Supporting Group - Excellent Work (Japan)
I Want to Become a Chestnut
6th Year, Nihonmatsu Municipal Nihonmatsu Minami Elementary School, Fukushima Prefecture
Ayano Watanabe(11 years oldˇfemale)

The weather was very fine on the morning of that day. The day was a Saturday. It was calm and warm, so much so that if you’d sat up till late at night, you would have felt sleepy. A man and his daughter were preparing themselves for outing. They were about to go to a library. It was small, and named “the Chestnut Library.” It was only a short walk from the house of the parent and child to there. Though the eyesight of the father was poor, he made it a rule to walk from the house to the library.  The daughter carried books she’d borrowed last time she’d visited the library. The father carried a bag containing a folded white cane. Of course the daughter guided her father. After a short walk, they arrived at the library. The daughter returned her books, and chose and took out books to read from now. Then, she, together with her father, went to a space with seats on the second floor, designed for reading and study. The father had already taken out his books while his daughter had been returning her books. The daughter began to read one of her new books. Usually, her father couldn’t read his because of his poor eyesight. But this time - what a wonder! - he opened the cover of a book without any trouble. Then, a small chestnut tree grew out of the book, and bore large chestnuts. They gave out soft lights, and looked very delicious. The father put some chestnuts into his mouth, and shut his eyes. Then, letters popped up in his mind. When chestnuts were eaten, they caused some letters to appear in his mind. He saw, with his inner eyes, such letters as “Once upon a time ...” “I ...” and “He ..." But the capacity of each chestnut to show letters was limited. It varied from book to book. It was like the capacity was 200 pages for one book, and 50 pages for another. So, he became nearly full after eating many chestnuts. Maybe because of that, he was now reading his book less speedily. What was more, a chime sounded to inform users that the library would soon be closed. But the father was now reading the climax, even though his daughter had already finished procedures to borrow her books.  Only about five pages remained, but there was no time left. All the daughter could do was to eat remaining chestnuts hastily, and go out of the library with her father.
On their way home, no tale unfolded in the mind of the father. He thought it strange. Suddenly, the daughter said, “That’s a good tale, dad!” She was gazing at him, and seemed to be moved.  Surprised, he howled, “Oh, oh!” Then, he felt like bursting into laughter. It seemed that now both of them knew what had happened. On their way home, they talked about the fantastic end of the tale. Their long shadows were seen on the road.
This is the tale of me and my father.

Actually, this is the description of a dream my father had. It isn’t far removed from everyday life. In the dream, chestnuts act like machines that read out books. The tale is based on the poor eyesight of my father. I have often thought, “It would be better if dad were a normal person.” For example, I see no friend of mine join hands with his or her father. But I do that customarily. Also, on a field day, I can’t team with my father in a competition fought by parent-child teams. But on such occasions, I rethink in a more positive way. As for the first case, I say to myself, “I needn’t be ashamed when I join hands with dad, because his eyesight is poor.” As for the second case, I was once forced to team with my mother in such a competition. But we finished second, as the fact that my mother was taller than me by only five centimeters gave us an advantage. I have come to think that my parents and I are far closer to each other than members of any other family. I think the relationship between me and my parents has become stronger by supporting each other. In my case, I am supported most of the time. But from now on, I will do more to help my parents.
Actually, other than my father, I have some more handicapped relatives. So, I am accustomed to being with handicapped persons in my daily life. For that reason, I feel quite at home when I visit a school for the blind. I hope to do volunteer work when I have grown up, by taking advantage of this. At least, I want people not to refuse the entrance of handicapped persons into their store, as I recently saw on TV. I hope to become an existence resembling the “chestnut” in the tale, to help handicapped persons as far as I can. I think it will be good if people throughout the world get far kinder than now, and if everyone is ready to help handicapped persons.

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