Happy Earth Day!

Sorry for the delay in blogs lately. We are now wrapping up this voyage with papers and finals, while also taking part in some of SAS’s annual traditions. I am sad to see things coming to an end, but I also can’t wait to see people back home.
Some of the events that have went on this last week, besides straight days of classes was having to April 20ths. (4/20 participants should be very jealous). On the first April 20th, was just a regular day of classes, but one of the discussions was on the legalization of marijuana, which was very interesting. Also that night was poetry reading for a poetry class. I have to say that there is an extremely talented group of people on this ship whether it be academically, art, English, dance, you name it. I’m honored to have met some of these people. On the second April 20th, we had the silent auction and live auction. It is one of the biggest events every year and all of the proceeds go to scholarship funds for Semester at Sea. Approximately 60% of all students receive some sort of aid, resulting in over $2 million in aid every year. For the auction, anybody could donate anything, gifts, personal services, homestays, ect.. There were also annual items such as dinner with the captain, steering the ship, honking the horn upon arrival, a bubble bath in the Dean’s bathtub (in his office) and some nice trips such as week long trips to owners beach houses, including a stay in Switzerland. Each item went for a significant amount of money, and I’m still amazed at where some of the students come up with the money. It is for a great cause, and it is tax deductable. For example, one of the items- steering the ship- sold for $1,300 dollars. In total, at the live auction alone, we raised $21,000 dollars. I ended up buying a sweatshirt for $60, but it was primarily to support one of the faculty members who is willing to help me out with future travel plans. It was the least I can do, and the sweatshirt has a Chicken in a fire fighting costume- for the town of Chicken. That in itself is pretty awesome!
Today was Earth Day, which seems much more significant now after witnessing pollution, overfishing, and other environmental problems that I usually just heard about, first hand.
Also, tonight, a few students on the ship ran a program called Spread the Word to End the Word. I did not know that there was actually a national orgainization for it and I would love this program to be spread to my home institution. It is about thinking twice about using offensive words such as “retard”, “fag”, ect.. out of context. These words are used to bully and hurt millions of people, and often times, people don’t even realize they are hurting people. This program calls for awareness and education, and by spreading the word, hopefully more people will help to eventually end the word. For more information, please visit the r-word.com.

As a side note, I would just like to finish up the last Day in Japan. On my last day in Japan, I went on a day trip to Mt Fuji. It rained the whole day and was very cloudy, so we never actually ended up seeing the iconic mountain Mt. Fuji, which was definitely a major bummer. We were able to go to the highest station that was opened, which was station 5. The main hiking trails start and station 5, and the summit is around station 9 or 10. Unfortunately, the hiking trails after station 5 are only open during the months of July and August, so we were not allowed to hike it. On our trip, we also took cable cars up some of the surrounding mountains to a lake where you can usually see the Mt. Everest. We then took a boat ride across the lake. Even though it was a dreary day and our last main day of international land travel, we still made it fun. My extended parents for Semester at Sea were on the trip, so it made the trip so much more fun and enjoyable.

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