Archive of ‘Showcase’ category

Multilingualism- Japanese vs English

Both of my parents are Japanese, and either of them can’t speak fluent English. Although both of my parents attended a Japanese school, my mom always had doubts about Japanese education, which is why my mum let me attend an international school in Japan for 2 years old.

When I was little, I had negative thoughts and embarrassment to my parents because they cannot speak English compared to other parents. I didn’t like translating every sentence from English to Japanese. Such as times in parents teacher-led conference, traveling and writing an email in English. Of course, there are times I have to do these jobs and it is not my favorite thing to do. But as I grow older, I appreciated the opportunity to be a translator because it gave me motivation to self- educate to become a close native English speaker. I remember I used to write down words, use a dictionary to search words and so on. Now I am appreciated to my parents because, without the opportunity of translation, my English and Japanese wouldn’t be better.

My use of language has developed and I am capable to use both languages equally in a different situation, however, there are aspects of me I am more American inside but Japanese outside. As I grow older and older, my Japanese pride gets smaller and smaller, I really don’t know why, but I personally think my personality best fits in the U.S rather than here. But most importantly it is because I speak English more often than Japanese. English is the language that is been instructed in School, I listen and read it in English and I write in English than Japanese. Therefore, I sometimes question my Japanese culture, even though I am pure Japanese and I never lived in a different country.

Furthermore, Stereotypically speaking, Japanese follows the rules, they are quiet, they don’t share their opinion frequently. This is not me. I am super loud, I love to share ideas and I somewhat follow the rules ( depends what it is) but not always. I also like to celebrate events and the fun fact is like I don’t like Sushi but I like sushi’s in America ( Spicy tuna rolls and California rolls).

As mentioned, I question about my culture and I believe that my Japanese pride will be taken away when I attend to a  University in the State soon and of course my English will be stronger than my Japanese. Because I have both languages, it expresses who I am. If couldn’t speak Japanese or English, I feel like I wouldn’t be the same- me. Thus, I always take it positively and it will help me in future internships and businesses.

 

Community Engagement- Service

Over the past 4 years in High school, I was involved in many service groups. The services I was involved was Dragon council, Sustainability, HOPE, Chiku center, and HS Refugee, however, I am very proud of the effort I have shown in Dragon Council and The HOPE group.

11th grade was my first year that I was engaging a lot in the HOPE service group. HOPE is a service group that supports International Development Agency to underserved rural communities. As students, our role is to raise awareness about the needs of those in poverty, particularly in Cambodia. Students volunteer for inside and outside of school, such as, HOPE’s Tokyo-based events and or fundraise for HOPE projects and advocate for HOPE’s work on sustainable development on issues such as sanitation and education. Additionally, some students like myself, engaged in direct service on an annual trip to Pursat Province, Cambodia to engage in development work and build relationships with the local Cambodian community. However, to be considered for this trip people must also commit to being active members of the HOPE Service club.

I’ve never been so engaged in a service group. I love helping out inside and outside of school, however, I have never done things what I personally wanted to do to fundraise or help out the community. I do things what supervisors tell me to do or what groups tell me to do. But, HOPE was different. I was desperately motivated and I had a strong desire to go on the trip to Cambodia, I needed to fundraise 80000 yen individually. My first step was to do a bake sale during the AISA tournament. I sold 20 rainbow cupcakes and 1 cupcake cost 150 yen with frosting, which was a success. My next idea was to do a pitch at my dad’s business by giving a presentation about HOPE service group and the reasons why I would like to go on the trip.

My final idea was to sell tie-dye t-shirts during the YIS food fair. It is a school event where everyone is welcome. I thought this was a good idea because there will be a lot of parents and children who may like to donate or help me by buying my T-shirt. On that day, I earned  1000 yen. I’ve already reached my goals in order for myself to go on the trip, however, I helped donate the money by additionally, selling all my game players and the things I don’t need. As a group, we did a lot of bake sales during school time and also at winter concerts. Not only I was engaged in fundraising the money, but I also helped out events outside of school such as an event that was hosted in Odaiba.

From all the individual fundraising I did to go on the trip, I had a strong satisfaction by going on the trip. I had so much fun and learning experiences with Cambodian kids, different age groups. They’ve taught me their languages how to say ‘Hello’, ‘Thank you’ and I learned how to count from 1 to 10.  We also taught them English and had a class every day to teach them math and vocabularies in English. Mostly, the trip was fun because we were able to help the children build a new school, built 3 wells for the poor family and just interacting with them, however, the trip made it even more successful to me by learning about their (Cambodia) History. Because I don’t take History, and I understand myself I don’t know about the world, this was a good opportunity for me to have a wide perspective. Also, we had the time to look around the temples.

I appreciate everyone: donator, parents, personal motivation, teachers, and friends who made the trip very memorable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another service I am most proud of is the Dragon Council (DC). This is my 5/6th year of joining Dragon council. Each year, the DC members are becoming a bigger community. DC group is the bridge to all the spirits happening in YIS. We take advantage of their spirit and use them to create a sports event, such as Volleyball world cup, basketball tournament after the season ends.

This year, we are planning to make a sports day and PEP RALLY in YIS. Not only sports event but we host AISA and WJAA tournament. We do scorekeeping, create t-shirts, we make athletes feel comfortable to be in Japan( students from OSAKA and KOREA) and so on. If we don’t have DC, we won’t be able to organize a sports event, host tournaments really smoothly and so on.

Last year, I was one of the senior council group, having a role of “treasure.” My role was to keep track of money(selling food/buying food), buying flowers for the seniors, buying Pizza’s, t-shirts, taxi’s and so on. As one of the members of the senior council, I was able to help out plan future events and organize sports award as well. But this year, I am representing DC as a vice president.  My job as a vice president is to help my president out for schedule, organizing sports awards, contacting Mr.T, and keeping track of everything in general.

I wanted to bring an idea of pep rally because Pep rally has a role to make everyone bond and to share the fun times with others. Since YIS has a lot of spirits and talents where it should be shared, I thought pep rally would be the best place to share but school time cannot be used, a pep rally will be held during AISA or WJAA tournament.

Reflecting my High school experiences in YIS, I realized that I was engaged in different communities and allowed to help YIS a better community. Not only I was in a service group, but I also helped YIS a better community by performing dances in live aid, winter/spring concert. Overall, the Dragon Council and HOPE service group were the most productive and achievable experienced I had in my High school year.

 

Advanced Academics- Pre-College Summer Program 2017

The summer of 2017, after 10th-grade year, I traveled to California, Los Angeles to participate in a Pre College summer program in UCLA. I used to go to sports camp and have homestay, however, going to a college and staying in a freshmen’s dorm was my first time in my life. I wanted to participate in a Pre-College Summer Program because I wanted to challenge myself academically, stepping in early for IB and most of all, to improve my self-independence.

I have used Summer Discovery to enter a Pre- College Summer Progam which was a was a 6 weeks session in UCLA from the end of June to the first week of August. As mentioned, going to a camp wasn’t my first time, therefore, I wasn’t nervous about traveling alone. I was more excited and joyful to explore myself and to take a journey for new experiences in my life. But, It was my first time living alone and spending/sharing a room with a roommate. Since I am an only child in my family, my parents are very protective and do not trust me with self-independent about lifestyle-aka can’t look after myself because I do rely on my mom a lot. My main goal from this program was to develop my academic ability/knowledge and making my own decision, meaning, a person who can think as a college student and makes good plans in their studying. However, apart from academics, one of my goals out of many was to show myself and to my parents that I am an independent teenager who can cook and make smart decisions.

My UCLA roommate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Psychology In UCLA:

Psychology has always been an interesting subject for me from MYP year. Psychology is such a broad subject that I still cannot answer a question about my favorite and my strongest content in psychology, however, the interest in psychology came from the connection within a real-life situation: such as mental sickness, decision making, memory, stress and so on. I always wonder why and how our brain functions to actions and how we tend to act the way we want to. All these questions and interest concluded to a path of me picking psychology as one of my main pre-summer class to learn more deeply about the aspect of psychology. Also, of course, I was an upcoming junior ( going into an IB life), I wanted to take psychology as my IB course thus, I wanted to start earlier to get a better knowledge in 11th grade.

My psychology class was filled with high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. My psychology class was twice a week(2hour lecture) with a mid and final semester exam. In each topic, we receive a slideshow that our teacher created. As this was my first time listening to long lectures and taking notes, I didn’t know what best fits me to multitask.

Each recording shows the evidence of how I changed my studying.

The picture above shows a simple note taking from the class. When I went back in my dorm to self-study what I learned in class, I realized that I have missed a lot of important details which it was hard for me to understand the notes I am even though it made sense when I was taking the class. Then I used a strategy my cousin did when she was a university student. Since I knew my psychology teacher talks really fast, I recorded his voice so that when I go back into my room I can re-note the information I have missed.  Thus, the fast lecture and taking notes has helped me in IB classes which I know what works for me and hat doesn’t. In addition, I learned how to take good notes which also helped me in my IB class in 11th grade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moreover, another thing we did in our psychology class was to read a case study relating to a topic we learned in class. Our job was to rewrite the study into our own words and summarize the whole case studies. I love reading however, I find reading long studies by a scientist is boring. It was very challenging for me to follow what was happening in the studies, however, as I kept on reading and reading, I have learned a lot of vocabulary and I learned the fun of reading non-fiction.

On the other hand, other than psychology, my other class which was an enrichment course was an SAT prep course. SAT prep course in UCLA gave me 4 chances to take a practice test which will help me in future test in 11th grade. They provided me with good condition to prepare for the actual test and gave me good tips and advice in the math section. Math is not a strong subject to me and still struggling but UCLA SAT prep class gave me a really good tip that I still use in my test. We had our practice test every 2 weeks which gave me confidence and shown growth in my SAT score little by little. I realized that if I study SAT every day for an hour I can improve and feel more confident with time and solving the problem.

Personally,  2017 Summer Pre-College Program has challenged me academically and to be honest, I have never studied this hard during the summer. Since I do competitive cheerleading, I have never deeply focused on education aka- no sports for 6 weeks. I can say it was challenging and hard for me to focus only on education because I am a very active person which is why it was also very challenging for me to focus on education with no active movements. just keep on writing, reading, writing and reading. Also, to only academics, I have experienced fights between friendship in this camp. I thought this can happen in my future university and I am happy that I was able to solve it. I always tell my mom what happened and get advice however since I was alone for 6 weeks and I wanted to stop relying on my mom and be more confident n my action, I am very happy that I was able to solve the situation as soon as possible.

All in all, I felt that this program helped me for college in the future and how to survive in IB. In addition to experiencing college-level academics and a step to being an adult. I am proud that I was able to achieve my own goal to become a better person and be more self-reliance as well. By going to this camp, I was able to understand who I am to achieve my academics better and take notes effectivly.

 

Personal Goal

My biggest goal for this year was to be in the U15 Japan National Team and Advance All Japan’s National team for cheerleading. I’ve focused my whole year in grade 8th and my 9th-grade summer break to accomplish my goal. I knew that accomplishing a huge goal is not easy, especially mine and my parents and I knew that we are betting on a huge goal that can affect my future plans. At the same time, I told myself that I will determine to quit cheerleading. From a strong commitment to achieving my goal, I suffered a lot of things in life. Such as I couldn’t spend time with my friends, go on vacation, or even study.  All I did was the things that could benefit me from achieving my goals.

To be in the team, I needed to pass my first test, which was held in July. There were 100 people from the Kanto area who participated and ONLY 24 cheerleaders, including 3 substitute athlete. Meaning that ONLY 21 or if lucky 22 athletes are allowed to perform.  The test was based off individuals tumbling skills and stunting. In order to check this skill critically and strictly, there was our coach and a special guest member from America, Smoed All-Star Team in California. The team is famous on social media, having their own T.V show about cheerleading on Youtube.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t pass my first test. The American Coach approved my individual skills, tumbling and jumps, but not my stunting skills because I can only do right side only. My heart was in pain and regretting how I was being nice to myself. My brain was full of regrets and disappointment from all the work I put in. I thought there would be no chance. That said, I told myself to quit cheerleading, I was ready to do it. But my mind changed when my mom told me I have another chance in August. My mom told me it is my choice if I want to fight again. It took time to make a decision because I was very stressed about not living a ‘typical high school life’.

Although I may not be able to live a typical high school life, I  ended up chasing my goals again. I committed this goal on a whole new level. It is hard to explain in words but I felt extremely focused emotionally stronger in my goals. To stay focused on my goal, I always had my painful thoughts inside my heart for motivation and I always planned my schedules ahead of time. I only had a month left before my second chance but I did what it takes until the end. Since I was little, my parents always told me to NOT STOP fighting if I committee in my decision and to keep on thriving so that I don’t regret it. Therefore, my goal at my next test was to perform a new level of Satono Toyaba. In other words, a whole new me, performing an emotionally and physically stronger than last time.

In order to improve my skill, I have been working on my tumbling skills at a level 1-4 for the past 6 years. It was my dream to do a level 5 tumbling skill someday and it is very advanced compared to level 4. Doing a Level 5 tumbling skill on a normal mat is an AMAZING thing because cheerleading is not a popular sport in Japan. People who can accomplish the skill nor stand on that level is pretty rare, statistically speaking; out of 100 people, only 2% of the people can manage to achieve full twist. It contains strong core-body and strength. It may also cause a lot of injuries therefore, I need to aware of my body when practicing.

My goal is to be able to to do a round-off full twist perfectly on a cheer mat with confident. I would like to accomplish my goal until next year February. It has been less than a year working on this tumbling skill and I am almost there. Usually, It takes me half a year to be confident and uses it in a competition, however, I realize this skill is not taking as much time as I thought. My plan to accomplish my goal is to go to a private tumbling class at least 4 times a month and practice for an hour. During my winter break, I would like to take my tumbling class for 2 hours and ask my mom to watch me so that she can give me comments. It would benefit me to know her side of view when I did bad and when I did well to analyze my strength and weakness.

Reflecting on the progress, I am able to do a twist on my own with no supporter. However, personally, I think I am scared to do it on my own because there is part of me where I think it is dangerous and has no trust in myself. Therefore, I make sure my coach would be next to me when something went bad. This shows I am still not confident in myself and I would like to change that soon. I can tell myself I am almost there to do it on a real cheerleading mat and not sprinkle.

Processing:

 

Personal Accomplishment- TEAM JAPAN

Continuing my story from my personal goal, my goal for this year was to be in the U15 Japan National Team and Advance All Japan’s National team for cheerleading. I’ve focused my whole year in grade 8th and my 9th-grade summer break to accomplish my goal. I knew that accomplishing a huge goal is not easy, especially mine and my parents and I knew that we are betting on a huge goal that can affect my future plans. At the same time, I told myself that I will determine to quit cheerleading. From a strong commitment to achieving my goal, I suffered a lot of things in life. Such as I couldn’t spend time with my friends, go on vacation, or even study.  All I did was the things that could benefit me from achieving my goals.

To be in the team, I needed to pass my first test, which was held in July. There were 100 people from the Kanto area who participated and ONLY 24 cheerleaders, including 3 substitute athlete. Meaning that ONLY 21 or if lucky 22 athletes are allowed to perform.  The test was based off individuals tumbling skills and stunting. In order to check this skill critically and strictly, there was our coach and a special guest member from America, Smoed All-Star Team in California. The team is famous on social media, having their own T.V show about cheerleading on Youtube.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t pass my first test. The American Coach approved my individual skills, tumbling and jumps, but not my stunting skills because I can only do right side only. My heart was in pain and regretting how I was being nice to myself. My brain was full of regrets and disappointment from all the work I put in. I thought there would be no chance. That said, I told myself to quit cheerleading, I was ready to do it. But my mind changed when my mom told me I have another chance in August. My mom told me it is my choice if I want to fight again. It took time to make a decision because I was very stressed about not living a ‘typical high school life’.

Although I may not be able to live a typical high school life, I  ended up chasing my goals again. I committed this goal on a whole new level. It is hard to explain in words but I felt extremely focused emotionally stronger in my goals. To stay focused on my goal, I always had my painful thoughts inside my heart for motivation and I always planned my schedules ahead of time. I only had a month left before my second chance but I did what it takes until the end. Since I was little, my parents always told me to NOT STOP fighting if I committee in my decision and to keep on thriving so that I don’t regret it. Therefore, my goal at my next test was to perform a new level of Satono Toyaba. In other words, a whole new me, performing an emotionally and physically stronger than last time.

To improve my skill, I went to a tumbling lesson twice a week, focusing on level 5 skills. Thanks to my mom for commuting with me, I was able to go to a tumbling place where the coach taught a lot of Olympic gymnastics. There, he looked at little tiny things that can Improve my combination skills as well. Not only I focused on my individual skill, but I also went to the gym to run and build muscles so that I can partner up with everyone. In the morning, I had a 10 min workout before going to school and after school. I looked after my health and nutrition as well.

Happily, I passed to be on the team. But the competition won’t stop. Another tryout was held on December which was an actual final team member who will compete in the National competition in Japan during March and the member who will represent Japan as an ”All Girls Elite Japan” in the International Cheerleading union competition ( ICU) and at Worlds competition.

From all the commitment I put into, It was easier for me to pass the test. This means that I was able to be in the member of the team. My effort has shown my the coaches putting me in both teams as an Advance and U15. I can finally say to myself that I am officially in the “ALL GIRLS TEAM JAPAN.”