Fictional characters: Why do we like them so much?

Today we got to dress up as your favorite character for Spirit Day at YIS. In English we talked about who is your favorite character why we like the character so much.

I’ve chosen Yagami Light from ‘Death Note’ written by Tsugumi Ohba. This character has a huge like and dislike between the audience, but I honestly like him the best. I like Yagami Light because he is incredibly smart, and all the other characters are controlled by him, without realizing.

However, if an author just told us these things, it would be pretty boring. Instead they show us using characterization techniques.

Yagami Light is characterized as an smart killer who can predict whats going to happen in the future, through his speech. This is a very famous quote from the manga, 「計画どおり」(“All according to the plan” ). In the scene, you can feel the confidence and fearlessness. Takeshi Obata, the illustrator of the manga uses appearance to also show how satisfied he is, predicting the future correctly and ‘all according to plan’.

Source: ‘Death Note’ volume 7 pg. 24

Fact or Fiction: Journey to apartheid-free| English

Apartheid, racism, discrimination. We hear all these words and many people are having serious trouble with it. But most of us, the bystander just watch that happen. Apartheid was a harsh and difficult time for the Africans. Treated like slaves and toys by the whites and discriminated just because they were ‘different’ from them. In English, our unit is about the relationship between text and the real world and for the past few weeks, we have been researching and finding information about the apartheid in different perspectives. First as a reporter, then as kids living in the world of apartheid, and lastly as the president of South Africa. We looked at different text sources like feature article, historical fiction and a movie based on true events. First I researched about a Nelson Mandela and wrote a feature article.

We first focused on these 4 subjects; Apartheid, Nelson Mandela, Colonialism and Soweto Uprising. I researched about Nelson Mandela and wrote a feature article of him. Feature article is a news article, with all the real facts, but it has more emotion and more interesting than news. Before I did a research I only new he was the first black president of South Africa. Throughout my researched I found accurate, precise facts, with dates and names of the real people involved in that event. This made me know more about Nelson Mandela and about the real life problems he had. When I was researching, I came across some harsh event and facts about the apartheid. These fact made me feel bit scared because all the facts I read are mostly real, and it happened just few decades. The emotions I feel when reading a facts is very different to the emotion when I read a book. When I read a fact, I feel shocked, or surprised or even  scared sometimes, but when I read a book, it makes me feel sad, and angry and sometimes happy. I think stories stops you from knowing facts and information about the historical event, since the reader is more concentrated about the character instead settings and background information. I think researching for facts gives you a clear and detailed fact that would help you learn more, but it might be not interesting for some people because its just facts and most of them are bit plain and boring. after we researched about apartheid, we changed our text style from fact to historical-fiction.

Next we read a book called ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ written by Beverley Naidoo. This book was about 2 black kids, Naledi and Tiro. Their little baby sister is sick, and they need their ma’s help, but she is working in Jo’burg which is far far away from their house. As you read they meet new friends, encounter problems relating to apartheid and learn the relationship between people and races. In the story, all the character were very interesting, since they had a real life problem and felt so real, even though they were fictional character. Story was based off of a real event like the apartheid and the Soweto uprising, but they were told indirectly, so if I didn’t know what Soweto uprise was or what apartheid was, then I might not understand the story completely. I didn’t get clear, precise information from story, and a specific names and dates, but I got to learn how the kids and the people felt during the apartheid. I think stories teaches you more about how people felt when they were in the event, and it makes you empathize about the character and feel sad or angry rather than shocked or overwhelmed. Stories might not give clear informations and you might even need to know about it before you read it, but it makes you think more about apartheid than facts. I also think stories can change your thinking. You might first don’t feel that bad about the apartheid, but after you read this book, you might feel mad about apartheid. Maybe if more people read books about these problems than just reading a fact about it, people will start to think differently and it might make a cause to change the world to make it a better place. After we finished reading the book, we changed our perspective from a average black kids to the president of South Africa.

Lastly we watched the movie called ‘Invictus’. The movie is about the first black president, Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team Springboks. After South Africa became a place for both black and white, it became a equal place but not everyone was happy about it. In this movie you can see how apartheid related with rugby and how the black and white work together to try to win the rugby world cup. The main character was Nelson Mandela and it was very interesting to watch his life style and the problems he faced after becoming the president because I thought everything was happy and going great after he became the president, but actually it was not. This movie taught me that apartheid can relate to almost anything, even sports. But because it can relate to anything, it can help the black and the white to unite. Nelson Mandela used rugby to unite the South Africa. One of the quote I really like from the movie, is when Francois said to the reporter,
“David, we didn’t have the support of 63,000 South Africans today, we had the support of 42 million South Africans.”
This really touched me and I felt attached to Francois and Nelson Mandela, but also the South Africa it self.
I think movie is a great way to learn someone or a event because it gives you out the clear images and its way more interesting than just reading a boring fact. But movies can confuse people for what is real and what is made up. Thats a disadvantage for the movie because it can give you false information, or misunderstand things.

In conclusion, I learned about apartheid and racism through historical-fiction, facts and movies, found out different informations through fiction and non-fiction. By researching facts, I got to find detailed and accurate information with specific dates and peoples name, which well help me understand what the apartheid was, but most of the facts are straightforward and bit boring, and some people won’t find it very interesting to read a paragraph full of  uninteresting things. When reading ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ I learned how average black kids lived like during the apartheid. Reading stories makes you empathize about the character and feel the same way as Naledi and Tiro. Stories can teach you how people felt when they were living during the harsh time, but you need to know what apartheid was, or you might not understand the story well. Watching a movie helps you learn a one specific event or history, and it gives you a clear image of what is happening. Watching ‘Invictus’ taught me that Nelson Mandela used rugby to unify South Africa. I think all of these text style are good for learning but I think researching is the most useful text style to learn things, since when reading a book, you have to research about it to understand the story, and when watching a movie, you have to research before to know what is true and what is made up.

Journey to Jo’burg Novel Response | English

Hello, in English we are reading a book called ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ written by Beverley Naidoo. In this blog post, I’m going to talk about this book and the writing inside.. Read in caution, it might contain spoilers.


During this book, there is a lot of scenes that creates a image of whats happening. This makes you feel like as if you’re in that scene, and you get feel how the character feels. Beverley Naidoo uses a variety of metaphors to describe the situation. There is a scene where Naledi and Tiro arrives at Jo’burg and separate with Rra, “The children thanked him again and they made their farewells, before he was swallowed up once more amongst the city people.”(38) Beverley Naidoo used the word ‘swallowed’ to describe how busy the city is. Obviously Rra did not get swallowed but because there was so many city people, they got easily separated. Or there is a scene where Naledi and Tiro runs to get the passport to help out the black who was caught by the police, “The children weaved in and out of the people as they ran along the stony road, between rows of grey block houses all looking exactly alike. No leafy trees here, only grey smoke setting everywhere.” (54) Again, she used the word ‘weaved’ to describe how busy the crowd is. She also used interesting adjective to describe the town. She used the word grey to make it sound dull, dark and boring. The reason why these adjectives and metaphors makes you feel like you’re in the scene, is because its based off from the characters feeling and thinking. Jo’burg is always busy, so for Naledi and Tiro, they are not used to busy places and they felt as if Rra was ‘swallowed’ up by the people or felt like they were ‘weaving’ out of the crowd. These words don’t describe the setting, it bring you inside the setting.


I thought this book was connected to the Soweto Uprise. Journey to Jo’burg is based off a real events during the apartheid and even the Soweto Uprise. There is a scene were Grace talks about her brother Dumi and what happened to him, “…she and Dumi had marched in the streets with thousands of other schoolchildren. They were protesting that their schools taught them only what white government wanted them to know.” (59) Although Beverley Naidoo didn’t directly say its Soweto uprising in this paragraph, you can tell that its about it, because Soweto uprising was a protest by school kids protesting about only learning in Afrikaans, which wasn’t their language. I thought this made the story more realistic and interesting, and through this book, I learned how the blacks felt during the apartheid.


One question is, why Naledi doesn’t feel hatred towards the white. During the journey, she and Tiro came across some problems like when they tried to get on a whites only bus, the black bus driver shouted at them,”What wrong with you? Are you stupid?” (39) Or when the police caught one of the black, “When a boy said that he wasn’t yet sixteen, policeman just yelled that he was a ‘liar’ and a ‘loafer’.” (52) Naledi saw how whites were harsh to the blacks and how they were badly discriminated. But she doesn’t show any grudge of hate against the black. Is it because she was lucky to meet nice people along the way? Is it because she was fortunate to have a nice family? Whats the difference with Naledi’s thinking and a normal black person being discriminated by white?


I think the biggest topic of this book was the relationship between the apartheid and education. Because of the apartheid, the education for blacks were different from the whites. Theres a scene where Grace talk about Soweto uprise, ” They were protesting that their schools taught them only what the white government wanted them to know “(59). Or a scene where Ma talks about Soweto uprise “Yes, it’s bad. But those children who marched in the streets don’t want to be like us… learning in school just how to be servants.” (68) From looking at these quotes and sentences, you will know that the blacks didn’t have their freedom even for education. Theres a lot of book about apartheid and they are talking about money, or land, or violence between the blacks and white but not much of were talking about education. I thought this book really shows well how important education is for both races.


Overall this book really taught me a lot about apartheid and how it was like to live at that time. It had some interesting and thoughtful quotes and it made think again about the relationship between the blacks and whites. “They should be sorry, those stupid people! Why shouldn’t we use any bus? When our buses are full, their buses are half empty. Don’t you be sorry!” (41) I got to look differently at the apartheid than the news article, since books had more emotion and thought into it than non-fiction news. I think these deep quotes and words in this book makes the reader empathize with the character and know not only what happened, but how the people that was involved felt and thought.


Responding to Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis | English


Right now i’m reading a book called ‘Mare’s War’ by Tanita S. Davis. This book is about a grandma called Mare, who used to be in the Women’s Army Corps during during World War 2. You follow through Mare experiences and encounters,  with her granddaughters on the road in the present day.

Sometimes theres a postcard in the end of the chapter, talking about their experience. This made me remind of the reflections we write for assessments. When I write comments and reflection i’m always lazy to write them, and its same in the book too. In one scene, Tali was muttering about how its annoying and boring to write letters.

While reading this book, it reminded me of one of the movie called ‘The Eternal Zero’ which is about a grandson who wanted to know more about his grandfather and he finds surprising things about him. Same ‘Mare’s War’, Octavia finds out more things about Mare and her past through out the story. Both of them also switches from past to now and the perspective changes a lot.

This book has some connection to the world too. Like it had some problems like in real life world, and one of them was about racism. In one scene, they had a drinking fountain for whites only and blacks only, and this made me really think about racism and how this book relates to the world.

F I L M M A K I N G 【Film Shots】| English

Hey guys,

For English we have started our new unit! Our unit is Film study and we are learning about film shots and how they affect the movie scenes. We started to look at different shots and angles from a manga and see how it affects the story and emotion.

We looked at 5 shots.
Bird’s eye view
A shot that is looking down at someone or something. This shot gives you a feeling you are stronger than the character in the scene while the character feels weaker. It also makes the scene more dynamic and dramatic. For example if a man is looking down from a high building, it makes it more dramatic if you make it bird eye view and you get a feeling you are standing on a high building.

Worm’s eye view
Worms eye view is the opposite of bird’s eye view and its a shot that is looking up at someone or something. Opposing to bird’s eye view, it makes the character more powerful and you, the audience feels more weaker.
Close up
Close up is a close shot of a person or a thing (mostly person). It shows a bit of emotion and you feel that character is important.
Extreme close up
Extreme close up is like close up shot, but MORE EXTREME. Its when you have a close up shot of something or parts of your body. If you have a extreme close up of a face and mostly eye, you feel and understand that the character is furious and angry or you feel another emotion. Or if you have a extreme close up of a object, it means that the object is a key object or something important.
Wide angle shot
Wide angle shot is when you have more background and you zoom out from the character. It have a less detail with the character but it gives you an information where the characters are and if there is only 1 or 2 characters, the scene is empty and you feel the loneliness.

We (Me, Haruna, Yujin and wonkyung) took some pictures using the shots. See if you can guess them!

Answer: Worms eye view

Answer: Bird’s eye view

Answer: Wide angle shot

Why do we tell myths? | English

Hellow. Today we are going to be talking about myths.

You might be wondering what myths are. Myths are stories with traditions. Some myths are completely fictional and some are based on real experience. But all myths are very old. They usually tell story about man’s experience. Some might be about a hero, some might be about gods or even mythical creatures.

Usually the myths are unrealistic and impossible but they have a purpose or a moral. I think that is the reason why people tell myths. Myths aren’t always just a story- many of them teach lessons. In the old days, adults usually tell stories with a lesson to teach or warn kids. The character in the story might lie, steal or cheat and then they are punished for their bad behavior. If you think about this myths are different than fairy tales. Fairy tales are stories with dreams and usually they are cliche and stereotype with a happy ever after. Myths on other hand, are all different and they have different lessons kids have to learn. Myths can have a good ending or a bad ending.

For example, theres a mythical creature called tengu and theres a story about them which has a lesson to not be arrogant. The story is about a man who meets long-nosed, magical goblin called a tengu. The tengu teaches the man ninjutsu and the man could now turn invisible, swim underwater for hours or run as fast as a horse. One day the man came upon a farmer walking slowly along the path. The man got impatient and he drew his sword and swung at farmer’s neck. But the man realized that the farmer was a tengu in disguise and the man could never perform ninjitsu again and was soon caught and punished by the tengu. The story warns people not be conceited just because you are better or special than the others. The man was punished because of his arrogant behavior and being impatient and using his power just because he thinks he is more powerful than the farmer. 『天狗になる』or “becoming a tengu” is one of the famous Japanese myth. And it is one of the great example of a myth with a moral.
Read more about tengu here

-A picture of a man and the tengu- (picture from here)

I think myths are not just for entertainment. I think the reason why myths are told by many people is to teach a lesson and warn us. But maybe myths are for understanding gods and respecting their beliefs. Maybe myths can be about how world was created of how environments work. What do you think? Why do you think we tell myths? Let me know in the comments.

Until the next post,
Bye :3