E-Cigarettes as a ‘Healthy’ Alternative: Evaluating E-Cigarettes to Conventional Cigarettes

Smoking has rapidly become one of the massive threats to our human health. Not only smoking affects the direct user’s body, many non-smokers ranging from adults to vulnerable children are being exposed to secondhand smoke, negatively impacting various individuals indiscriminately.

When a user inhales cigarette smokes, 60 or more known carcinogens enter their lungs (Hilton), causing cancer, as the carcinogens are the substances that can cause cancer in living tissue. Cancerous cells can metastasize, meaning that they can continue to spread across not limiting to the respiratory system, but also across the whole body and increasing its damage. The risk of the disease is also determined heavily by the amount of time the users were exposed to the toxin, making heavy smokers are more likely to develop tobacco-related cancer with higher severity.

As a solution to this issue, e-cigarettes are being introduced as an alternative to conventional smoking. Unlike normal cigarettes, e-cigarettes are devices that emit either nicotine or non-nicotine liquid as a mist through vaporizing them, which then the users could inhale. E-cigarettes also do not contain any tobacco, nor it causes combustion or produces tar, smoke, and carbon monoxide (Ross). This also means that no secondhand smokes are being produced and that it does not affect the non-smokers around. E-cigarettes are relatively safer than regular cigarettes.

However, there have been many concerns over if e-cigarettes are actually safe in general, or that if they are effective in reducing the number of smokers.

While e-cigarettes are known to be smoking cessation tool, it is still unclear whether they are effective or not. A research done to investigate on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool concluded that “E-cigarettes are no more or less effective than nicotine replacement therapy for cessation”, along with stating how the long-term effect of e-cigarettes are still unknown (Ghosh). While it is safer than conventional smoking, e-cigarettes are not innovatively effective as a smoking cessation device.

Moreover, there has been an ethical issue of how e-cigarettes appeal to adolescents, and could potentially increase the amount of actual amount of young smokers, with e-cigarette becoming the ironic ‘gateway to smoking’ for minors. Teenagers who have a habit of vaping had a 3 times higher concentration of toxic compounds in their body than non-vaping teenagers (Cohut). E-cigarettes are creating misconceptions that vaping are completely ‘non-harmful’, while in fact it still contains toxins similar to conventional cigarettes and could affect their health nonetheless.

In conclusion, E-cigarette is not an effective and healthy alternative to conventional cigarettes. although e-cigarettes are considered to be much safer than conventional smoking, the actual effect of a smoking cessation device still has not been shown to be positive. E-cigarettes are also starting to appeal to younger targets, which can be a major concern as the nicotine could impair brain development, and also influence to be attracted to other drugs. I believe E-cigarette is definitely a safer alternative however, the laws must be regulated stricter to forbid teens being exposed to e-cigarettes, and must correctly state its potential harm rather than marketing just as a ‘healthy’ alternative.

Being a Student Ambassador in YIS: GCD Inter-cultural Communications

As a bilingual student in an international community, I feel it is necessary to put by best of my language abilities to help communicate with other individuals all across the world. With my ability to fluently speak both Japanese and English, I spent my 9th-grade year actively participating in a group called the ‘Student Ambassadors’. The main purpose of this group was to tour with families and students that are visiting YIS from all across the world. Although many were fluent in English, I have met families from many different cultures and ethnicity. Some families would only be able to speak Japanese, and I had to navigate multiple families around the school using multiple languages simultaneously.

The tours have definitely provided me opportunities to interact and share cultures with other international students from a completely different culture. I was fascinated by all the questions and concerns that the families had, or the connections students have made about Yokohama International School with their previous school. Despite the students coming from a similar international school as YIS with an international baccalaureate program implemented, students show different concerns and fascination about this school and their culture. Whenever I ask about their previous school, they would share a piece of their culture, and I would always feel intrigued by how students similar to my age and even ethnicity, has a completely different story to tell. Student Ambassador is one of the great communities that I can interact with many students with different cultural background and ethnicity.

Student ambassador has not only provided me to interact with international students but also with teachers as well. In 2017 April, I was fortunate enough to participate in helping out the IB Conference held in Pacifico Yokohama. During the time at the conference, I interacted with IB teacher all across the world and was also able to learn new perspectives about how teachers believe in similar/different ways of teaching their own students. Many of the teachers were also intrigued by our experiences as a Japanese international student, and we were able to share our cultural experiences with others regardless of our age or ethnicity. Throughout these experiences, I have learned that language and ethnic barriers can easily be broken, if one is willing to be open, and stay open-minded about others.

Photo took at the Yokohama IB Conference Held in April 2017.

Reflecting on Session with the Kindergarteners | Tutor

During the session we had with the kindergarteners, I’ve experienced many things in a short amount of time. In this session I’ve read books and stories to a little kindergarten girl who was my buddy.

Although I was experienced in reading books to little students from past similar sessions I had in the past few years, I did felt self conscious about my ability to talk and read books with the kindergarteners. Although I had some slight concerns, when I met the little kindergarteners they were all genuine and welcoming, which made me feel more comfortable playing with them. My buddy was an energetic little girl who was very advocate and communicative. Although she was slightly shy at the start, after introducing one another to each other she become more confident and comfortable talking with me. She engaged in many conversations and freely expressed her own opinions and feelings during the sessions. When we were reading the stories, she commented on the pictures and gave her opinion, as well as asking for mine which I thought was one of strength as a learner. She was already able to be open-minded and ask for others opinion or comments.

During this session I also worked on being open-minded and caring towards my buddy, as I understood how this session was also risk-taking for her as well. Whenever she finished reading a book, I would always ask which book she would like to read next and let her have choices rather than being restrictive. Through this action she felt more comfortable talking with me and she gladly shared her favorite books with me. I also tried to support her as much as possible by being caring and showing genuine compassion towards her. During the session she accidentally knocked some books down to the floor, which made her feel guilty or culpable about the mistake. Instead I supported her by telling her that ‘it’s okay’ and giving encouraging comments. In the end she and I became great buddies and gave high fives and hugs in the end.

This session was stimulating and every experience I had with my buddy was genuine and valuable for me. I hope I can have an another session with her again.

How do Memories Work? |I&S

5 words:

Synapses- A junction between two nerve cells, which has a small gap that the neurotransmitters diffuse and passes by.

Neurotransmitters- A chemical that passes signal one nerve cell to another

Cognitive- A mental process of learning something through experiences.

Consolidate- To reinforce something or make something more stronger and solid.

Neurons- A cell that caries signals and messages across the body from the brain to the other parts of nervous systems.

The memories in our brains are formed once the neurons have a strong communication with one another. Neurons only starts communicating to one another once they receive a several signals from a specific neurotransmitters. When the neurons create a stronger communication with others, the action is called long-term potentiation (LTP). LTP is used to explain how memories are formed due to strong connection between neurons and that they are maintained. This process creates a ‘synaptic contact’. It is a ability us humans have to recall different memories and thought processes. In order to maintain the memories, the LTP has to continue, meaning that the neurons have to continue the strong communication in order to keep the memories alive.

Nature vs Nurture |I&S

We have been focusing on psychology and how humans behave differently than others and the reason why. One of the biggest debate that is still unresolved for over centuries, is how humans behaviour are affected by nature, or nurture.

The nature vs nurture debate over human behaviour are still remained as a mystery, and is widely debated in the society. Human’s behavior and actions are affected by what they were born with, such as genetics and emotions you cannot have full control over; the nature side, or is widely affected by nurture, which is what they been taught and influenced by. Human behavior are not black or white; it cannot be defined if its just nature or just nurture, but many scientist have been studying what kind of behavior are generally affected by.

Genders, are one of the popular topics in the debate, as if girls and boys were separated due to our environment and nurture, or if they were born differently from the start and have different specific genes. The nurture side of the opinion is that when the kids are still little and has no perspective on the society and gender roles, the adults and the society tend to push gender stereotypes to their children unintentionally. The nurture affects the kids to either behave like a ‘boy’  or as a ‘girl’. One of the study taken by the Cambridge University proves the nurture side of point, as the adults gave gender specific toys to the infants dressed up as the opposite gender, and insisted the kids to play the gender matching toys. However the nature side also has their opinion as well, which is equally evident as the nurture. The Hines study showed that when a infant monkey were presented with human toys, the male monkey chose boy toys, as the female monkey chose girl toys. This study supports the nature side of gender strongly, as these monkey weren’t taught to nurtured to choose those toys and still did.

This Nature vs Nurture debate has been unresolved for over centuries, as both sides have an equal opinion and study proving their point. Behavior are affected by both nature and nurture, and humans acts differently to others due to the combination of both. It is very difficult to justify which side are has a stronger evidence and point, and neither can be 100% for sure.

Why We Explore |Science


Recently in science, we are studying about astronomy, and us humans have made great scientific discoveries of space. But many of us might wonder, ‘why do we we explore space?’ By learning the whole reason of why us humans explore space, would lead to a better understanding of our galaxy and the universe surrounding us.

The reason why we explore space is pretty simple. It is because us humans are ambitious and curious about the unknown space, we push ourselves to boundaries, and breaking them, creating new technology that would let us continue exploring further. As NASA agrees, “Humans are driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further.” It is human nature to be curious and explore something we don’t know, and because of these curiosity and ambitiousness, it has affected our planet by advancing the technology and have provided us many benefits. And of course, these explorations have brought in new knowledge and ideas of space.

When NASA has started exploring the space, they were challenged to create an advance systems and technology to be able to explore beyond the low-Earth orbit, and extend their discoveries to translunar space, near-earth asteroids and mars. Low-earth orbit is an orbit that extends from earth’s surface at sea level to an altitude of 400 and 1000 miles. It is a satellite system that is used for telecommunication, and communicating datas. To overcome this challenge, they have created a International Space Station which serves as a space laboratory for human health, material research and more. It was first created as a test bed, for testing out NASA’s new technology. International Space Station are now helping the astronauts to stay healthy and fit for exploring the unknown.

Today, the some exploration has extended over to the translunar space. Translunar space is the expanse surrounding the Earth-moon system, areas extending far beyond the moon orbit.  Exploring in translunar space would mean exploring outside the protection of Earth’s magnetic field, which would bring in new experiences and knowledge. Magnetic fields are the areas where an object exhibits magnetic influence. Magnetic object could be attracted or pushed away by these fields. Earth also has a magnetic field, as earth is filled with molten iron, which would push away radiations and particles such as solar wind, reducing the damage for us. Extending space exploration to translunar space could be dangerous, but it also bring benefits for us earth. As NASA states, “Operating in translunar space, NASA can research galactic cosmic radiation–potentially the most threatening element to humans exploring deep space–and develop mitigation strategies that may also lead to medical advancements on Earth.” Us humans would be able to gather new informations about the galactic cosmic radiation and reduce the damage for us humans, and possibly creating more advanced medicals. Exploring the further unknown would bring so much benefits as well as discovering what surrounds us.

The exploration not only extends to translunar space, but also to asteroids and mars. Asteroids are believed that they were formed early in our solar system’s history, possibly about 4.5 billion years ago. By studying these near-earth asteroids, it would help us discovered the materials from the solar nebula. As NASA comments that these discoveries would lead to possible answers for compelling questions such as ‘how did the solar system form and where did the Earth’s water and other organic materials such as carbon come from?’. By investigating the asteroids would not only help us understand the history of space, but also be able to predict the future impacts on earth and reduce them. Mars, are also popularly investigated by explorers and scientists. Many scientist have discovered that Mars has a similar history to Earth’s, and many are investigating if life exists beyond earth and on Mars.

One of the biggest reason why humankind are so passionate about exploring the unknown space, is due to our curiousness and our ambitions, and the new discoveries and informations about the space could be used to improve earth through technology, medical, and even connections between different countries. As NASA agrees, “Through addressing the challenges related to human space exploration we expand technology, create new industries, and help to foster a peaceful connection with other nations.” Exploring space can be very dangerous, and number of explorers has died from accidents in space. Yet it affects the world environmentally and socially, affecting the world positively and improving for better. Environmentally, it would improve our planet, as more advanced technology and advance medicals are created for exploring the space, making the world more innovated and improving the environment we are surrounded by. Socially, the unknown of space would bring many scientists and explorers around the world together, sharing knowledge and ideas between them, creating a connection or a bond with different countries. Why do we explore? Not only we are curious about it, but it also bring many benefits and advantages for us.

Works Cited

Dunbar, Brian. “Why We Explore.” NASA. Ed. Jennifer Wiles. NASA, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 05 June 2016.


Comedy Timeline

Renaissance Comics

Recently in Drama, we have been studying comedy and how they work. Comedy has started far far back in time, and has a very interesting history behind it. Heres the timeline of Comedy and clowns.

It is believed that comedy all started in Ancient Greek (5th centuries), commonly known with the Aristophanes as he was well known as the master of old comedy. Many of the comedies had a very weak plot line and had a very loose storyline, yet the comedy he wrote were simple, easy to understand jokes such as scatological humour (toilet jokes) and sexual jokes. He also made fun of the politicians, philosophers that existed during at that age, as in few of his plays he mocked the Peloponnesian Wars and the governors who were fighting against. Even after Aristophanes died, Menander has taken upon his place to create new comedy. In the new comedy, stereotypes were born as part of the humour. People used less sexual jokes and political jokes, but based on their comedy off of everyday situations.

In the medieval ages, the churches tried to keep comedy and joyous aspects of a comedy to the minimum, which lead to danger of extinction of comedy. Yet comedy survived through medieval folk plays and festivals.

Renaissance comedy is one of the well known comedy period. One of the famous scriptwriter known at this age was Shakespeare. Not only he created the famous scripts such as Romeo and JulietMacbeth, and more, he have also written different comedy scripts. In this age, comedy was known to be something different than we know it today. Today, we all think comedy is something funny and something we’ll be able to laugh at, but comedy in the Renaissance period was known to be something that had a good ending. One of the famous comedy during this time was the ‘commedia dell’arte’ in Italy, where people acted out wearing a mask.

Melodramatic comedy was more focused on exaggeration. Melodramatic comedy started to appear present in the 18th centuries to until today, through movies, television shows, and even in radio formats.Because melodramatic comedy existed in a long time period and still exists in comedy today, it is difficult to exactly justify and define what melodrama is. Usually in Melodrama, the plots and characters are over exaggerated, so they would be able to strongly show their emotions and their stereotypes. The term ‘melodrama’ were used negatively, as it meant unsophisticated or lack of delicacy. In melodrama, there was 6 stock characters that usually existed. A hero: who acts upon justice and moral, yet sometimes doesn’t follow the rules. A heroine: who is innocent and moral, usually a damsel in distress. A villain: who is evil, greedy, selfish and immoral. The villain’s accompany: a goofy dumb sidekick who serves as the comic relief. A faithful servant: a maid is loyal to the hero and helps him save the heroine, but also serves as comic relief yet not as goofy as the villains accompany. A maid servant: Unlike the faithful servant the maid servant is flirty, funny and is very loyal to the heroine.

Circus comedy was one of the important style of comedy in the timeline. The most famous one are the clowns. The clown comedy started around in the late Middle Ages. Court jesters and fools were a good example of a clown in the middle age. Arlecchino (Harlequin) is one of the famous clown actor that best represented this style. Harlequin started off as a comic valet, or zanni (types of character in dell’arte), but soon began to form his own style of comedy which was the soon to be known slapsitck. There are 3 major clown types. One of them is the White-face clown. They are the most well known, oldest clown. They are usually associated with the circus, and the White-faces had a high status among other clowns with intelligence. Auguste clown were the ones who had the lowest status among the other clowns, and was the most zaniest and unintelligent clown. The Auguste clowns wear mismatched and over sized clothes, with big noses. They appeared together with the White-face clowns and was usually the one messing things up. Character Clown is the third clown type. The hobo or The Tramp is one of the well known character clowns. Character clowns are clowns that have a specific character such as the police officers, women, babies, anything at all.

Cinematic comedy can be considered as the ‘oldest film genre’ as this comedy style mainly appeared in silent films, televisions and movies. Comedy was very suitable for silent films, as it required more of a visual action and audio. Slapstick was also another type of comedy used in cinematic comedy, as it portrayed the hilarity of ridiculous situations of physical mishap and indignity. Charlie Chaplin was the most famous comedy star known in this age and even today. He was a silent actor and pantomimist and was recruited at 1913 as a comedy actor. Kid Auto Races in Venice (1914), is the first silent film that he appeared in as ‘The Tramp’ character we all know.

As you can see, comedy has a very interesting history, and we are able to see how humour changes over time.

Works Cited
Carroll, Heather. “Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera.” Study.com. Study.com, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Dirks, Tim. “Comedy Films.” Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
“History of Clowning.” Clown Doctors. The Humour Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Johnson, Flint. “Ancient Greek Comedy: Definition & Plays.” Study.com. Study.com, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Mason, Craig. “A Melodramatic Look at Melodramatic Comedies.” Theatrefolk. Theatrefolk, Winter 2014. Web. 23 May 2016.
“Shakespearean Comedy.” The World of the Renaissance. The World of the Renaissance, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016.

Chapitre 10: Mise en train | French

  1. Why does Magali want to buy something new?
    She wants to buy new clothes for Sophie’s birthday party to look attractive.
  2. What is Hélène going to wear? Why?
    Jeans and t-shirts, since its easy to wear and comfy.
  3. What type of clothing is Magali looking for?
    Something original and not too expensive.
  4. What outfit does Magali like?
    She liked the skirt.
  1. «J’aimerais quelque chose d’original et pas trop cher.»
  2. «Je peux vous aider?»
    La vendeuse
  3. «Moi, j’aime bien être en jean et en tee-shirt. C’est simple et agréable à porter.»
  4. «Qu’est-ce que vous faites comme taille?»
    La vendeuse
  5. «Chacun ses goûts.»
  6. «Est-ce que vous l’avez en vert?»
  7. «C’est tout à fait votre style.»
    La vendeuse
  8. «Ce n’est pas tellement mon style.»
  1. le jean et le tee-shirt d’Hélène
    “Pourquoi est-ce que tu ne trouves pas quelque chose d’original? De mignon?”
  2. la première jupe que la vendeuse propose.
    “Bof. C’est pas tellement mon style.”
  3. la jupe verte en 38
    “Oui, c’est pas mal, mais elle est un peu large, non? Est-ce que vous l’avez en 36?”
  1. Qu’est-ce que vous faites comme taille? – 2
  2. Comment la trouvez-vous? – 3
  3. Je peux vous aider? – 4
  4. Ah, très chic! C’est tout à fait votre style. – 1
  1. Vous trouvez? Mais, je ne sais pas quoi mettre avec.
  2. Je fais du 38.
  3. Je cherche quelque chose pour aller à une fête.
  4. Bof. Ce n’est pas tellement mon style.
  1. express indecision? « Je ne sais pas quoi mettre. »
  2. express satisfaction with your clothes? « C’est simple et agréable à porter. »
  3. tell a salesperson what you want? « J’aimerais quelque chose de… »
  4. tell what size you wear?« Je fais du… »
  5. express dissatisfaction with clothes? « C’est pas tellement mon style. »
  6. ask for a certain color or size? « Est-ce que vous l’avez en… ? »

Je préfère le style d’Hélène, parce que j’aime les vêtements qui sont à l’aise. Mais j’aime aussi être original, donc j’essaye d’acheter des vêtements de marques différentes


Hiyaku Concert Performance Reflection |MUSIC

Grade 8 Koto have performed the piece ‘Hiyaku’ on a concert, and we have been working on this piece for few months. Here is my reflection for the whole piece, including my practices and the actual performance.

During the past few weeks and months, I have been practicing Hiyaku at school and at home. I thought the piece it self was fairly simple and easy to play song. Some parts I had trouble switching my fingers or just remembering which finger to play. For those ones, I wrote a note on my music sheet which finger to be using and made sure I always played them with the right ones. This helped me to read the music sheet clearer and more efficiently, and I was able to play the hard lines easily. Whenever I practiced at home, I was always careful not to go fast. I thought this was something important especially for this piece and needed more focus, since I tend to play easy lines fast and that would make everyone else had to play. I used a metronome to keep a steady pace. It worked and I was able to practice in a steady slow pace. The metronome also helped me to count in my head accurately and not go too fast when I’m performing without any metronomes.

Some improvements to make when I’m practicing next time is not to always start practicing from page 1. Whenever I practiced at home, I always started playing from page 1, all the time. This made me remember the piece at a one whole thing, and not into 3 different sections. This was quite inconvenient, since if I suddenly forget what to play, It would be harder for me to remember what to play next and I would have to recall the whole piece rather than remembering one section. Next time whenever I practice, I would practice from different sections so I would be able to remember them through sections.Also another thing I would do next time for sure, is to read and remember the music sheet while listening to the recorded piece. One of the way I tried to remember the piece was to listen to it whenever I have time. This really helped me remember the piece easily, but because I remembered it through sound and not the notes itself, sometimes whenever I’m performing I forget what string to play next even though I know how the piece would go next. I had trouble articulating the sounds and the string and I sometimes had to stop playing, like I did in 2:56~2:59 in the video.

Overall for the performance, I thought everyone did a good job of keeping ourselves together. This piece would only sound good if koto 1 and 2 are in harmony. In the middle we had part that we fell apart (like in section 2) but we were able to end together in sync. I thought it was impressive, and something we should be proud of, since we went far faster than we practiced, but we were able to keep it up together as a class. I thought the most improvement needed was section 2, since koto 1 and 2 fell apart on that section and I had parts that I forgot to play. I guess to improve for next time we should focus hard on playing the piece slowly so everyone would be together in harmony. As an individual, I thought I could’ve done better. Being at the very front, I could’ve slowed the pace of the piece for everyone to play comfortably, but I was too focused on trying not to fall apart and playing strongly. If I had practiced more and became more comfortable playing the piece, I would’ve had the room in my mind to intentionally slow down the piece. Next time I would improve by practicing more on the piece and being extra confident on what I play. I was able to play the piece strong and confidently though, which I thought was good, since not only people would be able clearly hear my sound, but the students in the back could listen to it and follow my lead. By playing confidently, I was able to bring back koto 1 and 2 together when it was about to fall apart. I thought this concert was a success, but for me individually, I have some parts I could improve on next time.

Hiyaku Focus Areas | Music

Here are my 3 focus area for our koto piece, ‘Hiyaku’

Focus Area 1: Page 3 line 2 measure 3 to line 4 measure 2

I thought I needed to focus on this part since the rhythm is different from other parts of the piece and I thought it was hard for me to play the note at the right timing. First it is very slow compared to other pages, so I had to count in my head to play the note on time. I focused on counting the beats every time I played this area, since it helped me a lot to play on beat. I also used the metronome to help me keep a steady beat while I was practicing. This helped me a lot for me to remember when to play at what timing.

Focus Area 2: Page 3 line 4 measure 2 to page 4 line 2 measure 2

I thought I needed to focus on this part since this part had a lot of presses and skipping notes while playing. This area one of the hardest thing I thought was switching my fingers to play different parts. I had to be quick on the transition from my thumb to my second finger, and that sometimes made it difficult for me to play the piece fluently. I tried to practice slow at first so I would be able to understand all the finger switches and presses, and then gradually speeding up so I would be able to play this area fluently. Presses were another problem where sometimes its a hard press and some times its a half press. By playing it slow at first again helped me to read my sheet ahead and place my left on the next press.

Focus Area 3: Page 5 line 3 measure 3 to page 6 line 2 measure 5

Since this part is pretty easy for me to play, I tend to play it very fast. To help me slow down at this area, I used a metronome to keep a steady pace for me when I play. By doing this I was able to remember how to play the area slow and steady.  I also broke and highlighted the parts I easily get fast and tried to be extra careful at those parts not to play fast. One of them is line 3 measure 1 and 2, where all I just do is go down from 12 to 7. Because its so easy, I tend to speed up but I tried extra aware of not playing too fast. Also by both listening to the metronome and counting in my head works very well too, since my brain would remember the correct beat and rhythm.