This Month in Japan | December

Like other countries located around the world, Japan is experiencing winter and celebrate the snowfall in their own unique ways. Despite the oncoming cold weather, Japan is remains a popular destination to travel to during the winter because of the festive events, beautiful sceneries, and amazing shopping experiences. Here are some activities and events occurring in December around Japan:

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  • Kasuga Wakamiya On-Matsuri is held in mid December, usually around Dec 15th-18th. “The On-Matsuri is a festival held at Wakamiya-jinja Shrine which stands in the precincts of the Kasuga Taisha Grand Shrine. It was first organized in the 12th Century when an epidemic prevailed, and prayers were offered at this festival for the eradication of the plague and also for the blessing of a rich harvest. This historic festival continues to be one of the largest annual events of Nara Prefecture, attracting a great many tourists.” – https://www.jnto.go.jp/

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  • Sendai Pageant of Starlight is a free illumination event where pedestrians can enjoy the view of tons of LED light bulb to bring in the holiday spirit. It is held outside and throughout the entire month of Dec. “The venue for the light-up is the Zelkova lined boulevards of Aoba Dori and Jouzenji Dori right in the center of Sendai. A good starting point is Kotodai Station at the eastern end of Jouzenji Dori.” – https://japancheapo.com/
  • A event held in mid Dec and again in mid Jan is a flea market where people sell old antiques, toys, food, plants, and fabrics. “Setagaya Boro-ichi is a Tokyo-designated intangible folk cultural asset dating back some 430 years.” – http://www.gotokyo.org/
  • Popular destinations to visit in Japan are Kyoto, Takayama, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Sapporo, and more! These are just a few locations that offers great sight seeing, seasonal food, and famous local cuisines.

Bullying Prevention

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Act to Change

What is bullying?

Bullying is the act of intimidating someone through influence or through force.

Can bullying happen to anyone?

Yes, bullying does occur everywhere and to anyone of any backgrounds. Bullying doesn’t have to happen person to person. Bullying can occur through online, social media apps, letters, and more.

What can I do if I or a friend is experiencing bullying?

It depends on the severity of the bullying to know what you can do, but here are some tips on how you can handle the situation:

  1. Reach out for help. Whether it is your parents, a legal guardian, a counselor, or your close friend, make sure to let them know that you are being bullied. You don’t need to feel helpless or ashamed of anything. There are people who will support you to help you solve and cope with your situation.
  2. Try to avoid confrontation. If possible, avoid getting into physical fights or argument with bullies. It will not help stop the bullying, it is better to ignore and walk away when you can.
  3. Use {free} services to address about bullying. You can call or email a hotline or a online tool to help you talk about your bullying experience. They will keep you anonymous and your information confidential. This link is a government website that gives your free resources.
  4. Don’t watch, stand up. If you see another person being bullied, the best thing you can do is grab a adult nearby to stop it. If you feel that the situation can be handled by you stepping in, you can try to deescalate the situation by using methods such as:
    1. Pulling the victim away to a place far from the bully
    2. Show up and ask them where they have been (acting as a friend to neutralize the negative space)
    3. If you have someone nearby or ask a stranger to aid the victim to escape the situation
    4. Call 911 if you feel that the situation is dangerous

From the Act to Change website:

  • About 1 out of 5 students report being bullied during the school year
  • Bullying occurs once every 7 minutes 5 to 6 times more likely
  • Bullied students were 5 to 6 times more likely to miss school than those who were not bullied 50% of AA students
  • Half of Asian American students in New York City public schools reported biased based harassment

Public Health: Preventing Suicide

Suicide is a serious concern in the US and it is becoming more common in modern times. The feelings of being stressed, going through depression, or being pressured from outside forces can take a toll on people. So what can we as a society and individuals do to prevent suicide from occurring?

  1. Change the negative perception of those with mental illnesses, disorders, and substance abuse. Often times, people are too embarrassed or ashamed to get help and it could be that they don’t want their problems to be known or allow it to bother other people. “But talking, being open, and making connections with mental health services can make the difference between life and death. Research has uncovered warning signs for suicide. Learn warning signs from SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center exit disclaimer icon and an easy-to-remember warning signs mnemonic from American Association of Suicidology. exit disclaimer icon” – http://www.hhs.gov/
  2. Use public services that are available and always confidential. Rely on your local clinic or go see a therapist to help you or your friend out. Talking about one’s thoughts and feelings can help them organize themselves in terms of how to deal with difficult situations. It’s not easy to open up about sensitive topics but allowing someone in to help and guide them is a step towards a positive direction.
  3. Acknowledge that suicide is preventable. Let’s talk honestly about this difficult issue, use broad collaborative approaches to address the problem, and do all we can to learn more about how to prevent suicide. Help get the message out.

    If you or someone you know needs help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline exit disclaimer icon (1-800-273-TALK/8255). Last year the Lifeline connected 1.5 million callers with counselors in their local area. Through a network of more than 160 community crisis centers, the Lifeline also offers specialized support to veterans, Spanish speakers and online users.

Facts:

  • Each year there are more than 40,000 suicides in the US – an average of about 117 every day.
  • Rates of suicide have increased by 28 percent since 2000, and it is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Every year some 1.1 million adults attempt suicide and about 470,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency departments for nonfatal, self-inflicted injuries.

Statistics and other information is link here!

 

Trauma Resources

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With recent violent events, it can impact people in different ways. If you know someone experiencing trauma, try your best to support them and let them know about their available resources. If you or a friend is in need, remember that you can always reach out to or depend on these things:

  • Close family members and friends
  • Professionals – local clinics, hotline, therapist, etc.
  • Online support communities
  • Click here for facts/info about trauma in the state of Minnesota
  • For local helplines in Minnesota click here!

“Anyone can help someone who struggles with trauma—whether they work in the medical or mental health community, or are just a caring individual.

The National Council for Behavioral Health would like to share a few resources about trauma:

  • INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Signs A Person May Be Experiencing Trauma
  • INFOGRAPHIC: 10 Tips to Help Someone Experiencing Trauma
  • TIP SHEET: Trauma in the LGBTQ Community: What Practitioners Should Know in the Wake of the Orlando Shootings.
  • FACT SHEET: LGBTQ Mental Health: How the Orlando Shootings Can Broadly Impact This Community.” – Rightful owner

 

Study Abroad Opportunities! | For High School & College

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Study abroad is a great opportunity for students to learn while living in a different society and experiencing a whole new culture. It allows students to gain important knowledge and become more confident through the struggles of adjusting to a different environment and lifestyle. Of course it is expensive and requires you to work harder, but in the end it will be worth it! It is not impossible to study abroad if you know how to use your resources and is able to utilize your skills! Here are some tips on how to afford study abroad:

  1. Choose where you want to study abroad! (The earlier you can decide, the better!) You can study abroad almost anywhere in the world with different programs. It is usually divided into academic and employment programs. As a high school student, your options are more limited but remember to research about your options. As a college student, you will have lots of option to where you can study abroad.
    • Note that some locations are more expensive than others.
  2. It’s important to plan early! You want to measure out the length of your program and the time before you are going there. It will give you a timeline of how much you can save up for your total trip and how much you pay spend over there. So get ready to work & save like a pro!
    • Always transfer the amount you need to save when you are paid!
    • Exclude miscellaneous spending if possible; like on small things such as buying a cup of coffee, limiting the amount of money you spend when you go out, etc.
  3. Work on your essay writing skills! If you want scholarships, most of them will require you to write some sort of essay whether it is a personal, academic, or question essay. The point is to answer the prompt while letting them know you more personally and your goals for study abroad. Never forget to check the basics:
    • Is there a word count limit or required minimum of words?
    • Have you check your grammar?
    • Do you understand the words you are using? It’s better to use words that you know than to use big words that you don’t understand.
    • Did you answer the question(s)?
    • Ask someone else to proofread your essay if you are unsure
  4. Does it require references/recommendation letters? You may need references or recommend letters from teachers/co-workers depending on the type of program/scholarship you are applying for. So make sure you double check the deadline and try to obtain them ahead of time.
  5. Research for local & national scholarships! There are tons of scholarships available out there, but they won’t come to you unless you find them and apply for it! Some will require more or less work depending on the amount of aid it offers. Expect that there will be competition for scholarships since you are not the only student who wants to study abroad. Try to apply to as many scholarships that you qualify for. Overall, it is better to apply than not apply at all!
    • Check scholarships that are offered through your school, state, and within the U.S.
    • Use online scholarship database to  help you find scholarships!
  6. Look out for your deadlines! This applies to your scholarships and program dates. It is important to turn in things on time, especially if you want to secure your place! If you are unable to meet deadlines, than you would lessen your chance of obtaining a place in a study abroad program or possibly getting a scholarship.
  7. Here are some linked web & resources you can use:
    • The two most well known study abroad company are, CIEE & IES; they offer a variety of study abroad programs for high school and college students. It is not limited to these two as there are other options as well and it depends on what you are looking for (internship, volunteer, & employment). Others include AIFSCEA, & more!
    • Go to “goabroad” to search their database on study abroad for high school & college!
    • You can always try to find reviews on the program that you’re interested in to help determine which program may work with you.

Current Events in May!

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Wondering about what events are occurring in May? A few are listed down below and maybe you might want to attend some of them with your friends and families. There is something for everyone from music to sightseeing! Make sure to check around your local areas of other events that may not be posted online.

  • The Pan Asian Arts Festival 2016 is happening at MOA on May 14th from 12PM-8PM! Come enjoy free performances, games, and carnival activities! Get the chance to see the performances from Iny Asian Dance Theater, Mu Gung Hwa Korean Dance Group, Sumunar Indonesian Dance Ensemble, and much more! It’s a free event for all!
  • May is also recognized as National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM). It advocates to spread awareness and prevention of teen pregnancy. Click here for more info!
  • The Minnesota History Center is hosting the “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation: the Depression, the War, the Boom” exhibit about those who lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and the years after the war! Admissions are $11 and it would be a great experience for everyone!
  • SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week 2016 – May 15-21, 2016
    • “SAMHSA’s fifth annual National Prevention Week, happening May 15-21, 2016, is dedicated to increasing public awareness and prevention of mental and/or substance use disorders. During National Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. This year’s theme—Strong as One, Stronger Together—recognizes that one person can make a positive difference in their community, but when we all unite together we can achieve even more.” – Rightful owner
  • Other helpful links for Minnesota events occurring in May:

Staying Healthy & Fit this Holiday

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With the holiday season around, it is easy to forget how to maintain a healthy lifestyle! So take this time of the year to review what you can do to improve your overall health. Also, it’s a good time to think about what kind of health goals you want to achieve now and in the future. But don’t worry, it is easier than you think. Here are 5 easy steps you can do to stay active and healthy:

  1. Work out on a schedule! If you already have a work out schedule, try your best to stick with it. In this way, your body and mind will get use to it. Consistency is key to keeping your body healthy and active! But if you don’t have one yet, try to work out or go to the gym as often as you can. Then find the proper time that you are available each week to work out and try to stick with that schedule!
  2. Stay warm! It is colder around this month with the snow and windchill, so make sure to protect yourself with appropriate clothing. If your body temperature drops, you can get ill or even frostbites! Ouch, nobody would want that!
  3. Keep yourself healthy with healthy habits! Little things that you may do will affect your overall health and it is very important that you try to keep your life balanced. In between work, free time, sleep, being sanitary, and other things, being able to manage them will reduce your stress level!
  4. Talk with friends and family! This is the season of gathering so not discuss things with your loved ones? It can help you destress, get to know people better, and you can learn new things. Having a social life is part of a healthy lifestyle!
  5. Join a community event! It can help you stay active physically and socially! Whether it is a marathon, a fundraiser, or a social gathering, it is a great way for you to interact with your community.