AFH Photo // Melara, Mariana
Yamato II is somewhat of a hidden gem in the city of Boston. It is a Japanese style restaurant most popularly known for their delicious and beautifully presented sushi. Despite being located in one of the most popular and easily accessible shopping and tourist districts in the city, it relatively does not experience overwhelming or uncomfortable amounts of traffic. However, that does not mean it is not a good place to eat. 
 Whenever my friends and I visit, we order multiple large platters from their diverse sushi bar. My friends describe the sushi served here as absolutely lovely. The moment the eel or shrimp hits your mouth, your taste buds explode. They're the perfect combination of soft and crunchy deliciousness. 
 However, I do not eat fish, so I order off of their non-sushi menu. They have great fried rice options -- my favorites are the vegetable and chicken rice dishes because the seasoned flavors blend together wonderfully -- that do a good job of filling you up. 
Although one time I ordered the chicken katsu it came out cold, when served hot, the heavenly crispiness of the chicken, paired with the tangy barbecue sauce they give you as a side, mix beautifully in your mouth.  
If you are a student, this is a great option to have a good meal without worrying about how to get there or the cost. Yamato II offers an all you can eat option for just about $20 individually! The only way they make you pay more is if you do not finish everything you ordered, so make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach.  
Yamato II is a really nice place to go to as couple (I somehow always get seated next to a couple on a date) or just in groups of friends or family. Being in groups makes splitting the bill easier, and you will have more people to help you finish all the food they serve. 
The atmosphere is very nice as well. It gives you the formality of a sit-down restaurant while still feeling comfortable enough to dress and speak casually. There are televisions that set a relaxed mood and a good selection of music flows through the restaurant.  

Food: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Accessibility: 5 out of 5 stars
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars 


Address: 545 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
Phone #: (857) 250-4473
Transit: Get off at Back Bay if taking the orange line. Copley if taking the green line. 
Read more…
AFH Photo // Melara, Mariana
April break is quickly approaching. Teachers give a lot of assignments during break so you might be catching up on school work. Some of you may be going on vacation, or enjoying a staycation. Whenever you find some time to relax, nothing is better than Netflix. I know you probably have people recommending shows and movies to you on the daily. But, I’ve learned that everyone has different taste when it comes to such things. So, let’s not think of this as a recommendation, but rather my personal suggestions. 

The 100: Recently, a friend of mine recommended The 100. I love watching new shows and I finish them so fast that I am constantly on the hunt for the next. I was a little skeptical at first because I didn’t know if I would like it or not. Reluctantly, I began watching and was immediately hooked on the first episode. The 100 is about a nuclear armageddon that destroys civilization on earth. The only survivors are those on the 12 international space stations in orbit at the time. The stations begin to lose oxygen slowly so they decide to send 100 juveniles to earth to see if it is safe to live there. If you have an interest in dystopian futures like I do, then this show is for you.  
Chewing Gum: This British sitcom follows a young woman named Tracy, navigating her way through adulthood and trying to get out of the shadow of her strictly religious household. She battles with the pressure of losing her virginity and becoming her own person, different from what her mother and sister want her to be. The show is really entertaining because it puts a comedic spin on the different obstacles people face while growing up. This is most definitely a show for teenagers and young adults. I don’t necessarily watch a lot sitcoms, but this one really caught my attention. Along with being hilarious, it follows the trials and tribulations of a young woman trying to find herself.  
The Model: This foreign movie is about a young aspiring model from Denmark who moved to Paris to further her modeling career. While in Paris, she begins a toxic relationship with a well known and respected photographer. This is a movie that seems to be targeted toward teens and young adults. I suggest this movie, especially if you like foreign films because it has a good storyline and it keeps you guessing about what’s going to happen next. Honestly, I have a huge fascination with foreign movies, particularly those based in Europe. I highly suggest this movie if you don’t mind reading subtitles.  
 Can’t Buy Me Love: You have to bear with me on this one because this movie came out in 1987. I know it’s pretty old, but it’s actually really good. It does have cliches of your typical high school movie with jocks, nerds and mean girls. But it also has many good qualities. It’s about a boy who pays his “dream girl” $1,000 to pretend to date him so that his status elevates from “geek to chic.” Before you look the other way when it comes to this movie, I want to tell my Grey’s Anatomy fans that a young Patrick Dempsey, aka Dr. Derek “McDreamy,” is in this movie and he is definitely a sight to see.  
Nancy Drew: I was pleased to see Netflix add one of my favorite movies! Nancy Drew is based off a book series I read in elementary school. Although Netflix says the movie is recommended for 7-year-olds, I beg to differ because I am 16 and enjoyed the movie just as much, if not more, than a 7-year-old. The movie is about a teenage detective. When she and her father move to California for a few months, she decides to solve a very old and famous murder that even the police couldn’t solve. I’m absolutely obsessed with mystery/cop shows and movies.  If you’re a Law and Order or Criminal Minds fan, you will enjoy this film.  
I hope these suggestions help broaden your horizon when it comes to scrolling through Netflix. If you do decide to watch any of these movies or shows, let me know and I would love to hear if you loved or hated them.  
Read more…
AFH Photo // St. Cyere, Tabrina
In American society, African-American girls have been led to believe that straight, fine hair is “exceptional.” This idea plays a significant role in the way many young black girls feel about their hair. They have grown up seeing straight, fine hair in their favorite TV shows and magazines. Not having hair as seen on TV can lead black girls to feel insecure.  
Recently natural hair, often referred to as “nappy hair,” has gained momentum as a movement across the country to help young women embrace their hair. Before pro-natural hair awareness spread, many teenage girls were fighting battles when it came to loving their natural hair. 

“Making the transition from relaxed hair to natural hair wasn't always easy. It was very tempting to use perm on my hair again especially when I saw how easy it was for my other friends to detangle their soft, fine hair. Though my transition was full of ups and down and insecurities, it made me realize how beautiful the diversity of hair is. I've allowed my hair to be a part of my growth as an individual. My hair has made me learn so much about myself in the past year. I'm so glad I made the decision to keep my natural hair.” -- Samantha Roger, 17, junior at Milton Academy 
The “Good Hair Study” conducted by the Perception Institute surveyed over 4,000 participants and found that black women suffer more hair-related anxiety than white women. It also found that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias toward women of color based on their hair. Many women experience this, like how some companies do not allow their employees to wear natural hair or dreadlocks.  
However, the “Good Hair Study” concluded that millennials of all races are more accepting to natural, textured hair.  

“Growing up, being the only African-American girl in an all Irish-American household, my mother and grandmother had a hard time taking care of my hair because it is completely different from their hair. One day when I was six, my mother booked an appointment for me at a local hair salon. Due to the fact that I was so young and not aware of what was going on, I left the salon that day very confused with the result of my hair. It was now bone straight and very thin. This was the day I transitioned from a full head of natural hair to thin and fine relaxed hair. This event was the reason for the breakage and dryness of my hair. Now that I am older I am able to make my own decision of going natural.” -- Jayda Brown, 15, Dorchester 
In 2014, the Boston Globe reported that sales of hair relaxer dropped from $206 million in 2008 to $152 million in 2013. The demand for a wider selection of natural hair products has also been on the rise.  
While mainstream media and pop culture still show a preference toward straight hair, black women with natural hair have slowly been making their way onto television shows. Actresses Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi and Marsai Martin have frequently appeared on their hit show Black-ish embracing their natural hair.  
Read more…
It was my last day in Jordan. I spent my time saying goodbye to friends and playing around. “You're going to America?” my friend questioned with sarcasm, so I ignored him. 
As night came, our house was empty. All of our belongings were packed into six suitcases by the door, two backpacks on top. 
 On the bus to the airport, I could hear my mom sob and couldn't tell if it was from satisfaction or sorrow. I could see the tremendous smile on my father’s face though. He was so happy we were leaving Jordan to go to America. 
After flying over the Atlantic Ocean for hours, we landed in a place everyone called heaven back home: The United States of America. I quickly realized why; it was a hundred times better looking than my country, with clean, even streets and amazing views. It was a beautiful day and the smell was something I’d never known. I looked at my mother and had never seen her this relieved. I could see my father happily standing with my brother, both smiling. 
We moved into our house in Boston. “They're lying right? All this for us?” my mother wondered. She was as happy as a person who just won the jackpot. It felt as big as a football field to us. My mother sounded like she wanted to break into tears. 
“Life just got better,” I thought to myself. 
Now, it was 2012. When we got a TV, my sister and I spent hours watching cartoons. I began to see the words “Muslims” and “terrorists” together a lot. I was nervous. My dad's friend came over and told us that Americans were saying that Muslims are terrorists and are being blamed for a ‘Twin Tower attack.’ This was the first I’d heard of it and didn't know what it was, but it seemed tragic. 
Fast forward two years. My mom was sitting by the TV one day.  
“MOHAMMED!” she yelled. I thought something had happened to her. 
“What does it say?” she asked. 
“ISIS is taking hostages and bombing European countries,” I said, shaking. 
“Oh God,” my mom replied, scared. We spent the whole day by the TV watching the world burn and Muslims being blamed for it. At that moment, I thought of what my grandma had said before we left Jordan: “Be careful, stay out of trouble.” 
It was 2016. After four years in America, we’d seen ISIS cause more problems and got used to being blamed. We worried about hate crimes, but knew there were organizations that supported Muslims in America that we could seek help from. 
During election time,  Donald Trump talked about ISIS and deporting immigrants. Even though we were legal immigrants, we were scared. The fear of four years ago came back. Trump was actively encouraging hate against Muslims. 
Was he mad because of ISIS? Was he anti-Muslim? Are we going to be victims of hate crimes? 
When he was elected president on November 8, 2016, I was in disbelief. Was this really the country that we wanted to come to so badly? Was this really the country that my mom cried out of happiness to come to? We all felt depressed, we all felt fear in our hearts. That night, even the good food, maqluba, which my mom had made tasted horrible. 
“Back to Jordan?” My dad asked sarcastically. 
“The embarrassment,” my mom replied. 
 Even though we had food on the table, she was staring down at the floor, as if the world was too heavy for her shoulders. 
At this moment, I knew I had no choice but to stay out of trouble to survive. I remember saying, “this is heaven,” when we got to America but looking back now, it's not. It's a place where small minded, uneducated and racist people live. In order to make my mom happy and proud, I should never get in trouble. 
It is 2017. We are more scared now than ever. 
“God will be on our side,” my mom told me. To this day, we are afraid. We have an untold future ahead of us. 
Read more…
When people hear the United States of America, they usually think about freedom. However, I feel like “freedom” in the U.S. is overstated. Americans may have more rights than people in other countries, but do we really have as much as some say? 
I thought America symbolized a country of rights, freedom and opportunities. I thought America was a country like no other; a powerful country, full of wonderful people who came from many different countries around the world. I thought of myself as an American even though last year, when I first arrived, I didn’t even know how to ask, “how are you?”  
Something happened to make me change my thinking about America. It was last year at JFK airport in New York, the first time I stepped foot on U.S. territory. I felt very joyous because I thought I was free! My uncle picked me up from the airport since I came by myself because my father could not come with me.  
Before we got out of the airport, I saw something that wasn't fair: a man tried to pull off the hijab of a Muslim woman in front of me. I stood there in shock. He was yelling at her like she was inferior, “Pull off that thing, you are free here, in a free country, so why keep covering yourself?” 
He kept talking, “If you want to do that go back to your f>>king country!” The woman started to cry. She was terrorized and responded with more tears. Crying, she exclaimed, “Leave me alone! I’ve done nothing to you!”  
After I observed this horrible scene, I was completely devastated because this man attacked an innocent woman. Never shall I forget the face of this woman, never shall I forget the fact that I saw an injustice and did nothing.  
My uncle, who was with me while that horrific situation happened, didn’t feel good either. He told me, “Abou, you thought everything was positive in the United States, right? I have spent eight years in this country and see those situations every day!” This surprised me.  
He continued, “Anyway, now you can see with your own eyes! This is a part of the reality of the United States.” When he was done talking I just shook my head. Can you imagine the feeling of seeing an injustice in front of you, and you did nothing? It's painful, it makes your heart cold, in fear of yourself.   
Even though America has a lot of faults, it can positively impact the life of many people, as it did my own. Without America, I could not have learned English, learned to be be more mature, or met new people like my ESL teacher, Miss Assiraj, who always pushes me forward.  
America has really impacted my education and my life in a good way. There is so much I can accomplish today. I talk without stress or fear. I can make a speech in public.  
Now that I’m a part of the United States, my responsibility is to stand up against injustice.  
Read more…