I went to the Sento yesterday. And I got in the sauna. It's getting really hot these days, so I took a cold bath after the sauna. This is the first time I've taken a cold bath this year. I feel summer is coming.
I went to the Sento yesterday. And I got in the sauna. It's getting really hot these days, so I took a cold bath after the sauna. This is the first time I've taken a cold bath this year. I feel summer is coming.
I went to Kenya for my new year's vacation 2018. I signed up for a safari package. It cost 250,000 yen, because it's a private tour. The package included hotel, meals, car and driver. I spent 6 days in Kenya.
The first night, I was in Nairobi. It is said that Nairobi is dangerous, so I stayed within the good area.
The next day, my tour started. The driver picked me up at my hotel and drove me to Amboseli. It took five hours from Nairobi.
Zebras and impalas were everywhere, so I got bored of them soon.
The next day, we went to Lake Bogolia, which is famous for pink flamingos. It took eight hours from Amboseli.
On the way to Bogolia, my driver often asked me "Do you like birds?" "I like eating birds, but I'm not interested in seeing them." So, my driver looked puzzled. When we arrived at Lake Bogolia, there were many flamingos but they were far away. So I couldn't take good pictures with my iPhone.
I was the only tourist there. Lake Bogolia's hotel dinner was not good. The soup made my tongue go numb. It tasted like poison.
This was the worst soup I've ever had.
The next morning, I woke up for breakfast, which was supposed to be served at 7. But, it wasn't ready. So, I left from Bogolia without eating. From Bogolia, I went to Masai Mara. On the way, I crossed the equator. This was my first experience crossing the equator. After driving for eight hours, I arrived at Masai Mara.
I went on safari. I saw many animals, such as zebras, elephants, lions and giraffes. Almost all animals I had already seen before in Amboseli, but I saw giraffes for the first time. Other animals I got bored, but I really like giraffes, so I didn't get bored of seeing them.
The next day, I also went on safari. I was completely bored because safari was from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the first day, I got many good pictures of animals. So I didn't need any more. But, on the second day, the driver stopped for every animals. So I felt obligated to take pictures even though I didn't want to. Because I went all the way to Bogolia to see the pink flamingos, my driver thought I love birds, so he stopped for every bird we saw. In fact, I'm not interested in birds so much.
On the way back to the airport, the road was very muddy. Our car got stuck in the mud. But, my bird liking driver was very skilled at getting the car unstuck using just his driving skills.
I went to Sydney in February 2018. When I arrived at the airport, my friend greeted me. Then, we went to Sydney Univ. by train and bus.
Next, we went to my friend's house to gather with his wife. Then, we went to a bar to eat lunch. I had a beer and a kangaroo hamburger. The beer had a light flavor and was delicious. However, I felt that the kangaroo meat was gamey and wasn't to my taste. But, I finished off anyway. Next, we went to the Opera House.
Before I visited this landmark, I thought that it was pure white. But, in fact, it was off-white. I was also surprised that even though the structure was built in the 1950s, the architectural design was photogenic.
We had dinner at a steak house where we grilled our own meat. I ordered a T-bone steak. It was tender, tasty and juicy.
The next day, we went to the Blue Mountains. We took the train from Central station to Katoomba. It took about two hours. It cost only fifteen dollars for a round trip. We went to an observation point to view the Three Sisters.
Although the mountains are called the Blue Mountains, I thought that they didn't look blue. The name Blue Mountains derives from how the eucalyptus trees release their oil into the atmosphere to make the air look blue. I suppose this phenomenon only occurs under certain conditions.
For dinner, we went to a seafood restaurant. The oysters were fresh and full of flavor.
The next day, I went to Uluru by plane. Uluru means Ayers Rock in local language. It took three hours from Sydney to Uluru. It was too hot at forty degrees Celsius. I took part in a tour of Kata Tjuta and Uluru.
Kata Tjuta and Uluru are sacred places for Aborigines. First, we went to Kata Tjuta, which means many heads in the Aboriginal language.
They are giant rocks between which we can walk. Viewing Kata Tjuta from a distance is impressive, but up close, walking between them, was not interesting for me.
Next, we went to Uluru, which we visited at sunset. I thought it was amazing that nature is great.
After the tour finished, I went to a supermarket because the guide said that it sold kangaroo tails.
Aborigines like eating kangaroo tails. I discovered the tails easily. One tail cost two thousand yen. I saw Aborigines shopping in the supermarket. I could distinguish Aborigines from other shoppers because they were barefoot. All of the Aborigines who I saw were buying eggs, not kangaroo tails.
The next day, we went to Uluru to climb it. I was looking forward to climbing it. Climbing Uluru will be prohibited from 2019 because it's sacred to Aborigines.
Unfortunately, we couldn't climb it because of strong wind. Instead, we walked around Uluru. The guide told us many mythological Aboriginal stories. Many features of the rock are attached with different stories. Every story has a moral. It was interesting.
There are murals. But, they are not art. Historically, they were used to teach life lessons.
I wanted to visit Iran because Japan is allies with USA and we are very pro-America. My view is more influenced by America. Iran, on the other hand, is very Anti-America. So, I wanted to change my view of the world.
There is not much information on Iran. For example, I looked for hotel on Expedia, there were no hotels listed. I had to e-mail hotels in Iran directly.
Also, domestic flights in Iran could only be bought once you are in Iran. Because of economic sanction by America, Iran's airplane are all old Boeings that are difficult to maintain. So, I was very afraid of flying in Iran.
In Iran, you can't use credit cards, so you must have cash. Also, Iran doesn't exchange Japanese yen. So, I needed to have either Euro or dollars. And you can't use Facebook, Google. But, you can use Instagram. I don't know why. In Iran numbers are written in Persian. So I couldn't find my flight easily.
I had a layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for half a day. While I was there, I had Malaysian food in the town.
Then, I flew to Teheran, the capital city of Iran. I arrived late at night, so I stayed in a hotel near the airport.
The next day, I flew to Mashhad. It's a holy place in Iran. There is a beautiful mosque.
After that, I took a plane and a bus to Isfahan. There is a beautiful square which is a world heritage site.
Iran is a Shia muslim country. Today, Shias comprise about 15% of the total worldwide Muslim population. The day I arrived at Isfahan was holiday called Ashura. For Shia Muslims, Ashura is a solemn day of mourning the martyrdom of Hussein in 680 AD at Karbala in modern-day Iraq. Shia men and women dressed in black also parade through the streets slapping their chests and chanting.
It was very interesting, but the only problem was all the shops and sites were closed. So, luckily, they were handing out food and drink for free.
I was handed a cup of milk. When I drank it, it tasted like French dressing. It turns out that I was drinking goat's milk.
Next, I went back to Teheran by overnight bus. I arrived in Teheran in the morning and caught a flight to Azerbaijan, Baku.
Azerbaijan is rich in natural resources, especially oil. Because of oil money, Azerbaijan is a very developed country.
In Baku, they are building what will become the world's tallest building in the world. It will be completed in 2025. The transportation system especially subway and bus systems are very developed. It is easy to travel within the city.
Although Iran and Azerbaijan are both Shia Muslim countries, they are very different from each other. In Iran alcohol is forbidden, but in Azerbaijan it is permitted.
In Iran, women must cover themselves and often wear a Bhurka, it is dress that only shows the eyes. In Azerbaijan, women don't have to cover up, they were dressed in European fashion.
The food in Azerbaijan was very delicious. I ate many things like yogurt soup, dumplings and Kebabs.
I went to see Heydar Aliyev Center which was designed by the famous architect, Zaha Hadid. The building was very modern with a curving structure and very spacious. I think it's very impressive but not very functional. Originally, Zaha Hadid was supposed to design 2020 Tokyo Olympic main stadium. But, because her buildings are expensive to make, she was replaced.
My first time going abroad was traveling to India. I went to India with my friend in February, 2010. At that time, I had graduated University and was not employed by a company yet.
I went to Deli, the capital city of India, to Jaipur, to see the pink city, to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal and to Varanasi to see and enter the Ganges.
I was most impressed with Varanasi. The Ganges river is a holy river in India. But, it is really muddy because people do their laundry in the river. They also use the river for funerals. When someone dies, they cremate the body, then release the ashes into the river. It is said that if you enter the Ganges river, all your sins will be washed away. So, I entered the Ganges. After I got out, my hair was very smooth. After I got out of the river, I read that 50% of people who enter the Ganges get a fever. I was lucky I didn't get a fever but my friend was unlucky and got an upset stomach.
Almost all the food in India is curry. I thought I would get tired of eating curry, but it was so delicious that I didn't mind eating it everyday. I also love lassi. It is a sweet yogurt drink. Chai is also a delicious drink in India. It is a spicy sweet milk tea. Chai is sold on the roadside. A small cup of chai is sold at a very reasonable price. Although India is very hot, hot chai is delicious.
I don't like Indian people because they always tried to cheat me. They are very pushy and tried to bring me to an expensive souvenir shop. The worst one happened in KFC in Deli. A man approached me and my friend. He chatted with us for over thirty minutes. At first, we thought he was just friendly, but then he asked us to go to his souvenir shop.
When our trip started we were very polite and shy because we're Japanese. But in the end, we were aggressively shouting "NO!!" to make people leave us alone. At that time, I wasn't good at English. However, thanks to Indian people, I was able to learn the phrase, "Leave me alone!!"
Should more be done to promote equality for women in Japan?
In 2014, Japan ranked 104 out of 142 countries in terms of gender equality. Some people insist that only limited action can be taken to decrease the gender gap, but I strongly believe that more should be done to promote equality for women in Japan. I have three reasons to support my opinion.
Firstly, I will talk about payment. Women in Japan receive nearly 30% less pay than their male counterparts, even for similar work. Therefore, the government should have a regulation to make the salary for women and men the same.
Secondly, let us consider office culture. In Japan, long hours and presenteeism are the best ways to move up the corporate ladder. It is difficult for some women to fit into this type of office culture because of family commitments that men are not expected to meet. Therefore, workplaces should allow employees to take flextime and work at home. This would create more equal opportunity for women to get promoted at work.
Finally, support services are another important factor. Some women cannot work because of family and household responsibilities. However, if more is done to support working women, such as more childcare facilities or home help, this can allow more women to work. This would make working opportunities more equal for both women and men.
For these reasons, I think that several actions can be implemented to make women's participation in society, especially at work, more equal to that of men. Although improving equality for women in Japan would be difficult and requires a lot of effort, I believe that it would be worth it and everyone can benefit.
Agree or disagree: Women's social advancement leads to economic growth.
Today, gender equality is becoming recognized all over the world and some countries' prime ministers are women. Some people insist that the advancement of females has a negative effect on the economy, but I strongly believe that women's social advancement, especially in terms of work, leads to economic growth. I have three reasons to support my opinion.
Firstly, I will talk about labor. Currently, some countries face a labor shortage. Additionally, some women are unable to work because they have to care for their children. There is a lack of childcare facilities in many countries. So, governments should offer more childcare services to allow women to work. This should help solve labor shortages and encourage economic growth.
Secondly, let us consider financial independence. In most countries, women earn less than men. Because of women's lower income, they cannot enjoy shopping and entertainment to the same level as men. Furthermore, women cannot save as much money as men for retirement. Therefore, as women earn more, they can spend more, thereby contributing to the economy, and feel secure about their future.
Finally, business chance is another important factor. Many developed countries have a male-dominated business culture. However, if companies employ more women, different ideas and perspectives could be applied to developing new products and services. This can positively impact the economy.
For these reasons, I think that women's social advancement can result in economic growth. Although women's social advancement would be difficult and requires a lot of effort, I believe that it would be worth it and it helps society improve.
Agree or Disagree: Volunteer work should be mandatory for students.
- Community building
- Private time
I disagree with the idea that volunteer work should be mandatory for students. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, let us consider private time. Volunteer work shouldn't be forced. If students have no choice but to do volunteer work, they might develop negative feelings toward volunteer work. Even if it's a good experience for students, they should be able to spend their private time doing something they like.
Secondly, I'll talk about education. If the volunteer work is part of study, it will reduce their study time. Less time spent studying means their grades might decrease. Students should focus more on studying core subjects to improve basic academic skills. Volunteer work can be done anytime, but learning is most effective when people are students.
Because of these reasons, I believe that volunteer work must not be compulsory for students.
I agree with the idea that teenagers should avoid using Social Networking Services（SNS）.I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, SNS adversly affects education. Teenager tend to spend a lot of time on SNS rather than on studies. If students don't use SNS, they can concentrate on school work and teachers don't have to devote time to classroom management. This also means students who don't use SNS aren't impacted by other students use of SNS.
Secondly, teenagers bully or treat each other badly sometimes SNS only amplifies bullying so the victim cannot escape. The victim experiences bad mental-health, trauma and might commit suicide in the worst case scenario. Therefore if SNS use is reduced, the percentage of bullying might become lower and personal relationships can improve.
I agree with the idea that people should not know too many detail about the private lives of public figures like celebrities or athletes. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, famous people also have the right to protect their privacy, just like anyone else. Paparazzi are obstrusive because they stalk, chase and secretly take pictures and video of celebrities. This is very stressful and uncomfortable. But if famous people have more privacy, they can lead more normal lives.
Secondly, I think there's no value in information from gossip. Gossip often contains untrue and pointless information. Gossip may temporarily satisfy the curiousity of people, but can amplify negative feelings like jealousy and anger. But if don't gossip, people can focus more on factual and important news and events.
Because of these reasons, I believe that people must avoid knowing about the private lives of public figures too much.
Agree or disagree:
High school students should wear a school uniform.
● Educational effects
I agree with the idea that high school students should wear a school uniform.
I have two reasons to support my opinion.
Firstly, I will talk about educational effects. Wearing normal clothes can be distracting. But wearing a uniform can encourage students to concentrate on their studies. Furthermore, they can feel like they are part of the school. It also helps prepare them for their future jobs, where a dress code is typical.
Secondly, let us consider cost. If there is no uniform, students have to buy their own clothes. Teenagers typically like showing off, so they might spend much money on clothes. It might also encourage bullying based on what students wear. But uniforms can help students spend less money on clothes.
I agree with the idea that public places should have more security cameras. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, security cameras can prevent crimes just by being there. If cameras are not installed in businesses then criminals will feel encouraged to commit a crime. But often times, criminals have a lower chance to commit a crime, when they know they are watched.
Secondly, cameras have multiple uses. They help identify criminals easily. For example, they also create a video log of traffic accidents, which make police aware of who's at fault in a car crash. They provide usuful evidence for a lawyer deciding a verdict.
Because of these reasons, I believe that we must consider installing security cameras in more locations around cities.
I agree with the idea that Japan should allow more immigrants into the country. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, immigrants will help Japan increase its workforce. Japan's low birth rate remains very low and a main cause for the shortage of Japan's workforce. It is inevitable for Japan to allow more immigrants into to the country to make up for Japan's decreasing population.
Secondly, allowing immigrants to enter the Japan helps increase tax revenue. The Japanese government has accumulated a deficit mainly because of its staggering economy and its aging population. Immigrants are usually young and they work and spend money in Japan. If there are more of these immigrants, they will greatly contributo to tax revenue.
Because of these reasons, I believe that Japan must allow more immigrants into the country.
I disagree with the idea that online courses are as effective as traditional classes. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, in general online courses' costs are lower than traditional classes. Traditional classes' costs are very expensive, so people can't attend easily. But online courses are cheaper than traditional classes, so many people can afford an education. Online courses also don't need people to use transport, which saves costs.
Secondly, let us consider flexibility. Traditional classes need people to gather at a specific time and place. If people are busy, like office workers, then it is difficult for them to attend traditional classes. However people can attend online courses whenever it is convenient for them. It is easy fot them to plan their learning schedule.
Because of these reasons, I believe that online courses are more effective than traditional classes.
I disagree with the idea that fewer Japanese students are interested in other countries these days. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, I will talk about the internet. In the past, it was difficult for Japanese students to get information about other countries. But now, because of the internet, Japanese people can easily access information from around the world. This increases their interest in other countries and their cultures and ideas.
Secondly, let us consider foreign products. Several years ago, cell phones which were one of the most familiar household appliances among young people were almost all Japanese. But nowadays many smart phones are foreign products which might make many Japanese students want to learn about other countries.
Because of these reasons, I believe that more Japanese students are interested in other countries lately.
2015年 12月発表 サンプル問題
Agree or disagree: Small, independent shops and businesses can survive in modern society.
● Customer service
● The economy
● Traditional skills
I disagree with the idea that small, independent shops and businesses can survive in modern society. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, let us consider costs. Since large companies are capable of purchasing quantities of materials, they are usually able to produce and sell their independent shops and businesses don't have ample funds. So they cannot compete in this situation.
Secondly, I'll talk about customer service. I think large companies' customer service is better than smaller companies' one because large companies can employ many people around the world and offer customer services over long hours. However small, independent shops and businesses only have employees locally and can only offer customer services during business hours in general.
Because of these reasons, I believe that small, independent shops and businesses are not able to survive in contemporary society.
I agree with the idea that the Japanese companies need to improve their treatment of female workers. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, many female workers quit their job to raise their children. If Japanese companies don't improve their treatment of female workers, this situation will not be solved. But if Japanese companies provide more child care centers at the workplace, female workers can work easily.
Secondly, in general female workers' salary is lower than male workers' one. If the salary is not even for male and female, female workers' motivation for work will not rise. However if female workers' salary is equal to male workers' salary, female workers work hard and the percentage of female workers in management positions will increase.
I agree with the idea that Japanese government should do more to protect the environment.I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, when an alien species invades an environment with endangered species, they compete for resources and can threaten endangered species existence. Without government protection, endangered species would disappear. However the government can exterminate alien species and restrict developed to protect endangered species.
Secondly, climate change leads to extreme weather and increased economic costs. For example, warmer temperatures and floods cause a decrease in agricultural production. Less crops mean more expensive prices for consumers. In contrast, the government can protect the environment by in causing CO2 regulation and thus decreasing climate change and economic costs.
Because of these reasons, I believe that the government must pay attention to protecting the environment.
Agree or disagree: The number of young people who live with their parents after they finish their education will increase in the future.
● Cost of living
● Personal freedom
I agree with the idea that the number of young people who live with their parents after they finish their education will increase in the future. I have two reasons for this.
Firstly, living together is more economical than living seperately. Living seperately means that utilities and rent must be paid by oneself. If young people live with their parents, living expenses can be shared. This situation helps young people because many young people don't have much money and don't have stable jobs.
Secondly, living alone is risky, especially for young women. For example, young women living alone can become stalking victims because there is no one to protect them. But living with their parents can be safer because their parents can support them when they are in danger.
Because of these reasons, I believe that more young people will live with their parents in the future.
In the summer of 2009, I went to Ise Jingu in Mie prefecture with my friend by bicycle. We rode cheap Japanese Mamachari, only ten thousand yen. It was 400km from Kanagawa to Mie and took 6days.
Hardest point of the trip was the mountains around Hakone. The mountains were very steep and we had to get off our Mamachari and pushed them up the mountains. The best part was going down the mountains Hakone and Misima（Shizuoka）. After Hakone the land is very flat. Traveling through Shizuoka was very boring because ther was nothing interesting to see. Shizuoka is very wide and empty.
Fisrt night we slept on the beach but it was very uncomfortable. After that we slept in parks and Onsen.
We drank that a lot Pokari Sweat because it was very hot and hard work. Pokari Sweat was very refreshing.
After visiting Ise Jingu, I was able to find a new job.
November 18th to 19th, 2017
I went to Atami（Shizuoka Prefecture） with two friends. I know these two friends from University. This trip lasted for one night and two days. The purpose of this trip was fishing. The first day only one friend caught a fish. The fish was very small, so my friend gave it to a cat. After fishing, we went to a sushi restaurant. Then we went to three snacks bars. Snack bars are very small, and the owner is an older woman. Atami has many snack bars because in the past Atami was lively. On the second day, we used a rental boat for fishing. My two friends caught some fish. But unfortunately, I didn’t catch anything.