※現在、英国EF international Language Centres Oxford校在学中
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I'm a disabled person. I had no future.
I had no potential. So, I asked myself, should I give up on life?
My condition called cerebral palsy
I had cerebral palsy when I was born. I couldn't move my body well. I could stand and sit, but I couldn't run. I could walk for less than 5 minutes. If I walked for 10 minutes at the same pace as you, I would lose my breath and be drenched in sweat. I would be asked, "What's the matter with you? Have you run a marathon?"
When I was born, my doctor told my parents that I couldn't live like other children. "I understand your feeling, but all we can do is try our best," said the doctor. My parents didn't give up, though. Day after day, we worked hard on my rehabilitation. We've got over a lot of difficulties. And now, I am in England.
I recently took a gap year from university and came to England by myself. But wait a minute, how could a person who couldn't walk more than 5 minutes travel to England without other people's help? Did I walk here on foot, taking breaks? That's impossible! Besides, what would people in England think if they saw an exhausted man from Japan? I'm sure they would be confused.
When I was in university in Japan, I wondered how I could study abroad. The answer was easy. "If I used a wheelchair perfectly, I could go abroad by myself," I thought. And now, I enjoy my life in England even in a wheelchair.
Developing myself in U.K
When I was in Japan, I was thinking that I had to do something with myself. I was depending completely on the people around me. I had family, friends and a girlfriend. I always had someone who would listen and take care of me when I was in trouble. The living environment was good. Although I lived on my own at university, I could go home and see my family easily. The peaceful life made me ask myself, "Is it really good for me to live in this comfortable but uneventful environment?"
I devoted myself to playing baseball when I was in school. I played it for about ten years. I always played baseball with physically unimpaired. It's a shame that I can't write details about how I played baseball, but it was true that I could keep playing baseball because I was always supported by families and friends.
I spent more time with baseball than many other people to cover my handicap, and so didn't study very much. After I entered university, my academic grade was bad. But I never regretted that I devoted so much of myself to baseball. I gave 120% of my energy to it for my growth.
English! I could speak to the the world
However, I was worried about one thing ― English. I'm in England now because I thought I would regret it if I left university without having English skills. I was sure that I should study English if I had time.
I wanted to share my story with other handicapped people and their families. But if I only spoke Japanese, the number of people who could understand my message would be limited. If I spoke English, I could tell my experience to the world!
Therefore, I definitely need to speak English. Plus, I'd like to tell you the reason why I chose England. In 2012, the Olympics and Paralympics will take place in England. I wish to talk to the Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Also, I'd like to visit other European countries, too.
I have never said, "I'm disabled. I have no future and no potential, so I'll give up on life." I have never thought like that. I refuse to live so negatively. We have only one life. Why don't we live positively?
I believe we can expand our potential by ourselves. We should forget about small things and take a step outside. I could never have come to England if I had given up using a wheelchair. I live here on my own because I didn't give up. The important thing was to keep asking myself ―How is it possible?― instead of simply giving up from the beginning.
There are some risks, though. Living here alone is a burden on my body. I get exhausted easily. I need to do some stretching every day. However, curiously enough, I actually enjoy dealing with my pain. I enjoy not only good experiences but also bad experiences, too. No matter how hard my experiences are, I'm sure that all new experiences I get here will make me grow stronger.
Disability is a part of my personality
"You are an honest man," said one of my friends when I left Japan. I don't want to disappoint him. So, I'll do my best in England and share my experience with as many people as possible. It is the only way I can repay my friends for their kindness.
I'll remain here until December. My experience has just begun. I have no intention of being in the dumps because of my handicap. I want to live to the best of my ability. On top of that, being handicapped is now a part of my personality to express myself.
I don't want to live a boring life. It is not my handicap but me that decides my life. "He who laughs last, laughs longest."
Translated by Sekizuka Meiko
OWING TO MY CONDITION, I RESIGNED MYSELF TO A DIFFICULT FUTURE, WITH FEW POSSIBLLITIES.
What does everyone think after having read the tittle? I would like to express myself clearly. Other people may think this, but I have never assigned myself to such a title.
My own condition is called cerebral palsy.
I was naturally born with a condition called cerebral palsy and an unable to move how I want to move. I am able to both stand up and sit down however, I cannot run and am only able to walk short distances or for a period of five minutes. If I had to walk at the same pace as other people for a period of 10 minutes, I would become exhausted. People would consistently ask me if there was a problem or if I had run a marathon.
When I was born, the doctors told my parents that their child would not lead a normal life as other children do. The doctors pitied our difficulty but could only advise that we try our best. However, my parents never gave up. Furthermore, I aimed towards rehabilitation and life experience on a daily basis.
Now, I am taking a gap year from university, which will perhaps surprise many people as I came by myself!!
Wait!? How is a person who is unable to walk for five minutes able to come to the UK by themself? Should I exhaust myself by walking step by step without resting? No, I would catch a cold! With my exhausted face I can't meet girls, that's a big problem!
When I was in Japan I was thinking about how I could study abroad? The answer was simple. If I were to use a wheelchair I would be able to study abroad like everybody else. As I use my wheelchair I have been thoroughly enjoying my life in the UK.
The reason I decided to take a year away from university was to improve myself in a place where I knew no one.
Before coming here, I thought objectively as to whether I wished to continue being so dependent on the kindness of others, especially my friends and family. Whenever anything bad would happen I would rely too easily on others to take care of me. Even though I attended university and lived successfully alone, I could always meet with people I knew quite conveniently as my hometown was relatively close. I came to realize how predictable and comfortable my life had become and questioned whether I wished to continue in this way.
The reason for my new direction of study is that I feel I would otherwise be less suited to working in society. That I would perhaps not be able to cope with the responsibility placed upon me by company life. By studying hard, rather than ignoring my weaknesses, I can best prepare myself for the future. Hence my coming to Oxford to improve myself without direct support from my friends and family.
I pursue the things that need most attention.
Even though I have a disability, I had been very committed to playing sport. Since I was a child I have played baseball with able-bodied people. I have played baseball now for 10 years, and whilst I cannot play at the moment, I would like to write about how someone like myself can play, even without being able to run. However this essay is too short to successfully describe this experience. The reason I was able to play sport for such a long time is thanks to the care of my friends and family.
I think that because I spent so much of my time compensating for my disability, by working hard physically, I never became a very academic student. I felt that I was only completing my degree with average grades. Though at the same time, I gave my sporting activities 110% and was doing well, which gave me great confidence. Consequently this time became very important for me and is the inspiration for the rest of my life. So I have no regrets about starting in this way. Though to progress, I realized how important it was to study English and this is why I study it today. I have to make the most of the time I have to study today as I hope the future will be busy.
If I were able to speak English, I could tell the whole world!!
As I mentioned before, I would like to explain the precious experiences I have gained from baseball, friends and family to people who have the same condition as me, and their families.
If I cannot speak English, then I am restricted to explaining only in Japanese. However, if I can attain proficiency in English, a language easily recognised, I would certainly be able to tell the whole world. This is the reason why English is necessary for me.
As the next host of the Olympic and Paralympic games, the UK was a logical choice. My wish is to interview both able-bodied and handicapped athletes who will take part. Additionally, if I become used to the UK, I have the choice to visit other European countries.
I could never agree with such a title!!
"Owing to my condition, I resigned myself to a difficult future, with few possibilities"
I will never think such a thing! I do not want such negative attitudes in life. We have only one life; shouldn't we be optimistic?
I think it is important to widen one's opportunities by oneself. Isn't it essential to broaden the circle of understanding? Coming to the UK would not have been possible had I not made the decision to use a wheelchair. Thinking about what is possible is more important than thinking about what I initially cannot do.
The risk is rewarding!!
As expected, travelling to a foreign country on my own has taken its toll on my body. I become more exhausted than able-bodied people. Every day I have to do rehabilitation and bear with the pain. Despite this, I enjoy it a lot. However painful it is, I think these new experiences can help me to improve myself.
Honestly, I am giving my all!
My Japanese friends gave me the phrase 'you are honest and pure', which I wish to live up to. I feel I am the sort of person to use all my strength in something I decide to do. When I finish my study abroad I can tell of this experience. My period of study abroad has only just started as I am here until December. Naturally, I will try my hardest during this time, especially in honor of my family and friends. I will never consider giving up in life just because I have a disability. I hope to meet many people and have some great experiences. Though I may occasionally struggle in life due to my disability, I will give it everything I have. I think that my disability has made me who I am, and has shaped my personality.
The winner in life is the happy man, and my life will not be boring. After all, it is my life and should not be directed by my disability.
translation supported by Ben, Baz and Liam.