Battle Strategies

The battles have been rough, it’s being a full time job 24/7, battles which our heroes have overcome successfully. After exploring the Tokyo land, they were transported to Tohoku, an undiscovered and magnificent place to be, where a long time ago the Namitsu, an ancient and furious dragon, whipped the earth, creating big waves destroying one of the most beautiful places on earth. The region was devastated but their spirit of warriors stuck with them.

Our heroes were gathered together to discuss many battle strategies in the Sustainability Center-Dojo in Minamisanriku, with Dazai Sensei, to confront Ivda, the life demon. They were divided in three different factions: Nature (Earth), Tourism (Air), and Education (Fire). Each faction came with a Vision and Mission, a goal to reach within the groups. Their ideas were varied.

Four of them wanted to save the nature by challenges and funny ideas. The Air group wanted to use commercials to bring tourists to Tohoku. And Fire wanted to work with kids and seek for a better future. They spent the day discussing and evolving their ideas, to present to the commanders, so they could make the plan a reality if our heroes wanted to. Their last day in Tohoku spent planning and gathering ideas to their bright future seemed really special. The next generation seems to be very bright.

Carlos Daniel Ramirez
Roosevelt SHS

Real People, Real Issues

Our heroes have arrived to the war zone, after 12 hours in the air. After they say the last goodbye to their families because It might be the last time that they see them, they finally get to their final destination. Days have passed and many battles had occurred, one with the demon “Jetlago,” which drains their energy and makes them 90% sleepy, but with the traditional medicine called “resto,” they were ready to start battling again.

They are located in a Share House in which some of them are residing to plan the battle strategies, but our protagonist is going to Shunsuke-san’s house where another mission has to be completed by these two brave heroes. But they had to combat every day to the main mission, which now it will involve a social issue in Japan called “Hikikomori.”

The term of “Hikikomori” was explained by two Samurai (Mr. Kuramitsu and Ms. Tezuka), where their job is to provide support to Hikikomori, help them find jobs, and reunite them to the society. Hikikomori are persons who isolate themselves from the society itself, they never leave home, they don’t work, don’t do school, they are the maximum expression of living in a comfort zone, but in some cases, a real particular case of mental health issues. In the majority of the part they are conscious in their position, and they strongly believe that people see them as the dark part of the society, they hate themselves to the point that they see themselves that they are less than everyone.

This problem is being around Japan since the beginning of the new century. I strongly believe that the technology is being big part of this issue, where the comfort zone is more accessible to everyone that possesses the world in a screen. After all, Japan isn’t the only place where Hikikomoris reside, they are all over the world. But Mr. Kuramitsu gave different evidence about the influence of the internet. My position is uncertain. I admire them in ways that they don’t follow standards of the society, but there are certain cases of pure depression and isolation, where they don’t provide, just take a small square of the world and lock it.

Carlos Daniel Ramirez
Roosevelt SHS

A walk for another culture

It is the end of the week and our heroes were in intense training in different dojos. Our heroes deserve a break, which was in the center of the town, more specific the center of Chinatown, but some of the native warriors from the town had to go early. They decide to rest from the visit to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and a walk on the National Mall. Some of our heroes decide to celebrate the first week of training, but because they are underage, it was decided to go to a festival. Daniel our protagonist was excited to pass time with the allies from the other land that he decided to stay with them. When our heroes arrived by walking a long way, passing through Chinatown, they were able to see the festival in the middle of the street, where they met warriors from different part of the world who teach them the martial art: “Capoeira.” So Daniel-kun, Chi-chan and Noa-chan decided to try this foreign martial art, which in the opinion of everyone Chi-chan was the best one.

Then some of our heroes played this ancient game which requires patience, precision and geometry: JENGA. Later on Daniel-kun went to this millennial’s game, checkers, with Chi-chan in a rough battle of intelligence, which in both times Daniel-kun proclaimed himself as a the champion and Chi-chan, sensei. In the meantime the others were learning how to paint graffitis, a different game attracted their attention where they decided to play until the sun went down, It was a fun day full of happiness and memories that will not go away. The end of the first week finished when everyone decided to leave this place but with knowing that their bonds are stronger.

Carlos Daniel Ramirez
Roosevelt SHS

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum

On Friday, July 20, at the end of Week 1, the TOMODACHI USJYEP group spent the morning visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The experience was powerful, as always, and for many of the students (both from DC and Japan) this was new information, so particularly shocking. We asked each student to share a moment of maximum impact or significance.

Racquel: The Holocaust Museum as a whole was a lot to take in all at once. It was very moving, and really helped me understand what that time period was like. One exhibit that specifically caught my eye, and touched my heart, was called “Daniel’s Story.” It walked me through the life of a young Jewish boy before, during, and after the Holocaust. I had the ability to attempt to understand many of the struggles he went through, and all the pain he endured. I watched as his life went from peace and happiness, to disaster, devastation, and hopelessness. This exhibit really allowed for me to see what it was like to live under Hitler’s reign, as a Jew during the Holocaust era.

* discrimination
* prejudice
All terrible things start from discrimination and prejudice (black, white, Jewish, man, woman)

Arjernae: The survivors who spoke out after the Jews were freed from the camps was one of the many things that shook me. Also, the fact that people who were hospitalized were being murdered by hospital staff without the families’ knowledge. That they were experimenting and taking people who weren’t really sick hostage, just to burn their bodies and come up with a cover story about how people’s loved ones died, because of “sickness,” is sickening itself.

Noa: I Iooked at the exhibit on children’s shoes. I can imagine the view of the many children.

Jerusalen: “You are my witness” (Isaiah 43:10). I think when I saw the biblical quote on the wall, it hit me that the quotes said in the bible can relate to so many problems in the world, the people affected being Jews. The quote from a bible has a great impact on their relationship with religion. That stuck with me while seeing all the other exhibits. I think the other thing that impacted me was the room where you could light a candle for the Jews and soldiers. The tranquillity in the room made me feel peace.

Minori: About 8 people slept in a tiny space together. When one of them died, others used his things, such as shoes, clothes. Also, when they wanted to pee, they just peed while lying in bed, so others experienced the bad smell. I realized how important storytelling is through this experience.

Miles: I viewed a short film within the first exhibit. Firstly, the ambiance of the theater was fitting for the rest of the museum, was extremely dark with industrial features. The film was about the religious persecution Jews faced throughout history well before the Holocaust. Starting during the Crusades, thousands of Jews were killed by the hands of Christians. Jews were also painted as devilish/demonic figures with art pieces depicting them drinking children’s blood. The film also touched on how Martin Luther expected Jews to convert to Christianity during the Protestant Reformation. So when Jews decided to keep their faith, he called for the burning of synagogues and Jewish people’s homes. I found the film extremely interesting because I wasn’t aware of the long history of violence and persecution towards Jews prior to the Holocaust.

Anika: An image of babies piled up in the ground of the camp because they’re dead (dead babies).

Carlos: There’s a billboard in the “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibit which is a question to the public at the time:

What impacted me was the response:

“Yes 93%” and “No 1%” and “Don’t Know 6%.” I was impacted by the level of racism and discrimination that used to be, because they used to get scared that I’m related to.

Keiichiro: I was affected by the “Smile Photo” in the Holocaust Museum. I felt discomfort for it. Why? Why do they smile? The Holocaust is said to be so terrible. But at that time, people who live in Germany (not Jews) are smiling.

Shunsuke: “Amcho” is a word that was used by Jews to identify themselves as Jewish when they weren’t allowed to name themselves as Jewish during World War II. It’s kind of a secret word in Jewish. Jewish is human. They all have names, born, personality, and others like us. However, they didn’t have any rights or opportunity to name Jewish. They were discriminated against as aliens. As they were heading to their death by inhumane ways.

Noa: I looked at this – children’s shoes. I can imagine the view of the many children.

Naoki: When war has happened, human beings can do that.

The Daniels Post

David Nakamura is a famous journalist of the Washington Post, a famous newspaper that covers many news from all over the country. He has met Presidents Barack Obama-sama and Donald Trump. He has complex battles that make him a really experienced reporter. One of his battles was in Japan when he lived as a teacher of English. David explained to our heroes the life of a reporter who covers the White Palace is, how hard it’s speaking the truth, and the people claimed as fake news, how the bloom of the internet has affected the newspaper in a critical way where people don’t verify and just believe the news that goes in social media.

David has covered many actions of the President Trump and he always maintains himself as a professional teaching our heroes that even in the worst times and even if you are not agreed with what other people said, you always need to do the job If is for other people benefit. Our heroes were all amazed by the determination of this reporter, that he always does his job and that a reporter is a person too, a person who has a family and lives a normal life, and a person who always has something to write about always seeking for the truth. His speech was powerful and very inspiring for many of our heroes whose dream is being a journalist or a writer. His message was clear words are powerful and the truth is always necessary to be a good journalist. His visit to Benjamin’s Palace was one of the favorites of our heroes.

Carlos Daniel Ramirez
Roosevelt SHS

Visiting Carlos Rosario

After our warriors met the allies, at the George Washington University dojo, they started to prepare to get their first missions. For 3 days and 3 nights, because the allies had traveled a long ways, rest was necessary, but after the 3 days meeting each other and studying strategies of war, they started to go places and meet with a lot of different warriors who fought in different wars, as well as different Dojos (schools, and many buildings) to gain experience. One of these Dojos was called “Carlos Rosario,” the next destiny.

It was a cloudy day. After passing the day at the central base, Sally-sama took our heroes close by the base to a dojo. Our heroes meet with people like Daniel (our protagonist) – people who came from a far land close to where he was from, sharing their stories about immigration. Carlos Rosario is a dojo for adults from every age, mostly people who cannot speak the native language. This dojo teaches every kind of martial art: gastronomy, languages, math and diverse topics. They learn the Dojo is a different one, not only because it is for adults, but because it is free and they provide many items to their students. One of the senseis showed them the Dojo, their artwork inspired by many movements that occurred before our heroes were even born.

Carlos Rosario senseis explained to them about some students who started their own business by simple ideas. Our heroes were amazed by people from different backgrounds and different countries who didn’t speak English and now they were able to communicate their ideas. This school left a deep message in our heroes where if you want to succeed and if you really wanted to make it through the war, studies and a hard wish of being better is necessary.

Our heroes were stopped by the god of the storm which obligates them to stay at the dojo until the god ceased his anger towards our warriors, It was a great time to reflect the meaning of immigration, which is not only about Latinos moving to the USA, but is also about people from all over the world looking for the American Dream and how hard it’s to be a person who does not speak the language and doesn’t know what to do, and Dojos like Carlos Rosario who help those people to prepare for the worst war, life itself.

Carlos Daniel Ramirez Hernandez
Roosevelt SHS

Daniel: Destiny Calls

A long time ago in a far far land, a new life was conceived. Thanks to the mother earth, a little boy with a bright future was born, destined to travel the world and resolve conflicts in each country. This kid knew always that he will do something big. After he traveled away from home, his destiny started to call him, he knew that I was coming and he was ready for it. He is trying to accomplish what he was destined for. He has begun with a program which facilitates the process of his goal, the name of the program is…. TOMODACHI!

He was once told that if he didn’t take an opportunity, someone else will take it from him. His sensei told him that he should apply for this program which would give wisdom and experience for his way. He accepted without hesitation, promising the master that he will do his best in this journey. The process was rough and it required patience and hard work to get in. After days where he couldn’t sleep, the day was finally there. He went to a palace to talk with the shogun who ruled over the program. His breath was calm, he spoke with consistency and clearness, the shoguns (a hereditary commander-in-chief in feudal Japan) discovered something in the kid, something that made him different. After days without sleeping and without thinking in something else, he received a letter. He was excited and anxious about it. He decided to open it slowly like when a flower bloom for the first time, and then the face of the kid was full of tears, but these tears were not sad tears. He was crying because the paper said accepted.

After a few meetings with the shogun Sally-sama and Benjamin-sama, they decide to give him some training before he goes to the battlefield to fight!. For this duty no less than the emperor of the program with her Daimyos (one of the great lords who were vassals of the shogun) decide to train him and his partners. First they explained the territory which our hero will be in. With a fast quiz, they tested the knowledge of him and the others warriors, where they discovered they didn’t actually know nothing about Japan. After this, the one Daimyo started to describe the difference between these two lands, first by explaining the school system, how the students dress for school, their schedule, their responsibilities, such as cleaning the classroom and taking their shoes out before they enter in the school, a practice that the Daimyos remarked as important because even in the house everyone has to do it. That made some strange faces in our warriors, but our hero will not let him down for a few rules. Then they described the temperature and the land composition, describing it “hot like here and humid,” and their first region that they were going to battle as technologically advanced, where trains get in at the time that they said, and bigger than New York. Our warriors start to ask questions, because in Japan apparently no one speaks English and our hero only speaks English and Spanish. But the Emperor exclaims that they shall never be alone, more Shoguns (adults) will always be with them, which words calm the warriors, including our main hero.

After teaching them some words in Japanese, and many fun facts about Japan, their first training was complete. They were asked to report in a different dojo in DC, after a good night’s rest, our warriors are disposed to continue with their hard training. They went into the dojo for today’s lesson on food. The Daimyos were really kind, giving them information about the food in Japan, which is totally based on fish. They were teaching some manners on the table like saying “Itadakimasu” before they start to eat, and a very interesting lesson about the variations of food and try the food. The Emperor and Daimyo said goodbye and our warriors finished their pre-training, leaving to home with time to rest and prepare for the arrival of the allies on Saturday. This story will continue…

Carlos Daniel Ramirez
Roosevelt SHS