Courtney A. Griffin ~ Writer | Designer| Social Media Junkie | Soon to be entrepreneur

The life of a Michigan State University College Girl, turned Chicago Native. Continue the journey with me!

Young People For

The Young People For fellowship is a group of like minded progressive students who want to make a difference. Myself along with 149 other students have been chosen from students from all over the country.

This weekend the Midwest region met, I met 40 likeminded students who are working for change! I can honestly say there is not one student here, who I do not like. We have shared more here than most of us have with our childhood friends. We have learned about networking, our own personal self and even how to intiate our goals!! This has been an amazing weekend.

I am excited to carry out my blueprint and work with all these wonderful influential people.

My most rememberable quote is: “Vision without action is a daydream! Action without vision is a nightmare!” I love it! 🙂

This will be a proactive year, I have no doubt in my mind!


Filed under: Personal, , , , ,

A day in the life of me

A day in the life of me…

It requires so much, I tend to do tons to keep myself busy. I work 2 jobs and I go to class. Now, that it’s the summer, I’m not doing that much. I’m trying to prepare myself for the future ahead, including graduation, graduate school and the professional world.

I’m excitied to prepare for the future, just simply because I expect so much from myself. I’m especially excited for the Young People For Fellowship this weekend. I want to meet students outside of MSU who are open minded and looking for a change.

Im preparing my graduate school applications and studying the GRE! Debating between staying in East Lansing or going else where.

The journey continues…

Filed under: Personal

Technology Review: QR Code

While at Keio University, we conducted our first survey. When the power point came up on the screen I was very concerned. There was link to survey and a little bar code like thing. The students then pulled out their phones, and started to take a picture, I was then, beyond confused. Shortly after, I realized that the bar code like thing is called QR code and it acts as the web address. All you have to do is take a picture of it and you will be taken to the website. I was stunned! I then started to see the QR code everywhere, like even on the menu at McDonalds.

What is it?

QR stands for Quick Response, because it can quickly be read by a cell phone. Being able to read the code from your phone is not a pricey special application or anything, it is already installed on most mobile phones.

A QR code is very similar to bar code but is much more advanced (a 2 dimensional) . Bar codes in America can hold up to 20 characters, while the QR code can hold thousands.

Just a little history

QR codes were started in Japan in 1994 and used for tracking parts by vehicle manufacturers. As with any technology, someone realized that this technology could also be used elsewhere and is now part of the mobile phone industry and is being used across the Middle East and Europe.

So how do they work?

It takes literally a second.  Any phone with a camera on it can be used the only  addition is the QR decoder software. Take out your phone, use the camera on your phone to take a picture of the bar code and it does not matter how close or far away you are from the code. Task complete, you can now, connect to a web address, download a MP3, dial a telephone number but just taking a picture. Amazing!

Can we use them in the US?

Oddly enough yes! The only dilemma is that American businesses do not use 2 dimensional bar codes. Android and iPhone users can download an application that will allow them to use their camera to read QR code.

In 2008, San Fransisco tested the QR code system. A number of people were given a phone that was compatible and a few stores and restaurants put a QR code in the window of their establishment and people were able to use City Search to get reviews and more about the place before they went in.

Last year, Google attempted to try again to get QR code more well known in the US. Different companies have began using it and Google has made it available on their smart phones. I am guessing they have not succeeded.

Firefox too has attempted to make it more popular. They offer an add-on that can generate a 2D of a URL or a portion of the material on the site.


I am hoping QR code becomes just as popular in America than it has in Japan. I absolutely love the idea of it, I think it is so convenient. I am actually going to download the application on my phone, just so I can be ready and I also want a t-shirt with a code on it

An example of the 2 dimensional code


Filed under: Technology Review

I’m back in America. Now what?

Leaving Japan was bittersweet. I was happy to be coming home, but sad to be leaving one of the greatest adventures of my life. I was happy that I was no longer going to be considered a foreigner and although I am still not a majority, I see more people that look like me in America then in Japan.

As soon as I came home, I started to miss the food. I was enjoying sushi, nothing like the kind I eat in East Lansing. I missed the curry especially and even Mos Burger. Those were just the starters.

I missed the clean streets! No trash, no debris but, do not get me wrong I was excited to be driving. Taking the subway was just a little hectic for me.

I was also shocked, usually when I return from a trip I get sick and I didn’t! Boy, was I surprised! I think it was the fact that, people who felt like they were just a little sick wore a mask. They did not want to make anyone else sick.

I even missed something I thought that didn’t even phase me; The Toilets! I went to  a public restroom and realized that the bathrooms were nothing like the ones in Japan. No special toilets with special buttons, and they were even cleaner.

All in All, I definitely enjoyed my experience. It was more than I could ask for. If I spoke Japanese, I could see myself living there.

Filed under: Assignments, Culture, Technology

Oh, Shopping!

Going to Japan I was super excited to shop.  Before I left, I told myself I just wanted a pair of shoes and a purse. When I got to Japan I realized that task would be harder than expected.

One thing that went in my favor in Japan is that I am short. The length of things was no problem. Sizing although brought up a entirely different concern.  I am not the average Japanese girl size, majority of the items that I saw that I liked were One Size. One Size in America I can fit, in Japan not really. That was obstacle number 1.

Obstacle number 2, was shoes. In America, I typically wear an 8, which is an average size. Japan shoe sizes, do not go by numbers, they go Small, Medium, Large and Large Large. Similar to T-shirts in America. Amazing right? Imagine how amazed I was to find out that my average 8 was a Large Large in Japan. Wow! My next question, which I never got an answer to was, people who wear over a size 8 in shoes… what do they do? This still remains a mystery.

Filed under: Assignments, Culture

Princeton vs Yale of Japan

Visiting both Keio University and Wasaeda University was definitely a shock for me.  I had no idea of what to expect. I didn’t know if there students were going to speak English, and I knew I didn’t speak Japanese. I did although feel bad coming to them and not knowing how to communicate, I thought it was kind of disrespectful. I then realized that we were interacting with the English classes and it kind of made me feel better.

The students at both universities were totally different. I feel like the students at Wasaeda were more friendly and willing to interact. The campuses were different too. Keio university seemed more rich in history, there were tall brick buildings and it seemed to me like it told a story. Even though I do know that Waseada campus is newer, it definitely felt that way, it was very contemporary and crisp in my opinion.

I also found it interesting that we visited both Keio and Wasadea considering they are rivalries similar to MSU and UofM. I guess if one was to visit, UofM and MSU they would have the same things to say. Like how different the students and campuses both are.

Filed under: Assignments, Culture

Maybe it is more Convenient

Going to Japan was definitely an experience. There way of doing things is completely different. I think in away it’s better.

Usually when you think of vending machines, you think of them on office buildings and schools. Or at least I do, in Japan though. They’re everywhere! On the corner, in the subway, honestly I don’t think I saw them in any buildings. The vending machines are very convenient. And what makes them
Even better is the fact, that you can use your pasmo card at the machines. Almost everyone in Japan uses the subway, therefore they have a pasmo. The vending machines have everything, light meals, snacks and of course drinks.

The pasmo card is even better. It can be used at stores, the store that are everywhere uses them, like family mart and am/pm.

In addition to uses your pasmo at the convience store. You can get complete meals there, like pasta, sandwiches, and even fried foods. In my opinion it’s great, better than fast food and still just as convient.

Oh Japan, how America needs to adopt some of your tactics.

Filed under: Assignments, Culture, ,

Courtney A.Griffin

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June 2010
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