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まねび学園は、伊丹市でSSTメソッドを使って、子供に英語・英会話を教えています。まねびSSTクラブは、SSTの本部です。

英語音読・暗唱・スピーチ・落語指導

伊丹市中学英語暗唱スピーチ大会で14年連続上位入賞

まねび学園の中学生が、伊丹市・尼崎市中学英語暗唱・スピーチコンテストで、14年連続上位入賞を果たしています。

 

スピーチ大会入賞者(スピ―チ台本掲載中)

  

兵庫県高校スピーチ大会 2位 (2008.6.7)

具志堅理奈さん 市立伊丹高校1年(北中卒)

"Entering Handicapped World"

         downwardright


YouTube: 【まねび学園】 英語スピーチ・コンテスト第2位 〔2004.1.24〕

  

第66回高円宮杯全日本中学英語弁論大会 

大阪府大会2位 (2014.12.13)荒木愛琳さん 金蘭会中3年(伊小卒)

"My Dream Will Surely Come True"

                            downwardright

教師セミナーで披露
YouTube: 【まねび学園】 2015年 荒木愛琳  2015-2-8

H261037_2

 

伊丹市中学校英語暗唱大会 1位 (2008.6.7)曽根大智くん(西中2年)

"Zorba's Three Promises"

                     downwardright


YouTube: 【まねび学園】 英語暗唱大会 第1位 〔2008.6.7〕

     

  

第25回伊丹市中学校英語暗唱大会 1位(2012.9.8)荒巻里奈さん(東中2年)

"A Pot of Poison"

        downwardright             


YouTube: 【まねび学園】 第25回 伊丹市中学校英語暗唱スピーチ大会 1位

  

  

第27回伊丹市中学校英語スピーチ大会 2位(2014.9.6)

山下璃音さん(北中3年)

  

 "Entering Our Aging Society"

        downwardright


YouTube: 第27回伊丹市中学校英語暗唱・スピーチ大会2位

 

   

 

 

 伊丹市・尼崎市中学英語暗唱・スピーチ大会入賞者

年・月・日 コンテスト名 入賞 氏名 学校年 タイトル
2001.6.2 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 具志堅里奈 北中2 The Little Prince
2001.11.13 尼崎市【暗唱】 金賞 竹中葉月 園田中2 A    Letter from Santa Claus
2002.6.8 伊丹市スピーチ 1位 具志堅里奈 北中3 Chura-san in My Mind
2003.6.14 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 岩本弘平 南中2 The Little Prince
2003.11.20 尼崎市スピーチ 3位 竹中葉月 園田中3 Good Morning Campaign
2004.6.5 伊丹市スピーチ 1位 岩本弘平 南中2 My Big Dream
伊丹市【暗唱】 3位 曽根千智 西中1 My Dream
2005.6.4 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 曽根千智 西中2 Fly Away Home
   〃 3位 安達修平 北中2 I have a Dream
2006.6.3 伊丹市スピーチ 1位 中野真弥 西中3 Mottainai"
   〃 3位 曽根千智 西中3 Living in the    Spirit of Tsukemono
   〃 3位 荒巻綾弓 東中3 Small Hands but Big Ambition
2007.6.2 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 石原昌太 北中2 I Hate Manju
   〃 2位 福島大和 西中2 I have a Dream
伊丹市スピーチ 3位 佐々木聖 西中3 My New Dream
2008.6.7 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 曽根大智 西中2 Zorba's Three Promises
   〃 2位 福元太一 天中2 A pot of Poison
2009.11.7 尼崎市スピーチ 1位 竹中万莉菜 園田中3 Is There Rotten Food in your Fridge?
2009.9.5 伊丹市スピーチ 2位 曽根大智 西中3 Cultural Exchange through Laughter
伊丹市【暗唱】 2位 小瀧健之介 北中2 A pot of Poison
2010.9.4 伊丹市【暗唱】 1位 中野裕衣 西中2 Tokyo Speech:Obama's "Pacific" Policy
2011.9.19 伊丹市スピーチ 2位   荒巻文絵  東中3 My Father Still Lives in My Heart
   〃    〃 3位 松元萌絵 東中3 Torai-yaru Week Made me Think
2012.9.8
   〃 
伊丹市【暗唱】
伊丹市スピーチ
1位
3位
荒巻里奈
山下佳琳
東中2
北中3
A Pot of Poison
Bento : An Eco Friendly Way of Eating                                                       
 2013.9.7  伊丹市スピーチ 2位 増原宏樹 北中3  Celebrate the Differences
 2014.9.6 伊丹市スピーチ 2位 山下璃音 北中3 Entering Our Aging Society

ちびっ子たちの英語落語

 

  

まねび学園生

   

■■

  

●演目:Ice cream(アイスクリーム)

●日時:2015.11.1(日)

●会場:塾全協西日本ブロック主催;「全国大会 in 神戸」

●演者:くらや亭りん音(宝塚小3年・蔵屋凛さん) 

Dsc02353

  

 
YouTube: 【まねび学園】 蔵屋亭りん音(2015-11/1)

 

●演目:Time Noodle(時うどん)

●日時:2012.12.2(日)、

●会場:JAPEC(日本児童英語振興協会)主催;「こども英語フェスタ」

●演者:なん笑亭ゆづき (南小3年・板羽佑月君)

  

P1010014_2

 
YouTube: 【まねび学園】 南小亭 ゆずき  (2012.12.2)

 

●演目:Monkey(お猿さん)

●日時:2012.12.2(日)、

●会場:JAPEC(日本児童英語振興協会)主催;「こども英語フェスタ」

●演者:いな笑亭みのり(稲野小3年・高橋実里)

 

P1010002

 
YouTube: 【まねび学園】 稲小亭 みのり (2012.12.2)

P1010032

   

こども落語全国大会中高部で最優秀賞!

こども落語大会英語で演じて最優秀賞 

小4から「まねび学園」で英語落語を習い始め、

heart伊丹小6年:「第3回ひむかの国こども落語全国大会(2011.7.31)」で「The White Lion」を演じて優秀賞

heart金蘭会中学2年:「第5回大会(2013.7.27)」で「I Hate Pizza」を演じて審査員特別賞

heart同中3年:「第6回大会(2014.7.27)」で「Reborn(元犬)」を演じて最優秀賞

heart梅花学園高校1年:第7回大会(2015.7.25)」で「JUGEMU(寿限無)」を演じて審査員特別賞を受賞。その他「松竹芸能賞」など優勝歴多数。

  

●演目:Zoo(動物園)
●日時:2014.7.27
●会場:第3回ひむかの国こども落語全国大会
●演者:ぷりん亭芽りん (伊丹小3年・荒木愛琳)


  

  

P1010075_2


YouTube: 第3回ひむかの国こども落語全国大会

英語落語台本「The White Lion」「I Hate Pizza」掲載中

  

Dsc00544_5学園  downwardleft

Dsc00249_3

英語落語「ピクチャートークショー」 ★ Dialog(対話) 中村もみじ(中村葉子)

  故山本正昭先生と故桂枝雀さんが始められた英語落語をHOE英語落語道場(大阪市)で学びました。


英語落語「ピクチャートークショー」 ★ Scene(場面)


英語落語の台本

apple The White Lion(A=Araki O=Osada M=mother B=boy)

A: I got a job interview.
  I'm going to go to the ABC company today.
  Where is ABC? 
  Oh, this must be ABC.
  Animal-Bird-Center?!

A: Hello, my name is Araki.
  I am looking for a job.
  This is a letter of introduction for you.
O: Please show me.
  Oh! I am happy to see you.
  Thank you for coming.
  I am Osada, the manager of A.B.C.. 
  Please have a seat. 
A: Mr. Osada, what is the job?
O: Well, last week our most popular tiger died.
  Many children came to see this tiger. 
  So I want you to be the new tiger.
A: What did you say? 
O: I want you to be the new tiger.
A: A new tiger?!  But how?
O: You just wear this tiger suit, KIGURUMI.
A: I'm sorry. That is too hard for me. 
O: No, no, it's not hard.
  You just walk around in the cage.
  It's very easy.
A: But I'm slow in the morning.
O:  Don't worry.  A.B.C. opens at 10 o'clock.
A: But I can't talk with people. 
O: What? If a tiger talks, it strange.
A: What does it pay?
O: We pay 10,000 yen a day.
A: 10,000, yen, a day.
  O.K. O.K. I'll do it.  I'll do it.
O: Thank you, thank you.
  It will be 10 o'clock soon. Hurry up.
  Please put on this tiger suit.

A: Here's the zipper. Zzzz... Oh, tiger head. this is quit fashionable.
O: Oh, you look like a real tiger.
  Let's go to the tiger's cage.
  This is your cage. Please get in.

 Gacha-Gacha-GACHAN!Gacha-Gacha-GACHAN!

A: Uh? Uh---?
  Why did you lock the door?
O: This looks more real.
A: Uh? Uh-  O.K. I understand.
  My job is to walk around the cage.
 (walking)It's very easy.
O: Wait, wait. Don't stand on two legs.
  You have to walk on all fours!
A: O.K. Like this? 
O: No,no! --- I'll show you how to walk.
  See. Like this. One, two, kyu. One, two, kyu.  O.K.?
A: Wonderful! You are a genius.
  Is your father a tiger?
O: No! Please try.
A: One, two, kyu. One, two, kyu. One, two, kyu. One, two, kyu.
O: O.K. O.K. Very good.
  I have to go now. Good luck!
A: Thank you, Mr. Osada.
 (♬ キーン コーン カーン コーン)
  Oh? That's the opening music.  
  Ah, many children are coming to this tiger cage.
  I see.
  The manager said this tiger is very popular among the children. Uhuhh?
B: Mommy, mommy. This tiger is very big, very big. 
M: Yes. It's very big.
B:  Let's throw a stone.
A: No way.  Uhu----Bow, wow.
B:  Mommy! He said bow wow.
M: Don't be silly. Tiger don't say bow wow.
A:  Uhh, that boy is eating hot dog. 
  Hey boy, give me your hot dog.
  Give me your ice cream.
B:  Mommy , this tiger wants my hot dog?
M: Don't be stupid. Tigers never eat hot dogs.
B:  But I'm sure he said --- Okay, I'll give it. --- Here. 
A:  Thank you. Oh, it's hard to eat.
B: Mommy! --- He is eating my hot dog.
 (♬ キーン コーン カーン コーン)
A: Oh, what's that announcement? 
G: May I have your attention please?
  May I have your attention please?
  Please get together in front of the tiger cage. 
  Our wonderful show will soon start.
A: Show? What's going on?
  I didn't hear anything about this.
 (♬ パンパカパーン パンパンパン パンパカパーン)
G: Ladies & gentlemen, thank you for coming.
  From now we have a special event.
  In this cage is the hero of the jungle, the tiger and in the next cage is     the king of beasts, a white lion.
  There's a door between the tiger and a lion.
  When the door opens, the lion comes to the tiger's cage.
  You see a big fight between the tiger and the lion.
  Which will die and which will alive?
  Have an exciting time. Here we go!   
A: Oh, my God!
  Nobody told me about this.
  This is serious.
  The door is opening, Oh, the door is open.
  Oh, no! The lion is coming.
  Don't come, go away, go away.
A: (Aha-----!!) Don't come. Go away. Go away.
  What can I do? What can I do?---
  Meow, meow. --- Moo, moo. --- Oink, oink. --- Bow- wow, bow-wow.
  Cocca-doodle-do.
  Mr. Osada!-I'll be killed. Help me-----!!
O : Don't worry.  It's me, the manager, Osada.

  

appleI Hate Pizza(ピザ怖い)

  

 Hello. My name is Purin-tei Merin. Not melon, Merin.
As you know laughter brings happiness and is good for you.
So I hope you all laugh a lot today.
I'll do my best, so please do your best to stay awake.  
 Today, I'm going to perform the rakugo play "I hate pizza."
In this story, I talk about differences among people. Everybody is different.  Everyone has different likes and dislikes. One day five young men were talking about things they liked and disliked.


Bob   :I like sushi. Especially octopus eels and squid legs.....
              Andy, what do you like?
Andy :Me?.
Bob    :Yes. What do you like?
Andy :I like coffee. I drink ten cups of coffee a day.
Bob    :I see. Danny, how about you?  What do you like?
Danny:I like Sunday. Beautiful Sunday. Ha ,ha, ha.. beautiful Sunday.
Bob    :Oh, I see. You don't have to work on Sunday.
               Tom, what do you like?
Tom   :I like ice cream. Haagen-Daazs supper premium ice cream.
Bob    :Michael, how about you?
Mike  :I like myself. I love my beautiful face, sexy body and smart
               brain.
Bob    :Ha, ha, ha .... No kidding. You were handsome, but not now.
              You were sexy, but not now. You were smart, but not now.
              OK. Everybody has his own taste. We are all different.
              Next, Andy, what do you hate?
Andy :Me? I hate long, wet and slippery things. For example,snakes and eels.
               And spaghetti, udon, soba.
Bob   :Tom, what do you hate?
Danny:I hate cockroaches. They are dirty, grotesque.
Bob    :You have many many cockroaches in your house.
               Danny, how about you?  What do you hate?
Tom   :I hate Monday. I am sleepy on Monday morning.
Bob    :Ah... You don't want to start studying or working. 
               Michael, how about you?  What do you hate?
Mike   :Me?  Pass.
Bob     :What?  What did you say?
Mike   :I pass.
Bob     :You pass?  Michael, you can't pass. Tell us, we are all good friends here.
                Tell us what you hate?
Mike   :I hate, I hate, I hate pi-pi-pi, pizza......
Bob      :Huh? You hate pizza?  Everybody likes pizza.  But you hate  pizza?                   Why?
Mike   :Gross looking. Disgusting smell. It makes my skin crawl.
               Please don't say that word.  I feel sick. I feel sick. Ah........
Bob    :You mean you feel sick when I say the word "pizza"?  pizza, pizza, 

               pizza... Hey, Michael hates pizza.  Ha,ha,ha...♪....
Danny:Michael hates pizza.♪....pi-pi-pi, pizza......
Mike   :Stop, stop!  I have to go  home.  Good-bye.
Bob    :Michael!  Come back! I'm kidding. Michael! Pizza!
               He really hates pizza. Did you hear that?  Ha, ha, ha....
Andy  :Yes. I didn't know that.
Danny:I didn't either.
Bob    :I 've got  a good idea.
Andy  :What is it?
Danny:What idea?
Bob       : Well, listen. Come closer. You know, Michael is always
                playing tricks, joking with us. So this time let's play a joke on him.
               Now we know Michael hates pizza, right?  So why don't we buy a lot of

                pizza and give it all to Michael?
Andy :That's a good idea.
Danny:No, that's a great idea.
Bob    :OK. OK. I'll go get tons of piazza. But I need some money.
               Everybody has got to pay. Andy, thank you. Danny, thank you.                              Tom, Um?  Hey, Tom. Come back. Don't be cheap.
                Give me more. Good. Thank you. Al right. I' ll go now.

Bob     :Hey, everybody. I'm carrying the pizza. Help me.
Tom     :Wow!  so much pizza!   How many did you get?
Bob      :About 100.
Tom     :100 pizzas! Why? We'll kill him with 100 pizzas!
Bob     :Don't worry. We won't kill him.
Tom     :But if we kill him, tomorrow's newspaper will say "Man killed
                 by Hawaiian Delight. Pineapple Pizza".  We'll be famous!
Bob     :Don't worry. We won't kill him. He will just say "Help!  Help!
                That's all. Hey, everybody, now it's getting dark.
                The moon is coming up. Let's go to Michael's house!
               Oh, no. Many dogs are following us. Get off. Go away.
               Bow, wow. "Michael hates pizza, pizza, pizza, Hallelujah."
Bob     :Here we are. This is Michael's house. Calm down. Relax.
                Now I'll go look in the window to see what he is doing.
                Wait here. Perfect! Perfect! Michael is home alone watching TV.
                So I will count to three. On three, I 'll open the door and everyone,
                throw the pizza in at Michael. OK?
All       :OK, OK. OK.
Bob     :Ready? One, two, Hey, Tom! Don' eat the pizza!
              One, two, three!  Hey, Michael! Fire! ☆ ☆ ☆     OK. Hide!
Danny:Did you see Michael's face? Oh. Shock!
        * * * * *
Bob     :Strange. Michael said nothing. We want him to say "Help!                 Help! Help! But it's strange. There are no screams.  

Michael: Ouch! Oh! Oh,  Pizza attack! Pizza, pizza pizza...everywhere!
                Oh, they threw me tons of pizza. huhh... If I told them I hate pizzas,

                 I thought they would do something like this. Look at  all these. 

    My friends are so stupid. This is what I expected.
                Oh, Ham and Pineapple, Hawaiian Delight!! Huh,
                mmm.... delicious!..... .mmm...busy, busy.. Cheese and more cheese!      mm..... Great!  That tastes so good. Oh, my favorite spicy Curry!
                It's the best. Oh, hot, hot. hot.... Hum, ...mmm... Delicious,
                wonderful, marvelous. Incredible! Fantastic!
Bob    :Strange.
               I don't hear anything. Do you hear anything?
               I don't hear Michael screaming "Help! Help! Help!".
               I don't hear Michael(vomit sound).
Tom    :Ah..... Maybe we killed him. I'm afraid he is dead.
                I'll go and check.
                Hey, Michael is eating the pizza.
                He likes pizza! He tricked us. Come on!
Bob     :What?  Michael, you lied to us. You shouldn't lie to your friends.
                You don't hate pizza, you love pizza.  
                What do you really hate?
Mike   :Well. I hate Coca-Cola.

   

英語スピーチの台本(まねび学園の教師が協力して生徒が作った苦心の内容)

appleCelebrate the Differences

  

  I have an aunt in America. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and their daughter Maya. Three years ago, when I was 12, in the 6th grade, I visited her house with my mother.  Maya was 8 years old then. In those days I had never studied English at all, so I got nervous at customs. My mother and I couldn't understand what the official said. But an Asian-American man helped us using gestures.  Many Americans smiled at me in the airport, although I was a stranger to them. I thought Americans are very friendly.
  My aunt came to the airport to meet us. On the way to her house, we stopped off at a restaurant to have lunch. My aunt ordered a ham sandwich and soup for me. I slurped the soup loudly. My aunt told me it is impolite to make noises while eating soup in America. In America, slurping is frowned upon. And she added  that they drive on the right in America. We drive on the left in Japan. In Japan doors are usually fixed to open to the outside.  In America doors are usually fixed to open to the inside. In Japan we normally bathe at night, but in America they shower in the morning.
  In America with Maya and her family, I saw that Americans eat at McDonald’s just like we do. They watch many of the same movies and sports. And we all know about Facebook and Twitter.  I was amazed to see that in so many ways Japanese and Americans shared a common, youth culture. I later learned, using Google on the internet, that this is called ‘macinazation.’ The influence of things like McDonald’s and the Macintosh computer (complete with iPods, iPads, and of course iPhones) shows a common culture in big cities all over the world.
  In my trip to America, I learned that although there are many cultural differences between us, like shaking hands instead of bowing, there are also many similarities, in diet, entertainment and communication. It is good that people are different and observe different culture practices. But we should also realize that basically, we are all quite similar. Our ALT may prefer to use a knife and fork, while most Japanese prefer using chopsticks. But we both like to eat. Maya is coming to Japan next year. I hope she too will see what I saw in my trip to America. We all do somethings the same way, and other things in opposite ways. But we are all humans.

 

appleBento (boxed lunches): An Eco Friendly Way of Eating

        "Look after yourself". This is my mothers' motto. Taking her advice, I started making bento by myself when I was in the 2nd grade. Now I am  concerned about making lunch every day. I pay attention to a good balanced diet. Of course I can not neglect the taste, cost and design. I made a trial calculation of the cost of my lunch. It costs about ¥130 on average. The salmon bento I once bought at a convenience store was ¥400. I sometimes go to the supermarket to buy food. I always check the ingredients and the place of origin. To my surprise, I noticed Japan depends so much on imported food.
        At dinner, I talked about the problem with my parents. My father said, "Japan's food self-sufficiency rate declined below 40%. And Japan now wastes more food than any country I know. That means ridiculous amounts of food are thrown away by the average family, restaurant and supermarket. On the other hand, there are millions of people who are starving due to the shortage of food in the world. If we could stop wasting food, we could help people who don't have enough to eat in other countries."
        I was ashamed of myself. I might have been too particular about taste and design. I now believe we have to change our lifestyles and eating habits. I realized we should consider the global food shortage. In that sense, I think bento could be a very eco friendly way to eat. Usually my bento consists of 50% rice and 50% side dishes. I often use yesterday's rice and other leftovers. They are good chilled. Of course I try to use domestic products, such as rice, eggs, vegetables and konbu seaweed, if possible. My mother said, "Karin, your lunches are very healthy for you, for our family budget and for the earth."
        Bento is more economical and easier to make than I thought. So please think about making your own economical bento. Of course I realize that making your own bent is not a global solution to hunger. But I believe it can be a good and practical first step, something that jr high students like us can actually do. We must become aware of the problem of wasted food. Won't you take that first step together with me, and start making your own bento?


appleGolden Words of Thanks
       "Please don't make my son say "Itadakimasu" at school lunch. We pay for lunch and do not have to thank anyone for it."  This was written in a letter to a student's homeroom teacher by a mother. It was introduced in a radio program and became a very controversial topic of conversation in Japan. When I heard about this, I felt very sad.
I doubted the mother's sense of values in the upbringing of her son.
        In Japan we all say "itadakimasu" before and "gochisosama" after eating. This is our long-established custom. When I was a child, I once forgot to say "itadakimasu" at dinner. Then I was scolded very severely by my father. He explained to me about the real meaning of these words.  He said, "We eat to live. We eat living things, such as fish, chicken, beef and pork. We have to take their lives. So we have to express deep regret and thank them. That's why we join our hands in thanks and bow our heads when we say "itadakimasu." And we have to say "gochisosama" after eating. By saying "gochisosama", we express our gratitude to the people who worked hard to make the meal possible."
        Now I am a high school student and very busy studying. I often stay at school working late. No matter how  late I come home, my mother always welcomes me, saying "okaerinasai." It means "Hello! Welcome home." At our house we also say "otsukaresama" to our hardworking father when he arrives home at night. It means "Thank you for everything today."   Whenever I hear "okaerinasai" or "otsukaresama," I always feel greatly relieved. Once my mother was ill and had to stay in bed for many days. During that time I couldn't hear her welcoming words of thanks. How sad and uneasy I was!
        We Japanese use many words that express the feeling of thanks in our daily expressions at any time, anywhere, unconsciously. I want to call these warmhearted words "golden words of thanks." I think a family that always gives thanks together will always stay united and  strong.  As you know, we human beings can not live alone. We need the support of others. We have to cooperate with each other to build a peaceful, harmonious society. And the core unit of society is the family. To build up the harmonious family, the whole family has to come together. I think these golden words help us in building essential family bonds. They say that the members of the same family can understand each other easily and naturally, even without words. But I don't really agree. I believe we have to always show our love to one another by saying these golden words with feeling.
        So let's welcome each other every day with "okaerinasai" and "otsukaresama."And let's sit  around the dinner table with the whole family, always remembering to say the other golden words of thanks; "itadakimasu" and  "gochisosama."
Arigato gozaimashita.


appleIs There Rotten Food in Your Fridge?
           One day I came home  tired from school. I was hungry so I asked  my mother, "Mom, may I eat what is in the fridge?" She answered, "Marina, some things might be rotten. Check the expiration dates." I did not believe her.  I hadn't ever imagined that food in the fridge could go bad. To make sure, I checked all the food in the fridge. To my surprise, our huge fridge was filled up with food which we seldom eat. A lot of deep-frozen food is always left untouched.
            I talked about this at the dinner table. Mother said, "Marina, you pointed  out some very crucial points. We should try to save food more seriously from now on."  Father laughed and said, "it's ridiculous to leave food to rot in the fridge. When I was a child, I was not allowed to leave meals unfinished. Japan now wastes more food than any other country in the world. Great amounts of food are thrown away by the average family, restaurant and supermarket. Food waste is produced primarily by the household. And food waste has a tremendous and damaging effect on the environment."
            I realized we should try to stop wasting food. I talked about the problem with my older sisters. And we came to the conclusion that we must make the best use of our fridge.  Then we put a "NOTE" on the door of the fridge.
It says;
        ● Check the expiration dates regularly.
        ● Check the food supplies before going to the store.
        ● Buy food in the correct quantities.
        ● Make an inventory of what is in the fridge.
        ● Do not eat and drink more than we need. ( This is especially for Dad.)
       Since then I have continued to check our food. The effect of the note appeared immediately. Now there is no food left uneaten. I can see free space in the fridge. I know our attempt to reduce food waste in my family may have only minor effects on our society. But this is the first step. I want to think of and try other approaches to reduce food waste. In the future, I want to study about the effective use of foodstuffs and food security.

appleSmall Hands but Big Ambition
       Look at my hands?  Aren't they small? When I held a softball for the first time, it felt just like a giant rice ball. Now I can grasp and throw it easily. I am the ace pitcher of the Higashi Junior High School softball club.  I love my softball team and teammates. I am not so tall and my hands are small, so I have to practice more than the other players. I practice everyday from early in the morning before school to late in the evening after school. We have many practice games with schools in Osaka, Kobe and Nara on weekends. We also have league games several times a year.
        Last March, we had four practice games in a single day. I had to pitch in all of them without relief. I threw as hard as I could for 7 hours. I was exhausted.  At the end of the last game, I collapsed on the mound. An ambulance came right away.  X-rays were taken. To my surprise, I had cracked a rib. This was due to overexertion. It took a month to recover from this injury. Practices are severe and games are tough. But I never give up. I hate to give in.
       Last May, we had a "trial work" for a week instead of school. During the week we have to actually work in offices or stores. I chose to do my trail work at the Itami fire station, because my softball senior is a fire-woman. We learned how to walk on the 10 meter tightrope from  building to building. It was difficult, but really thrilling. We learned how to use a fire hose.  We even learned how to give artificial respiration.
        During the trial work, I realized that I am interested in lifesaving. I therefore decided to become an emergency medical technician, EMT. EMTs are specialists who give emergency lifesaving treatment to the sick and injured on the way to the hospital.  To become an EMT, I have to get a national qualification. They say that  calm judgmental power and full knowledge of proper medical treatment are necessary. In addition, mental strength is needed for EMTs to go along with the physical strength for the job and its irregular working hours. I think I cultivated this endurance and willpower through softball. I believe I have to grasp great ambitions with these small hands.


appleTorai-yaru Week Made me Think
     Last May we had a "torai-yaru week". During that week we work as volunteers to enrich our social experiences. We are sent to various places, such as stores、kindergartens, fire stations, farmhouses and so on. I chose a kindergarten. My main jobs were to play with children, clean the grounds and help teachers with making teaching materials. All the teachers in the kindergarten worked very hard. It seemed they had almost no time to rest. But they always kept smiling. The children were so cute. So I thought I might want to be a  kindergarten teacher.
            One day I talked about my dream with my parents. My father said, "Why do you want to work for a kindergarten, what can you do as a kindergarten teacher?" But I could not answer except to say that I like children. I took my easy life for granted up until then.  My father told me to consider what I can do more seriously.
            Recently I was moved by a news story. According to the news, there is a  nursery school named, Noda-mura in Iwate prefecture, which has 90 little children and 14 staff members. To my surprise, the nursery school has held earthquake and tsunami drills once a week for many years. So at the right time, when the earthquake and tsunami hit the area on March 11, they began to immediately evacuate to the hills. New born babies were carried on peoples backs and one or two year old babies were carried in large sized baby carriages. And they were all saved. This news made me think.
            I am convinced that I could find many things to do anywhere. As you know, many people volunteered their time and energy to help with disaster relief in the earthquake-hit Tohoku. Natural disasters can occur at anytime. We have to prepare for them. Now I am thinking about my life work as a volunteer. I can be a useful person in society. While I will work as a kindergarten teacher, I can plan and do the fire, earthquake and tsunami drills and volunteer to help and support people in trouble. So I decided to participate  in volunteer activities while I am in school and afterwards. I told my idea to my parents. They smiled with satisfaction. And through this experience, I began to realize the value of "torai-yaru week". 


appleMy Father Still Lives in My Heart
  Last November my father died. It was a sudden death from overwork. He worked very hard for our family. My mother and we four sisters were left behind. We lost our family breadwinner. We did not know where to turn. Now my mother works at a restaurant as a cook from 4 o'clock in the morning until noon. It is no easy task for her to support a family. My oldest sister, a college student, works part-time in a supermarket. My second oldest sister, a high school student, takes charge of doing housework. She makes four lunch boxes every morning for us. My younger sister and I are still in junior high school.
        I sometimes see my father in a dream even now. Our education was important to him. He was a stern father. I often took a defiant attitude towards him. So he often scolded me. But I knew he loved us very much. Seven years ago, he took us to Australia for a family trip. He wanted us to know the world beyond Japan. And he wanted to strengthen our family bonds. This trip stays with me as a happy memory.
        My school record is not so good. Unfortunately I could not make my father proud.I belong to a softball club now. But I am not a regular player. I am only a DP. Basically the DP is a player designated to bat only. Luckily I once managed to hit a home run and that led our team to victory. Then my father was very happy. He patted me on the back and said, "Fumie, when the time comes, you can do all right. Have confidence in yourself." I was very happy. It was the first and last time when I was praised by him.
        I have a dream. It is to be a hair stylist when I grow up. I think I have a sense of fashion and the ability to know what style will look the best on a woman. I sometimes help my mother and sisters with cutting and styling their hair. They all say I have a gift for hair styling. I want to develop new hair styles to show the world. My father often told me to be an independent-minded woman. So I want to open my own hair styling salon someday. I hope the time will come when I am praised by my father once again. Someday I will be able to hear his voice saying "Fumie, good job. You did it."


appleCloud has a silver lining
        Please look at my face. Do you notice anything?  I have a scar on
my forehead. This scar changed my way of looking at things greatly.
I was in a traffic accident when I was in the 8th grade. It happened on
my way home from seeing a friend. When I was crossing the crossroads
by bike as usual, a car suddenly ran into me from the opposite direction
at a terrific speed. It happened all at once. I lost consciousness for
some time. When I came to, I found myself lying on the street covered  with blood. I felt no pain at all then. I must have been thrown off my
bike. Fortunately, I narrowly escaped death. Soon I was brought  to the
hospital by ambulance, and I had a CT and X rays taken. I needed five
stitches in my forehead.
        Luckily, I didn't break any bones. There was nothing wrong with my
brain or insides. But I couldn't walk. That night, I suddenly felt a sharp
pain in my face. It swelled up. To my surprise, I couldn't distinguish my
eyes from my nose. My parents and I were so shocked. My face in the
mirror frightened me. I sank to the depths of grief. So I could hardly eat. I just lay in bed for a long time. I had to be absent from school until graduation day.
        At first my classroom teacher didn't talk about my accident,
because he didn't want to panic my classmates. I was afraid to meet
my friends. I didn't want anyone to see my face. But soon I told my
friends about my accident. They visited me in the hospital many times
and sent me a lot of mail to cheer me up. They always said to me,
"Good morning, Narumi." with a smile as usual. "You are OK."  I was
very happy. I thought my friends were the best. I was encouraged by them greatly and I decided  to get well and to go to school after winter
vacation.
        I had to use a wheelchair in the hospital. It was very difficult to go
over even the smallest bumps and to pass through narrow doorways .
It was then that I realized how hard the sufferings of physically
handicapped people are. After struggling in rehab, I could finally
manage to walk by myself. It felt strange at first, but I gradually could
walk as naturally as I used to. Before my accident, I took my body for
granted. The accident made me realize that a sound body is a great
treasure.
        But still, I had another big problem. It was my face. My doctor told
me to take medicine to heal my facial injuries three times a day for
three years. Three years!!  That is too long for me. On top of that, I was
prohibited to get sunburned. So I can not swim in the sea.  I have to put
on a cap even in P.E. class. I am afraid my face will have strange colors.
Now I worry about my looks. I am afraid of discrimination from others,
which I didn't feel before my accident. Some people might make fun of
me. It isn't nice to be ridiculed.
        Honestly speaking, in the past I might have discriminated against
physically or mentally handicapped people unconsciously. That was
utterly wrong. I should not have had any prejudices. But this accident
taught me that we must understand the pain of others. Fortunately,
most of the people living in this world know that we need to respect
others. Of course we have to respect handicapped people, too. I had a
hard experience, but I learned a lot. With this accident I hope I have
matured  as a human being.


apple"Entering the Handicapped World"
   My sister was born physically handicapped, when I was in the 4th grade. She had a seven hour operation just after her birth. Fortunately, she narrowly escaped death. But she could not move her legs at all. The lower half of her body was paralyzed. At three years old, she could only manage to stand up, with extreme difficulty, by holding on to something .
    At that time, I often went to the hospital to watch her physical therapy. One day, it was done without the help of leg braces. When her doctor touched her tiny legs only a little, she frowned in pain, barely being able to hold back her tears.  I couldn't stand seeing her like that. I felt an impulse to rush over to her and hug her many times. The physical therapy was so hard and painful that I was about to shout out loud. "Doctor, stop it!  Don't do that any more!"  But I said to myself, "To be able to walk, it was necessary for her to bear this painful procedure".
    In the hospital, many patients including my sister were struggling in rehab.  Those scenes have been etched into my memory.  Because of that,
I began to think about social welfare. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to use a wheelchair. It was then that I realized how hard it was to go over even the smallest bumps, and to pass through narrow doorways with the wheelchair. Ever since, I've tried to help people in wheelchairs. I thought it was a kind act.
    However, my sister's physical therapy in the hospital made me realize that I might be wrong. I began to think that it is not always good to help people who try and need to do things by themselves. I tried to think again how we should make contact with the handicapped. Do you think the best thing is to help them, just thinking that they are poor and pitiful, when they don't want any help? Of course, helping them is important. However hard their handicaps might be, they all want to function without the help of others.  I began to think that it is important to watch carefully to see what kind of help is necessary.
    I do believe, however,  that societal backup is important in order for the handicapped to be able to do things by themselves.  For example, we should try to replace stairs with ramps for the blind and those in wheelchairs.
So I think we should make "barrier free" towns where the physically handicapped persons move safely and easily without the help of others and the handicapped and non-handicapped  coexist harmoniously.
    Several years ago, the Para-Olympics were held in Sydney, Australia. Then Tensei-jingo; a column in the Asahi Newspaper said,
"We should hold the Para-Olympics and the Olympics together and both ordinary and handicapped athletes should parade together under the same flag.  Only the actual sporting events should be held separately."
    It is important to create a place where we can play and interact together. We have a game called wheelchair basketball where ordinary people and the handicapped can play together. I hope I can play wheelchair basketball with my sister and share this pleasure with her. I wish that day would really come soon. Thank you very much.

 

appleCHURA-SAN in My Mind
       Have you ever seen the NHK TV drama "CHURA-SAN"?  It was on two or three years ago. This story took place mainly in Okinawa.  I was born there.  Every summer vacation I go back to Okinawa to meet my relatives, including great grandmother and grandparents.
        I am very proud of my home island, Okinawa.  The scenery is spectacular.  The sky is clear and blue. The sea is emerald green. The air is fresh and clear, unpolluted.  Our trees and flowers?   They are gorgeous.  And the music?  Wow!  Okinawan folk songs are among the best in the world. Our people? We are known for our warmheartedness.  Food?   Visitors always say it is delicious.  Everything there is so wonderful.
        People in Okinawa are famous for living long productive lives.  Do you know why? 
There are a lot of reasons for this. Firstly, Okinawa has a rich natural environment. Secondly, people eat healthy food with their daily meals. Their favorite foods are pork, seaweed and vegetables. GOYA is well-known there as a healthy vegetable.  Thirdly, the people in Okinawa don't take things too seriously. They know how to enjoy life. Lastly, old people are greatly respected and taken care of.
        Four years ago, I went back to Okinawa to celebrate my great grandmother's 92nd birthday.  We danced KACHA-SHI, a local dance using only the arms and hands. It is danced at all celebrations and festivals in Okinawa. My great grandmother still dances KACHA-SHI when I visit.  I now realize that singing and dancing are essential for a long happy life.
       The KACHA-SHI reminds me of "OBAA", the old woman in "CHURA-SAN" played by the famous actress Taira Tomi. In the drama her face always brightened up with happiness. She was shining with good health. She loved the people all around her and  was loved in turn by many people. She was a wise and broad-minded woman. I saw in her the ideal older woman. As you know, Japan is facing a rapidly aging population.  So I hope more and more of our woman will be like "OBAA"  in our aging society.
        Do you know the famous best-selling song "HANA", composed and sung by Kina Shoukichi?  It is known and sung all over the world.  When I listened to this song for the first time, I thought it was about the people of Okinawa. They show their emotions very freely. They know that laughter brings health and happiness. They always look on the bright side of things.  I particularly like the refrain of this song. 
It goes like this:
泣きなさい 笑いなさい
いつの日かいつの日か
花を咲かそうよ... ♪♪
It means "let's make beautiful flowers open in the hearts of all the people". 
CHURA is "beautiful".  "Beautiful" is CHURA.   
May CHURA flower in the hearts of all of us.


appleDreams for the Future
        My sisters are very ambitious. They have their own dreams. My older sister Ayumi, a high school student, has a dream to become an emergency medical technician. She says she is interested in lifesaving. My younger sister Fumie, eleven years old, has a gift for hair styling. Her dream is to open her own hair styling salon someday. My youngest sister Rina, is nine years old. Her dream is to become a doctor. She says she wants to help sick people. My parents also have their own dream. They want us daughters to live near Itami and work independently.
        My parents often ask me, "Miho, what do you want to be?" I always have trouble with this question. In fact, I have never really had any dreams. I do not have much confidence in anything. I do not really do very well in school. I once belonged to the trumpet club. But I wasn't  a good trumpet player. Now I am in the badminton club. But I am not really very good at badminton, either. I have nothing special I can be proud of.
        But quite recently my mother made me notice my strong point. It's cooking.  I've been helping my mother cook since I was a young child. My father often praises me for the rice I cook. Of course, I use a rice cooker. It is a very simple and effective way to cook rice. But still, rice is a very important part of Japanese meals and I am glad my family likes my rice. I am careful to wash the uncooked rice thoroughly and adjust the water correctly.
    I am also good at housekeeping. My mother often tells me, "Miho, you are very helpful with the housework. Even if I get sick, I can depend on you to do everything around the house." I may not be a great student, but I  am always willing to help my mother with the housework. I am good at washing dishes, cleaning and ironing.
        My mother is a licensed cook. She is my teacher. I learn a lot from her. Particularly, I am good at making subuta; sweet-and-sour pork. Once I made subuta every other day for my family. Finally they got sick of it. Next I am going to learn how to make beef stew. My sisters are looking forward to eating it. I really feel happy to see them smile. My mother says, "Miho, you should go to a high school where they teach the art of cooking. My father adds, "Miho, improve your skills in cooking. I want you to run a small restaurant near here someday." I believe he is right. With cooking and cleaning skills, the restaurant business might be perfect for me. I made up my mind to make a serious effort to study cooking. To put my dream into practice, I want to study harder at school. Hey, I could find my own dream for the future after all.                
 


       Do you like tsukemono ? They are Japanese style pickles. They go well with rice. Some people make them at home, and some buy them ready made. I love them very much. I eat them every day. Why? Because my father's job is to make and sell them.
        All Tsukemono are made by preserving vegetables in salt, rice bran (or nuka), and other specialized ingredients. We can make good pickles by mixing different vegetables in nukamiso.  This is a salted rice bran paste made by mixing rice bran and salt water. It contains nourishment such as vitamins B1and B2, potassium and calcium. Vegetables absorb nourishment from the bran paste. Vegetables also contain a lot of dietary fiber. So tsukemono  are a very healthy food. Recently we began to preserve tsukemono by using low temperature technology. We don't have to use so much salt now. So you no longer have to worry about taking in too much salt. Tsukemono actually are a lot like salad.
        When I was in the 4th grade, I began to help my father making tsukemono. I often mop the floor with water using a long brush in a crouching position. So I sometimes have pain in my lower back.  We use a lot of water even in winter. Sometimes I have to work trembling with cold. It is a very laborious job.
        Recently I came across the saying "Teshio ni kakeru." The original meaning describes the extreme care which goes into  mixing salt and vegetables to make tsukemono. In making good tsukemono, it is important to adjust the level of salt. This saying is used today when talking about bringing someone up with special loving care, or growing vegetables with affection, or training someone diligently, for example.
        Since I learned the saying, I think my way of seeing the world has changed  greatly. Now I can see the hidden effort behind visible things. For instance, now I am able to thank my parents for raising me with affection. When I see a beautiful chrysanthemum, I can recognize the loving care that went into growing it. When I watch some great athletes, I know there is a good trainer who worked with them carefully.
        Living a good, productive life is like making tsukemono. You need good ingredients, hard work and the right attitude. When I grow up, I want to be a woman who does everything with tender loving care. I want to treat everyone and everything with affection. When you see tukemono on your table, please remember the loving care that goes into making anything worthwhile.

appleMOTTAINAI
       "Omachi." Do you like sushi? I like sushi, especially "nigiri-zushi." Last June, we did "trial work" for a week instead of studying at school. I chose a sushi shop for my trial work. Why a sushi shop? The reason is simple. I thought it would be nice to make sushi by myself. So I worked at the Minami Sushi Shop in the Tsukashin market.  Mr. Minami is the owner and sushi chef there. He is very kind and certainly taught me a lot.
        On the first day, after cleaning the main room, I threw away some plastic bamboo leaves, which are used as plates. But Mr. Minami scolded me. "Don't throw away the bamboo leaves. It's wasteful, Mottainai ! They are still usable." Then he began to lecture me: "Bamboo leaves are artificial. We can reuse them at least several times more. We have to try to reduce waste in the shop."
       The next day, a customer left some expensive nigiri-zushi, including tuna and eel. I said under my breath, "Mottainai !" I really wanted to eat them. But my conscience bothered me. Another customer dropped a pair of disposable chopsticks on the floor. They were still clean. But he shouted, "Give me another pair." I thought he should have wiped off and used the old ones. And too many customers do not hesitate to leave perfectly good food on their plates. A number of disposable chopsticks are thrown away each day in the shop. How many trees are cut down each year so that we Japanese can throw away disposable chopsticks?  I could not help thinking about material loss.
        Recently I read a book entitled "MOTTAINAI." It says that professor WANGARI MAATHAI, Nobel Peace Prizewinner from Africa, discovered the word mottainai in her studies. She claims there is no word for mottainai in other languages, and that the spirit of mottainai should spread through out the world. Mottainai  expresses deep regret for material loss. And it also expresses the sense of respect for the  hard work and the time spent on making things. It is a Japanese virtue. I really think it would be mottainai to lose the spirit of it.
        It's mottainai to throw away usable pencils.
        It's mottainai to leave rice in your bowl at the end of a meal.
        It's  mottainai  to turn the TV on just to check the time.
        It's  mottainai  to leave the lights on during the daytime.
        It's  mottainai  to flush so much toilet water.
        It's  mottainai  not to recycle.
       You can surely think of even better examples. They are all around us. I think it is important to always consider the virtue of mottainai in our daily lives and to reduce materials waste. Save a chopstick. Save a forest. Let's start saving the environment, one chopstick at a time.



appleMy Big Dream
Do you have a dream?
My dream is to become a ballet dancer.
Almost everyone has heard of "Swan Lake."
The music goes like this.
That is the kind of ballet I am learning.
Why did I  begin ballet?
My father is a professional ballet dancer and I wish to become like him.
So I began learning ballet four years ago.
        I go to ballet school five days a week after class.
At first I found it difficult, but now I like it.
Lessons last about two hours.  After that I practice by myself.
That's why I usually come home around 11.
I am always hungry and tired when I return.
However hard my life might be,
I made up my mind to continue ballet.
I never miss a lesson except for when I get sick.
        My ballet teacher is Mr.Sadamatsu.
He once won a prize in a ballet contest held in Switzerland.
His instruction is always very strict.  But he is also very kind.
In warming up, we jump, hop and stretch like this.
It is also important always to keep smiling.
Just like at Mc Donald's, a smile goes a long way.
I have appeared on stage several times.
I played a little boy in "Swan Lake".
I also appeared in "Don Quixote" with my father.
He played a rich man and I was his servant.
        At that time I was taught new movements by a famous Russian ballet teacher.
His training was very difficult and long.
Of course  I couldn't understand what he was saying
and that made it even more difficult to learn
I think I have matured greatly in some respects.
I have grown taller.  I have a good posture. 
When I started ballet, I couldn't even touch my toes.
Now  I can touch the floor easily.
I need a lot more practice, of course.
But I am very happy with my decision to study ballet.
        I want to be a professional dancer, accepted in the world of ballet.
I want to relate to people around the world with an interest in ballet.
Just as Ichiro wins over baseball fans with his batting in North America and
Nakata makes new soccer fans in Europe with his goal scoring , I want to thrill ballet fans all over the world. 
That is my dream.

appleMy New Dream
    Last June, we had a week of "trial work"  instead of school. We had to do real work in offices, stores and schools . I chose to do my trial work at Suzuhara kindergarten.
    We assisted the second‐year class for the first three days. There were about 20 4-year-old children in the class. All of them  were very cheerful, and had big smiles on their faces. To my surprise, at first I could not catch what they were saying because their pronunciation was not clear. But gradually I got used to their way of talking.
    In the morning, we welcomed them at the gate with the kindergarten teachers. We cleaned the classrooms, watered flowers and played with the children. The boys were very energetic. They loved chasing insects, kicking balls and playing tag. They were always running around. I got really exhausted  keeping up with them.
    I was also amazed at children's talents for making things. They were good at making mud dumplings and dolls in the sandbox. I noticed that young children learn mainly through play. And they were always very noisy, chattering, singing and  shouting. But they were good during lunch time. They asked us to have lunch with them. It was a  very happy time for us.
    On the fourth day, we helped  the third-year class. They were 5-year olds. They spoke more clearly than the second-years. In that class, we helped with moving desks. But in the third-year class, we were asked not to help them too much. The children were supporsed to move the desks by themselves. Then I realized that a one year difference is quite large.
    On the last day, the children held a farewell party for us. I played   "do-re-mi" on the piano. The children sang along. They also sang the kindergarten song for us. When the time came to leave, some children cried. Several gathered around me, grasping my hands, calling my name, saying, "Kiyora, please don't leave. Stay longer." I was moved to tears. I can not forget that wonderful time.  Even now I miss them very much.
    During the trial work, the principal taught us about teaching children. We should:
 ● always smile
 ●  be responsible
 ● be good team players
 ●  be patient and show a good sense of humor
   I really enjoyed working at the kindergarten.  The principal told me I would make a good kindergarten teacher. I was thrilled to hear that. Now, I have a new dream.  Thank you so much for listening.

    
appleDreams for the Future
        My sisters are very ambitious. They have their own dreams. My older sister Ayumi, a high school student, has a dream to become an emergency medical technician. She says she is interested in lifesaving. My younger sister Fumie, eleven years old, is a good calligrapher. Her dream is to become a calligraphy teacher. My youngest sister Rina, is nine years old. Her dream is to become a doctor. She says she wants to help sick people. My parents also have their own dream. They want us daughters to live near Itami and work independently.
        My parents often ask me, "Miho, what do you want to be?" I always have trouble with this question. In fact, I have never really had any dreams. I do not have much confidence in anything. I do not really do very well in school. I once belonged to the trumpet club. But I wasn't  a good trumpet player. Now I am in the badminton club. But I am not really very good at badminton, either. I have nothing special I can be proud of.
       But quite recently my mother made me notice my strong point. It's cooking.  I've been helping my mother cook since I was a young child. My father often praises me for the rice I cook. Of course, I use a rice cooker. It is a very simple and effective way to cook rice. But still, rice is a very important part of Japanese meals and I am glad my family likes my rice. I am careful to wash the uncooked rice thoroughly and adjust the water correctly.
    I am also good at housekeeping. My mother often tells me, "Miho, you are very helpful with the housework. Even if I get sick, I can depend on you to do everything around the house." I may not be a great student, but I  am always willing to help my mother with the housework. I am good at washing dishes, cleaning and ironing.
        My mother is a licensed cook. She is my teacher. I learn a lot from her. Particularly, I am good at making subuta; sweet-and-sour pork. Once I made subuta every other day for my family. Finally they got sick of it. Next I am going to learn how to make beef stew. My sisters are looking forward to eating it. I really feel happy to see them smile. My mother says, "Miho, you should go to a high school where they teach the art of cooking. My father adds, "Miho, improve your skills in cooking. I want you to run a small restaurant near here someday." I believe he is right. With cooking and cleaning skills, the restaurant business might be perfect for me. I made up my mind to make a serious effort to study cooking. To put my dream into practice, I want to study harder at school. Hey, I could find my own dream for the future after all.

 

appleI Like Bento
        I love lunch. My mother gets up early and makes me a bento (box lunch in English) every morning. I am very happy to carry my lunch box to school. I try hard not to open the bento before eating it. It is more fun not knowing what exactly is for lunch each day.

        Bento is a single portion-takeout meal, usually packed in a lunch box at home. Although bento are easily available in many places, including convenience stores and bento shops. I like the bento my mother made the best. She makes me elaborately arranged lunchs every day. She puts first priority on health. She pays attention to a nutritionally balanced diet, followed by the color scheme, design, smell, and of course taste. I always find my lunch delicious. When I eat lunch, I always imagine my mother preparing lunch for me and say "itadakimasu".

        In Japan we all say "itadakimasu" before and "gochisosama" after eating. This is our long-established custom.   When I was a child, I once forgot to say "itadakimasu" at dinner. Then I was scolded very severely by my father. He explained to me about the real meaning of these words. He said, "We eat to live. We eat living things, such as fish, chicken, beef and pork. We have to take their lives. So we have to express deep regret and thank them. That's why we join our hands in thanks and bow our heads when we say "itadakimasu." And we say "gochisosama" after eating.  By saying "gochisosama", we express our gratitude to the people who worked hard to make the meal possible."

        Once my mother was ill and had to stay in bed for many days. During that time I  had to make my lunch myself. I realized making bento was a really tough job. I sometimes took the easy way out. I bought ready-made convenience store food. Since then, I have come to appeciate the time and effort my mother takes in preparing bento for me.

        One day at home, I shouted out involuntarily, "I want to eat more delicious lunch." Then my grandfather said to me. "When I was a boy, my lunch was always a hinomaru-bento, only rice and a pickled plum inside. If there was any other side dishes in there, it was a special treat. Chisato, you are lucky. Don't  ask too much."

        According to the newspapers, Japan's food self-sufficiency rate  declined below 40%. And it is said Japan now wastes more food than any other country in the world. That means ridiculous amounts of food are thrown away by the average family, restaurants and supermarkets. These facts sadden me. I think we should change our lifestyles and eating habits. We should take saving food more seriously.

        In this sense, I think bento could be very helpful in reducing food waste. Bento is very ecological, for  we can make tasteful and well-nourished lunches by using inexpensive raw materials. We can make them from yesterday's rice and other leftovers. Bento is an environmentally friendly cuisine that we can be proud of.

        I appreciate my mother's thoughtfulness in making lunch. So I never leave my lunch unfinished. Eating bento can be a start in stopping food waste in Japan. The practice might also spread to other countries, helping them to solve their food problems. Eating bento might someday bring the world closer together in providing ecological solutions to problems that face us all.

 

appleGood Morning Campaign
    Hello. My name is Hazuki Takenaka. I am a third year student at Sonoda Junior High school. I am on the school student council. Last winter, I became chair of the student conduct committee. As part of my job, I had to organize a "Good Morning Campaign". 
    Greetings like 'good morning' and 'hello' begin our day. They make us happy and put a smile on our faces. But most of the students at my school don't say 'good morning' these days. During the campaign, members of the student council, the PTA and our teachers stand in front of the school gate and greet the students when they arrive. The campaign begins at eight o'clock every morning.  When the campaign began, I thought that saying "Good morning" wasn't really necessary. Also at first I had difficulty in getting up early enough. And most students don't say "Good morning" back to us. So I soon lost interest. 
    But now I think saying "Good morning" is important in our lives. This is because of a teacher who joined our campaign. I didn't like him  before the campaign, because he always looked so angry. But because of the campaign, I slowly began to change my mind. One day I noticed something different about him. He always smiles and says "good morning"  to the people around our school. And then they smile too. I could see that he wants them to start the  day off right.
    I'm sure that he will get angry with us if we fail to greet each other, because he wants everyone to have a good day. I realized that I should not judge that teacher by the way he looks. Now I say "Good morning" just like he does.
    Now I get up everyday as early as I can. I hope my 'good morning!' makes everyone happy. Few students may return the greeting, but I am still proud of doing the campaign. Let's  all say "Good morning".  I'm sure that you will be able to have a better day because of it.  Thank you.               

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