Student Group - Excellent Work (Japan)
“Thank you, Radio”
A third-year student of Hyogo Prefectural Special Needs Education School (High School Section)
I am a totally blind person and have been blind from birth. Even so, I enjoy my life every day Members of my family are tender, and I have good friends. So, I live just like other high school students who apply themselves to club activities. Nevertheless, I have often experienced moments at which I felt truly sad about my blindness. But at such moments, I have been helped by a thing to which I can express my sadness, and which consoles me. It is my radio.
I acquired my habit of listening to radio in my nursery school days. In those days, I, as a child, saw the radio just as something which amused me and killed my time. After I entered my junior high school, I changed my way of associating with my radio. In the second summer at the school, I sent my message to a radio program for the first time. I did so after much hesitation. Though a radio lover, I had had a great reservation about sending my message to unknown people. The contents of my first message was a self-introduction and a commonplace event I had experienced at my school. I couldn’t believe my ears when, some time after sending the message, I heard my radio name on radio. Then, my message was read aloud, and people spoke various things about it and seemed to enjoy themselves. I was overjoyed and nearly jumped up, and at the same time, I felt some embarrassment. After that, my message was read aloud on radio again and again, and on these occasions, I felt a strange relationship between me and people whose faces and names were unknown to me. This is a kind of human relationship which is very subtle and nearly nonexistent, but nevertheless is warm and tender.
But I couldn’t write about my anguish resulting from my blindness in my messages. This was partly because I didn’t want to bring something negative into the radio program. But the main reason was because I dreaded to confess my handicap. I felt that my confession would make me appear to be someone different from others, and incite people to see me from a discriminatory viewpoint. That was the most dreadful thing for me who hated to be looked at as a handicapped. Even so, the vague anxiety about my blindness which I occasionally felt was too deep for me not to express it, and I decided to write about my irritation and regret concerning my blindness in my message. This time, I dared to include my cell phone number in it, and after much hesitation, I pressed the transmission button one minute before the deadline.
The day when the program was to be aired happened to be a Christmas Eve. About two hours before the program began, a staffer called me. They asked me some questions about my handicap, and then cut off. After that, I was possessed by tension and regret until the program started. I thought, “Why did I ask the radio to counsel me on matters about which I never talked even with my friend or teacher? My message will be aired on radio, which means strangers will hear it. Despite that, for what do I seek counsel, knowing that the answers I’ll get will be commonplace, like ‘I think your situation is difficult, but do your best.’?”
Some time after the program started, I got a call again. I broke out in sweat even though the season was the dead of winter. I shuddered though my whole body was hot.
“Well, I’m now connected with a teen listener. Hello! Would you tell me your radio name?” the fond voice of the personality sounded. My tension eased a little, and I felt that I could now start talking. I said to myself, “It’s yourself who applied for the program. And you are the lucky one who was chosen from among other teens who sought counsel on their problems,” and opened my mouth. “Hello, I’m Super Sarumatsu.” I tried to strike a tone as cheerful as possible, and I found it easier than I’d thought to find words. I talked about my home, my school and my handicap, though I was sometimes at a loss for words. Then, the personality said: “I, Yuta Kozuma, can see things. This fact now makes me very eager to talk on radio about what Sarumatsu can’t see. Sarumatsu, though you can’t see things with your eyes, you must be clearly seeing, in different ways, what others can’t see. I’ll tell in words about what you don’t see. So, in return, would you tell about various things to me? We probably can teach each other. This exchange isn’t unilateral. There are many things I lack, a lot of things in which I’m poor.” Though this exchange was by phone, I felt that his voice became nasal gradually, which made me believe at once that his words were true. “You have some things that you can’t see, and I also have some that I can’t see. Please tell me about these things,” these words, which were totally different from what I‘d expected, moved me deeply. After that, many listeners sent me e-mails, and I felt very relieved to find that they didn’t reflect any discriminatory viewpoint.
Every time I switch my radio on, it enlivens and heals me. The radio taught me how delightful and wonderful it was to communicate with people. I will keep living with my radio that has become the safe refuge for me, a handicapped. Maybe I am lucky to be handicapped, for I’ve noticed many things that others don’t notice. Thank you, radio! Please get along with me forever!