On the 21st, I went to the annual cultural festival of Kobe University Secondary School as part of a group of students invited to have a cultural exchange with the students. I had a wonderful time there, as I was able to experience what a Japanese school is like and it was fascinating to see the different booths and activities each grade had organized. It was clear that the students had put a lot of effort and preparation into the activities/ booths and the fact that the festival lasted three days was very surprising. Kobe University Secondary School is a school which has put in a lot of effort to “globalize” the school by having students participate in events such as the speech contest, which I had the privilege of participating in and watching their presentation, and International Kids’ Day in which they acted out scenes from High School Musical 1, in english. Additionally, it was a delight to see clubs consisting of people who wanted to actively use english and learn more about the world.
There were student guides who guided us around the countless booths around the school. In efforts to interact with the students, I asked them about certain booths etc.. Throughout my visit to the school, I believe I was able to develop the skills Develop international-mindedness through global engagement, multilingualism and intercultural understanding, and Undertake challenges and develop new skills. Visiting a Japanese school which is a very different environment from our school, I was able to learn a bit about their curriculum through their booths, and the unique experiences you can achieve through going to this school. This allowed me to have a better understanding about schools in Japan, which is important for me as a Japanese citizen who despite my nationality, does not have the experience of going to a Japanese school. Regarding the second skill, the guides were not as talkative as desired and thus I had to initiate conversations which took a bit of courage, especially because I did not know them and seemed to be engrossed in their own conversations. However overall, it was an enjoyable experience it would be a delight to visit them again next year. Additionally as a service activity, I believe I deserve 5 points as the visit was from 9:20~14:00.
During the past few weeks, we have bene learning about sexual health, gender, identity and correct decision making etc.. There were many things that I did no know or discovered throughout the lessons but one thing was the wide variety of contraceptives and the advantages and risks that go along with it. I realized that since contraceptives do not guarantee the prevention of pregnancy 100%, it is essential that we understand and keep in the mind the possible consequences when engaging in any sexual activity. I felt really frustrated when I heard about cases in which a transgender person in the army had to conceal the fact that he was transgender because if disclosed, he would be kicked out of the army. However, eventually, he was able to embrace his identity as a man and not be forced to wear attire for women at formal ceremonies etc., which I believe is a great step towards accepting people who are transgender, queer or unsure of their identity.
Something I have found out about myself is that I did not know much about the other sex regarding anatomy and facts surrounding that matter, and I believe that I gained knowledge, which I had lacked previously which is essential when it comes to having a partner to have more understanding towards my male counterpart, in a relationship etc.. I learn best when presented with visuals, because it retains my attention and it is easier for me to take in information especially when the matter we are discussing is sensitive like this topic.
I believe our society is becoming more and more understanding regarding people of different identities. For example, the United States has been making many efforts to spread awareness and be understanding of people with different identities. However, many Asian countries like Japan and Korea are not so “upright” about this issue perhaps because we care so much about what other people think or view us rather than our own happiness, or we as a society still don’t have much understanding regarding this matter and thus not be able to speak up. I strongly admire ex pres. Barack Obama for taking strong action regarding this matter in the shape of legalizing same sex marriage, which has given hope to so many people and inspired many others and I believe we should follow him as an example and change the old views that still remain in this society.
I am angered by some people who are thoughtless and insensitive, who choose to believe that they are right and they have the right to intervene with someone’s life/ decision and make rude or hurtful comments. I understand that they may have different opinions regarding a certain matter but this is no excuse for pulling down someone by making hurtful comments and they should be willing to accept different views. While discussing, it was interesting to hear what my friends thought about relationships and consent and what they would do in certain situations.
Currently, same-sex marriage is not permitted and there is no serios discussion among Japanese policymakers regarding same-sex marriage. I am interested in pursuing a career related to law so in the future, I’d perhaps want to to contribute to making Japan a more welcoming and comfortable environment for people by encouraging change or spread awareness regarding this matter. Throughout this unit, I have learnt more about the wide variety of sexuality and the importance of correct decision-making when in a relationship etc.