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‚P”NΆ@–F‰κŒSŽsƒXƒs[ƒ`ƒRƒ“ƒeƒXƒg@—DGά

Tradition Repeats Itself

Moka Higashi Junior High School

@@@@@@@@@@@@@Grade 1

Yuu Nagai

The beat sticks in my head. Even in my dreams I sometimes feel the music. Now and then I imagine the sound and my fingers begin dancing by themselves.

You can hear the same beat in summer. Now you know what I am talking about. It's the summer festival. When I was small, my parents took me to summer festivals. We enjoyed them and I loved the music very much. My child's mind was moved by the music. I could not wait to be 10 years old, because then I could join the Ohayashi band.

Finally I joined. At first it was very hard to play the drums because there was no sheet music. We just played from our hearts. That is the way of festival music. It gets passed down from person to person over many years. We learn the melody by listening to older members.

Now we have many chances to play in front of others. Many people like our music and clap for us. We get energy from them. Sometimes people throw money too.

When I play, I often look out at the people. I see the eyes of little children. They are like me when I was small. The music moves them too and fills them with wonder. I know our Japanese festival music will live on.
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‚Q”NΆ@–F‰κŒSŽsƒXƒs[ƒ`ƒRƒ“ƒeƒXƒg@Ε—DGά

The Tip of the Iceberg

Moka Higashi Jr. High School

Grade 2

Sayaka Kuroko

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Have you ever seen an iceberg? Well, if you watched the movie Titanic, you can say yes. Or can you? In the movie we saw only a part of the iceberg. There was much more of it under the surface. People are often the same. There is more under the surface. What we find there might surprise us.

I have never visited the U.S.A. but about 4 months ago, I thought I could describe an American very well. But in July, my school had 50 guests from California and my ideas changed. One guest stayed in my home. Her name was Theresa. She is a Chinese American. One day she lost her credit card. First of all, can you imagine a junior high school student with a credit card? But that was only the first surprise. When she called her father, she spoke both English and Chinese. That surprised me too. I expected her to speak English. Yes, I know her parents are Chinese, but she lives in America.

I noticed something about the other Americans in the group too. For example, if an American is very outgoing, does it mean all Americans are outgoing? No, because I met some shy Americans. Or, if a few are tall, does it mean all Americans are tall? I met some short Americans too. None of them are the same, they are all different.

What's on the surface doesn't show the whole picture. Usually, what we've seen in the movies or heard from others is only the tip of the iceberg. We can never know the true picture unless we look deeper.
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‚R”NΆ@–F‰κŒSŽsƒXƒs[ƒ`ƒRƒ“ƒeƒXƒg@Ε—DGά

My Family's Help

Moka Higashi Junior High School

Grade 3

Azumi Kuramochi

Who will make your dreams come true? I have a dream to become an actress. Becoming an actress is hard work and few people make it. Some make it because they are very talented. I am not so I must try harder than the rest. But if I reach my dream, it's because my family helps me.

My older sister finished high school this year. Now she has a new job. She said, "From now on, I can enjoy shopping because I have my own money. Before when I wanted to buy something, you came to mind. Even if the item was only 4 or 5 thousand yen, I didn't want Mom and Dad to spend the money. We need the money for your lessons."

I was surprised. Until then, I never thought about the cost of my drama lessons. I just enjoyed going. But my sister's desires were sacrificed for my dream. No, not only my sister's. All of my family paid for my dream. How selfish I have been!

This summer my father asked all the family to help me again. I had auditioned for a part in a musical. I am on the list for the final selection. With summer drama lessons, I might be selected for the part. But I had also invited my American friend for the summer. Her school was coming to my town and I invited her to stay at my house. At first my father asked, "How can you do both? You will be too busy and sometimes your friend will be alone. When she returns to America, will she be able to say, I had a great time in Japan?" When I told my drama coach about my plans, he said, This is your big chance. You don't have time for other things. I didn't know what to do. Then one day, my mother told me about my father's decision. He said, "We will be good hosts when Azumi can't."

I am thankful for my family and I wish I could pay them back for all they have done. I can't pay them back now, but someday I hope to be a good actress. Then I can make my family proud and bring joy to many people. Yes, one day I may be in the spotlight, but all the applause belongs to my family.
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