Author Ayase Maru presented speech.

On May 26th, Shibu-Maku had the honor of hosting a speech for parents by author Ayase Maru. Ms. Ayase is a former Naoki Prize candidate and Shibu-Maku alumnus. The gist of her speech is as follows.

The Spirit of “Jichou-Jikou” and Turning One’s Passion into a Career

Shibu-Maku Accepted an Oddball
Between the ages of 5 and 9 I lived abroad for my father’s work. I entered Shibu-Maku’s Returnee Program from a local elementary school. Until then, I had no experience in a “normal” Japanese class. At that time, I was very competitive and cocky and did not hide my abilities or pay attention to my surroundings. I was a “kawarimono” (Japanese for an “oddball”). Despite being an oddball, Shibu-Maku accepted and respected my abilities.
The students at Shibu-Maku did not bully me. Instead, they embraced me as a rival in the spirit of competition because diversity is cherished at Shibu-Maku. This environment, lectures by academics and athletes, and the school training program in New Zealand allowed me to discover not only another side of friends, but also myself. I could not have done this in my everyday life. Shibu-Maku allowed me to truly understand who I really was.

Parental Influence
When I was 16, my mother lost her 10-year battle with cancer. As she strained not to allow this disease to control her life, it was obvious to me that she tried her hardest to live happily. My mother, who strove to make every second count, is a treasure to me. Through my interactions with her, I learned for a fact that children gauge whether it is worth it to live earnestly by closely watching their parents. This observation is similar to a prayer because children hope that it is worth living life earnestly. This experience made me think that parents demonstrating how to live and die is more effective for teaching their children than simply being “good parents.”

My Purpose in Writing
During high school, I witnessed an incident that made me feel that not even adults have full confidence about how to live their lives. Students want to know how uncertain the world is so they can better prepare for the uncertainties. Reading allows students to learn from adults without worrying about being judged by them. It is my utmost pleasure to support children in this endeavor through my stories.

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