Japan

The first day, I walked around a lot of cool places in Kobe, and we went to the top of the mountain.  It was a lot easier than I had anticipated getting around the city, and the language barrier isn’t that bad.  Almost every street sign and building has the english translation on it, and most people can speak some English.  We went to Chinatown for a little while, and saw some of the new year festivities and celebration.  There, we sat down and had one of the best meals I have ever had, I tried all of the traditional Japanese dishes.  Everything was so good, and most of the things I ate, I had no clue what it was.  Afterwards, I caught up with a couple of friends at a different restaurant and had sushi with them.  More good food.  Then we went out to different bars and met some more semester at sea people.  We went to one international bar where a lot of the Japanese people could speak english.  I had a number of conversations with them, involving topics on Derek Jeter, Star Wars, and how much I look like Shawn Mendes.  They all wanted to take pictures and dance with me.  It was really awesome, I had a great first night, and I’m looking forward to the next four.

The second day I took a bus to one of the smaller towns and we went to one of the hot springs.  The water there was 44 degrees celsius, and it was filled with brown minerals, but I enjoyed relaxing for a bit.  Then we had Kobe beef burgers, and they lived up to the name.  Probably the best burger I have ever had. I walked around the town for a little while afterwards and went into a lot of the shops.  I love trying all of the drinks at the vending machine, because I pick one and I never really know what it is, but they are all really good.  Another thing about Japan is everyone dresses really well, and the streets are always clean.  Children also walk home from school, even in the city, alone, which is definitely different than America.  Another interesting thing about the city is nobody ever honks their cars, and most people talk softly.  Kobe and Osaka are huge cities, but everything is very quite, which is very strange and unlike New York.

Today, we just took off from the port of Kobe, and are heading down to Vietnam.  I had a wonderful time and I wish I could spend some more time wondering around.  The previous two nights I’ve gone out and went to different markets and temples.  I bought a new hat, which I am very proud of it.  Today I went to Kyoto, which is one of the three biggest cities in Japan.  It is filled with ancient temples and buildings, and because of the fact that it was not fire bombed during the second world war, a lot of old structures remain.  We went to the golden pavilion which is a beautiful temple that a lot of people visit.  We also went to the oldest market in the city, and I tried all the best food on the street.  I loved everything about Japan, and I would gladly go again.  The food and the culture here are amazing, and far different than anything I could have expected.

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Day 4 and 5

The last two days everything has gotten into a good rhythm.  I’ve been meeting more and more people and going to class.  I met two guys that have their pilots license and fly all over.  They explained a lot of how it works and it was pretty cool hearing them.  I also met two of the most California surfer kids you can imagine.  One of them was named Cade, and the other Van.  They showed me all the coolest surfing pictures and videos they had, and were  really nice guys.  Another girl I met is fluent in six languages and is working on a seventh, polish.  Its hard to keep track of everyone but I am slowly getting better with names.  We are getting closer and closer to Honolulu, so the weather is getting warm.  I’m very excited to get there and spend some time on the beach.

Day 3

Today I woke up to the sounds of the ocean, and the sunrise peaking through my port hole.  The closest solid earth is 11,000 thousand feet below me, which is fun to think about.  It was the first day of classes, and I really like both my teachers.  The work doesn’t seem to bad, and I have now met a lot of the folks who will be my classmates for the voyage.   Its awesome how diverse and different everyone is.  All of my classes are today, so tomorrow I have the whole day, which will be nice.  Meeting and talking to new people is how I spent most of today.  I think I have adapted pretty well to the lack of internet, and am instead focusing on the current moment.  It is still hard to believe that I’m on the ocean, almost as far away from land as possible, but the gentle rocking of the boat is a reassuring reminder of how crazy of an experience this is.

Day 2

Today was also crazy.  It started with a lot of orientation stuff.  I got to know my roommate, Will, a lot better.  He’s a film major and has done semester at sea before, so he knows a lot of stuff and has been a ton of help.  At dinner, we decided to try and meet some new people so we asked to sit at a random table.  It turns out that everyone we sat with was latino, and they were all fluent in Spanish and English.  Each of them was from a different country and it was crazy hearing them switch back in forth between accents and languages.  I counted it up and I met people from twelve different countries today, ranging from Ecuador to the Philippines.  Everyone is pretty excited about going to Japan and Honolulu, and everyone is interested in meeting everyone and making plans.  I decided to try and join the astronomy club at the club fair, because its awesome sitting up on the top deck and looking at the stars with almost no light pollution.   Seasickness is a real issue that is really messing with the other kids, but I am having no problems.  From my room, I can look out and see the ocean at all times, and it puts me right to sleep.

Day 1

Today was my first day on the ship. To start the day,  was driven from San Diego, past the border through customs at Tijuana, down to the port of Ensenada.  It was pretty surreal leaving the country for the first time.  At the border, as soon as you pass everything switches.   I got a window seat on the bus and got to see a lot of the Mexican coast.  Ensenada was beautiful, but I had to get on the ship quickly.  Being on the boat is a little shakier than I thought it would be, but I haven’t suffered from any kind of seasickness yet.  I met my new roommate and he seems pretty cool.  He’s a senior who goes to the University of Santa Barbara, but he’s from the UK.  We have a pretty big room and definitely lucked out compared to some of the others I’ve seen.  I’ve met a lot of people, and I’m sure their will be plenty more.  Overall I had a very big day with a lot of firsts, and I am excited to see everything that lies a head.

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Adult Hood

“Mom I’m home.” Says thirteen year old Kevin James.  His
voice cracks a little as he quietly sat down and drinks his still hot
coffee.

“How was work son.” Asks his mom.

“Good.”  Said Kevin.  Kevin had always treated her well.
 He was a wonderful son and the best on the block.  Kevin had bought her
this great big house and the food he cooked was always amazing.  Her
husband was good too.  He always did his chores but was always watching a
tv shows that were too young for him.  One time Kevin had caught him
watching “How I Met Your Mother” which he was way too old for and he was
grounded for a month.  He didn’t understand it at all but their
neighbor, Scott, had bragged that his daughter let him watch so
naturally dad wanted to watch it as well.  Today he was on the TV when
Kevin walked in.

“Dad get off the TV, you’ve been on it all day.  Have you even cleaned your room like I asked you too?”  Kevin asked.

“Can’t I do it tomorrow.”  Dad asked.

“No, now go upstairs and finish it.”  His father angrily
walked upstairs.  “Why is he in such a bad mood.”  Asked Kevin turning
toward mom.

“We might have gotten in a little disagreement.”  Replied mom sheepishly.

“You two were fighting again!  I just can’t leave you alone
anymore.  I am getting too old for this.  Nobody else has to yell at
their kids for the same exact thing everyday.  It would be thought that I
would not have to deal with such problems with 46 year olds.  Give me
your phone.  You won’t get it back until next week.”  Kevin yelled.

“It was his fault.  I just -”

“I don’t want to hear it.  Go to your room as well.” Kevin cut in.

Obamacare

Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act is worth the cost.
 It is a necessary program that is funded by the government.  It was
built for the people and will save us both our lives and money.

The average american will be saving money on health care
thanks to Obamacare.  The people at Obamacarefacts.com said  “Although
Obamacare’s net costs are in the trillions, the law actually reduces the
growth in health care spending by tens of billions each year, reduces
health care costs for many Americans, helps to insure tens of millions
and is estimated to result in an overall net decrease of the deficit.”
 So instead of destroying the government and the economy like many
common americans believe, Obamacare will actually help with the national
deficit in later years and reduce healthcare costs to americans who can
not afford it.

Another reason to keep obamacare is that it will be saving lives.
  Five hundred and two americans die do to lack of health care.  Those
people now they have easy access to easy affordable health care to
protect them.  “The decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the
Affordable Care Act will now ensure chronic ill people access to
insurance coverage they were previously denied. Although there are
portions of the law which will not go into effect until 2014, the lives
of many people — our neighbors, or family members or even ourselves —
will no longer be marginalized or valued less by our culture because of
their medical status. Prior to the passage of the ACA,

serious health conditions deemed by many insurance
providers as pre-existing, non-coverable as the result of improper
living habits (i.e. smoking, excessive use of alcohol, etc…), will give
people a chance at living a life with dignity and honor” (Winbush).
 People now have access to the medical assistance they need.  The people
we love and care are protected.    Thinkprocess.org said “People who
already have suffered a major illness or accident know that insurance
companies can be terribly unforgiving. But Obamacare mandates insurance
companies aren’t allowed to deny you insurance if you have any
pre-existing condition. That means, no matter what your medical history
looks like, you’ll be able to sign up for it.”  People will be covered
and protected with these plan.  It can save the lives of the people
close to us.  Is there really a price that you can pay for thousands of
people lives?

One reason people don’t like obama care is because they
don’t understand it.  They are not well informed voters.  A recent cnbc
poll showed that “Forty-six percent oppose Obamacare and only 37 percent
oppose ACA.”  This shows us that do not know what Obamacare really is.
 Some people have been told not to like it with no idea of their own for
what it stands for.

In conclusion Obamacare will be saving lives and money.
   Without Obamacare we are letting thousands of people die and millions
of dollars go down the drain.  It is a very important policy that will
protect the people and must be kept in order.  People need to understand
what  it is and what it does for our country.  Obamacare is worth the
cost!

Immigration Reform

Is Our Current Immigration Policy Fair/Just

Our current immigration policy is not fair/just.  One
problem with it is the number of illegal immigrants who have entered the
country. Another problem is the limited amount of legal immigrants
entering the country.  People living in third world countries deserve to
have a chance to have all the opportunities that America brings.  Most
of our ancestors immigrated here at one point.

One of the big problems about the immigration policy is the
number of people breaking this policy by illegally entering the U.S..
 The number of illegal immigrants in America is way too high.  There are
currently estimated around 11.7 million people who entered the country
illegally.  Julia Preston at the New York Times said that “Recent
figures, including reports from the Border Patrol of illegal crossings
at the southwest border, suggest that the numbers began to grow again
last year.”  They are taking away jobs from americans who deserve them.
 The reality is that illegal immigration hurts the U.S. middle class and
it is severely damaging to the U.S. economy.  “Because of illegal
immigration, every single day wages are lost, taxes don’t get collected,
hospitals provide “free healthcare” for which they are never paid, huge
criminal gangs of foreigners are roaming our streets and the cost of
providing social services to illegal aliens is slowly bankrupting state
and local governments”  (WVWNEWS).  The needs of the people of America
must come before those who have snuck in.

One of the reasons so many people are getting into the
United States of America is because of a weak border control. It is
important that border control cracks down on illegal immigrants.  We can
improve it by adding more border control agents.  Some Senators say
that it would be a good idea to require fingerprints to get into our
country.  This could reduce the probability of criminals entering.
 However without increasing the number of border control agents this
policy would not be enough to have a large effect on the number of
illegal immigrants in America.  It is the only way to prevent these
people from breaking our laws and customs.

Another reason America’s immigration policy is not fair is
because it only allows six hundred and seventy-five thousand immigrants
into the country each year.  This number is way too low.  These people
have done nothing wrong yet are living in poverty.  They deserve the
chance to get naturalized.  People think that these people are all
criminals.  Instead they are mostly good people who are starving, sick,
thirsty and living in the of the worst conditions with limited, if any
shelter.  We as Americans can do

something about it by allowing more people to have a better
life in the U.S.A..   They power our culture and are a big part of the
way America is being run.  “We are a nation of immigrants. Successive
waves of immigrants have kept our country demographically young,
enriched our culture and added to our productive capacity as a nation,
enhancing our influence in the world” (Griswold).  By adding just one
hundred thousand more immigrants every year we are changing lives.  The
more immigrants there are the more diverse America is.  People don’t
realise it but immigrants are the backbone of our society.  Albert
Einstein, one of the smartest men ever to walk the earth, moved here
from Switzerland.  The potential is out there, these people just need
the opportunities that America brings.  With more immigrants we can
effect our future as country in positive way.

Obama and the government had the power to change things
 but instead let the topic slide through their fingers and by pushing
the reform into next year.  Boehner had been unwilling to enter into
talks with the Senate on a broad bill that will help these people.
 These immigrants need change right now.  It is important that they get
this change as soon as possible (Parker).

In conclusion our current immigration policy is not
fair/just because it does not stop enough illegal immigrants and does
not allow enough legal immigrants who deserve a chance to live in
America.  The current immigration reform needs to be changed.  Boehner
and the house need to get their act together and realise this is serious
issue.  America has always stood for freedom, why can’t we allow a few
more legal immigrants enjoy it with us.