Monday, February 19, 2007

Students in the Kanto International High School 1st Year Study Abroad Programme read Gandhi by Jane Rollason. Last year, after reading the book, students were asked to imagine that they were writers for a newspaper. Their assignment was to write about the death of Gandhi. Below are examples of their work. Many thanks to the students who allowed me to display their work.

Click picture to enlarge.
Click picture to enlarge

Click picture to enlarge

Thursday, February 15, 2007

42nd Anniversary of the Canadian Flag

The red and white maple leaf Canadian flag was raised for the first time on 15 February 1965. Incredibly, some Canadians didn't want Canada to have a flag of it's own. To get the whole story visit the The Canadian Encyclopedia

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Black History Month

February is Black History Month in Canada and America. Black History Month is October in Britain. In honour of Black History Month, I have created a collage.

The person playing a trumpet in the top left corner of the collage is Louis Armstrong.

Just below Louis Armstrong, under his trumpet's bell, is Malcolm X.

Next to Louis Armstrong, on the top right side of the collage, is Frederick Douglass.

Next to Frederick Douglas is a man wearing dreadlocks, called Bob Marley. Bob Marley is playing a guitar and singing. I think many of you know Bob Marley because he is a very famous Reggae musician.

Next to Bob Marley is Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey is a National Hero of Jamaica. A reggae musician called Burning Spear recorded an album and a great song in honour of Marcus Garvey.

To the left of Bob Marley and under Frederick Douglass' chin is Josiah Henson. Henson was an abolitionist and has been designated as a Canadian of National Historical Significance. Henson was also the first Black person to be honoured with a stamp by Canada Post.

To the left of Josiah Henson is an engraving of slaves being transported in Africa.

Below the engraving is Michaelle Jean, the first Black Governor General of Canada.

To the right of Michaelle Jean is an Egyptian painting showing a Nubian, a Syrian, and an Egyptian.

To the right of the Egyptian painting is a Yoruba bronze bust.

Below the Yoruba bronze bust are the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. All three of these men won the Nobel Peace Prize.

To the left of Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an African mask.

Below the Egyptian painting and between the African mask and Michaelle Jean is another man playing a trumpet. His name is Miles Davis.

In the bottom left corner of the collage are members of the Ashanti. Perhaps the American pop singer Ashanti is named after the Ashanti people, an ethnic group in Ghana.

Next to the Ashanti people and below Miles Davis are Black Porters working on the Canadian National Railway.

Next to the Black porters is Eric Williams, the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

Finally, in the bottom right corner of the collage is a Black Loyalist. These men fought and died on behalf of Britain during the American Revolution. Many of them settled in Nova Scotia, Canada. The United Empire Loyalists, including the Black Loyalists, played a large role in the creation of Canada and Canadian culture. Black Canadians also fought for Britain and Canada in the War of 1812. The War of 1812 is perhaps the most important event in Canadian history because the United States tried to take over Canada during that war. After the war Black Canadians started a community called Africville in Nova Scotia.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Peer Tutoring at Kanto International H.S.

On 7 February 2007 Mr Stout and Mr Harman introduced students in the 1st and 2nd year Study Abroad Programme to peer tutoring. Students in the 2nd year Study Abroad Programme helped students in the 1st year Study Abroad Programme write their scripts for their presentations on homelessness.

Peer tutoring is similar to the senpai (先輩) - kouhai (後輩) system in Japan.

Peer tutoring is a teaching and learning method used in schools all over the world, including North American universities. Peer tutoring is often done at a "Writing Centre". Students planning to go to universities in Canada or the United States should find out if the university they are planning to go to has a peer tutoring programme. Peer tutors are a great help with research papers.

The Canadian universities below have peer tutoring programmes:
St. Thomas University
The University of Toronto
Laurentian University
The University of Western Ontario
The University of British Columbia
Kwantlen University College
The University of Windsor

There is also a great place called the Teaching and Learning Center at Temple University Japan

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

UNICEF Lecture by Ms. Noriko Watanabe - School Education Section, UNICEF Japan Kanto International High School 5 February 2007

Ms. Watanabe showed a video and gave a powerpoint presentation about child poverty and child labour. She also brought the famous water jug. Students came up and picked up the heavy water jug and got an idea of how hard some children in the world have to work. During the presentation students in the 1st Year Study Abroad Programme thought of some questions for Ms. Watanabe. Below are their questions and her answers:

Jouta and Katsuhiro wanted to know, "What is the full name of UNICEF?"
A: The United Nations Children's Fund
Charles wanted to know, "How many organisations are a part of UNICEF?"
A: UNICEF has 37 national committees and 156 branches.
Charles wanted to know, "How many countries receive help from UNICEF?"
A: One hundred and sixty-five countries receive support from UNICEF
Misuzu wanted to know, "How does UNICEF teach people how to grow vegetables?"
A: UNICEF works with a team of volunteers and the local government. From among these people UNICEF finds experts in agriculture and they teach the people how to farm.
Yui, Nao, and Yusuke wanted to know, "How can I join UNICEF?"
A: First you need to learn at least 2 foreign languages. You need to be able to use 3 languages fluently: Your native language, English, and one other language. Also, you need to get a Masters degree. Usually people study economics, political science, or international law. However, you can also study science or medicine. UNICEF needs people with those skills too. Then you need to do an internship. After you have completed your internship you can join UNICEF. Click the link to see the qualifications you need in order to join UNICEF:
Click here to learn how to apply:
Click here to learn how to volunteer:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Fifth Annual UNICEF Lecture Kanto International High School 5 February 2007

Kanto International High School will once again be visited by a representative of UNICEF. All students in the First Year English Course, including the Study Abroad Class and the Super E classes will hear the lecture. Topics covered will include: child poverty, and child labour.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Lecture by Stefano Tsukamoto, Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and National Director of Habitat for Humanity Japan Kanto International High School 31 January 2007

On the 31st of January 2007 Kanto International High School was priviledged to have a visit by Professor Stefano Tsukamoto and Kentaro Yamazaki from Habitat for Humanity Japan. Professor Tsukamoto gave a presentation to students in the 1st year and 2nd year of the Study Abroad Programme. Professor Tsukamoto's presentation consisted of two parts:
  1. A DVD explaining the history of Habitat for Humanity, it's mission, and the work it does
  2. A Powerpoint presentation explaining the causes of homelessness
According to Professor Tsukamoto, there are three main causes of homelessness throughout the world:
  1. Poverty
  2. War
  3. Natural disasters
Professor Tsukamoto gaves examples and showed pictures that illustrated each situation.

During the lecture students thought of some questions and following the lecture they wrote down their questions. The questions were answered by Professor Tsukamoto and Kentaro Yamazaki, Habitat for Humanity Japan Youth Programs Manager. The questions and answers are below.

Questions answered by Professor Tsukamoto

Takehito and Kakutei want to know:
What made you decide to work for Habitat for Humanity?

I like to work in the field. Habitat for Humanity is great grass roots work; for the people, by the people and with the people.

Takashi wants to know:
Did you take the photos that you showed us during your presentation?

Yes, I took most of the pictures. Only one picture came from a book.

Akira, Shoehei, Yusuke and Misuzu want to know:
Don't companies donate furniture for the houses that Habitat for Humanity builds?

Yes, many companies donate furniture TVs, refrigerators, etc.

Akira, Shoehei, Yusuke, Misuzu want to know:
When you meet people who have been helped by Habitat for Humanity, what seems to be the biggest thing that makes them happy?

I think that they have a house and they have a way to survive poverty.

Charles wants to know:
Do you think that matters such as poverty and homelessness should be handled by individual nations or UN organisations rather than private organisations such as Habitat for Humanity?

I think we have to understand that all of the people in the world must pay attention to the world poverty issue, not only UN, NGOs and donors. I would ask you to think about what you can do to end world poverty. I recommend that you gather information about the poverty situation thorough the HFH webpage. Also, please think about what Japan as a country can do. Do you think the Japanese ODA is the solution for poverty reduction?

Atsushi and Corinne want to know:
How many houses does Habitat for Humanity build each month and each year?

We made about 20,000 houses last year. The rate is 1 house per 24 minutes.

Jouta wants to know:
How many volunteers does habitat for Humanity International have?

I am sorry I don't have that data now, but HFH Japan has 700 volunteers every year.

Does Habitat for Humanity have branches in Korea?

Yes, we have an office in Seoul. This is the webpage of HFH Korea.

Saki wants to know:
What kind of activities does Habitat for Humanity do for refugees?

We are not doing anything especially for refugees, but we do something for them when they are going to be resettled. We help build their houses.

Is Habitat for Humanity spreading all over the world?

We have branch offices in 100 countries and 2408 affiliates. Yes, we are spreading. We are opening offices where ever people needs the decent housing.

Takurou wants to know:
Does Habitat for Humanity hold any events?

We do not hold events, but our supporters hold events for poverty reduction or housing construction in the world.

Ayano wants to know:
How many poor people are there in the world?

I have heard there are 1.3 billion people who do not have decent houses.

Nao wants to know:
Do Habitat for Humanity volunteers have to work hard?

Yes, sometimes they work hard and sometimes they enjoy leisure time with the local people.

Nao and Kakutei want to know:
How long have you been with Habitat for Humanity Professor Tsukamoto?

I have been working with HFH Japan for just 10 months. I worked for our government as a consultant (peace building) for 3 years. Also, I worked for 20 years with other NGOs for disaster response and post conflict rehabilitation and peace building.

Manami wants to know:
How many countries are helped by Habitat for Humanity?

We have branch offices in 100 countries all over the world. We have built 200,000 houses over 30 years. We built 20,000 houses last year because there were many disasters in the world, especially in Asia, like the tsunami.

Does Habitat for Humanity get any support?

Yes, we get a lot of from the business sector and churches.

Shamina wants to know:
How do you get people to help you?

In Japan, we have clubs in universities, like Aoyama Gakuin, Meiji Gakuin, Tokai University and Kanda Gaigo Univeristy in Kanto. We have more University clubs in Kansai. You can see more information in our webpage.

What do you think is the most important thing for world peace?

I think communication is the most important thing for world peace.

Emi wants to know:
What does Habitat for Humanity do to help the homeless in India?

We are planning to build 50,000 houses over 5 years. We have to collect donations to help them.

Corinne wants to know:
Why did you want to know about peace and conflict in the world Professor Tsukamoto?

I wanted to know about peace and conflict because I saw the real situation of WAR. It is nonsense! Human beings kill each other on this beautiful Earth. Don't you think so? Think about why God created Earth and put human beings on this earth.

Yui and Ayana want to know:
How long does it take to build a house?

It takes around 4 weeks to build completely.

Ryo wants to know:
Don't you use the money you get for things other than houses?

We are concentrating on building houses first, but we also build communities. That means we take a wholistic approach for community development. People need not only houses but also schools and hospitals and infrastructure.

Lisa wants to know:
What benefits come from the work of Habitat for Humanity?

I think it is the fullness of living for the people, the satisfaction of working with people. This is the meaning of volunteer work. Why do people work for companies? For the salary? Do you think you can get satisfaction from only a salary in your life?

Questions answered by Kentaro Yamazaki

Charles, Mika, Katsuhiro, Yui and Ryo want to know:
How can we join Habitat for Humanity?

Ans: You have already joined us because we met and communicated with each other. Please just let us know what you want to do .You may choose from the following activities: 1. Building houses 2. Raising awareness, and/or 3. Raising funds

Rina wants to know:
What conditions do we need to meet in order to be volunteers for Habitat for Humanity?

Ans: There is a variety of volunteers working for Habitat for Humanity, such as office volunteers in the Japan office, volunteers in the field, and so on. However, first of all, your enthusiasm is sought for Habitat activities. Basically, no special skills are not required.

Atsushi wants to know:
Is it OK for me to join Habitat for Humanity if I am a Buddhist?

Ans: Of course, no problem. Without regard to race, religion, or personal background, Habitat for Humanity works with volunteers to provide low income families with proper housing.
Katsuhiro wants to know:
What can I do?

Ans: To volunteer is to do what you can do. What do you have for us? Energy? Leadership? Money?? And/or anything else??? Our main activities as follows: 1. Building houses (outside of Japan) 2. Raising awareness (in Japan), and/or 3.Raising funds (in Japan).
Through these activities, you can make a contribution.

Kiyono wants to know:
Is it easy to join Habitat for Humanity?

Ans: It is not difficult to do it. You can be a great partner as long as you voluntarily and continuously work with us.

Ayana wants to know:
How can I join a Habitat for Humanity house building project?

Ans: Make your team of around 15-20 members with guardians (teachers) and apply to us. For detailed information, Please see the website:

In conclusion, Professor Tsukamoto had this message for the students:

Thank you every one of the students at Kanto International High School. I enjoy making the answers for you. I hope you start to THINK what you can do for poverty and homelessness in the world. I believe you can do something for them. Keep in touch and hope to see you again. Stefano Tsukamoto, National Director of HFH Japan