Sleeping With Snoring and Kicking
Kyushu Gakuin Middle School
Again, it started! I was awoken from my sleep by my father's snoring. I covered my ears with my hands and tried to go back to my sleep. Then something fell on my face! "Ouch!" It was my sister's leg. Then came the other one on my stomach. "Stop it!" I looked at my sister, but she was sound asleep. It was not a special night. I have spent my nights like this for over ten years.
I live in a very small apartment house with my parents and my younger sister. We share two tatami rooms for dining, relaxing and sleeping. Of course I don't have my own space. I have wanted my own room for many years.
One day at school, one of my friends said, "I don't like my parents. Especially my father. I'm lucky. I haven't seen him for three days." "Is your father away from home on business or something?" I asked. "No, he's been home as usual." "Then how can you not see him?" "I eat dinner before he comes home and just stay in my room." I was surprised. It is impossible for me to do that because I have no place to escape to.
Recently we have heard a lot of sad news about family relationships. Some people have even killed their own family members. I think the family ties in Japan are getting weaker and weaker. I'm not sure why, but maybe it has something to do with the changing living style in modern society. Japanese families used to live very close to each other. They didn't have private spaces. They only had paper partitions called fusuma to separate the space. Today more and more children have their own rooms.
There are some good points about having a private space for children. First, children can sleep well without being woken up by snoring and kicking. Second, we can focus on studying. Third, children can read comic books and pretend to be studying hard.
However, there are also some bad points about it. First, if children stay in their room too much, it can reduce time spent together as a family. I was surprised to know that about half of my friends have their own TV in their room. At my house, my family watches TV together. I sometimes watch Mito Komon, which is my father's favorite, and my father watches Haneruno Tobira, which is my favorite. Second, children don't learn how to have strong human relationships with those around them. When children have a quarrel with their parents, they go into their room and refuse to fix the problem. When I have a quarrel with my parents, we talk about it until we find a solution. We live so close to each other that we have to get along and respect each other.
Now I don't think I want to have my own room as much as before. I only hope that my sister kicks my father when he is snoring so that we can all sleep better.
(2-31 Speech in 58th Contest, 2006)
(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun
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