Importance Of Bathing

10 / 02 / 2018   Sana Kato, Japan

public bath

Most Japanese like taking a bath. The history of bathing was transmitted from China with Buddhism. One of the teachings of Buddhism is “to prevent seven diseases and to acquire seven lucks”. Bathing was perceived as good for the body and the habit of bathing spread to people in Japan.

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People from all over the world take a shower to remove body dirt. There are other reasons why Japanese take a bath. Bathing has a relaxing effect. So we take a bath and cure the tiredness of the day. Bathing also improves blood circulation and leads to good health.

We usually have one bathtub per family. We clean the bathtub every day, keep it clean and take a bath.  For a short bath, people take a bath for a few minutes and for a long bath, people take a bath for several hours. A home tub is also a place where parents and children can communicate.

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We have a public bath in Japan. There are many types of baths that you can not take a bath at home. For example sauna, jacuzzi and outside baths. We go to the public bath for that. To make everyone comfortable, there are rules in the public bath. For example, we should take a shower before taking a bath because our body is dirty. Also we should wipe the body before returning to the dressing room because if we don’t do it the floor gets wet. Public bath is not a private, chartering bath, either. We should pay attention to it.

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In America there is no culture to take a bath and there is no public bath. I like taking a bath and public bath. So I think it is hard for me to live here because I can not take a bath and go to public bath. I wish there was a bathing culture and public bath in America.

 

Animals Facing Extinction

by Malena Julia Banjavcic, Switzerland

Help. What does help mean? Who needs help? And what help do they need? What can we do to help? These are questions we should ask ourselves every day. We are not alone in this world, even if it sometimes feels like it. There are people, who need help, but also animals. And we all need to start to ask ourselves how to make a change, because there are animals facing extinction and their time is running out.

So what does it mean when animals are in real danger facing extinction?

Plants and animals which are facing extinction are called Endangered Species. Particularly, it says that these species are very likely to become extinct in nearer time.  Of course, there are reasons in nature why animals become endangered, but for the most part we, humans, are the reason. Evidence of this is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). According to it, we are now losing animal species at more than 1,000 times the normal rate. In 2012, the IUCN featured 3,079 animals and 2,655 plants as endangered worldwide. Whereas back in 1998, the figures were 1,102 animals and 1,197 plants.  People often don’t even know that animals, which are well known, are critically endangered. Examples of species which are facing extinction are the Amur Leopard (pic. 1), the Bornean Orangutan (pic. 2) or the Malayan Tiger (pic. 3).

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If nothing changes, we put ourselves in danger, too. The world is a whole, big ecosystem. Ecosystems depend on healthy plants and animals. Without them an ecosystem is not even possible; they are the foundation. When one of the species becomes endangered, the whole system slowly starts to fall apart. So every loss of a species triggers the next. Just like animals and plants, we, humans, also depend on healthy ecosystems like forests, oceans or grasslands. So we’re risking our health and environment when we don’t do anything about the contamination.

We, humans, cause the extinction of a lot of species only by living, but this can be changed. We have to live together with the animals. I once heard someone saying “it’s not our world, we just borrowed it” and I think that is the truth.

I  think something important to do is to educate. We need to teach people and especially children about what is happening right now. If people do not know about the problem, they can’t do anything, but it’s also the job of our governments. How do people still sell furs and skins of all these endangered animals without being punished for it? Another thing which helps, is ,of course, the support for several organisations which work on this problem. Support can mean financial for those, who either don’t have the time or the will to go to the affected places where help is needed, but volunteer work is also support. Not only do you help, but you also experience beautiful countries and learn something about our world, the different cultures and also about yourself. “Work” doesn’t always mean it’s not fun.

It’s not that difficult to change something, so why isn’t there a change going on? – Ask yourself.

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Dark Side of K Pop Industry

Luna Speidel, Belgium

Although K Pop generally classifies “popular music” within South Korea, the term is often used in a narrower sense to describe a modern form of Korean pop that is influenced by styles and genres from around the world. The Asian pop singers are becoming more and more popular and, therefore, the music industry is pushing them harder so they can be at their best on stage, which is understandable. CDs, music videos and interviews have been taking their lives to a point where it becomes too much. Is it normal that at almost every concert at least one of the group members faints? Is it normal that they are doing more then 30 different dance routines per night for many months? We should take a deeper look and see if this is human abuse or not.

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The multi-million dollar industry that is controlling the lives of the big stars, makes everything look so glamorous and nice. But what the fans and the outside world in general doesn’t know, is that behind that fake image the artists are working 12 hours and maybe more a day every day to make everything look perfect. This leads to a form of abuse and is often hidden by the industry itself. You can’t force someone to stay on their feet and give everything they’ve got on a stage in front of millions of their fans. The fainting and collapsing on stage is a message and gives all the hidden darkness away. The industry can’t control everything and certainly not health.

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When you become someone famous in that industry, your whole life is being controlled and getting out of it is almost impossible. Things like dating and getting married are not allowed, unless the significant other is approved by the industry. Everything is made for the artists to become more famous and for that to happen every detail counts. Most of the Kpop singers need to have plastic surgery to maintain their beauty and achieve the perfect look that the fans want. But again, this is something that the entire industry keeps secret so the performers look like natural perfection. Their diets are really strict and can go to a point where these celebrities starve themselves to keep up with their perfect body image. That’s also one of the things that causes the lack of energy and fainting on stage.

 

 

With all that negativity that’s hidden, you would think that the artists make a lot of money out of it so it’s at least worth something to them, but even on that level, the Kpop stars are victims of financial exploitation. For one show, a regular Kpop group generally earns $4000, 90% of which goes to the company and 10% gets divided between the singers. The singers are also threatened with blackmail so they don’t break the contracts, which are often for long terms, and stay in the groups. In the end, it’s a really dark industry that’s is created to give people what they want so the company gets to make as much money as they can.

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Santa Barbara: a New Home

Francesca Vinciguerra, Italy

“One’s destination is never a place, but always a new way of seeing things,” said Henry Miller, an American writer. My destination was not Santa Barbara, but was seeing a different culture. I came here to improve my English and to become more fluent in speaking, but now that I am almost at the end of my trip, I can say I had learnt much more.

I understood that, wherever you go, you will find a new home where you feel yourself. Home is not just a pretty building, but also an ensemble of friends and people that take care of you. I have been living in Carpinteria for a month with other four lovable multicultural girls, Anna from Germany, Solene from France, Didem from Turkey, Hikari from Japan, and with a big family composed by Michael, Lucy, their daughter, her husband and their three grandsons.

Before coming here, I was afraid of leaving my family and my country completely alone. I was longing for years to come to America, but I have never thought my dream would be concretely realized. America is the many European students’ big dream because someone says that here every dream could come true. My dream is to reach my personal success: becoming a biotechnologist and helping the research to find new solutions for diseases such as Alzheimer Disease, Obesity or Infertility.

Why right in California and not in Italy? I love Italy, but no sooner had I entered in University than I had understood that I would have to move abroad to practice my lab skills.

In just one month, I have recognized that I fit well with the way of living and working. People here are open-minded, out-going and like talking with foreigners. The weather is warm and you can go hiking and tanning at the same time because there are both mountains and seaside. The only flaw is food. People here love fast food and rarely sit down to eat. In Italy, we are used to sitting down around a table for lunch and dinner and the mealtime is a sacred moment. I enjoy high-quality cookery and sharing the mealtime with friends and with my family. I prefer simple and not too spicy food where you can distinguish each different flavor and tastes rather than a mix of a hundred ingredients. Except for food, in Santa Barbara I feel at home. I suppose that the reason why nobody makes me feel as a stranger or a tourist is that in California there is a mix of people coming from all over the world, accustomed to live and work together.

I hope to come back soon to be part of this “big American team”.

Things To Do in Switzerland

Alyssa Knutti, Switzerland

Switzerland is officially the second happiest country on the planet, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report. And while you read this article you’ll soon realize why Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. There are so many things you can do in this small country from exploring the Swiss Alps to passing the spectacular Rhine Falls or sailing around Lake Geneva.

  1. Go skydiving

An amazing place where you can skydive is Interlaken. Interlaken is close to the capital city and is surrounded by peaks of the alps. It’s one of the most spectacular spots on earth to go skydiving.

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2. Take the Glacier Express

You should definitely ride with the famous Glacier Express through the mountains. Riding the train is pretty spectacular because it has huge panoramic, glass windows. If you want to take the whole ride you have to get in from Zermatt and then you go out at Davos or St. Moritz.

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3. Visit the James Bond Restaurant

The famous James Bond restaurant in Switzerland is located at the top of the Schilthorn, a 2970 meter high mountain in the middle of the country. The restaurant is called Piz Gloria. It is where the 1969 James Bond movie was set. It’s also a revolving restaurant. That means you can eat and the view changes all the time.

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4. Get soaked by the waterfalls

If you want to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Switzerland you have to go to Lauterbrunnen and take the one hour hike to Trummelbach. You’ll actually pass about two or three other waterfalls along the way. Trummelbach is the most famous waterfall. It has been formed by the melting snow breaking through cracks in the rocks.

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Living in a Host family

by Sophia Zimmermann, Germany

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In a few days, I will be back in Germany and will talk about the amazing experience I had with my host family here in Santa Barbara.

It is my first time in the US, so I was really afraid what it would be like living in a new family. You don’t know the people that you are going to live with, but you have to live with them. It’s a whole new culture, especially when you’re from Germany living with a Mexican family in the US.

All my fear was taken away when I saw my new family for the first time. When I got out of the car they were waiting for me at the door. They hugged me, brought my suitcases upstairs and showed me the whole house. Since the first moment I was a part of their family.

They took me to family parties, they went shopping with me, they cooked the meals I like, they made me feel so welcome in this family. I couldn’t be more grateful to call this people MY American family.

My American family is like my German one. Three children, a son and two daughters, mother, father and a pet. All family members didn’t treat me like someone they barely knew, they treated me like one of them. It was so nice to see that they cared for me and that they did everything for me so I felt good. And I did, it felt like home there and I think that is the most important thing.

But I also heard a lot of other students say that they don’t like their host families because the parents didn’t care much about the students. I feel so sad for them. You are miles away from your home and when you don’t feel comfortable or welcome your whole experience won’t be as you would like it to be. When I hear about their experiences, I feel even more grateful to have such an amazing family.

After one month in California, I will go back home with a lot of memories and new experiences. On the one side I don’t want to leave Santa Barbara, but on the other side I am really excited to go home and see my family and friends again. It will my host sister’s quinceanera in four years and I definitely will be here and celebrate this big party with her.

Santa Barbara stole my heart and I will never forget the wonderful time I had here!

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Top 5 Places to Visit in Portugal

Carlota Pedro Pinto, Portugal

Did you say you needed a vacation?

With the increasing amount of stress in our routines throughout the years, the word getaway is becoming more popular in our society. Everybody is always looking for an opportunity to turn off all the noise and go on a  little vacation.

And that’s when Portugal comes along….

Being one of the best getaway destinations right now, I’m gonna give you an inside scoop of some of the best places to visit while in Portugal!

1.Elevador de Santa Justa (Lisbon) – For one of the best views in Lisbon head to one of the most beautiful monuments right in the city’s heart. Towering above the whole city you can get  a breath taking view at any time of the day.

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2.Ponte de D. Luis I (Porto) – The panoramic views of the outlying city and the mouth of the river are truly memorable. One of the best spots to get to know Porto better.

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3.Ponta da Piedade ( Algarve) – The Ponta da Piedade makes for an amazing half day excursion from Lagos, and hiring a fishing boat to explore the cliffs is a life time experience!

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4. Pasteis de Belem ( Lisbon) – Pastel de Belem is a Portuguese cake, so it’s mandatory to at least have one when you come to the city ! Pasteis de Belem is the name of the world famous bakery that opened in 1833. It’s still open today and there’s always a long line to get in because of it’s amazing reputation, so be sure to get there early!

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5. Sintra – Remarkable cultural landscape this historic town is worth a day of your trip! In this amazing town you will find many monuments and breathtaking sights that will blow your mind away, which is totally worth an amazing tour through the streets of Sintra!

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As a native I’ve been always in love with Lisbon, being my hometown i have a special connection with the city. There’s many places that  I love to visit on my daily basis but walking through the streets of Lisbon will always be my favorite thing to do!!

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The Differences Between My Hometown in Germany And Santa Barbara

Paula Krumme, Germany

I live in a little city in West Germany. The name of the city is Stadtlohn, not far away from the Netherlands. My city has only 20,000 inhabitants, so Santa Barbara is much bigger because Santa Barbara has around 92,000 inhabitants. I will have only been here for 6 weeks in SB, nevertheless, it is a big change for me. Not only the number of people who live there is a big difference, but also the style of the houses. The houses of Santa Barbara have a very special style. They have white walls and red tiled roofs. The houses in my hometown are all different. I cannot say how a typical house in Germany looks, but what I can say is that the houses are often much bigger than in Santa Barbara.

Stadtlohn :

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Santa Barbara :

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Added to that to go shopping is a very different thing, too. When I want to go shopping for some clothes in Santa Barbara, I only ride with my bike to State Street and there are a lot of different clothing stores. When I want to go shopping in my hometown, I have to drive around one hour with the car because in Stadtlohn there is only one great clothing store.

Moreover, in Santa Barbara there is literally always something happening in the city. It does not matter what time is it. There are always many people walking around. Also you can do many different activities. For example you can go to the beach, surfing, stand-up paddeling, hiking, bowling or you can go to a disco in the evening. In my hometown, there is never really much going on, because we do not have many activities we can do. The sea is really far away (around 2 hours by car) and, in addition, we haven’t got a lake to swim in. So when it is really hot we must drive to another city or we must go to the public outdoor pool, but this is not very much fun. In addition, we do not have a disco, a cinema or something like this. For activities like these we have to drive to the next city.

But a big advantage of my little city is that everything is reachable by bike. All my friends live only a maximum of 15 minutes away from me. So it is really easy to meet them and I am independent because my parents do not have to drive me and I do not have to wait for a bus. Also I do not have to pay for something. Compared to Santa Barbara, this is a big difference. For most students who live in a hostfamily must ride the bus every morning and sometimes the way is longer than 1 hour. I had a lot of luck in that I have the possibility to ride a bike to school every day here in Santa Barbara. Also my way is not too long. I only need around 15 minutes. But on the first days it was really stressful and complicated to ride the bike because the driving rules are really different to the driving rules in Germany, too. Here in Santa Barbara there are many streets, where all cars drive in the same direction. So you don’t have oncoming traffic. Every second street goes to the left and the other streets go to the right. This is possible because all the streets are parallel. In Germany you always have two-way traffic. So you can drive on every street in every direction, also with the bike.

The last difference i want to talk about is that in Stadtlohn everybody knows each other. In Santa Barbara you are one in a thousand. On the one hand, in Stadtlohn, there is a strong family environment and it is fun when you go in the city and you can be sure you will see people you know, but on the other hand, they also talk about everybody. So when there is new gossip, everybody knows it directly, for example when somebody posts an ugly picture on Instagram. Compared to Santa Barbara, there are so many different kinds of people and it doesn’t matter what you say, do or wear.

In conclusion, I can say that Santa Barbara and Stadtlohn are completely different. In my point of view Santa Barbara is in every case the better city for a vacation because of all the activities you can do and the good weather, but for living, I prefer Stadtlohn because in Stadtlohn the living standards are higher. When you want a big house in Santa Barbara you need a lot of money. Also you need a lot of money in Stadtlohn, but most of the people can afford this. I think the reason for that is that in Stadtlohn you have better chances to get good jobs.

 

 

It’s Fiesta Time

Patrycja Iwaniuk, The Netherlands

The Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is a week of celebrating the traditions, history, heritage, and culture that has been in Santa Barbara for hundreds of years. Since the beginning of the week, the first preparations can be seen. Music can be heard on every corner of the street. The first Fiesta eggs can be bought and smashed to color the streets with colorful confetti and even the people dress up in beautiful and traditional costumes. They proudly walk through State Street giving it wonderful ambiance.

Also, here at the EF school and in the Santa Catalina residence the feeling of Fiesta is in the air. More and more decorations are being hung up in the school and even some teachers can be seen wearing some great colorful outfits. Wednesday was Tamale Day and some students had the opportunity to make some beautiful Fiesta eggs, which are by the way strictly forbidden to use in the residence. Luckily for us, there is enough space outside to break these eggs and throw some confetti on our friends. As Wednesday night was the grand opening at the Mission, Thursday morning the decorations were even greater. In the afternoon students were welcome to enjoy some chips with salsa and delicious churros. To add to that, in what way can you end the day better than having people break a piñata in the middle of the schoolyard?

The big days, however, were without hesitation Friday and Saturday. Before the big parade, everyone started to get out their chairs and blankets to save the best spot for the whole family. After a very long wait in the sun, the parade had begun. Dozens of beautiful horses gaited through State Street and the music played by the musicians completed the picture. It was really a new experience for me as a foreigner, since I have never seen or been to this kind of a parade. Over the past couple of days, I have really seen that the people of Santa Barbara cherish this week of joy and a lot of tourists who walk down the streets with the biggest smile when someone throws confetti to them. We can still savor the moment for a few weeks until the confetti disappears and then the first eggs can be eaten as a preparation for next year. As for me, this was my first time and hopefully not the last… VIVA LA FIESTA!

A New “Lifestyle”



Federica Capuzzoni, Italy

The Zen philosophy is more than a simple religion, it is a life style near Buddhism. The “Zen” is a philosophy of life that helps the individual to find happiness and serenity, and it helps to remove a negative thoughts and stressful things. To understand, and to catch the real meaning of this religion, it is not necessary to become a real follower of it, but it is only necessary to open our hearts and live with broad minds.

The most important teachings of Zen are:

  1. the JOY IS NOW: Often people concentrate more about their past actions or think about a future instead to live in the moment but, it’s wrong. We need to learn to live every moment of our lives and to appreciate every thing. For the Zen’s philosophy the individual’s joy depends only on himself and how he lives in the world. So how can we be happy ? We need to remove negative thinking. We should’t get swayed by external factors and also every human has the conditions to be happy.bbb
  2.  LIVE WITH A BROAD MIND: Living with serenity without any stress means living with a broad mind. We need to always stay ready for the changes that happen in our lives, because if you have a narrow mind this prevents you from understanding what is happening in your life. If we want to see life from another view, you must forget the rules that the society requires of us. To understand better what is meaning we can use this quotes:

“In the sky there is no difference between east or west, but the people create this difference in their minds and after they start to think that it is real.”

3.     PAIN IS UNAVOIDABLE, SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL: People can only be hurt by what they decide to give importance to, so that means that is possible to avoid the suffering in vain; in fact, if you decide to emotionally break away, you can see the problem from another point of view. This teaching takes time and diligence, but it is  important for your life.ddddd

Simplicity in the Buddhist lifestyle is essential. Simplicity as way of life focuses attention on the really important thing. How can you practice simplicity?

First, you must examine your life to see what stressful habits clutter your life. Are you running around too much? Are you trying to do too many things at once? Once you ask yourself these types of questions and make an inventory of habits, then you can change to simplify your life. Simplicity is the way of life that helps us put more attention on what is happening in our lives every day, and helps us to search all the positive things that are happening every day.

After this you must realize that you have choices. Every person is the writer of his/her own life. You are 100 percent unique in your own special way. You have the right to spend your life doing the things you love to do, and experiencing things that bring you massive joy.You-have-a-choice

 

The trick is to enjoy your life. Don’t waste away your days, waiting for better ones ahead. You must give the possibility of every day to be the best day of your life.

Marjorie Pay Hinckley

When the day is finished and you are in your bed, close your eyes and think about the whole day and search all the “happy moments” and reflect about all the good things that  happened. It helps you to appreciate your life more!