Tear Off the Wall Paper

Obanazawa Middle School

There are nine members in my family; my mother, father, two older sisters, two older brothers, two younger sisters, and me. In todayfs Japanese society, I think my family is a little weird in some ways. It's not because of my family structure. It's because of my family rules. Today, Ifll tell you about some of them.

My family has a rule about our daily schedule. We have to get up before 6:30 in the morning and do radio exercises, called 'rajio taiso.' Almost all Japanese people know and do this, but most of them do it only during summer vacation, as you did when you were an elementary school student. Other people may do these exercises at their place of work, or at school. But do you do it at home in the morning every day? I wonder at times if I am the only girl at my age that does 'rajio taiso' everyday. I believe I have done it more times than any other fifteen year-old girl in Japan. My family schedule ends before 9 o'clock in the evenings. That means we must go to bed by 9 o'clock! I'm only fifteen years old, isn't it too early for me to go to bed? My friends are allowed to stay up later. In addition to this, we mustn't use media devices such as TV, radios, computers, and so on, after 8 o'clock. When we really want to use one after 8 o'clock, we have to pay 100 yen, as you do at economy hotels. Last year, our TV broke. I wanted a new one, but my parents would not buy a new one. So there are no TVs at my house and I have not watched TV since then. That is weird, right?

Now that you know what I cannot do at home and my daily schedule, I'll tell you what I can do at home, maybe this wonft be allowed at yours. We are allowed to tear off the wall paper of our house and scribble on the walls freely. Maybe you have been prohibited from scribbling on your wall at home or you have never wanted to scribble on the walls of your houses. But I have been encouraged to do this. This is not because my house has become old; I have been permitted since our house was built. So my walls are covered with scribbling. I have used the walls like my personal notebook and blackboard. I have drawn many things, for example, pictures, what I learned at school, my favorite song lyrics, and so on. I have even scribbled some bad words to my parents. When I have used up the space, I can always tear off another section of the wall paper and make new space.

I had got used to doing this and felt nothing about it before I talked about my family with my homeroom teacher. When my homeroom teacher visited my house this spring, he looked around the walls, and said, he could feel the history of my family and the big attention and love of my parents for their children.

My parents both work at the hospital; my father is a doctor and my mother helps him. Now I understand why they made the rules. They made them for our growth.

When I look around the walls, I remember many things. And I can find the words that my elder sisters and brothers wrote on the wall. Some of them are about their dreams for the future. They have rewritten their dreams many times, but all my sisters and brothers are trying to be medical professionals like our parents. We respect our parents.

I want to be a doctor, too. Today I will tear off another piece of the wall paper and will write these words myself, "I'll make my dream come true"

(2-7 Speech in 66th Contest, 2014)

(C)JNSA FUND/the Yomiuri Shimbun

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