August 2nd Adventures

So last night was the first night of my homestay with Minori. So I started the morning with her and her family. I woke up around 6, and at 6:30 Minori to came to get me for breakfast. We had scrambled eggs sandwiches and bacon and ketchup on the side. It was very delicious. After breakfast we got ready for a long day. On our way to the share house we kind of got lost for a second, but managed to make it there on time. Goshi Ally and his assistant, who also happened to be a high school counselor, has been a part of the Myogandi Club. The Myogandi Club is an organization that tackles the issue regarding “Hikikomori,” which is social withdrawal.

Hikikomori is rooted in Japan, with about 1 million hikikomoris here, or roughly 1.57% of the population. I’ve heard of the epidemic before but when i learned more about it, I was very intrigued. Hikikomoris are easily spotted within society. For a hikikomori that is 30 years old, they may have been shut in for about 10 years. Some parents of hikikomoris often seek help, and some sort of enable this habit, in my opinion. Parents play an enabler role in this situation, because they would be embarrassed of their children so they hide them from the world. People become hikikomoris due to bullying in the past, being afraid of rejection, or their parents might have a wealthy paying job so they’re not around that much. The entire session was such a learning moment. People often joke about how they’re so anti-social they never go outside, and there are people who are actually suffering and seek help.

Today we also went to IDEO. IDEO is a global design company and the interior was very cool. One of the gentlemen we met was named Evin Dempsey. Evin told us about all the different things that IDEO designed and all their many projects along with answering any questions we had. Not to mention the fun little activity we did in which we had to create a job for ourselves, based on these crazy circumstances the world is in and what we are going to do about it. Evin elaborated on the fact that all different types of people in all different professions are a part of IDEO, which was very intriguing for me because walking into this session, I was under the impression I wouldn’t really be “taken away,” because graphic design is not my field of interest. However I was wrong.

At the end of the day we got to explore the Harajuku area and then for me it was off to Minori’s house . . . and tonight we’re doing karaoke!

Heavenly Anderson
Friendship Collegiate Academy

Rock Newman

It was Wednesday, July 18, and for the 2018 TOMODACHI crew that meant that it was the day we speak, experience, and learn about the African American culture. During lunch as we ate, a man I would call legendary shared with us a few stories about his life, his opinions, and gave us life-changing advice. His name was Rock Newman.

One of the many things I found interesting about Mr. Newman is that at first look, many would assume that he isn’t African American in which he is. Because Mr. Newman is a light colored African American, he has experienced racism in his life. Right away as he started to speak I was captivated, he spoke with confidence. As he continued he told us a story from when he was a young boy. He told us how this white man tricked him into severely burning his hand and that he vowed one day that he would kill that man. So because of that and many other situations, Rock grew up hostile towards white people. However, when that man did die and Mr. Newman met white people who weren’t bad, he started to gradually release this pent-up anger. What I took from this was to release the anger that formed in me from past situations and that it’s unhealthy to not do so.

Today Rock Newman has had talk and radio shows, he’s had personal relationships with some of history’s legends, such as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (Muhammad Ali) and Nelson Mandela. I see this man as inspiration to keep working hard and prove the naysayers wrong.

Heavenly Anderson
Friendship Collegiate Academy

Regie Cabico

On Tuesday we went to Columbia Heights Education Campus and partook in a poetry workshop with a man named Regie Cabico. Reggie was so energetic and poetic, that’s what made me really enjoy the workshop. We started off with a few stimulating exercises. One exercise we got in a circle and passed around a “pow,” but each time we had to pass the “pow” differently. After that, we partnered up and were given two opposite lines to say. For instance, my partner would say “I have to go” and I would say “You need to stay,” and so we would go back and forth only saying those two lines. The purpose of that exercise I think was to really get in touch with our voice, tone, and even body language on how to express our words. It was really fun to do that. One part of me felt kind of trapped, limited to that one line but another part of me felt intrigued to figure out how do we get our point across in a different way.

Afterward was when we started creating poetry, Mr. Regie instructed us to simply start by writing seven facts about yourself and even shared his with the group. It was because of this that I realized writing poetry isn’t about rhyming, but storytelling. It was a real eye-opener. To close out we had a mini-open mike session, I kind of got excited about going to Busboys and Poets and maybe even reading my poetry on stage, we’ll see though.

Heavenly Anderson
Friendship Collegiate Acacemy

Heavenly: A Visit to USIP

On Tuesday, July 10 we all went to the US Institute of Peace to watch a seminar about implementing peace strategies in the classroom. For me, the entire experience was kind of enlightening. First of all, I knew the government wanted to create peace, not war, because that’s sort of every politician’s motto for their campaign, but to find out that there is a whole organization that Congress created dedicated to creating peace really shocked me.

During the seminar, 3 teachers from different schools in different areas of the country that teach different subjects had to basically report on how their students reacted to the peace curriculum they were given through these things called Peace Toolkits and even what they probably learned about being a peace teacher. The part of the seminar where the teachers were presenting was a little funny to me. Being a student and noticing the way the teachers presented is similar to how students present, with confidence but a little nervousness behind it all.

Towards the end, after hearing how the students really accepted the peace material, where they were from, and what type of students they were, I was confused on how the teachers got the kids excited about the Peace Toolkit and really inspired them to fully participate and take what they’re learning and apply it to their life. So when people in the crowd got to ask questions, that’s what my question was, and after the teachers tried their best to answer along with a few conversations I had with other people that were in the audience, I realized that there wasn’t a single answer to my question. I thought about it, and teachers can and should think of things to really encourage kids like games or role play, but if someone, not just kids, has a set mindset on something, there’s only so much you can do to change their mind. Despite that epiphany of mine, I’ve decided to look into the Peace Toolkit and use it in my everyday life, and encourage my friends, family, and even peers to as well. It was a good day.

Heavenly Anderson
Friendship Collegiate Academy