indepth #5

Progress Update: Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked with my mentor about different styles and approaches to ikebana. Recently, I have worked on an ikebana which is actually inside a fish tank. My mentor believes that ikebana should not be restricted to only flowers, albeit flowers make up a great portion of the art. In fact, the transcript of conversation you will see is related to this. This piece of ikebana which I titled “Seascape” both because it is a portrayal of sea-related items as well as it is a sort of escape from the real world and into this tiny universe.

I used these green and blue pebbles because they remind me of the ocean with the sort of tiny and grainy pebbles that you would see on the beach as well as marine colours. Seashells and luminescent orbs further fuel this feeling and bring  one’s senses to the scene of the water just past the serene beach. The presence of the aquatic plant makes one feel like their in shallow water as the plant is so small yet so close. The pussywillows are unrelated to the ocean scenery but give off the vibe that their is a presence watching over and is a nod to the heavens in ikebana.

Conversation Transcript:

Me (Black hat): I thought in the school of ikenobo you don’t use any items that isn’t natural?

Mentor (Green hat): Although the ikenobo school may be strict like that, I don’t think ikebana should be restricted by purely flowers. Although I am not part of the very modern schools that use paperclips and wires, I think that using manmade items may add value to the art.

Me (Yellow hat): That makes sense because I also feel that an aquarium ikebana would be really cool and I don’t think we should restrict our creativity because of those rules especially when other schools do.

Mentor (Red hat): Exactly, ikebana is an art and restricting the medium too much can ruin the creative mind.

Mentor (White hat): Although, rules still serve a purpose and they should be respected to an extent.

Me (Red hat): That feels right to me. After all, if no one is willing to break a few rules then a lot of people’s art would be restricted.

Mentor (Yellow hat): Now that you’ve understood that. Let’s get to work on this aquarium ikebana.


A nation is a populace that cultivates a set of values and beliefs that represent the entirety of the people. To say Canada has that core identity is difficult when considering that democracy is based on multiple parties and conflicting opinions. It isn’t wrong to say, “there is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,” but for Canada to be “the first postnational state” isn’t right either (Trudeau, 2015). Canada being classified as a postnational state makes sense with our vast variety of cultural groups, but countries like U.S.A, Australia, and U.K are also made up of many diverse groups and should be called postnational states by the same standard. Although ‘‘There are shared values — openness, respect, compassion,” in Canada, other countries also have their own set of shared values (Trudeau, 2017). These shared values do not change the fact that there is still diversity and differing opinions ingrained into the people of the nation. The biggest example of a distinct nation within Canada is the “French-speaking province of Quebec” which has tried to show its independence from Canada before (Foran, 2017). However, many countries around the world face a problem like this, albeit not as powerful of a movement in most cases. In the United States, many indigenous peoples are fighting for their rights and representing their own nation like the situation in Canada. The United States may not be as postnationalist as Canada but it still has the qualities of postnationalism and should be considered postnational as well. Canada is like a giant family and “Not everyone is happy being in the family. Some think being a family member is important and others do not. But we are shaped by our families, and we shape ourselves within and sometimes against our families,” which is a concern from the idea of postnationalism blurring the lines between the Canadian culture and the incoming people, but this is a problem for all the countries in the world which is why I believe that the term postnational state should be applied to every country (McDonald, 2017). Canada is a postnational state, but so is almost every country in the world. We cannot escape differing opinions and values but rather we should accept them and work to find the most humanitarian resolution to all issues.

indepth #4

Progress: In the span of time between my last blog post and now. I have worked on two flower arrangements. The first being fully completed and titled “Exploration” as it represents a turtle’s journey through the vast world and the experiences it feels. It is a simple ikebana featuring three types of plants: Lilacs, tillandsia, and cattails. It follows the idea of heaven, man and earth as each plant respectively represents one of those three characteristics. “Exploration” was done in the upright-style instead of the slanting-style as I felt that an upright-style provides a more stiff and pressuring feeling as if one is lost in a jungle. Although I did not use traditional moribana flowers or angle design, this was done on purpose with my mentor. My mentor showed me a traditional ikebana and she wanted me to be creative in creating my own. After I completed “Exploration” she told me what concepts could be improved on as well as how to align it more with the traditional moribana-style arrangements. The second flower arrangement was done in accordance to the moribana-style but was left at my mentor’s place so the photo will be shown next week.

How to have a beautiful mind:

How to listen:

Me: So I understand that there are certain types of flowers that are used in certain schools and styles of ikebana but what is the reason these flowers go together?

Mentor: Well there are many factors, but to sum it up it is the way the flowers interact with each other. This includes the shape, form, contrast, and many other factors.

Me: Then can’t I have my own types of flowers as long as they look good together.

Mentor: Yes, and that is part of the artistic side of this. You can create your own styles and divert from the templates, but that takes more practice.

DeBono says that if “you listen carefully and attentively you will get more value from listening than talking” (p. 67). This was very true when it came to me listening to my mentor about the more abstract concepts of ikebana that are not easily understood without practice. If I wasn’t listening as intently I may have missed some key characterization points about ikebana that helps me understand the concept more.

How to ask questions:

Me: If ikebana is a form or art that allows for the expression of the author’s feelings, why are there so many rules about the angles of the shin, soe, and tai?

Mentor: Ikebana is a very old Japanese art and the Japanese are very organized people who like to have rules to follow. Unlike other forms of art that have lots of variation, when a new variation is formed in ikebana, it usually transforms into its own school if it is popular enough. The angle rules that I taught you are not only prevalent in ikebono and moribana but almost every school of ikebana. The angles were tested by sages and agreed to be beautiful by all.

Me: So by following these angles I can make my ikebana better?

Mentor: Theoretically, yes. I will show you two flower arrangements using the same flowers and materials with two variations on angles and you can tell me which one is better and why.


Me: I see what you were saying. This one has more of the free and spirited feel because of the left handed slanted-style and angling of the plants so they do not intersect and instead compliment each other.

DeBono says that “questions are a key means of interaction in any conversation or discussion” (88).  This made a lot of sense in my conversation because me asking the question about the ikebana viewing angles let me open up a whole new path on my learning and widen my eyes towards ikebana.

I cannot wait until I make more beautiful art work and share my learning with all of you. I will have more pictures next week!


Romeo and Juliet Act II: Critical Response

From our understandings of the reading to this point, we don’t see any sign of either Romeo or Juliet falling out of their love or infatuation. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, puppy love is defined as “romantic love that a young person feels for someone else, which usually disappears as the young person becomes older.” Although we see Romeo and Juliet quickly infatuate each other, we only see their love for each other growing stronger when Juliet says “but my true love is grown to such excess, I cannot sum up sum of half my wealth” she is showing a change from her previous more standoffish and poised character into a more excited and exuberant one (2.6.33-34). Another reason why Romeo and Juliet’s love shouldn’t be categorized as merely infatuation is because when Juliet finds out that Romeo is a Montague, she says “my only love sprung from my only hate […] that I must love a loathed enemy,” and is brooding over how to love him instead of trying to cut Romeo (1.5.138,141). When Romeo finds out that Juliet is a Capulet, he says “my life is in my foe’s  debt’ which is Romeo saying that it is a shame that his life is in the enemy’s hands since he cannot stop loving Juliet (1.5.119). Even though both Juliet and Romeo know the danger of their love, the strength of that love allows them both to see past their familial enmity and wish to face the coming tribulations together.

Kulich’s view is quite historically accurate as it correlates to the 14th century European culture. Although the play was written in the 1500s, the scene and story are set in the 1300s. In that time period it was very common for a 17 year-old like Romeo to be considered an adult as well as the 13-year old Juliet. In the 1300s, adulthood for girls usually came at 12 and adulthood for males came at 14. Both Romeo and Juliet are over that transition period and their love should not be considered childish with the historical lens of the 1300s. Therefore, it does seem inaccurate to judge Romeo and Juliet’s love as puppy love since they were both considered adults at the time.


indepth #3

In-depth has been going by very quickly for me as it is easy to get caught up in the zen moments of ikebana and the ikenobo school. In my own time, I have been studying the fundamentals of ikebana and the essence and meaning behind the art of flower arrangement. I began to explore how life can be portrayed in the abstract ways of ikebana. With the essence of ikebana being balance and harmony in nature, I learned concepts like the “heaven, earth and man” and “the viewing.”

This week, I met with my mentor for the first time. Due to my later start, I have only just began my in-depth journey with my mentor. However, that doesn’t set me back far because I was prepared with a lot of concepts and ideas to discuss to get full value and enrichment out of her time. To be honest, we didn’t do much flower arrangement on our meeting. Instead, my mentor talked about the history of ikebana and gave insight to what the schools and rules of ikebana really mean. She talked about how the concepts of ikebana all correlate to some sort of belief or past value.

When I was with my mentor last weekend, she asked me why I was interested in ikebana as it is a very old tradition that is dying off. I told her that I wanted to do a sort of decaying art for in-depth to try and revive the skill and specifically ikebana because I think flowers are beautiful and there is many things in life we can mirror using more abstract means. The idea of portraying thoughts in the form of flower arrangement mesmerized me and my mentor agreed strongly. My mentor used to work in a flower shop because she loved to look at flowers and appreciate their beauty. When we talked about the heaven, earth and man concept I brought up, I asked what if we ignored it, and my mentor said that we cannot ignore it because these concepts have a significant cultural meaning and are part of ikebana as a whole.

With the history of ikebana being very long and having many different variations and schools, it was hard to keep track as my mentor educated me on the history of the subject. When she was explaining a few of the big schools, I asked for clarification because I didn’t understand the subtle differences between similar schools. For example, when she compared Saga Goryu ikebana to Ikenobo ikebana, I was confused on the differences and asked for clarification. After she explained that Saga Goryu ikebana focused making the arrangement delicate and sophisticated versus the variety of colour and beauty in ikenobo, I agreed with her when I looked at the pictures. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, my mentor asked why I wante to learn ikebana and I actually told a story about it. When I was a child, I’d always look at the flowers in the gardens, fields, and lakes. Although I’m not proud of it now, I would always pluck the flowers from their habitat and run around with them. I have always had a sort of connection with flowers since I was young. When my mentor mentioned the idea of “viewing” and how different concepts can be seen when the flower arrangement is viewed from different perspectives sort of reflected on my life. I feel like there are many things I miss out on because I have a bias of sorts.

I plan to meet my mentor next weekend and go deeper into my exploration on ikebana and hopefully make some beautiful artwork to show.


indepth #2

In-depth for me has been a little rough from the start. Having to change in-depths midway through the project set me back a little, but luckily, I switched in-depths near the beginning of the project so I could mitigate most of the damage.  My current in-depth is Ikebana and I will be exploring all the techniques and processes behind the traditional-style japanese flower arrangement. In comparison to my previous in-depth of horse riding, ikebana is a much more mellow and calm sport. However, that does not mean that I am choosing it merely due to its ease. In fact, after doing research I learned about all the small nuances and thoughts that go into ikebana and realized it is a very deep and complicated topic with hundreds of schools.

To be perfectly candid, I have not made much contact with my mentor due to my slightly later start from my setback. However, I have discussed some schedules and planned meetings with them. Although we have not yet began delving into the actual in-depth subject, I have full use of Edward De Bono’s techniques when communicating with my mentor.

How to agree

Using my understand from De Bono’s How to have a beautiful mind, my conversations with my mentor went quite smooth. When we were discussing the cost of the lessons and the times my mentor had available, I understood where they were coming from and my mentor’s point of view. I made sure to look at things from my mentor’s perspective so I would not be rude and bias. I took advantage of guideline #6 “Make a real effort to see where the other person is coming from” the most. In the end, we negotiated well and have organized our schedules and pricing.

How to disagree

The disagree guidelines weren’t as relevant in our online communications, but it still came up subtly in our conversations. Of De Bono’s guidelines, the one I used the most would have to be #12 “Distinguish between having a different opinion and disagreeing with an opinion.” We didn’t have much of a chance to disagree since our communications were quite limited but I did understand how my mentor can have a different opinion from me without disagreeing. This is especially true since my mentor has much more knowledge on the in-depth than me.

How to differ

When it comes to differing, all the techniques were very relevant in my communications with my mentor. The techniques didn’t come out obviously, but I had them in mind when writing emails to my mentor. My mentors opinions pretty much align with mine and if they don’t one of us will persuade the other. We usually have a strong sync and don’t enter any arguments, especially since my mentor is volunteering their time for me.

zip #4 final

1. What is your inquiry question? What initially drew you to this question? Did your question stay the same, or did it change overtime? Why?

My inquiry question is “To what extent does the poem type affect the understanding of the motifs for the reader?” The reason why I pursued the answer to this question is because I noticed that many poems have a preferred or primary motif. For example, odes are used to celebrate and haikus are used to portray nature. This discovery made me wonder if these poem types were created with the motif in mind or was there a motif they had in mind and the respective poem type was the best way to represent it. The question confounded me since the difference between a haiku and an ode wasn’t just the primary motif. Both poem types had their own rules to follow that seemed unrelated to the motif.

Although my idea for what my final artifact was molded and changed throughout my zip project, the essence of the question stayed the same. You may notice that my inquiry question comes in different variants throughout my DOLs, but the meaning stays consistent. The reason why it stayed the same is because I never found an answer. I did learn specific concepts like why a haiku would be a good poem type to use for nature, but I lack evidence of a rule that fits into every poem type and motif.

2. What skills have you expanded on / learned during the inquiry process? How are these skills applicable to your success as a student?

Unexpectedly, the skill I really built on and learned was refinement. This came as a shock to me since I didn’t even intend to learn this skill as forementioned in my zip proposal. The skill of refinement was very difficult to learn and even harder to master. I have barely even scratched the surface of the essence of refinement. However, this skill is still an essential skill to my success as a student because no matter what sort of work I am doing, refinement is critical. The power of turning a raw and messy idea into a finished project is a very powerful tool to wield. Refinement can be applied to anything from essay writing to presentation designing.

Another skill I expanded on was my poetry-writing skills. I anticipated growth in this department, but I am still pleased with my growth. The chance to focus on poetry as my zip gave me a chance to research more into poetic concepts and ideas instead of just writing raw garbage on a piece of paper. This is also where the skill of refinement came in. I used refinement and my newfound poetic knowledge to deepen my understanding of poetry and literature. Although poetry-writing may seem like a skill only useful in writing poetry, I believe it may add more spice to my writing as I have a deeper sense of literary tools like metaphors now.

Another obvious skill I have improved on is my ability to find the right words in the right situation to convey the proper meaning. In essence, it would be an improvement in my vocabulary, so it may not be considered a skill. However, I do believe the ability to find the right word amidst a vast vocabulary is a unique and undeniable skill. This vague, yet useful skill may find a use in almost any writing scenario or even vocal presentation as it helps build a richer literary environment for the viewer.

The final skill I expanded on is very similar to refinement, but it is more towards expressing ideas through different avenues. Instead of refining a piece of writing into a more concise and clear version, this skill allows me to take my raw idea and present it in a new format. I have built on this skill by creating my zip artifact. I have taken all my knowledge and research on poetry and represented it in a visual art that displays my understandings as well as a poetry notebook that shows my learning process and growth. The skill of transferring ideas into different forms is applicable in almost any situation from performances to essay writing.

3. What did you learn about / what is your answer to this inquiry question? Remember to be specific and provide direct evidence from your research.

To be perfectly candid, there is no answer to my question other than it does matter. To find a more specific answer, you must explore each individual poem type as well as their most common motif. For example, haikus are usually portrayals of nature but I explored how a nature motif would feel in a limerick and there is a substantial difference. The limerick takes away the feeling of cutting and juxtaposition with its rhyming and lack of seriousness. For someone trying to paint a serene scene of nature, it is far more difficult using a limerick.

I also tried writing an elegy in the form of a limerick and once again it turned the supposedly sad vibes into a seemingly cheerful event with its rhyming scheme and short syllable pattern. The limerick I wrote with the motif of death was far less sorrowful and mourning than one written as an elegy. Here is the limerick I wrote with the essence of an elegy:

Oh, divine muses provide me advice

My king, a defiant and brave device

His presence turns gears

His disappearance pulls tears

Life without him is a fool’s paradise

I noticed that the lack of lines and syllables makes it seem as there is not much care for the person it is written about as well as the rhyming makes it seem like the subject’s death is a joke. It ruins the poetic beauty of an elegy as well as its most common motif. This is direct evidence of my research. I do have a lot more examples as well as comparisons, but I would like to save that for my presentation.

4. In what ways does your final learning artifact demonstrate your learning / answer to your inquiry question? How does it connect to your chosen curricular competencies? Consider listing your competencies and including images, links, or excerpts from your work to demonstrate this.

My final artifact demonstrates by learning by showing the rigorous excavating and exploration of knowledge I have done over the course of zip as well as displaying those discoveries in an aesthetically pleasing way. My artifact can be divided into those two components.

I have the journals that I worked with throughout my whole zip experience that shows my learning as well as my poetry skills slowly being tempered. The first journal contains all the knowledge that I learned as well as the notes I have taken about poetry writing. The second journal contains the actual writing of poetry. The second journal is the component that took the most time as each piece of poetry has been through rigorous refinement and contemplation. The journal includes revisions as well as ideas splayed in a messy way. This portion of the project is correlated with my second core competency “Transform ideas and information to create original texts ” as I wrote my own poetry.

It is exactly the fact that I noticed how messy and disorganized my adventure journal is that I have invested in part two of my final artifact. It is a trifold that simplifies and demonstrates my findings in a visually easing way. It is quite simplistic with a connection drawn between my research. Of course, I will be explaining the artifact to simplify matters further. The main purpose of the trifold is to quickly and succinctly answer the inquiry question and provide knowledge to my peers whilst the journals exemplify my journey and learning process. This portion of the artifact represents my first core competency “Recognize and appreciate how different forms, formats, structures, and features of text enhance and shape meaning and impact ” as I display my findings on the effect of poem types on the understanding of a motif.

I like to believe that my third core competency “Think critically, creatively, and reflectively to explore ideas within, between and beyond texts ” is displayed in both portions of the final artifact because I explore many ideas critically and creatively while writing poetry and taking notes on how to write poetry and also because I use that information to build a finished project that displays those thoughts creatively.

5. What resources did you find useful during your inquiry and why were they useful? (Cite at least four resources you consulted, with links, and write a brief 50-100 response as to was important to your learning).

Haiku writing

Both of these resources share tips on haiku writing as well as the essence between haikus. It taught me about juxtaposition and the idea of “cutting” words. It also taught me about “moras” which are similar to syllables but slightly different.

Limerick writing

The first source taught me a lot of tips about writing limericks and how to make them roll right off the tongue. For exmaple, making the limerick “bounce.” The second source showed me examples so I could truly understand what the first source is saying.

Elegy writing

Epic Poetry: Invocation of the Muse Prompt

The first source teaches me about writing an elegy as well the steps and conventions. It covered the idea of lament, praise, and solace which are the three general steps which can be further divided into many smaller steps. The second source taught me about the invocation of muses which is a part of both epics and elegies.

Dodoitsu writing

Dodoitsu: Poetic Forms

The source outlines the style of dodoitsu as well as the most common motif which is work or love. It provides the poetic structure as well as the proper usage of the poem type.

Poetry writing

Poetry Writing: 10 Tips on How to Write a Poem

This has been a really useful source since it covers a 10 tip program that helps me write poetry in general. The site provides many good tips like avoid cliches and avoid sentimentality.

6. What new questions do you have about your inquiry? What motivates you or excites you about these questions?

A big question that I have is “Why is it that only some poetry types have a preferred motif?” Poems like terza rima don’t seem to have any most common motif (as far as I can tell) so it is strange to me that only some poems have a most common motif. This question motivates me to dig deeper into poetry and learn more.

This also brings up another question I have. “Are poem types made with a motif in mind or are there poem types waiting for a perfect motif to click with them?” This question excites me because if the answer is the latter, that means there are hundreds of poem types just waiting for someone to find a perfect motif for them to open up a whole new world of poetry.





indepth blog post

In-depth has come once again and I plan on learning and mastering the art of horse riding. As I have had no prior experience or similar experiences on the subject before, it may be considered a strange and surprising. However, one of the reasons why I chose this in-depth was because I thought connecting with nature and animals more would be fun and interesting. I was also intrigued because all the horse riders I know are female and I was wondering why there was a lack of male horse riders. I sort of felt compelled to break that gender barrier and try my hand in the trade.

The mentor I hope to acquire is the teacher in the Northside Stables which is a stable located very closely to my home. This would make meeting up with my mentor a lot easier. I plan on meeting with my mentor and discussing what sort of gear I will need in the next week or so. I hope to use Sandra Harezga (my mentor) as one of my sources of information for the sort of techniques and knowledge I will acquire. In conclusion, I have a solid plan on what my in-depth will look like and hope to achieve excellence in my respective field.

zip #3

Describe the ups and downs you have encountered to date in your inquiry. Specifically, when you were frustrated or struggling in your inquiry, what did you do to address the situation?

From the start, the main issue I had was properly representing the motifs of the poems well. My original plan was to choose a motif and write the motif in different poem types, but I realized that I shouldn’t be disregarding the poem types and the kind of fitting motifs. Instead, what I have done was write about a motif that fits the certain poetic structure, then write one that doesn’t to display how certain poem types accommodate certain motifs better than others.

Another issue I had was the actual writing of poems. Haikus and limericks were easier than elegies since they had less lines and needed less coordination. Although that doesn’t mean that haikus are simpler than elegies. In fact, haikus are even more profound and difficult to master due to their concise and simple wording. The way I addressed this problem was to research tips and tricks on writing the specific poem type.

The final issue I had was the lack of poems with preferred motifs. For example, elegies are usually meant to represent the motif of death or loss, while limericks are usually humorous. Poems like diamante poems have certain poetic structure, but have no preferred motifs and can be written about almost anything. My solution was to mainly address the poems with a preferred motif.


zip #2

Take a moment to reflect on your inquiry plan (calendar). Do you need to make any revisions to your original plan? If so, why? If you haven’t made any changes to your plan, why do you feel you have been so successful in sticking to it?

No, I have not made any revisions since the start of the project and I don’t think I will have to. I believe I have been making very strong strides forward in my inquiry. Not only have I been following my plan, I have had extra time to do even more in-depth work and start on some of my poetry writing earlier than expected. If I had to say, the main reason for my success in sticking to my plan is motivation. I don’t have to motivate myself to work on ZIP. I love writing poetry and do it in my free time anyways. My love for the subject is what makes me work so hard because it doesn’t feel like work. I choose to do ZIP over playing games because the topic is so enticing to me and fuels my mental fire.