case studies about human trafficking which helped me in Geography class since we learn how the rights of people are broken and I learned that Japan was a country that has extreme gender inequality. In addition, I learned that Rwanda seems to be a model of equal representation and empowerment with a higher proportion of women in Parliament than any other country. Hence If I had time I’d like further knowledge of how Rwanda achieved to become a country like this which is a role model for Japan’s society.

Competency: Artistic Expression

K8 is a self-organized group of eight of HS students and we were able to win the grand prize at the “Kono Oto Tomare! Koto Competition” finals held on January 2 at the International Forum in Yurakucho. The contest, sponsored by the popular manga Kono Oto Tomare! which tells the story of a koto club at a Japanese high school, was open to ensembles made up of high school and university students.

My first worry was when and where to practice with everyone. However, I was able to get permission to use my house and practice. Then we used a google document with tables that clearly showed when everyone had time.


Luckily we had Kazuki Doi (A graduate of YIS) to conduct us and improve our performance. A challenge in one of the practice was to keep the tempo the same throughout the whole piece. Hence, Kazuki would clap the tempo which made me recognize how the piece was unsteady. In addition, we had changes in how we play a certain pattern in the piece and getting used to the new style required a long time. Another challenge was remembering all the dynamics in the piece. However by having lots of practices with everyone I was able to overcome all the challenges.

Also on January 2nd, I was concerned with how different it will feel/sound for us to play on the new stage. However, Mr. Patterson told us that we all must really concentrate on following the people sitting in front for each section (me, Saya and Johan), and those people will be following Eddie very closely. Even if you feel like you are in sync with everyone else, that may not be the case – take a glance frequently. This advice really helped me to improve synchronizing with the whole group. I would talk with Saya when to have eye contacts and did my best to listen to what everyone is playing.

Right before the performance, I got really nervous. But since everyone advised me to calm down by breathing in and out, jumping up and down and encouraging each other with positive words supported me.

Through out this process and the performance, I learned that happiness consists of working toward one’s goals with a group and all the efforts brought everyone’s individual skill to an another level.


Pictures from the Koto Competition are shown below:

This picture demonstrates everyone performing on the stage.
This picture shows myself being in the front followed by Haruna(G10) and Lisa(G11)
This picture demonstrates how we won the prise as a whoe group K8.


This is a picture of K8 and the composer, Hikaru Sawai which was the piece we played.

The pictures above and below show the practice at my house.

Crashing Parties, Stolen Kisses, and The Horrible Memories

Taken on July 22,2012 by Moyan Brenn
The left drinks drank by Romeo and Juliet at the party on 1595.

This month a huge party was opened by the Capulets. To reveal the truth behind the party we caught up with Romeo – the man who stole the kiss of a Capulet. He was once lovesick with a different woman but now says he has found the one. Read on to know the latest information!

We know how there was a party opened by the Capulets. How were you able to get in? Who did you go in with?

I first had some bad feelings about going to the party. I even know that I’m a Montague. But, you know, I’d say that that party changed my whole life. It brightened me up so much and relieved all of the weight off of my shoulders. So, yeah, I’m glad I went, it was a great chance I got. I went in by having a huge mask to cover up myself and tried to look natural at the party. I went with Mercutio and Benvolio.

Well if I say I didn’t have any smooches it’ll become a lie.

Would you regret not going to the party?

I would definitely regret if I didn’t go to the party. Also by going to the party I got to meet someone special. (Blush) But overall party I loved it!

We heard you met a Capulet called Juliet, is that true?

Oh! You know about her? I did meet Juliet.

What was your first impression of her?

 I never saw a woman like her. It was faster than light, I thought I was watching a dream. For the first time I immediately fell in love with Juliet. Her smile was bright as a sun. My unworthiest hand were unable to touch but when I reached out I couldn’t stop trying myself to take the risk. And we’re still planning to meet in the future I guess.

Any midnight smooches? Come on we know you kissed Juliet right??

Well if I say I didn’t have any smooches it’ll become a lie. And is true because I did kiss Juliet… (looking right)

What were the words did you used to get a kiss? Do you remember any phrases?

Do I have to tell you? (sigh) I use prudent words and turned over Juliet’s words. I wanted a kiss so also used metaphors and rhyming words rhythmically. A phrase I said was “Well then, saint, let lips do what hands do. I’m praying for you to kiss me.” And went on “Then don’t move while I act out my prayer.” and kissed her.

Are you guys planing to live together or to marry? Who’s helping you to take contacts with Juliet?

Yeah we are planning to marry but this should be secret to my parents and her parents because I can definitely see there angry face right away. We contacte each other by talking with the Nurse.

However didn’t you love Rosaline?

Oh great, you say that name right now?(crosses arm) As I told you before I’m in love with Juliet!! Okay!?!?

What did you like about her?

I hate her now. I’m even confused why I loved her. I remember how she wasn’t desire to go out with me. Also she always declined me when I asked her out with crazy reasons.