GCD Inter-Cultural Communication

I am a half Japanese and half British student who currently lives in Japan. Living in a country that has a large language barrier, I understand that it is crucial to know Japanese to get through the day, as well as communicating with friends and family. This has led me to become more motivated in improving my Japanese speaking skills, as well as the issues I faced when trying to have a conversation with my relatives. I find it hard to communicate with my family as I will end up either not understanding what they said or not knowing how to say something in Japanese back, therefore ending the conversation in self-disappointment. This has affected my relationships with my grandparents especially, as my uncle and cousins know a little bit of English. They seem to have given up on my speaking, trying to speak English so that I can understand or talk, in which this “sympathy” has only made me more motivated and determined in improving my speaking skills.

Since then, I have tried to improve by speaking during Japanese class whenever I have the chance, as well as being more dedicated and involved in the unit. This, as well as trying to frequently speak with my friends has made me become more used to the speaking style and by this, I have passed this knowledge onto situations such as talking to my cousin, a person who I can practise my Japanese with as he understands English when I am in doubt. I can see that through these actions, my ability to speak more fluently has definitely improved as I can now have more frequent conversations with my relatives without hesitating or ending it half-way, as well as seeing an improvement in my Japanese grades and feeling better about my personal accomplishments. This has made me much more satisfied with my family relationships and connections and has taught me that dedication and determination can give you a better outcome that will positively affect you. This understanding will benefit me in the future, as well as when taking on the IB. 

Through my improvements, I also respect language and culture more than I used to. This is because, now that I worked on speaking another language, I am more thankful for being a bilingual person and appreciative for how much it has strengthened my relationships with people who are important to me. Language has changed my perspective on other people’s culture and their opinions by becoming more respectful and somewhat more interested in the culture.


The Solution to Cigarettes; E-Cigarettes. Good or Bad?

Cigarette smoking has become a serious issue, where in the US alone, 480000 deaths were caused by smoking in under a year. Cigarettes cause a various amount of illnesses, such as lung cancer, stomach cancer, blood clotting, and blood cancer. They also contain around 3500 chemicals, such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, and substances found in moth repellent and nail polish. Nicotine – the drug that makes smokers addicted to the substance –  is found to increase heart rate, whilst carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It mixes with haemoglobin in the red blood cells, preventing the oxygen from combining with the haemoglobin, causing an increase in heart rate so that it can catch up with the reduced amount of oxygen carried in the blood. This is a clear issue for the health of smokers, and a solution to substitute cigarettes is using E-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that contain liquids with substances such as nicotine, propylene glycol, flavourings, and other chemicals. Some liquid flavourings can be chosen to not contain nicotine, and they are mainly used as a substitute for tobacco to decrease the number of health issues that follow with it. This is done by gradually cutting off the amount of nicotine the E-cigarette smoker includes in the liquid to overcome their addiction. E-cigarettes can be a solution to this issue, although researchers recently studied how E-cigarettes affect monocytes (white blood cells) when exposed to the flavoured chemicals in the liquids. None of the liquids contained nicotine, but the flavouring chemicals still impacted an increase in inflammation and tissue damage, and many of them also caused these cells to die. Exposing these cells to mixtures that contain more than one flavour was found to cause a larger reaction than using one flavour, the study found. Over time, according to Irfan Rahman, who is an environmental health researcher at a Medical University, this type of cell damage can lead to lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, fibrosis, and asthma.

“Nicotine-free e-liquids have generally been considered safe; however, the impact of flavouring chemicals, especially on immune cells, has not been widely researched,” Rahman said.

This study has a possible limitation as they didn’t test actual people vaping and breathing in the liquids. The study doesn’t offer a reliable conclusion to fully address the potential health issues that occur through the use of e-cigarettes. This means that more research is needed to understand the impact e-cigarettes has on our health.

Also, according to a report by a European Department of Health, researchers, scientists, and professors found that E-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than tobacco cigarettes. The report also states that they can be used to be an approach to quitting smoking habits. The Royal College of General Practitioners also approves that E-cigarettes help to stop smoking. Data from UK health authorities show that in 2015, two-thirds of people who transferred to e-cigarettes were successful to quit smoking.

In conclusion, although there are minor health issues that follow up, we can say that smoking e-cigarettes is a solution to the problem with tobacco. It overcomes the addiction with nicotine and has fewer health issues compared to normal cigarettes (where more reliable sources stating the positives and less reliable sources stating the negatives).

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