I Will Be...?!

Ayaka Kimura
Aizuwakamatsu Dai-yon Middle School

I Will Be...?!

Wakamatsu 4th J.H.S. Ayaka Kimura

Good morning, how are you today?I am Ayaka Kimura. I will be your interpreter today. How do you like Japan? Oh! You ate shabu-shabu? Good!

...Excuse me? "What do I think about women's issues in Japan???"

Women's issues in Japan? I've never thought about it! I don't know what to say...What shall I do?

Becoming an interpreter. This is my only dream. Last year I gave a speech about my dream at the speech contest in my city. But, at that time I didn't know anything about being an interpreter. I just wanted to be one someday.

This May I came to Tokyo on a school excursion and visited a company where some interpreters were working.

That morning in Tokyo, I was so happy. I got on the train and looked for the company all by myself because I was the only student who wanted to visit an interpreting company.

Eventually, I reached the company. The building and the people looked wonderful. One of the employees took me on a tour around their offices. I was really happy. She talked about interpreting. I listened carefully, and I was thrown into confusion. I have been studying English so hard, but her advice was...

"It's not surprising that you're studying English, but you should be studying Japanese."

"You must learn about Japanese culture."

"You have to be able to express what you think."

As I listened to her, I became frightened, little by little. She continued,

"Many of the foreign women often want to hear about women's issues in Japan. How are you going to answer them?"

I couldn't answer her because I've never thought about it. How about you? She started talking again, "There are many students studying foreign languages who want to be interpreters, but only two or three out of fifty can become one every year. It's very difficult to become an interpreter these days."

When I got back from Tokyo, I had second thoughts about my dream. At first, I thought I couldn't become an interpreter and would have to give up my dream. But I found that I wanted to be nothing but an interpreter. I will not give up. I want to be strong enough to meet this challenge successfully. I want to be a bridge between Japan and other countries. I want to say, "I was born to be an interpreter for the world!"

Soon I found that I was too optimistic. I know that things in life don't always turn out as you'd like, but I still want to become an interpreter .... with all my heart.

In Tokyo I was taught how to become an interpreter.The knowledge I got there was very important, and it gave me an opportunity to think about myself and my future.I think this opportunity was more important than the knowledge itself.

Now I've got a new and better understanding of myself. I still like to study English very much. But I've started thinking about the women's issues in Japan. I will study many things for my future. I wonder if I can really become an interpreter one day. I've made up my mind to keep on doing my best. I will always run into difficulties like I did at the interpreting company. But, I will meet each and every challenge they pose, because I was born to be an interpreter.

(3-23 Speech in 55th Contest, 2003)

(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun

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